A Revolution at Meriam's Corner
A look at one of the oldest houses in Concord, where a decisive battle took place during the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
It's 12:30 p.m. on April 19, 1775 and a band of roughly 300 Americans led by militia strategist Major Buttrick have been routing the British with guerrilla tactics. The colonists are making their way across Massachusetts in hopes of destroying militia weapons depots 20 miles west of Boston in the sleepy town of Concord.
Under orders from Massachusetts Governor, Thomas Gage, by way of King George III's decree to squash the American uprising, 700 British troops, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and Marine Major John Pitcairn, are forced to retreat from the Old North Bridge and make their way towards a secluded ridge near Mill Brook.
The Americans are crafty though, and through Paul Revere's famous lanterns in the Old North Church, and various other word-of-mouth interactions, the rebels stay one step ahead of the British. Now, the Americans are ready for the British who are making there way to Meriam's Corner.
Here, the Americans make their stand as the British approach the arms depot. British flankers are drawn into the crossfire of the waiting rebels on a narrow bridge and all are forced to retreat back towards Boston. The rebels chase the British, using cover from buildings, walls, natural surroundings, whatever they could, to continue a running skirmish on the British as they retreat.
The attacks are successful and begin to pile up on what will later be known as “Battle Road.” The cries begin to ring out across the countryside, the revolution has begun!
These were the seminal events in the American Revolution that took place at Meriam's Corner, one part of The Minute Man's Historical National Park on the corner of Old Bedford Road and Lexington Road.
Today, Meriam's Corner is a little more quiet a place. It hasn't seen battle since that fateful day some 236 years ago, but still stands as a testament to how willing and able America was to become its own nation.
What stands today in Meriam's Corner are simple tokens of an age of rebellion past. There is a small marker right off the tiny bridge mentioned in the skirmish that details the events of the historic night. Aside from that lies an open field, and beyond it, the persevered house of Josiah Meriam as it was built in 1663, and as it stood in 1775 when American colonists used it for cover to assail the approaching British.
If Meriam's Corner explains one thing about the Revolutionary War and the founding of our nation, is that our first steps towards independence were scattered ones. On seemingly unimportant, all together plain land, historic bouts for freedom took place. Each skirmish has its own story, claimed its own lives, and like the monument declares at Meriam's Corner, “discharged their vengeance at the British troops along the old highway that is known today as 'Battle Road.'”
It may be an unassuming location, but Meriam's Corner is one of the places were our country began.