American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution
Walter R. Borneman
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A vibrant new look at the American Revolution's first months, from the author of the bestseller The Admirals
When we reflect on our nation's history, the American Revolution can feel almost like a foregone conclusion. In reality, the first weeks and months of 1775 were very tenuous, and a fractured and ragtag group of colonial militias had to coalesce rapidly to have even the slimmest chance of toppling the mighty British Army.
AMERICAN SPRING follows a fledgling nation from Paul Revere's little-known ride of December 1774 and the first shots fired on Lexington Green through the catastrophic Battle of Bunker Hill, culminating with a Virginian named George Washington taking command of colonial forces on July 3, 1775.
Focusing on the colorful heroes John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry, and the ordinary Americans caught up in the revolution, Walter R. Borneman uses newly available sources and research to tell the story of how a decade of discontent erupted into an armed rebellion that forged our nation.
rebel gunpowder. The acute awareness of dwindling powder supplies had hastened the exodus from Prescott’s ranks as Pigot’s troops advanced yet again. Prescott directed his men to hold steady for one final fusillade, but with few bayonets and spears among the remaining defenders, once their gunpowder was expended there was nothing they could do but flee. British bayonets ran through those who did not do so with enough dispatch. After the rebels were surrounded, it was over in seconds. Even
26. Stuart, Muse of the Revolution, 67; Boston Gazette, January 23, 1775; the first two acts also appeared in the Massachusetts Spy, January 26, 1775. 27. Essex Journal and Merimack Packet, August 17, 1774. 28. Abigail Adams to John Adams, September 22, 1774, Charles Francis Adams, ed., Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams (Boston: Wilkins, Carter, 1848), 24. Chapter 5 — “Fire, If You Have the Courage” 1. The standard biography of Gage remains John Richard Alden, General Gage in
http://boston1775.blogspot.com/2010/05/true-story-of-isaac-bissell.html; http://boston1775.blogspot.com/2010/05/comparing-bissell-and-revere.html; http://boston1775.blogspot.com/2010/05/to-alarm-country-quite-to-connecticut.html, all accessed August 14, 2012. To add further confusion to the Bissell story, there was an Israel Bissell, who was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, in 1752, and who lies buried in Hinsdale, Massachusetts. He is frequently celebrated in error as the post rider. 3.
were busy sewing flannel cartridges to hold gunpowder. Gage ordered Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Leslie and about 240 men of the Sixty-Fourth Regiment of Foot to sail the fifteen miles from Boston to Marblehead and then march on nearby Salem. Well aware that the rebels’ intelligence network in Boston might detect such a movement and again send Paul Revere galloping to spread an alarm, Gage used troops that were quartered at Castle William in Boston Harbor and not in the town proper. They could
Crown-appointed royal governor presided over each province, voters—generally limited to white male property owners over the age of twenty-one—elected delegates to colonial legislatures to approve such business. As citizens of the British Empire and as royal subjects, these colonists considered themselves endowed with certain rights well established by Parliament—among them the right to representative government. THE FIRST MAJOR DISRUPTION TO this harmony came when Parliament passed the American