Captain John Parker
|Captain John Parker
|The Lexington Minuteman
John Parker (July 13, 1729 – September 17, 1775) was an American farmer,
mechanic, and soldier, who commanded the Lexington militia at the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775. Parker was born in
Lexington to Josiah Parker and Anne Stone. His experience as a soldier in the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) at the
Siege of Louisbourg and conquest of Quebec most likely led to his election as militia captain by the men of the town.
He was in poor health from consumption (tuberculosis) on the morning of
April 19. Tradition reports his order at Lexington Green to be "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they
mean to have a war, let it begin here." He witnessed his cousin Jonas Parker killed by a British bayonet. Later that day he
rallied his men to attack the regulars returning to Boston in an ambush known as "Parker's Revenge."
The above statue, known as The Lexington Minuteman, was originally
meant to represent the common Minuteman, but has now become accepted as Captain John Parker. It is by Henry Hudson Kitson
and it stands at the town green of Lexington, Massachusetts. It is not actually based on Parker's appearance, as no known
likenesses of him survive today.
|Captain John Smith
|Battle of Lexington Map
(Right) Map depiction of the outbound routes taken by Patriot riders
and British troops in the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.
This was his only military action in the American Revolutionary War. He
was unable to serve in the Battle of Bunker Hill in June, and died of tuberculosis in September. Parker's grandson donated
his musket to the state of Massachusetts. It hangs today in the Senate Chamber of the Massachusetts State House.
The Parker Homestead formerly stood on Spring Street in Lexington. A tablet
marks the spot as Theodore Parker's birthplace; Theodore, a relative (grandson) of Captain John, was a transcendentalist and
minister who was good friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
|Battles of Lexington and Concord Map
|Battle of Lexington and Battle of Concord Map
(Above) Map showing the route of the British army's 18-mile retreat from Concord to Charlestown in the Battles
of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. It shows the major points of conflict, as well as showing the route taken by Hugh,
Earl Percy's reinforcements.
Captain John Parker is still the symbol of one of the largest mutual companies,
Sentry Insurance. His full-body profile (including musket and boulder) is the crest of all U.S. Army Reserve battalions' and
regiments' coats of arms.
(Related reading below)
Viewing: The History Channel Presents The Revolution (A&E) (600 minutes). Review: They came of age
in a new world amid intoxicating and innovative ideas about human and civil rights diverse economic systems and self-government.
In a few short years these men and women would transform themselves into architects of the future through the building of
a new nation – “a nation unlike any before.” Continued below...
From the roots of the rebellion and the signing of the Declaration of Independence to victory on the battlefield
and the adoption of The United States Constitution, THE REVOLUTION tells the remarkable story of this pivotal era in history.
Venturing beyond the conventional list of generals and politicians, THE HISTORY CHANNEL® introduces the full range of individuals
who helped shape this great conflict including some of the war’s most influential unsung heroes. Through sweeping cinematic
recreations intimate biographical investigations and provocative political military and economic analysis the historic ideas
and themes that transformed treasonous acts against the British into noble acts of courage both on and off the battlefield
come to life in this dramatic and captivating program. This TEN HOUR DVD Features: History in the Making: The Revolution Behind-the-Scenes
Featurette; Interactive Menus; Scene Selections.
Lexington and Concord: The
Beginning of the War of the American Revolution. Description: The title of this review gives you an idea
why this book is such an enjoyable reading experience. Although the book gives a detailed analysis of the fighting at Lexington and Concord, and the British retreat back to Boston, it is not just another military history. Mr. Tourtellot provides such intimate detail,
and he quotes from sufficient primary sources, that you feel you've come to know the famous, such as Sam Adams and John Hancock,
and the everyday people that lived in Lexington and Concord and got swept up in the events of April 19th, 1775. Continued
Considering that the book is about
such a serious subject, it is also surprisingly funny.....up until the shooting starts. This is certainly a case of farce
turning into tragedy. If you'll pardon the pun, General Gage was such an engaging fellow that he made it clear that he wanted
the Colonials handled with kid gloves. Again, up until the shooting started, the British were quite accommodating. They were
very polite towards the populace, even when searching for weapons and powder. They went to one house and there was a room
the owner wouldn't let them go into. She said that there was a woman in that room who didn't feel well, so the British didn't
press the issue and didn't search the room. Of course, that was the one room in the house where gunpowder was being stored!
The British excursion from Boston was a comedy of errors. It was supposed to be a surprise, but the Colonials knew all
about it. There were endless delays in leaving Boston, which gave riders such as Paul Revere
plenty of time to get to Lexington and Concord
to warn people to hide weapons and gunpowder. Gage had given detailed orders on what he wanted done. For example, he wanted
the soldiers to take confiscated musket balls, put them in their pockets, and drop them in dribs and drabs in ponds and streams.
The soldiers actually found very little, since the inhabitants had plenty of time to hide things, but instead of dropping
things in small quantities the soldiers pretty much dumped whatever they found in just a few areas.....making it easy for
the Colonials to retrieve most of what was confiscated! You could say there was a lack of brainpower on the "hometeam" side
as well.....such as tearing up the planks of a bridge leading out from Boston so that the British could not cross it, but
then leaving the planks stacked up in plain sight.....so the soldiers just had to nail them back down and they were back in
business! A running gag throughout much of the book is the relationship between Sam Adams and John Hancock. The author portrays
Adams as a shrewd propagandist, a man who spent 10 years trying to stir up a rebellion and
finally knew the big chance when he saw it. Hancock is portrayed as none-too-bright, vain, wealthy and easily manipulated
by the psychologically astute Adams. Adams and Hancock were so sure the British were after
them that they acted like two crooks on-the-run. Mr. Tourtellot's thesis, from going through the primary sources on the British
side, is that the British couldn't have cared less about capturing the "dynamic duo." They just wanted to confiscate some
cannon and gunpowder...period! To support his appraisal of Hancock as dunderhead, Mr. Tourtellot gives many examples. However,
the funniest is probably when Adams and Hancock are in hiding in Lexington
on the morning of April 19th, and suddenly they heard the sound of gunfire. This is what Adams
was waiting for! He knew this could be used to unite the Colonies, finally, in a drive towards independence. Adams
said, "Oh, what a glorious morning is this." Hancock's reaction was that he thought it was a strange time to comment on the
weather! Adams (you have to wonder whether he smacked his head in exasperation) clarified the situation: "I mean what a glorious
morning for America." Adams and Hancock,
convinced that the British were coming (for them!) moved on to their next "safe house." Hancock had a messenger take a note
to his aunt and fiancee, asking them to come and join him. Lest you think that Hancock by now might have had an inkling as
to the importance of the day's events, he made sure he included in the note the following: He directed them "to bring the
fine salmon that they had had sent to them for dinner." Of course, once the fighting starts, Mr. Tourtellot does not make
light of matters. The British retreat towards Boston is recorded
in harrowing detail...they were surrounded by superior numbers and were fighting for their survival. They sent out flanking
parties to deal with snipers and the flanking parties did what they needed to do...such as burning down homes that they suspected
were being used by snipers and killing able-bodied, though unarmed men, on the assumption that they were rebels. Not a bad
assumption, really, when you understand that even men in their sixties and seventies were lurking in the woods, taking potshots
at the British. One remarkable part of the book is where the soldiers came upon 78 year old Samuel Whittemore, who had just
killed a couple of Redcoats. They shot Whittemore and beat him severely. They were satisfied that they had "killed the old
rebel." Amazingly, Mr. Whittemore lived another 18 years....not dying until the ripe, old age of 96! Mr. Tourtellot also deals
with the aftermath of the battle....showing how Sam Adams and others got maximum propaganda value from the day's events, exaggerating
British atrocities (which were in actuality extremely rare) in order to set the Colonies on the road to independence and to
influence opinion back in England. I consider
this book a welcome and necessary addition to my collection of books dealing with the American Revolution. "The book also
contains excellent maps that help the reader visualize the action and route of march. The author has succeeded in breathing
exciting life into a little confrontation that wrote large upon the pages of history."
John Parker of Lexington and His Descendants (590
pages). Description: The Genealogy and Family History Collection is a unique set of materials that describes the histories
and narratives of particular American families. The Collection brings to life pre-1923 books that contain information such
as birth, death, marriage, property and migration records of specific families. Continued below…
of these families followed interesting migration and movement patterns from Western Europe and beyond to the United
States well over 200 years ago. Included in these volumes is information such as last wills
and testaments, period photographs of towns, buildings and landscapes, portraits of family members, and descriptions of business
interactions. Encompassing such comprehensive and personal information, this collection will appeal to genealogists, family
history researchers, as well as descendants and casual historians.
Reading: The War for American Independence: From 1760 to the Surrender at Yorktown in 1781
(Paperback) (776 pages). Description: "Including both attention to strategic policies in Britain
and France and personal accounts of colonial soldiers, "The War for American
Independence" provides an unprecedented view of America's
struggle for independence in its world context. With wit, clarity, and dramatic effect, Samuel B. Griffith II vivifies the
characters and incidents of the period on both sides of the Atlantic, drawing from personal
diaries and letters, newspaper accounts, and detailed battle maps to create a unique alternative to standard histories of
the period. Continued below…
and exceptionally readable resource, first published in 1976 under the title "In Defense of the Public Liberty: Britain,
America, and the Struggle for Independence
from 1760 to the Surrender at Yorktown in 1781", was honored with the Sons of Liberty Award
for the best book on the American Revolution." Review: "A book on the American Revolution so fresh and continually surprising
is a miracle at this time. It is sharp, fast, and beautifully written... General Griffith has made it, for once, a two-sided
war." -- Barbara Tuchman "It is the insights which the author derives from his own military experience and his willingness
to share these so frankly with the reader that gives the book its distinctive character... It is, in the best sense, a soldier's
view of the war." -- Economist "An exhaustive and well-written political and military account of our War for Independence from primary sources." -- National Review "Well-written, interesting, balanced
in judgment, and historically sound." -- Library Journal
Reading: A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution (Hardcover). Description: A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution is the first comprehensive account
of every engagement of the Revolution, a war that began with a brief skirmish at Lexington Green on April 19, 1775, and concluded
on the battlefield at the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781. Continued below…
In between were six long years
of bitter fighting on land and at sea. The wide variety of combats blanketed the North American continent from Canada
to the Southern colonies, from the winding coastal lowlands to the Appalachian Mountains, and from the North Atlantic to the
Caribbean. Unlike existing accounts, A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution presents
each engagement in a unique way. Each battle entry offers a wide and rich—but consistent—template of information
to make it easy for readers to find exactly what they are seeking. Every entry begins with introductory details including
the date of the battle, its location, commanders, opposing forces, terrain, weather, and time of day. The detailed body of
each entry offers both a Colonial and British perspective of the unfolding military situation, a detailed and unbiased account
of what actually transpired, a discussion of numbers and losses, an assessment of the consequences of the battle, and suggestions
for further reading. Many of the entries are supported and enriched by original maps and photos. Fresh, scholarly, informative,
and entertaining, A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution will be welcomed by historians and general enthusiasts
Recommended Reading: With Zeal and With Bayonets Only: The British Army on Campaign in North America,
1775-1783 (Campaigns and Commanders). Description: The image is indelible: densely packed lines of slow-moving
Redcoats picked off by American sharpshooters. Now Matthew H. Spring reveals how British infantry in the American Revolutionary
War really fought. This groundbreaking book offers a new analysis of the British Army during the "American rebellion"
at both operational and tactical levels. Presenting fresh insights into the speed of British tactical movements, Spring discloses
how the system for training the army prior to 1775 was overhauled and adapted to the peculiar conditions confronting it in
North America. Continued below...
Review: With Zeal and with Bayonets
Only is the most important book on the military side of the American Revolution to see print in this century. It completely
revolutionizes our view of battle in the War of Independence (From Captain John Smith to Napoleonic Tactics to British Surrender).
Everything that came before it dealing with combat in this conflict is obsolete and must be reconceptualized and rewritten.
Based on meticulous research, With Zeal and with Bayonets Only, is both well written and authoritatively argued. Matthew
H. Spring succeeds in vindicating the reputation of the British troops who attempted to crush American independence. They
were not hidebound, unthinking machines good only for parade-ground evolutions and set-piece European battles. The British Army that fought in North America from 1775 to 1783 was what modern American
officers call "a thinking army." British officers, such as William Howe, were well aware that they had to adapt to American
conditions from the outset, and they trained all their foot soldiers to function like light infantry. After Bunker Hill, they
invariably led their Redcoats into battle in open order. Lacking large amounts of cavalry, they trained their foot soldiers
to move quickly to overtake and strike a speedy foe. In battle, the Redcoats usually sought a quick decision. They preferred
to close to within 75 yards of the enemy, fire a volley, and then charge with the bayonet. These tactics brought them victory
more often than not. Spring realizes, of course, that the British lost
the war, and he explains how these frequently successful tactics contributed to that defeat. The fact that British officers
tried to clinch victory on the battlefield reflected an improper appreciation for the political dimensions of the Revolution.
In addition, pressing the enemy with troops deployed in loose order worked only so long as the attackers were superior to
their foes. As the Revolution progressed and the Continental Army upgraded its own fighting skills, the Redcoats' tactical
practices backfired on them -- as seen at Cowpens and Guilford Court House. Nevertheless, Spring demonstrates that the British
Army of the Revolution was a much more formidable force than most Americans realize. His book makes General George Washington's
victory seem all the more incredible and admirable. With Zeal and with Bayonets Only is must reading for anyone who wants
to think they possess any real understanding of the American War of Independence. About the Author: Matthew Spring holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of
Leeds and teaches history at Truro School, an independent secondary school in Cornwall,
Recommended Reading: American Creation: Triumphs
and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic (Hardcover). Review: From the prizewinning author of the best-selling Founding Brothers and American Sphinx, a masterly and
highly ironic examination of the founding years of our country. The last quarter of the eighteenth century remains the most
politically creative era in American history, when a dedicated and determined group of men undertook a bold experiment in
political ideals. It was a time of triumphs; yet, as Joseph J. Ellis makes clear, it was also a time of tragedies—all
of which contributed to the shaping of our burgeoning nation. Continued below...
From the first
shots fired at Lexington to the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase,
Ellis guides us through the decisive issues of the nation’s founding, and illuminates the emerging philosophies, shifting
alliances, and personal and political foibles of our now iconic leaders—Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and
Adams. He casts an incisive eye on the founders’ achievements, arguing that the American Revolution was, paradoxically,
an evolution—and that part of what made it so extraordinary was the gradual pace at which it occurred. He shows us why
the fact that it was brought about by a group, rather than by a single individual, distinguished it from the bloodier revolutions
of other countries, and ultimately played a key role in determining its success. He explains how the idea of a strong federal
government, championed by Washington, was eventually embraced by the American people, the majority of whom had to be won over,
as they feared an absolute power reminiscent of the British Empire. And he details the emergence of the two-party system—then
a political novelty—which today stands as the founders’ most enduring legacy. But Ellis is equally incisive about
their failures, and he makes clear how their inability to abolish slavery and to reach a just settlement with the Native Americans
has played an equally important role in shaping our national character. He demonstrates how these misjudgments, now so abundantly
evident, were not necessarily inevitable. We learn of the negotiations between Henry Knox and Alexander McGillivray, the most
talented Indian statesman of his time, which began in good faith and ended in disaster. And we come to understand how a political
solution to slavery required the kind of robust federal power that the Jeffersonians viewed as a betrayal of their most deeply
held principles. With eloquence and insight, Ellis strips the mythic veneer of the revolutionary generation to reveal men
both human and inspired, possessed of both brilliance and blindness. American Creation is a book that delineates an era of
flawed greatness, at a time when understanding our origins is more important than ever. About the Author: Joseph J. Ellis received the Pulitzer
Prize for Founding Brothers and the National Book
Award for his portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx. He is the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount
Holyoke College. He lives in
Amherst, Massachusetts, with
his wife, Ellen, and their youngest son, Alex.
Reading: Battles Of The Revolutionary War: 1775-1781 (Major Battles and
Campaigns Series). Description: The Americans did not simply outlast the British in the Revolutionary War, contends this author in a groundbreaking
study, but won their independence by employing superior strategies, tactics, and leadership. Designed for the "armchair strategist"
with dozens of detailed maps and illustrations, here is a blow-by-blow analysis of the men, commanders, and weaponry used
in the famous battles of Bunker Hill, Quebec, Trenton, Princeton, Saratoga, and Cowpens.
Recommended Reading: With Zeal and With Bayonets Only: The British Army on Campaign in North America,
1775-1783 (Campaigns and Commanders). Description: First scrutinizing such operational problems as logistics,
manpower shortages, and poor intelligence, Spring then focuses on battlefield tactics to examine how troops marched to the
battlefield, deployed, advanced, and fought. Continued below...
In particular, he documents the use of turning movements, the loosening of formations, and a reliance on
bayonet-oriented shock tactics, and he also highlights the army's ability to tailor its tactical methods to local conditions.
Written with flair and a wealth of details that will engage scholars and
history enthusiasts alike, With Zeal and with Bayonets Only offers a thorough reinterpretation of how the British Army's North
American campaign progressed and invites serious reassessment of most of its battles. This
groundbreaking book offers a new analysis of the British Army during the "American rebellion" at both operational and tactical
levels. Presenting fresh insights into the speed of British tactical movements, Spring discloses how the system for training
the army prior to 1775 was overhauled and adapted to the peculiar conditions confronting it in North America.