Battle of Lexington

"The shot heard 'round the world"

Rotunda Frieze Scene

British troops fire on colonists, who had gathered at Lexington to stop them from going on to Concord to destroy a colonial supply depot. Major Pitcairn, the British officer on horseback, had ordered the colonists to disarm and disperse. As they began to do so, a single shot was fired, which led to an exchange of fire between a British platoon and the colonial militia. Eight militiamen were killed and ten wounded before Pitcairn regained control of his troops. Thus the American Revolution started, with "the shot heard round the world.

[Editor Note: Notice the wounded chap on the left holding his chest at the third button of his vest.... read on]

From Art in the U.S. Capitol

Bacon Genealogy

    259. John4 (Stephen3, John2, Michael1) was born in Needham, May 30, 1721; married May 24, 1744, Abigail Sawin, daughter of Lieut. John and Joanna (Lyon) Sawin, born in Sherborn in 1724. They lived in that part of Needham called Needham Leg, which is now a part of Natick. He is described as a great worker and often would have in his field eight or ten Indians, negroes and four yoke of oxen. In 1771 he served as selectman and assessor. During the French war between 1745 and 1748 he went to Annapolis Royal. He fell at Lexington, April 19, 1775. He was First Lieutenant of Capt. Caleb Kingsbury's Company in Col. Aaron Davis's Regiment. He was buried on the field and over his remains was erected a monument. There is also a monument at Needham Old Cemetery erected to the Needham soldiers who fell at Lexington. At Arlington cemetery is a granite monument in memory of the twelve Americans who fell on the day of the battle of Lexington. The sons of the American Revolution have placed on this monument a marble insert inscribed with the names of the twelve. The name of Lieut. John Bacon heads the list. His name is on a list of men who received money from the public treasury for losses sustained at Lexington, the money being paid to his executors. His great grandson Austin Bacon gives an account of the death of his ancestor which was published in the "History and Directory of Needham" for 1889-90. He said: "In the night or near morning the alarm was given and he set off on horseback to join his comrades at the more eastern part of the town and sent his horse back when they got nearly to the Lower Falls. Soon after he had gone, a trumpet sounded and some Framingham men came along with one Nero Benson, a Negro, for a trumpeter,


Monument in Arlington National Cemetery

Erected to the memory of the nine American soldiers
who fell at Menotomy on April 19, 1775.

and every house they passed had a blast. I think it was early the next morning before they heard from him, when one Hawes, they used to call 'Old Hawes,' came home (he was a soldier in the French and Indian war), and gave the following account: That Bacon and himself were on a ledge of rocks in Menotomy behind a stone wall trying to get a good shot at the red-coats. Hawes was fearful lest the flank guard should surprise them and kept a lookout. Bacon, with his powder in his hat, was lying behind the wall with another, when Hawes said: 'Run or you are dead, here's the guard.' They tried to get over the wall but Bacon was shot through the third button on his vest. Immediately on receiving the news, my grandfather (son of Lieutenant Bacon) went off to see how it was, and near night April 20, came home with his clothes, the body having been buried at West Cambridge. The clothes were found in the schoolhouse, and the moment grandfather entered the room he know the old striped hat which was put on top of the roll of clothes."

From Bacon Genealogy Michael BACON OF Dedham, 1640 and his Descendants
By Thomas W. Baldwin, A.B., S.B.; page 186ff

Millenium Quarter - Massachusetts

Copyright ©1999-2000 US Mint

From United States Mint 50 State Quarters™ Program.

  The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
     by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,-
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where Swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.


A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,

Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere.
And so through the night went his cry' of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forever more!
For, borne on the nightwind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.