Between the cities of Concord and Lexington in Massachusetts you find the Minute Man National Historic Park which is named after the elite militia during the American Revolution who got the name from the fact they should be ready for battle with a warning of only a minute.
The park commemorates the battle which sort of started the war of the American Revolution. The battle took place on the on April 19, 1775 where it started at North Bridge in Concord where the regular army had headed out from Boston to search for a suspected storage of weapons at Barrett’s Farm just outside Concord. It was at this bridge outside Concord the rebels for the first time ordered to fire at the British regular army.
After the first skirmish at North Bridge the regular British army started a quick retreat back towards Boston and what is called a running battle began where an increasing rebel army chased the regular army back towards the city with different smaller battles along the way. We follow the trail of the battle from Concord towards Lexington and stop at different places along the road. There are many parking lots with small information signs several places where important events took place during the battle and at different places there are bigger visitor centers like the one you find at North Bridge.
Our first stop is a little bit down the road where we stop at Meriam House where a small skirmish took place. There are a little display about the small battle and an old house here the regular army still had the superior numbers here – but the rebels were growing in strength so the regulars were trying to retreat as quickly as possible. If you walk a little bit from the house you find an old British soldier grave with a British flag next to it symbolizing a final resting place of one of the regular army troops who never made it back to the old world. But there isn’t much to see here so we quickly continue the journey along the road.
A more interesting location is found at Bloody Angel where there is a house and a little show of a man dress in militia uniform showing how to fire an old musket from the time of the American Revolution. it do take a while to load the rifle so back then a battle took time for the soldiers to actually get ready to fire a new round of bullets – not like the wars of later time where the shooting has been transformed so a single soldier with an automatic rifle can fire more bullets than the British army could back during this battle. There is a small house at the place which you can go inside and visit and there are some staff wearing traditional clothing at the house. Next to the house is a small area called the Bloody Angel where the British regular troops were caught in crossfire from the rebel troops.
Next we arrive at a little memorial for Revere’s capture point. Revere had left Boston to warn the rebels about the approach of the regular army which were searching for arms. He managed to warn the troops in Lexington but was capture shortly after. Fortunately for the rebels Prescott manage to escape capture and continued to Concord and beyond so the rebels were ready for the arrival of the regular army later in the day. Except for the small memorial there isn’t much to see at this location so we continue to Minute Man Visitor Center.
At the visitor center you can get a lot of information of the park and if you start your visit from Boston this will probably be your first stop inside the park. But we visited the park from the other side so this is our last stop. At this visitor center you can watch movies about the events of the day or join a free ranger tour of the park. We join a tour and an engaged ranger tells us the story of Captain Parker a little known man from the American Revolution but probably he was just one of many who made a big or small contribution to the success of the revolution. The first shots of the battle actually took place here just outside Lexington where the regular army had killed 8 members of the local militia including Parker’s cousin with only a regular soldier being wounded in the leg.
Later in the day the regular army returned to this place and another battle took place – but this time the odds had changed and the rebel army was superior in numbers now and they wanted revenge. The ranger tells about the place which is called Parkers revenge where the rebels made an ambush where the regular army had to cross a bridge. The British troops suffered severally and started to retreat disorderly to Boston more or less in panic and running low on ammunition. We have come to the end of the park so we don’t follow the battle all the way to Boston and just decide to leave the park now.
It is free to visit the park which is spread out along a public road. So you can actually access the area all through the day but the different visitors centers are only open for limited hours depending of the time of the year – but the parking lot are only open from sunrise to sunset so you should time your visit accordingly. The activities are limited during the winter season so if you want to go inside the visitor center to get more information and enjoy the exhibits you should come during the opening season which runs from April till End of November.