Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Meeting Notes: July 17, 2019

"A Single Blow: The Battles of Lexington and Concord," Robert Orrison

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes
ARRT-R’s October 12, 2019 field trip to the Norfolk/Great Bridge area has been announced.

ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for September 18, 2019 at Heilman Dining Center at the University of Richmond. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. and the speaking program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Author Biography 
Robert Orrison has been working in the public history field for more than twenty years.

Currently, Rob serves as the Historic Site Operations Supervisor for Prince William County, Virginia. He is the co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War and his published works include A Want of Vigilance: The Bristoe Station Campaign and The Last            Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign, 1863.

“I have now nothing to trouble your Lordship with, but an affair that happened on the 19th” –
General Thomas Gage penned the above line to his superiors in London, casually summing up the shots fired at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.
“A Single Blow” traces the events from the winter of 1774 to the action of April 19, 1775. The book serves as an historical narrative and a hands-on tour for the reader to visit the historic sites and locations where these events took place. 

General Gage arrived in Boston in May of 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party. General Gage’s mission was to administer the Coercive Acts while continuing to serve as Commander-in-
Chief of the American colonies.

There were three events preceding the battles of Lexington and Concord that almost led to bloodshed:

1.      On September 1, 1774, British regulars removed all the powder from the powder magazine located in Charlestown. The event is known as the “Powder Alarm”.
2.     On December 14, 1774, local militia occupied Fort William & Henry in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
3.     On February 26, 1775, British troops raided Salem, Massachusetts in a failed attempt to seize cannons and powder.

As General Gage began to plan the raid on Lexington and Concord, he faced a highly efficient patriot intelligence gathering operation led by men such as Paul Revere and Doctor Warren. Revere rode out into the country on both April 9th and 16th to warn the countryside of possible British movement.

In the years leading up to April 1775, colonial forces had been re-organized to create both Minuteman and the traditional militia units.  While the term “Minuteman” is widely used to describe all the patriot forces fighting on April 19th, 1775, in fact eighty percent of the units who participated in the fighting were regular town militia units.

Once the raid began on April 19, 1775, poor British planning and communications allowed patriot forces to severely punish the raiding force.

--Noah Rogers

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