Fine art photographer Keith Dotson takes us along as he walks along the old Lexington and Concord battle road, made famous by the midnight ride of Paul Revere
“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.”
— First two stanzas from Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Every American school kid recognizes those words, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about the events leading up to the start of the American Revolution. In the poem, Paul Revere rides from Boston to Concord, warning that the British are coming.
This is that road — where Paul Revere would have ridden. In those days it was called the Bay Road.
The truth is, Paul Revere did ride but he didn’t make it to Concord, He got captured at a location along the road, now marked with a prominent monument. But other riders — without the PR of a famous poem — also rode and were able to warn the colonist militia waiting at Concord.
The British army sent 700 troops to march along this road, 16 miles from Boston to Concord, with the goal of capturing a stash of colonial weapons. They skirmished first with American colonists on the Lexington Common, and then carried on to Concord, where they were met by an assembly of armed militia known as the “minute men.” The resulting battle at the North Bridge was later called the “shot heard round the world.”
One placard along says that a man hid in a ditch while while some British soldiers walked by, then he fired on them from behind a large boulder, killing two of them. The boulder can still be seen in a clearing near the road.
The British were hounded by incessant gunfire for their entire march back to Boston. Overall, they had 73 Killed, 174 wounded, 26 missing. British soldiers are buried in various locations along the road.
Thousands of minute men proceeded on to surround and lay siege to Boston. The war of American Independence had begun.
Watch as Keith Dotson walks along the old Lexington and Concord battle road
Behind the scenes iPhone photographs
Black and white photographs shot on this trip
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