The Alarm of April 19th: Pepperell and Groton

This account relates the colonists’ perspective, and is taken from Beside Old Hearthstones, available online at URL: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ma/state/hearth/    It is obviously just a fragment, but a rather personal, and revealing one.

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…The semiweekly drillings of the Pepperell minute-men under Colonel Prescott, and the bold statements from the pulpit by Rev. Joseph Emerson, kept the people in constant expectation; so that when the news of April 19 was received they were not long in making final preparations. A mounted messenger reached the town in the middle of the forenoon, declaring that the Regulars had come out from Boston, and killed eight men at Lexington, and were fighting at Concord. The despatch with which Colonel Prescott buckled on his sword, and bade wife and only son William, then thirteen years of age, a tender farewell as he galloped off the hill, may be known without resorting to imagination; for his habits of early years and later experience are in proof of this. His order was for the Pepperell company and that at Hollis to march at once to Groton, and there join the company of the latter town, while he proceeded directly to Groton. The effect of the more immediate contact with Colonel Prescott is seen in the report that the company from his town reached Groton before the men there were ready to march. The selectmen were then together distributing arms and ammunition to their soldiers. Dr. Oliver Prescott, chairman, brother of the Colonel, upon hearing the music and seeing the Pepperell company marching to the Common in full ranks, said, “This is a disgrace to us!”

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