Sunday, April 19, 2015

"...To You We Are Indebted..."

"History, Roman history," says Everett, "does not furnish an example of bravery that outshines that of Jonas Parker. A truer heart did not bleed at Thermopylae. He was the next-door neighbor of Mr. Clarke, and had evidently imbibed a double portion of his lofty spirit. Parker was often heard to say that be the consequences what they might, and let others do what they pleased, he would never run from the enemy. He was as good as his word; better. Having loaded his musket, he placed his hat, containing his ammunition, on the ground between his feet, in readiness for a second charge. At the second fire he was wounded and sunk upon his knees; and in this condition discharged his gun. While loading it again upon his knees, and striving in the agonies of death to redeem his pledge, he was transfixed by a bayonet; and thus died on the spot where he first stood and fell."

In addition to Jonas Parker, whose death was thus remarkable, Isaac Muzzy, Robert Munroe, and Jonathan Harrington were killed on or near the Common, where the company was paraded. Robert Munroe, who thus fell a sacrifice to the lawless oppression of Great Britain, had, on a former occasion, perilled his life in her defence having served in the French war and been standard-bearer at the capture of Louisburg in 1758.

"Harrington's was a cruel fate. He fell in front of his own house, on the north of the Common. His wife at the window saw him fall and then start up, the blood gushing from his breast. He stretched out his hands towards her, as if for assistance, and fell again. Rising once more on his hands and knees, he crawled across the road towards his dwelling. She ran to meet him at the door, but it was to see him expire at her feet."

Aside from those men killed that day, there were others wounded whom historians would not leave out as their willingness to sacrifice was no less than those who did surrender all.

In addition to the killed, nine, namely, Ebenezer Munroe, Jr., John Tidd, John Robbins, Solomon Pierce, Joseph Comee, Thomas Winship, Nathaniel Farmer, Jedediah Munroe, and a colored man called Prince, were wounded in the morning, and Francis Brown in the afternoon.

Jedediah Munroe, who was wounded in the morning, was killed in the afternoon. Several of the above received severe wounds. Of Captain Parker's gallant company, seven were killed and nine wounded on or near the Common, being a quarter part of the whole number assembled. 

This furnishes the most striking proof of their bravery and the firmness with which they withstood the British fire. The history of the most sanguinary battles, though continued for hours, rarely furnishes a percentage of loss equal to this. At the celebrated battle of Austerlitz, where the combined forces of Russia and Austria were so signally defeated and cut to pieces by Napoleon, the loss of the allies was only fifteen per cent; while here it was twenty-five. Brave and patriotic band ! How shall we do justice to your names and your memories ! When a dark cloud overshadowed our country, and many a stout heart shrank back in dismay, you boldly stood forth in defence of our rights and offered yourselves a living sacrifice on the altar of freedom. Your firmness inspired the patriots throughout the Colonies your blood cemented the union of the States. To you we are indebted, in no small degree, for the manifold blessings we now enjoy. A grateful country remembers your deeds of noble daring, and will transmit your names to the latest posterity.” (from pages 152, 153, & 154 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF LEXINGTON, MIDDLESEX COUNTY MASSACHUSETTS FROM ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT TO 1868 by CHARLES HUDSON)

That we are indeed a nation deeply indebted is evidenced by just the quotes above but the full measure of our gratitude will soon be known.

Side note:  My wife is a member of the D.A.R. and is investigating whether the name highlighted in red is any blood kin to my family or not.  I'll admit that I was a little spooked when I was reading this book and came across it.  In the end, kin or no, my position against the aggression of tyranny does not change. 

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