Day 55 Boston to Amherst
After packing up we put our bags into the locker room whilst we walked down near the harbour to pick up the rental car. After picking up the luggage we headed south for Plymouth (the opposite directionto what we will be going later).
In Plymouth we saw the replica of the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. The rock is about a third of its original size. Over the centuries it has been cut in half with the top half put on display, painted and gradually weathered away.
Looking across the bay you can see a few homes on the Cape Cod Peninsula. We decided to drive down into the more populated area of Cape Cod. As this is a large area we only just saw a small part of this holiday destination. We did see some of the large homes. One home had a security gate to keep unwelcome visitors out.
Turning back to the north we headed for Lexington. On arrival we were told at the information centre there was a free guide across the road in Lexington Green who would give us a tour of the green and its history.
Mary was dressed in period costume and she was very friendly. At the top of Lexington Green is a statue of Captain Parker who lead the men of the Lexington Militia. Although it is known as the Minute Man Statue, Lexington did not have minute men, only a militia.
Every town had a militia made up of men over the age of 18. Militia were there to protect the town. In bigger towns they would also form a Minute Man group. The Minute Men were the best marksmen in the group who also received extra training. These men reputedly would be ready at a minute's notice.
After Paul Revere arrived to warn Hancock and Adams in Lexington, the militia (70 men) were alerted and came to the Green. The 700 British soldiers were behind schedule and instead of arriving around 2.00 am they did not reach Lexington until 5.30am. While the Militia waited, they spent time in the Tavern by the green or went home if they lived close by.
The Militia had no intention of fighting the British regular troops but just show a defensive force. Parker ordered his men to leave the green as they were outnumbered. No one knows who fired the first shot - colonial or soldier but a shot was fired and this led to the death of 8 colonists.
The British commander managed to get his troops back under control and they continued on to Concord. In Concord, 400 militias had gathered just outside of town at North Bridge. The British commander ordered his troops to search for munitions (rifles, cannons, gun powder, shot, etc).
Three platoons (approx. 70 soldiers) were sent to the North Bridge just out of town. Basically they were just watching the Militia on the hill. The number of Militia swelled to 1,000 men while waiting on the hill.
A fire started in the town square from sparks from a bon fire. The Militia thought that the British regulars were burning the town. In actual fact the British troops were trying to put out the fire. The Militia moved down the hill to face the British soldiers on the bridge. A British soldier fired on the Militia without orders and the Militia returned fire. Two British soldiers were killed with others wounded. For some unknown reason the disciplined British soldiers took flight with the Militia following.
The British troops could not find the munitions hidden by the Militia so they formed up and marched back to Boston. On the way back to Boston more and more colonials joined Militia, harassing the British troops. The militia ranks swelled to around 4,000 men. The two British officers were wounded and they were fortunate to be supported by a 1,000 reinforcements (from Boston) lead by Brigadier General Hugh Percy, future Duke of Northumberland (and known as Earl Percy).
Percy took charge of the British force but they were attacked by the Militia all the way back to Charlestown (near Boston). The British troops lost 73 soldiers on their way back while the Militia lost 49 men.
After our history lesson on the start of the revolution, we continued our travels, heading to Concord. Arriving in Concord we dropped in to the home of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. We had a quick look through the front part of the house but we did not take the tour or watch the film as it was late in the day and we still had North Bridge to visit before heading another hour onto Amherst. We did not want to arrive too late at our host's home.
Arriving in Amherst we discovered an email from our hosts letting us know they would not be arriving home until later that evening but they had given us directions on getting into the house.
We then drove into the town to get some dinner. We decided on a Chinese restaurant. It met two important criteria - it had a lot of people eating there and most of them were Chinese. The meal was lovely. They have a quaint way of serving. Your stir fry comes out in a small wok sitting on a spirit burner. They also served a large fried rice that tasted great.
Heading back to the house we arrived about 5 minutes before our hosts. Carolyn and Audley are a lovely couple. We sat in the lounge room having a cuppa and chatting. They gave lots of advice on what to see on our drive the next day. Then we chatted about the upcoming elections. They were definitely not fans of Donald Trump.