The New Student's Reference Work/Concord (Mass.)
Con′cord, a town of Middlesex County, Mass., 23 miles by rail from Boston. It was settled in 1635. As early as 1767 its people took a strong stand against the measures of the British. In February, 1775, the colonial government gathered valuable military stores at Concord. British spies visited the place, and an expedition from Boston to seize or destroy the stores was decided upon by General Gage. On the morning of April 19, 800 soldiers reached Concord. The country had been thoroughly alarmed; the people were engaged in concealing stores; and the militia, to the number of 180, had gathered when the enemy came in sight. Some were for resisting them, but, desiring to throw the blame of the attack on the invaders, Colonel Barrett led his men across the North bridge. While part of the British were destroying arms and provisions, a detachment marched to secure the North and South bridges. The Americans, believing the enemy were burning the village, marched toward the bridge, while the British drew up on the east bank and began to pull up the bridge-planks. They were commanded to stop, which they did; but a single gun, followed by a volley, was fired at the Americans. The minute-men answered with a volley also, and a general fusillade ensued, both sides losing several men. The British retreated to the center of the town, the Americans following and posting themselves along the Boston road. About noon the retreat began, the minutemen pursuing the British as far as Lexington. The Revolution was really begun by the skirmish at North bridge, where, as Emerson puts it, was “fired the shot heard round the world.” Concord, out of a population of 1,300, sent 174 men to the army of 1775, the town raising the soldiers' pay. Concord is noted as the home of Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Louisa M. Alcott and Channing. Population, 6,421.