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earlier burfling | later burfling

By the rude bridge

Two hundred thirty years ago, the commander of an occupation force decided to take action against the local insurgents. He ordered select units to secretly march on a nearby town and seize the military supplies stockpiled there. The locals, however, were keeping close watch on his troops and quickly spread the word throughout the countryside. Despite winning a brief skirmish and capturing some of the insurgents' messengers enroute, the main column found that all surprise was lost by the time it reached its target. Very little in the way of weaponry was found, the troops had almost nothing in the way of supplies, and the insurgents' forces were continually growing stronger as more and more locals rushed to the scene. The main column retreated under increasingly heavy fire back to their headquarters; had they not been reinforced along the way, they likely would have been routed.

The date was April 19, 1775. The commander was Sir Thomas Gage, a Lieutenant General in the British Army and a veteran of Fontenoy, Culloden, Flanders, and Montreal (amongst other campaigns). The targeted town was Concord, Massachusetts. The ensuing war became popularly known as the American Revolution.

Several decades later, Ralph Waldo Emerson would write these words:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.

Nowadays, so-called "conservatives" claim the mantle of patriotism as their own, and denigrate "blue states" like Massachusetts as unpatriotic if not actually disloyal to America. How quickly, and conveniently, they forget the truth.