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Tough old bastard #2

In the predawn hours of April 19, 1775, a force of about 700 British regulars had been dispatched to the small towns of Lexington and Concord to recover reported caches of arms hidden by colonial militia. 

This is when, of course, at about 4:00 am that morning that assembled militia met with the regulars on the North Bridge and the ‘shot heard ‘round the world’ occurred toughing off the American revolution. 

The result was that the British carried on to Concord, found very few munitions, but as news of the event spread throughout the countryside, more militia were assembling from the local farms and towns and mounted a guerilla style harassment campaign against the British troops during their long March that nearly became a rout back to Boston.


This is not that story.


When organizing the orders for this expedition, General Gage had anticipated colonial resistance and dispatched orders to General Percy to assemble his men on standby as a relief force if needed. 

General Gage’s orders were dispatched to General Percy right about the same time the two sides were about to engage at that bridge. Percy’s servant left the unopened letter on the table for Percy to read in the morning, and it wasn’t until a dispatch rider from the beleaguered British regulars arrived later that Lord Percy was alerted to assemble his men. He assembled about a thousand men and two cannon, but affairs being urgent, he left the wagons with the spare ammunition behind so he could make haste in rescuing the retreating party. He left Boston sometime about 8:45 am. He met with the returning forces, and with able cover of numbers, were in a better position to return to Boston intact, despite the continuing harassing fire from the rebels. After a rest in Lexington, they resumed the March at about 3:30 that afternoon.


This is not his story either.


In the small town of Menotomy, farmer Samuel Whittemore, born in 1696, was in his fields when he heard the grenadier company of the 47th foot from Percy’s relief force approaching. Whittemore, even at his age, retained the skills he learned as a private during King George’s War, and possibly also a veteran of the French and Indian War (The Seven Years war as it’s known outside of the United States). 

Samuel brandished his musket and his two dueling pistols and crouched behind a low rock wall. Better researchers might be able to tell you how many men approached, but I would estimate the number between 30 to 80. Whittemore was one man alone, and at 78, quite ancient in terms of 18th century North America.

He fired the musket, killing one soldier outright, then with his pistols, he killed a second and mortally wounded a third. By the time a detachment reached his position, he had drawn his sword.

He was shot in the face, bayonetted several times, and left for dead after having killed three soldiers. By the time he was found later that day, unmoving and profusely bleeding from egregious wounds, was he in the act of seeking shelter?


Was he in the act of tending to his own wounds?


Was he in the act of crawling to seek help?


What they discovered was that before he had lost consciousness, he had been in the act of reloading.

They took him to a local doctor that day in 1775, who tended to his wounds but declared no chance of survival. 


When Samuel Whittemore passed, the year was 1793. He survived his wounds and died at the great age of 96 from natural causes. He is remembered as the oldest combatant of the American revolution.


Tough old bastard! 

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Jon 🐇

Jon 🐇's profile picture

Yikes! :O

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Lol, meanwhile, I have trouble moving if I sit too long

by Cranky Old Witch; ; Report

same :P

by Jon 🐇; ; Report


SafeInSanity's profile picture

God bless him!

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I am always amazed at the stories of individuals so full of defiance and determination that they just flatly refuse to die! May the gods bless him indeed!

by Cranky Old Witch; ; Report