Before we say goodbye to another April, let’s take a look back at two of the most important events in U.S. history—all of which occurred during this springtime month. Beginning with the birth of our nation in the American Revolution to the end of a period of distraught in the Civil War, Massachusetts has certainly played an important role in shaping our nation.
April 19, 1775 – The Revolutionary War begins in Lexington and Concord
One very early Spring morning, General Gage of the redcoats embarked on a mission to capture Massachusetts leaders, Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Lexington, and then proceeded to seize gunpowder in Concord. The Minutemen of Boston, however, caught wind of the attack and secretly spread word of the British invasion.
Interestingly, it is a common misconception that Paul Revere’s warning included a ride on horseback through the city while shouting “the British are coming!” In fact, that would have been an easy way to get caught by the many British soldiers and loyalists occupying the area. Instead, an alert was sent out by the flame of a lantern in the belfry of the Old North Church: one indicating the army’s decision to attack by land and two indicating by sea.
As the “shots heard around the world” were fired, the events of Lexington and Concord inspired the struggle for our country’s independence.
April 7, 1865 – The American Civil War ends in Appomattox
We fast forward nearly 100 years and see the country is in turmoil once again, but within itself. After undergoing one the bloodiest wars in our history even to this day, General Lee of the South and General Grant of the North finally drew up the papers that led to the surrender of the Confederate Army.
Massachusetts was an active proponent of the anti-slavery movement before the war in the 1830’s. Not only did the state send nearly 160,000 men to serve in the army and navy, but the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was also the first regiment of African American soldiers to serve the Union Army.
Massachusetts has clearly had a major impact on the turn of events in our history. And we feel it’s important to acknowledge and remember these dates.
Now onto May!