Printed on a thin, flexible die-cut magnet.
Size: 5.5″ x 3.69″
Around the perimeter are the words Colonel John Parker was reported to have said on the morning of April 19, 1775, as his small number of men faced 700 British regulars.
Historical background: John Parker and the Battle of Lexington
“John Parker was born in Lexington, Massachusetts to Josiah Parker and Anna Stone. . . . Parker’s experience as a soldier in the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War), at the Siege of Louisbourg, and the conquest of Quebec, most likely, led to his election, as militia captain, by the men of the town. He was dying from consumption (tuberculosis), on the morning of April 19, 1775, and had not quite five months left to live.
“On April 19, 1775 the British commander in Boston Thomas Gage dispatched an expedition of approximately 700 army regulars under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith to search the town of Concord for hidden rebel supplies and weapons caches. Lexington lay directly on the road that Smith’s men took to reach Concord.
“When reports of the approaching British force reached Lexington overnight, men from the town and the surrounding area began to rally on the Common. Parker’s Lexington company were not minutemen, as sometimes stated, but from the main body of Massachusetts Militia. Parker was initially uncertain as to exactly what was happening. Conflicting stories arrived and as the British regulars had spent much of the winter engaged in harmless route marches through the Massachusetts countryside their exact intention was far from certain.
“When Smith became aware that the countryside had been alarmed and that resistance might be encountered, he sent a detachment of light infantry under Major John Pitcairn ahead of the main column. Pitcairn’s advance guard reached Lexington first and drew up on the Common opposite Parker’s men. Parker ordered his men to disperse to avoid a confrontation, but they either failed to hear him or ignored his instructions. Shortly afterwards firing broke out despite the fact that both sides had orders not to shoot. In the following fight eight militia were killed and ten wounded while one British soldier was wounded. The lopsided casualty list led to initial reports of a massacre, stories of which spread rapidly around the colony further inflaming the situation. There remains considerable doubt as to exactly what occurred during the fight at Lexington, and a variety of different accounts emerged as to what had taken place and who had fired first. By the time Smith arrived with his main body of troops ten minutes later, he had trouble restoring order amongst his troops, who had chased fleeing militiamen into the fields around the town. Smith then decided, in spite of the fighting, to continue the march to Concord.
“One of Parker’s company, many years later, recalled Parker’s order at Lexington Green to have been, “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” Paul Revere recalled it as having been “Let the soldiers pass by. Do not molest them without they begin first”. During the skirmish Parker witnessed his cousin Jonas Parker killed by a British bayonet. Later that day he rallied his men to attack the regulars returning to Boston in an ambush known as ‘Parker’s Revenge.'”
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