What was The Shot Heard Round the World?

Posted by Sarah Seippel on

What was the Shot Heard Around the World?

An Overview

On the night of April 18, 1775, hundreds of British troops set off from Boston and headed towards Concord, Massachusetts with the intent to steal the weapons and ammunition of the American colonist.  They were led by British General Thomas Gage.  Although the British though they were sneaky enough to be successful, Patriot spies soon got wind of Gage’s plan, and they knew they had to spread the word that the upcoming ambush. 

The King’s troops departed Boston late in the evening and they marched into the small town of Lexington around five o’clock in the morning.  There, they were face-to-face with Captain John Parker and his militia of more than seventy men.  There was a shot fired, which Historians still do not know which side fired the initial shot, and the nervous British soldiers fired a volley, killing seven and mortally wounding one of the retrieving militiamen.  The British managed to move past the Patriots and continued towards Concord, leaving the dead, the wounded, and the dying behind. 

Arriving in Concord around three hours later, British commanders ordered several companies to secure the north bridge across the Concord River.  They were to do this before continuing another mile to Barrett Farm, where they suspected cache of arms and powder was being stored.  By the time the British arrive to the North Bridge, a growing assembly of 400 militia from Concord and surrounding towns had gathered.  From their vantage point, they could see smoke rising from Concord, which was a result of the British burning supplies; however, the Patriots thought the smoke was the British burning down their town. After the attack from the morning combined potential town torching, the Patriot side would not be silent.

The Minute Men marched down the hill, towards their opponents.  The British soldiers, intimidated by the colonial numbers, retreated and prepared to defend themselves.  Once within range, the British opened fire, killing Isaac Davis and Abner Hosmer.  In a reply, the Minute Men started their own volley, which is considered “the shot heard round the world”.  The rest of the British troops retreated to town, and the Revolutionary War had begun.

About out photograph:

An air of serenity and tranquility fills the Lexington Battle Green in Concord, Massachusetts. Sunlight streams down on the park, and the luscious trees and well-kept grass add to the beautiful atmosphere with the calm, clear sky. Standing gallantly in the center of the park is a life-size statue a continental minute man holding a musket in his right hand. The statue casts a stark shadow on the ground, contrasting against the well-lit area and adding to the power and intensity of the soldier. Underneath the minute man, a short inscription from Ralph Waldo Emerson's Concord Hymn is carved onto the stone pedestal and describes the first shot launched during the American Revolution:

"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."

 The minute man statue, sculpted by Daniel Chester French (the same French who designed the Lincoln Memorial) in 1915, is officially titled the “Concord Minute man of 1775” and commemorates the strong and valiant minutemen soldiers who fought in the revolutionary war.  The term “Minute Men” refers to an eager group of volunteer soldiers who provided high support to the military and would instantly be ready for duty "at a minute's warning".


A Hymn

Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American philosopher and poet, wrote a hymn to honor the competition of the Concord Monument.  The poem was originally titled Hymn but then was later altered to Concord Hymn.

Concord Hymn

Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, July 4, 1837

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. 


The foe long since in silence slept; 

   Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; 

And Time the ruined bridge has swept 

   Down the dark stream which seaward creeps. 


On this green bank, by this soft stream, 

   We set today a votive stone; 

That memory may their deed redeem, 

   When, like our sires, our sons are gone. 


Spirit, that made those heroes dare 

   To die, and leave their children free, 

Bid Time and Nature gently spare 

   The shaft we raise to them and thee.



History.com: History Stories
American Battlefield Trust: Lexington and Concord 

1 comment

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