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Saving the Battlefields Where America Was Forged

A Project of the Civil War Trust |  civilwar.org

John Parker (1729-1775) Betsy Ross Flag

Captain

John Parker 400x490

John Parker was a Lexington, Massachusetts, native, born July 13 1729. A farmer by trade, Parker saw action during the French and Indian (Seven Years) War, at the Siege of Louisburg, in 1758, and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, in 1759; famous for the death of British General James Wolfe, and in the subsequent conquest of Quebec. His experiences contributed to his election as militia Captain for the town of Lexington. On the night of April 18, 1775, Parker was informed that a British column was moving from Boston to Concord bent on destroying the stockpile of military supplies there. The next morning, April 19, Parker arrayed his company of militia on Lexington Green and awaited the British. Wishing to avoid a confrontation, Parker ordered his men to disperse, but the order went either unheard or ignored. When a shot rang out, from unknown origins, both sides began firing. The result was eight of Parker’s men killed and another ten wounded, with one British soldier slightly wounded, and the militiamen fleeing from Lexington. While Parker rallied his men, the British continued their march towards Concord. Despite wishing to avoid a conflict initially, the fight on Lexington Green had changed Parker’s mind. After rallying his men, he chose a position along the road to Boston and awaited the British return. His ambush, Parker’s Revenge, was part of the long string of attacks by American militia and minutemen that harried the British on their way back to Boston and inflicted heavy casualties. Parker, suffering from tuberculosis, would not live to see the culmination of the revolution he helped start at Lexington and Concord; he died five months later, on September 17, 1775, at age forty-six.

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