"Lowell, the Redcoats!" Pages 195-196
wo men walked rapidly across the damp grass of Lexington Common, the smaller man, as if to leave one set of footprints, stepping fastidiously in the wake of the bulky man with the thick hands. Neither man exhibited concern about the tolling of the tower bell or the beating of the company drum or the haste of militiamen crossing the
road. Neither by
hesitancy nor surreptitious glance did they acknowledge the two dozen women,
handful of children, and five old men clustered in front of John Buckman’s
Both men had accompanied Samuel Adams and John Hancock to the home of
’s recently deceased preacher. The
first night of Hancock's residency at Reverend Jonas Clarke’s house John
Lowell, Hancock’s secretary, had stored the wealthy merchant’s traveling trunk
in a private room of John Buckman’s tavern. Underneath articles of clothing and
personal effects lay treasonous letters. Upon arriving at Woburn , Hancock had ordered that the trunk be
Lowell and his companion climbed now the tavern’s stairs. Stopping at the first room on the second floor, the secretary pulled out of his coat pocket a long key. Turning it, he opened the chamber door. Looking over
’s right shoulder, Paul Revere spied
beneath the curtained window the rectangular trunk. Bending his knees, Lowell grasped one handle.
Lowell , facing
the wall, beginning his stoop, looked out the window. Revere
Down the slope of the Menotomy road, headed toward the tavern, advanced the King’s infantry!
“Lowell, the Redcoats!” he cried.
Ten seconds later they were stomping down the stairs,
Lowell, straining at the high end of the
carrying most of its weight, treading backwards. Out the front door and then
past the back of the stable they labored. Feeling the Revere Bedford
road beneath his shoes, faced backward,
witnessed east of the Meeting House the bravura of red uniforms. Ahead of the
dash of color rode Pitcairn, flanked by six or seven officers, each astride a
large “plow horse.” Parallel to the Revere
road, Captain Parker’s militiamen had formed a long line. Bedford
Into and behind the company he and Lowell staggered.
“Let the troops pass by,”
heard Captain Parker say, “and don't molest them without they begin first!” Revere
Going between the blacksmith shop and Jonathan Harrington’s house,
Revere and returned to the road. Straining to
keep the bottom edge of the trunk above his knees, striking his heels on the
road’s surface, hearing Lowell Lowell’s arduous grunts,
rapid, lip-separating puffs. Revere
The renting sound of detonated gunpowder halted them, caused them to drop the trunk.
Staring through interfering tree limbs,
saw lines of soldiers and billowing smoke. A second explosion blasted. The
soldiers charged. Revere