Calling out the militia after Lexington and Concord, 1775

A primary source by Isaac Merrill

Isaac Merrill to John Currier, April 19, 1775 (GLC00303)On the night of April 18, 1775, 700 British soldiers began to march toward Concord, Massachusetts, to seize and destroy arms the American patriots had stored there. Warned by Paul Revere and William Dawes, minutemen confronted and drove back the British at the towns of Lexington and Concord.

On April 19, Isaac Merrill, a colonel in the militia and a delegate to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, sent this pressing message to John Currier, captain of the Amesbury Militia, requesting assistance:

I have received intiligence that the ministeriel troops under the Command of General Gage did Last evening march out of Boston and marched to Lexington & there Killed a Number of our American Soldiers & thence proceed to Concord Killing and Destroying our men and interest: These are therefore to order you forthwith to Notify and muster as many of your under officers and Soldiers as you can possible to meet immediatly to Some Suitable place: and then to march of forthwith to Concord or Else where as in your Descretion you Shall think best . . .

Written in the heat of the moment, just hours after the encounters between Massachusetts patriots and British regulars, the letter is filled with grammatical errors and is vague in some details. It conveys the sense of urgency that was felt by participants in the incipient revolution. Local militias responded to letters such as Merrill’s and laid siege to British-held Boston.

Transcript

Isaac Merrill to John Currier, Essex County, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775.

Essex Co To John Currier Capt of a militerry foot Company in Amesbury this Day I have received intiligence that the ministeriel troops under the Command of General Gage did Last evening march out of Boston and marched to Lexington & there Killed a Number of our American Soldiers & thence proceed to Concord Killing and Destroying our men and interest: These are therefore to order you forthwith to Notify and muster as many of your under officers and Soldiers as you can possible to meet immediatly to Some Suitable place: and then to march of forthwith to Concord or Else where as in your Descretion you Shall think best to the reliefe of our Friend[s] and Country: and also to order those who are now absent & out of the way to Follow after and ioin you as Soon as they shall be apprized of the Alaram and when you have marched your men to Some part of our army you are to appoint some officer to head them in case you return home your Self: till Some Further order may be taken: in this Faile Not Given under my Hand and Seal at Amesbury this Ninteenth Day of April in the Fifteenth year of the Reign of George the third Anno Domini: 1775

Isaac merrill
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A pdf of the transcript is available here.

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