One of Daniel Chester French's first, and most beloved sculptures is of an image of a Revolutionary War "Minute Man" which is found today at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.
On April 19, 1775, British regulars marched from Boston toward Concord in an effort to capture colonial revolutionaries including John Hancock and John Adams, and to confiscate or destroy arms and ammunition the colonial "Minute Men" had accumulated. The British encountered their first resistance in Lexington, Massachusetts where the first armed conflict of the American Revolution took place. Several Lexington Minute Men were killed and the regulars marched on to Concord.
The "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" and that of his companion, William Dawes, alerted the citizens of Lexington and Concord to the coming of the regulars and when the British reached Concord, they met with fierce resistance at the Old North Bridge over the Concord River. The Minutemen of Concord and neighboring towns successfully routed the British who retreated to Boston under heavy fire from colonial soldiers who positioned themselves behind rocks and walls to shoot at the British soldiers.
Thus began the war we know as the American Revolution. April 19 is celebrated as "Patriots Day" in Massachusetts.
For the centennial of the beginning of the Revolution, the town of Concord commissioned French to create a statue of a continental Minute Man. It was to be French's first full size statue, and was to stand on a base inscribed with a sentence from Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Concord Hymn." French was paid $1,000 for the statue which was unveiled on April 19, 1875. For more information on French's "Minuteman," visit this link with an informative essay by Thayer Tolles.
All photos below were taken by Douglas Yeo in February, 2002.
|A view of the Concord River in Concord, Massachusetts. The obelisk in the foreground is to commemorate those who died in the battle of April 19, 1775. The Old North Bridge over the Concord River is seen and French's statue of the "Concord Minuteman" is seen in the distance.|
|A front view of French's "Concord Minuteman." Click HERE to download a higher resolution image of this photo.|
|A view of the inscription on the pedestal of French's "Concord Minuteman, from Emerson's "A Concord Hymn." Emerson, a Concord resident, penned the immortal words "shot heard around the world." However, it was at the battle green in Lexington where the first shots of the Revolution were first fired. Emerson's historical revisionism has been a source of friendly banter between residents of Lexington and Concord for over 100 years.|
|A view of the left side of the "Concord Minuteman."|
|The back of the "Concord Minuteman" monument, showing the date of its dedication, the centennial of the first day of battle of the American Revolutionary War.|
|The right side of "The Concord Minuteman."|
by Douglas Yeo. All rights reserved.