Edmund Foster
Divinity Student at Yale College
Staying in Reading, MA in April of 1775
Mustered that day with one of the Reading Minute Companies under the command of Capt. (Major) John Brooks

  • Foster was not required to serve being a divinity student at the time, however he felt the desire to serve and having borrowed arms and accoutrements from Capt. Brooks, chose to march with that company of men to respond to the alarm.
  • Makes it very clear that the regulars fired upon the Reading men first
  • Describes the scenery very accurately with specific details as one would expect someone with the educational background of a minister who had attended Yale

Foster's account is very interesting in that it recalls many aspects of the 19th of April, 1775. He does not participate in either of the initial fights in Lexington or at Concord's North Bridge and as such does not spend much time discussing these. He begins his story speaking of joining with the Reading men and making his way down to Concord with those men. He then immediately speaks about the action at Meriam's Corner speaking quite specifically about the hill and the brook and the bridge. He does mention that the regulars fired first, which in 1825 might not have been as popular of a position as we in the 21st century may think it to be. With the patriotic fervor that was sweeping America during the 50th Anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, it was undoubtedly popular to speak of how opposition to the evil invaders was the noble stance. In spite of this sentiment, Rev. Foster still believes it was the regulars who fired first and he may well have captured the moment very accurately. From a tactical standpoint the Regulars have their flanks exposed and need to address that in order to prevent any further damage to their column. From the point of view of the men from Reading, they had not participated in the fighting at this point, yet the Regulars had. If the men from Reading took it upon themselves to fire first it would have been (in their minds) open treason, which can often be a hard pill to swallow knowing what the punishment for such a crime could be.

Edmund Foster's account can found in We Were There! by Vincent J.R. Kehoe