Teacher's Guide: Letter from a Private Soldier in the Light Infantry
  • ‍This account comes from an enlisted man, presumably a private, in one of the Light Infantry companies of Col. Smith's expedition
  • This account speaks of both the morning and afternoon encounters at Meriam's Corner
  • This is the only account that can be found which recounts shots being fired on the hill near Meriam's Corner as the regulars were entering Concord.
  • This letter was never received by the recipients as it was intercepted by Provincial forces

This account of the actions at Meriam's Corner is very unique and interesting for several reasons. Firstly it is written by an enlisted soldier who though only a commoner, can read and write. There are not many enlisted men who recounted their memories of April 19 in writing. In addition this soldier had no stake in the outcome of investigations conducted after April 19, yet he very clearly has strong opinions as to the righteousness of the position of the Regulars and demonized the Provincials. Most interestingly his descriptions are extremely clear, concise and detailed. His account of fixing bayonets to chase the soldiers off the ridge on the march to town is in agreement with other accounts, as his recounting of the removal of a liberty pole. However he also claims there was an exchange of shots between the Regulars and Provincials which according to all other sources currently available never occurred. The account of this firing is probably a mistake by the writer. Many of the other details, including the number of men in the column "being only about 756" and his account of a group of minute men and militia assembled on the ridge overlooking the column as it came into Concord, seem to indicate that this soldier was on the expedition and was confusing details as he had recently spent over 24 hours in a hostile combat situation. It does further add to our learning about Meriam's Corner as it does paint a good picture from the common soldiers point of view.

For a complete version of this letter, please see Vincent J. R. Kehoe's book, We Were There!, available through the Minuteman National Historical Park Library