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Richard Wiggin

The Second Battle of Lexington and Concord: Re-inventing the history of the opening engagements of the American Revolution

For most Americans, Lexington and Concord are both synonymous with the start of the American Revolution. But the towns are 7 miles apart; visitors and others often wonder whether the “Shot Heard Round the World” was fired in Lexington or in Concord—in other words, in which town did the Revolution actually begin? The historical record is pretty clear about what happened that day, but popular myth and the historical markers on the Lexington Green and at the Concord Bridge tell a somewhat different story.

During the 50-year span from 1825 through 1875, local pride pitted the two towns against each other—completely re-inventing the historical narrative and turning the historical facts on their ear. This “Second Battle of Lexington and Concord” rages on still today, the major casualty being historical accuracy.

So what really happened on April 19, 1775? Did the Revolution actually begin in Lexington or in Concord? The answers may surprise you.

In this session, we will examine the historical record of April 19, 1775, expose the myths, and trace the fascinating story of the “Second Battle of Lexington and Concord.” Gain a new perspective on how the American Revolution actually began, and how the historical “facts” have been re-invented to serve competing interests.

Richard C. Wiggin

Richard C. Wiggin is a historian, re-enactor, and former Director of Boston’s Old State House. He is author of the award-winning book, Embattled Farmers: Campaigns and Profiles of Revolutionary Soldiers from Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1775-1783 (Lincoln Historical Society, 2013), as well as articles in The Boston Globe, Alaska Magazine, the Lincoln Review, and other publications; author of audio tours of Boston’s Freedom Trail and Minute Man National Historical Park. I have appeared regularly in school classrooms, and presented scores of programs on early Revolutionary history for civic organizations, museums, and historical sites.