American Military History Through Stamps (1775-1913)

Battles of Lexington and Concord

refer to caption
The 10-cent Lexington & Concord stamp was issued April 19, 1975, the 200th anniversary of the battles.
refer to caption
The 5-cent Lexington-Concord stamp was issued April 4, 1925.

In the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, British soldiers attempted to capture and destroy military supplies supposedly held by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. The first shots were fired early on April 19, 1775, in Lexington between these British soldiers and several dozen colonists. This short engagement left the militia falling back and the British proceeding to Concord. About 500 Minutemen confronted the British at the North Bridge in Concord, bringing down withering fire upon the British troops. The minutemen were among the first fighters in the American Revolution and named as such because of their ability to respond on a minute’s notice. The British retreated back toward Boston, but along the way were harassed by more Minutemen and suffered considerable causalities. The Battles of Lexington and Concord marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

The scene depicted on the 1975 10-cent stamp (above) is an engraved reproduction of a 6 by 10 foot oil-on-canvas mural by Henry Sandham. A 1925 stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of the battles is based on the same painting, but the 1975 version is blown up in such a way that many of the colonialists in the original painting are not shown, making the British appear to have a far greater force.

The 1925 5-cent stamp (above) portrays the statue of a Lexington militiaman, Captain John Parker, and bears the words of the “Concord Hymn” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.