The Mystery Heard ‘Round The World

It’s a mystery that history has never solved. Who fired the shot heard ’round the world, the shot credited with igniting the Revolutionary War.

History records the war began on April 19, 1775. A small group of seventy-seven American militia came face to face with a column of seven hundred British Regulars on the town green in Lexington, MA. They had marched into Lexington to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. (Unbeknownst to the British, Adams and Hancock had left Lexington)

The American militia group was under the command of Colonel John Parker, the British commanded by Major of Marines John Pitcairn. Either Major Pitcairn or another British officer approached the militia and yelled, “Throw down your arms! Ye scoundrels, ye rebels!” (Well, something of that sort)

GrandUnionFlag

Colonel Parker ordered his men to disperse. He had no desire for violence being that Adams and Hancock had left Lexington. As the militia broke ranks, someone fired.

Who fired that shot?

Following the battle, Colonel Parker, under oath, maintained he ordered his men not to shoot, but to disperse. As they followed his order, the British fired. Major Pitcairn, likewise under oath, stated he ordered his men to hold ranks, but not to fire. Once the shot fired, the American militia fired on the British.

Other American witnesses reported the British showed a lack of discipline that barred the British officers from restraining their troops. Pitcairn’s testimony gave credence to that allegation.

On that day, the British escorted a prisoner taken while they marched from Boston. Asahel Porter took the opportunity and attempted an escape, so it was possible British directed the shot at him. Asahel Porter was a causality on that day.

Other British reports stated the shot came from beyond the Lexington Green. Perhaps a shooter was hiding in a building or behind a stone wall. The British light infantry troops followed the shots with a bayonet charge, prepared to enter buildings before leaders could restore order.

So, did the British fire? Did the militia fire? Was a shot fired from the grassy knoll—oops, I mean—from beyond the town green? Did the British fire at an escaping prisoner?

Was this another magic bullet moment fired from nowhere by no one?

When the smoke cleared, eight American militia lay dead and nine wounded, with only one British injured.

Minuteman

Many say it’s best there’s no record of who fired that shot. Rumblings of war had begun long before that spring morning in 1775.

History will never solve the mystery of who fired “the shot heard ’round the world”. But it started the revolution that won America its independence.

“When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour when the establishment of American Liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our Private Stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful and happy Country.”
—George Washington to New York Legislature, June 26, 1775

For a technical clarification, the shot fired in Lexington occurred in one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War. However, the phrase “Shot Heard Round the World” comes from a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson titled, Concord Hymn. This poem references the Battle of Concord, which took place later in the day of April 19, 1775, where American Minutemen defeated the British on the North Bridge. Huzzah!

Overtime, historians attributed the phrase to the shot fired in Lexington.

 

 

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Don’t Beat Your Donkey

Sometimes I need a talking donkey.

The story of Balaam is fascinating and mysterious. He was a man who knew God and had seen His mighty hand at work. God spoke to Balaam. But—Balaam messed up.

I can’t be too hard on Balaam, I mean, I’ve messed up a few things myself.

Balaam had a lucrative gift, he could bless or he could curse. When the king of Moab had a problem, he called on Balaam to curse his problem. The king promised money and great honor.

Balaam had a sweet job lined up—if God gave the okay.

God did not give the okay and Balaam sent the king’s men back to Moab.

The king sent an entourage a second time to plead with Balaam to come. And again, Balaam waited for God to speak.

And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.”
Numbers 22:20

Great! It was a go…or was it?

The next morning Balaam got up, saddled his donkey, and went to the men from Moab. Things would not go as planned.

The Lord had not told Balaam to go. He told Balaam IF the men CAME for him, then he could go, but say only what the Lord instructed him. I think this was a case of putting the cart before the horse…or the donkey.

Balaam was eager for the money and honor promised him. He ignored the prerequisite God had laid out for his going and couldn’t get that donkey saddled quick enough.

God did not take that lightly. The Angel of the Lord went ahead of Balaam and stood in the road with his sword drawn to oppose him. But Balaam’s mind was on the profit awaiting him and he didn’t see the Angel. But the donkey did, and she turned away and walked into a field.

Now, anyone who knows me knows how much I love animals. So I get a little upset with Balaam here. He beat his donkey to get her back on the road.

The Angel of the Lord moved further ahead to a narrow passage between the vineyards with a wall on either side. Again Balaam’s donkey saw the angel, but I assume she didn’t want to be beat again. She tried to pass by the angel, but crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. That poor little donkey couldn’t win, and once more, Balaam beat her.

For a third time the Angel moved ahead to a passage so narrow there was no way for the donkey to move to the left or to the right. Can you imagine her frustration? She’s already tried twice to keep this guy from the sword of the Lord, and all he does is beat her!

As I read this story, in my mind I’m thinking for the donkey, “Okay dude, I tried, you’re on your own. I’m going to lie down right where I am.”

And that’s just what she did. Balaam’s anger was so provoked he beat the donkey with his staff.

Donkey

Here’s where the story gets fun.

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Numbers 22:28

In his anger Balaam said to the donkey:

“Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!” Numbers 22:29

I have to stop for a moment. As my son and I read this scripture, when we reached this point he said, “Whoa! Balaam just talks back to the donkey? No pause for surprise? No shock that the donkey is talking? Just, hey donkey I could kill you”?

Who wouldn’t be aghast? If I heard a donkey talk, I think I would at least have a moment of bewilderment. But, on with the story.

Balaam’s donkey answered him:

“…Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?” Numbers 22:30

Bless her heart. Balaam had only one word for her:

“No.” Numbers 22:30

At the moment of Balaam’s self-awareness, God opened his eyes. He saw the Angel of the Lord and fell face-down. Then the angel said:

“Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.” Numbers 22:32,33

The donkey gets justice!

Sword

Balaam moved forward independent of God’s direction. It took a talking donkey to wake him from his own ambition. He confessed his sin and repented.

Sound familiar? Many times in my life I’ve stepped ahead of God only to step into a mess. Waiting for God is difficult. It’s easy to talk myself into moving ahead of Him. I tell myself that He’s left me behind and get caught up in the pace of my own madness.

A talking donkey. Yes Lord, sometimes I need a talking donkey.

Have you ever gotten ahead of God?

 

 

Ancient Ruins of The Ancient of Days

They were using it as a trash dump. None of the forces took notice of the old gate on a bare mound of land in northern Syria.

Had ISIS explored the area before being driven out in 2016, they would have found the ancient ruins of an early Christian church, a refuge for Christians from the Roman government.

Continue reading “Ancient Ruins of The Ancient of Days”

Stan…By Me

Sometimes God will use the unusual to remind us to pray for those we don’t know, like the kids in our neighborhood and the family down the street.

It happened a few years ago at the house down the street. You know the one. The creepy one. No one knew for sure what was going on inside that house. Continue reading “Stan…By Me”

Chocolate, Stress, and a Cozy Mystery

Let’s face it, life is hard. Stress is one of those “certain” things we just can’t avoid. From the moment the alarm goes off in the morning until we crawl back into bed, stress happens. Count on it. Continue reading “Chocolate, Stress, and a Cozy Mystery”

And Then There Was…Murder

  • “Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God?”
  • “Do you solemnly swear never to conceal a vital clue from the reader?”
  • “Do you promise to observe a seemly moderation in the use of Gangs, Conspiracies, Death-Rays, Ghosts, Hypnotism, Trap-Doors, Chinamen, Super-Criminals and Lunatics; and utterly and forever to forswear Mysterious Poisons unknown to Science?” (note: the mention of “Chinamen” was included as a criticism to the use racial cliches prevalent in 1920s English writing)
  • “Will you honour the King’s English?”

Continue reading “And Then There Was…Murder”

The Comfy Cozy Mystery

Murder. Mayhem. Clues, Suspects, and Lies. A red herring or two. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Throw in an amateur sleuth, a small charming town or village, a cast of eccentric characters, a victim, and you have a cozy mystery.

Sound a little like Cabot Cove? Jessica Fletcher and Murder, She Wrote is an iconic picture of what a cozy mystery is. Cozies focus on plot and character development; they are like a puzzle you can’t stop working. Continue reading “The Comfy Cozy Mystery”