The scene is set. Mid April, 1775. The British had been routed at Lexington and Concord by colonial militia. The British regulars, initially, had the upper hand against the colonists but as the engagement went on, colonists descended on the area and the British turned and made their way back towards Boston under heavy harassment.
The British were not used to this kind of warfare. They were used to the way everyone else did it:
- Stand in a line
- The folks in the front lines on both sides shoot at each other
- Another line steps forward and does the same while the first line reloads.
- Rinse and repeat until dinner time
The colonials were using very unorthodox tactics. What were the tactics you might ask? They were shooting from behind trees and ditches and such. Once they started taking return fire, they would move from those positions to find another along the path of retreat and snipe at them again.
The British considered these tactics ‘cowardly’. The colonials considered them ‘effective’…lol.
Along that path of retreat was a farm owned by a guy by the name of Samuel Whittemore. Sam saw a British relief brigade of grenadiers coming and decided that he would cause them some problems. He loaded his musket, braced himself and fired…Sam 1, British 0.
He then drew his dueling pistols and fired each of those killing one and mortally wounding another…Sam 3, British 0.
About that time, the British figured out where he was and attacked. Sam drew his sword and went on the assault. Sam caught a piece of steel shot in the face that was probably about a .69 caliber, and was bayoneted a dozen times or so.
They left him there for dead lying in a pool of his own blood. A short time later, colonial troops found Sam, alive, attempting to reload his musket to fight again!
They took Sam to Dr. Cotton Tufts in Medford. Dr. Tufts, who had been a doctor for almost 30 years since graduating Harvard in 1749, said that he perceived no hope for Sam’s survival.
But Sam was a tough old bird. He had already ‘been there, done that’ so to speak. He had served as a private in Col. Jeremiah Moulton’s Third Massachusetts Regiment, where he fought as a British regular in King George’s War from 1744 to 1748.
He fought in the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1763, once again assisting in the capture of Fort Louisburg (which he was part of this fort’s capture in King George’s War) and served again later in a military expedition against Chief Pontiac in 1763.
He died of natural causes in 1793 at the age of 96.
If any of y’all have done the math yet, you will probably be pretty awed by Mr. Samuel Whittemore. If he died in 1793 at the age of 96…and this was 18 years after his run-in with those British regulars who left him for dead…then, according to the math when I went to school, he was 78 years old when it happened. 78 Y’ALL!
He was 48 when he fought in King George’s War and 63 when the fought in the French and Indian War. He was 67 when he went on the Chief Pontiac expedition!
Now THAT is one tough fella! Rambo ain’t got nuthin’ on this guy! If indeed all men are created equal, that means you and I are made of the same stuff…so what is different about this guy?
Y’all stay safe and keep a round in the chamber…