Author Topic: Black Robed Regiment  (Read 504 times)

Offline CarrollMS

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Black Robed Regiment
« on: September 05, 2020, 02:45:42 PM »
We should always remember the very strong influence ministers had on the Colonists' fight for liberty.

Some stories are in the history of the Three Strikes, like Reverend William Emerson who encoraged the citizens of Concord to stand their ground and wrote an account of the Battle of Concord 
https://www.nps.gov/mima/learn/education/upload/Rev.%20Emerson.pdf 

"The British viewed these pastors such a force, they called them the “Black Robed Regiment.”  King George III blamed the war on the preachers by calling it a “Presbyterian* Rebellion.” Horace Walpole, the English Prime Minister, said, “There is no use crying about it. Cousin America has eloped with a Presbyterian parson.”

I invite all to contribute to this thread with stories and resources about members of Colonial Ameirca's Black Robed Regiment

* Presbyterian probably alluded to all independent Christain churches governed by democratic principles outside of the official Church of England... but there are many examples of CoE churches supporting the Revolution too.  @)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 08:06:34 PM by CarrollMS »
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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2020, 03:00:34 PM »
Rev. Emerson
Pastor, Town of Concord
 This Morning between 1 & 2 o’clock we were alarmed by the ringing of ye bell,
and upon Examination found that ye troops…had stole their march from Boston in boats
and barges from ye bottom of ye common over to a point in Cambridge, near to Inman’s
farm, & were at Lexington Meeting House, half an hour before Sunrise, where they had
fired upon a Body of our Men & (as we afterward heard) had killed several.
 This intelligence was brought us at first by Samuel Prescott who narrowly
escaped the Guard that were sent before on Horses, purposely to prevent all Posts and
Messengers from giving us timely information.
 He by the help of a very fleet horse crossing several walls and fences arrived at
Concord at the Time abovementioned. When several Posts were immediately dispatched,
that returning confirmed ye account of ye Regulars arrived at Lexington & that they were
on their way to Concord.
 Upon this a number of our Minute Men belonging to ye Town & Acton and
Lincoln, with several others that were in Readiness, marched out to meet them. While the
alarm Company was preparing to Receive them in ye Town.
 Capt. Minot who commanded them thought it proper to take possession of the hill
above the Meeting house as the most advantageous situation.
 We then retreated from the hill near Liberty Pole and took a new post back of ye
Town, upon a rising eminence, where we formed, before we saw ye British Troops at ye
distance of ¼ of a mile, glittering in arms, advancing toward us with the greatest celerity.
 Some were for making a stand, notwithstanding the superiority of their numbers,
but others more prudent thought best to retreat till our Strength should be equal to the
Enemy’s, by recruits from neighboring towns that were continually coming to our
assistance. Accordingly we retreated over ye bridge when ye troops came into ye town—
set fire to several Carriages for the Artillery, destroyed 60 barrels of flour, rifled several
houses—took possession of the Town house, destroyed 500 lb. of ball, set a guard of 100
men at ye North Bridge & South. Sent up a party to the house of Col. Barrett, where they
were in expectation of finding a quantity of warlike stores; but these were happily
secured just before their arrival, by transportation into the woods and other by-places
 In the mean time, the guard set by the enemy to Secure the passage at the North
Bridge, were alarmed by the approach of our People, who had retreated as mentioned
before, and were now advancing with Special Orders not to fire upon ye troops unless
fired upon. These orders were so punctually observed that we received the fire of the
Enemy in 3 several and separate discharges of their pieces, before it was returned...The
firing then soon became general for several minutes, in which Skirmish two were killed
in each side, and several of the enemy wounded. It may here be Observed by the say, that
we were the more careful to prevent beginning a Rupture with the King’s Troops, as we
were then uncertain what had happened at Lexington, & know not they had begun the
Quarrel there by first firing upon our People and killing 8 men upon the spot.
 The 3 Companies [of] Troops soon quitted their Post at the Bridge and retreated in
the greatest Disorder and Confusion to ye main body, who were soon upon ye march to
meet them. For half and hour ye Enemy by their marches and counter marches discovered
great fickleness and inconsistency of Mind, sometimes advancing, sometimes returning to
their former posts, till at Length they quitted ye Town, & retreated by ye way they came.
 In the mean Time, a Party of our Men, (150) took ye back way through ye Great
Fields into ye East Quarter and had placed ‘em to advantage laying in Ambush, behind
Walls, fences and buildings to fire upon the Enemy on their Retreat.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 08:50:29 PM by CarrollMS »
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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2020, 01:49:29 AM »
Here is a great video on the subject.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5i2viK-C8o

One bit I have not heard anywhere else is that John Parker was a deacon at Jonas Clarke's church, and that Jonas Clarke was involved in the training of the Lexington militia.  Any sources for that claim?  I don't have Dan Fisher's book yet, hopefully it'll have a footnote about it.
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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2020, 02:38:49 AM »
"  Jonas Clark was a pastor in Lexington and on Sunday afternoons after church, he and Deacon John Parker, a captain from the French Indian War, had been organizing the Lexington men into a citizen army to fight the British if they invaded.  "

I found several references on line that Captain Parker was one of Clarks' deacons; and that both Clark and Parker trained militia. I'll take a look at Fisher's book later.

I enjoyed the video presentation of the Black Rrobed Regiment. The parson was well versed in his rendition. Starting at about 11:36 he recounts the Lexington affair and mentions Deacon Parker. 

Here is a great video on the subject.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5i2viK-C8o

One bit I have not heard anywhere else is that John Parker was a deacon at Jonas Clarke's church, and that Jonas Clarke was involved in the training of the Lexington militia.  Any sources for that claim?  I don't have Dan Fisher's book yet, hopefully it'll have a footnote about it.
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Offline FiremanBob

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2020, 08:32:47 AM »
I always correct the misinformed I encounter these days who say that the militia members of our colonial days were "right-wing, fringe extremists". They were core, mainstream members of their communities who were respected for their service and their leadership. As an institution they were the police and the army combined, and had been since 1620. I can't think of a better expression of our ideal of active citizenship than the colonial town militias, proudly working together to protect their neighbors and their way of life.
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Offline malabar

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2020, 12:18:16 AM »
I always correct the misinformed I encounter these days who say that the militia members of our colonial days were "right-wing, fringe extremists". They were core, mainstream members of their communities who were respected for their service and their leadership. As an institution they were the police and the army combined, and had been since 1620. I can't think of a better expression of our ideal of active citizenship than the colonial town militias, proudly working together to protect their neighbors and their way of life.

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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2020, 12:37:00 PM »
On this day, 7 September, 1774, at 9:00 am, the First Continental Congress opened and The Reverend Jacob Duché, Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, opened with the order of Morning Prayer which included the appointed psalm for the 7th of September from the Prayer Book of the Church of England, and then modified a standard prayer for the King's Majesty (still in use today) as shown below:

O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!

He then composed this invocation for sound deliberation by the Congress

Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.

Psalm xxxv Judica me, Domine (most appropriate for this day - Providence)

PLEAD thou my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me, and fight thou against them that fight against me.
2 Lay hand upon the shield and buckler, and stand up to help me.
3 Bring forth the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded, and put to shame, that seek after my soul; let them be turned back, and brought to confusion, that imagine mischief for me.
5 Let them be as the dust before the wind, and the angel of the LORD scattering them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD pursue them.
7 For they have privily laid their net to destroy me without a cause; yea, even without a cause have they made a pit for my soul.
8 Let a sudden destruction come upon him unawares, and his net that he hath laid privily catch himself; that he may fall into his own mischief.
9 And, my soul, be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in his salvation....etc.

An thus so emboldened through the words of scripture and familiar prayer, the men of Congress began the work of uniting the colonies for the coming rebellion.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Continental_Congress#List_of_delegates

Definitely an "Appeal to Heaven" https://chaplain.house.gov/archive/continental.html


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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2020, 12:59:16 PM »
“Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American Rebellion: it is nothing more or less than a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian Rebellion.”

Unknown Hessian officer, 17781 writing home from the war.
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Offline Charles McKinley

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2020, 10:28:52 PM »
Nice thread,  thank you.
Last evening, it occurred to me that when a defender of Liberty is called home, their load lands upon the shoulders of the defenders left behind. Just as the Founders did their duty for Liberty, every subsequent generation must continue their work lest Liberty perish. As there is no way for the remaining adults to take on the work of those that die, we must pass the ideals and duties on to the children. -PHenery

Offline AH1Tom

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2020, 03:09:19 PM »
This is a small excerpt from a very long sermon preached one year after 19 April 1775. It is from Wallbuilders library.
https://wallbuilders.com/sermon-battle-of-lexington-1776/

Clark was an avid American patriot before and during and the American War for Independence. He actively wrote papers related to pressing issues such as the Stamp Act and many of the leading patriots stayed at his home and sought his counsel. In fact, both John Hancock and Samuel Adams were at his home on April 18, 1775, when Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride to alert them that they must flee or face being caught by the coming British. Upon hearing the news, they turned to Pastor Clark and asked if the people of Lexington would fight, to which he replied, “I have trained them for this very hour!”


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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2020, 01:27:33 PM »
Thanks AH1Tom

AMEN.  Great resource. I read this as part of this Sabbath-day devotion. 

Embedded in the sermon are several of the historical facts leading to the reisistance such as the rights of Britons against the tyranny of monarchs and the importance of the Colonial Charters in the additional rights granted to the citizens of Massachusettes Bay.  The narrative of the events of the 18th and 19th of April is wonderful (seemingly a collection of witness testimony that Clarke gathered and presented in this short narrative, including his own eye-witness.)  It had some information I had not heard before, such as alert on the evening of the 18th to Lexinton leaders of Gage's highway patrols that evening, and the very specific accusation agaist the Regular officer who fired his pistol first and a another officer who commanded the formation to open fire.

You pointed out from the article that Clarke had stated he had trained the militia. This definitely answers a question posed earlier in this string

Finally, I appreciated Clarke's prophetic statement that directly bears on Project Appleseed and our mission, "From the nineteenth of April, 1775, we may venture to predict, will be dated, in future history, THE LIBERTY or SLAVERY of the AMERICAN WORLD, according as a sovereign God shall see fit to smile, or frown upon the interesting cause, in which we are engaged."

My personal take-away: "The sword is an appeal to heaven,—when therefore, the arms of a people are eventually successful, or by the immediate interposition of providence, their enemies and oppressors are subdued or destroyed."  [Luke xxii. 36ff]

This is a small excerpt from a very long sermon preached one year after 19 April 1775. It is from Wallbuilders library.
https://wallbuilders.com/sermon-battle-of-lexington-1776/
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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2020, 09:07:36 AM »
"The Fighting Parson of the Revolution"  Chaplain James Caldwell.  Famed for his encouragement at the Battle of Springfield, NJ "Now, boys, give 'em Watts! Give 'em Watts!" He had retrieved hymnals from the Presbyterian church and the men used the pages for musket wadding. Two weeks before the battle his wife, Hannah, had been murdered by British artillery fire striking the parsonage as the Redcoats retreated from a minor engagement at Connecticut Farms, NJ
 
Painting of Caldwell on Find a Grave https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7289387/james-caldwell

1908 Painting: "Give em Watts boys" is in the Fraunces Tavern Museum in New York, NY https://frauncestavern.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/02DA50B0-2E85-45DF-A334-979683160233

Battle of Springfield: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Springfield
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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2020, 10:05:15 PM »
Chaplain James Caldwell was killed on 24 November 1781 by an American sentry in New Jersey when he refused to surrender a package for inspection.  The sentry was charged and ultimately hanged for murder.  Here below is a poem written about this hero

The Rebels High Priest

Here's the spot. Look around you. Above on the height.
Lay the Hessians encamped. By that church on the right
Stood the gaunt Jersey farmers. And here ran a wall,--
You may dig anywhere and you'll turn up a ball.
Nothing more. Grasses spring, waters run, flowers blow,
Pretty much as they did ninety-three years ago.

Nothing more, did I say? Stay one moment: you've heard
Of Caldwell, the parson, who once preached the Word
Down at Springfield? What, no? Come--that's bad; why he had
All the Herseys aflame. And they gave him the name
Of the "rebel high-priest." He stuck in their gorge,
For he loved the Lord God,--and he hated King George!

He had cause, you might say! When Hessians that day
Marched up with Knyphausen they stopped on their way
At the "Farms," where his wife, with a child in her arms,
Sat alone in the house. How it happened none knew
But God--and that one of the hireling crew
Who fired the shot! Enough!--there she lay.
And--Caldwell, the chaplain, her husband, away!

Did he preach--did he pray? Think of him as you stand
By the old church to-day;--think of him and his band
Of militant plowboys! See the smoke and the heat
Of that reckless advance,--of that straggling retreat!
Keep the ghost of that wife, foully slain, in your view,--
And what could you, what should you, what would you do?

Why, just what he did! They were left in the lurch
For the want of more wadding. He ran to the church,
Broke the door, stripped the pews, and dashed out in the road
With his arms full of hymn-books and threw down his load
At their feet! Then above all the shouting and shots,
Rang his voice,--"Putt Watts into 'em,--Boys, give 'em Watts!"

And they did. That is all. Grasses spring, flowers blow,
Pretty much as they did ninety-three years ago.
You may dig anywhere and you'll turn up a ball,--
But not always a hero like this,--and that's all.

Bret Harte, Poet
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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2020, 12:49:42 PM »
"Death is more eligible than slavery. A free-born people are not required by the religion of Jesus Christ to submit to tyranny, but may make use of such power as God has given them to recover and support their liberties. … We implore the Ruler above the skies that he would bare his arm … and let Israel go.”
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« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 12:53:13 PM by CarrollMS »
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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2021, 10:30:50 AM »
From FB this day

On this day in history, January 25, 1780, the Courthouse and Presbyterian Church are burned in Elizabethtown, New Jersey by the British. Due to its proximity to New York City and Staten Island, the city was the site of numerous skirmishes and events of significance during the war. Elizabethtown sat just across Newark Bay from Staten Island and is just south of Newark, New Jersey. At the time of the Revolution, Elizabethtown was the largest city in New Jersey and its county, Union County, the largest county.

Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) was a hotbed of patriot activity during the American Revolution. Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence was from Elizabethtown. Elias Boudinot, who was a President of the Continental Congress was also from Elizabethtown. William Livingston was a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress, a brigadier general in the New Jersey militia, New Jersey's first governor and a signer of the US Constitution. William Burnet, John De Hart and Elias Dayton, all members of the Continental Congress, were also from Elizabethtown.

Staten Island was a primary base of operation for the British army for the entire American Revolution. Many British missions originated from here and it was a primary target for rebel activity. On January 14 and 15, 1780, New Jersey militia had conducted a raid in Staten Island that went bad because the soldiers, who had been instructed to confiscate livestock and military supplies, went on a wild scavenging mission and stole anything of value they could get their hands on. Sixty soldiers from Elizabethtown were captured during the raid.

In response, the British sent a raiding mission into Elizabethtown on January 25th. During the raid, the Presbyterian Church and the Courthouse were destroyed, as well as several private homes. You may wonder why a church was a target for the British. This particular church was pastored by the Rev. James Caldwell, known for his incendiary sermons against the British. 36 officers and numerous non-commissioned officers and privates in the Continental Army came from this church.

Caldwell is the pastor known for yelling out, "Give 'em Watts, boys! Give 'em Watts!," during the Battle of Springfield, in which the soldiers ran out of wadding for their guns. In response, he gave them a load of hymnals by the famous songwriter Isaac Watts and tore out the pages for wadding. He also served as a chaplain in the Continental Army. Caldwell was so hated by the British that his parsonage was burned down in a raid the year before. His wife, Hannah was killed, some say assassinated, only two weeks before at the Battle of Connecticut Farms while she sat in her house. Caldwell himself was assassinated by the end of 1781.

After the raid in Elizabethtown, the British soldiers went on to Newark, New Jersey where they burned down another patriot filled Presbyterian church, pastored by the Rev. Alexander McWhorter, and McWhorter's school, Newark Academy

https://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/presbyterian-church-burned-elizabethtown-new-jersey.html
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Offline CarrollMS

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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2021, 08:41:30 AM »
First "Official" Continental Army Chaplain Appointed  26 January 1776 - Ratified by Congress 12 Aug 1776

"During the American Revolutionary War, Louis Eustache Chartier de Lotbinière, a Canadian priest, is appointed chaplain to serve Canadians who joined the American invading force. The new US Congress ratifies his appointment August 12, 1776.

IMAGE - The US Army's First chaplain was a French Canadian. Here, Louis Eustache  Chartier de Lotbinière (baptized François-Louis), whose family were from the seigneurial ruling class of New France with Continental Army soldiers & sympathizers. He served as chaplain to the French-Canadian US sympathizers & insurrectionists who fought with General Montgomery's army (1775-1776)
Source: Library of Congress

The American Army's overall objective of swaying French-Canadian support was a total failure, as the Canadians did not end up revolting against the British but rather took up arms against the Americans in order to defend their homes in Quebec.
More Biographical Details

In 1776, this Recollet priest took the rebels’ side, setting himself up as chaplain to the handful of Canadians who had become militiamen in the pay of the Bostonnais under James Livingston and taking part in the siege of Quebec that winter. The odds were excellent for him; the Americans had given him £1,500 and promised him a bishop’s mitre. “M. de Lotbinière then came out of retirement to minister and give the sacraments to the rebels, without any authority. He took over the church at Ste-Foy and performed the duties of ministry there.”

He was designated chaplain for the Canadian militiamen by Benedict Arnold* on 26 Jan. 1776. After the siege of Quebec was lifted, he followed his regiment in retreat across the border with the Americans. On 12 Aug. 1776 Congress ratified his appointment as military chaplain, and he was paid a monthly salary until February 1781. After that Chartier de Lotbinière is believed to have retired to the home of his brother Michel, who was also living in the United States, having taken up the Americans’ cause, although under different circumstances.
At the end of 1785 and again on 2 Jan. 1786, “in danger of dying of cold and hunger,” Eustache Chartier de Lotbinière, who was then at Bristol, Pennsylvania, demanded from Congress what he believed was his due for his commitment and services to the cause of American independence. No further trace of him has been found."  Canadian History Group, FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/CanadianHistory/permalink/1742024065976411/
https://jesuitonlinelibrary.bc.edu/?a=d&d=wlet19620401-01.2.3&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-------
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 08:56:50 AM by CarrollMS »
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Re: Black Robed Regiment
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2021, 07:26:35 PM »
Here is an interesting site that shows William Emmerson of Concord to be considered by the Army as the 1st Battlefield Ministry.



To William Emerson belongs a different priority. His home was the old manse immortalized by Hawthorne which still stands just across a narrow field from Concord Bridge. On the morning of the battle he encouraged the troops and cared for women and children who had fled from their homes. That evening he wrote a vivid account of the day’s events, implying by his use of pronouns that he was with the alarm company which prepared to defend the town after the Minute Men had advanced toward Lexington and that he retreated across the river when the British appeared in force and was with the party which made the final advance to and across the bridge. This supposition is in harmony with a tradition that he appeared that morning with a firelock in his hands and encouraged one timid man by placing a hand on his shoulder and saying, “Don’t be afraid, Harry; God is on our side.” However, some writers believe that he was at his house during the fight at the bridge.


“These facts and the record of his ministrations to the troops at a muster in the preceding month make it seem quite probable that he was recognized as the chaplain of the local militia in the informal way which was common at the time. This gives plausibility to the statement that he was the first chaplain to serve in the Revolution. Two future chaplains were active that day but both as fighting men. Emerson was in the camp at Charlestown for a time that summer and the next year was chaplain of the troops at Ticonderoga for some months.


“Becoming ill with a disease that threatened to grow worse, he started for home but could go no farther than Gookins Falls on Otter Creek near Rutland, Vt. Here he died in the home of the local minister. He was a son of the Joseph Emerson who was a chaplain at Louis-I bourg in 1745. Ralph Waldo, the best known of the Emersons, was his grandson.


“Attending to the spiritual needs of’ their now fighting congregations were a number of pastors. The first person to arrive in response to the call of impending battle was the pastor of Concord, the Reverend William Emerson. On guard in the village that night was Amos Melven. Learning from Dr. Samuel Prescott, Revel’e’s and Dawes’ companion, that the British were afoot, he sounded the alarm. So deeply impressive was Emerson’s hasty appearance at the church bell’s ringing, that Melven commemorated the gallant parson’s patriotic appearance by naming two of his sons in his honor.,”one, William, and the other Emerson.” It is not surprising that Emerson reported immediately, although the manse was some distance from the meeting place. He was of that Family whose men served as chaplains in war aster. war, and his mother, Mary, was the daughter of fierce old Samuel Moody of York, Maine, chaplain in Queen Anne’s War and King George’s War. Here was a man whose family traditions, religious and patriotic, could not be denied.”




https://thechaplainkit.com/history/stories/chaplain-william-emerson-1st-u-s-battlefield-ministry/?fbclid=IwAR1kLByvIMQsjJvs_fye4ISaRkEKaCJK-RXqW_D4Wd1j7DBsZMenc1TDY9w


 
"Pro Libertate"
Distinguished,
Known Distance,
Rimfire KD 200