The Ways They Went

Nobody knows, for dead sure, how the men from Sudbury went, that morning. Nobody ever will, probably.

But if the people of this Town were at all what we think they were, they most likely went the straightest, fastest, surest way to the enemy they meant to drive from their land.

So Isaac Loker's Horse Troop and Captain Joseph Smith of the East Side Militia and Captain Nathaniel Cudworth of the East Side Minute Company assembled their men at the East Side Training Field, and marched as straight north as they could go. They got to Hardy's Hill about when the retreating British did.

Lieutenant-Colonel Howe met the Minute and Militia Companies of Captain Moses Stone and Captain John Nixon at the Sudbury Common Training Field. They marched, in their fashion, north. On their way to Concord, they were joined by Captain Aaron Haynes and his Company, and some of the men of Jabez Puffer's Alarm Company. ("Too old, are we?" snorted the Alarm Company, and marched as briskly as men half their ages.)

At Duggan's Corner, Lt. Col. Howe left them to reconnoiter toward the North Bridge. The men stopped, argued briefly whether to enter Concord by the South Bridge, decided to follow orders---an odd decision, for Sudbury men---and advanced to within sight of Colonel Barrett's farm. There Lt. Col. Barrett rejoined his men. The companies moved on to the North Bridge, crossed the Great Meadows beyond Revolutionary Ridge, engaged the British at Meriam's Corner, fought them at Hardy's Hill and the Bloody Angle.

Now the whole Sudbury force was together again, telling each other wild tales of their own heroism, and cracking the same ribald jokes about Loker's horses that we tell today.

And now the edges began to be chipped off the sharp triumph of the day, as Deacon Josiah Haynes died, in the seventy-ninth year of his life, and Asahel Reed died, and Joshua Haynes was wounded, and Thomas Bent was wounded, too, to die three months later.

As we said, nobody knows how the men of Sudbury went.

Except we know that they went bravely, and willingly, and freely.