On the morning of April 19, 1775, a post rider arrived in Danvers to announce that the Regulars had marched from Boston the previous night, headed for Concord to seize arms, munitions and any rebel leaders that might have taken refuge outside Boston proper. Alarm guns and church bells soon began to sound, signaling that all men should gather at their assigned meeting places to await further orders. Those companies that could march on their Captain's orders (not having to receive marching orders from the Essex County Regiment's commander, Col. Timothy Pickering) wasted no time and started off towards Concord hoping to intercept the Crown's forces before they returned to the safety of Boston.
The men from Danvers marched off through Lynn, Saugus, Revere, Malden
and Medford, changing their direction each time they received news and
intelligence as to the Regulars movements. By 2:00 PM they had reached
the homestead of Jason Russell in the town of Menotomy (Arlington). In
just about four hours the men from Danvers had journeyed sixteen miles.
It was here that the Danvers men, along with other militia companies, decided
to wait for the British troops, as they returned from Concord on the Boston
Post Road, and engage them from the perceived safety of stone walls and
stacks of shingles in Russell's yard. Due to the lack of military training
and experience of the Colonist's officers, the Danvers, Medford and Menotomy
companies were caught in a pincer maneuver by the Redcoats as they fought
their way back to Boston. The British Light Infantry having been sent out
as flankers, came up behind the Colonists in the Russell yard. The fighting
became quite vicious as the troops on both sides closed to hand-to-hand
combat. Jason Russell himself was killed on his doorstep, being bayoneted
by each British soldier entering the house to ferret out the rebels. By
the time the British had regrouped their troops and marched on, the Danvers
men had suffered casualties of seven men killed, two wounded and one captured.
Save for Lexington, which lost eight men killed that day, Danvers lost
the second highest number of men killed in the fighting during the Lexington
Alarm. A list of those casualties follows:
|Killed in action:||Wounded:|
|Samuel Cook, Jr
Benjamin Dealand, Jr.
Henry Jacobs, Jr.
George Southwick, Jr
** Captured: Joseph Bell
Danvers men also held the distinction of traveling the furthest distance of a community engaging in the fighting on April 19th . The men from Danvers stayed in Menotomy until the next day when they loaded their dead onto a cart and returned them to their families. Although the majority of men from Danvers did participate in the following Siege of Boston, many later returned to town for the remainder of the war, A number of men enlisted to serve in State and Continental Line Regiments.
British Column heads for Cabridge (Watsons Corner)