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Company Roster – Westford Militia at the Battle of Concord

Westford Massachusetts — April 19, 1775

By Rev. Edwin R. Hodgeman
History of Westford, 1883, p. 104 ff.
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth

Authorities vary somewhat in stating the facts relating to this fight, some claiming that in Lexington the first resistance was made on the morning of that memorable day, while others affirm that at Concord Bridge the earliest armed resistance was offered to the soldiers of George the Third.

We are now to consider the service rendered by the men of Westford in that struggle. This has never been fully and accurately stated in any account of it. Prominent among the actors then and there was John Robinson of Westford, a Lieutenant Colonel in a regiment of minute-men of which William Prescott of Pepperell was Colonel.

Rev. Dr. Ripley in his account says: “A company from Westford had just entered the bounds of Concord when the fight took place. But individuals from that town were present and engaged in the battle, among whom was the brave Col. Robinson.” He also says further on, in his narrative: “The situation of Major Buttrick, as it was more dangerous and and important, has gained him distinguished celebrity and honor. But
this ought never to operate as an eclipse upon any other officer on that occasion. There is satisfactory evidence that on the march to meet the enemy, Major Buttrick requested Col. Robinson to act as his superior, he being an older man and of higher rank in another regiment but he modestly declined, and consented to march at the right hand and be considered a volunteer. The late Col. John Buttrick, then a fifer,
repeatedly affirmed that he was present and heard the conversation between his father and Col. Robinson. The Americans commenced their march in double file…in a minute or two, the Americans being in quick motion and within ten or fifteen rods of the bridge, a single gun was fired by a British soldier, which marked its way, passing under Col. Robinson’s arm and slightly wounding the side of Luther Blanchard, a fifer, in the Acton Company. This account was published in 1827 and being prepared by one on the ground and only fifty years after the fight, when some who saw it were still living, is, without doubt, the best narrative we shall ever have of that conflict. Others who have attempted to describe it, have done little more than repeat the words of Rev. Dr. Ripley. Some slight variations occur, however. Thus George Bancroft affirms that Col. Barrett gave the order to advance, whereupon, “Capt. Davis, drawing his sword, cried, “March!” His company, being on the right, led the way, he himself at their head, and by his side, Maj. John Buttrick of Concord with John Robinson of Westford, Lieutenant-Colonel in Prescott’s Regiment.”

Frederic Hudson in his account (Harper’s Magazine May, 1875) says: “Among those early on the field from the neighboring towns, was Lieut. Colonel John Robinson of Westford….he was accompanied by the Rev. Joseph Thaxter, Capt. Joshua Parker and private Oliver Hildreth. Mr. Thaxter had been preaching at Westford as a candidate. On the first tidings of danger he hastened to Concord, armed with a brace of pistols
and was in front to receive the first fire of the enemy; and he and William Emerson the pastor of Concord were the first chaplains of the Revolution.

Major Buttrick took command of the Americans in the forward movement. He was accompanied by Lieut. Col. Robinson. In their left hand they held their fusees trailed and marched with Capt. Davis and his men.”

From all these statements it is clear that Davis, Buttrick and Robinson were marching side-by-side in this first show of armed resistance to British oppression – a noble triad of choice spirits who dared to do and die. Heroically did they lead on the eager troops who sought, not revenge, but liberty; who, as George W. Curtis pithily said, in his oration at Concord, April 19, 1875, “loaded their muskets, not with a ball, only, but with a principle and brought down, not a man, but a
system.”

The three companies whose muster rolls are here given, copied from the originals in the State House, were no doubt in the fight on that day. Rev. G. Reynolds, in a recent address, admits that two companies of minute-men from Westford were present, and the heading of the rolls shows that they marched from home that morning.

Capt. Underwood’s Company

“A List of the Travel and Service of Capt. Timothy Underwood of Westford, in the County of Middlesex, with the men under him belonging to Colonel William Prescott’s Regiment of Minute-men, who, in consequence of an Alarm made on the 19th of April 1775, marched from home for the defence of this Colony against the Ministrial troops:

OFFICERS
Timothy Underwood, Captain
Thomas Cummings, First Lieut.
Phillip Robbins, Second Lieut.
Joshua Parker, Sergeant
James Fletcher, Sergeant
Timothy Spalding, Sergeant
John Wright, Sergeant
James Proctor, Corporal
William Fletcher, Corporal
Amaziah Hildreth, Corporal
Thomas Guy, Fifer
Isaac Parker, Drummer

PRIVATES
Oliver Barrett
Jonas Blodgett
Josiah Brooks
Silas Chandler
William Chandler
Ebenezer Corey
Samuel Crafts
Ephraim Cummings
Daniel Dudley
Joseph Dutton
William Dutton
Joshua Fassett
Davis Fisk
David Fletcher
Jememiah Fletcher
John Fletcher
Josiah Fletcher
Levi Fletcher
Ebenezer Foster
John Hildreth
Silas Howard
Jonas Kemp
Abner Kent
Samuel Keyes
Stephen Meeds
John Nutting
John Parker
Moses Parker
James Perry
Silas Proctor
Benjamin Read
Leonard Read
Oliver Read
Abijah Richardson
Jacob Robbins
Jeremiah Robbins
Philip Spaldon
Levi Temple
Amos Tidd
Joseph Underwood
Daniel Whitney
Ebenezer Wright

The within named Timothy Underwood made solemn oath to the truth of thw within Muster Roll. Before me, Moses Gill, Justice of the Peace through the Province.” (Dec 16, 1775).

Capt. Bate’s Company

A List of the Travel and service of Capt. Oliver Bates of Westford in the County of Middlesex and the men under him, belonging to the Regiment of Militia whereof James Presroops.cott, Esq., is Colonel who, in consequence of the Alarm made on the 19th of April 1775, marched from home for the Defence of this Colony against the Ministerial Troops.

OFFICERS
Oliver Bates, Captain
David Goodhue, First Lieut.
John Abbott, Second Lieut.
Thomas Rogers, Sergeant
Solomon Spalding, Sergeant
Joseph Prescott, Corporal
Daniel Goodhue, Corporal
John Prescott, Corporal
Timothy Cummings, Drummer

PRIVATES
Joseph Wright, Jr.
John Barrett
David Bixby
Ephraim Bixby
Jacob Bixby
Levi Bixby
Abel Boynton
Nathaniel Cummings
David Dutton
Benjamin Estabrook
Amos Fletcher, Jr
Joseph Fletcher
Josiah Fletcher
Jonathan Hadley
John Hadley, Jr
Ephraim Heald
David Holding
William Nichols
Nathaniel Prentice
Jonas Prescott, 3d
Timothy Prescott
Abel Read
Silas Spalding
Ephraim Wright
Pelatiah Wright

Colony of Massachusetts Bay

Oliver Bates, the Captain, being dead, David Goodhue, his Lieutenant, made solemn oath that this Roll by him subscribed, is just and true in all its parts. Before me, Moses Gill, Justice of the Peace through the Province” (Dec 27, 1775).

Capt. Minot’s Company

“A List of the Travel and Service of Capt. Jonathan Minot, of Westford in the County of Middlesex and the men under him belonging to the Regiment of the Militia whereof James Prescott, Esq., is Colonel, who in consequence of the Alarm made on the 19th of April, 1775, marched from home for the defence of this Colony against the Ministerial Troops

OFFICERS
Hosea Hildreth, Corporal
Jonathan Minot, Captain
Zaccheus Wright, First Lieut.
Leonard Proctor, Second Lieut.
Aaron Parker, Jr., Sergeant
Gershom Fletcher, Sergeant
William Hildreth, Sergeant
Samuel White, Sergeant
Nehemiah Green, Corporal
Amos Wright, Corporal
Jonathan Minot, Jr., Drummer

PRIVATES
Francis Smith
Caesar Bason
Aaron Blood
Peter Brown
Job Dodge
Elijah Hildreth
Nathaniel Holmes
Francis Kidder
Thomas Kidder
Rogers King
Francis Leighton
Abijah Mason
Thomas Meads
Benjamin Osgood
David Parker
Ebenezer Parker
Amos Parlin
Charles Proctor
John Pushee
Joshua Read
John Robbins
John Robbins, Jr.
Peter Robbins
Zechariah Robbins
James Wright

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