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    Lexington & Concord: An Exceedingly Rare and Important Contemporary Broadside Reporting on the Events Which Ignited the American Revolution. Measuring 5" x 12.75" and titled "Important Advices," it was hastily printed at 1:00 A.M. on Monday, April 24th, and contains two reports dated the 23rd. The "shot heard round the world" was fired on April 19, 1775. A column of 700 British troops left their safe bastion in Boston to search for Massachusetts militia military supplies they believed were stored in Concord. The Americans, warned well in advance, had moved the supplies and before the British were able to withdraw they were fired on by the "Minute Men" of the Militia. The sporadic attacks continued, even as the British were reinforced at Lexington along the route of withdrawal. The Americans then laid siege to Boston, and the Revolutionary War was underway.

    The first official alarm was hand-written by Joseph Palmer of Watertown, Massachusetts and sent out to the Colonies under the auspices of the Massachusetts Committee of Correspondence. The first printed American account of the events were in the form of a broadside printed by Roberts & Trumbull of Norwich, Connecticut. Apparently there were two distinct printings. The first was dated April 22nd at 10:00 P.M. We have been unable to locate an image or text of that broadside, so it is unclear to what extent its content differs from the second. Neither version is listed in Evans.

    The only example of the first version we can confirm as ever having appeared on the market was offered for $265 in the catalog of a dealer named Rosenbach (for purposes of comparison, George Washington letters were readily available in the $75-$150 price range at that time). We can find no record of the second version, offered here, being on the market for at least 75 years, or present in any collection, private or institutional.

    The broadside presents two reports. The first is from Samuel Parsons, sent to the Committee of New-London and Lyme (Connecticut). "The accounts I have received from the Army are confused," he writes. "Thus much, however, may be depended upon, that the British Forces are retreated to Boston...; slain British troops far exceeded that of the Provincials; The Proportion, as near as I can collect, is about Five or Six to One." He goes on to assert that "The Ravages and barbarous Cruelty of our Enemies is almost unparalleled among the Savage Nations...Old Men, Women and Children have not escaped their brutal Rage, but in some instances have been cut in Pieces in a most inhuman Manner." Parsons closes with the declaration that "More men will doubtless be wanted; I therefore wish them to be detached and in Readiness as soon as possible, but not to march until further orders."

    The second dispatch comes from Israel Putnam, who would go on to become a prominent General in the Continental Army. He urges that

    "...Men must come down to this Place, for we know not when we shall be attacked in this confused State. The Troops in Boston are in Motion, and preparing to make an attack some where; but we have no news from Boston unless by some few of the Inhabitants, that run the Risk of their Lives by getting out of the Town by Stealth, for Boston is Shut up! --- There is no coming in or going out any other Way! --- The People of the Town are all Prisoners, and what their Fate will be GOD only knows; for the Troops have behaved in a cruel and barbarous Manner; going into Houses and killing sick People, that were not able to go one Step, putting the Muzzle of the Gun into their Mouths and blowing their Heads in Pieces. Some Children had their Brains beat out! ---Several Houses and Barns Burned! --- and, for Miles together, not a House nor Shop but had their Windows broke, and hundreds of Shot in them! --- There were about 40 of our People killed; but rather more of the Troops, and 70 or 80 of the Latter are taken Prisoners. --- Enough of that, for this confused State! --- Pray let Men be properly inlisted [sic] and officered; let there be Teams to bring Provision, and a farther Supply sent immediately after them. Take Care they be sent in good Order.

    ISRAEL PUTNAM."

    What this broadside may lack in visual appeal is much more than made up for by its exciting content and profound rarity; a true "museum quality" artifact from the very earliest days of the American Revolution.

    Despite its age and fragility, the condition is exceptional, marred only by slight edge roughness as shown and very minor scattered light moisture marks. One horizontal fold line which shows no weakness.




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    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    13th Saturday
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