You have probably heard of the famous “Shot Heard Round the World?” It is a phrase referring to several historical incidents, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914, and particularly the beginning of the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Tensions had been mounting because colonists were frustrated as Britain forced them to pay taxes. The big problem was that they did not give them any representation in the British Parliament. The colonists were fair minded people and this flew in the face of that fairness. They rallied behind the phrase, “no taxation without representation.” The first shots rang out on the morning of April 19, 1775 in Lexington, Massachusetts.
At the Battle of Bunker Hill, colonial officer William Prescott ordered, “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” His troops had the courage and discipline to hold their fire until the enemy was near, an early sign that the rag-tag American army had a chance at defeating the well-trained, well-armed British troops. Congress chose George Washington as commander and chief of America’s armed forces. The Battle of Saratoga was the first great American victory of the war and is widely believed to have been the turning point that led America to triumph over Britain. The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, and at last, Great Britain acknowledged America’s independence. The treaty established a northern boundary with Canada and set the Mississippi River as the western boundary. In all 217,000 men took part in the war, and 4,435 lost their lives. Most people know all or at least most of this…or at least have read about it.
However, you might not know that the Revolutionary War almost started early thanks to Sarah Tarrant, a nurse with a fiery temper who lived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1775, hurled insults at the retreating redcoats aimed his musket at her, and she dared him, “Fire, if you have the courage, but I doubt it.” No shots were fired, and the British, having found no weapons, left the town. Had he shot her, the war would have started earlier than it did.