At 12:45 p.m. on April 19, 1775, at Brooks Hill, British troops retreating from Concord back to Boston met an ambush. Colonist troops attacked the British from both sides of the road. From the south, minute men came from Sudbury and Framingham. On the opposite site, the Colonists had traveled from Chelmsford and Billerica.
Or so says a marker that lines that Battle Road Trail.
The Battle Road Trail is a 5.5-mile pathway in Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord that marks the path once trodden by British soldiers on their way from Boston to Concord, where they had marched to seize a supply of arms the colonists had stored, and their route home again. The markers along the path tell the stories of the smaller battles fought, the politics of the time, and the individual stories of people who lived and fought in the area—putting a human face on the tale often told in history books. For example, most people know already how Paul Revere and Samuel Dawes rode ahead of the British to warn the colonists of the troops' approach, and how fighting had broken out in Lexington and Concord, marking the start of the American Revolution. What they might not know is that the Boston area was running out of farmland at the time, and the economic strain of the diminishing economic prospects was one of the factors leading to the rebellion.
Part of the Minute Man National Historic Park, the trail shadows Route 2A and runs from Meriam Corner in Concord to Fiske Hill in Lexington, both of which are spots where fighting ensued. It is a mostly a gravel and dirt path that passes through historic farming fields, by the Hartwell Tavern where travelers often stopped for a bit of news and some nourishment, and past the Paul Revere Capture site, marked by a stone monument.
What You Should Know
There are four parking lots along the route, free of charge. The Minute Man Visitor Center near the Lexington end is a good place to start your trip. You can pick up brochures, see a short historical film, and ask questions of rangers who patrol the area during summer months. Beyond the park, 2A continues into Concord Center, passing near the North Bridge site. Concord has several more attractions, including Walden Pond, the Old Manse, the home of Nathanial Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. For even more local color, consider visiting the area during Patriots' Day weekend, when local historical groups stage reenactments, including Paul Revere's ride and the battles on Lexington Green and Concord.
From I-95, take exit 30B to Route 2A West. Signs for the Visitor's Center and parking facilities are just a short distance away, about a quarter of a mile. From Concord, travel down Monument Street bearing left, and follow the signs. Continue past Orchard House (home of Louisa May Alcott), and the Wayside until you see parking facilities.
Minute Man Visitor Center
250 North Great Road