April Morning








April Morning
by Andrew Machtolff

April Morning was an interesting book concerning a young man, Adam Cooper, and the trials and tribulations of his taking part in the Battle of Lexington. The story takes place mostly in Adam’s home town of Lexington, Massachusetts, but also partially on the surrounding roads and countryside.
The novel opens with a glimpse into the daily life of the Cooper family. As Adam com-ments on the harsh perfectionist opprobrium of his father, I find myself drawn to his side of the issue. Adam confuses his father’s constant animadversion with the feeling that his father hates him. These feelings of hate are somewhat annulled by Granny, Adam’s grandmother and confi-dant. She tells him that, since she has known Moses Cooper longer than anyone, she knows that he really loves Adam. This is further exerted when Adam overhears a conversation between his par-ents.
All this was happening with the rumblings of war nearby. The British taxes and tariffs were intensifying and by then most New England towns had their own local governments called Committees. These Committees were supported by local community leaders who also organized a town militia.
When word reached Lexington that a British army landed, the local militia was mustered through much urging by Moses Cooper and Jonas Parker, the Captain of the Militia. They pushed for a marshaling of the soldiers for completely different reasons, however. Moses stood firm by the principles of freedom and common human decency. Jonas Parker simply felt that because he was chosen to be Captain of the Militia, it was his right, duty, and obligation to be out for the blood of any redcoat crossing into Lexington, Massachusetts.
In any case, the British came to Lexington. The town representatives went to parlay with them. Jonas Parker, Moses Cooper, the Reverend, and Simon Casper, a confrontational battle ad-vocate, were there in front of three mounted British officers. All they could do was watch help-lessly as the redcoats, a thousand strong, surrounded their seventy-man militia in silence. The Reverend, being the peaceful man that he was, tried to speak diplomatically to the British officers. They unfeelingly gunned down Adam’s father along with most of the defenders in plain sight of everyone. Adam was one of the lucky few that made it out alive.
He ran away from the British soldiers, finally hiding in a smokehouse and dealing with the loss of his father. Eventually Levi, Adam’s brother, came looking for him. Adam helped to con-sole Levi in their father’s death, and they soon parted. Levi went home to tell his mother and grandmother while Adam went to hide in some woods outside town. He was pursued shortly but outran the redcoats.
It was in these woods that Adam met Solomon Chandler. Solomon had soldiered with the British in the French War, but now fought for American independence. Adam and Solomon walked together to a meeting place called Ashley’s Pasture. Along the way, they picked up others who were also journeying to the meeting.
By the time they arrived in Ashley’s Pasture they were twenty-one strong, and there were over thirty waiting. In the next hour of remaining there, many more showed up until there were at least a hundred of them.
Finally, they gathered around Solomon and discussed their plan of action. They were to lie in wait next to a stone wall lining the road and as the British passed, rise up and fire over the wall. When the revolutionaries had fired, they were supposed to run away from the road and regroup. At their second grouping, they decided to break into groups of two’s and three’s, not allowing the British to take advantage of firing into one huge clump of men. Adam paired off with his cousin Joseph Simmons, the town blacksmith and a friend of the Cooper family.
After that encounter they again regrouped and decided to proceed along the road and get ahead of the redcoats. They picked a spot where the road dipped down a hill, and Adam, Cousin Simmons, and four or five others crawled into a windfall at the bottom. The shelter was about sev-enty paces from the road, and Adam’s fowling gun was only lethal at thirty. He found this a good excuse to rest from his sleepless night