Dear Dr. Boli: Why were some of the New England patriots called “Minute Men”? —Sincerely, Lexington Lou.

Dear Sir or Madam: The British army relied on tactics, organization, and equipment. The colonial rebels could not match the discipline of the Redcoats, so they resorted to tactics of surprise. Ambushes and so forth could only take them so far, but the tide began to turn in the colonials’ favor when they introduced the famous Minute Men, highly miniaturized soldiers, of whom the largest was no more than three inches tall, and the smallest truly justified the term “minute.” With these tiny soldiers, the militias on the side of the rebellion were able to surprise the British at every turn, even hiding in the British soldiers’ cartridge-boxes, leaping out of their powder-horns, and generally making such nuisances of themselves that the British came to realize they could never hold their North American empire so long as the Minute Men infested it.

After the war of the Revolution was over, most of the Minute Men were given a few square feet of land each in western Massachusetts, and they settled down and became gentlemen farmers.


  1. Leaf says:

    The Minute Men were also the inspiration for the famous lines by Edward Allingham:

    “Up the airy mountains
    Down the rushy Glen,
    We dare not go a-hunting
    For fear of little men.”

  2. Sean says:

    The lesser known third verse:

    By the Concord Bridge and up to Lexington,
    The British go a-running from the little ones,
    Rifles and pistols, from behind the oaks,
    Crack! go the guns, down fall Red Coats!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *