The committee was originally formed to come up with a plan to take advantage of Bedford’s historic geographic location. Being sandwiched between Lexington and Concord both residents and businesses alike always have felt gypped that there was no real battle here. For years residents have lamented the fact that there were no shots fired. “We see Lexington and Concord in all the history books, they have parades, reenactments, they have it all,” says Maria, the commission’s chair. “If only someone had the foresight to start a battle in Bedford, we too could grab some of those tourist dollars.”
The commiittee’s charge was to put Bedford on the historic map. Not just to be known as the town between Lexington and Concord. The idea was to give Bedford the historic respect it deserves. There have been many attempts to find the historical tidbit that could be worthy of a celebration. Pole capping was a nice try, but it just didn’t get the traction to bring the tourists to our town.
With all the talk of “Fake News,” it was determined the time was right to move forward with the committee’s plan. Searching into the history, the committee decided to take advantage of a little- known skirmish that took place on April 17, 1775. Through extensive research, the committee learned that a British husband and wife spy team were dispatched to Concord. Their mission was to find out where the arms were located before the troops were to head out on the 19th. Apparently, the couple got lost in Bedford, the husband refusing to ask for directions, and this led to a domestic spat that took place on the Great Road.
The committee decided to take a little historical license and move the skirmish to Sweeney Ridge. “Domestic spat on the Great Road” didn’t have the cache of the ‘Battle of Sweeney Ridge’. “Once we decided we could ignore the facts, it all just fell into place,” continued Maria.
The re-writing of the skirmish has turned the incident into a real battle. There are heroes, victims, and even a heroic dog. It was thought the dog angle is something the other towns didn’t think about and would eventually lead to merchandising opportunities.
The “fact” that the battle took place two days before Patriot’s Day is also important in terms of bringing in tourists. Being the “First Battle” of the revolution was felt to be important.
So, check back for details. The celebration of the Battle of Sweeney Ridge is moving forward.