This story from Bob Owens’ blog is a must-read. When called to fight for their country during the Revolution, even those as young as 13 and as old as 78 answered. The story of Samuel Whittemore is one that would not be believable if written by a Hollywood screenwriter. It is true, however. Just a sample:
The oldest man to fight that fateful day was an alarm-lister named Samuel Whittemore, a 78-year-old veteran of three American wars in the King’s service.
While Lord Percy’s relief column attempted to link up with Regular forces under attack by colonial militias, Whittemore set up behind a low stone wall near his home and attacked the 47th Regiment of Foot by himself.
Whitemore’s aimed fire did enough damage to the column that an assault was ordered upon his position.
Whittemore is documented to have killed one man from this assaulting force with his musket, then killed one and severely wounded another with horse pistols he’d removed from the body of French officer he’d dispatched decades before. Whittemore was in the act of drawing his ornate French Calvary sabre—again, taken from another French officer who “died suddenly” according to Whittemore, more than 20 years before—when half his face was shot away at point-blank range. Whittemore’s horrified relatives watched from a distance as the nearly 80-year old patriarch of their clan was bayoneted thirteen times by the Redcoats, and left for dead in a pool of his own blood.
When his kin came forward to collect his body, they found that despite having half his left cheek shot away, and pierced by 13 bayonet wounds, Samuel Whittemore was attempting to load his musket to fire again on the rapidly disappearing column of Regulars.
Not quite dead, yet. “‘Tis but a scratch… ” said the Black Knight.
Yeah, he lived. Another 18 years. Tough son-of-a-bitch. Do they still make Americans like that anymore? We can only pray there are at least a few left with that kind of brass in them.