Revolutionary War 101: The Shot Heard Around the World–War Begins

A BGES Weekend Warrior Program

Presented by Len Riedel, from Concord, MA

October 1-3, 2021

Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775. Courtesy New York Public Library

Throughout the American colonies, an American style and way of life had developed. Restricted in trade, a robust black market in smuggling developed, and the leaders in the colonies maintained a loose relationship with the British Crown and its representatives. Then in the 1750s, French encroachment supported by friendly Native Americans led to a war for the protection of the colonies. Victorious, the young King George III and his ministry sought means of recovering the huge expenses incurred. Soon a series of taxes and assessments came forth from England to the distress of the colonists.

Within the Massachusetts colony resistance escalated, and when the Royal Governor’s house was sacked, the king sent armed soldiers and a military governor, Thomas Gage, to Boston. Subsequent events brought more constrictive regulations on the populace, culminating with the closing of Boston port.

This program is designed to give you the basics of the road to our war for independence. An opening lecture will cover the history of American resistance and will bring us to Boston for the opening events that led to war with the mother country. This is a perfect introduction to the causes of the war and the events that made it inevitable. Walk in the footsteps of America’s founding history in a program suitable for all levels of interest.


Friday, October 1, 2021

6:00 PM. Let’s meet at the Best Western, where you will get your map packet and Len will present an introductory lecture on the Road to Revolution. A spirited Q&A will follow before breaking so you can go get some dinner on your own.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Boston is a wonderful mix of the historic and the present, and we will head into Boston early to walk the Freedom Trail. This is not just the highlights, but events from 1770 onward will be discussed as we set the stage for the night of April 18, 1775. After an early lunch at Faneuil Hall, we will visit the U.S.S. Constitution–a war of 1812 icon “Old Ironsides” is still an active duty ship in the Charleston Navy Yard.

We will return to Boston Common to set up the British march to Lexington and Concord, before going to Lexington Green. There, we will visit the Hancock-Clarke House and Buckman Tavern before ending the day at Minute Man National Visitor’s Center. Please note that you will be walking about 3 ½ miles today mostly in Boston. We then will return to the hotel. Lunch and dinner will be on your own. Len will be eating at the Colonial Inn and you are welcome to join him for dinner.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

8:00 AM. April 19 started early, and we will as well, leaving at 8 AM to return to Lexington Green, where we will fire the opening shots. The story then moves to Concord, which was the destination of the British expedition. With a dramatic encounter at the Old North Bridge, we will pick up the British retreat and spend the remainder of the morning walking the Battle Road–this 5-mile walk is along a rural but paved path. Those not wishing or able to walk the entire trail will join us at certain merge points where the narrative will catch all up on the bloody withdrawal to Lexington and then on to Menotomy. A visit to the Jason Russell House epitomizes the intensity of the experience for both the British and the Minute Men. Our day ends with the British withdrawal to Bunker Hill and the subsequent battle two months later. If traffic permits, we may be able to take in Washington’s assumption of command at Cambridge Green. We then will return to the hotel by 5:30 with the program now completed. Lunch at Avenue Deli in Lexington is included, with the program dismissing before dinner.

About the Faculty

Len Riedel is the founder and Executive Director of the Blue and Gray Education Society. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and Old Dominion University, this 20-year Air Force veteran has led multiple tours stateside and overseas. His most recent program was “In Washington’s Footsteps,” which looked at Washington’s Trenton and Princeton campaign and the Battle at Monmouth Courthouse. He also is editor of the bestselling The Civil War, A Traveler’s Guide, published in 2016 by National Geographic.

Hotel Information

This program will be based at the Best Western at Historic Concord, 740 Elm Street, Concord, MA (978-369-6100). A block is not being set up, but a rate was confirmed on March 8, 2020, of $81 per night inclusive of taxes. Len recommends or and that you make reservations early. Many reservations will let you cancel for free up until the day before the event. There are over 100 rooms at this hotel, but the nearest town with alternatives is Waltham and Burlington, about 6 miles distant.


You have three excellent airports from which to choose, all served by Southwest Airlines and each from 30 minutes’ to an hour’s drive to the hotel in Lexington. They are Boston Logan (BOS), Manchester (MHT), and Providence (PVD). There are many limo services, a commuter rail service, and a wide range of rental cars to get to the hotel. Boston is served by Amtrak.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with maps upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.

Register for this program using a secure PayPal link

Registration includes one lunch, battlefield maps, the academic program, support of a professional historian, tour director, and transportation appropriate to the registration. We will also provide snacks and bottled water.

Registration Type

To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: Revolutionary War 101

Questions? Need more information? Please contact us.