April Morning 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 Adams 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 comments on the harsh perfectionist opprobrium of his father, I find myself drawn to his side of the issue. Adam confuses his fathers constant animadversion with the feeling that his father hates him.
These feelings of hate are somewhat annulled by Granny, Adams grandmother and confidant. 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 parents. 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 advocate, were there in front of three mounted British officers. All they could do was watch helplessly 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 Adams 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, Adams brother, came looking for him.
Adam helped to con-sole Levi in their fathers 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 Ashleys Pasture. Along the way, they picked up others who were also journeying to the meeting. By the time they arrived in Ashleys 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 twos and threes, 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 seventy paces from the road, and Adams fowling gun was only lethal at thirty. He found this a good excuse to rest from his sleepless night and soon fell into torpidity. When Adam awoke, it was to the voices of the Reverend and Cousin Simmons. They were discussing having to break the news of another death to Mrs.
Cooper. Adam then called out to them and they were gladdened to know he was alive, and dumbfounded to know that he had fallen asleep. Then, the three of them walked home together, and when they reached Lexington, they split up to go to their respective houses. As Adam approached his house, his brother Levi came running out to him and said that someone had come by with news of Adams death. They both sat on the ground a moment and sobbed, happy to know each other was alive. Adam then regained control of himself, knowing he would have to face his mother soon.
When Adam saw his mother, they embraced warmly. Granny then led them all into the kitchen. Many neighbors were there, most of whom had brought food. Mrs. Cartwright, one of the most insensitive and repulsive women Adam knew, took Adam upstairs where his father was laid out.
She then coldly told Adam to pay his respects, and Adam said to her in no uncertain terms to get out. Having paid his respects, Adam went back downstairs. All the neighbors had gone, and only Levi, Granny, and Mother remained. It was agreed upon that Adam needed a bath, and Mother sent Levi to get some water. After his bath, more neighbors were there with more food. Adam, wanting an excuse to get out of the house, was al-most glad to see Cousin Simmons, among others, struggling to carry a coffin downstairs.
Cousin Simmons asked Adams help, and he was glad to give it. They carried the coffin across the courtyard to the meetinghouse, which was serving as a temporary morgue. The coffin maker apologized for the make shiftiness of the coffin, but with as many deaths as there had been, there was not much he could do. A reporter from the Boston Advertiser cornered Adam and tried to pin him down with some questions, but he just pushed past him and out of the meetinghouse. Outside, a man was asking for volunteers to help with the siege on Boston. Adam stood there a moment, listening to him.
He began dozing when Cousin Simmons grabbed his arm and suggested that they both go home and get a good nights rest. When Adam got home, Mother forced him to eat for his own good. She then asked him to carry a box of candles to the meetinghouse so Father would not lie in the darkness. On his way out of the house, Ruth Simmons, Adams childhood sweetheart, was waiting there for him. Having hugged and thoroughly kissed him, Ruth said that she had worried about him very much.
Together, they walked to the meetinghouse and put the candles there. After they left, Adam walked Ruth home and then turned home himself. At home, Adam was in bed when Granny came to wish him a good night. He told her that he would not be going to Boston to help with the siege, but she said that she knew him well and that he would leave before long.