Massachusetts

Elderly soldier kills 3 enemy soldiers, is shot in the face, bayoneted, survives for 18 more years

April 19, 1775
Arlington, Massachusetts
78-year-old Samuel Whittemore, considered to be the oldest colonial combatant, kills 3 British soldiers, receives several grave wounds, and lives nearly 2 more decades before dying of natural causes

Whittemore spotted a British relief brigade sent to assist retreating British troops during the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He ambushed the brigade, killing one soldier with a musket and 2 with dueling pistols. By the third shot, another soldier was already upon him, whom Whittemore slashed at with his sword. In turn, the British shot Whittemore in the face, bayoneted him several times, and left him for dead in a pool of blood. When found by colonial militiamen, he was in the process of attempting to reload his musket to rejoin the fight.

Whittemore was proclaimed the official state hero of Massachusetts in 2005, designating February 3 as a day of his remembrance. This day is based on one of two days credited to be the anniversary of his death, the other being February 2.

Note: the memorial here is slightly inaccurate. Whittemore was 78 when the incident took place and 96 when he died.

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