April Morning Essay

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 Adam’s 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 father’s constant animadversion with the feeling that
his father hates him. These feelings of hate are somewhat annulled by Granny,
Adam’s 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 Adam’s
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, Adam’s brother, came looking for him. Adam helped to con-sole
Levi in their father’s 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 Ashley’s Pasture. Along the way, they picked up others
who were also journeying to the meeting. By the time they arrived in Ashley’s
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 two’s and three’s, not
allowing the British to take advantage of firing into one huge clump of men.

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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 Adam’s 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 Adam’s 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 Adam’s 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
night’s 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, Adam’s
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.


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