1925 Lexington-Concord Issue
1¢ Washington at Cambridge
First Day of Issue: April 4, 1925
First City: Washington, D.C.; Concord, MA; Concord Junction, MA; Boston, MA; Cambridge, MA; Lexington, MA
Quantity Issued: 15,615,000
Printing Method: Flat Plate
Color: Deep Green
The Lexington-Concord Issue of 1925 was the first set of U.S. postage stamps to honor the War of Independence. These stamps honor the patriots who gave their lives – and the ideals of freedom and independence they died for.
Washington Takes Command of the Continental Army
Although part of the Lexington-Concord issue, U.S. #617 pictures General George Washington leading colonial forces at Cambridge Common on July 2, 1775. This was two-and-a-half months after the battles at Lexington and Concord. A driving factor for this scene’s inclusion in the set was due to the famed “Washington Elm.” According to legend, Washington stood under the elm tree as he took command of the Continental Army.
Over the years, the tree was badly damaged and was accidentally knocked over during repair attempts in 1923.
The historical accuracy of the scene pictured on this stamp is debated by Revolutionary War scholars. Some protest that the army would have been too busy and not properly trained to assemble in the way shown. Whether the story is true or not, a plaque stands where the tree once did, according to the Cambridge Historical Commission, “not because Washington ever stood there, but as a monument to a belief.”
The Battles of Lexington and Concord
The battles that took place at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, were the first military encounters between Great Britain and the 13 colonies of British North America.
One reason for the battles was the secret order given to British Army forces to find and destroy military supplies held by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. Colonial Patriots received word of the impending theft and moved most of their supplies.
The first shots of the battle rang through the air as the sun rose over Lexington. The Colonial militia was outnumbered by more than 300 and fell back. In the meantime, the British forces moved on to Concord to search for supplies. As the British reached Concord’s North Bridge, about 500 militiamen met them. This time the British were outnumbered and defeated, then forced to retreat. In all, 49 Patriot lives were lost versus 73 British.