Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Minute Man reveals musket balls fired at dawn of revolution

July 9, 2024

Read all about “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”?

Now you can see it for yourself. 

National Park Service archeologists working at Minute Man National Historical Park recently discovered five musket balls that, according to early analysis, colonial militia members fired at British forces during the famed North Bridge battle.

As part of the park’s Archeology Day events, history buffs can view and learn about the ammunition this Saturday at the North Bridge Visitor Center, 174 Liberty Street, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

“It’s incredible that we can stand here and hold what amounts to just a few seconds of history that changed the world almost 250 years ago,” said Minute Man Park Ranger Jarrad Fuoss, a historic weapons specialist. 

“These musket balls can be considered collectively as ‘The Shot Heard Round the World,’ and it is incredible that they have survived this long,” Fuoss said in a NPS statement. 

“It is also a poignant reminder that we are all stewards of this battlefield and are here to preserve and protect our shared history.”

Photo courtesy of National Park Service

The musket balls were found by archeologists who were surveying an area along the Concord River for a future project. Their location indicates that these antique shots were fired by the Minutemen at the Redcoats on the opposite side of the river. 

This event marks the moment when, after years of tension between American colonists and the Crown, local militia fired upon what was then their own government. 

The incident became known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” after local writer Ralph Waldo Emerson included the phrase in his 1837 “Concord Hymn:” “Here once embattled farmers stood / And fired the shot heard round the world.” 

If you go on Saturday:

North Bridge Visitor Center (174 Liberty Street) 

10 a.m. 4:30 p.m.: View the musket balls and learn about the science behind preserving them. 

2:30 p.m.: North Bridge Battle Walk. Join rangers to trace the footsteps and the archaeology of those who fought on April 19, 1776.

Minute Man Visitor Center (210 North Great Road, Lincoln) 

11 a.m.: “Investigating Hallowed Ground: Battlefield Archeology at Minute Man National Historical Park,” with Joel Dukes, NPS Northeast Region Archeology Program.  

1 p.m.: “Arms, Ammunition, and Archaeology: A Scientific Look at April 19, 1775,” with Joel Bohy, director of Historic Arms & Militaria at Blackstone Valley Auctions. 

For more information, visit

— Christine M. Quirk and Celeste Katz Marston