Dateline: Thursday, May 4, 1775

Dateline:  Thursday, May 4, 1775


Level:  Basic: Day 4 – Follow-up activity

Time:  45 minutes

maneuver, provisions, ransacked, veracity, unquestioned, rods, accosted, the province stores, frigate

Students will become familiar with documents from 1775 through dramatic readings and role-playing.


Read the Historic Transportation and Communication Essay to provide information about the difficulties of sending and receiving information in 1775.  Emphasize the excitement of a post rider’s arrival with important news.  The news from Worcester on May 3 was certainly important.

Read The Massachusetts Spy with the students.  The reading is very challenging due to small print, the phrasing and vocabulary of that time, and the use of  the "long s” for the letter “s”.  Hopefully the students will enjoy the challenge of reading this “olde English”.  Write out some examples using the “long s” so the students may practice.

Assign the following roles to students:  a post rider; 4 readers; Tories; rebels who want to fight against the King’s troops; concerned mothers and fathers who oppose the war.  Set the scene: a small Massachusetts town, May 4, 1775.

The readers will need about 15 minutes to practice the parts they will read from page 3 of the Spy.  The account of the battles begins with “WORCESTER, MAY 3.  Americans…”  As the readers are preparing, the teacher can work with the other students to discuss the varied perspectives of Tories, rebels, and parents who do not want war.  Guide each student in writing down their opinions about the revolutionary battles.


Scene I

A post rider makes a noisy entrance and announces the Massachusetts Spy with accounts of the battles at Lexington and Concord.  The 4 readers each get a copy of the Spy from the post rider.  They begin to read the newspaper accounts.  The readings must be loud and forceful with many pauses.  During the pauses, the other students play their respective roles and offer up opposing viewpoints of what they are hearing.

Scene II

Dramatize a group of townspeople reading and responding to the Narrative of the Excursion and Ravages of the King’s Troops with the depositions taken to describe the battles on April 19, 1775.

This document can be shared by readers in turn.  Read the title, a series of depositions, and finally the list of those killed, wounded, or missing.  There should also be students to portray the Tory and rebel viewpoints of what they hear.

Scene III

The military camp of British soldiers some time after the Battle of Bunker Hill.  The song, Battle of Bunker Hill (broadside), should be sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle.  This provides the British perspective on the famous battle.