Rebel Base

The forgotten first command center of the Revolution



isitors to Harvard Square and Harvard University often miss the most historic part: the birthplace of the U.S. Army, Cambridge Common, just across the street from Harvard Yard, where George Washington took command of the Continental Army on July 3, 1775. More than 16,000 colonial soldiers pitched their tents in Cambridge at the onset of the Revolutionary War, or commandeered quarters at Harvard, and a slice of the elm tree under which Washington first addressed them is at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House. Even before then, William Dawes rode across the Common, too, when he warned the Minutemen in Lexington and Concord that the British were coming on April 18, 1775, yet the many people who wait for buses there seldom notice the horseshoes in the pavement that mark his route. Marcus


A powderhorn carried by Thomas Larrabee, a local farmer who helped row George Washington across the Delaware, is among the secrets of the Sawin Museum of local history at Dedham and Centre streets in Dover. It’s open Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., April through June and September through November.

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