February 26, 2017 marks the anniversary of an event in Salem known as Leslie’s Retreat. There is a committee putting together a grouping of events around town ranging from lectures to concerts to a gala.

On Feb. 26, 1775, the first armed resistance by the colonies to British authority occurred at North Bridge in Salem. When reports that a cannon and ammunition had been hidden in North Fields, (now North Salem) General Gage sent Colonel Leslie and 300 British soldiers from Boston to Marblehead by ship. The citizens of Salem had been forewarned of the approaching British forces gathered at the North Bridge and raised the draw. What might have been the first battle of the Revolutionary War was averted because of a compromise that was made by Colonel Timothy Pickering and Colonel David Mason of the local militia and Colonel Leslie. Rev. Thomas Barnard of the North Church helped bring about the compromise. The draw was lowered and Colonel Leslie and his men marched a short distance beyond, turned and headed back to Marblehead. The British soldiers under Leslie numbered approximately 140. American soldiers under Pickering numbered approximately 50. [source: SalWiki]

How does the Wicked Running Club fit in? Many of the roads around Marblehead and Salem have not changed since 1775 and if you want to mix up your route a bit, you can follow the path of full resistance for either a 6 mile or 10.5 mile round trip. Below are links to suggested routes and a little history that you can read about and keep in your mind while you’re on the way.

It would be a great idea to run this on the day of the original retreat, but these routes can be enjoyed at any time. Always remember how lucky we are as local runners to not only be steeped in amazing scenery, but that we literally have history around every corner!

Route Suggestions:

Leslie’s Cove to Old Powder House (1755) to West Shore Drive to Marblehead-Salem Rail Trail at Forest River (3 miles)

Full route from Leslie’s Cove in Marblehead past Marblehead Powder House to Salem Dog Park (5.3 miles)

Links to learn more:

https://archive.org/stream/accountofleslies00endi/accountofleslies00endi_djvu.txt

https://storiesfromipswich.org/2014/07/05/leslies-retreat-or-how-the-revolutionary-war-almost-began-in-salem/

https://streetsofsalem.com/2014/02/26/resistance-and-retreat-in-salem-1775/

http://patch.com/massachusetts/salem/leslies-retreat-236-years-later

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