Paul Revere’s Ride
by Michael Mayfield
So wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow many years later. However, the historical details
of the midnight ride are often forgotten.
Paul Revere was a craftsman living in Boston. When the citizens of Massachusetts objected
to a tax on tea levied by Great Britain, he played a leading role in the Boston Tea Party, in
which British tea was thrown overboard from a ship in the harbor in December 1773.
he British government began a crackdown on the Colony of Massachusetts. Boston
Harbor was closed, and the king sent a new governor, General homas Gage, to the colony.
he colony, which had grown accustomed to governing itself, was outraged. he colony
was further provoked as Gen. Gage sought to take stores of guns and gunpowder from the
colony. British troops controlled Boston, but the rest of the colony remained under the
control of the residents of Massachusetts.
Revere helped form a network to warn the leaders of Massachusetts that opposed the British
crackdown. He made several rides to warn of Gen. Gage’s attempts to seize stores of weapons.
Gen. Gage planned to seize arms at Concord, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775. When
Revere was told that the British troops, called Regulars, were moving by boat on the night
of April 18, he put his plan of warning into action.
He, with the help of others, crossed the harbor to Charlestown, Massachusetts, while the moon
was still low in the sky, helping him to pass a British ship unnoticed. Revere was provided a
horse in Charlestown to ride to Lexington, where he would warn the Revolutionary leaders
Samuel Adams and John Hancock. hen he planned to continue to Concord.
Soon, on the way to Lexington, he rode into trouble. In the shadows cast by the now
bright moon on the trees, he saw men on horseback. hey were British oicers. Revere
turned his horse around as the men gave chase. He found the road to Mystic, a longer way
to reach Lexington. His faster horse got away from the oicers.
Revere reached Lexington and warned Adams and Hancock. hen he continued toward
Concord, now joined by WilliamDawes and a doctor from Concord, each riding horses.
he three encountered some more British oicers, who chased the three men into a ield.
Dawes was thrown from his horse, and Revere was captured, but the doctor escaped and
warned the residents of Concord.
Revere was questioned at gunpoint and answered honestly. he oicers recognized the
name Revere as one of the revolutionaries. hey began heading back to Lexington, where
they heard gunshots. However, as it turned out, these shots were not actually hostilities.
he oicers decided to free Revere, but left him to walk.
Revere returned to Lexington and discovered that Adams and Hancock were still there. he
friends of Adams and Hancock urged them to lee, and Revere rode with them a few miles.
hen Revere returned to Lexington, where he helped hide a trunk containing valuable papers.
Early in the morning, the British troops arrived and ired on the American militia who had
assembled there. No one knows who actually ired the irst shot, but Revere was nearby to
hear it. he ighting at Lexington and later at Concord is considered the beginning of the Revolutionary War.