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Thread: Paul Revere's Ride.... 18 April 1775 - Patriot's Day

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    Default Paul Revere's Ride.... 18 April 1775 - Patriot's Day

    Paul Revere's Ride
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Listen my children and you shall hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
    On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
    Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year.

    He said to his friend, "If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to-night,
    Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
    Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
    One if by land, and two if by sea;
    And I on the opposite shore will be,
    Ready to ride and spread the alarm
    Through every Middlesex village and farm,
    For the country folk to be up and to arm."

    Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
    Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
    Just as the moon rose over the bay,
    Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
    The Somerset, British man-of-war;
    A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
    Across the moon like a prison bar,
    And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
    By its own reflection in the tide.

    Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
    Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
    Till in the silence around him he hears
    The muster of men at the barrack door,
    The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
    And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
    Marching down to their boats on the shore.

    Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
    By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
    To the belfry chamber overhead,
    And startled the pigeons from their perch
    On the sombre rafters, that round him made
    Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
    By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
    To the highest window in the wall,
    Where he paused to listen and look down
    A moment on the roofs of the town
    And the moonlight flowing over all.

    Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
    In their night encampment on the hill,
    Wrapped in silence so deep and still
    That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
    The watchful night-wind, as it went
    Creeping along from tent to tent,
    And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
    A moment only he feels the spell
    Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
    Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
    For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
    On a shadowy something far away,
    Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
    A line of black that bends and floats
    On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

    Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
    Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
    On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
    Now he patted his horse's side,
    Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
    Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
    And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
    But mostly he watched with eager search
    The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
    As it rose above the graves on the hill,
    Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
    And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
    A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
    He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
    But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
    A second lamp in the belfry burns.

    A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
    A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
    And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
    Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
    That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
    The fate of a nation was riding that night;
    And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
    Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
    He has left the village and mounted the steep,
    And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
    Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
    And under the alders that skirt its edge,
    Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
    Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

    It was twelve by the village clock
    When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
    He heard the crowing of the cock,
    And the barking of the farmer's dog,
    And felt the damp of the river fog,
    That rises after the sun goes down.

    It was one by the village clock,
    When he galloped into Lexington.
    He saw the gilded weathercock
    Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
    And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
    Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
    As if they already stood aghast
    At the bloody work they would look upon.

    It was two by the village clock,
    When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
    He heard the bleating of the flock,
    And the twitter of birds among the trees,
    And felt the breath of the morning breeze
    Blowing over the meadow brown.
    And one was safe and asleep in his bed
    Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
    Who that day would be lying dead,
    Pierced by a British musket ball.

    You know the rest. In the books you have read
    How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
    How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
    >From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
    Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
    Then crossing the fields to emerge again
    Under the trees at the turn of the road,
    And only pausing to fire and load.

    So through the night rode Paul Revere;
    And so through the night went his cry of alarm
    To every Middlesex village and farm,---
    A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
    A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
    And a word that shall echo for evermore!
    For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
    Through all our history, to the last,
    In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
    The people will waken and listen to hear
    The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Paul Revere's Ride.... 18 April 1775

    Colonial America
    Paul Revere's Midnight Ride
    April 18-19, 1775

    http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1261.html

    In the spring of 1775, most of the Massachusetts Patriot leaders had taken refuge in outlying communities, fearing arrest by British officials. Remaining in Boston were two physicians, Benjamin Church and Joseph Warren, the latter serving as the group’s leader in Samuel Adams' absence. Paul Revere, a trusted messenger, also stayed in the city, tended his business interests and as unobtrusively as possible, kept an eye on the soldiers stationed in the city.

    Revere became suspicious in mid-April when he noticed that British landing craft were being drawn out of the water for repairs — a clear indication that something was afoot. On the 16th he made a trip to Concord, a key community because it was the temporary home of the Provincial Congress and also a storehouse for militia guns, powder, and shot. He warned the residents there that redcoats were likely to be dispatched in the near future to seize the town’s arms supply. Revere’s warning was taken to heart and the townspeople began to hide arms and valuables in barns, wells, and the neighboring swamps.

    On his return home, Revere met with Patriot leaders in Charlestown and agreed on a plan to provide notice about the route the British would take to reach Concord. This was a necessary precaution because there was considerable doubt that Revere or others would be able to get out of Boston at the crucial time.

    Revere agreed to arrange for the placement of signal lanterns in the belfry of Old North Church where they could have been easily seen across the Charles River. If one lantern were displayed, the British would be advancing by land over the Boston Neck, then north and west to Concord. If two lanterns were hung, the redcoats would have chosen to cross the Charles by boat to Cambridge, then west to their target.

    The former route was unlikely because the soldiers would be clearly visible marching down the Neck, eliminating any element of surprise. The latter plan offered opportunities for concealing movement under cover of darkness and was five miles shorter than the alternative.

    Revere resumed his activities in Boston, but in the early evening of April 18, he received word from a stable boy that the British were preparing boats for crossing the Charles. In short order, two other sources confirmed the initial report.

    Revere Ride Map

    At about 10 p.m., Warren decided that warning had to be given to Sam Adams and John Hancock, who were wanted by British authorities and were likely candidates for the gallows. A young shoemaker, William Dawes, was sent by the land route through Roxbury, Brookline, and Cambridge.

    As insurance against Dawes’ capture or detention, Revere took the water route out of Boston, but his effort almost failed at its inception. Revere had forgotten cloth rags to muffle the sound of the oars for the passage across the Charles. Any noise created the risk of alerting the crew of the Somerset, a man-of-war at anchor on the river. Legend says the crossing was accomplished when a resourceful boatman acquired a petticoat from his girlfriend and used that garment to wrap the oars.

    On arriving in Charlestown and gaining his mount, Revere narrowly escaped capture by two British soldiers and had to alter his route to the north. He pressed on to Lexington where he found Hancock and Adams at the home of Jonas Clark. Revere was joined by Dawes, who had successfully slipped past the guards on Boston Neck, and a third man, Dr. Samuel Prescott, a resident of Concord.

    Before the trio could cover the five miles between Lexington and Concord, they encountered a roadblock manned by redcoats. Responding to the urgency of the moment, they proceeded to break through. Prescott used his intimate knowledge of the countryside to his advantage and successfully eluded capture - he was the only one of the three to complete the journey and deliver the alarm to Concord.

    Dawes initially appeared to have escaped his pursuers, but was thrown from his horse and captured. Revere was taken prisoner and during his interrogation deliberately provided greatly inflated numbers of militiamen awaiting the British at Concord.

    During the ride back to Lexington, Revere and his captors heard shots fire and church bells ring throughout the area — events that gave some credence to Revere’s report of colonial preparations. Fearing for their safety, the British released Revere, but took the precaution of giving him a tired horse to slow his return to Lexington.

    Revere later joined Hancock and Adams on their retreat into the countryside, but made a frantic return to a Lexington tavern where Hancock had inadvertently left some valuable papers. As dawn broke, Revere departed from the town with the valuable documents in hand and rode past militiamen in the process of assembling. A short time later he could hear shots and see smoke in the distance, the opening round in the struggle for independence.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Paul Revere's Ride.... 18 April 1775

    Conflict and Revolution
    1775


    April 14, 1775 - Massachusetts Governor Gage is secretly ordered by the British to enforce the Coercive Acts and suppress "open rebellion" among colonists by using all necessary force.


    April 18, 1775 - General Gage orders 700 British soldiers to Concord to destroy the colonists' weapons depot.


    That night, Paul Revere and William Dawes are sent from Boston to warn colonists. Revere reaches Lexington about midnight and warns Sam Adams and John Hancock who are hiding out there.


    At dawn on April 19 about 70 armed Massachusetts militiamen stand face to face on Lexington Green with the British advance guard. An unordered 'shot heard around the world' begins the American Revolution. A volley of British muskets followed by a charge with bayonets leaves eight Americans dead and ten wounded.


    The British regroup and head for the depot in Concord, destroying the colonists' weapons and supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, a British platoon is attacked by militiamen, with 14 casualties.


    British forces then begin a long retreat from Lexington back to Boston and are harassed and shot at all along the way by farmers and rebels and suffer over 250 casualties. News of the events at Lexington and Concord spreads like wildfire throughout the Colonies.
    Libertatem Prius!


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