On April 18th, 1775, 237 years ago today, a man known to modern America as a patriot took what some would call a “midnight ride” through the Massachusetts countryside in order to warn his fellow rebels that the British were marching their way.
So, on the anniversary of Paul Revere’s Ride, immortalized in American legend via a timeless poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, let’s breakdown a few of the myths that arose due to the artistic license taken with this patriotic tale.
- Revere, in fact, did not ride alone that night, leaving separately but traveling the same route into Lexington as another man, William Dawes, with both men later being accompanied by Samuel Prescott further on towards Concord.
- All the events described in the poem did not happen exclusively on April 18th. Preparation for sending news of British troop movements was made days in advance, and the dead bodies mentioned in the Old North Church courtyard were caused by the battle of Lexington, which began a day later.
- Revere did not arrive safely in Concord to warn the rebels there, but was captured–along with his fellow riders–by the British just outside the town and was questioned at gunpoint for several hours. Exciting stuff!
For more information on the truth and the myth surrounding this and other revolutionary events, check out some of the following books:
The Secret of Sarah Revere by Ann Rinaldi.
Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer.
Don’t Know Much about History by Kenneth C. Davis.
~Morgan, CLP-Main Teen