The midnight ride of Paul Revere and some other guys "Paul Revere waiting for the signal from the Old North Church Tower" (Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers collection/Wiki/Charles Bush, from the New York Public Library Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/midnight-ride-paul-revere-and-some-other-guys-180962866/#mB8lI8DpSLpoW5Bo.99 Give the gift of Smiths)
The midnight ride of Paul Revere and some other guys
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A poem immortalized Paul Revere. According to the poem, there was nobody on his midnight ride but him and his horse.

But there are a few things Henry Wadsworth Longfellow glossed over. In particular, that Revere wasn’t alone on his famous ride. That's when he warned American patriots that British troops were on the move. It was a night in 1775. A more accurate title would have been “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott.”

Revere was asked by patriot Joseph Warren to take news to Lexington that British troops were on the march. That's how the ride went, according to The Paul Revere House.

“According to Warren, these troops planned to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. They were staying at a house in Lexington. The troops would probably continue to the town of Concord. That was to capture or destroy military stores—gunpowder, ammunition and several cannon that had been stockpiled there.” Revere sneaked across the river and borrowed a horse in Charlestown. Then he headed to Lexington to let everyone know that, yes, the British were coming. But he never actually used that phrase. On the way to Lexington, he dodged British troops who were on horseback. That's according to Revere himself.

“In Lexington, he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying. A sergeant Monroe was acting as a guard outside the house. He requested that he not make so much noise,” the house museum writes. Revere’s response: “Noise! You’ll have noise enough before long! The regulars are coming out!”

In Lexington, William Dawes showed up. He was carrying the same news. Revere was eating and drinking in preparation for another grueling ride through the dark to Concord.

Dawes had come over land and down the narrow spit. At that time it connected Boston to the mainland. “Revere awoke town leaders and militia commanders along the way to share his news. But Dawes apparently let them sleep, either because he was singularly focused on getting to Lexington as quickly as possible or because he wasn’t as well-connected with the patriots in the countryside.” That's according to Christopher Klein writing for History.com.

The two men set out together for Concord. On the road, they bumped into Samuel Prescott. He was a young doctor who was headed back home to Concord after a visit to his fiancée. Prescott offered to help carry the news.

It was dark and probably cold. The countryside was crawling with British troops who were looking to stop patriots from spreading news. Prescott and Dawes stopped to wake people up at a house along the way. Revere pushed on. Revere saw two British officers and warned Prescott and Dawes. But Revere was captured. 

Dawes used a trick to get away. Writes Klein:

“According to family lore, the quick-witted Dawes, knowing his horse was too tired to outrun the two British officers tailing him, cleverly staged a ruse. He pulled up in front of a vacant farmhouse and shouted as if there were patriots inside: “Halloo, boys, I’ve got two of ’em!” Fearing an ambush, the two Redcoats galloped away, while Dawes reared so quickly he was bucked off his horse. Forced to limp into the moonlit night, he receded into obscurity, and Dawes lost his horse, although he managed to scare the soldiers away.”

So of the three, only Prescott finished the midnight ride. The next day was the Battle of Lexington, widely viewed as the start of the American Revolution. Why does Revere get all the credit in a poem that schoolchildren were for years forced to memorize? According to historian Marie Basile McDaniel, it’s possible that Revere got sole billing in the poem because he was so politically active. He was already better known, when he set out, than either of the other men. Both Dawes and Prescott faded into obscurity. Revere continued to be a well-known figure until his death at age 76.  

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do you think we are more familiar with Paul Revere than the other men who made the famous midnight ride?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (13)
  • jackiek-orv
    4/18/2018 - 11:26 a.m.

    I think we are more familiar with Paul Revere than the other men who made the famous midnight ride because he so politically active and he was already better known.

  • holdenj-orv
    4/18/2018 - 11:28 a.m.

    If All Three men were Captured, the British would have captured the Guns in Concord. If that happened, there would've been no America.

  • 24jmfryc
    4/19/2018 - 10:47 a.m.

    I think we are more familiar with Paul Revere than the other men who made the famous midnight ride because he was the one who survived the midnight ride and was the one that warned everyone the British were coming then rode away on his horse.

  • 24bmmath
    4/24/2018 - 10:28 a.m.

    I did know there were other people on the ride. I did not know that Paul Revere was captured . I also did not know that Samuel Prescott was the only one to finish the ride.

  • 24raheri
    4/24/2018 - 10:29 a.m.

    I agree with the article in that the reason that Revere is more well known because he was more politically active. But he wasn't the true hero. That needs to be changed. Give the others credit too.

    Comment: I really was enlightened by this. I found it very interesting.

  • 24adsoli
    4/26/2018 - 10:20 a.m.

    They were just told to do what they commander said. We also study and go deep into the history and why it happened.It is also mandatory for us to know so much about that and our scientist have discovered a lot about the ride.

  • joeyw-orv
    4/29/2018 - 03:39 p.m.

    It is good that we have a history of what happened that long ago but we do give a ton of credit to Paul Revere rather than the others that were on the ride with him too.

  • 24keolse
    5/01/2018 - 10:41 a.m.

    There was a poem written about him.People also told stories about him. He also was the one who yelled the British are coming.

  • 24iwboyc
    5/01/2018 - 10:44 a.m.

    because he was the one who said the British are coming. that is what he was more known for and also people also wrote about him. He was more noticed for doing it unseen so he could get to the people he was trying to get to.

  • 24rjgero
    5/03/2018 - 10:40 a.m.

    I think we are more familiar with Paul Revere because he told everyone the British were coming so people were aware that they could be in danger. Paul Revere was also one one the only ones to survive. That is why I think people are more familiar with Paul Revere.

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