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 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, according to Revere himself.

“In Lexington, as he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sergeant Monroe, acting as a guard outside the house, 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, while he was eating and drinking in preparation for another grueling ride through the dark to Concord, William Dawes showed up, carrying the same news.

Dawes had come over land, down the narrow spit that at that time connected Boston to the mainland. “Unlike Revere, who awoke town leaders and militia commanders along the way to share his news, 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,” writes Christopher Klein for History.com.

The two men set out together for Concord. On the road, they bumped into Samuel Prescott, 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, while Revere pushed on. Revere saw two British officers and warned Prescott and Dawes, but was himself 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—already better known, when he set out, than either of the other men. Both Dawes and Prescott faded into obscurity, while 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 (21)
  • WilliamF-del
    4/21/2018 - 09:30 a.m.

    The poem gives credit to only Paul Revere because he was a well known political figure. Another reason was that the other two men might not have been included is that they joined along the way. This is why Paul Revere stood out rather than the other two men.

  • SophiaD-del1
    4/21/2018 - 09:30 a.m.

    I think that Paul Revere was more famous for the midnight ride because he was a more familiar figure to everybody. He was the person who made the carving of the Boston Massacre and was also an important figure in the patriotic fight with the British.

  • AnnabelleA-del
    4/21/2018 - 09:51 a.m.

    We are more familiar with Paul Revere because he was already a well-known public figure before his midnight ride. He was very politically involved before anything. While the other two men faded, he stayed well-known and popular.

  • ZofiaT-del
    4/21/2018 - 04:28 p.m.

    I think we are more familiar with Paul Revere than the other men who made the famous midnight ride. I think it is because Paul Revere is a much more known political figure and politician. He probably also lied about everyone else, so he would be in fame.

  • JasminderK-del
    4/21/2018 - 04:49 p.m.

    I think people are more familiar with Paul revere than they are with the other men because Paul revere had a big role during the revolution so people would be more familiar with him when reading the poem and it would overall be more convenient.

  • GregoryM-del
    4/21/2018 - 06:18 p.m.

    A poem immortalized Paul Revere. According to the poem, there was nobody on his midnight ride but him and his horse. Revere was not alone as many people thought.

  • JuliaA -del
    4/21/2018 - 10:28 p.m.

    We are more familiar with Paul Revere than other men who made the famous midnight ride. Revere was apart of many OTHER famous things like the Boston Massacre.

  • NatalieH-del
    4/22/2018 - 11:04 a.m.

    I believe we're more familiar with Paul Revere than the other men who rode with him. He was an active politician, and was apart of much more in history. Yes, the midnight ride was an important part of our history, but unlike the other men, Paul Revere contributed more to history.

  • AkshayB-del
    4/22/2018 - 11:26 a.m.

    We are more familiar with Paul Revere than the other men since he was one of the well known political figures that the people praised. Throughout time people would pass on this information and that's how people would be more familiar with him since they got to know who he was. Paul Revere also did more amazing and fascinating things then the other men like he made the Boston massacre carving which made him popular.

  • SarahT-del
    4/22/2018 - 12:42 p.m.

    We're obvisouly more familiar with Paul Revere due to him having the most apprecation in the poem and from preventing the British to win again. He was more active in other problems with the British which made him historically popular.

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