Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Truth is Better Than Fiction . . .

Sarah Palin doesn't know Paul Revere. Even Longfellow didn't really know Paul Revere. While it's true that both of these people altered history to make a point about what was going on in current events, the real story of Paul Revere's famous ride was even better and more dramatic than anyone could make it out to be.

According to several of Revere's own accounts of events, and the accounts of other witnesses, this is what happened on that night in 1775, the official start of the American Revolution:

-On April 16, 1775, Revere rode to Concord near Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams, along with the Provincial Congress, that there was an eminent British attack against the colonists' store of arms at Concord, and that the two men, leaders of the rebellion, might be arrested.

-That same day, Revere went to his friend Robert Newman, sexton of the Old North Church in Boston, and told him of the plan to raise lanterns in the steeple to warn the patriots across the river in Charleston of the British invasion: one lantern if the British were coming overland, and two lanterns if they came over the water.

-Two nights later, on the night of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren of the Provincial Congress in Boston sent Paul Revere and William Dawes out to warn the colonists of the British invasion force. They had been made aware by the patriot intelligence network that the redcoats were moving, and the time had come to warn the countryside.

-Revere went to Robert Newman first and told the sexton to raise two lanterns to warn Charleston, in case he did not make it there. Then he was rowed across the Charles River while William Dawes took an overland route.

-When Revere reached Charleston he was warned that ten heavily armed Bristish soldiers had been spotted on the road to Lexington. Revere borrowed a horse and rode out from Charleston, passing through Somerville, Medford, and Arlington.

-He shouted "The Regulars are coming out!", and several other riders, perhaps as many as 40, rode out to warn the rest of the countryside.

-Revere arrived in Lexington around midnight and went straight back to Hancock and Adams to warn them, and Dawes arrived a short time later. They stayed there some time, trying to decide how best to protect the two patriot leaders. Then, Revere, Dawes, and a third man, Dr. Samuel Precott, rode out to warn the colonists in Concord.

-They were stopped and detained by a British roadblock, the same ten redcoats that Revere had been warned of when he landed in Charleston. Only Prescott escaped. He reached Concord and warned them of the invasion, and the colonists repelled the attack that came later.

-Dawes escaped later and tried to return to Lexington but fell off his horse along the way and never made it.

-Revere was questioned and led at gunpoint back to Lexington. As the patrol escorting him arrived, they heard the first shots of the Battle of Lexington Green. The regulars left him there after taking his horse.

-Revere went back to Hancock's house and found the man still there, hiding with his family. He took Hancock and his family, along with several incriminating documents, and led them out of the city, narrowly escaping the British.

Exciting, harrowing, and factual, according to accounts by Revere, Dawes, and several others involved. Too bad Palin didn't do her research. She would've had a better, and truer, story of American heroism.

No comments: