The Myth of Paul Reveres Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Published: 2021-07-07
624 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
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The poem Paul Reveres Ride written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized Paul Revere and his famous midnight ride and placed him as a fixture of the American Revolution. Nevertheless, much of the poem is wrong, and its existence for generations has taught a false story. The ride began in Boston when Dr. Joseph Warren received crucial information about a secret British mission under General Thomas Cage. The Patriots were rebelling against the British movement, and Paul Revere developed a lantern system that would inform other riders and leaders about the action. He chose the Old North Church as the place to show the lights on the night of April 18, 1775, and chose John Pulling and Robert Newman to help him.

The alarm riders mobilized once the Patriots learned that the British Regulars were on the move. Therefore, Dr. Joseph Warren summoned two riders, Paul Revere and William Dawes to carry a message that warned the patriot leaders, John Hancock and Samuel Adams, of the British movement and suggested that the British planned to capture them. Paul Revere took the northern route out of Boston, while Dawes took the southern route. Notably, William Dawes was less influential and less well known to the people of Middlesex County as Paul Revere. Additionally, his route was longer, and he rode on a slower horse than Paul Revere did. However, he was the best person to undertake the job because the British guards most likely knew him since his work often took him to the southern route. Notably, the route took him through the cities of Roxbury, Brookline, Cambridge, Menotomy, and Lexington.

Paul Revere departed Boston and sailed across Charlestown Neck to avoid the British warship. Once across, he was redirected to Medford because of the British sentries patrolling the area. He then rode through Menotomy, alarmed the town, and then proceeded to Lexington where he met with the patriot leaders and William Dawes. The Patriot leaders were hiding in Clarke Parsonage. They discussed the information and discovered that the British capture of Hancock and Adams was only a secondary objective. The primary purpose was to obtain the military cache in Concord. Therefore, the ride continued when Revere and Dawes left the parsonage and rode off to warn the cities of Lincoln and Concord.

Just outside Lincoln, Revere and Dawes overtook Dr. Samuel Prescott, who was out late courting a woman named Lydia Mulliken. They conversed with him shortly, and he agreed to aid spread the alarm. However, soon after the discussion and just outside Lexington, Revere noticed a shadow of two British soldiers who also saw the riders and rode towards them. The riders thought they could overpower the two soldiers but surprisingly, the number rose to eight. Therefore, they tried to get away. Prescott and Revered galloped into the shadows, and Prescott managed to escape. However, Reveres horse was tired from riding the whole night and was overtaken by the soldiers, which allowed the soldiers to capture Paul Revere. In confusion, William Dawes rode in the opposite direction, but his horse got frightened and threw him off its back, which ended his trip.

Therefore, Dr. Samuel Prescott picked up from there, rode into Lincoln and alarmed the militia commander. He then traveled to Concord, where he warned the town and recruited his brother, Abel Prescott. The two men and many other unknown riders rode off and alerted the rest of the countryside. Samuel went beyond Concord and warned Acton and Stow. Similarly, Abel warned the towns of Sudbury and Framingham, which completed a full circle, Boston. Nevertheless, Abel was shot by the British regulars from the ride and died four months later. Evidently, Paul Revere played a significant role in freeing America from the British rule.


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