Paul Revere's Ride
David Hackett Fischer
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Paul Revere's midnight ride looms as an almost mythical event in American history--yet it has been largely ignored by scholars and left to patriotic writers and debunkers. Now one of the foremost American historians offers the first serious look at the events of the night of April 18, 1775--what led up to it, what really happened, and what followed--uncovering a truth far more remarkable than the myths of tradition.
In Paul Revere's Ride, David Hackett Fischer fashions an exciting narrative that offers deep insight into the outbreak of revolution and the emergence of the American republic. Beginning in the years before the eruption of war, Fischer illuminates the figure of Paul Revere, a man far more complex than the simple artisan and messenger of tradition. Revere ranged widely through the complex world of Boston's revolutionary movement--from organizing local mechanics to mingling with the likes of John Hancock and Samuel Adams. When the fateful night arrived, more than sixty men and women joined him on his task of alarm--an operation Revere himself helped to organize and set in motion. Fischer recreates Revere's capture that night, showing how it had an important impact on the events that followed. He had an uncanny gift for being at the center of events, and the author follows him to Lexington Green--setting the stage for a fresh interpretation of the battle that began the war. Drawing on intensive new research, Fischer reveals a clash very different from both patriotic and iconoclastic myths. The local militia were elaborately organized and intelligently led, in a manner that had deep roots in New England. On the morning of April 19, they fought in fixed positions and close formation, twice breaking the British regulars. In the afternoon, the American officers switched tactics, forging a ring of fire around the retreating enemy which they maintained for several hours--an extraordinary feat of combat leadership. In the days that followed, Paul Revere led a new battle-- for public opinion--which proved even more decisive than the fighting itself.
When the alarm-riders of April 18 took to the streets, they did not cry, "the British are coming," for most of them still believed they were British. Within a day, many began to think differently. For George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine, the news of Lexington was their revolutionary Rubicon. Paul Revere's Ride returns Paul Revere to center stage in these critical events, capturing both the drama and the underlying developments in a triumphant return to narrative history at its finest.
Revere was dismounted and unarmed. He had not been to bed since the night of the 17th. One imagines him dozing for a few moments in a chimney corner at the Clarke house, or perhaps resting by the fire in the taproom of the Buckman Tavern. But soon he would have been stirring again. Sometime during the day he headed east, and by evening he was in the vicinity of Cambridge and Watertown. The next day he was meeting with the Committee of Safety, helping to organize the American effort. 45 Heath
Revere’s Ride David Hackett Fischer. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references (p.) and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-19-509831-0 (pbk) ISBN-13: 978-0-19-508847-2 (case) 1. Revere, Paul, 1735-1818. 2. Massachusetts—History—Revolution, 1775-1783. 3. Lexington, Battle of, 1775. 4. Concord, Battle of, 1775. I. Title. F69.R43F57 1994 973.’311’092--dc20 93-25739 CLOTH 10 9 8 7 6 5 PAPER 25 24 23 22 21 20 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper For Susie, with love
remains today. When they reached Concord, the town appeared to them like an armed camp, with sentries posted at its approaches, and vast quantities of munitions on hand. The British officers met a woman in the road and asked directions to the house of Daniel Bliss, a Loyalist lawyer and one of Concord’s leading citizens. She showed them the way. Bliss welcomed the two officers, and offered them dinner. A little later the woman suddenly returned, weeping with fear. She explained between her tears
Adams and John Hancock, who instantly recognized their midnight caller. “Come in, Revere,” Hancock called in his irritating way, “we’re not afraid of you.” 47 Paul Revere entered the Clarke house in his spurs and heavy riding boots, his long mud-spattered surtout swirling around him. He delivered his message to Hancock and Adams. The hour was a little past midnight. The men began to talk urgently among themselves. Revere asked if Dawes had arrived, and was concerned to hear that nobody had seen
red woolen fabric that was strong and densely woven, and meant to stand hard service. After the battle, Dover militiaman Jabez Baker carried home one of these red coats as a souvenir. In the New England way, it was put to work as a scarecrow in the fields. So sturdy was its cloth that it was still in service as late as 1866, a tattered survivor of ninety New England winters and an impressive testament to the durability of its sturdy British cloth. 12 The red coats were elaborately embellished