The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
On the evening of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren sent for both Paul Revere and William Dawes. They were to alarm Concord of the impending expedition. Dawes departed first at about 9:30 P.M, sent by way of Boston Neck. Revere then arrived and received his orders. Warren wanted him to go to Lexington and warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams. He stopped at the North Church and arranged for the signal to be given for Colonel Conant. He then got two of his friends to act as oarsmen. They muffled the oars and crossed the Charles River downstream from where the British expedition was gathering following its crossing.
At around 11 o'clock, Revere walked into town and met with Colonel Conant and Richard Devens, a member of the Committee of Safety. They had seen the signal lanterns and Devens had already sent a rider ahead to Lexington. Revere borrowed a horse from Deacon John Larkin and set out under bright moonlight. He was not far past the intersection of the Cambridge and Medford roads, when he spotted two British officers in the shade of a tree. He turned and headed back to make for the Medford road. One officer attempted to cut across a field to intercept Revere, but got stuck in a pond. The second officer gave up as Revere's horse outdistanced his horse.
Revere now was taking the longer route that swung to the north around Cambridge. He stopped in Medford and warned the captain of the Medford minutemen. He returned to the main road to Lexington past Cambridge. Sometime just after midnight, he arrived at Reverend Jonas Clarke's house, which was where John Hancock and Samuel Adams were staying. He was intercepted by William Munroe, the sergeant of Lexington's minutemen. Munroe was standing guard over the house and did not recognize Revere. Revere was impatient and asked to see Hancock. Munroe advised him to be quiet because the residents were resting. Revere responded, "Noise. You will have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out."
Munroe then let him pass and he knocked on the door and Reverend Clarke appeared. Finally, Hancock appeared and invited Revere into the house. Revere delivered the written message from Dr. Warren. Revere then refreshed himself and Deacon Larkin's horse. William Dawes finally arrived at the Clarke house with the same message from Dr. Warren. After a rest, Dawes and Revere set out for Concord at a relaxed pace. They were soon overtaken by Dr. Samuel Prescott, who was from Concord. He accounted himself as a Patriot. He astutely pointed out that the inhabitants of Concord would be more apt to believe him than two strangers. The two riders decided to allow him to join in their endeavor.
At around 1 A.M., outside of Lincoln, about halfway to Concord, Dawes and Dr. Prescott were warning a house, Revere spotted two British officers. He thought that they could arrest the two officers. He called to Dawes and Prescott and rode ahead. He quickly found himself surrounded by four British officers, as were Dawes and Prescott when they rode up. The three were directed into a field. Dr. Prescott told Revere that he was could to make a run for it. He then jumped a stone wall and escaped because he knew the terrain well. Revere also broke away, making for a wood where he could escape on foot, but instead ran into more officers. Dawes galloped to a nearby farmhouse and then returned to Lexington by foot, having decided that his work was done.
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