Longfellowâââs poem immortalized Revereâââs ride in a way that would never have occurred to the silversmithâââs contemporaries. It wasnââât so much that the incident went unnoticed. Itâââs just that Longfellow took so many liberties with the facts surrounding the event as to obscure the real story of that night and by so doing, overshadow the real accomplishments of one of the more interesting characters in the entire revolution.
Revere was a member of a group known as the North End Mechanics who patrolled the streets of Boston, keeping an eye on British military activity. When it became clear the British were ready to march, Revere borrowed a horse and rode off from Charleston to Lexington where Adams and Co. were staying. Duly warned, the trio of patriots made ready to flee. Before going, Warren sent both Revere and another friend of Adamsâââ, William Dawes, on the ride that would echo down through the ages. They left Lexington around midnight and were joined by another patriot Samuel Prescott. Making their way to Concord, the three men alerted the farms and tiny villages along the way with the news that the red coats were on the march.
Revereâââs participation in the revolution was by no means over. He was commissioned a Major of infantry in the Massachusetts militia in April 1776; was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of artillery in November; was stationed at Castle William, defending Boston harbor, and finally received command of this fort. He served in an expedition to Rhode Island in 1778, and in the following year participated in the disastrous Penobscot Expedition. Upon his return from that fiasco, he was court martialed for failing to obey orders. The charges were trumped up by his commanding officer, trying to absolve himself of blame for the military disaster that cost of the lives of 500 men and 43 ships. Revere was acquitted.
Hat tip to Carpe Bonum