What Paul Revere Did…

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In his own words. Let me know where you find the part where he was charged with warning the British not to mess with us!

I, PAUL REVERE, of Boston, in the colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England; of lawful age, do testify and say; that I was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren, of said Boston, on the evening of the 18th of April, about 10 o’clock; when he desired me, ”to go to Lexington, and inform Mr. Samuel Adams, and the Hon. John Hancock Esq. that there was a number of soldiers, composed of light troops, and grenadiers, marching to the bottom of the common, where there was a number of boats to receive them; it was supposed that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Cambridge River, to take them, or go to Concord, to destroy the colony stores.”

I proceeded immediately, and was put across Charles River and landed near Charlestown Battery; went in town, and there got a horse. While in Charlestown, I was informed by Richard Devens Esq. that he met that evening, after sunset, nine officers of the ministerial army, mounted on good horses, and armed, going towards Concord.

I set off, it was then about 11 o’clock, the moon shone bright. I had got almost over Charlestown Common, towards Cambridge, when I saw two officers on horse-back, standing under the shade of a tree, in a narrow part of the road. I was near enough to see their holsters and cockades. One of them started his horse towards me, the other up the road, as I supposed, to head me, should I escape the first. I turned my horse short about, and rode upon a full gallop for Mistick Road. He followed me about 300 yards, and finding he could not catch me, returned. I proceeded to Lexington, through Mistick, and alarmed Mr. Adams and Col. Hancock.

After I had been there about half an hour Mr. Daws arrived, who came from Boston, over the Neck.

We set off for Concord, and were overtaken by a young gentleman named Prescot, who belonged to Concord, and was going home. When we had got about half way from Lexington to Concord, the other two stopped at a house to awake the men, I kept along. When I had got about 200 yards ahead of them, I saw two officers as before. I called to my company to come up, saying here was two of them, (for I had told them what Mr. Devens told me, and of my being stopped). In an instant I saw four of them, who rode up to me with their pistols in their bands, said ”G—d d—n you, stop. If you go an inch further, you are a dead man.” Immediately Mr. Prescot came up. We attempted to get through them, but they kept before us, and swore if we did not turn in to that pasture, they would blow our brains out, (they had placed themselves opposite to a pair of bars, and had taken the bars down). They forced us in. When we had got in, Mr. Prescot said ”Put on!” He took to the left, I to the right towards a wood at the bottom of the pasture, intending, when I gained that, to jump my horse and run afoot. Just as I reached it, out started six officers, seized my bridle, put their pistols to my breast, ordered me to dismount, which I did. One of them, who appeared to have the command there, and much of a gentleman, asked me where I came from; I told him. He asked what time I left . I told him, he seemed surprised, said ”Sir, may I crave your name?” I answered ”My name is Revere. ”What” said he, ”Paul Revere”? I answered ”Yes.” The others abused much; but he told me not to be afraid, no one should hurt me. I told him they would miss their aim. He said they should not, they were only waiting for some deserters they expected down the road. I told him I knew better, I knew what they were after; that I had alarmed the country all the way up, that their boats were caught aground, and I should have 500 men there soon. One of them said they had 1500 coming; he seemed surprised and rode off into the road, and informed them who took me, they came down immediately on a full gallop. One of them (whom I since learned was Major Mitchel of the 5th Reg.) clapped his pistol to my head, and said he was going to ask me some questions, and if I did not tell the truth, he would blow my brains out. I told him I esteemed myself a man of truth, that he had stopped me on the highway, and made me a prisoner, I knew not by what right; I would tell him the truth; I was not afraid. He then asked me the same questions that the other did, and many more, but was more particular; I gave him much the same answers. He then ordered me to mount my horse, they first searched me for pistols. When I was mounted, the Major took the reins out of my hand, and said ”By G—d Sir, you are not to ride with reins I assure you”; and gave them to an officer on my right, to lead me. He then ordered 4 men out of the bushes, and to mount their horses; they were country men which they had stopped who were going home; then ordered us to march. He said to me, ”We are now going towards your friends, and if you attempt to run, or we are insulted, we will blow your brains out.” When we had got into the road they formed a circle, and ordered the prisoners in the center, and to lead me in the front. We rode towards Lexington at a quick pace; they very often insulted me calling me rebel, etc., etc. After we had got about a mile, I was given to the sergeant to lead, he was ordered to take out his pistol, (he rode with a hanger,) and if I ran, to execute the major’s sentence.

When we got within about half a mile of the Meeting House we heard a gun fired. The Major asked me what it was for, I told him to alarm the country; he ordered the four prisoners to dismount, they did, then one of the officers dismounted and cut the bridles and saddles off the horses, and drove them away, and told the men they might go about their business. I asked the Major to dismiss me, he said he would carry me, let the consequence be what it will. He then ordered us to march.

When we got within sight of the Meeting House, we heard a volley of guns fired, as I supposed at the tavern, as an alarm; the Major ordered us to halt, he asked me how far it was to Cambridge, and many more questions, which I answered. He then asked the sergeant, if his horse was tired, he said yes; he ordered him to take my horse. I dismounted, and the sergeant mounted my horse; they cut the bridle and saddle of the sergeant’s horse, and rode off down the road. I then went to the house were I left Messrs. Adams and Hancock, and told them what had happened; their friends advised them to go out of the way; I went with them, about two miles across road.

After resting myself, I set off with another man to go back to the tavern, to inquire the news; when we got there, we were told the troops were within two miles. We went into the tavern to get a trunk of papers belonging to Col. Hancock. Before we left the house, I saw the ministerial troops from the chamber window. We made haste, and had to pass through our militia, who were on a green behind the Meeting House, to the number as I supposed, about 50 or 60, I went through them; as I passed I heard the commanding officer speak to his men to this purpose; ”Let the troops pass by, and don’t molest them, without they begin first.” I had to go across road; but had not got half gunshot off, when the ministerial troops appeared in sight, behind the Meeting House. They made a short halt, when one gun was fired. I heard the report, turned my head, and saw the smoke in front of the troops. They immediately gave a great shout, ran a few paces, and then the whole fired. I could first distinguish irregular firing, which I supposed was the advance guard, and then platoons; at this time I could not see our militia, for they were covered from me by a house at the bottom of the street.


From The “A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day” Dept – Sarah Palin And History.

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Well, a number of Conservative are jumping all over the press and critics who lambasted Sarah Palin on her Paul Revere quote. For instance, Glen Reynolds (Insta-P) has this featured on his blog today:

PAUL REVERE UPDATE: Experts back Sarah Palin’s historical account.

He then writes:

Money quote: “A lot of the criticism is unfair and made by people who are themselves ignorant of history.”

Here is the Palin Quote:

“He who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and by making sure that as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.”

Before I go on, I must note that Palin is more right than her critics, myself included, would like to admit. Here is the Wiki description of the circumstances behind the Revere ride:

On April 14, 1775, General Gage received instructions from Secretary of State William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, to disarm the rebels, who were known to have hidden weapons in Concord, among other locations, and to imprison the rebellion’s leaders, especially Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Dartmouth gave Gage considerable discretion in his commands.[8][9] Gage issued orders to Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith to proceed from Boston “with utmost expedition and secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and destroy… all Military stores…”

So the Brit’s were intending to take away the guns of the Rebels. Score one of Palin. BUT, was that what Revere’s mission as a messenger was, to warn the Colonists that the Brits were going to take away their arms?

Uhm…. no.

His mission was to warn that the British army was now on land and approaching. Further, is there any evidence that the main concern of the riders on this night was that their guns would be taken away? Lets examine that.

Revere arrived in Lexington around midnight, with Dawes arriving about a half hour later. They met with Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were spending the night with Hancock’s relatives (in what is now called the Hancock-Clarke House), and they spent a great deal of time discussing plans of action upon receiving the news. They believed that the forces leaving the city were too large for the sole task of arresting two men and that Concord was the main target.

The ride of Revere was a carefully planned event, and in fact there was another ride seven months before that WAS warning of the British regulars confiscating weapons called the Powder Alarm. It involved the British attempt to disarm the Colonists, not so much by taking away their guns, but by securing the gun powder supplies! That attempt stalled in its tracks. Which brings us back to Revere’s ride. He and the other riders were not as concerned with the British taking away their guns or gun powder, there was by this time much more at stake! The lives of fellow patriots Adams and Hancock were now in great danger, and that this new invasion by “the Regulars” was a full scale invasion to capture Concord!

Oh, there was one part of the Palin quote that is often left out when you see the Revere topic discussed:

“We saw where Paul Revere hung out as a teenager, which was something new to learn.”

This part of the quote is more important than you realize. You learn a few interesting things when you become a teacher, and in my short time teaching, I quickly learned to spot when someone has command of facts, or when someone slacked off the normal studies and crammed, hoping to retain enough knowledge to pass an exam. Palins comment smacks of the latter. She had just visited some historical sites, and remembered some stuff, but didn’t have the knowledge base to put the correct bits of info she did have into a coherent accounting of the ride of Paul Revere. Basically, she could see Paul Revere from her house!

Palin stuttered out some bits of correct info, but it’s clearly not in any context and doesn’t show any historical accuracy of the actual event. And then, just to show just how much she doesn’t get, she said this on FOX news:

“Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms.”

Uhm… no. That was not part of the plan. He almost certainly improvised that.

Revere, Dawes, and Prescott were detained by a British Army patrol in Lincoln at a roadblock on the way to Concord.[12] Prescott jumped his horse over a wall and escaped into the woods; he eventually reached Concord. Dawes also escaped, though he fell off his horse not long after and did not complete the ride.[19][20]
Revere was questioned by the British officers and told them of the army’s movement from Boston, and that British army troops might be in some danger if they approached Lexington, because of the large number of hostile militia gathered there.[21] He and other captives taken by the patrol were then escorted east toward Lexington, until the sound of musket fire from the town center alarmed the patrolmen. Revere explained to them that it was probably an arriving militia company that had fired a volley upon its arrival. The sound was followed not long after by the pealing of the town bell.[22] The British confiscated Revere’s horse, and rode off to warn the approaching army column. Revere was horseless and walked through a cemetery and pastures until he came to Rev. Clarke’s house where Hancock and Adams were staying. As the battle on Lexington Green continued, Revere helped John Hancock and his family escape from Lexington with their possessions, including a trunk of Hancock’s papers.[20]

Revere only warned some British troops AFTER they captured him! Unless Revere planned to get captured, which was unlikely since he too was already known to be sympathetic to the rebel cause and would have been in danger of arrest or worse, there was no intent on his ride to confide in and warn the Regulars.

I would revise the “Money quote” to this one featured in the article:

“I would call her lucky in her comments,”

UPDATE: Here is a description of Paul Revere’s ride, by Paul Revere himself:

I, PAUL REVERE, of Boston, in the colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England; of lawful age, do testify and say; that I was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren, of said Boston, on the evening of the 18th of April, about 10 o’clock; when he desired me, ”to go to Lexington, and inform Mr. Samuel Adams, and the Hon. John Hancock Esq. that there was a number of soldiers, composed of light troops, and grenadiers, marching to the bottom of the common, where there was a number of boats to receive them; it was supposed that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Cambridge River, to take them, or go to Concord, to destroy the colony stores.”

Meanwhile, Palin keeps digging the hole deeper. Here she demonstrates her knowledge of American history on last nights interview with Chris Wallace:

You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming,

No, he didn’t. The phrase was “The Regulars are coming out”. And there is little evidence that he went from town to town yelling that phrase. He did go to specific houses, of known fellow patriots, and tell them “the Regulars are coming out”, a code understood to mean that the British army had landed.

and they were going to try take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take it.

Partially right. The main mission for Revere was to warn friends and fellow patriots Sam Adams and John Hancock to get out of town, because it was believe they were a main target for arrest.

But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area.

Uhm… Longer than that, considering most of the population were still British subjects! We were still British.

And part of Paul Revere’s ride — and it wasn’t just one ride — he was a courier, he was a messenger.

Check. Got that right.

Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well- armed persons, individual, private militia that we have.

He did warn the British.

Yeah… With a gun to his head! But he didn’t do it as part of the original plan.

And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.

Here, my friends, is the “gotcha question”:

What have you seen so far today, and what are you going to take away from your visit?

No, you don’t.

We Lost Another Great Artist.

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Andrew Gold has passed away. He was only 59. 🙁

Gold was quite the talent. He was another one of those guys who could play anything.

Growing up in the 70’s, I was not a very happy kid. The sentiment expressed in “Lonely Boy” really touched my heart. The song made it seem like I was not alone in suffering. It somehow made life a little better.

It’s Raining… What????

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In June???

That NEVER happens here in the San Joaquin Valley this time of year!

And we’re not talking sprinkles… it’s raining, with the occasional thunder clap!

I post this song in honor of this truly rare event!

PS. Yes, I made the vid for the song.