On this day in 1775 Paul Revere and Dr. William Dawes set out on horseback from Boston to warn Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British regulars were marching on Lexington and to arrest them and then on to Concord to confiscate the weapons hidden there by the colonists. Below is an account of the event.
By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington.
The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured: Dawes left the city via the Boston Neck peninsula and Revere crossed the Charles River to Charlestown by boat. As the two couriers made their way, Patriots in Charlestown waited for a signal from Boston informing them of the British troop movement. As previously agreed, one lantern would be hung in the steeple of Boston’s Old North Church, the highest point in the city, if the British were marching out of the city by Boston Neck, and two lanterns would be hung if they were crossing the Charles River to Cambridge. Two lanterns were hung, and the armed Patriots set out for Lexington and Concord accordingly. Along the way, Revere and Dawes roused hundreds of Minutemen, who armed themselves and set out to oppose the British.
Revere arrived in Lexington shortly before Dawes, but together they warned Adams and Hancock and then set out for Concord. Along the way, they were joined by Samuel Prescott, a young Patriot who had been riding home after visiting a lady friend. Early on the morning of April 19, a British patrol captured Revere, and Dawes lost his horse, forcing him to walk back to Lexington on foot. However, Prescott escaped and rode on to Concord to warn the Patriots there. After being roughly questioned for an hour or two, Revere was released when the patrol heard Minutemen alarm guns being fired on their approach to Lexington.
These men were willing the risk it all for the cause of liberty. The same spirit for liberty that lived in them today lives in all liberty loving Americans. Like Paul Revere and William Dawes today’s patriot is sounding the alarm that there are forces that seek to steal their liberties and confiscate their weapons. Patriots like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee are surrounded by statists who seek to legislate our liberties away under the guise of security, fairness, and safety. These statists seek to usurp the authority of the people and impose their will on them. This is why more than ever we need to support these Patriots and continue to sound the alarm that the statists are coming to confiscate our weapons, suppress our liberties and impose their will on us. The same cause that Paul Revere and William Dawes rode for in 1775 is the same cause we’re fighting to preserve today…liberty.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!