Modern history



1. David Gergen on Senator Paul Tsongas, MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, October 1992.

2. See below, pp. 327—44, for a more extended discussion of historiography.

3. Allen French, The Day of Lexington and Concord (1925; rpt. Boston, 1975), 1.

4. Such an approach to narrative history differs fundamentally from two others that have recently appeared in the academic literature. Social historians in the past generation called for a “revival of narrative” in which individual actors appear mainly as the captives of large deterministic processes. That approach to story-telling failed completely, for narrative without contingency lacks the vital tension that holds a story together.

More recently, several popular writers, and even some professional historians of a relativist bent have suggested that historians should solve the problem of narrative by adopting the methods of fiction, and (within various limits) openly fabricating their stories, their characters, and even their sources. This also will not do. An historian cannot manufacture his materials without ceasing to write history. Further, the remodeled relativism that has been offered as a rationalization for this practice is itself a fallacy.

Any true revival of serious narrative history must rest on two firm premises: first, no narrative without contingency; second, no history without a rigorous respect for fact.

5. None of this is meant to assert his priority over other leaders. Many volumes might be written about figures of equal or greater importance. But this is a book about Paul Revere.

6. There were at least four ideas of liberty in early America: the ordered freedom that was carried from East Anglia to Puritan New England in the great migration of 1629—40; the hegemonic freedom that went from the south and west of England to Cavalier Virginia, ca. 1640-80; the reciprocal freedom that was brought by Quakers from the North Midlands of England and Wales to the Delaware Valley; and the natural freedom that traveled from the borderlands of North Britain and northern Ireland to the American backcountry. All were challenged in 1775 by a fifth idea of a free society in Britain’s Imperial elite. For extended discussion see D. H. Fischer, Albion’s Seed (New York, 1989).

image 1. Paul Revere’s America

1. Covenant of the Methuen Militia in EIHC 7 (1870): 243; Benjamin Bangs Diary, Sept. 10, 1747, MHS; Amos Barrett, Narrative, in Journal and Letters of Henry True (Marion, Ohio, 1906); Thomas Boynton, Journal, April 19, 23, 1775, MHS; published inMHSP 15 (1877): 254-55.

2. His master was John Coney (1655-1722); the inventory of his estate, in the records of Suffolk County, included an appraisal of “Paul Rivoires time about three years and half as per. indenture, [L]30-0-0” and a note, “cash recd for Paul Rivoire’s Time, more than it was prized at … £10.” John Coney Inventory, Suffolk Probate Records, file 4641.

3. For the growth in his reputation in the past fifty years, compare John M. Phillips, “The Huguenot Heritage in American Silver,” Legion of Honor Magazine 11 (1940): 70, and Esther Forbes, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In (Boston, 1942), 10; Janine Skerry, “The Revolutionary Revere: A Critical Assessment of the Silver of Paul Revere,’ in Nina Zan-nieri, Patrick Leehey, et al.t Paul Revere—Artisan, Businessman and Patriot: The Man Behind the Myth (Boston, 1988), 44-46. Skerry writes, of the sleeve buttons in particular, “The engraved border on these sleeve buttons of overlapping leaves surrounding a stylized flower is common decorative motif on New England silver in this period … the basic shape of these buttons, however, is unusual … the shape of Revere’s round sleeve buttons is not only distinctive but challenging to fabricate as well.” One might add that the aesthetics of these small pieces also show a refinement that is not merely a matter of technique. Something similar appears also in Apollos Rivoire’s larger silver pieces.

4. Three proceedings for debt against Apollos Rivoire are in the Suffolk County Court files, 42893 (1736); 46500 (1738), and 47232 (1738); Donald M. Nielsen, “The Revere Family,” NEHGR 145 (1991): 293.

5. On variant spellings, see Elbridge Henry Goss, The Life of Colonel Paul Revere, 2 vols. (New York, 1891), I, 10; “Rwoire” is in the Coney inventory; on the “bumpkins,” John Rivoire to Paul Revere, Jan. 12, 1775, RFP, MHS.

6. Milton Halsey Thomas (ed.), The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 2 vols. (New York, 1973), I, 406 (Jan. 4, 1699).

7. Of Huguenot marriages in Boston, 1700-1749, only 31 of 266 (11.7%) were endog-amous; Jon Butler, The Huguenots in America; A Refugee People in New World Society (Cambridge, Mass., 1983), 82.

8. Patrick M. Leehey, “Reconstructing Paul Revere: An Overview of His Life, Ancestry and Work,” in Zannieri, Leehey, et al., Paul Revere, 36n.

9. See Appendix A for genealogical data, drawn mainly from Nielsen, “The Revere Family,” 291-316; and Patrick Leehey, “Reconstructing Paul Revere,” in Zannieri, Leehey, et al., Paul Revere, 15—39; both correcting many errors in Forbes, Revere, 469, and other works.

10. Paul Revere to John Rivoire, May 19, 1786, RFP, MHS.

11. Robert F. Seybolt, The Public Schools of Colonial Boston, 1635—1775 (Cambridge, Mass., 1935), 23—25; D. C. Colesworthy, John Tileston’s School (Boston, 1887).

12. Paul Revere, Engraving for North Battery Certificate, n.d., ca. 1762, reproduced in Clarence S. Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings (Worcester, Mass., 1954), 12; Forbes, Revere, 29.

13. Calvinist churches included 8 Congregationalist, 1 Anabaptist, 1 Presbyterian, and 1 French Reformed. Others were two Anglican churches and one Quaker meeting. A third Anglican church, Trinity, was founded in 1733 but its building was not open until Aug. 15, 1735; cf. Walter M. Whitehill, Boston: A Topographical History (2nd ed., Cambridge, Mass., 1968). For the location of Boston’s churches, see John Bonner and William Price, “A New Plan of the Great Town of Boston in New England” (n.p., 1733, 1743, 1769).

14. John Tucker Prince, “Boston in 1813,” Bostonian Society Publications 3 (1906): 86.

15. Lt. Richard Williams, in Jane Van Arsdale (ed.), Discord and Civil Wars, Being a Portion of a Journal Kept by Lieutenant Williams of His Majesty’s Twenty-Third Regiment While Stationed in British North America During the Time of the Revolution(Buffalo, 1954), 5 (June 12, 1775).

16. For a reconstruction of kinship in the North End, see the excellent study by Carol Ely, “North Square: A Boston Neighborhood in the Revolutionary Era,” unpublished paper, Brandeis University, 1983 (copy on file at the Paul Revere House, Boston); for the street cry, see Dirk Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 1765—1780 (New York, 1977), 226.

17. Ron Johnston, Graham Allsopp, John Baldwin, and Helen Turner, An Atlas of Bells (Oxford, 1990), 178.

18. John Dyer, Paul Revere, Josiah Flagg, Bartholemew Flagg, Jonathan Law, Jonathan Brown junior, and Joseph Snelling, Bell Ringing Agreement, n.d., ca. 1750; Old North Church; facsimile in Zannieri, Leehey, et al., Paul Revere, 149.

19. The business appears to have remained in his mother’s name until Paul Revere reached his majority; conversation with Patrick M. Leehey, Coordinator of Research, PRMA.

20. “Mrs. Deborah Revere, Dr. To 12 Months Board from December 12, 1761 to December 12 1762 at 6/8 per week 18.16.8.” Paul Revere Waste Book, RFP, MHS.

21. These were the teeth of animals, secured by metal wires. Revere claimed in his advertisements that he had set “hundreds” of false teeth; see Boston Gazette, Sept. 19, 1768.

22. Peter Jenkins, Oct. 9, 1763, Paul Revere Waste Book, RFP, MHS.

23. Paul Revere Ledgers, Jan. 3, 1761, May 6, 1786, Aug. 24, 1794, RFP, MHS.

24. Paul Revere Waste Book, Sept. 27, 1774, RFP, MHS.

25. After many years of unqualified admiration, another generation of experts has studied Revere’s silver with a more critical eye. See Skerry, “The Revolutionary Revere,” in Zannieri, Leehey, et al., Paul Revere, 41-64.

26. Appendix A, below; Daniel Scott Smith, “The Long Cycle in American Illegitimacy and Prenuptial Pregnancy,” Peter Laslett, et al. (eds.), Bastardy and Its Comparative History (Cambridge, Eng., 1980), 362-78.

27. Forbes is mistaken in thinking that the grave marker for Sarah Revere was “a type of stone at the moment in high fashion.” More recent work shows that Revere preferred the older New England customs to the new fashions of the age. Cf. James Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten; The Archaeology of Early American Life (New York, 1977), 70.

28. It is reproduced in facsimile in Goss, Revere, I, 110; for the children born of this union, see Appendix A. When a French cousin asked in 1786 about the number of his children, Paul Revere answered carefully that he had fifteen “born in wedlock.” Could this mean that there were others? Cf. Paul Revere to John Rivoire, May 19, 1786, RFP, MHS.

29. Paul Revere to Rachel Revere, Aug. 1778, RFP, MHS.

30. Rachel Revere to Paul Revere, undated, Gage Papers, WLC; published in Allen French, General Gage’s Informers (Ann Arbor, 1932), 170—71.

31. For further discussion, see David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed (New York, 1989).

32. Rowland Ellis to E. H. Goss, July 19, 1888, Goss, Revere, I, 3on, II, 611.

33. For Revere and the street lamps, Boston Town Records, 1770—1777, May 11, 1773, p. 136; for his service as coroner, some of the records are in the Revere Family Papers, MHS; for his tenure on the Board of Health after a yellow fever epidemic in 1799-1800, see John B. Blake, Public Health in the Town of Boston (Cambridge, 1959), 166; on the Charitable Mechanic Association, (Boston) Columbian Centinel, Dec. 31, 1794; and Joseph T. Buckingham, Annals of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association; on his jury service in 1806, see Justin Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, 4 vols. (Boston, 1880-81), IV, 588.

34. Notably Esther Forbes; see below, p. 338.

35. Some scholars have speculated that the decision to represent Paul Revere in the dress of an artisan was made by the painter, not the subject. No primary evidence bears explicitly on this point; I think the motif was more likely to be the result of mutual agreement. It is in any case a point of no relevance here.

36. The British officer spoke very differently to humble farmers and tradesmen. See also William Shirley, Commission to “Paul Revere, gentleman,” Feb. 18, 1755/56, RFP, MHS; and Boston Town Records, 1770-1777, July 19, 1774, p. 182.

37. Paul Revere to Supply Belcher, April 9, 1810, RFP, MHS.

38. Paul Revere to John Rivoire, May 19, 1786, RFP, MHS.

39. Ownership appears in bills and receipts for “my horse” during his rides before 1775; evidence of a mare being sent for grazing to Groton appears, without citation, in Forbes, Revere, 161—69.

40. The record of the case, before Judge Richard Dana, is reprinted in Goss, Revere, Appendix H, II, 667-68.

41. Paul Revere summarized his service record in a certificate dated April 27, 1816, reprinted in Goss, Revere, I, 22.

42. Edith J. Steblecki, “Fraternity, Philanthropy and Revolution: Paul Revere and Freemasonry,” in Zannieri, Leehey, et al.t Paul Revere, 117—47; Steblecki, Paul Revere and Freemasonry (Boston, 1985), 11—12. For a description of the Green Dragon as “the greatest celebrity among all the old Boston hostelries,” see Samuel Adams Drake, Old Landmarks and Historic Personages of Boston (1872, 1906; rpt. Rutland, Vt., 1971), 148.

43. A list of sixty members of the North Caucus who attended a meeting on March 23, 1772, appears in Goss, Revere, II, 635—44. Its leaders were an inner group of eleven men who served on executive committees: Gibbens Sharp, Nathaniel Barber, Thomas Hichborn [sic], Captain John Pulling, Henry Bass, Paul Revere, John Ballard, Dr. Thomas Young, Thomas Kimball, Abiel Ruddock, and John Lowell, names that will reappear many times in our story. Other members included Samuel Adams, William Molinaux, Dr. Joseph Warren, and Dr. Benjamin Church.

44. Its members included John Hancock and James Otis, John and Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren and Dr. Benjamin Church, Samuel and William Cooper, Josiah Quincy and Samuel Phillips, Thomas Dawes and Samuel Dexter, Thomas Fleet, John Winslow, Royall Tyler, and Thomas Melville.

45. John Adams, Diary, Oct. 27, 1772, Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 4 vols., ed. Lyman H. Butterfield (New York, 1964), II, 64-65.

46. On Cromwell’s Head, kept by Joshua Brackett in School Street, see Clarence S. Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings (Worcester, 1954), 116—17; Alice Morse Earle, State Coach and Tavern Days (New York, 1900), 86; Drake, Old Landmarks and Historic Personages of Boston, 61—62.

47. This group began as the Secret Nine or Loyal Nine, Boston artisans and shopkeepers. See Edmund S. and Helen M. Morgan, Stamp Act Crisis; Prologue to Revolution (Chapel Hill, 1953), 121—22; George P. Anderson, “A Note on Ebenezer MacKintosh,”CSM 26 (1927): 348-61; the leading study is Pauline Maier, From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 (New York, 1972).

48. Paul Revere, “View of the Obelisk erected under the Liberty-Tree in Boston on the Rejoicings for the Repeal of the—Stamp Act, 1766,” Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, 21-25; Goss notes, “It was designed by Revere, and he had prepared and issued a descriptive plate before the celebration took place.” Cf. Goss, Revere, I, 39.

49. Dennis Dooley et al., The Glorious Ninety-TwoPublished under the Authority of the Committees on Rules of the Two Branches of the General Court to Commemorate the Return to Massachusetts of the Paul Revere Liberty Bowl (Boston, 1949).

50. John Rowe, Diary, May 27 1773, MHS; published in part as Letters and Diary of John Rowe (Boston, 1903), 245.

51. Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, 58—60.

52. Many attacks on British soldiers in Boston before the Boston Massacre are documented in depositions collected from the troops themselves, in the summer of 1770. They have never been published in America, and are to be found CO 5/88, 179-262, PRO.

53. The Massacre print was drawn and engraved by Henry Pelham, and re-engraved at least three times by Paul Revere. In turn, Revere’s work was copied by Jonathan Mulliken and others. On March 29, 1770, Pelham drafted an angry letter to Paul Revere, accusing him of bringing out an edition of the print without permission, and depriving Pelham of his “advantage … as truly as if you had plundered me on the public highway.” Revere and Pelham resolved their differences and were soon doing business together again. Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, 41—46; Cf. Zobel, Boston Massacre (New York, 1970), 197—98. Scholars sympathetic to Revere have suggested that Pelham’s letter survives only in draft and was never actually sent. Evidence internal to the draft strongly indicates that the letter was actually delivered. The original document survives as Henry Pelham to Paul Revere, March 29, 1770, Intercepted Copley-Pelham Letters, CO5/39, PRO.

54. “To the Freeholders and Inhabitants of the Town of Boston in Town Meeting,” Jan. 29, 1771; Intercepted Copley-Pelham letters, CO5/39, PRO.

55. Var. Snider, Snyder.

56. Boston Gazette, March 11, 1771.

57. A Retrospect of the Boston Tea Party, with a Memoir of George R. T. Hewes (New York, 1834), 40; another interesting account of the origin of the Tea Party by a seaman who joined the North End mobs and was later pressed on board HMS Captain,appears in a Deposition of Samuel Dyer, July 30 1774, in the papers of Admiral Montagu under the date of Aug. 10, 1774, ADM1/484, PRO, Kew.

58. Francis S. Drake, Tea Leaves: Being a Collectrion of Letters and Documents Relating to the Shipment of Tea to the American Colonies in the Year 1773 … (Boston, 1884). lxvii, lxxxix, xcii, clxxvi.

59. Goss, Revere, I, 150.

60. Revere was reimbursed for his expenses by the town of Boston. See Paul Revere to David Wood, May 28, 1774; his bill read: “to a journey of my horse to King’s Bridge, New York, 234 miles.” RFP, MHS. For Revere’s appointment by town meeting, see Newell Diary, May 13, 1774; and Samuel Adams (Boston) to Paul Revere (Philadelphia), May 18, 1774, RFP, MHS; Boston Town Records, May 18, 1774, p. 175. For further details and for sources, see below, Appendix D.

61. See Appendix D for a chronology of all known rides, and sources. His expenses were paid for these trips (but not the midnight ride) by the town of Boston, and later by the provincial government. Various bills and receipts are in Revere Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Massachusetts Archives, and the Paul Revere House; some are reproduced in facsimile in Goss, Revere, I, 144.

62. John Wentworth to T. W. Waldron, Jan. 27, 1775, 6MHSC 4 (1891): 73-74.

63. “As the True Born Sons of Liberty in Boston …” April 18, 1775, oversize ms., MHS.

64. Tory writers commonly misunderstood the American Revolution as an authoritarian movement, rigidly controlled by “Sam Adams and his myrmidons,” as one of them described it. This is a common error in revolutionary conflicts, too often perpetuated by historians. Cf. Andrew Oliver Letterbook, 1767-74, Egerton ms. 2670, BL.

65. The seven lists were: the Masonic lodge that met at the Green Dragon, the Loyal Nine (1766); the North Caucus (1771); the Long Room Club (1773); the Tea Party participants (1773); the Boston Committee of Correspondence (1774); and a London Enemies List on April 18, 1775. See Appendix E for rosters, comparisons, computations, other leaders, and discussions of these groups in relation to others in the Whig movement.

66. Thomas Young to John Lamb, Lamb Papers, N-YHS.

67. Paul Revere to John Lamb, Sept. 4, 1774, Lamb Papers, N-YHS.

68. Boston Town Meeting, May 13, 1774, Boston Town Records, 1770—1777, 174.

69. Nathaniel Ames, Almanack for 1762 (Boston, 1761); Sam. Briggs (ed)., The Essays, Humor and Poems of Nathaniel Ames, Father and Son, of Dedham, Massachusetts, from Their Almanacks, 1726—1775 (Cleveland, 1891), 327. Illustrations for the Ameses’ diaries were engraved by Paul Revere. See Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, 133-36; Goss, Revere, I, 113.

70. Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (New York, 1980), 3.

image2. General Gage’s Dilemmax

1. Major William Sheriff to General Frederick Haldimand, Sept. 12 1774, Haldimand Papers, add. ms. 21665, BL.

2. Gage to Dartmouth, Aug. 27, 1774, and Gage to Barrington, Aug. 27, 1774, Clarence E. Carter (ed.), The Correspondence of General Thomas Gage, 2 vols. (New Haven, 1931; rpt. New York, 1969), I, 365; II, 651. For Gage’s bodyguard, see Percy to General Harvey, Aug. 21, 1774, Charles Knowles Bolton (ed.), Letters of Hugh Earl Percy from Boston and New York, 1775—1776 (Boston, 1902), 36; for the warning by his aides, see “The Journals of Captain John Montresor,” N-YHS Collections (1881), 123.

3. Gage to Barrington, June 25, 1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 687.

4. Gage to Barrington, private, Nov. 12, 1770, ibid., II, 564.

5. Percy to Duke of Northumberland, Aug 8, 1774, Letters of Percy, 31.

6. Intelligence Report from Concord to Gage, April 14, 1775, John R, Alden, General Gage in America (Baton Rouge, 1948), 227.

7. The standard biography is still Alden, General Gage in America; a more recent work is John Shy, “Thomas Gage: Weak Link of Empire,” George Billias (ed.), George Washington’s Opponents: British Generals and Admirals in the American Revolution(New York, 1969), 3—38; reprinted with a new preface in John Shy, A People Numerous and Armed (New York, 1976), 73-108.

8. This was Sir John Gage of Firle, who was said to have treated England’s future Queen with cruel “severity.” His death before she came to the throne may have saved the family from disaster.

9. Alden, Gage, 1—3.

10. Ibid., 5.

11. Romney Sedgwick (ed)., Some Materials Towards Memoirs of the Reign of King George II by John, Lord Hervey, 3 vols. (London, 1931), I, 265.

12. The history of Thomas Gage’s dialect remains to be written, perhaps because it is often thought to be proper English, and not perceived as dialect. But see A. S. C. Ross, “Linguistic Class-Indicators in Present-day English,” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen55 (1954); J. and L. Milroy, Authority in Language (London, 1985); Tony V. Crowley, The Politics of Discourse (London, 1989), and idem (ed.), Proper English? Readings in Language, History and Cultural Identity (London and New York, 1991). For Revere’s speech, see David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed (New York, 1989), 57-62.

13. For other versions, see J. W. Fortescue, A History of the British Army, 12 vols. (London, 1935), II, 115-16.

14. Of Braddock’s 1,459 officers and men, 977 (67%) were killed or wounded. Some historians have held Gage responsible for Braddock’s defeat, for it was the collapse of Gage’s van that began the disaster. But Gage’s comrades on that field did not condemn him, and several including Washington praised his courage and efficiency in restoring discipline among his men on the retreat. Cf. Lawrence H. Gipson, The Great War for Empire; Years of Defeat, 1754-1757 (New York, 1968), VII, 94, who is severe on Gage; and Stanley M. Pargellis, “Braddock’s Defeat,” AHR 41 (1936): 251-59, who holds Braddock responsible.

15. Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1898), II, 259; Gipson, The Great War for Empire, VII, 219-33; Alden, Gage, 45.

16. Captain John Small wrote to Copley, “Your picture of the General is universally acknowledged to be a very masterly performance, elegantly finish’d, and a most striking likeness.” “Letters and Papers of John Singleton Copley and Henry Pelham,” MHSC71 (1914): 77.

17. Alden, Gage, 72.

18.Ibid., 284.

19.Ibid., 14.

20. James Johnson to Haldimand, Sept. 15, 1774, Haldimand Papers, add. ms. 21665, BL.

21. Gage to Hillsborough, July 31, 1768, Aug. 17, 1768, July 7, 1770, Gage Correspondence, I, 205, 184, 263; to Shelburne, Oct. 19, 1767, ibid., I, 154.

22. Gage to Hillsborough, Aug. 17, 1768, ibid., I, 183—86.

23. He continued: “No laws can be put in force, for those who should execute the laws, excite the people to break them, and defend them in it. Nothing can avail in so total an anarchy but a very considerable force, and that force empower’d to act.” Gage to Barrington, July 6, 1770, ibid., II, 544—47.

24. Burke,”On Conciliation with America,” March 22, 1775, Speeches and Letters on American Affairs (London, 1956), 102.

25. Gage to Conway, Jan. 16, 1765, Gage Correspondence, I, 80—81.

26. Gage to Conway, Dec 21, 1765, ibid., I, 79.

27. Gage to Hillsborough, Sept. 7, 1768, ibid., I, 191.

28. Alden, Gage, 177.

29. Gage to Barrington, private, Nov. 12, 1770, Gage Correspondence, II, 563—64.

30. Gage to Barrington, Aug. 5, 1772, ibid., II, 615-16.

31. Gage to Hillsborough, Nov. 10, 1770, ibid., I, 277.

32. Gage to Hillsborough, Oct. 31, 1768, ibid., I, 205.

33. Gage to Hillsborough, Oct. 31, 1768, ibid., I, 204.

34. Gage to Dartmouth, Oct. 30, 1774, ibid., I 382.

35. Gage to Dartmouth, Sept. 12, 1774, ibid., I, 373-74; Gage to Hillsborough, Nov. 10, 1770, ibid., I, 277.

36. Gage to Barrington, private, Sept. 8, 1770, Alden, Gage, 188.

37. Gage to Haldimand, Aug. 4, 1774, Haldimand Papers, add. ms. 21665, BL.

38. George III to Lord North, Sir John Fortescue (ed.), The Correspondence of George the Third from 1760 to December, 1783, 6 vols. (London, 1927-28), III, 59.

39. Gage’s commission and instructions, and materials concerning his arrival as governor are reproduced in L. Kinvin Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion; A Documentary History of the Founding of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1774—1775(microfiche edition and guide, Cambridge, 1975), documents 1—11, pp. 1—63. A large part of this vast and very useful collection, drawn mainly from the Massachusetts Archives but also from many other sources, deals with the developing conflict between Gage and the legislature and towns of Massachusetts (documents 12—333, pp. 64—1068).

40. Gage to Haldimand, May 15, 1774, Haldimand Papers, add. ms. 21665, BL.

41. John R. Galvin, The Minute Men: A Compact History of the Defenders of the American Colonies 1645-1775 (New York, 1967), 90.

42. Andrew Oliver Letterbook, 1767-1774, Egerton ms 2670, BL; Gage Correspondence, I, 1365-66.

43. The Dyer affair has been misunderstood as an arrest by Gage himself under the new Coercive Acts (Alden, Gage, 209). This incident happened in a different way. The true facts are laid out in a secret letter from Gage to Dartmouth, Oct. 30, 1774, CO5/92, PRO.

44.|J. T. Buckingham], “Paul Revere,” New England Magazine 3 (1832): 304—14.

45. Gage to Dartmouth, May 30, 1774, Gage Correspondence, I, 356.

46. Gage to Dartmouth, Sept. 2, 1774, ibid., I, 371.

47. Gage to Dartmouth, Oct. 30, 1774, ibid., I, 382.

48. Gage to Dartmouth, Aug. 27, 1774, ibid., I, 367; Alden, Gage, 212.

49. He called it a “phrensy” and added his hope that “it’s only a fit of rage that will cool,” and his belief that all the trouble “has taken its rise from the old source at Boston” (Gage Correspondence, I, 367, Aug. 27, 1774). In an amiable letter to Peyton Randolph of Virginia, Gage expressed a wish that “decency and moderation here would create the same disposition at home.” He looked forward to a moment when “these asperities between the Mother Country and the Colonies have terminated like the quarrels of lovers and increased the affection they ought to bear to each other” (Gage to Peyton Randolph, Oct. 20, 1774, C05/92, PRO).

50. Gage to Dartmouth, Aug. 27, 1774, Gage Correspondence, I, 365.

image3. First Strokes

1. Gage to Dartmouth, Sept. 2, 1774, Gage Correspondence, I, 369.

2. Brattle to Gage, Aug. 26, 1774, Peter Force (ed.), American Archives, 9 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1837-53), 4th series, I, 739.

3. The site is now a park at Powder House Square, Somerville, Mass.

4. “[Account of Col. Maddison’s Expedition],” Sept. 5, 1774, AA4, I, 762; Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News-Letter, Sept. 5, 1774; Ezra Stiles, Literary Diary, ed. F. B. Dexter, 3 vols. (New York, 1901), II, 479 (Sept. 25, 1774).

5. Robert P. Richmond, Powder Alarm, 1774 (Princeton, 1971), 1—31.

6. Stiles, Literary Diary, II, 479 (Sept. 25, 1774).

7.Ibid.; Benjamin Church to Samuel Adams, Sept. 4, 1774, Samuel Adams Papers, NYPL.

8. Joseph Warren to Samuel Adams, n.d. [ca. Sept. 4, 1774], Samuel Adams Papers, NYPL.

9. Thomas Oliver, statement dated Sept. 2, 1774, AA4,1, 763; John Rowe, Diary, Sept. 1-3, 1774, MHS; published in part in Letters and Diary, 283-84.

10. One of these papers survives in ADM 1/485, PRO; for the “hot, dry” weather on Sept. 1 and 2, 1774, see Jonas Clarke Diary, LHS.

11. Revere introduced his messenger as John Marston, “a gentleman of my acquaintance, a high son of Liberty, and one that can give you a particular detail of our affairs, much better than I can write them. You will introduce him to your friends as such.” He also thanked Isaac Sears for “his kind care of my horse and sulky.” Paul Revere to John Lamb, Sept. 4, 1774, Lamb Papers N-YHS; rpt. Goss, Revere, I, 150—53.

12. Rowe, Diary, Sept. 3, 1774, MHS; published in part in Letters and Diary, 284.

13. Gage to Dartmouth, Oct. 30, 1774, Gage Correspondence, I, 383.

14. Gage to Dartmouth, Sept. 25, 1774, and Gage to Hillsborough, Sept. 25, 1774, Gage Correspondence, I, 377; II, 654.

15. David Ammerman, In the Common Cause; American Response to the Coercive Acts of 1774 (New York, 1975), 129.

16. Gage was one of the first to conclude that “foreign troops must be hired, for to begin with small numbers will encourage resistance.” Gage to Barrington, Nov. 2, 1774, Gage Correspondence, II, 659; and various dispatches in C05/92/1.

17. Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775-1783 (Cambridge, Eng., 1964), 524.

18. Dartmouth to Gage, Jan. 27, 1775, Gage Correspondence, II, 181; the Marine battalion, commanded by Major John Pitcairn, began to arrive on Dec. 5, 1774, in HMS Asia; Barker, Diary, 10.

19. Revere to Jeremy Belknap [ca. 1798], Edmund Morgan (ed.), Paul Revere’s Three Accounts (Boston, 1961), n.p.

20. Ibid.; in Puritan Boston, Bible-swearing had been condemned as idolatry; a century later, attitudes had changed. Morgan (ed.), Paul Revere’s Three Accounts, introduction.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid.; in the manuscript Revere identified their place of meeting as the Masonic hall, then crossed it out and wrote in the name of the Green Dragon Tavern.

23. The decision to warn Portsmouth appears to have been made by Revere and a rump of the committee. A “gentleman of Boston” wrote to Rivington in New York, Dec. 20, 1774, “On Monday, the 12th inst. our worthy citizen, Mr. Paul Revere, was sent express from only two or three of the Committee of Correspondence at Boston, as I am creditably informed (of whom no number under seven are empowered to act) to a like committee at Portsmouth.” AA4, I, 1054.

24. Captain’s Log, HMS Somerset, Dec. 11-14, 1774, ADM51/906, part 6, PRO.

25. Allen French, The First Year of the American Revolution (Boston, 1934), 650.

26. For the weather in New Hampshire, see Lois K. Stabler (ed.), Very Poor and of a Lo Make; The Journal of Abner Sanger (published for the Historical Society of Cheshire County, Portsmouth, N. H., 1986), 15-17.

27.New York Journal, Dec. 29, 1774; “A Letter from a Gentleman in New Hampshire to a Gentleman in New York,” Dec. 17, 1774, Nathaniel Bouton et al. (eds.), Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New Hampshire, 40 vols. (Concord, N.H., 1867-1943), VII, 423; the major documents are collected in Charles L. Parsons, “The Capture of Fort William and Mary, December 14 and 15, 1774,” New Hampshire Historical Society Proceedings 4 (1890-1905): 18-47. The mansion of Samuel Cutts stood on Market Street, next to what is today called the Ladd House, directly across from his wharf on the Piscataqua River. The house burned in 1802. See Cecil Hampden Cutts Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America (Albany, 1892), 518—19.

28. Capt. John Cochran to Gov. John Wentworth, Dec. 14, 1774, AA4, I, 1042; also William Bell Clark (ed.), Naval Documents of the American Revolution (Washington, D.C., 1964+), I, 18-19.

29. Capt. John Cochran to Gov. John Wentworth, Dec. 14, 1774, AA4, I, 1042; also NDAR, I, 18—19; Parsons, “Capture of Fort William and Mary,” 22.

30. Capt. John Cochran to Governor John Wentworth, Dec. 14, 1774, ADM 1/485; AA4, 1,1042. Capt. Andrew Barkley, R.N., to Vice Adm. Samuel Graves, Dec. 20,1774, NDAR, I, 38; Parsons, “Capture of Fort William and Mary,” 19—23. Lord Percy wrote home, “What is most extraordinary in this event is, that notwithstanding the Captain fired at them, both with some field pieces and small arms, nobody was either killed or wounded,” Percy to Grey Cooper, after Dec. 13, 1774, Percy Letters, 46—47. Percy was mistaken. Cochran and at least one other soldier were wounded.

31. Wentworth to Gage, Dec. 16, 1774, AA4, I, 1042; Parsons, “Capture of Fort William and Mary,” 23—25.

32. New York Journal, Dec. 29, 1774.

33. Captain’s Log of HMS Scarborough, Dec. 15—19, 1774, PRO Admiralty 51/867; Captain’s Log of HMS Canceaux, Dec. 15-18, 1774, ADM 51/4136; Capt. Andrew Barkley to Vice Adm. Graves, Dec. 20, 1774, ADM1/485, published in part in NDAR, I, 35, 38.

34. Providence Gazette, Dec. 23, 1774.

35. Wentworth to Graves, Dec. 14, 1774; Graves Papers, Gay Transcripts, MHS. Percy to Grey Cooper, post Dec. 13, 1774, Percy Letters, 46.

36. Percy to Grey Cooper, after Dec. 13, 1774, ibid.

37. Percy to Duke of Northumberland, Sept. 12, 1774, ibid., 38.

38. Gage to Dartmouth, March 4, 1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 393-94.

39. Thomas Hutchinson, Jr., to Elisha Hutchinson, March 4, 1775, Hutchinson Papers, Egerton ms. 2659, BL; Ann Hulton to Mrs. Adam Lightbody, Nov. 25, 1773, Harold Murdock et al. (eds.), Letters of a Loyalist Lady (Cambridge, Mass., 1927), 63.

40. The 64th Foot knew Salem well; two of its companies had been assigned there to guard General Gage during his sojourn at the nearby Hooper mansion in Danvers.

41. Forbes, Revere, 235-38, makes this inference. I have found no primary evidence to confirm it, but it seems a reasonable supposition. Flucker had been a conduit for other information; see Revere to Belknap, 1798; and French, General Gage’s Informers,164; for Gage’s suspicion of Henry Knox, and Knox’s association with Paul Revere in intelligence activities, see North Callahan, Henry Knox; General Washington’s General (New York, 1958), 30.

42. The source is a letter to the Sons of Liberty in New York signed by Joshua Brackett, keeper of the Cromwell Head; Paul Revere, Benjamin Edes, printer; Joseph Ward, distiller; Thomas Crafts, painter; and Thomas Chase, distiller:

“Boston 1st March 1775
“Sir, Agreeable to what Mr. Revere wrote you by the last Monday’s Post, the subscribers have this day met and have determined to send you weekly the Earliest and most authentic intelligence of what may be transacted in this Metropolis and Province, relating to the public affairs and general concerns of America; that you may have it in your power to contradict the many infamous lies which are propagated by the Enemies of our Country. And we beg it as a particular favor that you would appoint or agree with a number of gentlemen for the above purpose in your city that we may have early information from you of whatever transpires in your city and province of a public nature. At this critical period we conceive it to be very important to our Common Cause to have weekly or frequent communications. We are Sir, Your most obedient and most humble servants, [signed] Joshua Brackett, Paul Revere, Benj. Edes, Joseph Ward, Tho. Crafts Junr., and Thomas Chase” “P.S. Enclosed you have an account of the late Expedition which terminated to the honour of Americans. In addition to the secrecy with which the maneuvre to Salem was conducted, we inform you that three [italics added] persons were occasionally at the castle on Saturday afternoon and were detained there till 10 o’clock on Monday lest we should send an Express to our brethren at Marblehead and Salem.”

The original letter is in the Lamb Papers, N-YHS; the transcript in Goss is inaccurate, substituting “these” for the italicized “three” in the postscript. Forbes (pp. 236-37) built an entire new interpretation on this misreading. She took “these” to refer to all of the signers of the letter and concluded mistakenly that Paul Revere himself had been imprisoned. There is no evidence that this is the case.

43. William Gavett, “Account of the Affair at North Bridge,” EIP 1 (1859): 126-28; Joseph Story, “Account Dictated,” ibid., 134—35; Charles M. Endicott, “Leslie’s Retreat or the Resistance to British Arms at the North Bridge in Salem, etc.,” ibid., 120; James Duncan Phillips, “Why Colonel Leslie Came to Salem,” EIHC 90 (1953): 313; “Leslie’s Retreat,” EIHC 17 (1880): 190-92.

44. An excellent account appears in James Duncan Phillips, Salem in the Eighteenth Century (Boston, 1937), 350-60, 464-65.

45. “Leslie’s Retreat,” EIHC 17 (1880): 190-92. This source, described as a “Narrative found in the Family Papers of Major John Pedrick,” was written long after the event, apparently by one of Major Pedrick’s descendants. It contains many inaccuracies.

46. George A. Billias, General John Glover and His Marblehead Mariners (New York, 1960), 64.

47. Ibid.

48. Salem still remembers that event as “the first blood of the American Revolution.”

49. Gavett, “Account of the Affair at North Bridge,” I, 126-28; Joseph Story, “Account Dictated,” EIP 1 (1859): 134-35; Charles M. Endicott, “Leslie’s Retreat,” ibid., 120 Essex Gazette, Feb. 28, March 7, 1775; (Boston) Massachusetts Spy, March 2, 1775.

50. AA4, I, 1267-68; Thomas Hutchinson, Jr., to Elisha Hutchinson, March 4, 1775, Egerton ms. 2659, BL; “The regulars attempt to seize cannon at Salem, but are frustrated,” Jonas Clarke Diary, Feb. 26, 1775, ms., LHS. Galvin, Minute Men, 95, writes that from the moment when the Regulars reached the North River Bridge “the story of Leslie’s march really becomes two very different tales,” one more or less as told here, the other as related by Loyalists, who asserted that Leslie marched to the town as ordered, found that the guns did not exist except for some “harmless old ships’ cannons,” and returned to Boston. Galvin argues that “the British were convinced they had achieved a minor victory, and this is important, because it increased Gage’s reliance on these short marches as a way to control the province” (p. 97). Other evidence, such as that of Hutchinson above, suggests that in this instance the Whig version of events was credited by Loyalists as well, and confirmed by evidence from both sides.

51. Gage to Dartmouth, March 4, 1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 393-94.

image4. Mounting Tensions

1. Percy to the Rev. Thomas Percy, April 8, 1775, Percy Letters, 48—49.

2. Ibid.

3. John Barker, Diary, published as, The British in Boston, Being the Diary of Lieutenant John Barker of the King’s Own Regiment from November 15, 1774 to May 31, 1776., ed. Elizabeth Ellery Dana (Cambridge, Mass., 1924), 5.

4. Ibid., 12.

5. Samuel Adams to Arthur Lee, March 4,1775, Cushing (ed.), Writings of Samuel Adams, III, 197; Barker, The British in Boston, 11; John Andrews, Letters, MHSP 8 (1865): 405 (Dec. 16, 1774).

6. Robin May, The British Army in North America, 1775—1783 (London, 1974), 11.

7. Barker, British in Boston, 11; Pitcairn to Col. John Mackenzie, Feb. 16,1775, Mackenzie Papers, add. ms., 39190, BL; Pitcairn to Lord Sandwich, March 4, 1775, The Private Papers of John, Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1771—1782, ed. G. R. Barnes and J. H. Owens, 4 vols. (London, 1932—38), I, 59—62.

8. Diary of Frederick Mackenzie, 2 vols. (Cambridge, Mass., 1930), I, 7 (Feb. 1-4, 1775); Dirk Hoerder, Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts (New York, 1977), 191.

9. Regimental Rosters, 23rd Foot, W12/3960, PRO; Gage to Haldimand, July 3, 1774, Haldimand Papers, add ms. 21665, BL.

10. Rowe, Diary, Sept. 9, 1774, MHS; for the doubling of guards, Sept. 9, 1774.

11. Barker, British in Boston, 14 (Dec. 24,1774); Mackenzie, Diary, I, 9 (March 4-9,1775); Deposition of Samuel Marett, July 1774, Papers of Admiral John Montagu, ADM 1/484, PRO; deposition of Pvt. John Clancey, Gage Papers, WCL; in Wroth et al.(eds.),Province in Rebellion, doc. 717, p. 2015.

12. Barker, British in Boston, 21-22 (Jan. 21, 1775); Mackenzie, Diary, I, 4; Andrews, Letters; “Proceedings of a Court of Enquiry held at Boston the 23rd January 1775,” Gage Papers, WCL; printed in Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, document 420, pp. 1353— 73. American accounts and the testimony of British officers involved were directly contradictory. John Andrews reported that “last evening a number of drunken officers attacked the town house watch between eleven and twelve o’clock when the assistance of the New Boston watch was called, and a general battle ensued; some wounded on both sides.” The British officers insisted that they were innocent victims. It appears even from their testimony that after an exchange of insults (“Tory Rascal!” “The General is a Rascal!” “The King is a rascal!”) a British officer attacked a citizen, and he and his friends were soon involved in a fight with the watch. The private diaries of two British officers, Barker and Mackenzie, both contradict the public testimony of the Regulars involved, and support the American version of events. But it should also be noted that the Regulars were subject to constant verbal abuse from Bostonians, and to sporadic acts of physical violence as well.

13. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 13 (March 27, 1775); Barker, British in Boston, 27 (March 23, 1775)

14. Major John Pitcairn to Col. John Mackenzie, Dec. 10, 1774, Mackenzie Papers, add. ms. 39190, BL.

15. Pitcairn to Col. John Mackenzie, Feb. 16, 1775, Mackenzie Papers, add. ms. 39190, BL.

16. Pitcairn to Sandwich, March 4, 1775, Sandwich Papers, I, 59—62; reprinted in Clark (ed.), NDAR, I, 124—26; Pitcairn to Col. John Mackenzie, Dec. 10, 1774, Mackenzie Papers, add. ms. 39190, BL.

17. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 10 (March 6, 1775).

18. John Rowe, Diary, March 9, 1775, MHS; Sam Adams to Richard H. Lee, March 21, 1775, Writings, IV, 205-9; Gage to Dartmouth, March 28,1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 394; Depositions of Thomas Ditson, March 9, 1775, and Private John Clancey, March 14, 1775, Gage Papers, WCL; published on microfiche in Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, docs. 716-17, pp. 2013-18.

19. Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, 79—92.

20. Paul Revere, “A Certain Cabinet Junto,” Royal American Magazine 2 (1775), plate I; reproduced with British sources in Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings, 92.

21. Authors and artists borrowed freely from one another in that way during Paul Revere’s era. This was a world without our highly developed sense of individual creativity, and therefore without a strong imperative against plagiarism. It was an ethos with a stronger sense of collective belonging, and weaker ideas of individuality than in our own thinking. In all of this there was an important parallel to ideas of “publick liberty” which pervaded Revere’s revolutionary consciousness; that is, liberty as a collective possession, rather than a purely personal freedom.

22. Isaiah Thomas, The History of Printing in America (1810; rpt. New York, 1970), 272n.

23. (Newburyport) Essex Journal, Feb. 22, 1775.

24. Samuel Adams to Arthur Lee, Jan. 29, 1775, Writings of Samuel Adams, III, 169.

25. Gage to Arthur Lee, March 4, 1775, ibid., Ill, 195.

26. (Worcester) Massachusetts Spy, June 12, 1775, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Prelude to Independence; The Newspaper War on Britain, 1764-1776 (New York, 1958), 234.

27. Gage to Dartmouth, April 22, 1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 396.

28. The 17th Light Dragoons adopted its death’s head badge in 1759 to mourn the death of General James Wolfe. Later they added the motto “Or Glory,” and acquired the nickname “Death or Glory Boys.” They were at Bunker Hill in 1775, and they led the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. In World War I they were the escort of Field Marshal Haig.

29. The “principal actors” were not identified by name.

30. A. D. L. Cary and Stouppe McCance, Regimental Records of the Royal Welch Fusiliers (Late the 2 3rd Foot) (London, 1921), 151; J. A. Houlding, Fit for Service: The Training of the British Army, 1715-1795 (Oxford, 1981), 46-96; W. A. Smith, “Anglo-Colonial Society and the Mob, 1740-1775,” unpublished dissertation, Claremont, 1965, 29.

31. Dartmouth to Gage, Jan. 27,1775, Gage Correspondence, 179-83; for a discussion of this dispatch, see John R. Alden, “Why the March to Concord?” AHR 49 (1944): 446-54.

image 5. The Mission

1. Sam Adams to Jonathan Augustine Washington, March 23,1775, Cushing (ed.), Writings of Samuel Adams, III, 211.

2. “List of General and Staff Officers on the Establishment in North America,” Gage to Richard Rigby, July 8, 1775, Gage Correspondence, II, 687—88.

3. Some of these intelligence reports survive in the Gage Papers, WCL, and have been published in part in French, General Gage’s Informers, 3-33; Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, docs. 670-95, pp. 1967-94.

4. French, General Gage’s Informers, 15.

5. Gage to Dartmouth, Aug. 27, 1774, Gage Correspondence, I, 366.

6. Gage to Captain John Brown and Ensign Henry De Berniere, Feb. 22, 1775, AA4, I, 1263.

7. Ensign Henry De Berniere, Report to Gage, n.d., ca. March 1, 1775, AA4, I, 1263—68.

8. A batman was (and is) a private soldier assigned as an officer’s personal servant. A large proportion of Gage’s army were detailed as officers’ servants.

9. De Berniere, Report to Gage, n.d., ca. March 1, 1775, AA4, I, 1263.

10. Ibid.

11. A shire town was the county seat. A half shire town was a community in which the county courts also met.

12. De Berniere, Report to Gage, AA4, I, 1268.

13. French, General Gage’s Informers, 13. These letters were actually written from Boston, but the writer of them was exceptionally well informed about Concord, Worcester, and other country towns.

14. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 24, 29 (April 18-20, 1775).

15. French, General Gage’s Informers, 29—30.

16. Gage to Dartmouth, March 4, 1775, Bancroft Collection, NYPL; French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 57—58; this document is not included in the Gage Correspondence.

17. Ibid.

18. Earlier, the 4th Foot and other “off duty” regiments had “marched into the Country to give the men a little exercise.” A British officer commented that “as they marched with knapsacks and colours the People of the Country were allarm’d.” Barker, British in Boston, 11 (Dec. 16, 1774).

19. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 14—15 (April 7, 1775).

20. Jonathan Hosmer to Oliver Stevens or Joseph Standley, April 10, 1775, privately owned; excerpts published in a dealer’s catalogue, Joseph Rubenfine, The American Revolution, List 114 (West Palm Beach, Fla., n.d.), n.p.; a copy is in the Concord Antiquarian Museum. I am grateful to David Wood for calling this document to my attention.

21. Amelia Forbes Emerson (ed.), Diary and Letters of William Emerson, 1743—1776 (Boston, 1972), 71 (April 15, 1775).

22. Alden, General Gage in America, 227.

23. Barker, British in Boston, 64.

24. William Lincoln (ed.), The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts (Colony) in 1774 and 1775, and of the Committe of Safety, with an Appendix (Boston, 1838), 513, Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, doc. 592, pp. 1830-88.

25. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798, RFP, microfilm edition, MHS.

26. French, General Gage’s Informers, 32.

27. Galvin, Minute Men, 123.

28. Six of these men can be identified. The patrol included Major Edward Mitchell (5th Foot), commanding; Capt. Charles Cochrane (4th Foot), Capt. Charles Lumm (38th Foot),Lt. Peregrine Thorne (4th Foot), Lt. Thomas Baker (4th Foot), and Lt. Hamilton (64th Foot). Some were noncommissioned officers, and others were described by Americans who observed them as servants.

29. William Munroe, Deposition, in Elias Phinney, History of the Battle of Lexington, on the Morning of the 19th April, 1775 (Boston, 1925), 33-35; Solomon Brown, Deposition, in Lemuel Shattuck, History of Concord (Concord, 1835), 341.

30. Richard Devens, Memorandum, in Richard Frothingham, Jr., History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill (Boston, 1849), 57-

31. Hancock’s reply to Elbridge Gerry is reproduced in Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, 57:

Lexington April 18, 1775

Dear Sir:

I am much obliged for your notice. It is said the officers are gone to Concord, and I will send word thither. I am full with you that we ought to be serious, and I hope your decision will be effectual. I intend doing myself the pleasure of being with you tomorrow. My respects to the Committee.

I am your real friend,

John Hancock

32. Munroe, Deposition, Phinney, Lexington, 33—35.

33. Eljah Sanderson, Depositions, Phinney, Lexington, 31—33; Solomon Brown, Jonathan Loring, and Elijah Sanderson, Depositions, April 25, 1775, AA4, II, 490.

34. Sanderson, Deposition, Phinney, Lexington, 31—33.

35. John C. Maclean, A Rich Harvest: The History, Buildings and People of Lincoln, Mass. (Lincoln, 1907), 264—65; citing Abram E. Brown, Beneath Old Roof Trees (Boston, 1896); Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 619.

image 6. The Warning

1. Some versions of this event report that the stable boy ran to William Dawes, who carried the news to Revere. In other accounts, the stable boy ran directly to Revere himself. Cf. Forbes, Revere, 252; Holland, Dawes, 9; Ellen Chase, The Beginnings of the American Revolution, 3 vols. (New York, 1910), II, 342.

2. Jeremy Belknap, “Journal of my tour to the camp and the observations I made there,” Oct. 25, 1775, MHSP 4 (i860): 77-86.

3. Jane Van Arsdale (ed.), Discord and Civil Wars, Being a Portion of a Journal Kept by Lieutenant Williams of His Majesty’s Twenty-Third Regiment While Stationed in British North America During the Time of the Revolution (Buffalo, 1954), 5 (June 12, 1775).

4. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 18 (April 18, 1775).

5. Jeremy Belknap, “Journal of my tour to the camp…,” 77-86; Samuel A. Drake, Historic Fields and Mansions of Middlesex (Boston, 1873), 354; French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 76; Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, III, 68.

6. “The Boats of the Squadron, by desire of the General, were ordered to assemble alongside the Boyne by 8 o’clock in the evening, and their officers were instructed to follow Lt. Bourmaster’s direction.” See “The Conduct of Admiral Graves,” British Museum, add. ms., 14038, 81; French, General Gage’s Informers, 36; E. E. Hale, in Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, III, 68n; Alden, Gage, 244, 249, uses this story in attempting to prove that Margaret Gage could not have been the informer, but it is certainly false. Alden has no other evidence to support him on this question. It should be remembered that “evening” was used to indicate afternoon in 18th-century speech.

7. John Cary, Joseph Warren, Physician, Politician, Patriot (Urbana, 1961), 182—83.

8. Jeremy Belknap, “Journal of my tour to the camp…,” 77—86.

9. Richard A. Roberts (ed.), Calendar of Home Office Papers of the Reign of George III, 177 3-177 5 (London, 1899), 4795 Alden, Gage, 249; Shakespeare, King John, III, i, 326. In an earlier speech, Blanche says to her husband: “Upon my knees, I beg, go not to arms.” Ill, i, 308.

10. Hutchinson, Diary and Letters of Thomas Hutchinson, I, 497—98.

11. William Gordon, History of the Independence of the United States, 4 vols. (London, 1788), I, 321; quoted in Alden, Gage, 247.

12. Henry Clinton, note, n.d., Clinton Papers, WCL; quoted in Alden, Gage, 244.

13. Charles Stedman, History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War, 2 vols. (London and Dublin, 1794), I, 119; Frothingham, Warren, 456.

14. Hutchinson, Diary and Letters of Thomas Hutchinson, I, 476; Alden, Gage, 249—50. Historians have divided on this question. Alden, Gage’s biographer, asserts that “only the strongest evidence should lead us to suspect that the wife betrayed her husband.” But he does not hesitate to convict the spouse of a private soldier of having conveyed the same information! As we shall see, Gage’s soldiers had no secrets to betray. Even company and field-grade officers were kept ignorant of the mission’s purpose and destination until they reached Lexington Common.

Others have argued that the source was an agent who worked for money. The only evidence is a passage in Jeremy Belknap’s diary that Dr. Warren’s informer was “a person kept in pay for that purpose.” But this was merely a rumor he heard in the American camp six months later. Cf. Belknap, “Journal of my tour to the camp…,” 77-86.

On the other side there is no direct proof, but much circumstantial evidence in Gage’s cry to Percy that he had confided to one person only; testimony of Gordon, Clinton, Stedman, and Wemyss; Margaret Gage’s own statement of divided loyalties, her husband’s decision to send her away from him after the battles, and the failure of their marriage.

15. Revere’s Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775, RFP, MHS, was more specific: “I was sent for by Doctor Joseph Warren about 10 o’clock that evening, and desired, ‘to go to Lexington and inform Mr. Samuel Adams and the Hon. John Hancock Esqr. that there was a number of Soldiers composed of Light troops and Grenadiers marching to the bottom of the Common, where was a number of boats to receive them, and it was supposed, that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Watertown to take them, Mess. Adams and Hancock or to Concord.’” Probably, Revere went to Doctor Warren a little before 10, given the chronology of events that followed; hence the estimate in the text of 9 to 10.

16. Revere’s three accounts differed in detail on this question. In his first draft of a deposition, recorded immediately after the ride, he wrote: “I was sent for by Doctor Joseph Warren about 10 O’Clock that evening, and desired, ‘to go to Lexington and inform Mr. Samuel Adams, and the Hon. John Hancock Esqr. that there was a number of Soldiers composed of the Light troops and Grenadiers marching to the bottom of the Common, where was a number of boats to receive them, and it was supposed, that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Watertown to take them, Mess. Adams and Hancock, or to Concord.”

The revised deposition was modified in the last sentence to read, “that they were going to Lexington, by way of the Cambridge River, to take them, or go to Concord, to distroy the Colony Stores.”

In 1798, Revere wrote Belknap. “Dr. Warren sent in great haste for me, and begged that I would immediately set off for Lexington, where Messrs Hancock and Adams were, and acquaint them of the Movement, and that it was thought they were the objects.” Cf. Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775; Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775; Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798, all in Revere Family Papers, microfilm edition, MHS.

17. Most historians believe that Warren sent only two messengers: Revere and Dawes. But Jeremy Belknap found evidence of a third who has never been identified. He wrote, “Two expresses were immediately dispatched thither, who passed by the guards on the Neck just before a sergeant arrived with orders to stop passengers. Another messenger went over Charlestown ferry.” See Belknap, “Journal of my tour to the camp…,” 77-86. For Dorr’s role, see C[atherine] C[urtis], NEHGR 10(1853): 139; W.H. Holland,William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere (Boston, 1878). Long after the event, several historians suggested that the third messenger was Ebenezer Dorr, a leading citizen of Roxbury, and a Whig committeeman in that town. But this is an error that arose in the late 19th century, when a Boston journalist mistakenly wrote “Dorr” for “Dawes.”

18. Sanderson, Deposition; Jonas Clarke, “Narrative of the Events of April 19,” ms., LHS.

19. The same source reports that Col. Josiah Waters of Boston “followed on foot on the sidewalk at a short distance behind him until he saw him safely through the sentinels.” Francis S. Drake, The Town of Roxbury: Its Memorable Persons and Places(Roxbury, 1878), 74.

20. Ibid.

21. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798, RFP, microfilm edition, MHS.

22. Ibid.

23. For 18th-century distances, see Lt. [Thomas Hyde] Page, A Plan of the Town of Boston with the Intrenchments, &c. of His Majesty’s Forces in 1775 (London, 1777); reproduced with other contemporary maps of less accuracy in Kenneth Nebenzahl (ed.),Rand McNally Atlas of the American Revolution (New York, 1974), 42.

24. In the late 19th century, the identity of the church was called into question. Revere called it the “North Church.” But there were several steeples in the North End. One was the present Old North Church, an opulent structure then also known as Christ Church, or the Seven Bell Church after the carillon that Paul Revere had rung as a child. Another was a Congregational meetinghouse in North Square, often called the North Meeting, or Old North Meeting. This building no longer stands; it was pulled down for firewood by British troops during the siege of Boston. Richard Frothingham argued in The Alarm on the Night of April 18, 1775 that the lanterns were displayed from this building, and not the Old North Church. Frothingham was mistaken. An old inhabitant of Boston, Joshua Fowle, remembered long after the event, “There is no dispute, or ought not to be, in regard to the display of lights at the North Church by your father. The Seven Bell Church was always called by that name; the others were always called meeting houses, old Puritanic names, and by no other.” Joshua B. Fowle to Samuel H. Newman, July 28, 1875; Aug. 1876; also Jeremiah Loring to Wheildon?, Oct. 1876, William W. Wheildon, History of Paul Revere’s Signal Lanterns (Boston, 1878), 34-36.

Further, the North Meeting at North Square had a low steeple on the south side of the North End, and could barely be seen from Charlestown.

Moreover, the identity of the men who displayed the lanterns was known in Boston soon after the event. Both were associated with North Church, not North Meeting. For all of these reasons, we may safely conclude that that the lanterns were displayed from Christ Church, now known as Old North Church.

The prominence of the Old North Church in the city’s skyline may be seen in Paul Revere’s “A View of Part of the Town of Boston in New England and British Ships of War Landing their Troops, 1768” (Boston, 1770), in Brigham, Paul Revere’s Engravings,60.

25. Wheildon, Paul Revere’s Signal Lanterns; John L. Watson, Paul Revere’s Signal (Cambridge, 1877); Goss, Revere, I, 247-58.

26. Robert Newman Sheets, Robert Newman; His Life and Letters in Celebration of the Bicentennial of His Showing of Two Lanterns in Christ Church, Boston, April 18,1775 (Denver; Newman Family Society, 1975).

27. Jeremiah Loring to Wheildon?, Oct. 1876, Wheildon, Paul Revere’s Signal Lanterns, 34-36.

28. Sheets, Robert Newman; His Life and Letters…, 3.

29. Watson, Paul Revere’s Signal, argued that Capt. John Pulling displayed the lights from the tower. Wheildon (Paul Revere’s Signal Lanterns) responded that the work was done by Newman, an interpretation repeated by Goss, Forbes, and Sheets. There is good evidence that both men were involved, and Bernard as well. Given the intrinsic difficulty of carrying two lanterns to the top of the tower, lighting them with flint and steel, and displaying them simultaneously by hand out of the window, I think it probable that New- man and Pulling worked together in the tower, while Bernard kept watch below.

No source survives to establish the sequence of events in the tower. It would have been dangerous to light the lanterns on the ground floor of the church, with British soldiers passing in the street, and impossible to light them at the top of a narrow ladder.

30. Revere’s account was confirmed by Richard Devens, who wrote, “I soon received intelligence from Boston that the enemy were all in motion, and were certainly preparing to come out into the country. Soon afterwards, the signal agreed upon was given; this was a lanthorn hung out in the upper window of the tower of N. Ch towards Charlestown.” Richard Devens, Narrative, published in Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, 57.

31. Devens, Memorandum; Frothingham, Siege of Boston, 58—59.

32. Goss, Revere, I, 188—89, based upon letters of John Revere to Goss, Oct. 11, 1876, and Charles Wooley to Goss, May 1886.

33. Revere wrote that he kept his boat in “the north part of the town.” The story of the spurs descended in the Revere family from Paul Revere’s daughter Mary Revere Lincoln to her son William O. Lincoln, who recorded it for Goss, Revere, I, 189—90.

34. The Boston lady who donated her underwear to the boatmen was an ancestor of John R. Adan; John Revere to Goss, Oct. 11, 1876, Goss, Revere, I, 190.

35. W. W. Wheildon, Curiosities of History, 36; Goss, Revere, I, 188.

36. Donald W. Olson and Russell L. Doescher, “Astronomical Computing: Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride,” Sky and Telescope 83 (1992): 437-40; Jacques Vialle and Darrel Hoff, “The Astronomy of Paul Revere’s Ride,” Astronomy 20 (1992): 13-18; Boston Globe, April 19,1992.

37. The horse was presumably “got” by the combined efforts of Deacon Larkin, Devens, and Revere. Devens later recalled, “I kept watch at the ferry to watch for boats till about eleven o’clock, when Paul Revere came over and informed that the Troops were actually in their boats. I then took a horse from Mr. Larkin’s barn and sent off P. Revere to give the intelligence at Menotomy and Lexington.” Devens, Memorandum, in History of Charles-town, 315—16; Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, 57—58; Revere also left an account of this conversation in his third account of the ride.

38. William Ensign Lincoln, genealogist of the Larkin family, recorded in 1930 a family tradition that the horse was a mare named Brown Beauty, which belonged to Samuel Larkin, chairmaker and fisherman of Charlestown (1701-84). Lincoln writes, “The mare was borrowed at the request of Samuel’s son, Deacon John Larkin, and was never returned to the owner.”

John Larkin (1735-1807) was a merchant and deacon of the First Congregational Church in Charlestown. His estate was probated for $86,581.00, an exceptionally large holding. See William Ensign Lincoln, Some Descendants of Stephen Lincoln, Edward Larkin, Thomas Oliver, Michael Pearce, Robert Wheaton, George Burrill, John Porter, John Ayer (New York, 1930), 119, 123. Also very helpful on this question is Patrick M. Leehey, “What was the Name of Paul Revere’s Horse?” Revere House Gazette 16 (1965): 5.

Other secondary accounts are erroneous in various details.-Richard O’Donnell mistakenly describes the animal as a “little brown mare,” but Revere’s own accounts indicate that she was a large horse, and after his capture she was taken by a sergeant of grenadiers to replace his own small mount. Cf. O’Donnell, “‘On the Eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five…’ Longfellow didn’t know the half of it,” Smithsonian 4 (1973): 72-77.

Various names have been suggested in the literature on Paul Revere’s ride. Galvin (Minute Men, 123-24) calls her Thunderer (without supplying a source). Popular writers have inventively named her Meg, Scherazade, Dobbin, and Sparky (after “the spark struck out by the steed that night”).

39. Not even Paul Revere’s horse has been spared the attentions of the revisionists. Filiopietists have represented Paul Revere’s horse as a fine-boned thoroughbred, with a long gait and an elegant Arabian head. Iconoclasts have insisted, on the other hand, that she was a heavy, plodding “ploughhorse.” Both interpretations are mistaken, and the truth was not “in between.”

40. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798, RFP, microfilm edition, MHS.

41. The red door and four-stub lantern may still be found in the Buckman Tavern, which since 1913 has been owned by the town of Lexington. It is now operated by the Lexington Historical Society. See also Willard D. Brown, The Story of Buckman Tavern(rev. ed., Lexington, 1989).

42. The parsonage still stands today. It has been moved twice, and is back close to its original site. See S. Lawrence Whipple, The Hancock-Clarke House, Parsonage and Home (Lexington, 1984).

43. Jonas Clarke Diary, April 7, 10, 1775, MHS.

44. Whipple, The Hancock-Clarke House, Parsonage and Home, 13—16; for the size of the guard, see Jonas Clarke, “Narrative of the Events of April 19.”

45. Richard L. Merritt, Symbols of American Community (New Haven, 1966).

46. Louise K. Brown, A Revolutionary Town (Canaan, N.H., 1975), 16.

47. Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington, 17.

48. Jonas Clarke, “Narrative of the Events of April 19.”

image 7. The March

1. Jeremy Belknap, “Journal of my tour to the camp…,” Oct. 25, 1775, MHS; pub. in MHSP 4 (i860): 77-86.

2. Letter from a “Private Soldier in the Light Infantry,” Aug. 20, 1775, Margaret Wheeler Willard (ed.), Letters on the American Revolution (Boston, 1925), 187-200.

3. Belknap, “Journal of my tour to the camp…,” 77-80 (Oct. 25, 1775); Mackenzie, Diary, I, 18 (April 18, 1775).

4. Sutherland to Clinton, April 26, 1775, published in Harold Murdock (ed.), Late News of the Excursion and Ravages of the King’s Troops on the Nineteenth of April, 1JJ5 (Boston, 1927); Mackenzie, Diary, I, 18 (April 18, 1775).

5. Barker, British in Boston, 31; Capt. W. G. Evelyn to Rev. William Evelyn, April 23, 1775, Memoir and Letters of Captain W. Glanville Evelyn, of the 4th Regiment (“King’s Own,”) from North America, 1774-1776, ed. G. D. Scull (Oxford, 1879), 53~”55’ anonymous light infantryman in Willard (ed.), Letters on the American Revolution, 187—200; Pope, Late News, entry for April 18,1775; French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 73; Murdock, The Nineteenth of April, 47; Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord, 104; Gross, Minutemen and Their World, 115; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” I, 9.

6. Barker, The British in Boston, 31.

7. French, General Gage’s Informers, 35.

8. Donald W. Olson and Russell L. Doescher, “Astronomical Computing: Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride,” Sky and Telescope, April 1992, pp. 437-40; also Jacques Vialle and Darrel Hoff, “The Astronomy of Paul Revere’s Ride,” Astronomy 20 (1992): 13—18; see Appendix J below.

9. Lister, Narrative’, Galvin, Minute Men, 125. There was a curious irony here; the system of regimental seniority had been established only in 1751—an example of what has been called the modernity of tradition. See J. A. Houlding, Fit for Service: The Training of the British Army, (Oxford, 1981), 8, passim.

10. Lt. Edward Thoroton Gould, Deposition, April 25, 1775; AA4, II, 500.

11. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 19; French, General Gage’s Informers, 40.

12. Frank Smith, A History of Dover, Massachusetts (Dover, 1897), 93-94.

13. Maj. John Pitcairn to Col. John Mackenzie, Feb. 16, 1775, Mackenzie Papers, add. ms., 39190, BL.

14. Robin May, The British Army in North America (London, 1974), 33. May reproduces the Royal Warrant of 1768 for Infantry Clothing, 29-31.

15. L. I. Cowper, The King’s Own: The Story of a Royal Regiment (Oxford, 1939), 228.

16. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 18.

17. The route was reconstructed in 1912 by Frank Warren Coburn, in The Battle of April 19, 1775 (1912; new ed., Philadelphia, 1988).

18. Barker, The British in Boston, 32.

19. Coburn, Battle of April 19, 1775, 48.

20. Drake, Middlesex County, II, 311—12.

21. Galvin, Minute Men, 126.

22. Samuel Abbott Smith, West Cambridge on the Nineteenth of April, 1775 (Boston, 1864), 18.

23. Coburn, Battle of April 19,1775, 55; details of this incident must be read with caution. It was used as an electioneering weapon against Gerry when he ran as a Jeffersonian candidate for governor.

24. Ibid., 55.

25. Ibid., 56.

26. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 18.

27. Sutherland to Clinton, April 25, 1775; on Adair, see below, Epilogue.

28. Coburn, Battle of April 19, 1775, 54-56.

29. Simon Winship, Deposition, April 25, 1775, AA4, II, 490; Narrative of the Excursion and Ravages of the King’s Troops (Worcester, 1775), 664. This pamphlet has often been reissued: on microprint in the Readex microprint edition of Early American Imprints, Evans 14269; on microfiche in Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, document 591, pp. 1804— 29; and AA4, II, 489—501, 673-74.

image 8. The Capture

1. Paul Revere to Belknap, n.d. ca. 1798, RFP, microfilm edition, MHS; Arthur B. Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord (New York, 1959), 100.

2. Goss, Revere, I, 202.

3. Paul Revere, Draft Deposition, n.d., ca. April 24, 1775, RFP, MHS.

4. Joyce Lee Malcolm, The Scene of the Battle, 1775; Historic Grounds Report; Minuteman National Historical Park, Cultural Resources Management Study No. 15 (Boston, 1985), 27— 35-

5. Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775; Revere to Belknap, n.d., ca. 1798; in one account Revere estimated that he was 200 yards ahead of the others, in another he estimated the distance at 100 rods, or 550 yards. In 1775 many British and New England narrators reckoned middle distances in rods of 16.5 feet.

6. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798; this passage was deleted from the published text but appears in the ms. draft in the MHS archives, MHS; idem, Draft Deposition.

7. Goss, Revere, I, 185.

8. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798; Revere Draft Deposition, ca. April 24,1775; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” I, 20.

9. A tablet presently marks the supposed spot of Revere’s capture. If it is in the right place, the pasture was part of a farm owned by William Dodge and occupied by a tenant farmer named Jacob Foster in 1775. The stone wall that Prescott jumped would have been the old boundary between Concord and Lexington, before the division of the town of Lincoln. A wood is shown north of the pasture, as Revere remembered, in a map drawn in 1902 by George A. Nelson. This location also squares with Revere’s estimate that they were halfway between Lexington and Concord.

Sanderson’s account, however, suggests another location. He remembered that he was stopped “just before we got to Brooks’s in Lincoln,” and led off the road to what he suggested was the same “field” where Paul Revere was later captured. The farms of the Brooks family were 9000 feet west of Foster’s pasture, on the Concord-Lincoln line.

If Sanderson was correct, Revere traveled nearly two miles farther. But this was in a deposition taken fifty years after the battle. It is controverted not only by Revere’s account but also by independent evidence of the identity of Lincoln residents who were awakened by Dr. Prescott after his escape and Revere’s capture. Their homes lay to the east of the Brooks farms, and some were just to the west of the place that is identified today as the site of the capture. Taken together, these sources strongly indicate that the place where Paul Revere was captured must have been west of the Josiah Nelson house and east of Samuel Hartwell’s farm. The site of the modern monument (much debated by the staff of the National Park) appears to be roughly in the right place, if not precisely correct.

A nagging doubt arises from the facts that the present line of the road, and its inclination, do not match Revere’s description, and the shoulders do not incline each way as Revere remembered. But the terrain along the highway has been much altered in the past two centuries by road construction and changes in land use. Cf. Malcolm, The Scene of the Battles, 1775, 41, 51—53; David H. Snow, “The Thomas Nelson, Sr., Farm,” National Park Service, 1969, pp. 21-23; Leland J. Abel and Cordelia Thomas Snow, “The Excavation of Sites 22 and 23, Minuteman National Historical Park,” Concord, Massachusetts, National Park Service, 1966; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” I, 18—19.

10. Henry W. Holland, William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere (Boston, 1878); the site of the house where Dawes’s ride ended was identified by National Park archaeologists in 1964 as a shallow depression approximately 100 yards west of the Josiah Nelson house, of which nothing remains but a ruined chimney. See Abel and Snow, “The Excavation of Sites 22 and 23…”; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” I, 18—19.

11. Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775.

12. Ibid.

13. Sanderson remembered that “they detained us in that vicinity till a quarter past two o’clock at night. An officer, who took out his watch, informed me what the time was. It was a bright moon-light.” The testimony of Revere and that of Sanderson closely coincide; cf. Elijah Sanderson, Deposition, Dec. 17, 1824, in Elias Phinney, History of the Battle of Lexington, on the Morning of the 19th April, 1775 (Boston, 1825).

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.

16. Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775; Sanderson, Deposition, 32; Sanderson’s version of this conversation is generally consistent with Revere’s deposition, but more detailed and dramatic. Here as elsewhere, Paul Revere’s three accounts err on the side of understatement.

17. Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775.

18. No secondary study has got this episode right. Most authors, even those sympathetic to Revere, represent him as merely responding more or less passively to his British captors. Iconoclasts and debunkers (p. 340, above) have accused him of betraying the American cause. They fail to take account of Sanderson’s deposition, and of a passage in Revere’s manuscript draft of his letter to Belknap that was excised from the published text. Forbes missed this passage altogether, relying as she did on published texts; Goss worked from the manuscript and knew about it, but missed its significance. These primary sources are evidence of a response by Revere that is very different from what appears in the secondary literature—not at all passive, but active and very aggressive.

Secondary accounts also fail to notice a deeper pattern in Revere’s behavior while a prisoner—the fact that all of his words and acts were consistent with the single purpose of trying to move the British patrol away from Lexington, and to protect Hancock and Adams, which was the primary purpose of Revere’s mission that night. Far from betraying the American cause, as the debunkers have suggested, Revere was serving it with skill and courage. Only Galvin (Minute Men, 124) saw a larger significance in his behavior while a prisoner, mainly in its impact on the fighting that followed.

19. Sanderson, Deposition, 31—33.

20. Ibid.; Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775.

21. Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775; Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798.

22. Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775; Sanderson, Deposition, 31-33.

23. Sanderson, Deposition, 32.

24. For the number of captives, see Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775; other accounts vary in detail.

25. Sanderson, Deposition, 32.

26. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798.

27. Sanderson, Deposition, 31-32.

28. Ibid.

29. Ibid.

30. Goss, Revere, I, 205.

31. Sanderson, Deposition, 31-33.

image 9. The Alarm

1. Duane Hamilton Hurd, History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 3 vols. (Philadelphia, 1890), II, 257, 294.

2. Samuel Adams Drake, History of Middlesex County (Boston, 1880), II, 376; Chase, The Beginnings of the American Revolution, II, 63—64.

3. Coburn, The Battle of April 19, 1775, 41.

4. Hall Gleason, “Captain Isaac Hall,” Medford Historical Society Publications 8 (1905): 100-103; Helen Tilden Wild, Medford in the Revolution; Military History of Medford, Massachusetts, 1765-1783 (Medford, 1903), 8; Charles Brooks, History of the Town of Medford (Boston, 1886).

5. Galvin, Minute Men, 124; Chase, The Beginnings of the American Revolution, II, 333; Dr. Martin Herrick was born ca. 1746, and died July 10, 1820, in Lynnfield, aged 74. Vital Records of Lynnfield, Massachusetts, to the End of 1849 (Salem, 1907), 85; much relevant material appears in T. B. Wellman, History of the Town of Lynnfield, Mass., 1635—1895 (Boston, 1895).

6. Galvin, Minute Men, 124; Coburn, The Battle of April 19, 1775, 32; Alonzo Lewis and James R. Newhall History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts… (Boston, 1865), 33.

7. Thomas Boynton Journal, April 19-26, 1775, MHS; printed in MHSP 15 (1877): 254.

8. “Journal of James Stevens,” EIHC 48 (1912): 41 (April 19, 1775); Richard D. Brown, “Knowledge is Power”: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700—1865 (New York, 1989), 250.

9. Coburn, The Battle of April 19, 1775, 34.

10. Wild, Medford in the Revolution, 8; “Medford and Her Minutemen,” Medford Historical Society Publications 28 (Sept. 1925): 44-45; Mellen Chamberlain, A Documentary History of Chelsea, 2 vols. (Boston, 1908), II, 425-31.

11. Revere to Belknap ca. 1798, RFP, microfilm edition, MHS.

12.“This morning a little before break of day, we were alarmed by Mr. Stedman’s Express from Cambridge.” Loammi Baldwin, Diary, April 19, 1775, in Hurd, Middlesex County, 1,447. The Committee of Safety had held its first meeting in Stedman’s house, Nov. 2, 1774; Coburn, Battle of April 19, 1775, 11, 33. For the messenger from Captain Joshua Walker to Jonathan Proctor in what is now Burlington, see Castle et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 1775-1975 (Southborough, 1977), 314; a copy of this rare work is in the library of the Minuteman National Historical Park, Concord.

13. Coburn reckoned Revere’s ride to the Clarke house at 12.98 miles, and Dawes’s to the same point as 16.83 miles. Several modern attempts to reconstruct these routes have yielded similar estimates of distances traveled. See Coburn, Battle of April 19, 1773,25.

14. William Munroe, Deposition, March 7, 1825, Elias Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington, on the Morning of the 19th April, 1775 (Boston, 1825), 33–35

15. Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 712; cf. Edmund L. Sanderson, Waltham as a Precinct of Watertown and as a Town (Waltham, 1936), 56; Charles A. Nelson, Waltham, Past and Present… (Cambridge, 1882), 101-02. A Waltham company in Gardner’s Regiment submitted a muster roll for service “on Alarm in Defense of the Liberties of America under the command of Abraham Pierce Captain to Concord and Lexington Fite!” (April 19, 1775, MA). But there is no evidence that it arrived in time to join the battle, and independent scholars conclude that it was not in combat. Most of the companies submitting muster rolls under the Lexington Alarm did not actually see action that day.

16. Partisans of Dawes have asserted his equality with Revere, and even his priority. These claims continue to be made in print by his descendants, and have been taken up by iconoclasts who use them as a way of disparaging Paul Revere and the event itself. The correct interpretation is a mediating judgment that respects Dawes’s role, but also recognizes the important qualitative difference between his actions and those of Paul Revere.

17. Clarke, “Narrative of Events of April 19.”

18. Hannah Winthrop to Mercy Otis Warren, n.d., MHSP 14 (1875): 29—31.

19. Nathan Munroe testified in 1824, “In the evening of the 18th of April… I with Benjamin Tidd, at the request of my captain (John Parker] went to Bedford in the evening, and notified the inhabitants through the town, to the great road at Merriam’s Corner, so called, in Concord, then returned to Lexington.” In Bedford the alarm was given by ringing the bell in the bell tower on the common lands. Louise K. Brown, A Revolutionary Town (Canaan, N.H., 1975), 116; Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 830; Nathan Munroe, Deposition, Dec. 22, 1824, Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington, 38.

20. Nathaniel Baker and Elizabeth Taylor married in 1776. See Amos Baker, Deposition; John C. Maclean, A Rich Harvest: The History, Buildings and People of Lincoln, Mass. (Lincoln, 1907).

21. William Smith was the brother of Abigail Smith Adams, the wife of future President John Adams. See MacLean, A Rich Harvest…, 264-69; for a critique of local legends; also very valuable is Douglas Sabin, “April 19,1775,” II, 22-24; Frank W. C. Hersey,Heroes of the Battle Road (Boston, 1930), 21-22; and Abram English Brown, Beneath Old Roof Trees (Boston, 1896), 320.

22. Samuel Cooper, “Diary, 1775-6,” AHR 6 (1901): 301-41; Brenton H. Dickson and Homer C. Lucas, One Town in the American Revolution: Weston, Massachusetts (Weston, 1976), 85.

23. William Emerson’s independent account entirely confirms the accuracy of Paul Revere’s testimony. “This morning between 1 & 2 o’clock we were alarmed by the ringing of the bell, and upon examination found that ye Troops, to ye number of 800, had stole their march from Boston in boats and barges from ye bottom of ye Common over to a point in Cambridge, near to Inman’s farm.… This intelligence was brought us at first by Samuel Prescott who narrowly escaped the guard that were sent before on horses, purposely to prevent all posts and messengers from giving us timely information. He by the help of a very fleet horse crossing several walls and fences arrived at Concord at the time above mentioned.” Diary, April 19, 1775, Amelia Forbes Emerson (ed.),Diaries and Letters of William Emerson, 1743-1776 (Boston, 1972), 71.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 253.

27. Ibid. II, 872; Castle et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 144.

28. Castle et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 81.

29. A “Revolutionary soldier” in Sudbury later remembered that “an express from Concord to Thomas Plympton Esquire who was then a member of the Provincial Congress [reported] that the British were on their way to Concord. In 35 minutes between 4 and 5 o’clock in the morning the sexton was immediately called on, the bell ringing and the discharge of musket which was to give the alarm. By sunrise the greatest part of the inhabitants were notified. The morning was remarkable fine and the inhabitants of Sudbury never can make such an important appearance probably again.” Hudson, Sudbury, 364.

30. Castle et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 208.

31. Francis Jackson, A History of the Early Settlement of Newton, County of Middlesex, Massachusetts, from 1639 to 1800 (Boston, 1854), 184—85.

32. Robert B. Hanson, Dedham, Massachusetts, 1635-1890 (Dedham, 1976), 152; History and Directory of Dedham, Mass., for 1889 (Boston, 1889), 22—23.

33. William Heath, Memoirs, 5.

34. According to tradition in Watertown, the word reached town “through the messenger Paul Revere,” Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 385; see also Watertown’s Military History (Boston, 1907), 77.

35. Samuel F. Haven, Historical Address, Dedham, September 21,1836 (Dedham, 1836), 46; Coburn, Battle of April 19, 1775, 45.

36. The only accurate secondary account of Revere’s role in the alarm system is Galvin, Minute Men, 124.

image 10. The Muster

1. Jonas Clarke, “Narrative of Events of April 19.”

2. John Parker, Deposition, April 25, 1775, AA4, II, 491; Elizabeth S. Parker, “John Parker,” in LHS Proceedings 1 (1866-89) 47.

3. Thomas Fessenden and William Draper, Depositions, April 23-25, 1775, AA4, II, 496.

4. Clarke, “Narrative of Events of April 19.”

5. This is an undocumented hour in Paul Revere’s activities, between midnight (or a little later) when he arrived in Lexington and one o’clock or (or a little after) when he and Dawes left for Concord. Revere wrote only that they refreshed themselves. If that happened at the Buckman Tavern, it is probable that he and Dawes might have joined Captain Parker in some of the early discussions.

6. These customs gave rise to the American expression “enlisted men,” still commonly used in the United States, but not in the United Kingdom, where enlisted men are called “other ranks.” These terms express two profoundly different systems of military stratification in the English-speaking world.

7. Galvin, Minute Men, 17—46; The earliest recorded use of the word “minuteman” found by Galvin was in the payroll of Abadiah Cooley’s Brookfield company and was endorsed “Minute Men on the Crown Point Expedition, 1756” (p. 41).

A large literature on the New England militia includes: John Shy, “A New Look at the Colonial Militia,” A People Numerous and Armed (New York, 1976), 22—33; Timothy Breen, “The Covenanted Militia of Massachusetts: English Background and New World Development,” Puritans and Adventurers (New York, 1980), 24-45; Fred Anderson, A People’s Army; Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years’ War (Chapel Hill, 1984).

Much recent work studies the militia as a social institution, an approach very different from Galvin’s, who considers them as functioning military organizations from the perspective of a professional military officer. A major opportunity exists for a cultural historian who might wish to combine these two approaches.

8. Francis S. Drake, The Town of Roxbury (Roxbury, 1878), 30. Heath in a letter to Harrison Gray Otis, April 21,1798, claimed that the first company of minutemen was raised in Roxbury.

9. Lexington Town Records, Nov. 10-Dec. 27, 1774, Lexington Town Hall.

10. “Training Band” is the word that appears in the Lexington Town Records, Nov. 28, 1774. Captain Parker himself, and other members of the Lexington company always described themselves as militia, not minutemen. They were part of Gardner’s Regiment of Militia, not of the various regiments of minutemen. In 1774 the town agreed to support both its “training band” and its “alarm list,” but no mention was made of “minutemen.” The town records of Lexington were reported “lost” long ago for the period from January 1 to April 19, 1775. Someone, many years ago, ripped out four pages. Their absence allowed the myth of the Lexington minutemen to flourish. Cf. Galvin, Minute Men, 262, and Hudson, Lexington, 162, 177.

11. Galvin, Minute Men, 72.

12. Edward Butterfield, March 1, 1775, in Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 751.

13. Boston Gazette, Nov. 28, 1774.

14. Castle et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 28.

15. Amos Barrett in the letters of the Rev. Henry True (1900); Jonathan Harrington in Hudson, Lexington, 94.

16. AA4, II, 441.

17. Abram English Brown, Beside Old Hearthstones (Boston, 1897), 249—50.

18. Richard D. Brown, “Knowledge is Power”: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700—1865 (New York, 1989), 250; “Journal of James Stevens,” EIHC 48 (1912): 41 (April 19, 1775).

19. Boston Daily Advertiser, April 20, 1886; History and Directory of Dedham, Massachusetts (Boston, 1889), 23.

20. Alonzo Lewis and James R. Newhall, History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts… (Boston, 1865), 338; Brown, Beside Old Hearthstones, 249—50.

21. Ibid.; Hudson, Lexington, 208.

22. Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 231.

23. W. S. Tilden, “Medfield Soldiers in the Revolution,” Dedham Historical Register 8 (1897): 70-76.

24. Memoirs of Major-General William Heath by Himself, ed. William Abbott (1798; New York, 1901), 72.

25. George O. Trevelyan, American Revolution, 4 vols. (London, 1909—12), I, 287.

26. Brown, Beside Old Hearthstones, 249—50.

27. Garry Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (New York, 1978), 36.

28. Erastus Worthington II, Proceedings at the 250th Anniversary… of the Town of Dedham (Cambridge, 1887), 78; Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 872.

29. Trevelyan, American Revolution, I, 287.

30. Loammi Baldwin, “Diary,” April 19, 1775, in Hurd, Middlesex County, I, 447; Trevelyan, American Revolution, I, 286.

31. Frederic Kidder, The History of New Ipswich (Boston, 1852), 95; Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, 2 vols. (New York, 1952), I, 78.

32. Ibid.

33. “Reminiscence of Col. Aspinwall,” Hudson, Lexington, 208.

34. Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 872.

35. Newton Town Records, Jan. 2, 1775; Francis Jackson, A History of the Early Settlement of Newton, County of Middlesex, Massachusetts, from 1639 to 1800 (Boston, 1854), 183.

36. Kidder, New Ipswich, 95; Amos Baker, Affidavit, April 22, 1850, Robert Rantoul, Jr., Oration (Boston, 1850), 133-35; John C. Maclean, A Rich Harvest: The History, Buildings and People of Lincoln, Mass. (Lincoln, 1907).

37. Lewis and Newhall, History of Lynn, 338.

38. William H. Guthman, Drums A’Beating, Trumpets Sounding; Artistically Carved Powder Horns in the Provincial Manner, 1746-1781 (Hartford, 1993), 159, 162, 167. An account of the Harrington horn is in Brown, Buckman Tavern, 22. The assertion that it was earlier owned by Henry Dunster is probably incorrect. Another horn in the same collection has three inscriptions. The first reads, “Zapnin Sythe, His Home, April ye 17, 1774.” Later the owner added a snake and a turtle, with the words, “Home we will strife together ZS 1776.” The following year he carved, “Noe boots or bread Dec. ye 11th 1777 Valley Forge,” ibid., 22. I am grateful to David Wood for his advice and suggestions.

39. Examples of this short rapier may be seen in the Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington. I am much endebted to John Hamilton, curator of the museum, for sharing his expertise on edged weapons in New England.

40. The flag survives today in the Bedford Library. Several iconoclasts have challenged its authenticity, but the provenance is well established and supporting documentation exists in 17th-century British sources.

41. Mellen Chamberlain (1821-1900) was a jurist and antiquarian of high probity; the interview took place ca. 1843, when Chamberlain was twenty-one and Preston was ninety-one. Several different versions of this interview have crept into the literature. One of them ends differently, “We always had been free and we meant to be free always!” Cf. “Why Captain Levi Preston Fought: An Interview with One of the Survivors of the Revolution by Hon. Mellen Chamberlain of Chelsea,” Danvers Historical Collections 8 (1920): 68-70; and John S. Pancake, 1777, the Year of the Hangman (University, Ala., 1977), 7.

image 11. The Great Fear

1. Solomon Smith, Deposition, July 10, 1835; Hannah Davis Leighton, Deposition, Aug. 14, 1835; Josiah Adams, Centennial Address on the Founding of Acton (Boston, 1835), 16, 19; idem, Letter to Lemuel Shattuck, Esq. (Boston, 1850), Allen French, Day of Concord and Lexington (Boston, 1925), 183-84.

2. Georges Lefebvre, La Grande Peur de 1789 (Paris, 1932, 1970); translated by Joan White as The Great Fear of 1789; Rural Panic in Revolutionary France (1973, Princeton, 1982); Henri Dinet, La Grande Peur dans la généralitéde Poitiers: juillet-août 1789(Paris, 1951); idem, “Les peurs du Beauvaisis et du Valois, juilliet, 1789,” Paris et Ile-de-France: Memoires 23-24: (1972-74): 199-392, a major work with many documents; and other works by the same author cited therein; Michel Vovelle, De la cave au grenier: un itineraire en Provence au XVIIIe siecle (Quebec, 1980), 221-62; Clay Ramsay, The Ideology of the Great Fear: The Soissonnais in 1789 (Baltimore, 1992). A similar phenomenon in yet another revolutionary setting is explored in G. Chiselle, “Une panique normande en 1848,” review in La Pensure, April 1912.

3. Hannah Winthrop to Mercy Warren, n.d., MHSP 14 (1875): 29—31.

4. Ibid.

5. Obituary of Rebecca Harrington Munroe, (Boston) Daily Advertiser, April 11, 1834.

6. Extract from a Petition of Jacob Rogers, Oct. 10, 1775, Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, 371-72.

7. Elijah Sanderson, Deposition, Dec. 17, 1824, Elias Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington, on the Morning of the 19th April 1775 (Boston, 1825), 31—33

8. Samuel Cooper Diary, April 19, 1775; Brenton H. Dickson and Homer C. Lucas, One Town in the American Revolution: Weston, Massachusetts (Weston, 1976), 86.

9. Arthur B. Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord (New York, 1959), 199; Experience Wight Richardson Diary, April 1775, MHS.

10. French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 204—5.

11. Amelia Forbes Emerson (ed.), Diaries and Letters of William Emerson, 1743-1776 (Boston, 1972), 73.

12. G. Frederick Robinson and Ruth Robinson Wheeler, Great Little Watertown: A Tercentenary History (Watertown, 1930), 63.

13. Vincent J. R. Kehoe, “We Were There!” mimeographed typescript, 2 vols., (n.p., n.d.), I, 271.

14. Harold Murdock, The Nineteenth of April, 1775 (Boston, 1925), 128.

15. Josiah Temple, The History of Framingham (Framingham, 1887), 275.

16. Hurd, History of Middlesex County, II, 624.

17. A history of this episode was published by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Prudence Wright and the Women Who Guarded the Bridge (n.p., 1899; rpt. 1979). A modern investigation is Francine A. Stracuzzi, “Prudence Wright: A Heroine of the American Revolution,” unpublished paper, History 151a, Brandeis University, Spring 1992. According to legend, Capt. Whiting approached the bridge in company with another Loyalist, who was none other than Prudence Wright’s Tory brother Thomas Cumming. He took one look at his determined sister, and galloped the other way. A local poet Annie Cuthbertson commemorated that encounter in a verse:

One who rode with Whiting cried

“Tis my sister Prue! Alas,

She would never let me pass

Save when her dead body fell!

I turn back from Pepperell.”

For other sources, see Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 231. A memorial to Prudence Wright and her company was erected in 1889.

18. John Tudor Diary, April 19-20, 1775, MHS.

19. John Greenleaf Whittier, Prose Works (Boston, 1866), II, 116.

20. John Jenks Diary, April 20-23, 1775, Pickering Family Papers, MHS.

21. Thomas F. Waters, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Ipswich, 1905-17), II, 320; Christopher Jedrey, The World of John Cleaveland (New York, 1979), 137; Arlin I. Ginsberg, “Ipswich, Massachusetts, During the American Revolution,” dissertation, Univ. of California at Riverside, 1972, pp. 112—13.

22. Hezekiah Smith, Diary, April 19, 1775, MHS; I owe this source to the kindness of Brenda Lawson.

23. Experience Wight Richardson, Diary, April 19—24, 1775, microfilm, MHS.

24. David Hall, Diary, April 30, 1775, MHS.

25. “The Conduct of Vice Admiral Graves in North America, in 1774, 1775 and 1776,” Dec. 11, 1776, signed G. G[efferina], Graves’s, flag secretary], BL; copy in Graves Papers, Gay Transcripts, MHS.

26. Mr. Grosvenor preached from the first verse of Lamentations: “How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!” Paul Litchfield, Diary, May 11, 1775, MHS; published in part in MHSP 19 (1882): 377.

image 12. The Rescue

1. Elizabeth Clarke to Lucy Ware Allen, April 19,1841, LHS Proceedings 4 (1905—10): 91— 93; Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord, 141—42; Vincent J. R. Kehoe (ed.), “We Were There!” mimeographed typescript, 2 vols, (n.p., n.d.), I, 274—75. Watertown Public Library.

2. Dorothy Quincy Hancock Scott, conversation with William H. Sumner, “Reminiscences by General William H. Sumner,” NEHGR 8 (1854): 187.

3. William Munroe, Deposition, March 7, 1825, Elias Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington, on the Morning of the 19th April, 1775 (Boston, 1825), 17, 34.

4. Dorothy Quincy Hancock Scott, conversation, 187; Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord, 140-41.

5. Dorothy Quincy Hancock Scott, conversation, 187.

6. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798, RFP, microfilm edition, MHS; Dorothy Quincy Hancock Scott, conversation, 187.

7. Ibid.

8. Jonas Clarke, “Narrative of the Events of April 19, 1775.”

9. Ibid.

10. On William Diamond, see manuscript notes and materials in the Worthen-Diamond Correspondence, LHS.

11. Long afterward Dorothy Quincy Hancock gave the trunk to the American Antiquarian Society, and that Society in turn deposited it in the Worcester Historical Museum, where it rests today.

12. Peter Oliver, “American Rebellion,” Hutchinson Papers, BL.

13. Much later, John Hancock sent his Spartan hostess a cow as a gift of thanks for her Yankee hospitality. The source is a narrative by Samuel Sewall, in Kehoe (ed.), “We Were There!” I, 272-73.

14. William Gordon, The History of the Rise, Progress and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America…, 4 vols. (London, 1788), I, 479; Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston, 1865), 459. Gordon based his account of this event on personal interviews immediately after the battle. The authenticity of this conversation is supported by evidence in John C. Miller, Sam Adams, Pioneer in Propaganda (Boston, 1936), 332.

image 13. The First Shot

1. Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775, Gage Papers, WCL, pub. in Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, doc. 721, pp. 2024-29; for other editions of this letter, which is often identified as written to General Gage, see Bibliography.

2. Ibid.

3. Barker, The British in Boston, 32.

4. Richard Pope testified of Major Mitchell’s party, “They took three prisoners, one, the noted Paul Revere, who assured them that the country was alarmed, and that he saw the embarkation, which was then publick. This information was soon after confirmed by the Firing of Alarm guns; the bells rang, and drums beat to arms in Concord.”

The identity of Pope is in doubt. From internal evidence, he was not in Smith’s column, but marched with Percy’s brigade. Harold Murdock identified him as a private or noncommissioned officer in the 47th Foot, but no soldier named Pope appears on the muster roll of that regiment. Richard Pope’s Book, April 18, 1775, Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.; published in Murdock, Late News from New England (Boston, 1927).

5. Ibid.

6. The immigrant Congregational minister from East Anglia, William Gordon, noted that these were “only small-sized bells (one in a parish), just sufficient to notify to the people the time for attending worship.” Gordon, “An Account of the Commencement of Hostilities Between Great Britain and America, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay,” May 17, 1775, AA4, II, 625.

7. “We got into the road leading to Lexington. Soon after the country people begun to fire their alarm guns, and light their beacons, to raise the country.” Ensign Jeremy Lister, Narrative, published as Concord Fight (Cambridge, 1931), 63—67.

8. Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775. Pitcairn wrote: “Near Three in the morning, when we were advanced within about Two miles of Lexington, Intelligence was received, that about 500 Men in arms were assembled, determined to oppose the King’s troops and retard them in their March.” Pitcairn to Gage, April 25, 1775, Gage Papers, WCL; also in Military Dispatches, CO5/92-93, PRO; printed in French, General Gage’s Informers, 52—54.

9. Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775; letter from a “private soldier at Boston to his relatives,” Aug. 20, 1775, Willard, Letters on the American Revolution, 187-200.

10. He cut across the country to the meetinghouse and arrived soon after Bowman; see Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 19; for a brief sketch, see Hudson, Lexington, 255.

11. James Marr, Recollection, as recorded in Gordon, “Account”; also Pitcairn to Gage, April 25, 1775; Smith to Gage, April 22, 1775; and Gage, “Circumstantial Account.” The British commanders later made much of this episode as evidence that they did not fire the first shot.

12. Ensign Jeremy Lister wrote that, “about 4 o’clock, the five front companies were ordered to load, which we did” (Lister, Narrative, Concord Fight, 64-67). The American militiaman William Munroe later went to the place where the British were “when they first heard our drum beat, which was about 100 rods [1650 feet] below the meeting-house, and saw the ends of a large number, I should judge 200, of cartridges, which they had dropped, when they charged their pieces.” Munroe, Deposition, March 7, 1825, in Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 34.

13. Major W. Soutar, as quoted in Reginald Hargreaves, The Bloodybacks; The British Serviceman in North America and the Caribbean 1655-1783 (New York, 1968), 219.

14. Galvin, Minute Men, 129; on drummer William Diamond, see Coburn, Battle of April 19, 1775, 6in; Boston Globe, Sept. 23, 1903.

15. For a physical description of Lexington Common in 1775, see Charles Harrington, “Memoir of Levi Harrington, an eyewitness” (1846), LHS. The Common was bigger in 1775 than it is today, when modern roads have reduced its dimensions. The meetinghouse appears to have stood a little to the east of the present marker stone, perhaps in what is now an asphalt intersection of two busy suburban roads. The terrain is much changed as well. In 1775, it was rough and broken ground. Since the mid-19th century, the Common has been graded at least three times. Harrington remembered there was a large oak stump near the meeting house and a growth of brush on the south side. The place itself was called interchangeably a “Common” or “Green,” with the former term predominating in the 18th century (when the Common was not very green), and the latter increasing in the 19th century (when the Green was not very common). Elias Phinney, for example, referred to it as the “triangular green or common” in his History of the Battle at Lexington (Boston, 1825), 10.

16. Revere, Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775, RFP, MHS.

17. Sutherland thought he saw three companies of militia; Sutherland to Kemble, April 27,1775.

18. Barker, British in Boston, 32; Pitcairn to Gage, April 25, 1775; De Berniere estimated the number at “about 150.” Another British officer, Edward Gould, got the number right: “a body of provincial troops armed, to the number of about 60 or 70 men.” But this estimate was reported after he was captured and had talked with men on the other side; cf. De Berniere, Narrative of Occurrences, 1775 (Boston, 1779); rpt. 2MHSC 4(1816): 204—15; Gould, Deposition, April 25, 1775, AA4, II, 500—501.

19. “1200 or 1500 was the number we then supposed the Brigade [sic] to consist of.” Jonas Clarke, “Narrative of the Events of April 19,” an estimate of true strength is computed from data in Appendix K below.

20. Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 19; Sylvanus Wood, Deposition, June 17, 1826, Ripley, Battle of Concord, 53—54; Paul Revere thought that the militia numbered “fifty or sixty”; Tourtellot (Lexington and Concord, 128—29) estimated that 70 militia and 100 spectators were present—altogether nearly 25 percent of the town’s population; French reckoned the number of spectators at “not more than forty” (Day of Concord and Lexington, 108—9).

21. “Them are the very words that Captain Parker said,” swore William Munroe in 1822 (Report of the Committee on Historical Monuments and Tablets [n.p., 1884]). Parker’s threat to shoot men who ran was heard by two men, Robert Douglass and Joseph Underwood, and separately reported in their depositions; Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington, 39; Ripley, History of the Fight at Concord; Coburn, The Battle of April 19, 1775, 63n.

This raises a question of conduct and motive in Captain Parker. Why did he muster his company on the Green? The sequence of events compounds the question. Parker mustered his men, consulted with them, dismissed them, mustered them again, ordered them not to fire unless fired upon, warned them that he himself would shoot them if they ran, and then ordered them to disperse when the Regulars formed a line of battle. Six hypotheses come to mind.

(1.) He might have wished to provoke an incident in which the Regulars appeared as the aggressors.

(2.) He did not wish to start a fight, but was unwilling to run away from one: “If they want to have a war let it begin here!”

(3.) He may have intended to make a demonstration of symbolic resistance, to vindicate the honor of his town, but only to the point of actual fighting, and not beyond, and lost control of the event.

(4.) Not knowing if Hancock and Adams had left the parsonage, and thinking that their arrest was one of the objects of the expedition, he mustered his men at the north corner of the Green, very near the Bedford Road, either to block the British troops or to turn them in another direction.

(5.) He changed his purposes with changing circumstances.

(6.) He was severely ill, very tired, deeply confused, and not thinking coherently.

The sixth hypothesis is clearly mistaken. It is true that Parker was terminally ill, and according to one member of his family had not slept the night before, but there is not the slightest hint of confusion in many narratives and depositions. The fifth begs the question. The first goes too far, in my judgment, and the third not far enough. This leaves the second and fourth, which in combination are the most plausible explanations.

22. See below, p. 282.

23. Clarke, “Narrative of the Events of April 19.” Captain Parker also observed that “immediately said troops made their appearance and rushed furiously.” See John Parker, Deposition; also William Draper, Deposition.

24. Galvin writes, “Pitcairn let his column go to the right and galloped around to the left of the meetinghouse, thus momentarily separating himself from his men. He was never able to regain full control of them” (Galvin, Minute Men, 135). Ralph Earl’s drawing of the fight at Lexington, based on interviews with survivors soon after the event, clearly shows this division, with three companies moving to the right (north) of the meetinghouse, and the rest of the column marching to the left.

25. William Draper: “The regular troops made an huzza, and ran towards Captain Parker’s company”; Thomas Rice Willard: “The officers made an huzza, and the private soldiers succeeded them”; Thomas Fessenden: “The Regulars kept huzzaing”; Depositions, April 23, 25, 1775, AA4, II, 490-501.

26. The distance between British troops and the American militia was variously estimated at “five or six” or “eight to ten” rods, that is, between 82.5 and 165 feet. The dimensions of the Common, and the judgment of Jonas Clarke, recorded shortly afterward, support the smaller estimates. The words used by the British officers were also remembered differently. One of them was heard to say, “Damn you, why don’t you lay down your arms?” Clarke, “Narrative of the Events of April 19.”

27. John Robbins, Deposition, April 24, 1775, AA4, II, 491.

28. Clarke, “Narrative of of the Events of April 19”; 62 depositions collected from American eyewitnesses all testified that Parker’s militia was dispersing before it was fired upon.

29. Revere’s three accounts of the battle add different details. All are combined here.

30. One of the most careful British accounts was by Lt. Frederick Mackenzie of the 23rd Welch Fusiliers. He was not present at Lexington in the morning, but marched there with Percy later in the day. Mackenzie spoke with “an officer of one of the Flank companies,” who told him that “shots were immediately fired; but from which side could not be ascertained, each party imputing it to the other. Our troops immediately rushed forward, and the Rebels were dispersed, 8 of them killed, and several wounded. One Soldier was wounded, and Major Pitcairn’s horse was wounded.” Mackenzie, Diary, I, 24.

31. On that field of confusion, two facts are clear enough. It was almost universally agreed that the first shot did not come from Captain Parker’s militia or the British infantry. Parker himself testified that the British troops “fired upon and killed eight of our party, without receiving any provocation.” In another deposition, thirty-three Lexington militiamen testified that “not a gun was fired by any person in our Company on the Regulars, to our knowledge, before they fired on us.” Altogether, fifty surviving members of the Lexington company swore under oath that none of their company fired first. By general (if not universal) agreement on both sides, it is also clear that the first shot did not come from the rank and file of the British Regulars. Two eyewitnesses, Benjamin Tidd and Joseph Abbott, testifed in their depositions that the first shots were “a few guns which we took to be pistols, from some of the regulars who were mounted on horses.” Many honorable British soldiers insisted that none of the light infantry companies fired first.

32. Barker, British at Boston, 32; Pitcairn to Gage, April 25,1775. American eyewitnesses agreed on some of these facts, but not upon the sequence. Lexington militiaman Nathan Munroe willingly testified that he himself “got over the wall into Buckman’s land, about six rods from the British, and then turned and fired at them,” but he insisted that this happened after the Regulars had fired at him. Nathan Munroe, Deposition, Dec. 22, 1824, Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 38; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” II, 7.

33. At least one American, Sergeant William Munroe, also saw somebody (later identified as Lexington man Solomon Brown) fire from the back door of the Buckman Tavern, then reload and fire again from the front. Munroe testified many years later, that this happened after the first shots had been fired. According to a Lexington legend, the man who fired at the Regulars from the Tavern was Solomon Brown. The story is told that innkeeper John Buckman drove Brown out of the tavern, in fear that the Regulars would burn it to the ground, but not before the Regulars returned fire, leaving a bullet hole in the front door that still may be seen today. If this happened at all, it must have been after the first shot. William Munroe, Deposition March 7,1825; Phinney, Lexington,34; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” II, 7; Willard D. Brown, The Story of Buckman Tavern, 14—15. The authenticity of the bullet hole is also very doubtful.

34. Sutherland wrote after the action, “Major Pitcairn, Major Mitchell, Capts. Lumm, Cochrane, Mr. Thorne of the 4th Regiment, Mr. Adair of the Marines, Captain Parsons of the l0th and Lieutenant Gould and Barker of the 4th I believe will pretty nearly agree in most particulars of the above.” This may be taken as a list of British officers who were engaged on Lexington Green. Three were on foot with the light infantry of the 4th and the l0th Foot when they deployed in front of Parker’s line: Gould, Barker, of the Fourth; and Parsons of the l0th. Four others were mostly members of Mitchell’s patrol: Mitchell himself, Lumm, Cochrane, and Thorne. Pitcairn commanded the advanced column, and Adair had been put in the van. Also with the two companies were Captain Nesbit Balfour of the 4th, Lieutenant Waldron Kelly, and Ensign Jeremy Lister of the l0th (a volunteer replacing Lt. Hamilton at the last minute).

35. Sanderson, Deposition, Dec. 17, 1824, Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 31-33; Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775.

36. Fessenden, Deposition, April 23, 1775, AAq, 11,495-96; Barker, British in Boston, 32. On Sutherland, see the next chapter, below. Sutherland is an interesting character. He tells us that he joined the expedition as a volunteer, and appears to have been hungry for action. His accounts of the battle are exceptionally full and descriptive, but also differ from those of other officers. He tended to be more hostile to the Americans, more strongly assertive that the militia fired the first shots at Lexington, and also Concord where no other British officer concurred with him, more manipulative of facts, more defensive about the British conduct, and more self-serving. Sutherland appears to have been one of the few junior officers who was ordered by Gage’s staff to make a report of his actions; one wonders if Gage had his own suspicions. A distinct possibility is that Sutherland was the man who fired the first shot, perhaps by inadvertence when he was having trouble with his horse. It is the author’s experience that riders who have the most trouble controlling their horses are those least able to control themselves. This is merely a hypothesis. but thc reader will 11utt. Sutherland’s behavior at Concord’s North Bridge.

37. This hypothesis of several “first shots,” nearly simultaneous, has not been suggested or supported by any other major published history of the event, but it makes a maximum fit with virtually all of the evidence.

38. J. A. Houlding, Fit for Service: The Training of the British Army, 1715-1795 (Oxford, 1981), 141.

39. John Munroe, Deposition, Dec. 28, 1824, Phinney, Battle at Lexzngton, 36-37.

40. The British muskets had no rear sights; only a bayonet lug near the muzzlew, which disappeared when bayonets were mounted. British infantry were trained to fire with their heads erect, not bent along the musket. One officer observed in 1757, “Any commander that desires his men to hold up their heads when they fire… was never a marksman himself; and in such case, you may set Blind men a Firing as a man that can see.” George Grant, The New Highland Military Discipline (1757; rpt. Ottawa, 1967); quoted in Houlding, Fit for Service, 279-80.

41. Timothy Smith, Deposition, April 23, 1775; Thomas Fessenden, Deposition, April 25, 1775; AA4, II, 494, 496.

42. William Gordon, “An Account of the Commencement of Hostilities Between Great Britain and America,” May 17, 1775, AA4, II, 40.

43. John Munroe, Deposition, Dec. 28, 1824, Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 35.

44. Ibid.

45. Ibid.; Ebenezer Munroe, Deposition, April 2, 1825, Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 37; the remains of John Munroe’s shortened musket may be seen today in the Munroe Tavern, Lexington.

46. Kehoe, “We Were There!” typescript, I, 134-41,Watertown Public Library.

47. Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” II, 15, 18; Lister wrote, “We had but one man wounded of our company in the leg his name was Johnson.” No soldier of this name was on the muster roll of the light infantry company as of April 19, 1775, but Private Thomas Johnston was listed as transferring from another company in the 10th Foot to the light infantry company, effective April 24. One wonders if, like Lister, Private Johnston marched as a volunteer replacement. If so, he was a hard-luck soldier, the only man hit at Lexington, and mortally wounded at Bunker Hill. He died on June 23, 1775. Cf. Lister, Narrative; Muster Roll, 10th Foot, WO12/2750, PRO.

48. William Munroe, Deposition, March 7, 1825.

49. Ebenezer Munroe, Deposition, April 2, 1825, Phinney, Battle of Lexington, 37.

50. The drum call was not the tattoo, as some secondary accounts surmise.

51. Gould, Deposition; Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775; Barker, The British in Boston, 32.

52. Lt. Col. Francis Smith to Major Robert Donkin, Oct. 8, 1775, Gage Papers, WCL, published in part in French, General Gage’s Informers, 61; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” II, 12—13.

53. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 32.

image 14. The Battle

1. Thaddeus Blood, “Statement on the Battle of April 19, 1775,” Boston Daily Advertiser, April 20, 1886; ms., CFPL.

2. Galvin, Minute Men, 258.

3. Emerson, Diaries and Letters, 71; Shattuck, History of Concord, 8.

4. Emerson, Diaries and Letters, 71—72.

5. Thaddeus Blood, “Statement on the Battle of April 19.” The location of this hill is not clear in primary sources. Some scholars have assumed it to be the eastern end of Revolutionary Ridge, the long hill that runs parallel to the Concord-Lexington Road from Concord center to Meriam’s Corner. It could also have been Hardy’s Hill, a mile to the east. Statements about the view to the east support the first interpretation; implications of distances marched suggest the second. On balance, the first interpretation is more probable.

6. Gould, Deposition, April 25, 1775, AA4, II, 500-501.

7. Barrett, letter, 19 April 1825, AA4, II, 500.

8. What flag was flying from the liberty pole? Some scholars believe that it was the “pine tree flag” of New England, a red flag with a pine tree on a white canton. Another New England flag had a red cross of St. George on a white canton above a red field. Also in use were white flags with a green liberty tree, and the motto “An Appeal to Heaven.” The Sons of Liberty in Massachusetts flew a flag with vertical red and white stripes. Cf. Ruth R. Wheeler, Concord: Climate for Freedom (Concord, 1967), 116—17.

9. Abel Conant, interview, Nov. 8, 1832; Shattuck’s Historical Notes, NEHGS; Shattuck, History of Concord, 105—6.

10. Emerson, Diary, April 19, 1775, Diaries and Letters of William Emerson, 71. The pronoun “us” is interpolated here.

11. The story of Harry Gould was told by the militiaman himself to James D. Butler. See James D. Butler, Jr., to Edward W. Emerson, April 25, 1888, in Emerson, Diaries and Letters of William Emerson, 133—34; for the naming of the sons, see Gross,Minutemen and Their World, 118; and family reconstitution sheets compiled by the Brandeis Concord Group and Robert Gross, Brandeis University.

12. Brandeis Concord Group, Family Reconstitution Sheets; Gross, The Minutemen and Their World, 158; French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 158.

13. Shattuck, History of Concord; Josephine Hosmer, “Memoir of Joseph Hosmer,” The Centennial of the Concord Social Circle (Cambridge, Mass., 1882), 116-17; Gross, Minutemen and Their World, 64—65; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” III, 29.

14. Even Concord’s fiery young minister William Emerson wrote, “We were the more careful to prevent a rupture with the King’s troops, as we were uncertain what had happened at Lexington, and knew not they had begun the quarrel.” It was urgently important to these New England men that they should not strike the first blow. See Diaries and Letters of William Emerson, 72.

15. Ibid., 71—72; Ripley, Fight at Concord, 16.

16. Gross, Minutemen and Their World, 122; accounts of Reuben Brown, William Emerson, Abel Fisk, Dr. Timothy Minot, and Ezekiel Brown, 1775 Folder, Concord Archives, CFPL. Much of the property listed as missing was not looted but taken by order of Colonel Smith for carrying the wounded to Boston.

17. British strength and dispositions at the North Bridge were variously reported in three eyewitness accounts. Lister thought that five companies were sent to North Bridge; Barker counted six; Laurie reported six were originally sent, and later reinforced by a seventh. Laurie, the senior officer present, appears to have been correct. From various sources seven companies of light infantry can be identified by regimental number as present there: the 4th, 5th, 10th, 38th, 43rd, 52nd, later reinforced by the 23rd. The 43rd remained at the North Bridge, as did the 5th for a time. Captain Parsons led the 38th and the 52nd to Barrett’s, where they were joined by the 5th, and according to Lister the 23rd as well. The 4th and 10th occupied the high ground along their route. See Smith to Gage, April 22, 1775; Lister, Narrative; Barker, British in Boston, 33-34; Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775; Sutherland to Clinton, April 26, 1775; Laurie to Gage, April 26, 1775; French, General Gage’s Informers, 98.

18. Interview with Ephraim Jones by Marquis de Chastelleux, Nov. 7, 1782, in Howard Rice (ed.), Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781, and 1782, 2 vols. (Chapel Hill, 1963), II, 481-82.

19. Trevelyan, American Revolution, I, 286; Shattuck supplies a more exact inventory: 60 barrels of flour of which nearly half was later preserved; 3 cannon damaged by smashing of their trunnions; 16 gun carriage wheels burned, a few barrels of wooden trenchers, and spoons burned, and 500 pounds of ball thrown into the millpond, and later rescued.

20. De Berniere, Narrative.

21. Shattuck, History of Concord, 107—9.

22. Sutherland observed that “part of them formed in a meadow and the rest went still further off with the women and the children, and formed in another meadow on a rising ground. I saw more men in arms on a height that rose above the last mentioned party, which were none of those that passed the bridge sometime before.” Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775; Sutherland to Clinton, April 26, 1775.

23. The present site of the muster field lies to the west of the 20th-century Buttrick Mansion, now a visitor center in the National Park. Beside it is the old house of Major Buttrick himself.

24. Josiah Adams, Letter to Lemuel Shattuck, Esq. (Boston, 1850), 20—21; Amos Baker, Affadavit; Rantoul, Oration, 134.

25. A Hunt family tradition, recorded by French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 182n.

26. Interview with Mrs. Peter Barrett, Nov. 3, 1831, Shattuck’s Historical Notes, NEHGS; Shattuck, History of Concord, 109; Gross, Minutemen and Their World, 123.

27. Shattuck, History of Concord, 111; Josephine Hosmer, “Memoir of Joseph Hosmer”; Gross, Minutemen and Their World, 220.

28. Frothingham, “Statement of Major John Buttrick,” 52; Adams, Letter to Lemuel Shattuck, 45.

29. Amos Barrett, Narrative.

30. Ibid.

31. The sequence of events was reported differently by participants on both sides. Eight Lincoln men testified, “We then seeing several fires in the town, thought that the houses in Concord were in danger, and marched towards the said bridge, and the troops who were stationed there, observing our approach, marched back over the bridge, and then took up some planks.” The same words were exactly repeated in a deposition signed by sixteen Concord men.

Colonel Barrett, on the other hand, testified, “I ordered them to march to the North Bridge, so called, which they had passed, and were taking up. I ordered said Militia to march to said bridge and pass the same, but not to fire on the king’s troops, unless they were first fired upon.” Bradbury Robinson and two others deposed that the Regulars “were taking up said bridge, when about three hundred of our militia were advancing towards said bridge.”

Lieutenant Barker recalled, “The rebels marched into the Road and were coming down upon us when Captain Laurie made his men retire to this side of the bridge, which by the by he ought to have done at first, and then he would have had time to make a good disposition.” Cf. Depositions of John Hoar et al., Nathan Barrett et al., and James Barrett, all dated April 23, 1775, published as A Narrative of the Excursion and Ravages of the King’s Troops Under the Command of General Gage (Worcester, 1775); rPt in Lincoln, Journals of Each Provincial Congress, 661-74; also in Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, doc. 769, pp. 2083—87; and AA4, II, 489—502; Barker, British in Boston, 34.

32. George Tolman, Events of April 19, (Concord, n.d.), 29; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” II, 38; on the shortage of bayonets, see Amos Baker, Affadavit. Some historians also place Lt.-Col. John Robinson of Westford at the head of the column with Major Buttrick. According to tradition he was invited to take command, but Robinson deferred to Buttrick as his own men were not yet there, and marched as a volunteer. See Edwin R. Hodgman, History of the Town of Westford (Lowell, Mass., 1883), 106.

33. Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775; Lister, Narrative; Laurie to Gage, April 26, 1775; American accounts were similar. Blood recalled “our men marching in very good order along the road,” in “Statement on the Battle of April 19,” CFPL.

34. For the effective strength of these units, see Appendix K, below.

35. Lister wrote, “Our companies was drawn up in order to form for Street firing.” The best discussion of this part of the battle is in French, Lexington and Concord, 195.

36. Hodgman, History of the Town of Westford, 106.

37. The confusion was compounded by another problem. The drill for street firing was not familiar to all the units at the bridge. It had not been included in the 18 evolutions required in the King’s Regulations of 1765. Laurie’s regiment appears to have practiced it, but not the 4th, where it was “not even understood by the officers who thought that by some mistake the companies had got one behind the other.” L. I. Cowper, The King’s Own; The Story of a Royal Regiment (Oxford, 1939), 239; Barker, The British in Boston, 34.

38. Testimony was mixed, but Captain Laurie himself deposed that “I imagine myself that a man of my company (afterwards killed) did first fire his piece.” Most historians have accepted Laurie’s testimony. Blood recalled that “at that time an officer rode up and a gun was fired. I saw where the ball threw up the water about the middle of the river, then a second and a third shot.” Some have surmised that the first shot may have been fired as a warning; a more likely explanation is an accidental discharge. Cf. Laurie to Gage, April 26, 1775; Blood, “Statement on the Battle of April 19,” CFPL.

39. Ibid.; Baker, Deposition; French, Concord and Lexington, 198.

40. The bodies of Davis and Hosmer were exhumed in 1851 for reburial at a monument on Acton Common, and opened for anyone to view the remains. People were able to see where the ball entered Hosmer’s cheek below the left eye and exited at the back of the neck. The remains of Captain Isaac Davis were “remarkably well preserved.” Castle et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 30

41. Amos Barrett recalled in his idiosyncratic spelling which is not altered here, “We marched two deep it was a long being round by the river. Captain Davis had got I be leave within 15 rods of the B[ridge] when they fired three guns one after the other. I see the balls strike in the river to the right of me.” Blood’s memory was generally the same, but differed in one respect: “An officer rode up and a gun was fired. I saw where the ball threw up the water, about the middle of the river, then a second and a third shot.” One wonders if this officer might have been Sutherland, the only one at the North Bridge who was known to be mounted. Sutherland was also in that position on Lexington Green. By comparison with his brother officers, Sutherland’s letters were exceptionally aggressive and hostile to the Americans, and much more insistent that they fired first, even at Concord, where many other witnesses on both sides contradicted him. One wonders if he might have been an instigator on both fields. There is, however, no firm evidence beyond this suspicious pattern. Cf. Amos Barrett, Narrative, in Journal of Letters of Henry True, 11-14; Blood, “Statement on the Battle of April 19,” CFPL.

42. Some accounts suggest that every American had a clear shot. Many did, but not all. Blood wrote, “We then was all ordered to fire that could fire and not kill our own men.”

43. This estimate of casualties follows the report from Captain Walter Laurie, the senior British officer at the bridge: killed, three privates; wounded, four officers, a sergeant and four other ranks. Several scholars have suggested that the toll might have been smaller, but I see no reason to doubt the accuracy of Laurie’s report (allowing that one of his killed may have been mortally wounded. If anything the toll was more likely to have been higher, as British units in the 18th century did not normally report minor wounds but only those that were incapacitating. See Captain Walter Laurie to Gage, April 26,1775, Gage Papers, WCL; published in French, General Gage’s Informers, 95—98; also Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, doc. 721, pp. 2023-24; on the scarlet coats at Bunker Hill, Richard M. Ketchum, Decisive Day: The Battle for Bunker Hill (1962, new edition, New York, 1974, 1991), 191.

44. Visual evidence appears in Ralph Earl’s sketch of the action, which he carefully drew after interviewing participants in the weeks immediately following the battle. Earl showed most of the New England men firing simultaneously, nearly all of them with clear shots at the British troops across the bridge. Only the front ranks of the Regulars could fire hack. In terms of naval tactics, the American militia had “crossed the T,” a rare event in land warfare.

45. Lister, Narrative, in French (ed.), Concord Fight.

46. Blood, “Statement on the Battle of April 19,” CFPL.

47. Nathan Barrett III, Reminiscences, ms., CFPL.

48. Ibid.; this version is closest to the event; the same story has also been told of Jonas Brown and his mother, of Luther Blanchard and Mrs. Humphrey Barrett, and of Luther Blanchard and Mrs. Nathan Barrett; cf. Castle et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 221; Gross, The Minutemen and Their World, 221; Shattuck, History of Concord, 114.

49. For many years the town of Concord threw a shroud of silence round this event. Nathaniel Hawthorne, an outsider, suggested that the atrocity was committed by a “loutish boy” who was hired as a wood-chopper by William Emerson; the Emersons insisted that no such person existed. Others have suggested that the deed was done by the Emersons’ African slave Frank, but the Emersons insisted that Frank was with them, and could not possibly have done it.

Many people in Concord believed that the perpetrator was Ammi White, aged 20 or 21, a private in Captain Brown’s militia company. Ruth Wheeler reported this tradition in print, and it is accepted by many historians. It is the most probable identity.

Nearly sixty years later, Mrs. Peter Barrett attempted to justify the act, telling an interviewer that the wounded soldier was “lying in a puddle of water in so much distress that he was trying to drown himself and begged someone to kill him.” There is no evidence to support her, and nobody at the time offered this justification. See Emerson, Diaries and Letters, 74; Shattuck, Historical Notes, NEHGS; Gross, Minutemen, 127; Wheeler, Concord, Climate for Freedom, 228; Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse, preface; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” III, 58.

50. Barrett, Narrative.

51. Ibid.

52. Blood, “Statement.”

53. Emerson, Diaries and Letters, 75 (April 19, 1775).

54. “Corpl Gordon, Thos Lugg, Wm. Lewis, Charles Carrier and Richd Grimshaw in the presence of Captn Battier of the 5th light company do solemnly declare, when they were returning to Join the grenadiers they saw a man belonging to the Light Company of the 4th regiment with the Skin over his Eye’s cut and also the top part of his ears cut off. This declaration made in the presence of me, John G. Battier, Capt. LI 5th foot.”

55. Emerson, Diaries and Letters, 72. Smith is often condemned for being fatally slow. Trevelyan (I, 286) wrote that he “delayed till noon; and those two hours were his ruin.” But he was waiting for his four companies to return from Colonel Barrett’s mill, which he had explicit orders to search.

56. The chaises were taken from John Beaton and Reuben Brown.

57. Two streams along the Battle Road bore the same name of Elm Brook. The first was this one, a few yards east of Meriam’s Corner. The second was at the Concord-Lincoln line, by the houses of Joshua Brooks and Job Brooks, and in 1775 also called Tanner’s Brook, after a slaughterhouse and tanning mill that stood beside it. Cf. Malcolm, The Scene of the Battle, 1775, map III.

58. Private Thomas Ditson appears on the muster roll of Captain Jonathan Stickney’s company of minutemen; Coburn, Battle of April 19, 1775, expanded edition, appendix, p. 16.

59. The best account of the engagement at Meriam’s Corner is Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” IV, 1-13. For units engaging, see Coburn, Battle . . . , 97, an incomplete list which omits the Tewksbury companies and others; their presence is documented in Chase,Beginnings of the American Revolution, II, 64.

60. This version of Captain Trull’s remark follows Chase, Beginnings of the American Revolution, II, 63; a different version, four generations removed, is in Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 294. The presence of regimental officers at Meriam’s Corner was missed by Coburn, French, Tourtellot, and most other historians who stressed the spontaneity and individuality of the American response. Though the role of these commanders was documented in primary evidence, and in town histories, it was omitted from most general accounts until Galvin, Minute Men, 171.

61. Many cinematic versions of the battle, and some written accounts as well, represent the American militia as fighting behind stone walls directly beside the road. Thomas Edison’s first film of the battle showed the muzzles of American muskets projecting halfway across the highway. A Hollywood version of Howard Fast’s novel April Morning (1988) was similar, with Americans kneeling at the edge of the road behind massive walls that appeared to have been constructed from Tennessee limestone by Italian masons, or lurking behind roadside trees which miraculously had sprouted their Summer foliage in early Spring.

This common image of the battle is not correct. At Meriam’s Corner, and throughout the day, experienced American officers deliberately held their units well back from the road at maximum effective musket range, approximately 100 yards. A British officer observed that “a soldier’s musket, if not exceedingly ill-bored (as many of them are), will strike the figure of a man at eighty yards; it may even at 100, but a soldier must be very unfortunate who shall be wounded by a common musket at 150 yards, provided his antagonist aims at him; and as to firing at a man at 200 yards with a common musket, you may just as well fire at the moon” (quoted in Galvin, Minute Men, 77).

Sometimes, as we shall see, green troops and a few inexperienced but highly aggressive American officers tried to fight at shorter range. When they did so, the British Regulars closed quickly or attacked with flanking parties, with results that were frequently fatal to the Americans.

At greater distances, the New England militia took a steady toll of the British column, and suffered few casualties in return. Several historians (French, Murdock, and others) have noted the very high ratio of ammunition fired to men hit as evidence of American incompetence. The opposite was the case—heavy expenditure of shot and powder at long range was part of a highly effective solution to the difficult tactical problem of fighting Regular infantry with militia. Murdock and French also failed to note that the ratio of rounds fired to men hit was even higher on the British side than the American.

62. At Meriam’s Corner once again the first shot is a subject of controversy. The balance of testimony by Lister, Sutherland, and also by the American Major Brooks indicates that New England men fired first. Edmund Foster, a reliable witness, thought that the first shot came from the Regulars. But the weight of evidence is on the other side.

63. Individual accounts varied. Blood remembered that “there was a heavy fire but the distance was so great, that little injury was done on either side; at least, I saw but one killed. Number wounded I know not” (Blood, “Statement”). Lister wrote that the “rebels begun a brisk fire but at so great a distance it was without effect, but as they kept marching nearer when the Grenadiers found them they returned their fire. Just about that time I received a shot through my right elbow joint which effectually disabled my arm” (Lister, Narrative, Concord Fight, 29).

Brooks recalled that nine British soldiers were left “hors de combat” near the bridge. Sutherland believed that two Americans were killed, but they have not been identified. The interpretative balance lies between Blood and Lister on one side, and Brooks and Barrett on the other.

64. French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 8—9, 152—55, 219.

65. For “Lincoln Woods,” see Temple, Framingham, 274.

66. Brooks Hill came to be called Hardy’s Hill in the 19th century and Smith’s Hill in the 20th. Galvin, and the staff of the Minute Man National Historical Park inaccurately refer to it by its 19th-century name. The U.S. Geological Survey identifies it on topographical maps by its early 20th-century name.

67. “Battalia” in the 18th-century English military usage did not mean a unit of battalion strength, as modern students of the battle have mistakenly believed. It was used to indicate “a large body of men in battle array.” Sutherland was reporting that here again, as at Meetinghouse Hill, Punkatasset Hill, North Bridge, the ridge east of the bridge, and Meriam’s Corner, the American militia formed up in close order, in regimental strength. Cf. Oxford English Dictionary, “battalia,” 1,2. Sutherland to Clinton, April 26, 1775; Allen French believed that Sutherland was describing Meriam’s Corner in this passage, but Douglas Sabin observes that it is “more appropriate to Hardy’s Hill.” French is mistaken; Sabin is correct. Cf. Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” V, 3.

68. Galvin, Minute Men, 176-77.

69. At Brooks Hill in 1775, the south of the road (from west to east) included a 10 acre tract (A) described as woodland, tillage, and pasture in 1769, then a tract of pasture and orchard (B), and then just east of Brooks Road another tract for which no data exist (C). Woodland lay behind these tracts on high ground about 500 yards from the highway. North of the highway were three close-built houses and houselots, probably with small patches of orchard and tillage close by; then two small tracts of poor land called “upland” in the deeds (D), and a large 20 acre “houselot” that was probably mixed pasture and tillage (E).

The fight on Brooks Hill was probably begun by Americans in woodland south of the road on tract A and in the woods behind it. This was sharply rising ground, with good cover and excellent fields of fire. The fighting probably continued through Tracts B and C. North of the road, were the upland tracts and the 20-acre houselot, the west end of which may have been wood pasture with mature trees in the pasture land, and tree lines at field boundaries, where the Chelmsford men fought. There are strong traditions that the Chelmsford men were heavily engaged at Hardy’s Hill and Sergeant Ford’s gallantry was specially noted in the same place. (Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” V, 3; Frederic Hudson, “The Concord Fight,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 50 (1875): 801). The large formation of 1000 men that Sutherland saw was, I believe, the militia from Framingham and Sudbury. Here again there is a strong town tradition that Captain Nathaniel Cudworth’s Sudbury Company were heavily engaged on Brooks Hill (Hudson, Sudbury,380). Sabin concludes that “it is also possible that other units from Sudbury’s six companies joined the ambush at Hardy’s [i.e., Brooks] Hill,” and that “the Sudbury forces enjoyed the support of men from Framingham’s three companies at Hardy’s Hill” (V, 1, 4). These nine companies included 500 men. Others from adjacent Middlesex towns could easily have made Sutherland’s 1000.

70. Hudson, Sudbury, 365; citing Stearns Collection, [Sudbury Papers], MHS, now lost.

71. Hurd, History of Middlesex County, II, 830; other accounts differ in detail on the place of Captain Wilson’s death.

72. Samuel Adams Drake, History of Middlesex County (Boston, 1880), I, 375; Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” V, 3; Chase, Beginnings of the American Revolution, II, 64.

73. Baldwin’s reference to Tanner’s Brook places his ambush position at the first bend, where the highway turned sharply north into what was called the Old Bedford Road. His men were in a “young growth of wood” on land that is now in the roadbed of modern Route 2A. A conflict of evidence appears here, between the early terrain studies and the eyewitness accounts of the battle. In this case, the latter may help us to refine the former. Terrain studies identified this tract as orchard, but this is from a deed that describes it as “young orchard” in 1791. In 1775 it must have been something else, probably an abandoned field or pasture that had gone to second growth timber, hence Foster’s description as a “young growth of wood” on the south side of the road. The land on the northwest side was called “pasture” in 1791, but much 18th-century pasture was rough ground, interspersed with mature trees that had been browsed up to a height of four or six feet, the “large trees” of Foster’s narrative. The terrain rises steeply from Tanner’s Brook to Baldwin’s “young growth” of wood. It would have been a perfect ambush site, with cover, elevation, and an enfilade position. Extracts from Loammi Baldwin’s diary are published in Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 445—47.

74. Edmund Foster to Col. Daniel Shattuck, March 10, 1825, Kehoe, “We Were There!” I, 253-54. Most historians believe that this passage in Foster’s letter refers to the Bloody Curve (Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” V, 7). Galvin places it on Hardy’s [Brooks] Hill, but recent research tends to support Sabin’s reading (cf. Galvin, Minute Men, 178).

75. The Rev. Edmund Foster to Lemuel Shattuck, March 10, 1825; Galvin, Minute Men, 176, and Coburn, Battle…, 101, are correct; French’s account (in Concord and Lexington, 220—21) is inaccurate in regard to American movements. Malcolm, maps III and IV, also appears to be mistaken in her identification of the terrain, missing the “young growth” of wood that Foster described, and woodlands that appear in other accounts. Sabin cautions that “the historical record concerning the action on Hardy’s Hill [Brooks Hill] is clouded.” Particular problems appear in estimates of casualties. Cf. Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” V, 4.

76. This is not correctly called the Bloody Angle, an error term introduced after the Civil War that is both inaccurate and anachronistic. It has been used uncritically by many historians of the battle and is perpetuated by the National Park Service. The name was borrowed from another war to which it properly belongs; it also does not describe the terrain, which consisted of a series of bends along the curving road—not merely one. Changes in modern road construction have compounded the confusion here. The older and more correct name of Bloody Curve was recorded in Wheeler, Concord: Climate of Freedom, 127. The second ambush was near the intersection of the Woburn Road, the Old Bedford Road, and the Virginia Road. The peach orchard identified here in some terrain studies appears to have been planted later. The “woodpasture” lay to the south, with a “parcel” to the west that may have been a combination of rough pasture and woodland.

77. Again the best accounts are Galvin, Coburn, Hurd, and Sabin.

78. This was the place where Foster wrote, fifty years afterward, that there was “little or no discipline or order, on the part of the Americans during the remainder of that day. Each sought his own place and opportunity to attack and annoy the enemy from behind trees, rocks, fences and buildings, as seemed most convenient.” This memory appears to be correct in what happened after the engagement began at the Bloody Curve, but it is certainly incorrect for the “rest of the day.” As we shall see, attacks were mounted in company and even regimental strength later in the morning, and Percy noted that the British column was closely pursued by a large body of American troops in close formation.

79. Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” V, 17.

80. The best account of the fighting at the Hartwell farms is in Sabin, “April 19,1775,” V, 18.

81. The town line ran through the rock-strewn pasture. The wooded slope to the northeast, sometimes called Pine Hill, lay just inside Lexington. Today it is just east of Airport Road, and the National Park Visitor Center. The terrain and foliage today on Parker’s Hill are very similar to what existed at the time of the battle, except that the undergrowth has been browsed by deer, which are more abundant two centuries later than in 1775. When the author and park historian Douglas Sabin climbed this hill on April 16,1993, deer droppings were abundant on top of the rocky hill.

82. Several antiquarian accounts have identified a rock only thirty feet from the road as the place where Thorning (still a local hero) made his stand. This “Minuteman Rock” is another myth. No evidence survives to document the place, and a position only ten yards from the highway would have been suicidal. Another factor is that the ground close to the road is very soft in the Spring; on April 16, 1993, there was much standing water on both sides of the old road. Cf. Hersey, Heroes of Battle Road, 27-29; and the correction by Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” V, 25.

83. Historians and eyewitnesses disagree as to the location of the Lexington ambush. Coburn (p. 104) places it in Lincoln, “not far from the Nelson and Hastings homes.” French (p. 223) puts it further east, “within the bounds of Lexington.” Hudson (p. 195) believed that it happened “in Lincoln” with Parker’s company “taking a position in the fields.” Ezra Ripley, A History of the Fight at Concord, 31, placed Parker’s men in the woods within the boundary of Lexington south of the road. Malcolm, in her Grounds report, finds no woodland south of the road, but a large woodlot to the north. Galvin, with his eye for terrain, thinks that Parker “selected the hill east of Nelson’s bridge as his ambush position… the first hill inside the Lexington line” (p. 190). One of Parker’s militia, Nathan Munroe, remembered, “We met the enemy within the bounds of Lincoln,” but fought them in Lexington. Archaeological evidence of fighting was found in 1895 on the high ground north of the road (Coburn, Battle…, 106). These various materials can be reconciled with the interpretation presented in the text.

84. On the death of Jedidiah Munroe see Galvin, Minute Men, 193; Hudson, Lexington, 154; Coburn, Battle…, 130. Munroe was killed on Pine Hill in Lexington. Here is another indication that Parker put his men on both sides of the road, in the field and on the wooded hill.

Historians have differed on the place where Colonel Smith was wounded. Coburn (p. 107) believes that it happened on Fiske Hill. Sabin suggests that the site was Concord Hill further east (VI, 7); Galvin (p. 192) favors Pine Hill and the Parker ambush site. The best primary source on the British side is De Berniere’s Report to Gage, which states that Smith had already been wounded before the column was “within a mile” of Lexington. Fiske Hill was about 1.5 miles from Lexington Common; Parker’s ambush was about 1.9 miles. Another clue may be found in Pitcairn’s conduct, which suggests that he had assumed active command of the column before Fiske’s Hill, but that Smith was still in that role before crossing the Lincoln line. This suggests that Parker’s men shot him from their ambush near the town line.

85. Fiske Hill is today at the eastern end of the National Park, just west of Route 128.

86. Foster, “Narrative”; Galvin, Minute Men, 193-94; Coburn, Battle…, 108-10.

87. Hay ward had lost his toes in a chopping accident and was exempt from service, but he mustered anyway. See Coburn, Battle…, 108; Fletcher, Acton; Adams, Address Delivered at Acton, 48. A well is still there at approximately the same spot, and was full of water in April 1993 when last visited by the author and Douglas Sabin.

88. Galvin, Minute Men, 194.

89. Simonds, “The Affair in the Lexington Meetinghouse.”

90. De Berniere, Report to Gage; the terrain in this stretch of road has been radically altered by the construction of Route 128 (Interstate 95), the broad modern beltway around Boston that passes between Fiske’s Hill and Concord Hill.

91. Ibid.

92. Barker, The British in Boston, 35, 37.

93. Percy to the Duke of Northumberland, April 20, 1775, Percy Letters, 54.

15. A Circle of Fire

1. Gage had earlier prepared the 1st Brigade for its mission this day. On March 29,1775, he ordered “the first brigade to be under arms tomorrow morning at six o’clock with their knapsacks on. The brigade will assemble on the Grand parade, with four companies of light infantry, and four companies of Grenadiers, to the right of the whole.” The next day Barker noted in his diary, “The 1st Brigade marched into the country at 6 o’clock in the morning; it alarmed the people a good deal. Expresses were sent off to every town near: at Watertown about 9 miles off, they got two pieces of cannon to the bridge and loaded ‘em but nobody would stay to fire them; at Cambridge, they were so alarmed that they pulled up the bridge.” Extracts of Orders given to the British Army in America,” n.d. [March 29, 1775?], WO 36/1, PRO; Barker, British in Boston, 27 (March 30, 1775).

2. On Captain Moncrieffe’s career, see Gage Correspondence, II, 74, 300, 383, 409, 430-32, 461-62, 486, 610, 630, 667, 688.

3. Letter from an officer in the 5th Foot, July 5,1775; printed in Detail and Conduct of the American War (3rd ed., London, 1780), 10; and Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, 75-

4. Samuel Eliot Morison, The Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis, Federalist, 1765—1818, 2 vols. (Boston, 1913), I, 13.

5. Frothingham, Siege of Boston, 75; Mackenzie, Diary, I, 19.

6. John Cannon, Aristocratic Century; The Peerage of Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge, 1984, 1987), solidly documents the growing power of the English aristocracy in this period. To his trenchant analysis a chapter might be added on the aristocracy in the Empire, and the American colonies in particular.

7. David Carradine, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (New Haven, 1990), 710. An illegitimate son of the first Duke, James Smithson, was raised as James Macie by his mother. Later in life he changed his name to Smithson, developed republican leanings, and left a large fortune to the United States to found the Smithsonian Institution, in hopes that his name would “live in the memory of man when the titles of the Northumberlands and the Percies are extinct and forgotten.” The founder of the Smithsonian was a half-brother of our Lord Percy.

8. Percy to Northumberland, July 27, 1774, Bolton (ed.), Percy Letters, 30.

9. His hospitality has inspired a delightful piece of historical whimsy by Harold Murdock, Earl Percy’s Dinner-Table (Boston, 1907).

10. Percy Letters, 21.

11. Percy to the Rev. Thomas Percy, Oct. 27, 1774, ibid., 40.

12. Percy to Northumberland, July 27, 1774; to Henry Reveley, Aug. 8, 1774, ibid., 31.

13. Percy to the Rev. Thomas Percy, Nov 25, 1774, ibid., 44.

14. Percy to Northumberland, July 27, 1774, ibid., 27.

15. L. I. Cowper, The King’s Own: The Story of a Royal Regiment (Oxford, 1939), 226.

16. Murdock, Earl Percy’s Dinner-Table, 69.

17. The regiment’s defiant spelling of Welch led to a two hundred years’ war with higher authority. The War Office capitulated in 1920.

18. For an account of the regiment’s celebration of St. David’s Day in Boston, March 1, 1775, see Mackenzie, Diary, I, 8. According to another account by Lt. Richard Williams, the goat got loose at the dinner and escaped into Boston, hotly pursued by the regiment and its guests.

19. The regiment has been awarded 144 battle honors in many wars, but none for the American War of Independence, the only major war in modern British history for which no honors were given (at least for fighting in British North America itself). This was said to be at the command of George III, on the grounds that the American Revolution was only a domestic insurrection.

20. Haldimand to Gage, July 28, 1774; Gage to Haldimand, Aug. 7, 1774, Haldimand Papers, add. ms. 21665, BL.

21. Major John Pitcairn to Col. John Mackenzie, Feb. 16, 1775, Mackenzie Papers, add. ms. 39190, BL; for the order of march, see Mackenzie, Diary, I, 19.

22. Antony Beevor, Inside the British Army (London, 1990, 1991), 368.

23. Statement by George Leonard, May 4, 1775, French, General Gage’s Informers, 57.

24. French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 229n, citing Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann, June 5, 1775; also Gordon, “Letter,” AA4, II, 438; and History, I, 312. The oftrepeated error that Percy’s men marched to the ballad “Chevy Chase” is a misreading of this source.

25. Percy to Gage, April 20, 1775, Percy Letters, 50.

26. Coburn, Battle…, 117; Edward Everett Hale in Memorial History of Boston, III, xxx.

27. Percy to Gage, April 20, 1775, draft, Percy Letters, 51n.

28. Percy to General Harvey, April 20, 1775, ibid., 52; Barker, British in Boston, 35.

29. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 20; Sutherland to Kemble, April 27, 1775; Galvin, Minute Men, 207.

30. Col. R. A. Cleveland to master of ordnance, n.d., in W. G. Evelyn, Memoir and Letters of Captain W. Glanville Evelyn of the 4th Regiment {“King’s Own”), from North America, 1774— 1776, ed. G. D. Scull (Oxford, 1879), 98-99. Colonel Cleveland reported that the side boxes held 24 rounds for each gun. But Ensign Lister believed that they had only 7 rounds.

31. Many legends surround this event. The most detailed account in Smith, West Cambridge in 1775, 31-32, identifies David Lamson as the leader and names as participants Jason and Joe Belknap, James Budge, Israel Mead, and Ammi Cutter, and others to the number twelve. Another account by Joseph Thaxter asserts that the leader was a clergyman, Edward Brooks of Medford; a third version names a Chelsea minister, Payson, as the leader (cf. French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 230).

32. American Anglophile historians heaped scorn on this episode and the “anniversary oratory” that it inspired; cf. Murdock, Nineteenth of April, 100; but much evidence exists; David McClure, Diary, April 19, 1775, ed. F. B. Dexter (1899), 161; Joseph Thaxter, Narrative, Nov. 30, 1824, United States Literary Gazette I (1825): 264; Coburn, Battle of April 19, 119—20; Smith, West Cambridge in 1775, 27-30; French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 230.

33. Smith, West Cambridge in 1775, 30.

34. Percy to Gage, April 20, 1775, Percy Letters, 50.

35. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 23.

36. The total effective strength of the three marching regiments and Marine battalion in Percy’s brigade on April 1 was 1,363. Of that number, 322 had marched with Smith’s force, which also included 519 others. If we assume that half of the killed and missing had been lost on the return to Lexington, and add 50 men for Mitchell’s patrol, the Royal Artillery, and others on special assignment, then Percy’s force numbered 1,886 men when it left Lexington.

37. Percy to Gage, April 20, 1775, CO5/92, PRO.

38. The grenadiers and light infantry appear to have alternated in the lead. Sutherland reported that at the beginning of the march the light infantry came first. A different order appears in Galvin, Minute Men, 218.

39. A different interpretation appears in Galvin (ibid., 219), who believes that “the order of march was Percy’s only major mistake this day.” But given Percy’s choices, it is difficult to fault his dispositions.

40. For the speed of the march, see Appendix M, below.

41. Memoirs of Major-General William Heath by Himself, ed. William Abbott (1798; New York, 1901), 5ff.

42. Ibid., 3.

43. Stiles, Literary Diary, I, 551—52; (May 12, 1775).

44. Letter of John R. Adan, n.d., in Frothingham, Warren, 457.

45. Forbes has Revere make a dramatic return to Boston on April 19, 1775, Dut there is no evidence that he did so, and the inferences from later correspondence to his wife suggest that he remained in the country. There is positive evidence that he was meeting with the Committee of Safety in Cambridge by early morning on April 20, and with others in Watertown on the same day. He must have been close to that town on the night of April 19— 20. Beyond these facts the sources are silent.

46. Ezra Stiles, Literary Diary, I, 551—52.

47. One of the few historians to recognize the importance of Heath’s leadership is the soldier-scholar, John Galvin, himself an infantry officer of long experience. Galvin observes that “Heath’s firm grasp of the tactics of the skirmish line and his tendency to see any battle as a series of isolated little fights was just what the provincials needed.” Galvin, Minute Men, 215.

48. Ibid.; a similar judgment is in Coburn, Battle…, 132, 135ff; different interpretations appear in Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord, 192, and French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 242.

49. Cyrus Hamblin, My Grandfather, Colonel Francis Faulkner (Boston, 1887), 6; Galvin, Minute Men, 213.

50. Thomas Boynton, “Journal,” April 19, 1775, MHSP 15 (1877): 254-55; Sarah L. Bailey, Historical Sketches of Andover (Boston, 1880), 308.

51. Galvin, Minute Men, 212.

52. Warren, like many other men that day, wore his hair in fashionable “earlocks,” secured by pins on each side of his head. Cf. Frothingham, Warren, 461; Heath, Memoirs, 8.

53. Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord, 196; Galvin, Minute Men, 207.

54. Heath, Memoirs, 5.

55. Ibid., 8.

56. Percy to General Harvey, April 20, 1775, Percy Letters, 52.

57. Ibid.

58. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 26-27. The early iconography of Lexington and Concord sometimes showed the minutemen carrying long-barreled weapons. A later generation of historians inferred that these weapons were long rifles. Revisionists such as Harold Murdock, Christopher Ward, and Allen French pointed out that this idea was mistaken—the long rifle was an artifact of another regional culture in British America, that the New England militia were armed with muskets and were poor shots. Elements of truth and error are combined in these revisionist interpretations. On the day of Lexington and Concord many experienced hunters carried long-barreled muskets and fowling pieces, and used them with deadly accuracy. These men were specially feared by the British soldiers. The musketry of the militia at the North Bridge was also very accurate.

59. Henry S. Chapman, History of Winchester (Winchester, 1936), 104—5; the “white mare” appears again in Hezekiah Wyman’s will, four years after the battle. Other mounted militia who appear in the incomplete records included William Polly of Medford, who was mortally wounded while fighting on horseback. Entire cavalry troops mustered that day in Sudbury, Groton, and Ipswich. Many officers also were mounted. See Galvin, Minute Men, 220; Hudson, Sudbury.

60. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 21.

61. Lister, “Narrative.”

62. Ibid.

63. Martin Hunter, The Journal of General Sir Martin Hunter (Edinburgh, 1894), 161.

64. The quotation was commonly used by American writers with “English” excised!

65. Daniel P. King, Address Commemorative of Seven Young Men at Danvers… (Salem, 1835); J. W. Hanson, History of the Town of Danvers (Danvers, 1848), 108.

66. Galvin, Minute Men, 229.

67. Heath, Memoirs, 8; Smith, West Cambridge in 1775, 47; Coburn, Battle…, 146.

68. Smith, West Cambridge in 1775, 39-43; Coburn, Battle…, 142; Tourtellot, Lexington and Concord, 198; (Boston) Columbian Centinel, Feb. 6, 1793.

69. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 19—22; Barker, British in Boston, 36; an attempt by Anglophile historian Harold Murdock to deny British atrocities in Menotomy fails in the face of repeated testimony by British officers; just as do attempts by other scholars to gloss over the American atrocity at the North Bridge; cf. Murdock, Nineteenth of April, 83—134.

70. Benjamin and Rachel Cooper, Depositions, Journals of the Provincial Congress, ed. Lincoln, 678.

71. French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 250.

72. Coburn, Battle…, 147; Lucius Paige, History of Cambridge, 1630-1877 (Boston, 1877), 414.

73. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 26.

74. On the bridge, see Coburn, Battle…, 116, citing Isaac Mansfield, Jr., Thanksgiving Sermon in Camp at Roxbury, Nov. 23, 1775, in J. W. Thornton (ed.), Pulpit of the American Revolution (Boston, i860), 236; Heath, Memoirs, 7; Montresor.

75. Barker, British in Boston, 36.

76. The Kent Lane route, which has been missed by historians of the battle, appears in a manuscript sketch map from Percy’s papers, reproduced in The American War of Independence, 1775—1783; A Commemorative Exhibition Organized by the Map Library and the Department of Manuscripts of the British Library Reference Division (London, 1975), 44.

77. A controversy surrounds Pickering’s actions. He later asserted that he had stopped on Heath’s orders. Heath contradicted him. Cf. Galvin, Minute Men, 225, 237—38; Octavius Pickering, Timothy Pickering, 4 vols. (Boston, 1867), I, 74—77; Heath,Memoirs,8-9; Coburn, Battle…, 155; French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 262—64.

image 16. Aftermath

1. Gage to Barrington, April 22, 1775, Gage Correspondence, II, 673; (London) Lloyd’s Evening Post and British Chronicle, June 17—21, 1775.

2. John Andrews, Letters, MHSP 8 (1865); 405.

3. William Heath, Memoirs, ed. Wiliam Abbatt (1798, New York, 1901), 8-9.

4. Coburn, after a careful reconstruction of estimates of routes and distances marched by British soldiers, reckoned that Smith’s main body went 35 miles; the detachment to the Concord’s South Bridge, 37 miles, the guard at North Bridge, 36 miles; the companies dispatched to the Barrett farm, 40 miles; Percy’s brigade, 26 miles. Coburn, The Battle…, 161.

5. Thomas Boynton, Journal, Aug. 19—26, 1775, MHS, published in part in MHSP 15 (1877): 254. So often did rain follow the major battles of the American Civil War that meteorologists believed the concussion of combat was the cause. Theologians had another explanation.

6. De Berniere to Gage, n.d. [ca. April 20, 1775?]; MHSC2, 4 (1816): 215-19; Gage to Barrington, April 22, 1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 673—74.

7. Andrews, Letters, 405.

8. Capt. W. G. Evelyn to the Rev. Wm. Evelyn, Memoir and Letters of W. G. Evelyn (Oxford, 1879), 54-55.

9. De Berniere, 319.

10. Ibid.

11. “Intercepted Letter of a Soldier’s Wife,” May 2, 1775, AA4, II, 441.

12. “Intercepted Letters of the Soldiery in Boston,” April 28, 1775, AA4, II, 439-40.

13. Ibid.

14. Barker, British in Boston, 37, 34.

15. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 29 (April 21, 1775).

16. Smith to Gage, April 22, 1775.

17. Percy to Harvey, April 20, 1775, Bolton (ed.), Percy Letters, 52—53.

18. Gage to Dartmouth, June 25, 1775, CO5/92, PRO, Kew.

19. Graves to Philip Stephens, April 22, 1775, ADM1/485, PRO, Kew.

20. “The Conduct of Vice Admiral Graves in North America, in 1774, 1775 and 1776,” Dec. 11,1776 [postscript dated Dec. 1,1777] signed G. G[efferina]. The author was Graves’s flag secretary in Boston. Graves Papers, Gay Transcripts, MHS.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid.

23. Barker, British in Boston, 40.

24. Nathaniel Ames, Diary, April 19, 1775, and April 19, 1815; Dedham Historical Society. I owe these references with thanks to Robert B. Hanson, who observes that the bullet was not all that Dr. Ames extracted from his patient. The physician’s account book contains an entry: “To extracting a Bullet from the Cubitus of Israel Everett, jr which he received in the battle of Lexington the first of the War with Great Britain, 3s; To sundry visits and dressings of the wound, 12 shilling.” Nathaniel Ames Account Book, April 19,1775; see also Robert B. Hanson, Dedham, 1635-1890 (Dedham, 1976), 154.

25. Abram E. Brown, Beneath Old Roof Trees (Boston, 1896), 226.

26. Sabin, “April 19, 1775,” VII, 19; Chase, The Beginnings of the American Revolution, 15&-57-

27. Elizabeth Clarke, “Extracts,” LHS Proceedings IV (1905-10): 91-93.

28. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798, RFP, microfilm edition, MHS.

29. Rachel Revere to Paul Revere, n.d., Gage Papers, WCL; printed in French, General Gage’s Informers, 170-71.

30. Paul Revere to Rachel Revere, n.d., Goss, Revere, I, 263.

31. Revere to Belknap, ca. 1798; drafts of Committee Circulars in Massachusetts Archives; Frothingham, Warren, 466; Cary, Warren, 188; Paul Revere, “To the Colony of Massachusetts Bay…,” Aug. 22, 1775, MA; a facsimile is published in Harriet O’Brien (ed.), Paul Revere’s Own Story (Boston, 1929), 37.

32. There is no evidence that Revere received money for the midnight ride, but he was reimbursed for his expenses on earlier and later occasions. The spirit of bureaucracy appeared at this early date. An authorization to pay Paul Revere ten pounds four shillings had to be passed as a resolution by the entire Massachusetts House of Representatives and countersigned by sixteen men, including James Warren, Samuel Adams, and John Adams. House Resolution, Aug. 22, 1775, “Resolved that Mr. Paul Revere be allowed and paid…,” MA; facsimile in O’Brien (ed.), Paul Revere’s Own Story, 36.

33. Proceedings of the Committee of Safety, AA4, II, 744, 765.

34. Warren, Circular Letter, n.d., April 20. 1775, published in Frothingham, Warren, 466.

35. Heath, Memoirs, 10.

36. The earliest recorded use of the phrase “public opinion” appeared in Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the first volume of which appeared in 1776. The expression occurs in chapter xxxi, III, 257 (1781). The first recorded American use is by Thomas Jefferson.

37. Josiah Warren, “Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain,” April 26, 1775, Wroth et al. (eds.), Province in Rebellion, doc. 509, pp. 1730—31.

38. Phinney, Battle at Lexington, 23; Memoirs of the Concord Social Circle, 1st series, 97.

39. Its progress was recorded in endorsements by each successive committee.

40. This folktale cannot be correct in its estimate of elapsed time; Bissell would have had to maintain a speed of 18 miles an hour. His next stop was in Brooklyn, Connecticut, at 11 o’clock the next morning, a distance of 45 miles. Thereafter the news traveled through the northeast at about five miles an hour—an exceptionally rapid rate of sustained long distance travel in that era. But the other details may be true. Cf. John H. Scheide, “The Lexington Alarm,” AAS Proceedings 50 (1940): 63.

41. The chronology of the news of Lexington and Concord is grossly inaccurate in Lester Cappon et al., Atlas of Early American History (Princeton, 1976). A more accurate source is Scheide, “The Lexington Alarm,” 49—79; the story of the Kentucky hunters is in George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent (Boston, 1858), VII, 312.

42. “A Letter from a Gentleman of Rank in New England April 25, 1775,” (London) Lloyd’s Evening Post and British Chronicle, June 17—21, 1775.

43. Isaiah Thomas, The History of Printing in America, 2 vols. (1810, 1874; New York, 1970), x, I, 168—69; Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain 1764-1776 (New York, 1958), 236-37.

44. Peter Edes, “Diary Kept in Boston Gaol,” June 19, 1775, MHS.

45. Frank Luther Mott, “The Newspaper Coverage of Lexington and Concord,” NEQ (1944), 489-504.

46. Emerson, Diaries and Letters, 61, 76.

47. On April 24, 1775, Jonas Clarke wrote in his Lexington diary, “committee taking depositions concerning the fatal action at Lexington,” Jonas Clarke Diary, MHS.

48. Robert S. Rantoul, “The Cruise of the ‘Quero’: How We Carried the News to the King,” EIHC 36 (1900): 5—13; Cary, Joseph Warren, 191.

49. Gage’s courier Lieutenant Nunn did his best. He left Sukey twelve leagues at sea, boarded a faster vessel, landed at Portland, and raced to London, but the damage had been done. Gage was sharply reprimanded and instructed not to use a merchant ship for his dispatches, but one of the “light vessels” of the Royal Navy. See Dartmouth to Gage, June 10, 1775, CO5/92, PRO Kew; for the impact of the news in London, see Fred J. Hinkhouse, The Preliminaries of the American Revolution as Seen in the English Press, 1763-1775 (1926, New York, 1969), 183-97.

50. Hutchinson, Diary, I, 454—63; London Packet, June 7,1775; Hinkhouse, Preliminaries of the American Revolution, 188. Some accounts have represented British opinion as hostile to the American cause. This was true of Parliament, the Universities, the Church of England, and fashionable London, but not of the nation at large.

51. Lord George Germain to John Irwin, May 30, 1775, add ms. 42666, BL.

52. Suffolk to Germain, June 15, 1775; Germain to Suffolk, June 15, 1775, add. ms. 42266, BL.

53. AA4, II, 786; copies of this resolution were quickly sent to London; see ADM1/293, PRO, Kew.

54. Gage to Dartmouth, May 13, 1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 398.

55. Gage to Colden, May 4, 1775, Golden Papers, 1765-1775, VII, 291.

56. Ibid.

57. Boston News-Letter, April 20, 1775; Mott, “The Newspaper Coverage of Lexington and Concord,” 493-94; Schlesinger, Prelude to Independence, 233.

58. Gage to Dartmouth, May 13, 1775, Gage Correspondence, I, 398.

59. Thomas Gage to Cadwallader Colden, April 29, May 4, 1775, Colden Papers, VII, 283-91.

60. John Adams, Diary and Autobiography, ed. Lyman Butterfield, 4 vols. (1961; New York, 1964), III, 314.

61. David Freeman Hawke, Paine (New York, 1974), 20, 29, 32, 35; Thomas Paine, Common Sense ed. Nelson F. Adkins (1776; New York, 1953), 27.

62. Washington to George William Fairfax, May 31, 1775, Fitzpatrick (ed.), Writings of George Washington, III, 291—92.

63. Wheeler, Concord, 131.

image 17. Epilogue

1. “Return of Officers, Noncommissioned Officers and Privates killed and wounded of His Majesty’s Troops at the Attack of the Redoubts and Entrenchments on the Heights of Charlestown, June 17,1775,” WO1/2/241—42; Muster Rolls of the 23rd Foot or Royal Welch Fusiliers, Jan. 24, 1775, Sept. 24, 1775, WO 12/3960.

These data correct estimates in Harold Murdock, “The Myth of the Royal Welch Fusiliers,” in Bunker Hill; Notes and Queries on a Famous Battle (Boston, 1927), 142—43; and Ralph Ketchum, Decisive Day, the Battle for Bunker Hill (New York, 1962; rpt. 1974), 190. In general, pay lists and muster rolls understate casualties in these battles as many wounded men continued to be listed as “effectives” and others returned to active duty before the next roster was compiled in September. Most seriously wounded men were described as “sick,” and officers were recorded as on “King’s leave.”

2. “Return of Officers, Noncommissioned Officers and Privates killed and wounded of His Majesty’s Troops at the Attack of the Redoubts and Entrenchments on the Heights of Charlestown, June 17, 1775,” WO1/2/241-42; Muster Rolls of the 4th Foot, Jan. 15, 1775, Sept. 14, 1775; WO12/2194, PRO.

For the use of the “ten eldest compys” of grenadiers and light infantry, that is, the ten regiments with the lowest numbers on the army list, see Barker, British in Boston, 60. The attrition of these units may be observed in Muster Rolls of W012/ 2194, 2289, 2750, 3960, 5171, 5561, 5871, 6240, 6786, PRO, Kew; also “Present State of His Majesty’s Forces at Boston,” July 21, 1775, Haldimand Papers, add. ms 21687, BL.

3. Harold Murdock, The Nineteenth of April, 1775 (Boston, 1925), 30, 35-38; Ezra Stiles, Literary Diary, I, 604; Samuel Adams Drake, Old Landmarks and Historic Personages of Boston (1872; rev. ed., 1906, rpt. Rutland, Vt., 1971), 217.

4. General Sir Martin Hunter, Journal (Edinburgh, 1894), 15; Frothingham, Siege of Boston, 310; French, First Year of the American Revolution, 670; A List of the Officers of His Majesty’s Marine Forces… (London, 1777), PRO; ADM 192/2; Army List(London, 1775), 180; (1781), 292; (1782), 292; (1783), appendix, 15; (1784), appendix, 12; (1785), 361.

5. Mackenzie, Diary, I, 49; French, First Year of the American Revolution, 660; Ketchum, Bunker Hill, 217.

6. General Sir Martin Hunter, Journal (Edinburgh, 1894).

7. Marjorie Hubbell Gibson, H.M.S. Somerset, 1746—1778; The Life and Times of an Eighteenth Century Man-o-War and Her Impact on North America (Cotuit, Mass., 1992).

8. Hudson, Lexington, 94-96.

9. Wheeler, Concord, 135.

10. Ibid., 113; Hudson, Lexington, 142-43.

11. Wheeler, Concord. 115.

12. Ibid., 228.

13. Robert Newman Sheets, Robert Newman; His Life and Letters in Celebration of the Bicentennial of His Showing of Two Lanterns in Christ Church, Boston, April 18,1775 (Denver: Newman Family Society, 1975), 13.

14. Church’s intercepted letter is in the George Washington Papers, LC.

15. Ulysses P. Hedrick, Cyclopedia of Hardy Fruits (New York, 1922), 17.

16. Memoirs of the Social Circle in Concord, second series, 78.

17. Samuel Flagg Bemis, John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy (New York, 1965), 6.

18. Annual Register (1775), 157; French, First Year of the American Revolution, 324.

19. Revere to Lamb, April 5, 1777, Goss, Revere, I, 279-81.

20. The Penobscot Expedition was the low point of his career. The American commanders were unable to act decisively, and unwilling to withdraw. Revere urged repeatedly that the mission be abandoned. Overruled, he decided to take his men home, and was accused of insubordination and cowardice. A court-martial (convened at his request) cleared his name in 1782. Many of the of relevant documents are reprinted in C. B. Kevitt, General Solomon Lovell and the Penobscot Expedition (Weymouth, Mass., 1976), and Goss, Revere, II, 317—97.

21. Skerry, “The Revolutionary Revere,” 58.

22. Revere to Dr. Lettsom, Dec. 3, 1791, RFP, MHS.

23. Forbes, Revere, 388.

24. Renee L. Ernay, “The Revere Furnace, 1787-1800,” unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Delaware, 1989.

25. Paul Revere to Thomas Ramsden, Aug. 4, 1804, RFP, MHS.

26. Hurd, Middlesex County, II, 283.

27. Wayland’s bell appears in Edward and Evelyn Stickney, The Bells of Paul Revere (Bedford, 1976), 18. There can be no doubt about its authenticity. The original bill and receipt, dated Oct. 24, 1814, is in the Wayland Historical Society: “bo’t of Paul Revere and Son a Church Bell $509.50; credit by the old bell, $43.75; $465.75 received payment Paul Revere and son.” I owe this document to the kindness of Elizabeth Garside Goeselt, curator of the Wayland Historical Society.


1. (New York) Weekly Gazette and Mercury, May 1775.

2. Ann Hulton to Mrs. Adam Lightbody, n.d. [April 1775]; Harold Murdock et al. (eds.), Letters of a Loyalist Lady (Cambridge, Mass., 1927), 77. The letter is undated, but from internal evidence (“the 18th inst”) was written before the end of April.

3. William Gordon, “An Account of the Commencement of Hostilities Between Great Britain and America, in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay. By the Reverend Mr. William Gordon of Roxbury, in a letter to a Gentleman in England, dated May 17, 1775.” This essay was published in the (Philadelphia) Pennsylvania Gazette, June 1775; and reprinted in AA4, II, 626—31. Gordon later published The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America, 4 vols. (London, 1788). The first American edition of this work was issued in three volumes at New York in 1789. Gordon mentioned Revere by name, and referred specifically to having interviewed him.

4. Joshua B. Fowle to Samuel H. Newman, July 28, 1875, in Wheildon, Paul Revere’s Signal Lanterns, 34—35.

5. The second draft of the deposition was reproduced in facsimile by E. H. Goss in his The Life of Colonel Paul Revere, 2 vols. (Boston, 1891), I, 214-20. Members of the Revere family donated the second draft to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1956, and added the rough draft in i960. They were published with Revere’s letter to Belknap by the MHS in Edmund S. Morgan (ed.), Paul Revere’s Three Accounts of His Famous Ride (Boston, 1961).

6. Ralph Earl, “Four Different Views of the Battle of Lexington, Concord, etc.,” engraved by Amos Doolittle (New Haven, 1775), and advertised for sale in the Connecticut Journal, Dec. 13, 1775. A similar interpretation appears in another drawing for John W. Barber’s History of New Haven. This pattern was first observed by Harold Murdock in The Nineteenth of April, 1775 (Boston, 1925), 3—9; at least one early illustration does not fit this frame, but in general Murdock’s interpretation appears correct. A facsimile edition, “Famous Doolittle Prints of Concord and Lexington, April 19, 1775” (Concord, Minute Man Printing Corporation, n.d.), is available at Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord.

7. Pamela Brown Fiske, narrative, in Kehoe, “We Were There!” I, 270. Pamela Fiske’s grandfather, Francis Brown, mustered on the morning of April 19, fought through the day, and was severely wounded during the afternoon in the granite field at the Lincoln line by a British musket ball that entered his cheek and lodged in the back of his neck. The bullet was removed in 1776 and he succeeded Parker as captain of the Lexington militia.

Pamela Fiske, at the age of ninety-four, recalled that as a little girl she was taught to trace the history of the Revolution with her fingertip, on the wound scars that her grandfather wore as proudly as a decoration. “I used to put my finger on these scars as he told me just how the ball went,” she remembered, ca. 1894. The memory is so vivid, and told with such sincerity, that one thinks it must have been true. I was very sorry to discover in the genealogical records that Francis Brown died April 21, 1800, and Pamela was born on July 29 of the same year—a caution to uncritical users of grandfathers’ tales. Cf. Hudson, Lexington, genealogical appendix, 29.

8. Wheildon, History of Paul Revere’s Signal Lanterns.

9. A manuscript copy of the poem is in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Much poetry was inspired by the ride. John Pierpont composed a six-page epic for the dedication of Acton’s revolutionary monument:

… the foremost Paul Revere

At Warren’s bidding, has the gauntlet run,

Unscathed, and dashing into Lexington,

While midnight wraps him in her mantle dark

Halts at the house of Reverent Mr. Clark.

10. Boston Intelligencer and Weekly Gazette, May 10, 1818.

11. Elias Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington (Boston, 1825, rpt.1875); Ezra Ripley, History of the Fight at Concord (Concord, 1827; 2nd ed., 1832); Josiah Adams, Acton Centen- nial Address (Boston, 1835).

12. Murdock, The Nineteenth of April, 1775, 4—13.

13. Paul Revere, Draft Deposition, ca. April 24, 1775, Morgan (ed.), Paul Revere’s Three Accounts, [21].

14. Depositions of Elijah Sanderson, Dec. 17, 1824; and William Munroe, March 7, 1825, in Phinney, History of the Battle at Lexington, 31—35.

15. Richard Frothingham, Jr., History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill; also, an Account of the Bunker Hill Monument (Boston, 1849), 23, 58, 60, 366.

16. (J. T. Buckingham,], “Paul Revere,” New England Magazine 3 (1832): 304—14.

17. Ibid., 307-14; Alden Bradford, Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Men in New England (Boston, 1842), 349—51; Daniel Webster, Speech at Pittsburgh, July 8,1833, quoted in Jayne Triber, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere: From History to Folklore” (Boston: Paul Revere Memorial Association, n.d.), 3.

18. Frederic W. Cook, Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts (Boston, 1948).

19. Longfellow, Journals, April 5, 1860. George Bancroft’s accurate account appears in History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent, VII (Boston, 1858), 288-96.

20. Hudson, Lexington, 171.

21. Howard G. Laskey, “The Ride,” in Goss, Revere, I, 197. The caption read, “Shouting at every house he reaches, startling the affrighted inmates from their slumbers with his wild halloo, this strange herald of danger thunders on.”

22. Maury Botton, “Thomas Edison’s ‘Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’—A Silent Film,”Revere House Gazette 25 (1991): 1—7; a copy of the film is owned by the Paul Revere Memorial Association. I am grateful to Patrick Leehey for the loan of it.

23. The original model is reproduced in Harriet E. O’Brien, Paul Revere’s Own Story (Boston, 1929), facsimile 1; see also Wayne Craven, “Cyrus Edwin Dallin,” in Dictionary of American Biography, ed. Allen Johnson, 20 vols. (New York, 1927-81), supplement III, 210-11; New York Times, Nov. 15, 1944; Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory, 504; John C. Ewers, “Cyrus E. Dallin: Master Sculptor of the Plains Indian,” Montana 18 (1968): 35-38.

24. E. T. Paull, “Paul Revere’s Ride; March-Two Step” (New York: E.T. Paull Music Company, 1905); also “Paul Revere; A Musical Comedy in Three Acts. Book, Lyrics and Music by May Hewes Dodge and John Wilson Dodge,” Piano-Vocal Score (Cincinnati, 1919), NYPL.

25. Another surviving 17th-century structure within the present limits of Boston is the Blake House, but this was originally part of the town of Dorchester. No other 17th-century building survives today in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore.

26. Goss, Life of Colonel Paul Revere, II, 622.

27. Ibid.

28. Murdock, The Nineteenth of April 1775, 84, 133.

29. French, Day of Concord and Lexington, 52, 77-80.

30. Frank Warren Coburn, The Battle of April 19, 1775, in Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville, and Charlestown, Massachusetts (Lexington, 1912), vii.

31. Zechariah Chafee, “Freedom of Speech in Wartime,” Harvard Law Review 32 (1918— 19): 939-40; I owe this reference to the kindness of Morton Keller.

32. In the same letter, Charles Francis Adams, Jr., raged against a recent account that Thomas Jefferson had ridden to his inauguration on horseback instead of by carriage, and in an egalitarian gesture had tied his horse to a fence outside the Capitol. Michael Kammen observes that “Adams preferred truth to fairy tales, especially if the tales were intended to exemplify an egalitarian ethos. Truth is particularly preferable to fiction when the fiction sustains a value system that one finds unwarranted.” Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory, 84.

33. “What’s in a Name?” Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine 51 (Feb. 1896): 36; Dixon Wecter, The Hero in America (New York, 1941).

34. A good example of this dated humor is Robert Benchley, “Paul Revere’s Ride: How a Modest Go-Getter Did His Bit for the Juno Acid Bath Corporation,” Inside Robert Benchley (New York, 1942), 195-201.

35. Richard Shenkman, “I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode or Not” (New York, 1991), vii.

36. Jayne Triber, “Paul Revere’s Ride: From History to Folklore,” ms., PRMA.

37. A leading critic of American marksmanship was Allen French, The Day of Lexington and Concord, 27-36, 255-58, who reckoned from the arithmetic of British casualties and New England muster rolls that “not one American in ten made his mark upon the enemy” (p. 258). This statement was seized upon by debunkers in the 1930s and 1970s as evidence that the heroes of the American Revolution were military incompetents who “could not shoot straight” (e.g., Richard Shenkman, Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History, [N.Y., 1988], 79—80). Echoes of this interpretation continued in the academic scholarship of the Vietnam generation.

It is mistaken—a compounding of many errors. British casualty reports included only deaths and very serious wounds. Even so, the ratio of hits to rounds fired was higher on the American than the British side, and much higher than in other wars. Fighting with 18th-century weapons, and being deliberately held at long range by their commanders, the fire of the New England militia was in fact remarkably accurate. The strongest evidence comes from Regular British officers who were on the receiving end. Carter, Percy, Lister, Barker, and Mackenzie testified that the American fire was in Carter’s words “heavy and well-directed.”

38. “There is little tactical benefit from a study of these operations,” Fred M. Green, “Lexington and Concord,” Infantry Journal, April-May, 1935, pp. 109-16.

39. Nathan Schachner, “Do School-Books Tell the Truth? American Mercury, Dec. 1938, p. 416.

40. Forbes, Revere, 475n.

41. Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory, 504; quoting Forbes to R. N. Lincott, July 24, 1940, Forbes Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

42. Forbes, Revere, 23, 319.

43. Donald M. Nielsen, “The Revere Family,” NEHGR 145 (1991): 291.

44. Forbes, Revere, 475; for complaints of “literary license,” see Neilsen, “The Revere Family,” 291.

45. Robert Lawson, Mr. Revere and I (Boston, 1953); Jean Fritz, And What Then Happened, Paul Revere (New York, 1973).

46. Boston Herald, April 18, 1950.

47. Galvin, Minute Men.

48. Richard Bissell, New Light on IJJ 6 and All That (Boston, 1975), 34—40.

49. Quoted in Triber, “The Midnight Ride,” [7].

50. Ibid., [6-7].

51. Richard Shenkman, Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History (New York, 1989), 23-24, 82, 154.

52. Susan Wilson, “North Bridge: Span of History,” Boston Globe, April 15, 1993.

53. Tim O’Brien, “Ambush!” Boston Magazine, April 1993, pp. 62—67, 101—06.

54. Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager, The Growth of the American Republic, 2 vols. (New York, 1930).

55. Bernard Bailyn et al., The Great Republic: A History of the American People (1977), 277; John M. Blum et al., The National Experience (New York, 1962); Bernard Weisburger, “Paul Revere, the Man, the Myth, and the Midnight Ride,” American Heritage28 (1977): 25-37.

56. Virginus Dabney, The Patriots (1976), v, vi.

57. Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation; A History of the United States. 2 vols. (Boston, 1986), I, 136.

58. (London) Times, Feb. 25, 1993.

59. A history appears in Handbook of the Paul Revere Memorial Association (Boston, 1950); and its current activities are summarized in, Nina Zannieri, director, Paul Revere Memorial Association, Annual Report, 1991/1992 (Boston, 1992).


1. Louis Shores, Origins of the American College Library 1638—1800 (Nashville, 1934), 215; quoted in Frederick Rudolph, The American College fcf University: A History (Athens, Ga., 1990), 287.


This project began in the Spring of 1992, with an invitation from Len Tucker to present a paper to the Massachusetts Historical Society. I am grateful to the members and staff of the Society for their encouragement and support.

In the following year that paper grew into this book. A critical stage in its conceptual development came in an unexpected place during the summer of 1992, when James McPherson and I were refighting the western campaigns of the Civil War for a floating alumni college on board the steamboat Delta Queen. We had occasion to talk about our mutual interest in contingency and choice in history. One night, while making an advance visit to the battlefields, we made a mistaken choice of our own, and tried to get too close to the site of Fort Henry (now underwater). Our car sank deep into the mud of the Tennessee River. As we walked many miles through a dark night while bolts of lightning flashed on the horizon, the idea of contingency struck home with special force! I have a major debt to Jim for his pathbreaking work on this problem.

Another large debt is due to Bertram Wyatt-Brown, who read a rough draft and offered many helpful suggestions for the narrative construction of the work. As always I have learned much from his depth of insight into historical problems.

In Boston, many scholars shared their expertise on various aspects of the midnight ride. A large debt is due to Nina Zannieri, director of the Paul Revere Memorial Association, and to Patrick Leehey, head of research at Paul Revere House. Both Nina and Pat found time in their busy schedules to read the manuscript in several drafts. They gave it the most careful, rigorous, and constructive criticism I have ever received on any project. In subsequent conversations they and Edith Steblecki and other members of the staff at the Paul Revere House helped on many questions of substance, detail, bibliography, and illustrations.

On the fighting at Lexington and Concord, I have learned much from Douglas Sabin, chief historian at Minute Man National Historic Park, the leading authority on the battle. Doug generously shared his own unpublished research, walked the Battle Road with me, and closely criticized several drafts of this manuscript. Three historians of Lexington and Concord also read the manuscript: Robert Gross of the College of William and Mary, Joseph Fairbanks of Whittier College, and David Wood at the Concord Museum. All made helpful suggestions, and shared unpublished materials. Other scholars helped with specific problems in the course of the research: Marjorie Hubbell Gibson and Nathaniel Champlin on HMS Somerset, and Thomas Boaz on Major Pitcairn and the Royal Marines, Thomas Smith on Loammi Baldwin, the Reverend Robert W. Golledge of Old North Church, and S. Lawrence Whipple on Lexington Common. Colonel Vincent Kehoe sent the results of his latest research on the 10th Foot.

At the American Antiquarian Society, Georgia Barnhill was as always a model of high efficiency. With her unrivaled expertise on early American imprints, she also helped to locate materials at other institutions. Also helpful in other ways were Judith McAllister Curtis at the Adams National Historic Site, Braintree; Christine MacKenzie and Diane Broadley at Anderson Photo, Inc.; Meredith McCulloch at the Bedford Public Library, Philip Bergen of the Bostonian Society, Laura Monti at Boston Public Library, the staff at the British Library and the British Public Record Office, Susan Danforth of the John Carter Brown Library, Charles Sullivan at the Cambridge Historical Commission, John Dann and Arlene Shy at the William L. Clements Library, Mrs. William H. Moss and Joyce Woodman at the Concord Free Public Library, Carol Haines at the Concord Museum, Robert Hanson at the Dedham Historical Society, Nancy Heywood and William La Moy at the Essex Institute, Mark Burnette at the Evanston Historical Society, Ed Olsen and Susan Cifaldi of the Fifers and Drummers Museum, Sanna Deutsch at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Sarah Brophey and Anne Ireland at Lexington Historical Society, Jane Eastman at the Lexington Library, Bernice H. Fallick, Town Clerk of Lexington, Louis Plummer of Photoassist, Inc. who helped with the Library of Congress, Bobbie Robinson and Frank Sorrentino at Massachusetts Archives, Peter Drummey, Virginia Smith, Catherine Craven and Brenda Lawson at Massachusetts Historical Society, Susan Greendyke Lachever of the Massachusetts Art Commission, Eileen Sullivan at Metropolitan Museum of Art, Karen Otis of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, John Hamilton and Maureen Harper at the Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington, Claire Wright and Emma Armstrong at the British National Army Museum, Philip Jago at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Liza Verity at the National Maritime Center, George Price of the National Park Service, Ralph Crandall and Linda Skinner at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society; Jim Campbell and Vicki Chirco at the New Haven Colony Historical Society, Roberta Waddell at the New York Public Library, Roxana Adams and Peggy Pritchard at the Provincetown Museum, Jane Porter of the Portsmouth Athenaeum; Lorna Condon at the Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities, Nancy Petersen at the Timken Museum of Art, Robert Panzer of VAGA, Inc., Elizabeth Garside Goeselt of the Wayland Historical Society, W. N. Stelzer of Winterthur Museum, Bill Wallace at Worcester Historical Museum, Suzanne Warner at the Yale University Art Gallery, and Timothy Goodhue at Yale Center for British Art.

My excellent Brandeis colleagues in American history helped in various ways. Morton Keller read and criticized the manuscript. Sam Bass Warner called my attention to materials I would otherwise have missed. Jacqueline Jones tested several chapters on two young critics in her household, and gave the project her warm encouragement. James Kloppen-berg had a helpful thought on an interpretative problem. Ina Malaguti and Judy Brown helped with many logistical problems, as did the staff of the Brandeis Library System.

Through the years, three graduate students completed independent research papers on Paul Revere and taught their teacher in the process: Ruth Friedman on Paul Revere’s business career, Carol Ely on the community of the North End, and Ellen Shea on Paul Revere’s other rides. Five Brandeis undergraduates also worked as paid research assistants on this project: Elizabeth Arnold, Keri Fisher, Michael Kalin, David Lawrence, and Jeremy Stern.

At the Oxford University Press, my editor and friend Sheldon Meyer read the manuscript and made many substantive suggestions for its improvement. Leona Capeless gave the book the benefit of her peerless copyediting, and Karen Wolny guided the book through the labyrinth of the Oxford University Press, refining it in many ways.

Andrew Mudryk did the maps with high skill and creativity. Once again it was a great pleasure to work with him, and to share his love of cartography as an art-form. Michael Farny of the Lincoln Guide Service loaned us a rare topographical survey of the Battle Road. Brian Donahue generously supplied materials from his own research on landhold-ings along the battle road. I am also endebted to Joyce Malcolm for her published studies of the land use in Concord, Lincoln, and Lexington.

Special mention is due to my riding teachers Mary Cressy and Lee Cressy, and to a spirited New England saddle horse named Quentin, who through the years taught the author many hard lessons on equestrian aspects of the midnight ride. Laura Goeselt also helped with questions of horsemanship, and reprogrammed a recalcitrant computer at a critical moment.

As always, my family pitched in. My wife Judith helped in many ways. John Henry Fischer read an early draft and gave me the benefit of his wise counsel. Norma Fischer contributed helpful advice and support. Miles Pennington Fischer criticized the chapters on the battle from the perspective of his own military service. Kate Fischer, Anne Fischer, Frederick Turner, John Anderson Fischer and William Pennington Fischer had words of encouragement in the early stages of the project. Specially helpful in this project was my daughter Susanna Fischer. Her candid and rigorous criticism of the manuscript improved it in many ways, and she found time in her busy career to help track down British materials. The book is dedicated to Susie, with much love.

Wayland, Massachusetts

21 December 1993

D. H. F.

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