Hist 140 paul revere. healyPresentation Transcript
Paul Revere’s Ride Lori Healy HIST 140 Sec 71258 December 7, 2010
Paul Revere’s America Paul Revere is remembered as a distinctive individual of strong character and vibrant personality. He was a Boston silversmith in the 18th century. Paul Revere was a New England Yankee. His harsh accent was derived from a family of East Anglian dialects that came to Boston in the 17th century. He was half French and half English. Paul Revere helped to start a revolution, but his purpose was to resist change and to preserve the values of the past.
Paul Revere’s America In 1765 the town of Boston was not flourishing. Business conditions were poor. Many artisans and merchants fell into debt, including Paul Revere. He managed to settle out of court and stay afloat in a world depression. This was when Britain's Parliament decided to levy taxes on its colonies. America resisted, and in the summer of 1765 Paul Revere joined the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty took a leading part in Boston's campaign against the Stamp Act. Paul Revere organized resistance in another way. He and his fellow members would go at night and scare commissioners, many fled for their lives. The British government sent Regulars to Boston to deal with the violence .The coming of the Regulars increased violence in Boston. Revere and his fellow Whigs did not hesitate to use violence once the soldiers started firing at their tormentors. Paul Revere helped to supply evidence to convict the British soldiers. The Boston Massacre was accompanied by other acts of violence which the Whig leaders directed toward their own ends. Paul Revere was increasingly prominent in this effort. In 1773 Paul Revere made his first of many revolutionary rides.
First Strokes On September 1, 1774 General Gage set his plan into motion. His first step was to seize the largest stock of gunpowder in New England. The mission was planned in high secrecy. It was a success. Rumors had fled throughout the town, saying the attack was violent and that war had begun. Although the rumors were not true, many people panicked and it would be remembered in New England as the Powder Alarm. General Gage was amazed by the rising of the countryside against him. He turned very cautious.
First Strokes Early in December 1774, Gage recovered his nerve and decided to strike again. An order in Council prohibited the export of arms and ammunition to America. A supply of gunpowder kept at Fort William and Mary was at high risk. This time the Whigs of New England were on their guard. Paul Revere’s clandestine network functioned with high efficiency and caught news of the new British policy. Once again, Revere played a pivotal role. He and his friends decided to warn the people of New Hampshire. On December 13 Paul Revere rode to warn the people of Portsmouth, it proved to be one of his most difficult rides. He rode sixty miles from Boston to Portsmouth, in the snow. The New Hampshire men acted quickly on the information that Paul Revere had brought them. New Hampshire men took possession of the fort and broke open the magazine. They carried away more than 100 barrels of gunpowder to the town of Durham and then by cart to hiding places in the interior. The British reinforcements were too late. The Portsmouth Alarm was a heavy defeat for General Gage. The British leaders attributed their defeat directly to Paul Revere.
The Warning Doctor Warren had heard from a confidential source that General Gage’s plan was to seize Samuel Adams and John Hancock, and burn the stores at Concord. After hearing this news Dr. Warren sent an urgent message to Paul Revere, asking him to come at once. Paul Revere’s primary mission was not to alarm the countryside. His specific purpose was to warn Adams and Hancock. His journey was not a solitary act. Many people in Boston helped him on his way, so many that Paul Revere’s ride was truly a collective effort.
The Warning Once Paul Revere reached Charlestown, the Charlestown Whigs had already found Revere a horse to ride. As he rode along the Lexington Road, his horse detected danger. Revere saw two Regulars ahead, he then turned around and rode away. The officers chased him. He managed to get away. He reached the home of Lexington's clergyman, Jonas Clarke, at midnight. It has been known that Paul Revere shouted, “The British are coming,” however; this is not what he said. He stated, “The Regulars are coming out.” The men agreed that Doctor Warren must have been mistaken in thinking that they were the targets of General Gage. It was decided that Gage’s mission was to seize and destroy the stores belonging to the colony. Revere and Dawes were sent to warn Concord.
The First Shot General Gage’s Regulars marched steadily toward Lexington from Boston. The British troops still did not know where they were going or what they were expected to do. Paul Revere’s warning reached them, and the troops started to realize the danger of the mission. The British troops started to notice that the fields were filled with armed men, they were shocked. Once the Regulars were near Lexington center, they began to hear a military drum, beating a call to arms. As the Regulars came closer they saw the Lexington men forming up in two long ranks. As the troops approached Lexington Common a young Marine was at the head of the march. He had to choose between going left to Concord or right, which would take them toward the militia. He made a quick decision to turn to the right.
The First Shot The marine led his men directly into the Lexington militia. A shot was fired, but no one knew where the shot came from. Once the first shot was fired the British started firing without orders. Their officers could not control them. The Common was covered in dense clouds of dirty white smoke. Most of the American militiamen did not return fire. Many militiamen were killed while trying to run. Colonel Francis Smith arrived on the field, with the main body of his force. He was horrified by the scene that greeted him. The British infantry were running wildly out of control. Smith was able to gain control by using a drummer. Many lives were saved by Colonel Smith’s bravery. He gathered the Regulars around the Common and told them of their mission, Concord. This filled the troops with horror after what they had just witnessed. As the British troops disappeared into the west, the people of the town gathered on the Common. There was a sense of shock and bitter loss. More militiamen started showing up from far corners of the town. They had twice the number of militia as before. These men were no longer in doubt about what to do. They were ready to give battle again, but on different terms.
A Circle of Fire Lord Percy came to Boston as colonel of his own regiment. He was popular throughout the army. Many Englishmen deemed it an honor to be commanded by the eldest son of a Duke. Lord Percy came to America with a strong sense of sympathy for the colonists. But once in Boston he changed his mind. He led the 1st Brigade march. They marched into Lexington where they were confronted by the American militia.
A Circle of Fire At Lexington Brigadier William Heath took command of the militia. Most of Heath’s soldiering had been done on militia training days with Boston’s Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. He had never been in battle before, and had never commanded a large force in the field. Heath believed that skirmishing-the use of highly mobile light infantry was the best method of war adapted to the conditions in New England. The morning of April 19, 1775 Heath met with the Massachusetts Committee of Safety and went to join his troops in Lexington. The meeting spot was directly on the British line of march. The New England militia stood against the British force in large formations at least eight times between Concord Bridge and Lexington Green. The New England men sought to surround Percy’s marching square with a moving ring of American skirmishers. The object was to fight a deadly battle of attrition that Britain's army could never hope to win. The New England militia shot the colonel and hit at least thirty-six of its 218 men throughout the day. British officers were astounded by the volume of American fire, and by the persistence with which New England men attacked . The New England men kept fighting stubbornly. Percy was forced to retreat back to Charlestown. Heath’s ability to command the militia to a victory is one of the reasons why the Americans gained victory over the British in the end.