Movie Review: Biography: Paul Revere, A&E Biography Channel, 1995.
Paul Revere is an interesting man. However, the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, presents a sketch of his midnight ride, which is influenced by truth and fable. SO to look at this aspect of Paul Revere’s life first. Revere was very much interested in the independence movement, and met often with those planning how to carry this about. He was actively involved in the Boston Tea Party. His major function was that of a messenger. He would work his regular job and duties during the day, and then ride all night to deliver message. His most frequent route was the Boston to New York and back. He also visited Philadelphia. He was also called upon to report on news from one city to another, about what efforts were being made towards independence.
When there was trouble brewing in Boston, Paul Revere came up with the idea of a friend of his, across the bay, would let him know if the British Regulars were on the move. Truly they used one or two lanterns to distinguish from where the trouble was coming. Paul Revere did ride to warn those cities outside of Boston. There was word the British military wanted to destroy a cache of arms they had heard about. However, Paul Revere was not the only rider. He did not say, “The British are coming.” At that time all the residents were subjects of Britain. However he did have a conversation with someone and said “The regulars are coming.” He took his trip at night, as expressed. However, he did stop and have a rest for a half hour with a friend, and letting his horse rest, before moving on to Concord. He was not riding all out like depicted. Such a ride would have killed his horse. He was captured by the British, and threatened to tell what he knew. He decided to play a bluff, and said there were 500 men expected to face the regulars. This drew alarm, and he was allowed to leave, but withut his horse.
The story is well known. The British first attacked local in Lexington, and routed them. However, in Concord the situation was different. The first fired from the North Bridge, and a volley was returned resulting the first British fatality of the war. The British were forced to retreat, and as they did so, the local farmers and militia would fire from the trees, and then run forward and fire again. A day that started out as a British victory, did not end that way.
As for Paul Revere, he never had an active part in the Revolutionary War. He was expecting an officer’s commission, which did not come. He did have command of a small garrison group in Boston. His only real action was taking a group of men North to Maine, to clear out a British inhabited fort. This was the largest maritime assault by Americans up to that time. It did not go well. There was bickering between the officers, and finally Revere ordered his men back to Boston without achieving their goal. There was a court martial, and Revere was exonerated saying that the men were out of control, and would not have headed any command anyway.
Revere was a very successful man. Although he did not run for political office, he was active in civic duties, including local clubs and Free Masons. He was one of the first industrialist. He had trained as a silversmith, but branched out into other areas. He and his suns established a bell making foundry. This was at a period of religious revival, and many people needed bells for their churches. He then expanded into copper, and made copper sheeting. Many state houses are covered ith his copper, as well as the sides of many ships.
789. Paul Revere’s Ride
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)