Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Paul Revere Capture Site

After spotting the pair of lanterns hanging in the belfry of the Old North Church on the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere started out to warn the surrounding towns that British soldiers were on the march. While Revere made it as far as Lexington, he would not make it to Concord. Revere was captured by British soldiers, and the spot where his famous "midnight ride" came to an abrupt end is commemorated by an historical marker in Minute Man National Historical Park.

At the same time that Revere set out from Boston by way of boat to Charlestown, William Dawes left the city on horseback on a longer route down Boston Neck. After reaching Lexington by way of their different routes, Revere and the unsung Dawes set out for Concord in the wee hours of April 19. In my favorite part of my story, Revere and Dawes meet up with Dr. Samuel Prescott of Concord who was riding home after, according to the wayfaring sign at the capture site, "courting Lydia Mulliken." Goes to show that late-night dates weren't a recent phenomenon.

The three riders headed toward Concord but were intercepted by a patrol of ten mounted British officers. Dawes escaped back towards Lexington, while Prescott jumped his horse over a stone wall, eluded pursuit, and eventually carried the alarm to Concord. Of the three, Revere was the only one to be captured. He was questioned and then released a few hours later without his horse.

The site of Revere's capture is located just off Route 2A, slightly north of the visitor center for the Minute Man National Historical Park. There is a small parking lot to turn into to visit the marker, which is inside a low, circular stone wall. The entrance to the marker has an engraving of the names of the three riders along with the time "1:30 AM" and date of Revere's capture. Inside the stone circle are two wayfaring signs and a large plaque that reads "At this point, on the Old Concord Road as it then was, ended the midnight ride of Paul Revere." The plaque also provides more of the story of that night. One interesting note from the plaque is that three Lexington men were stopped earlier in the night by the same patrol and released along with Revere.

Boston 1775 has a great discussion on the importance of Paul Revere's ride in American history and some other Revere-related items that clarify some of the myths that arose about his midnight ride.

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