Modern history

Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's midnight ride looms as an almost mythical event in American history--yet it has been largely ignored by scholars and left to patriotic writers and debunkers. Now one of the foremost American historians offers the first serious look at the events of the night of April 18, 1775--what led up to it, what really happened, and what followed--uncovering a truth far more remarkable than the myths of tradition.

In Paul Revere's Ride, David Hackett Fischer fashions an exciting narrative that offers deep insight into the outbreak of revolution and the emergence of the American republic. Beginning in the years before the eruption of war, Fischer illuminates the figure of Paul Revere, a man far more complex than the simple artisan and messenger of tradition. Revere ranged widely through the complex world of Boston's revolutionary movement--from organizing local mechanics to mingling with the likes of John Hancock and Samuel Adams. When the fateful night arrived, more than sixty men and women joined him on his task of alarm--an operation Revere himself helped to organize and set in motion. Fischer recreates Revere's capture that night, showing how it had an important impact on the events that followed. He had an uncanny gift for being at the center of events, and the author follows him to Lexington Green--setting the stage for a fresh interpretation of the battle that began the war. Drawing on intensive new research, Fischer reveals a clash very different from both patriotic and iconoclastic myths. The local militia were elaborately organized and intelligently led, in a manner that had deep roots in New England. On the morning of April 19, they fought in fixed positions and close formation, twice breaking the British regulars. In the afternoon, the American officers switched tactics, forging a ring of fire around the retreating enemy which they maintained for several hours--an extraordinary feat of combat leadership. In the days that followed, Paul Revere led a new battle-- for public opinion--which proved even more decisive than the fighting itself.

When the alarm-riders of April 18 took to the streets, they did not cry, "the British are coming," for most of them still believed they were British. Within a day, many began to think differently. For George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine, the news of Lexington was their revolutionary Rubicon. Paul Revere's Ride returns Paul Revere to center stage in these critical events, capturing both the drama and the underlying developments in a triumphant return to narrative history at its finest.

Introduction - Paul Revere Remounted

Chapter 1: Paul Revere’s America

Chapter 2: General Gage’s Dilemma

Chapter 3: Thomas Gage, Paul Revere, and the Powder Alarms

Chapter 4: Inevitability as an Act of Choice

Chapter 5: British Plans, American Preparations

Chapter 6: The Midnight Ride as a Collective Effort

Chapter 7: The Ordeal of the British Infantry

Chapter 8: A British Patrol Takes Paul Revere, and Is Taken by Him

Chapter 9: Paul Revere and the Other Riders

Chapter 10: The Rising of the Militia

Chapter 11: A Rural Panic in New England

Chapter 12: Of John Hancock, Sam Adams, a Salmon, and a Trunk

Chapter 13: The Fight on Lexington Green

Chapter 14: A Provincial Protest Becomes a World War

Chapter 15: Lord Percy’s Long Retreat

Chapter 16: The Second Battle of Lexington and Concord

Chapter 17: The Fate of the Participants

Appendices

The Revere Family

The Hitchborn Family

Paul Revere’s Revolutionary Rides: Research by Michael Kalin

Paul Revere’s Role in the Revolutionary Movement

The British Army in Boston: Order of Battle, April 18, 1775

The British Army in Boston: Returns of Strength, 1775

The Royal Navy in America, January 1, 1775

Weather Patterns, April 17-20, 1775

The Moon, April 18-19, 1775

Tidal Movements, the British March, and the Midnight Ride, April 18-19, 1775

The British Concord Expedition: The Problem of Numbers

A Chronology of the British March, April 18-19, 1775

The British March: Time, Distance, Velocity

Methods of Timekeeping in 1775

The Lexington Militia: Quantitative Research by Jeremy Stern for this volume

American Casualties, April 19, 1775

British Casualties, April 19, 1775

Casualties among British Officers on the Concord Mission, April 19 to June 17, 1775

Spread of the News of the First Shots at Lexington

HISTORIOGRAPHY

Myths After the Midnight Ride

Participant Historians: The Myth of Injured Innocence

Children of the Founders: The Myth of the Patriot Fathers

The Union in Crisis: Longfellow’s Myth of the Lone Rider

Myths for Imperial America: Colonel Revere as a Man on Horseback

U.S. v. The Spirit of ‘76: Paul Revere and the American Anglophiles

An Age of Disbelief: The Myths of the American Debunkers

Crusade for Democracy: The Myth of the Common Man

The Cold War: The Myth of the Capitalist Democrat

The Age of Vietnam: The Myth of the Evil Americans

Academic History, Political Correctness, and Paul Revere

Crosscurrents

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABBREVIATIONS

NOTES