Although Paul Revere was in fact a rider during the night of April 18, 1775, the account of him being a lone rider popularized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Paul Revere’s Ride, is far from the truth. Most people associate with Revere saying “The British are coming!” when in reality, many residents of colonial Massachusetts considered themselves British and this statement would have made little sense. According to historians based on eyewitness accounts, Revere apparently said “The Regulars are coming out,” as the term Regulars meant British soldiers. In addition, Revere was also not the only rider and was joined by two other men, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott. In fact, over the course of the night, it is estimated that somewhere around 40 riders were delivering messages across the various towns west of Boston.
Perhaps the most glaring inaccuracy of the popular myth and legend is that Paul Revere himself never completed his midnight ride. On the trio’s way to Concord, they encountered a British patrol and roadblock. Prescott jumped his horse over the blockade which allowed him to escape and eventually reach Concord. Dawes was also able to escape but fell off his horse not long after and was not able to reach Concord. Revere was captured and questioned at gunpoint but was released a few hours later with his horse being confiscated. Revere then walked to the home of Reverend Jonas Clarke and met up with Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The next day, Revere helped Hancock and his family escape from Lexington as the battle began to unfold.
The Paul Revere Capture Site is an overlooked but crucial location in one of popular memory’s most iconic events of the American Revolution. For over a century, the true historical accounts of that night have been distorted but this small location serves as a beacon of truth to what really happened.
Know Before You Go
A sign marking the capture site is clearly marked on the road and there is usually plenty of parking.