Forget Paul Revere What About the Midnight Ride of William Dawes? Part 3
About the midnight right of Paul Revere and William Dawes who is often forgotten in United States history.
What about the Midnight Ride of William Dawes?
The boat, now equipped with the petticoat, delivered Revere safely to the Charlestown shore, where Conant and Richard Devens waited for a full report. After receiving his information, Devens warned Revere that there were already Royal detachments between him and Lexington. Conant added that he had sent his own riders toward Lexington, but none were as respected and resourceful as Revere and Dawes. Revere decided to continue on his own mission and asked for a horse. Devens soon fetched Deacon Larkin's horse, Brown Beauty. Devens assumed that the Deacon would be glad to sacrifice his property for the Cause. Revere was off, galloping in bright moonlight.
When the silversmith reached Lexington, he found Adams and Hancock in the company of Hancock's fiancee, Dolly Quincy, and her chaperone, Aunt Lydia. Hancock was in a combative and flamboyant mood. Hearing of the approach of the Royal army, he picked up a musket and prepared to stand his ground against the might of the empire. Sam Adams patiently told him to put down the gun and take a more prudent course.
Lexington was awakening to the electrifying news Revere had yelled as he thundered into town. Lights were going on and the church bell began to peal frantically. Then the drum was pounded in the town common. Armed men gathered, rubbing their eyes. It was midnight, and in the midst of the turmoil, the excitement, and the terrible fear, Billy Dawes rode in on his horse, bone tired. He had come by land.
Revere suggested that they continue on to Concord to warn the patriots there, and Dawes nodded and climbed wearily back into the saddle. Dr. Sam Prescott, who had been visiting a woman in Lexington, joined them, and the 3 riders pounded away toward Concord. They took turns riding off the road to warn farmhouses along the way. As Revere rode on one of these side missions, he was apprehended by 2 government officers. "Lobsterbacks!" Revere yelled to his friends. "Help! Only 2 of them! Hurry!"
But when Prescott reached the spot, 2 more officers were there. Dawes was still far away, and Revere frantically warned him away. "Back to Lexington, Billy!" Dawes fell off his horse but managed to remount and escape. Revere and Prescott rode toward a wooded area but 6 more troopers cut them off. Prescott swerved and jumped the fence and was soon back on the road toward Concord, but Revere was captured.
Dawes returned to Lexington, where the action was, having made the longest ride of the long night. When the British major heard shots, Revere haughtily warned him that the Revolutionary forces in Lexington were cutting His Majesty's army to pieces. The Major quickly released his prisoner and led his detachment to the rear.
Decades later, Henry Longfellow would wander around the scenes of all this Revolutionary excitement and thrill to the memory of "the midnight ride of Paul Revere." After all, Revere became famous for his silverware, and Longfellow had certainly seen the glittering stuff in the best houses in Boston. But nobody ever bragged because they had a pair of shoes made by Billy Dawes, no matter how good a cobbler he was.
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