Posted by: unclesamshistory | July 19, 2013

The Midnight Ride

ImageEvery child over the age of twelve has heard or read the poem by Henry Longfellow, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” Published by the Atlantic Monthly in 1861 it supposedly told how the folk hero of the revolutionary war rode through the night warning the villages, “The British are Coming, The British are Coming.” It turns out this fabrication of facts is just that, a fabrication. Not unlike today’s media, truth just gets in the way of a good story. According to actual reports Revere never even finished the ride to warn the towns, but other riders did.

 I have just finished reading “The Fort” by Bernard Cornwell. It is a historical fiction book and I highly recommend it. Through his research Cornwell has woven a story around, what he calls, the greatest disaster American forces suffered until Pearl Harbor. The British had occupied Majabigwaduce, Massachusetts and the colony’s militia was sent to rout them out. This unknown area lies on the upper Penobseot River. Paul Revere was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the Massachusetts Artillery. It didn’t seem to make any difference that he had neither military nor artillery experience. Revere was a pompous, arrogant, self-serving individual, but never-the-less was picked to head the artillery companies on this expedition.

 During the campaign he continually refused to obey orders, came to battles when he felt like it, which was not often and generally looked after his own comforts. When the last ditch battle was about to begin Lt. Col. Revere loaded his baggage on his private barge and ran from the fight, refusing to rescue the men from a disabled American ship.

 September 6, 1779 the Massachusetts General Assembly ordered Lt. Col. Paul Revere stripped of his rank and placed under house arrest. That’s the part of history you don’t find in your high school American History class.

 For more historical fiction on the 1700s I suggest FRONTIER PREACHER and FRONTIER AT THREE RIVERS, both available from Amazon, Grannyapple Publishing or for a signed copy


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