A True Republican: The Life of Paul Revere

By Jayne E. Triber | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
"AM OBLIGED TO BE CONTENTED IN THIS STATE'S SERVICE"

PAUL REVERE chimed that he stayed at Lexington only long enough to hear the first shots fired, after which he and John Hancock's clerk "made off" with Hancock's trunk, The Reverend William Gordon, minister of the Third Church in Roxbury, who rode to Concord to gather firsthand testimony on the events of April 19, 1775, apparently interviewed Revere, repeating details contained in Revere's depositions, but he went on to paint a much more exciting picture of Revere's whereabouts after the first shots at Lexington: "The bullets flying thick about him, and he having nothing to defend himself with, ran into a wood, where he halted, and heard the firing for about a quarter of an hour." A letter from Wethersfield, Connecticut, to "a Gentleman in New York," dated April 23, 1775, provided a more final, if inaccurate, conclusion to Revere's ride, claiming that one of the expresses from Boston "had the good fortune to arrive" while "the other (Mr. Revere) is missing, supposed to be waylaid and slain." Revere did not record his activities for the rest of that historic day of April 19, 1775, noting only that on the following day he met with Dr. Joseph Warren in Cambridge, where "he engaged me as a Messenger" for the Committee of Safety, "which gave me an opportunity of being frequently with them." Certainly, much of the conversation must have concerned what took place after Revere left Lexington green.1

The performance of neither the provincial nor the regular soldiers at Lexington and Concord would gain them a place in the annals of military history. Still, the proficient performance of Paul Revere and the patriot intelligence network and the spirited if somewhat uncoordinated counterattack of provincial soldiers who forced the regulars from Concord's North Bridge and relentlessly harassed them on their retreat to Boston exceeded the performance of the British regulars under

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