The Midnight Ride as a Collective Effort
I told them what was acting, and went to git me a horse.
--Paul Revere's account of the midnight ride, 1798
LATE IN THE AFTERNOON of April 18, 1775, a stable boy sprinted through the busy streets of Boston. He ran from Province House off Marlborough Street to the close-built neighborhood of the North End. When he reached Paul Revere's place he dashed through the door and announced his news--the Regulars were ready to march!
Catching his breath, the boy told Paul Revere what he knew. A friend was a hostler at a livery stable where the Regulars kept their horses. Earlier that day, several officers had gone there to work on their riding tack. As they tugged at their bridles and saddlery, they talked in low tones among themselves. From time to time, a voice rose high enough for the eavesdropping groom to hear a snatch of conversation--something about "hell to pay tomorrow!" 1
Paul Revere listened as the boy told his story, and thanked him for coming. "You are the third person who has brought me the same information," he confided. All that day, Bostonians had noticed signs of activity in the British garrison. An "uncommon number of officers" were seen striding up and down Boston's Long Wharf, and talking earnestly among themselves on the far end of the pier that extended far into the waters of Massachusetts Bay. It was the only place in town that was safe from Yankee ears. 2