Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Ride That Saved Boston

By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government rose to its breaking point. War was imminent. The only question that remained was, who would strike first?

On April 18, 1775, the order was given: seize the Massachusetts arms depot and arrest the rebel leaders Samual Adams and John Hancock. Leave at sunrise.

Although it was supposed to be a secret, Boston spies caught wind of the attack and alerted the local rebel leader, Joseph Warren. 

Warren instantly called in two couriers to leave Boston and warn the surrounding communities of the British raid. If done quickly, the local militias could rally and meet the British in battle.

The two men charged with this vital task were Paul Revere and William Dawes.

To maximize the odds of a warning reaching the others, Warren split up the couriers.

Dawes would take the riskier land route guarded by British sentries. Revere the quicker route by boat. 

Both rode into the night, hoping to rouse enough soldiers to stop the British at dawn.

In the next few hours, Dawes and Revere knocked on the doors of every town they passed, warning the local rebel leaders of the assault. 

Church bells rang and drums were struck.

The riders spread the message like wildfire.

When the British finally marched to war, the colonial militias were already waiting.

The two midnight riders had succeeded.

Which begs the question:

Why is only Paul Revere remembered and William Dawes forgotten?

Because the events didn’t happen exactly as I described.

While Dawes did warn Samual Adams and John Hancock of the attack, he didn’t rouse the rebels in the towns he passed. Unlike Revere, Dawes rode straight through.

Dawes’s men heard the call much later.

So of all the dozens of colonial soldiers that fought the British at daybreak, almost none came from the towns that Dawes passed. The latter were still on their way.

Without Paul Revere, the British would have won the first battle of the war.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach