The Midnight Ride (1775)


The Mechanics was the first patriot intelligence network.  Paul Revere, a member of this spy ring, rode to Lexington with William Dawes (who was sent by a different route) to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of British troop movement.  Here is Revere’s account:

“… I was one of upwards of thirty, chiefly mechanics [skilled workers], who formed ourselves into a Committee for the purpose of watching the Movements of the British Soldiers…  We held our meetings at the Green-Dragon Tavern… we frequently took Turns, two and two, to Watch the Soldiers, By patrolling the Streets all night…

On Tuesday evening, the 18th [April 1775], it was observed, that a number of Soldiers were marching towards the bottom of the Common. About 10 o'Clock, Dr. Warren Sent in great haste for me, and begged that I would immediately Set off for Lexington, where Hancock & Adams were, and acquaint them of the Movement, and that it was thought they were the objects…. The Sunday before…  I agreed with a Col. Conant, & some other Gentlemen, in Charleston, that if the British went out by Water, we would show two Lanterns in the North Church Steeple; & if by Land, one, as a Signal…  I left Dr. Warrens, called upon a friend, and desired him to make the Signals…  

In Medford, I awaked the Captain of the Minute men; & after that, I alarmed almost every House, ‘till I got to Lexington. I found… Hancock & Adams at the Rev. Mr. Clark's…  After I had been there about half an Hour, Mr. Dawes came; after we refreshed ourselves, we set off for Concord, to secure the Stores [Colony military supplies]…”  Paul Revere, Letter to Jeremy Belknap, 1798


“I proceeded immediately, and was put across Charles River and landed near Charlestown Battery, went in town, and there got a Horse…  I set off, it was then about 11 o’clock, the Moon shone bright…”  Paul Revere, Deposition, 1775