Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – How did and why did the British want Lexington and Concord? I can answer that. Now let’s go to Hackett Fischer’s book Paul Revere’s Ride, here on Paul Revere Day. It was 18 April 1775 when Revere made his famous ride. If we go to Hackett Fischer’s book, we can find out why Lexington and Concord were chosen. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Did you hear anyone yesterday mention that yesterday was Virginia’s Secession Day? I Tweeted it out, “Happy Virginia Secession Day!” I challenge you to go read the post at MikeChurch.com. Don’t do like some do, [mocking] “I just reject his version of history.” It’s not my version of history. By the by, all of our pieces are heavily footnoted; we cite the actual sources. Today is another great day in American history. Yes, I will get back to the news in a moment. You probably will hear sometime today that today is the anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, and it is, 18 April 1775. You’ll hear the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem that starts out:
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be.
Mike: Who was on the opposite shore? Who even knows these things? AG, do you know who was on the opposite shore?
AG: I do not.
Mike: I found many sources for this and many documents about it. I mentioned in the first hour David Hackett Fischer, one of the country’s better historians, his book Washington’s Crossing is a must-read. I’m telling you, go to MikeChurch.com and click that tab at the top of the page that says Library. Find Washington’s Crossing, click on that, go to Amazon and order that book. Read it. You want to know what actually happened in 1776, not what mythology says happened, read Hackett Fischer’s Washington’s Crossing. If you like Tom Clancy novels and you like a good yarn with lots of intrigue in it, this is one that actually happened. As a matter of fact, I am often surprised that someone hasn’t purchased the rights to that. I know that A&E kind of did in the Jeff Daniels movie The Crossing. They kind of did it but not with near the detail. That thing is just begging for a Founding Father Films version. It might take two or three DVDs to cover it. It’d be a Peter Jackson trilogy like the Lord of the Rings. It’s an amazing tale. You will be amazed and you’ll be proud of the events that led to the crossing of the Delaware River on the 25th of December 1776. This is what I find intriguing and fascinating and what I love about doing history, and I love doing it on your behalf. Please visit my site at MikeChurch.com and partake of my docudramas and show me that you appreciate this. Leave comments. We have comments on those pages.
There were two men that were on the other side of the river. I draw this from “William Dawes and His Ride With Paul Revere,” an essay on the events of that night. There were two men that were on the other side of the river. One of the things about this kind of historical research is, when you go back and try to find source materials, you’re at the mercy of what Google has scanned in, although Hackett Fischer’s book Paul Revere’s Ride has all the details. I unfortunately left my copy right next to my coffee pot today. Who was on the other side of the river? Reading from that particular book:
Conant and Devens, meanwhile, were watching on the Charleston shore, where Devens says he viewed himself “in the character of a sentinel to keep a look-out, and give notice, if danger appeared.” They saw the signal at once, and, says Devens, “sent off an express to Messrs. Gerry, &c., and Messrs. Hancock and A. [Adams], who I knew were at the Rev. Mr. [Clark’s], at Lexington, that the enemy were certainly coming out.” This express it was, and not Paul Revere, who waited for the signals, and was sent with their intelligence to Parson Clark; and the two are evidently confused in the common version. He must have been captured by the British guard early in his ride, as Clark does not mention him in speaking of the messengers who arrived; and he did not arouse the country, which was a most important part of his errand. He was probably the express who Gordon says was “secured by the officers on the road;” but his name is unknown. Yet Hancock and Adams were not unprepared; for they had heard from Gerry and others that the British were patrolling the roads. Every one there knew it: even the boys of Lexington had recognized them; and, at this time and later, several scouts were sent out by the patriots, but they were either captured or failed to learn any thing.
After leaving his friend Pulling, Revere went home for his boots and [coat], and then went to the north part of the town, where he kept a boat. It is said that he awakened his sweetheart on the way to the shore, by throwing gravel against her window, and got from her linen with which he muffled his oars. By this time, the British had begun to embark; and Percy had learned from the chance remark of a bystander that their destination was known. “They will miss their aim,” said the man. “What aim?” asked Percy. “Why, the cannon at Concord,” was the answer.
Mike: So the story that you hear, and AG, you remember when Sarah Palin famously got the story wrong. Do you remember that? Wasn’t it Paul Revere? There’s some controversy over Paul Revere on the 4th of July a couple years back I seem to recall. How did and why did the British want Lexington and Concord? I can answer that. Now let’s go to Hackett Fischer’s book Paul Revere’s Ride, here on Paul Revere Day. Today is 18 April 2013. It was 18 April 1775 when Revere made his famous ride. If we go to Hackett Fischer’s book, we can find out why Lexington and Concord were chosen. This is two British scouts:
When they reached Concord, the town appeared to them like an armed camp, with sentries posted at its approaches, and vast quantities of munitions on hand. The British officers met a woman in the road and asked directions to the house of Daniel Bliss, a Loyalist lawyer and one of Concord’s leading citizens. She showed them the way. Bliss welcomed the two officers, and offered them dinner. A little later the woman suddenly returned, weeping with fear. She explained between her tears that several Whigs had stopped her and “swore they would tar and feather her for directing Tories.”
A moment later a message arrived for lawyer Bliss himself, threatening death if he did not leave the town. The British officers, who were carrying arms, gallantly offered to escort him back to Boston, and protect him with their lives. The three men set out for Boston. Bliss showed them another route that ran further to the north, through Lexington and the village of Menotomy (now Arlington). It was longer than the roads through Weston, but the countryside was more open, and ambuscades were less to be feared. The British officers returned to Boston and made their report, strongly recommending the northern route through Lexington as the best approach.
Gage had found the target for his next mission, and a satisfactory way of getting there. It would be Concord, by the Lexington Road. Now his intelligence efforts began to center on the town itself. He had secret agents there, Loyalists who have never been identified, but lived in or near the town and were exceptionally well informed. One of them wrote regularly to Gage in French, describing in detail the munitions stored throughout the town, and the temper of the inhabitants.
Among these reports was a detailed inventory, house by house and barn by barn, of munitions stored throughout the entire community. One building alone was thought to hold seven tons of gunpowder. General Gage ordered a map of Concord to be prepared, showing the location of every building known to harbor military stores. He was also told that John Hancock and Sam Adams were staying in the town of Lexington, a smaller community of scattered dairy farms five miles east of Concord center.
Mike: So the story is a little more complex than we may know, than the mythology may say. There was a lot of planning there. Yes, the shot heard round the world was Lexington and Concord. It was a pivotal moment in the history of these very young United States. Of course, Revere does have a part in it; it’s just not the part that history says he has. He did have help. There is a backstory to it. It’s just to illustrate the point that there’s always history behind the history. If we just dig a little deeper, don’t take the email and forward it around 116 million times that has the quotation from the poem and rest your laurels on that. Actually learn the history. It’s fun. Learn it and share it with your kids. Hell, learn it and share it with your grandparents who may not know the actual story, one if by land, two if by sea, the ride of Paul Revere.
End Mike Church Show Transcript