Paul Revere Heritage Project


Revere and the First Patriot Intelligence Network

A not commonly known fact is that Revere is credited by the Central Intelligence Agency as the creator of the first Patriot intelligence network on record. You can read the full article on the CIA’s Study of Intelligence website. Just like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who added some poetic flavor to PR’s Midnight Ride, the Agency’s article has no shortage of spy clichés such as “intelligence sources”, “mission accomplished”, “apprehension and interrogation”. But unlike the Longfellow’s poem, the information is factual and is supplemented with good analytical comments.

The group of patriots described in the article was mainly composed of craftsman and artisans like Revere himself. Interestingly the term used at the time was the “mechanics”. According to PR’s account, the group included approximately 30 patriots who took turns during day and night to watch the movement of British regulars and loyalists in Boston and then met regularly to discuss the collected information.

Like modern days intelligence organizations the Mechanics had its highs and lows. The biggest success story of course was the advanced warning about the plans of the King’s troops to march to Concord to destroy weapons and supplies. On the other hand the methods used by the patriots were less than professional. For example the meetings were regularly held and the same place, now famous Green Dragon Tavern. The poor approach to security may be what have lead to the biggest failure - one of the trusted leaders of the group, Dr. Benajamin Church turned out to be a British agent.

Central Intelligence Agency, Center for the Study of Intelligence.