Paul Revere Heritage Project


Myths and Facts of Paul Revere’s Ride

From the impression that Revere rode alone to the common mistake of who was the “One if by Land, Two if by Sea” signal intended for, the story about the famous ride is full of myths that are intriguing to explore.

Myth Fact
The sole credit for the success of the ride was given to Revere only. He rode alone. Revere was accompanied by two other riders, Williams Dawes and Samuel Prescott.
All the events described in the poem occurred on the night of April 18, 1775. The poem distorted the occurrence of events. The planning of the signals “one, if by land, two, if by sea” happened on April 16th, two days before the actual ride. The dead bodies in the Old North Church courtyard occurred the day after the initial battle at Lexington.
The signal in the North Church “One, if by land, and two, if by sea” was meant for him. The signal was from him to the Patriots.
He climbed the tower of the Old North Church the night of the ride. Two days before the Midnight Ride he went to Charlestown and met Colonel Conant with whom he set up the plan to place the lanterns that would signal what route the British were taking. He did not climb the tower.
There were dead bodies in the yard of the Old North Church. He did not go to the Old North Church that night and there were not dead bodies. The battle did not start until the next day in Lexington.
Revere rode triumphantly into Concord. He rode to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock but never made it further to Concord because he was captured but soon released by the British soldiers. Another messenger Dr. Samuel Prescott, rode from Lexington to Concord to warn the residents.
His ride through the night was enjoyable and uneventful. He was captured and interrogated by the British and then let go.
The purpose of Revere’s Midnight Ride was to prevent the British troops from capturing the secret store of ammunitions in Concord. It is not widely known that it was not just the weapons that were stockpiled by the Patriots. Here are some of other items that were safeguarded by Revere’s early warning: spades, axes, medicine chests, tents, hogsheads of flour, pork, beef, salt, boxes of candles, wooden spoons, dishes, canteens and even casks of wine and raisins.

Read why so many myths exist about the Midnight Ride >>