Patriot’s Day

April 18-19, 1775 … .

So through the night rode Paul Revere;

And so through the night went his cry of alarm

To every Middlesex village and farm,—

A cry of defiance, and not of fear,

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,

And a word that shall echo for evermore!

For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,

Through all our history, to the last,

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,

The people will waken and listen to hear

The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,

And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

RTWP. (Read The Whole Poem.)

4 thoughts on “Patriot’s Day”

  1. Of course, the militia didn’t actually refer to their opponents as “the British” — this would have been difficult because they spoke of themselves in that period as fighting for “their English rights”. Usually they called them the “ministerial troops”. The Crown regulars ususally referred to the rebel forces as the “Congressional forces”. See David Hackett Fischer’s excellent book “Paul Revere’s Ride.”

    Longfellow was importing the views of his own generation into people several generations before him.

  2. There’s a good summary of the battle at this site. We didn’t do too badly for beginners – the Crown’s forces suffered 273 casualties out of an original force of 700, and were only saved from annihilation by a relief force sent from Boston.

    Of course, calling the Colonials beginners at warfare ignores the previous 150 years of defending themselves against French and Indian raids, with massacres attending an unsuccessful defense.

  3. Yes, Fischer talks about that point in some detail. The Crown troops were fairly green, while the Massachusetts militia (which was drilled regularly — a “well-regulated militia” in the parlance of the day) had many officers and NCOs who had seen major action in the invasion of Quebec a decade and a half previously. So the disparity of capabilities wasn’t nearly as great as legend has it, and may even have been favorable to the militia. Air National Guard units often beat regular USAF units in combat exercises for a similar reason –in peacetime, the guardsmen have had more real combat time than the regulars.

  4. Reading the summary (link) provided by Mitch, the battle is very comprehensible compared to more modern battles.

    The casualty rate seems high, given the populations at the time.

    The actions reminded me of some large paintball games I’ve had the pleasure of playing, in the woods and fields.

Comments are closed.