How much do you know about Revere's ride?

1. How did Revere know the British were coming by sea?

2. Revere set out on the night of April 18, 1775. When did he complete his mission?

3. How did he spread the alarm?

4. What was the name of Paul Revere's horse?

Extra credit: Who fired the first shot on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775? Who shot first in Concord, later that morning?


1. A Yankee spy close to British Gen. Thomas Gage (probably his American-born wife) had passed Gage's plans to the rebels. Revere knew all about the secret British mission. The two lanterns in the Old North Church were a prearranged signal to warn patriots across the harbor in Charlestown that the Redcoats were coming by sea.

2. Revere never completed his mission. He was sent to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that troops were coming to arrest them and seize munitions in Concord. He warned Hancock and Adams (twice, in fact), but was arrested himself before he got to Concord.

3. He and his fellow riders went from house to house. He did not cry "The British are coming! The British are coming!" First of all, such a ruckus would get him arrested. Secondly, people living in New England at the time still thought of themselves as English. British troops were called Regulars, Redcoats, the King's Men, even Ministerial Troops, but not "the British." "You'll have noise enough before long!" Revere told a militiaman. "The Regulars are coming out!"

4. There are two ways to answer this question: Revere did not even own a horse at the time. (And even if he had, he could not have brought it with him in the rowboat across Boston Harbor.) Tradition states that Revere borrowed a horse named Brown Beauty from John Larkin. The British confiscated the horse after they arrested Revere.

Extra credit: No one knows who fired the first shot on Lexington Green. It seems most likely that there were several shots in quick succession. They may have come from Buckman Tavern on the militia's side, or from a British officer on horseback. It's also possible the shot was an accidental discharge, then a common occurrence. The British fired first in Concord.

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