6 days during the American Revolution, April 18 – April 24, 1775

The Old North Church in Boston is the location where, on the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere tasked three men to signal the Charlestown Patriots who were watching from the other side of the Charles River as to what the movements were of the British troops.

As one man stood guard, two men climbed the 191 feet to the top of the steeple with lanterns to light. The phrase “One if by land, and two if by sea” is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride”. One lit lantern was to indicate to the watching troops that the British Army would march over Boston Neck and the Great Bridge, and two lit lanterns were to notify them that the troops were taking boats across the Charles River to land near Phips farm. The men lit two lanterns and once they were sure the message was received, quickly put them out. It was Paul Revere and another man who would ride through towns and villages announcing the troop movements to ensure that everyone knew.

It was highly unlikely that he announced that “the British are coming” as most citizens at the time were of course, British.

The following map looks through the trees to the site of the first conflict between British troops and the Minutemen the following morning, at sunrise on April 19, 1775.

It was down this path a few hundred yards at the Old North Bridge where the “Shot heard ’round the world” was fired, a phrase coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson, referring to the start of open conflict between Massachusetts Militia and British troops, which started on the Old North Bridge. The conflict began when the British were investigating the storage of weapons by the Minutemen in a location in Concord. The Militia had gathered enough evidence of this risk and had moved the equipment to another location.

It was Israel Bissell who rode the 345 miles along the Old Post Road, from Watertown, Mass to Philadelphia, PA, arriving in the evening on April 24th, 1775. Upon his arrival, the Liberty Bell which hung in the steeple of Independence Hall was rung which apparently draw a crowd of 8000 people to hear the news. The Liberty Bell no longer hangs in the steeple but is on display, having been cracked the very first time it was rung. The Centennial Bell now hangs in it’s place.

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Date
March 16th, 2010

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