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Take the Money and Run

Paul Revere, Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street…

Rachel Revere Letter to Paul Revere, April/May 1775. Thomas Gage Papers.

Paul Revere was one of the original members of the Sons of Liberty rebel organization and played a large role in popularizing resistance to the Stamp Act and the Boston Massacre through his widely circulated engravings of the events.   In addition to his silversmith and engraving skills, Revere was also an accomplished horse rider and frequently rode as a courier between rebel leaders.

Sidney L. Smith (engraver), after Amos Doolittle (painter), The Battle of Lexington Line engraving, 1775.

On April 18, 1775, Revere learned of General Gage’s plans for a midnight raid on the town of Concord to seize the rebel colonists’ store of weapons.  Revere immediately set out on horseback to warn patriot leaders John Hancock and Sam Adams in Lexington that the British were marching to seize rebel leaders and weapons. After delivering his message in Lexington, Revere continued on to Concord where he was captured and questioned by British troops.  In their hurry to return to Concord, the British officers decided to release Revere.  However, they took his horse, forcing him to return to Lexington on foot.

Rachel Revere Letter to Paul Revere, April/May 1775. Thomas Gage Papers.

Paul’s wife, Rachel Revere, sent this concerned letter to her husband as he tried to make his way home, horseless and without funds. Rachel entrusted the letter and 125 pounds to Benjamin Church to deliver to her husband. Church was a member of  the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts and the surgeon general of Washington’s troops.  Rachel and the rebel leaders did not know that Church was also a spy for the British and reported to General Gage the movements and strategies of the rebel forces.  Instead of giving the letter to Paul Revere, Church delivered this letter to General Gage.  No mention was ever made of the money Rachel sent in Church’s report to Gage and it is presumed that he kept the money.  Church was eventually apprehended in October of 1775 when his mistress was captured secreting one of Church’s cipher letters to General Gage.  Church was imprisoned until 1777 when he was allowed to set sail to the West Indies.  His ship was declared lost at sea.

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See the Letter:  Rachel Revere Letter to Paul Revere, April /May 1775

See the Method:  Captured Letters

See the Timeline:  1775