Letter: Historical details often overlooked
Friday, June 17, 2011
Leonard Pitts was eloquently but painfully correct in his June 13 column, “On history, Palin is like a lot of us,” about historical illiteracy. As he said, “How can our children write the next chapter of a story they don’t even know?”
However, a minor correction must be made to ward off the devil in the details.
Paul Revere did not make his midnight ride to warn Sam Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming to arrest them. In a deposition made in 1775, Revere testified that the revolutionary leader Dr. Joseph Warren asked him on the evening of April 18 “to go to Lexington, and warn Mr. Samuel Adams, and the Honl. John Hancock Esqr.” that British troops were preparing to march on Concord “to distroy (sic) the Colony Stores,” that is, the militia supplies kept there. No mention was made of arrests.
The deposition and a great deal more about Revere’s ride and the subsequent beginning of open combat in the American Revolution on Lexington Green are available on the website of the Massachusetts Historical Society (http://www.masshist.org/).