It was 1775, and Great Britain's 13 rebellious colonies were causing trouble again. Boston, a particularly troublesome city, responded to an English tax on tea by dumping a whole shipment of tea into the harbor. The unruly Bostonians were punished by having their harbor closed, and British soldiers were sent to keep order. But the British governor of Boston, General Gage, soon heard more unsettling news... the colonists had hidden weapons and ammunition at the town of Concord. He planned to march his soldiers there and seize the arms before they could be put to their intended use. He also planned to arrest two rebel ringleaders, John Hancock and Samuel Adams, in the nearby town of Lexington.
Paul Revere, a silversmith from Boston, and a man named William Dawes were assigned to warn the colonists. Revere asked a friend to hang one lantern in a church window if the British were coming by land, and two if they were sailing up the Charles River. If Revere and Dawes were stopped by soldiers, this signal could still be seen and relayed by scouts.
First, Paul had to cross the Charles River past a huge British warship. It is said that one of his men used a girlfriend's petticoat to muffle the oars! At any rate, Revere and his men rowed past the ship undetected. Then Revere, on horseback, began warning the sleeping townsmen. Arriving in Lexington, Revere shouted to wake up the sleeping Adams and Hancock. “Ssh,” warned a servant, sticking his head out the window. “Not so much noise.” “Noise! You'll have plenty of noise in the morning,” Revere answered. “The Regulars are coming out!”
With Adams and Hancock on their way to safety, Revere continued to Concord. On his way there, he was arrested by British soldiers. Dawes, who had taken another route, was also stopped. But others were able to get past the British blockade and warn Concord. When the redcoats arrived, they found Hancock and Adams gone, and the colonists ready to defend the 2 towns. Ironically, at this point, the colonists weren't fighting for independence, but for their rights as Englishmen. It would take 2 more years of war before they would finally decide they weren't British anymore.