April 19th is, on most of our calendars, just another day. But it also happens to be the day the American Revolution started. So we thought we'd celebrate Trivia Today style, with a few questions about the Revolutionary War.
What Was the Origin of "The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!"? Supposedly, Paul Revere rode solo around Massachusetts, yelling this line to warn people of the impending arrival of British troops. There are four problems with this. One is that the colonists were still technically British and thought of themselves as British, so yelling that the British were coming would have been pointless and weird. Second is that Revere was only one of three people tasked with getting the news that redcoat British troops, or "regulars," were going to invade Concord. The other two were Samuel Prescott and William Dawes. The third problem was that yelling anything would have been ridiculously risky as it was assumed that British troops were hiding all over the place -- the mission had to be discreet. The fourth problem was that Revere never made it to Concord. He, Dawes, and Prescott were captured by the British and detained. Prescott and Dawes escaped (Prescott got to Concord, and Dawes either got lost or was thrown from his horse; in any event, he didn't reach the city). However, Revere remained in custody for a bit and then was released without his horse, so he walked back to Lexington.
Who Fired That "Shot Heard Round the World"? During the initial battle on Lexington Green, British troops and colonial Minutemen faced each other as someone fired off a shot from a musket. Frustratingly, no one knows who fired first. It could have been the colonists, or it could have been the British. Interestingly, though, it could also have been an accident. The colonists were rushing to get weapons out of a storage space at the town hall, and it's possible that the famous "shot heard round the world" was really a gun accidentally going off as the Minutemen tried to load it. Regardless of who shot first, the resulting battle signaled that the colonists were now serious about fighting back.
Why Were the Minutemen Given That Name?
Known as minutemen for
their ability to deploy rapidly, colonial militiamen were private American
colonists who banded together to form local militia companies that were tightly
organized and largely self-trained in military tactics and the use of weaponry.
Highly mobile, minutemen played a significant role in the opening battles of
the American Revolution.
One such minuteman was Paul Revere, who was also a member of the Sons of Liberty, a secret society formed to protect the rights of American colonists. It was Revere who helped to spread word that a British assault on Lexington and Concord was imminent. However, before he could complete his rounds, he was captured by the British.
Where Was the Last Major Battle of the Revolution Fought? In 1781, a large British force in Yorktown Virginia, led by General Cornwallis, surrendered to US and French forces. It marked the last major battle of the revolution. Though fighting would continue for another two years, the war was essentially over. In 1783, American independence was finally recognized in the Treaty of Paris. An independence that we had started the fight for on this day in 1775. And to think, you thought April 19th was just another day.