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The book contains so many wonderful descriptions of the small historical scenes leading up,to the revolution, they are simply too numerous to recount, however, one of my favorites is from the “warning” chapter, about Robert Newman and John Pulling lighting the lanterns in the Old North Church to warn “one if by land, two if by sea”

From the book: “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fischer, 1994, Oxford Univ. Press, page 100-103, excerpts…
“Newman had found two square metal lanterns with clear glass lenses, so small they could barely hold the stump of a small candle. Earlier that day he had carefully prepared the lanterns and hidden them in a church closet….The men hung the lanterns round their necks by leather thongs, and stuffed flint and steel and tinder boxes into their pockets. they climbed the creaking stairs, 154 of them, high into the church tower. At the top of the stairs, they drew out their flints and with a few practiced strokes sent a stream of sparks into the nest of dry tinder. Gently they blew the glowing tinder into a flame, and lighted the candles.
Then they went to a narrow ladder above the stairs and climbed higher, rung after rung, past the open beams and great silent bells. At last they reached the topmost window in the steeple. They threw open the sash, and held the two lanterns out of the northwest window in the direction of Charlestown.”….”The Whigs across the river were keeping careful watch on the steeple….suddenly they saw a flicker and then a flash of light. They looked again, and two faint yellow lights were burning close together high in the tower of the church.”

Hackett attributes this rendition of the scene to an amalgamation of three different histories from Paul Revere and other firsthand historical sources such as the life and letters of Robert Newman.

Fascinating…

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