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A Heroine Like Paul Revere

The Midnight Ride of a 16 Year-Old Girl During the American Revolution

By Bryan R..Published 3 years ago 3 min read
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One of the most recognized names in the annals of American history is Paul Revere. Revere earned the designation of an American Patriot for his midnight ride to alert the colonial militia that the British Redcoats were marching on Lexington and Concord. Famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem commemorating Paul Revere's Ride in 1861. His renowned work begins:

Listen, my children and you shall hear,

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

On the Eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five

Hardly a man is now alive,

Who remembers that famous day and year

One of my most favorite retellings of Revere's heroism aired on the Andy Griffith Show in 1963 and was titled, "Andy Discovers America." In this episode, Andy weaves an exciting tale about Revere's ride, intending to ignite a passion for American history in the heart of his son and his son's friends. Though Revere is somewhat of a household name, several others made gallant rides to warn the Colonists about the approaching British Red Coats. One such person is a 16 year-old girl named Sybil Ludington.

Sybil was born in 1761, the eldest of Henry and Abigail Ludington's twelve children. Henry Ludington owned a farm, a gristmill and served in the military for sixty years. He fought in the French and Indian War and worked tirelessly for the British Crown until 1773 when he decided to join the Patriot movement in America.

In April of 1777, Colonel Ludington received word that the neighboring town of Danbury in the colony of Connecticut was under British attack and the citizens needed help. Unfortunately, the soldiers under Ludington's authority had disbanded temporarily to attend to their farmland. Needing to rally the troops, Ludington urged the horseman to ride through the night to muster the soldiers. Unfortunately, the messenger, already at the point of exhaustion, could not go on. Colonel Ludington required time to strategize, so, enters sixteen year old Sybil. History is unclear as to whether she volunteered or her father enlisted her help. Either way, she climbed astride her horse named Star, and rode through the night urging her father's men to report for duty by sunup. Historians conclude she galloped nearly forty miles through the dark of night and driving rain. What makes her ride even more remarkable is that she rode on unfamiliar roads all throughout Putnam County. The alerted men grabbed their rifles and hurried to Danbury. Unfortunately, Ludington's men arrived too late to win the battle, though they did fight with departing British soldiers.

Her heroic exploit first came to light in 1880, when local historian, Martha Lamb published her story. Most assume Ms. Lamb learned the story about Sybil through the retellings by the Ludington clan. In 1907, a book published about the life of Henry Ludington also references his daughter's midnight ride. Even though a few more Americans became aware of Sybil's heroism through these publications, she remained in relative obscurity until 1961. In that year, the Daughters of the American Revolution commissioned sculptor Anna Hyatt to cast a bronze of Sybil Ludington which prominently stands on the banks of Lake Glenida in Carmel, New York.

After the American Revolution, Sybil lived a rather inauspicious life. In fact, at the age of 77, she died impoverished after the government refused to pay her a military pension for her husband's service in the American Revolution. Her pension was denied, claiming insufficient proof of marriage. However, almost two hundred years later, her unquestioned and heroic patriotism attracted the attention of the United States Postal Service. She was honored with a stamp in 1975.

Sybil Ludington risked, life, limb and her freedom to protect the land she loved. She will always be remembered as one of America's youngest Patriot Heroines.

Historical
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About the Creator

Bryan R..

Husband. Father. Music and Youth Pastor. I enjoy writing as a hobby.

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