How was warning the countryside a collective effort in Paul Revere's Ride?
When correspondence is so easy in today's world, it is hard to believe the amount of effort and planning it took to communicate during the Revolutionary War. Paul Revere, who was living in Boston, was a member of the Committee of Safety as an express rider to carry news and messages as far away as New York and Philadelphia. On the evening of April 18,1775, Dr. Joseph Warren instructed Revere and William Dawes to ride to Lexington and Concord and warn the leaders that the British troops were moving in their direction with the objective of arresting Samuel Adams and John Hancock. They were not worried about military supplies since they had already moved them out of Concord and knew they were safe. Revere and Dawes were sent out to warn the leaders in Lexington and alert the militias in the nearby towns.
Revere, who was afraid that they wouldn't allow him to leave Boston, had already set up a warning system with the deacon of the Old North Church,Deacon Robert Norton, to send a lantern signal to the colonists of Charleston. After he rowed across to Charleston, an activity that was illegal and could have gotten him arrested, Revere verified with the Sons of Liberty in Charleston that they had received the message of two lanterns, the British were coming by sea. Charleston residents then dispatched more riders to the north.
Revere warned patriots in Somerset and Medford, and then many of those warned set out to warn others. He arrived in Lexington, where Adams and Hancock were staying with Hancock's relatives. There he was joined by William Dawes, who had done the same thing but followed a different route. The Lexington militia then dispatched riders to the surrounding towns. By the end of the night, possibly forty riders were involved in the spreading of news.
Revere and Dawes decided to continue on to Concord. They were joined in Lexington by Dr. Samuel Prescott, who was returning to Concord.
So, we have forty riders, the Committee on Safety, the Son's of Liberty in Charleston, the Deacon of the Old North Church, and the three men credited with this ride: Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott.