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Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

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Paul Revere's deposition, draft, circa 1775

Paul Revere`s deposition, draft, circa 1775

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Paul Revere probably prepared this draft deposition, containing an account of his ride to Lexington, in 1775, at the request of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. To prove that the British had fired the first shot at Lexington Green, the Congress solicited depositions from eyewitnesses in 1775. In his deposition, Revere explains how he received instructions from Dr. Joseph Warren to ride to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that English troops were marching west and how he secured a horse in Charlestown, avoided Britsh officers near Charlestown Common, and reached Lexington . He set out for Concord with William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, but halfway there, he was captured by British soldiers. Reverewas released, and he returned to Lexington where he helped move a trunk of papers belonging to John Hancock from the tavern and then saw the militia that had gathered on the town green. He heard the first shots exchanged between the British soldiers and the minutemen, but a house blocked his view of the skirmish.

The draft deposition was the basis for a clean and corrected copy, Paul Revere's deposition, fair copy, circa 1775. The draft contains many deletions and corrections, as well as a note at the bottom of the first page indicating that Samuel Prescott successfully evaded capture by the British soldiers and reached Concord.

Revere's deposition (fair copy and/or draft) can also be compared to a letter he wrote, Letter from Paul Revere to Jeremy Belknap, circa 1798, containing another account of his famous ride.