Warren ordered Revere on famous ride

The popular narrative about Dr. Joseph Warren is that he was commissioned a major general but went to the Bunker Hill firing line, fought as a private and was killed in that battle.

That’s the popular story.

When talking to Christian Di Spigna, chair of the Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation, hoping to learn something about Warren that goes beyond that narrative often heard.

First of all, Di Spigna, who has written a biography on Warren entitled “Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero,” said Warren was part of a nine-generation line of doctors and a family line that includes, militarily, involvement in every conflict since the Civil War.

And he confirmed what many already know: When Warren learned people were dying at Lexington and Concord, he rode to the site of the harshest fighting and would never return to his family in Boston At Bunker Hill “he’s the last guy to retreat that day because he’s covering his men” when he was “shot through the face and killed instantly.

But his involvement in the early revolutionary movement is most striking.

He was involved in the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Lexington and Concord and the Suffolk Resolves all prior to Bunker Hill.

His compatriots? Names like Adams — Samuel and John — as well as Dawes and Paul Revere.

Di Spigna said Warren was the “ground leader” in Massachusetts during the First Continental Congress and speculated he “would have been just as active” post-Declaration of Independence as he was up to his death.

He explained Warren was highlighted by Ronald Reagan in his first inaugural and fictionalized in modern works.

“A lot of the history starts to be muddied,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to change.”

His involvement with Paul Revere’s midnight ride is one of the most remarkable elements of Warren’s life that often doesn’t make the concise, popular story.

Di Spigna explained that Warren had employed Revere as a messenger, first dispatching Revere to travel to the Continental Congress with the Suffolk Resolves. He called that Revere’s “lesser known ride.”

For the most famous ride, Di Spigna explained Warren was receiving intelligence and “conducting espionage activities.”

It was action on that intelligence that prompted Warren to send Revere on the ride that led to the Shot Heard Round The World.

Warren’s name isn’t often highlighted in that American epoch, but it’s there.


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