The regulars are coming! Paul Revere alerts Adams, Hancock to Redcoat danger

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LEXINGTON – The sound of cantering hooves on pavement, and an urgent shout – “The regulars are out! Grab your muskets!” – broke the silence of the chilly night air. In the darkness, a few lanterns aided a captivated crowd in seeing the silhouette of a horse and rider approaching.

In the wee hours of Sunday night and early Monday morning, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, their female relatives and several dozen Minutemen, transported spectators back in time and brought Lexington’s colonial yellow Hancock-Clarke house to life.

Revere arrived just before midnight, cantering down Hancock Street, witnessed by a hundred residents and visitors, some first-time attendees and others patriotic traditionalists.

Soon after, another messenger, William Dawes, arrived.

For 22 years, the Lexington Historical Society and members of the Lexington Minutemen have been celebrating Revere and Dawes’s famous ride on April 19, 1775, to alert Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were marching from Boston to seize colonial munitions in Concord.

“I thought it was a pretty accurate portrayal,” said Lucy Keegan, 13, at the performance’s conclusion. Sporting a tricorner hat, Lucy and her father, Ed Keegan, had traveled from Seattle, Washington for this year’s performance because of Lucy’s love for the American Revolution. Her father is originally from Lexington.

Lucy added that she liked the use of horses and lanterns in the performance, since they helped bring the audience into the story.

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The reenactment of the midnight ride is followed by a reenactment of the battle on the Lexington town green at 5 a.m.

Like that night more than two centuries ago, the soldiers on this midnight ride do not sleep.

“We hang out and talk about history,” said Steven Conners said. Conners, a first lieutenant with the Lexington Minutemen, was a member of the militia during Sunday’s performance but has played the role of Lexington Sgt. William Munroe in past years.

Although he said he’s always enjoyed history, Conners, 48, initially got involved with the Lexington company more than a decade ago, when he moved to Lexington and witnessed a special re-enactment for the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

After Sunday’s performance, he and several other soldiers had only hours before preparing for the Battle of Lexington at the crack of dawn.

Other events this week in celebration of Patriots’ Day include:

Dawn Salute. On Tuesday, April 19th at 6 a.m., the Concord MinuteMen and the Concord Independent Battery will observe the opening battle of the American Revolution with a 21-gun musket and cannon salute at the North Bridge in Concord.

Arrival of the Sudbury Militia. Later, around 11:30 a.m. at the North Bridge, the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute Men will march to North Bridge from the Town of Sudbury, like the townsmen who made the trek 241 years ago, and fire three musket volleys from North Bridge as a soldierly salute.

Kids’ Reenactment of the Battle of Lexington. The Lexington Minutemen and His Majesty’s 10th Regiment of Foot (the Redcoats) will train young participants to reenact this epic battle on April 20 at 10 a.m. on the Buckman Tavern Lawn, sponsored by the Lexington Historical Society and Lexington Visitor Center. To register, contact Chris Kauffman at [email protected] or 781-862-0295.

Battle Road Heroes. On Saturday, April 23rd, the Guild of Historic Interpreters will take on the personas of residents who lived along Battle Road two centuries ago, to tell their stories of what they witnessed on April 19, 1775. The family-friendly event will take place at the Hartwell Tavern parking area, with tours leaving every 15 minutes. Admission is $5.00 per person, $10.00 per family.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter at @karabettis.