Thanks to the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, everyone has heard of the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” But few have heard of Israel Bissel, a humble post rider on the Boston-New York route.
After the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Bissel was ordered to raise the alarm in New Haven, Connecticut. He reached Worchester, Mass., normally a day’s ride, in two hours. There, according to tradition, his horse promptly dropped dead. Pausing only to get another mount, Bissel pressed on, and by April 22, was in New Haven—but he didn’t stop there! He rode on to New York, arriving April 24, and then stayed in the saddle until he reached Philadelphia the next day. Bissel’s 126 hour, 345 mile ride signaled American militia units throughout the Northeast to mobilize for war.
Today in the Word, October 1, 1991.