Tuesday, March 16, 2010
"Sybil Ludington, Revolutionary Heroine," from Edcon Publishing.
A dangerous assignment was willingly accepted by this brave patriot.
Everyone has heard of Paul Revere - of his famous ride to warn his neighbors of the approach of British troops in 1775. Two years later, someone else made a ride to marshal defenders against the British. But how many people have heard of Sybil Ludington?
Paul Revere rode for three hours on a moonlit night over good roads; Sybil Ludington rode for eight hours in heavy rain over roads which were often no more than muddy tracks. His ride covered about fifteen miles; hers is estimated at about fifty miles. Paul Revere was forty years old; Sybil Ludington had just turned sixteen.
Her father, Colonel Henry Ludington, was an influential citizen whose farm was a meeting place for local patriot's. 'There his regiment drilled, news was shared, and plans were made. The regiment, consisting of mostly farmers, protected their home district. Home troops were set up at the start of the war by an act of the Continental Congress. All men between the ages of sixteen and fifty were supposed to serve. Besides protecting their own and their neighbors' homes, they were ready to ride out and fight when they were needed. Colonel Ludington commanded the home troops in his county, and Sybil knew them all.
Her father played more than one role in the war for independence. As an important link in a chain of communication, he received top secret reports and passed them on, sometimes even to General George Washington. Sybil knew all the secret codes.
Many times when her father was away at war, she received and delivered such messages herself. Colonel Ludington also served on the Commission of Public Safety all through the war. The Commission's task was to learn which of their neighbors were not in sympathy with the Revolution and then prevent them from giving aid to the British.
Some of the Ludingtons' neighbors were loyal to the British government. One large group met and drilled in secrecy, planning to go to New York City and join the British army there. But Ludington and his men found out about the plan. They surrounded the group and captured them on the very night they had planned to sneak away. Incidents of this kind happened often, and the British commander offered a large sum of money for Ludington's capture, "dead or alive." As a result,his whole family was in constant danger.
Colonel Ludington moved from child to child, from lighted window to lighted window, waving his arms, trying to look like many men in motion. The children held the muskets where they would be seen from outside. Apparently the show was good enough to convince the men that the house was well defended. They rode away into the night without coming close enough to fire a shot.
Enemies would come again on other nights, but none would escape the notice of the young sentries. And all would be fooled by repeat performances of the lighted candle trick. The lone rider who came galloping up to the Ludington farm on the rainy night of April 26, 1777 was no enemy. He had been riding hard all the way from Danbury, Connecticut to deliver the startling news: the British were burning Danbury. American supplies stored there had already been destroyed, and now the city itself was in flames. Ludington's regiment was needed to help in the fighting.
Colonel Ludington had a problem indeed. Someone had to ride out to all the farms in the district to marshal the home troops. The messenger from Danbury was exhausted, and so was his horse. Ludington couldn't ride out himself, because that would leave no one to organize the troops as they arrived. He had no farm hands to send, and his sons were all too young. But there was one person he knew he could trust, someone who could carry the message with haste and determination.
Out rode Sybil into the rain and the darkness with no light from moon or stars to show her the way. The farms of her father's soldiers were far apart, and she rode many long, lonely stretches with nothing to guide her but her memory and judgment. All through the night she rode from farm to farm, delivering her message again and again. "The British are burning Danbury. Gather at Ludington's." By dawn, the regiment was assembled and ready to ride to Danbury where they helped defeat the English troops.
After the war, Colonel Ludington remained an influential figure in New York State politics. Little is known about Sybil's later life. We do know that she married a man named Ogden and had four sons and two daughters. Years later, in Indian territory, one of her grandsons died a hero's death when he refused to leave behind some of his men who were too sick to travel. He died fighting to protect them. Perhaps he was following the example set by his grandmother. A model of feminine confidence and courage, Sybil Ludington has never had the fame she deserves. Travelers in the area of New York State now known as Ludingtonville may notice roadside markers along the route of her night ride. One of her father's mills remains standing near the small family graveyard where Sybil is buried.
In 1975, the United States government issued a stamp in her honor. Beneath a picture of a young girl on horseback are the words: "Sybil Ludington - Youthful Heroine." But how many people who see that stamp know who Sybil Ludington was? How many know of her ride through the long stormy night, or the way she risked her life again and again in the fight for independence?
1. Sybil Ludington rode in order to _____
2. Colonel Ludington, Sybil's father, commanded ______
3. In order to help win independence, Sybil often _______
4. General George Washington used the Ludington house as his headquarters ______
5. Sybil's ride was ________
6. The Ludington sisters helped guard their home at a time when ______
7. Paul Revere's ride _______
8. Sybil Ludington's story would most likely be found in the following book:
9. Another name for this selection could be ______
10. This selection is mainly about ______
This story is an article from a series of Reading Comprehension Workbooks by Edcon Publishing Group. Edcon Publishing has a very large selection of different types of readings and other
materials for learning. I highly recommend this company. - The Teacher
Paul Revere's Ride:
Sybil Ludington in Wikipedia
Paul Revere's Ride, Youtube
Paul Revere Slide Show