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Sybil Ludington: American Revolutionary War Patriot, or Was She?
Sybil Ludington made a late-night ride twice as long as Paul Revere's. So where is her poem?
Who was Sybil Ludington?
Sybil (Sibbel) Ludington (1761-1839) was a typical sixteen-year-old girl living in the American Colony of New York in 1777. According to the legend, on the night of April 26, 1777, word reached her house that 2,000 British soldiers were a mere 25 miles away and burning the town of Danbury, Connecticut.
The Night of Sybil's Ride
Her father, Colonel Henry Ludington, had men stationed in a wide area around the Ludington residence and in the Fredericksburg community, now the city of Ludington.
Sybil convinced her father to let her go and gather the men. Sybil and her horse Star covered over 40 miles on dark, unmarked roads. Her journey took her twice as far as Paul Revere's famous ride. The militiamen arrived in time and drove the British back to their ships in Long Island Sound.
Is Her Story True?
Historians disagree on whether or not her ride took place at all. There is no verifiable documentation that proves the authenticity of Sybil Ludington's ride, and the first mention occurred in 1880 and again when the grandchildren of Henry Ludington published his memories privately in 1907. Also, her ride could have been more successful. The New York militia failed to reach Danbury in time to stop the British from destroying military provisions. And she did get a stamp and a statue.
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