1861 Ball's Bluff Flag









Paul Joseph Revere
Grandson of the "Midnight Rider"


by Surgeon Nathan Hayward

[COLONEL PAUL JOSEPH REVERE was killed at the battle of Gettysburg while in command of the 20th Mass.]


(copied into the Memoir of the 20th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry: November 10, 1862-January 1, 1864)

To the list of the original officers now lost to this regiment, some by death, some by disability from sickness or wounds, and others by promotion in regiments in later enlistment, Gettysburg has added the name of Colonel Paul Revere.

The officers remaining cherish the remembrance of their respected names. With regret for the absence and sorrow for the dead is also felt pride in their career and gratitude for their services.

Colonel Revere's strong character exerted an influence upon the regiment that is still felt. Brave, chivalrous, self sacrificing, gentle and generous, he set a noble example of private virtues, and in the establishment and discipline of the regiment his force impressed both officers and men. The worthy possessed in him a friend upon whom to repose an absolute trust. The unworthy found him a stern and contemptuous adversary.

His discipline was severe but not debasing: manly sentiments were encouraged not repressed. By its means self respect was fostered in the minds of the aspiring, and begotten where it did not exist.

It was demonstrated that discipline should be essential, not merely formal: that obedience, correctness and zeal were qualities not external and superficial value alone, but, that the man himself was to be befitted by their observance:--that it was for his own advantage and to his credit that discipline was to be exercised:--that the fear of punishment was a low motive, only to be appealed to when higher motive failed:--but, if they failed, the alternative, ignoble and disgraceful as it was, would be inevitable.

Military discipline involves submission on the part of inferior, and authority on that of superior. Any other than such relations are incompatible with the fact and the idea of discipline: but the motives for the exercise of authority and obedience may be as diverse as Christianity and paganism.

While the forms remain the same, obedience may, in conscious opposition to law be rendered from fear, or exacted by force. This is destructive of the individuality in the man. It is slavish and unchristian. Authority may be used selfishly and without reference to law. This is tyrannical and unchristian. On the other hand, obedience should be rendered by voluntary self sacrifice to the law and authority exercised with equal abnegation of self. This is ennobling, loyal and Christian, and this was the discipline of Colonel Revere.

While with Roman Justice Colonel Revere would not spare the incorrigible villain, his support was always ready for the weak: The sick and suffering would be attended by him with the gentleness of a father.

He was warmly attached to his regiment, and, even while absent from it in the summer of 1862 as Corps Inspector on Genl. Sumner's staff, he rode against the enemy and was wounded in front of its advancing line.

His health had been permanently impaired by confinement as a prisoner of war in Richmond [Web note: Revere was wounded and captured at the batttle of Ball's Bluff in Oct. 1861, and later exchanged], but his staunch endurance would not succumb to this disease. In sickness as in health he was still the cheerful and dauntless Christian soldier. He was carried to his last battlefield in an ambulance.

Gettysburg has cost this regiment a deeply respected and beloved Commander, and Massachusetts has lost a citizen worthy of that name (praeclarum et venerabile nomen) Paul Revere.



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