The Courageous Ride of Sybil Ludington – A History Story with Uncle Rick
It was April 26, 1777. The sun was going down behind the clouds and the gathering darkness turned the distant trees into shapeless forms of shadow.
The Ludington family was preparing to settle down for the night.
Suddenly, their domestic peace was interrupted by the sound of a horse’s hooves beating a rapid drumming on the road. The drumming ceased as the rider slid his mount to a stop in front of the farmhouse.
Colonel Henry Ludington stepped to the front door just as a voice from outside called his name.
Opening the door, Ludington admitted a tired man in mud-spattered clothes.
Exhausted and breathless, the messenger hurriedly poured out his story. The British were attacking Danbury, he said. They were destroying the supplies that had recently been moved there and stored for the American army. Even worse, they were abusing the
people and burning the town. The militia must be assembled to march right away.
Colonel Ludington stared at the man. Of course, he would call the militia together. He
was their leader. But at that moment, all his 400 men were dismissed to their homes. Whom could he send to call them? This messenger and his horse were worn out.
Besides, he was not from this area. He did not know the Patriots from the Tories round about.
Then, 16-year-old Sybil stepped forward and offered to go. Yes, it was a four-mile ride on a rainy night. No, she was not a strong man to defend herself from drifting Tories and robbers. But she was a good rider and she knew where all the militiamen lived.
Very soon she was on her horse and galloping away.
All through the night, Sybil rode. She carried with her a stout stick to beat on doors and perhaps on the head of a robber if she should need to. Some of the men she alerted mounted their own horses and took off in various directions to call their comrades.
When day broke over the Connecticut hills, a tired Sybil was reining in her horse before her father’s cottage and nearly 400 militia members had assembled. Sleepy-eyed and shuffling, they were all nonetheless ready to take revenge on the redcoat raiders who were retreating from Danbury.
Before the day was over, some of the redcoats had paid with their lives for their depredations.
In Carmel, New York, there stands today a larger-than-
life stature of Sybil Ludington atop her horse,
Star. In her hand is a stick.