Sybil Ludington’s Daring Ride

U.S. #1559 – Ludington was honored as part of the Contributors to the Cause Bicentennial Series.

On April 26, 1777, Sybil Ludington embarked on a nighttime ride twice as long as the one that made Paul Revere famous two years earlier.

Born on April 5, 1761 in Kent, New York, Sybil was the daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington, the leader of the local militia in Patterson, New York. During the Revolutionary War, Sybil wanted to join the militia because she didn’t like being ruled by Great Britain.

On April 26, 1777, as Sybil was tucking her siblings into bed, a messenger arrived at the family house. He had news that the British were burning the town of Danbury, Connecticut – the militia’s supply center. With only 150 militiamen in town at the time, Sybil’s father knew he needed to muster additional troops to protect the town from a British attack. With only hours before they’d arrive, he needed a volunteer to ride fast and hard to bring back troops. Sybil volunteered in a heartbeat.

It was 9 p.m. before Sybil got underway. By then, the glow from the burning town of Danbury could be seen for miles. She traveled 40 miles alone on horseback and in the dark. She banged a stick on doors to rouse the locals, calling out, “Muster at Ludington’s!”

Sybil rode all night through the rain – at one time fending off highwaymen with her father’s musket. Finally, exhausted after riding 40 miles, she returned home shortly before dawn.

There, 400 members of the local militia had gathered and soon marched off. They were too late to save Danbury, but in the Battle of Ridgefield – and other skirmishes – the British were so thoroughly harassed that they were driven back to their ships. They did not raid deep into Connecticut for the rest of the war.

News of Sybil’s ride spread, and General George Washington personally went to her house to thank her for her courage. Alexander Hamilton also wrote her a letter of thanks.

After the war, Sybil got married and had one son. She died on February 26, 1839. In 1935, in honor of her ride, New York State placed markers along the route she took. And since 1979, there has been a Sybil Ludington 50-kilometer race that closely follows the path of her ride.

Click the images to add this history to your collection.

Click here to see a statue in Carmel, New York honoring Sybil’s ride.

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  1. I know this area well having lived in Pound Ridge for years. I never quite put the entire picture together although I passed the historical markers for the Battle of Ridgefield many times. The hole area is filled with American history. Thanks for putting this all into perspective.

    1. You are so right. It is even worse today in school. It was and is a a sorry history of our school systems.

  2. Interesting. I had never even heard of Sybil. Where are the writers of school history books when you need them? Unfortunately, today the liberal lying media has become the exact same way. Either lie about what happened or don’t tell about it at all.

    1. Noah, you are so right. We can’t learn from our history if it has been changed for political correctness.

  3. Sybil’s story is amazing – she’s an unknown hero from our past. A great example of what made this country great and young women today would do well to delve into her past and do more research and learning. If young women are looking for a true role model, they should check Sybil out…..courage, action and results.

  4. Had history, like this, been included in the school curriculum, I would have retained more of what was taught. It is only as an adult that I have really learned about our American history because of the all of the information available, including your “History for the day”. Thank you…

  5. Excellent! I’ve seen this historical event depicted on the history channel. . BIG FAN. I recommend it.

    1. Thank you, I never knew this, being from southeastern PA this was an interesting bit of history

  6. What a joy to read. Informative. Fun to read. Kudos to the author. Good choice and well written.
    Our country’s history now spans over 500 years. Even though we are exposed to it in elementary school, a couple secondary schools and, possibly, a first-year U. S history college class, those courses can hardly do more than introduce us to our country’s political history. This delightful anecdote, about Sybil Ludington’s ride of April 26, 1777, calls attention to what enlightenment and joy may lie ahead for those people who acquire a lifelong habit of learning more about our country’s history.
    And, kudos to Mystic Stamp Company for bringing these daily snippets of U. S. history to us. Rara avis!

  7. A unique tribute to women and minority groups who played important roles in the development of this great nation.

  8. Reading American Revolution history is a hobby of mine now that I’m 78. What a great history America has. Over the 240 years since the beginning of the Revolution, millions have given their lives to keep all of us free. It’s great to be retired and able to do anything I want to do – thanks to those who gave their lives to give us a free society.

  9. Thank you, I had never read this account before. Imagine, what other stories have yet to be told…

  10. Longfellow wrote “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” If he had written “The Midnight Ride of Sybil Ludington,” she would be more famous. But unlike what a couple of the writers above have said, it’s not “political correctness,” it’s an effort to get the whole story out. Our history wasn’t just played out by white men.

  11. Actually, it and much more is and was in the history books, in libraries, text books, encyclopedias and now on the internet. You have to pay attention, go to class and listen, not come on a stamp blog when you’re old and blame it on the liberals or the conservatives. It’s not them, it’s you.

  12. Your daily day of interest is the best. It is so good to have a cup of coffee and read your three stories, especially during these sequestered times. It would be wonderful if you had more stories for each day. The stories are great for kids to read or hear during the no school problem. All of your days should or could be put in a book and be available for families with shut-ins, school kids and stamp collectors like me. Wonderful job Mystic. Keep them coming.

  13. Good job Mystic I had never heard of this episode of History before. To have George Washington visit in person must have been an extraordinary happening an extraordinary event keep up the good work

  14. That’s what I so love about stamps; they bring to light the hidden corners of our history we otherwise wouldn’t know that much about.

  15. Paul Revere is remembered and has not been forgotten …and Sybil Ludington should ALSO be remembered and NOT forgotten. This is the FIRST time I have ever heard about Sybil Ludington … and her 40-mile night ride in rain and gun fire involvement in total darkness was heroic ! She was indeed a great American patriot and her interest, bravery and action to help the U.S. better itself against the British attacks in CT at the time was honorable, successful and prevented the British from re-entering CT for the remainder of the war. After reading this notable historical update, I will always remember Sybil Ludington … just as I have never forgotten Paul Revere. Thank you, Mystic !!

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