A STORY THAT MUST BE TOLD

My name is Vincent Dacquino, author of THE CALL TO ARMS and PATRIOT HERO OF THE HUDSON VALLEY: The Life and Ride of Sybil Ludington. I am coming to you today to ask for your help. The poem I’m about to share is based on a true story of a young American hero who desperately needs to be recognized in every village, town and city for her American heroism. With the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution coming quickly, it is imperative that she is not forgotten.

The poem was written by Berton Braley, a great American poet, and published in The Sunday Star: This Week’s Magazine,Washington D.C. April 14, 1940. It is written in the style of another great poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and speaks for itself.

Sybil Ludington’s Ride                                                                                                   

Listen, my children, and you shall hear

Of a lovely feminine Paul Revere

Who rode an equally famous ride

Through a different part of the countryside,

Where Sybil Ludington’s name recalls

A ride as daring as that of Paul’s.

In April, Seventeen Seventy-Seven,

A smoky glow in the eastern heaven

(A fiery herald of war and slaughter)

Came to the eyes of the Colonel’s daughter.

“Danbury’s burning,” she cried aloud.

The Colonel answered, “‘Tis but a cloud,

A cloud reflecting the campfires’ red,

So hush you, Sybil, and go to bed.”

“I hear the sound of the cannon drumming”

“‘Tis only the wind in the treetops humming!

So go to bed, as a young lass ought,

And give the matter no further thought.”

Young Sybil sighed as she turned to go,

“Still, Danbury’s burning–that I know.”

Sound of a horseman riding hard

Clatter of hoofs in the manor yard

Feet on the steps and a knock resounding

As a fist struck wood with a mighty pounding.

The doors flung open, a voice is heard,

“Danbury’s burning–I rode with word;

Fully half of the town is gone

And the British–the British are coming on.

Send a messenger, get our men!”

His message finished the horseman then

Staggered wearily to a chair

And fell exhausted in slumber there.

The Colonel muttered, “And who, my friend,

Is the messenger I can send?

Your strength is spent and you cannot ride

And, then, you know not the countryside;

I cannot go for my duty’s clear;

When my men come in they must find me here;

There’s devil a man on the place tonight

To warn my troopers to come–and fight.

Then, who is my messenger to be?”

Said Sybil Ludington, “You have me.”

“You!” said the Colonel, and grimly smiled,

“You!” My daughter, you’re just a child!”

“Child!” cried Sybil. “Why I’m sixteen!

My mind’s alert and my senses keen,

I know where the trails and the roadways are

And I can gallop as fast and as far

As any masculine rider can.

You want a messenger? I’m your man!”

The Colonel’s heart was aglow with pride.

“Spoke like a soldier. Ride, girl, ride

Ride like the devil; ride like sin;

Summon my slumbering troopers in.

I know when duty is to be done

That I can depend on a Ludington!”

So over the trails to the towns and farms

Sybil delivered the call to arms.

Riding swiftly without a stop

Except to rap with a riding crop

On the soldiers’ doors, with a sharp tattoo

And a high-pitched feminine halloo.

“Up! up there, soldier. You’re needed, come!

The British are marching!” and then the drum

Of her horse’s feet as she rode apace

To bring more men to the meeting place.

Sybil grew weary and faint and drowsing,

Her limbs were aching, but still she rode

Until she finished her task of rousing

Each sleeping soldier from his abode,

Showing her father, by work well done,

That he could depend on a Ludington.

Dawn in the skies with its tints of pearl

And the lass who rode in a soldier’s stead

Turned home, only a tired girl

Thinking of breakfast and then of bed

With never a dream that her ride would be

A glorious legend of history;

Nor that posterity’s hand would mark

Each trail she rode through the inky dark,

Each path to figure in song and story

As a splendid, glamorous path of glory–

To prove, as long as the ages run,

That “you can depend on a Ludington.”

Such is the legend of Sybil’s ride

To summon the men from the countryside

A true tale, making her title clear

As a lovely feminine Paul Revere!

Published in:

– The Sunday Star: This Week’s Magazine,

Washington D.C. April 14, 1940.

– Sybil Ludington; The Call to Arms, by V.T. Dacquino.

2000, Purple Mountain Press

– Patriot Hero of the Hudson Valley, History Press, 2019


© 2000-2006, Berton Braley Cyber Museum.

All rights reserved.

Contact Webmaster Peter Leeflang

Sybil Ludington author to present at Brewster Library May 8, 2024 at 12:30 pm

Vin Dacquino will address patrons of Brewster Library on May 8, 2024. Dacquino is the author of several books on Sybil Ludington, including, THE CALL TO ARMS; PATRIOT HERO OF THE HUDSON VALLEY; SYBIL LUDINGTON: Discovering the Life of a Revolutionary War Hero; SYBIL LUDINGTON: Grandmother’s Story

Dacquino to speak at Peekskill’s Lincoln Depot Museum on April 28.

Vin Dacquino, author of several books on Sybil Ludington will address members and guests of the Peekskill History Museum at 2 pm on Sunday, April 28, 2024. The public is invited. Books will be sold and autographed. The Lincoln Depot Museum is located at 10 South Water Street in Peekskill.

 Sunday, April 28th at 2:00 pm

            at the Lincoln Depot Museum

            10 South Water Street in Peekskill

Dacquino to Return to BOCES Master Class Dec 8

The plan is for editors to receive students’ writing prior to the editing sessions to allow time to read and review their drafts for Dec. 8, 2023 at BOCES Center in Yorktown.  Each editor will work with 3-4 students for 30-minute conferences.  The time frame of the Master Class would be from 8am-2:15pm. Editors would be working with students from approximately 9:30am-1:00pm with a 30-minute break for lunch.  Rather than a key-note speaker, editors will work with students on a small group writing activity from 1-1:45pm? Students will be specially selected by various school districts in the Westchester/Putnam area. Editors are chosen from various professional fields in writing.

Dacquino to Present at Young Author’s Conference for 2024

As It Was In the Beginning—
PRESENTER: VIN DACQUINO
Have you ever read the first page or paragraph of a novel or short story and refused to
continue reading? What stopped you? How do good writers hold their readers beyond the
first page? In this workshop we will rate various beginnings of great and not so great stories,
discuss techniques to capture readers, and then write some beginnings of our own with the
help of 5 of the most basic tools of writing.
Vin Dacquino hosts his own television show called “One On One with Vin Dacquino,” aired
on Comcast’s Channel 21, Mondays from 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM and has released a new
book with The History Press, April 1, 2019: Patriot Hero of the Hudson Valley. Mr. Dacquino
has made numerous appearances at schools and historical sites based on his adult
biography, Sybil Ludington: The Call to Arms and the student version of this book. He has
written several novels for children and young adults and has addressed English teachers at
annual conferences at the county, state, and national levels. He has presented at the PNW
BOCES Young Adult Conferences for over twenty-five years. He retired as the director of
the BEPT Teacher Center to dedicate more time to his writing and lecturing after teaching in
Westchester County for over 35 years.

Dacquino to Appear at Mt. Kisco’s CURIO ROOM

V.T. Dacquino to add Mt. Kisco, New York, to his “Haunted Highway Book Tour.” Join him on Saturday, October 28 from 1 pm to 2 pm as he discusses three of his popular Halloween favorites:

Hauntings of the Hudson River Valley

Flowers by the Roadside

Emails to a Paranormal

The event will be held at:

The CURIO ROOM

141 E. Main Street

Mount Kisco, NY

917-522-1888

Call for reservations. Free admission

curioroom@gmail.com