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Jack Jouett's Ride:
Forty Miles to Save
American Independence
Through the course of history the fate of a nation can hinge on the courageous act of one. Captain Jack Jouett was one such man and is among our nation's greatest Revolutionary War heroes.
On June 3, 1781, at the Cuckoo Tavern in Louisa, Jack Jouett, a 27 year old Militia Captain, spotted 180 British Dragoons and 70 mounted infantrymen. Quickly he realized that the British were headed to Charlottesville to capture the Virginia Legislators assembled there and Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Realizing the dire results of such a capture and that he was the only one to prevent it, he quickly saddled and mounted his trusted horse and with a grim determination began a journey that would become legendary.
Riding all night through briars, bruised and tattered, Jouett covered the forty mile distance to arrive at dawn on June 4 at Monticello to warn Thomas Jefferson.
He thern rode on to Swan Tavern, owned by his father in Charlottesville, where most of the legislators were staying. The young Captain arrived in advance of the British enabling the legislators to escape.
Jouett's all-night ride has been termed one of the most important and colorful exploits of the Revolution. Of such importance was Jouett's feat that some historians believe that had Jefferson and the other distinguished leaders been captured, it might well have spelled the end of the Revolution.
A grateful Virginia Assembly and Governor later presented to the daring young hero an elegant brace of pistols and a fine jeweled sword.
It's no wonder, then, that Jack Jouett has been called the "Paul Revere of the South". Yet, amazingly, few people have ever heard of him.
Jack Jouett House Historic Site.
Versailles, KY