October 24th History of Early America

October 24, 1590
John White, The governor of the second Roanoke Colony, returns to England after an unsuccessful search for the “lost” colonists.

October 24, 1644
William Penn was born in London, the son of Admiral Sir William Penn.

William Penn and the Quakers:
Despite high social position and an excellent education, he shocked his upper-class associates by his conversion to the beliefs of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, then a persecuted sect. He used his inherited wealth and rank to benefit and protect his fellow believers. Despite the unpopularity of his religion, he was socially acceptable in the king’s court because he was trusted by the Duke of York, later King James II. The origins of the Society of Friends lie in the intense religious ferment of 17th century England. George Fox, the son of a Leicestershire weaver, is credited with founding it in 1647, though there was no definite organization before 1668. The Society’s rejections of rituals and oaths, its opposition to war, and its simplicity of speech and dress soon attracted attention, usually hostile.

October 24, 1755
French and Indian War – First British expedition against the French held Fort Niagara ends in failure after Braddock’s defeat at Fort Duquesne; the French increased the garrison and improved the fortifications. Youngstown, New York

October 24-25,. 1775
Patriots successfully defend Hampton, Virginia, from a British naval attack.
Lord John Murray Dunmore, Virginia’s last royal governor, orders a British naval fleet of six ships to sail up the James River and into Hampton Creek to attack Patriot troops and destroy the town of Norfolk, Virginia. British Captain Matthew Squire led the six ships into Hampton Creek and began bombarding the town with artillery and cannon fire, while a second contingent of British troops sailed ashore to begin engaging the Patriots.

Expecting the Patriots and local militia to come charging and to engage in open combat, the British were surprised to come under fire from expert riflemen, who began striking down British troops at a distance. Hearing of the British attack, Virginia’s local militia leader, Colonel William Woodford, marched an additional 100 members of the militia to defend Norfolk.

With reinforcements in place, the Patriots and militia pushed the British back to their ships, where the riflemen again began picking off British troops from the decks of their vessels. Facing a humiliating defeat at the hands of an outnumbered local militia, Captain Squire ordered a full British retreat. In the unorganized and hurried withdrawal that followed, two British ships ran aground and were captured. The Patriots, meanwhile, did not suffer a single fatality.

October 24,. 1776
The Secret Committee of Congress retained the Ship Reprisal, Captain Lambert Wickes, to carry Benjamin Franklin to Nantes, France.

October 24, 1777
Note: After  American artillery at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, inflicts severe damage on the British fleet as it moves up the river from Delaware Bay, on the 23rd.

Letter from George Washington to Continntal Congress
Head Quarters, October 24, 1777.

Sir: I do myself the honor of transmitting to Congress the inclosed copies of sundry letters just now received, and congratulate them most sincerely on the important intelligence which they contain.(fn.1) The damage the Enemy have sustained in their Ships, I hope will prevent their future attempts to gain the passage of the River, and the repulse of the Troops under Count Donnop and his Captivity, I flatter myself will also be attended with the most happy consequences. At the time these Actions happened, a Supply of ammunition was on the way to the Forts, and I have also ordered a further Quantity to be immediately sent. By Colo. Blaine one of the issuing Commissaries who left Red Bank, in the morning before the action, I am happily informed, that he had thrown considerable supplies of provision into both garrisons, he also adds, that he came from Jersey this morning, and that the Enemy had recrossed the Delaware and returned to Philadelphia.

I have written to Colonel Greene, that the Prisoners must be immediately sent from his Post, and Mr. Clymer, (fn.2) a Deputy under Mr. Boudinot,(fn.3) will set out to morrow morning to make a proper disposition of them.

It gives me great concern, to inform Congress, that after all my exertions we are still in a distressed situation for want of Blankets and Shoes. At this time, no inconsiderable part of our force are incapable of acting thro’ the deficiency of the latter, and I fear, without we can be relieved, it will be the case with two thirds of the Army in the course of a few days.

I am and have been waiting with the most anxious impatience, for a confirmation of Genl Burgoynes surrender. I have received no further intelligence respecting it, except vague report, than the first accounts which came to hand so long ago as Saturday morning. If Congress have had authentic advices about it, I wish to be favored with them. I have the honor etc.(fn.4)

October 24, 1791
First session of the 2nd Congress of the United States began in Philidelphia, in the 16th year of independence of said states, in session till May 8, 1792
Congress refuses to accept an antislavery petition from Quaker. Warner Mifflin


1. These were from Maj. Samuel Ward and Commodore John Hazelwood. Ward stated: “On the 21st Inst. Four Battalions of Germans, amounting to about 1200 men commanded by Baron Donop Colo. Commandant landed at Cooper’s Ferry and Marched the same Evening to Haddonfield. At 3 o’Clock Yesterday Morning, they marched for this place; when the guard at Timber Creek bridge were informed of their approach, they took up that Bridge, and the Enemy filed off to the Left, and crossed at a Bridge four miles above. Their Advanced Parties were discovered within a quarter of a mile of the fort at 12 o’clock; At half after 4 o’Clock P.M. They sent a flag to summons the Fort, who was told, that it should never be surrendered. At three quarters after four, they began a Brisk Canonade, and soon after advanced in two Columns to the Attack. They passed the Abattis, gained the ditch, and some few got over the Pickets, but the fire was so heavy, that they soon were drove out again with considerable loss, and retreated precipitately towards Haddonfield, The Enemy’s loss amounts to 1 Lieut. Col., 3 Capts., 4 Lieuts., and near 70 killed and. the Baron Donop, his Brigade Major, a Captain-Lieutenant and upwards of 70 nonCommissioned Officers and Privates wounded and taken Prisoners. We are also informed, that several waggons are taken. The Colo. proposes to send the wounded Officers to Burlington. He also enjoins me to tell your Excellency, that both Officers and Privates behaved with the greatest Bravery. The Action Lasted 40 minutes.” The Hessians confessed to a loss of 402 killed and wounded, of whom 26 were officers. The American loss was 14 killed, 23 wounded, and 1 captain, who was reconnoitering, taken prisoner. Donop died of his wounds three days after the action. The naval part of the action was described by Commodore Hazelwood in a more complete report of October 26: “While the Fort at Red Bank was attacked, the Augusta of 64 Guns, the Roebuck of 44, Two Frigates, the Merlin of 18, and a Galley, came up through the lower Chevaux de Frieze, which were attack’d by the floating Batterys and some of the Galleys, while the rest of the Galleys was flanking the enemy, that were attacking the Fort where the Galleys did much execution. As soon as the enemy was repuls’d at the Fort, the Ships finding so hot a fire, endeavour’d to fall down, but the Augusta and Merlin ran aground. Early next morning the Galleys and floating Batteries attacked them, when an incessant fire was kept up. About 11 o’Clock I believe one of our Shot set the Augusta on fire, and at 12 she blew up, being aground. The engagement continued with the other Ships, and at 3 in the afternoon, the Merlin we think also took fire and blew up, then the firing ceased on both sides. The Roebuck dropped down to the lower Chevaux de Frieze and went thro’. Yesterday I went down to the Wrecks, and found that the Guns of both ships may be got out, if the enemy’s Ships can be kept at a proper distance. We brought off two 24 Pounders, and as soon as possible shall endeavour for the rest.” Commoodore Hazelwood complained of his lack of men. “The fleet is now so poorly Mann’d,” he wrote, “and the constant cry from Fort Mifflin is to guard that Post, that I know not how to act without more assistance.” There had been numerous desertions from the fleet. Lieutenant Colonel Smith had written (October 2): “So general a discontent and panic runs through that part of the fleet, that neither Officer nor men can be confided in, they conceive the River is lost, if the enemy gets possession of Billingsport nothing can convince them of the contrary and I am persuaded as soon as that fort is taken that almost all the fleet will desert, indeed from their disposition I am induced to believe they will openly avow themselves and desert Officers with their Crew (which has been the case with two) perhaps with their Gallies.” These letters, dated Oct. 22, 1777, are in the Washington Papers in the Library of Congress.

2. Daniel Clymer. Deputy Commissary General of Prisoners.

3. Elias Boudinot. He was Commissary General of Prisoners of the Continental Army; resigned in May, 1778; later a Delegate to Congress from New Jersey and President of Congress.

4. In the writing of Richard Kidder Meade. It was read in Congress on October :27 and referred to the Committee of Intelligence.

October 23rd History of Early America

October 23, 4004 BC.
According to 17th century divine James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge, the world was created on this day, a Sunday, at 9 a.m.

October 23, 1641
Outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
Catholics, under Phelim O’Neil, rise against the Protestants and massacred men, women and children to the number of 40,000 (some say 100,000).

October 23, 1642
Battle of Edgehill: First major battle of the First English Civil War.

October 23, 1694
British/American colonial forces, led by Sir William Phipps, fail to seize Quebec from the French.

October 23, 1707
The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.

October 23, 1739
War of Jenkins’ Ear starts: British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain.

October 23. 1775
The Congressional Committee meeting with Washington agrees to accept the Penobscot, Stockbridge, and St. John’s Indian tribes offers of assistance, allowing them to be employed in the Army if necessary. The committee decides, however, to exclude African Americans.

October 23. 1776
Washington moved his headquarters from Harlem Heights to White Plains.

October 23. 1776
The Maryland Convention reported that inhabitants of Caroline County had marched into Dorchester County and in a “violent manner” taken and carried away salt from the local inhabitants.

October 23, 1777
American artillery at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, inflicts severe damage on the British fleet as it moves up the river from Delaware Bay.

October 23, 1783
Virginia emancipates slaves who fought for independence during the Revolutionary War.

I’ll have to details later

October 22nd Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

October 22. 1746
The College of New Jersey was officially chartered. It later became known as Princeton University.

October 22. 1775
Former president of the Continental Congress, Peyton Randolph of Virginia, dies in Philadelphia.

October 22. 1776
Congress elected Arthur Lee of London as Commissioner to France. “Mr. (Thomas) Jefferson having informed Congress that the state of his family will not permit him to accept the honour of going as their Commissioner to France.” Benjamin Franklin was the second Commissioner chosen.

Short bio: Arthur Lee, born in Virginia in 1740. educated at Eton College and University of Edinburgh, studied law at the Temple in London, and practiced law in London, 1770-6, sent by Congress on several diplomatic missions in Europe during the Revolution, member of Congress, 1782-4, member of the Board of the Treasury, 1784-9, died in Virginia, 1792.

October 22, 1777
An American garrison at Fort Mercer, New Jersey, repels an attack by Hessian troops, at the Battle of Red Bank

October 22, 1777
After failing to receive requested reinforcements, General Howe asks that he be relieved of command. The British Government refused to send him any.

General William Howe in the American Revolution:

Stating that “he was ordered, and could not refuse,” Howe sailed for Boston with Major Generals Henry Clinton and John Burgoyne. Arriving May 15, Howe brought reinforcements for General Thomas Gage. Under siege in the city, the British were forced to take action when American forces fortified Breed’s Hill on the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking the city. While Clinton favored an amphibious attack to cut off the American line of retreat, Howe advocated a more conventional frontal attack. Taking the conservative route, Gage ordered Howe to move forward on June 17.

In the resulting Battle of Bunker Hill, Howe’s men succeeded in driving off the Americans but sustained over 1,000 casualties in capturing their works. Though a victory, the battle deeply influenced Howe and crushed his initial belief that the rebels represented only a small part of the American people. A dashing, daring commander earlier in his career, the high losses at Bunker Hill made Howe more conservative and less inclined to attack strong enemy positions. Knighted that year, Howe was temporarily appointed commander-in-chief on October 10 (it was made permanent in April 1776) when Gage returned to England.

Howe’s Inability to Crush the Rebellion:

Forced out of Boston on March 17, 1776, after General George Washington emplaced guns on Dorchester Heights, Howe withdrew with the army to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There, a new campaign was planned with the goal of taking New York. Landing on Staten Island on July 2, Howe’s army soon swelled to over 30,000 men. Crossing to Gravesend Bay, Howe flanked and defeated Washington at the Battle of Long Island on August 26/27. Falling back to fortifications at Brooklyn Heights, the Americans awaited a British assault. Based on his earlier experiences, Howe was reluctant to attack and began siege operations.

This hesitation allowed Washington’s army to escape to Manhattan. He was soon joined by his brother who had orders to act as a peace commissioner. Though the Howes met with American leaders, they were only permitted to extend pardons to those rebels who submitted. Their offer refused, they began active operations against New York City. Landing on Manhattan on September 15, Howe ultimately forced Washington from the island and later drove him from a defensive position at the Battle of White Plains. Rather than pursue Washington’s beaten army, Howe returned to New York to secure Forts Washington and Lee.

Again showing an unwillingness to eliminate Washington’s army, Howe soon moved into winter quarters around New York and only dispatched a small force under Major General Lord Charles Cornwallis to create a “safe zone” in northern New Jersey. Recovering in Pennsylvania, Washington was able to win victories at Trenton and Princeton in December and January. As a result, Howe pulled back many of his outposts. While Washington continued small-scale operations during the winter, Howe was content to remain in New York enjoying a full social calendar.

In the spring of 1777, Burgoyne proposed a plan for defeating the Americans which called for him to lead an army south through Lake Champlain to Albany while a second column advanced east from Lake Ontario. These advances were to be supported by an advance north from New York by Howe. While this plan was approved by Colonial Secretary Lord George Germain, Howe’s role was never clearly defined nor was he issued orders from London to aid Burgoyne. As a result, though Burgoyne moved forward, Howe launched his own campaign to capture the American capital at Philadelphia. Left on his own, Burgoyne was defeated in the critical Battle of Saratoga

Sailing south from New York, Howe moved up the Chesapeake Bay and landed at Head of Elk on August 25, 1777. Moving north, Howe defeated Washington at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11. Outmaneuvering the Americans, Howe captured the city without a fight eleven days later. Concerned about Washington’s army, Howe left a small garrison in the city and moved northwest. On October 4, he won a near-run victory at the Battle of Germantown. In the wake of the defeat, Washington retreated into winter quarters at Valley Forge.

Under severe criticism in England for failing to crush the Americans and feeling he had lost the king’s confidence, Howe requested to be relieved on October 22. After attempting to lure Washington into battle late that fall, Howe and the army entered winter quarters in Philadelphia. Again enjoying a lively social scene, Howe received word that his resignation had been accepted on April 14, 1778. After an extravagant festival in his honor on May 18, Howe turned command over to Clinton and departed.
Howe in Later Life

Arriving in England, he entered into the debate over the conduct of the war and published a defense of his actions. Made a privy counselor and Lieutenant General of the Ordnance in 1782, Howe remained in active service. With the outbreak of the French Revolution he served in a variety of senior commands in England. Made a full general in 1793, he died on July 12, 1814, after a prolonged illness, while serving as governor of Plymouth. An adept battlefield commander, Howe was beloved by his men but received little credit for his victories in America. Slow and indolent by nature, his greatest failure was an inability to follow up on his successes.

October 22, 1779
The New York Act of Attainder or Confiscation Act
The New York legislature declares Governor Lord John Murray Dunmore, General Wiliam Tryon, Oliver De Lancey, along with 57 others, to be public enemies. As a result of this act, these individuals have their personal estates confiscated.

October 22, 1836
Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.

October 22, 1844
This day is recognized as “The Great Disappointment” among those who practiced Millerism. The world was expected to come to an end according to the followers of William Miller.

October 20th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

October 20, 1774
The new Continental Congress, the governing body of America’s colonies, passed an order proclaiming that all citizens of the colonies “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainment.”

October 20, 1775
The committee meeting with Washington about the Army agrees that the forces should be supplied with provisions by the New England colonies. Washington is given the authority to impress wagons, vessels, horses, and other necessary items.

October 20, 1776
The William Morris & Co. wrote this day that the American coast was quite clear (of British ships) “so that the spirits of enterprize has seized most People and they are making or trying to make Fortunes.”

October 20, 1776
Rev. William McKay gave a sermon at Fort Ticonderoga in which he begged them not to be be weak and afraid, but to “do yourselves honor by using the weapons of your warfare with that heroism, firmness, and magnanimity which the cause requires.”

October 20-30 1781
Combined British, Loyalist, and Indian Raid Launched in the Mohawk Valley, New York. This force, led by Major John Ross, is nipped in the bud by a combination of lack of Indian interest, muddy roads, and the possibility of encountering Patriot militia commanded by Colonel Marinus Willett. This is the last attempted British offensive in Tryon County.

October 20, 1782
Battle of Cape Spartel (Morocco)
Spain’s primary objective upon entering the American Revolution was to regain Gibraltar from the British. The 46 ship-of–the-line Franco-Spanish squadron commanded by Admiral Cordoba vastly outnumbers the 35 ships-of-the line belonging to Admiral Sir Richard Howe. In the four-hour engagement, each side incurs over 600 casualties. However, the British retain possession of Gibraltar and manage to maintain control of the vital supply routes leading to the island.

October 20, 1783
Congress votes to build a second “federal town” on the banks of the Potomac River, with plans to alternate sessions between there and Philadelphia.

Richard Henry Lee2

Founder Richard Henry Lee, Cicero of America

Rhetoric, as defined in the lexicons, as taught in the schools, as practised in times of peaceful leisure–is not the kind that graced the forum during the American Revolution. No studied or written speeches were then crowded upon the audience to kill time or gain popularity. Judge McKean remarked just before his death–“I do not recollect any formal speeches, such as are made in Parliament and our late Congresses. We had no time to hear such speeches–little for deliberation–action was the order of the day.”

See also Founder Francis Lightfoot Lee

School eloquence is very different from native heart-thrilling soul-stirring rhetoric. The former is like the rose in wax without odor–the latter like the rose upon its native bush perfuming the atmosphere with the rich odors distilled from the dew of heaven. The former is the finely finished statue of a Cicero or Demosthenes, more perfect in its lineaments than the original–the latter is the living man animated by intellectual power–rousing the deepest feelings of every heart–electrifying every soul as with vivid lightning. The former is a picture of the passions all on fire–the latter is the real conflagration pouring out a stream of impassioned words that burn like liquid flames bursting from a volcano. The former brings the fancy of an audience into playful action–the latter sounds an alarum that vibrates through the tingling ears to the soul and drives back the rushing blood upon the aching heart. The former moves the cerebral foliage in waves of recumbent beauty like a gentle wind passing over a prairie of tall grass and flowers–the latter strikes a blow that resounds through the wilderness of mind like rolling thunder through a forest of oaks. The former fails when strong commotions and angry elements agitate the public peace–the latter can ride upon the whirlwind of faction, direct the tornado of party spirit and rule the storm of boiling passion. This was the only kind of eloquence practised by the Sages and Heroes who achieved our Independence. At such times school elocution is a mockery–a vain show that disgusts men when the fate of millions is suspended by a single hair. At such a crisis the deep fountains of the soul are broken up and gush out in living streams of natural overwhelming eloquence.

Richard Henry Lee

Richard Henry Lee

Among the powerful orators of ’76 was Richard Henry Lee, son of Thomas Lee, born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on the 20th of January 1732. His ancestors were among the early settlers of the Old Dominion and were
prominent in directing the destiny of the Colony. They were men of liberal principles and at all times promptly resisted every encroachment upon their rights. The arbitrary power exercised by Charles I. over his European subjects which hurled him from his throne, was resisted by the Lees. When Cromwell assumed the crown he was never recognised by Virginia. The mandate that  proclaimed the second Charles King–originated with Lee and Berkley of the Old Dominion. The plan of ultimate Independence was cherished by the elder Lees. Through the bright vista of the future they contemplated the millennium of Freedom in America. So strongly impressed was the father of Richard Henry with this idea that he fixed in his mind the location of the seat of government and purchased lands in the vicinity of Washington. By some historians this act is called a paradox that philosophy has been perplexed to explain. To my mind the solution has no perplexity. A man of deep reflection and large intelligence does not draw his conclusions alone from present appearances. He compares the past with the present and makes deductions for the future. The historic map of the world is covered with the rise, progress and extinction of nations, kingdoms and empires. From the causes and effects delineated upon the same map, it was the natural conclusion of a penetrating mind that the expansive territory of this country, with all the bounties of nature lavished upon it, must eventually become so densely populated that its physical force would be too powerful for any European country to hold dominion over it. The geographical centre was also plain as the settlements were then progressing. This prophecy, as it has been termed, was the result of deep thought arriving at conclusions drawn from the unerring laws of nature, showing that Mr. Lee possessed an analyzing mind that moved in an extensive orbit.

Richard Henry Lee commenced his education at Wakefield, Yorkshire, England and remained in that kingdom until he completed it. He returned a finished scholar, an accomplished gentleman with a reputation untarnished by vice or folly. From his childhood honesty and morality were his darling attributes–he delighted in reposing under the ethic mantle. During his absence his innate republicanism did not become tinctured with the farina of European courts or the etiquette of aristocracy. In classic history he found the true dignity of man portrayed–his inalienable rights delineated. In the philosophy of Locke he saw the rays of light reflected upon human nature–the avenues of the immortal mind opened to his enraptured vision. In the Elements of Euclid the laws of demonstration were presented to his delighted understanding and gave fresh vigor to his logical powers. Endowed with these qualifications he was prepared to enter upon the great theatre of public action and adorn the circle of private life.

His first public act was in raising a company of troops and tendering his services to Gen. Braddock. That proud Briton considered the Provincials puerile and declined the proffered aid. His fate is a matter of history. In 1757 Mr. Lee was appointed a Justice of the Peace and President of the Court. Shortly after he was elected to the House of Burgesses and made himself thoroughly acquainted with the laws of legislation and government–the true policy and various interests of the colony and with the rules of parliamentary proceedings. Retarded by an almost unconquerable diffidence, he took very little part in debate at first. It was not until he became excited by a subject in which he felt a deep interest that his Ciceronean powers were developed. A bill was before the House imposing a duty on the importation of slaves into Virginia–virtually amounting to a prohibition. It was strongly opposed by several influential members. Mr. Lee became roused and poured upon
his astonished audience such a flood of burning eloquence against the importation of human beings to be made slaves, that his opponents trembled as they listened. In vivid colors he painted the cruelties of Cortes in South America, the Saracens in Spain and passed through the dark catalogue of monsters who had disgraced humanity with barbarism–then pointed his colleagues to the darker blot–the more barbarous practices that branded with infamy the unhallowed slave-trade then monopolized by mother Britain. He pointed to the bloody scenes of other times when the physical force of the slaves had enabled them to rise and crush their masters at one bold stroke. By stopping the traffic, the evil entailed upon them might be provided for and the certain and dreadful consequences of a constant influx from Africa be warded off. His eloquence was applauded but his philanthropic views were voted down by the friends of the crown. The trade was virtually originated and long continued by Great Britain, now so loud in complaints against us for not at once providing for an evil entailed by her. Had this bill passed, her revenue would have been less and thousands of Africans left at their peaceful homes. O! shame where is thy blush!

This powerful effort raised Mr. Lee to the rank of the Cicero of America. The exposure of the base corruptions practised by Mr. Robinson, then treasurer of the Colony, was the next important service rendered by him. As this was an attack upon the aristocracy, it required much skill, boldness and sagacity to introduce the probe successfully. This he did in a masterly manner and proved clearly that the treasurer had repeatedly re-issued reclaimed treasury bills to his favorite friends to support them in their extravagance by which the Colony was robbed of the amount by their payment a second time without a _quid pro quo_ [equivalent.] For this bold act Mr. Lee was applauded by every honest man–hated and dreaded by public knaves.

When Charles Townsend laid before the British Parliament the odious and more extensive plan of taxing the American colonies which Mr. Grenville called _the philosopher’s stone_, Mr. Lee was among the first to sound the alarm. Within a month after the passage of the preliminary Act in Parliament followed by a revolting catalogue of unconstitutional and
oppressive laws, he furnished his London friends with a list of arguments against it sufficient to convince every reasonable man of the injustice and impolicy of the measure. When Patrick Henry proposed his bold resolutions against the Stamp Act in 1765 Mr. Lee gave them the powerful aid of his eloquent and unanswerable logic. He was very active in the formation of associations to resist the encroachments of the crown. He aided in  compelling the collector of stamps to relinquish his office, deliver up his commission and the odious stamp paper. The people were advised not to touch or handle it. His pen was also ably used and produced many keen, withering, logical, patriotic, pungent essays that had a salutary influence upon the public mind. He corresponded with the patriots of New York and New England. According to the testimony of Col. Gadsden of S. C. and the public documents of that eventful era, Mr. Lee was the first man who proposed the Independence of the colonies. He had unquestionably imbibed the idea from his father whose ancestors had predicted it for the last hundred years and had probably handed it down from sire to son. In a letter from Richard Henry Lee to Mr. Dickinson dated July 25th 1768 he proposes upon all seasonable occasions to impress upon the minds of the people the necessity of a struggle with Great Britain “_for the ultimate establishment of independence–that private correspondence should be conducted by the lovers of liberty in every province_.” His early proposition in Congress to sever the material ties was considered premature by most of the friends of Liberty. He had long nursed this favorite project in his own bosom–he was anxious to transplant its vigorous scions into the congenial bosoms of his fellow patriots.

Soon after the House of Burgesses convened in 1769, as chairman of the judiciary committee, Mr. Lee introduced resolutions so highly charged with liberal principles calculated to demolish the Grenville superstructure and reduce to dust his talismanic _philosopher’s stone_,  that they caused a dissolution of the House and concentrated the wrath of the British ministry and its servile bipeds against him. The rich fruits of their persecution were the formation of non-importation associations, committees of safety and correspondence and the disaffection of the English merchants towards the mother country in consequence of the impolitic measures calculated to prostrate their importing and exporting trade. Lord North now assumed the management of the grand drama of oppression and laid more deeply the revenue plan. By causing a repeal of the more offensive Acts he hoped to lull the storm of opposition that was rapidly rising and prepare for more efficient action. Had the Boston Port Bill been omitted his dark designing treachery might have succeeded more triumphantly. This fanned the burning flame of resentment to a white heat. It spoke in language too plain to be mistaken–too strong to be endured.

In 1774 Mr. Lee was a delegate to the Congress convened at Philadelphia. At that memorable meeting he acted a conspicuous part. After Patrick Henry had broken the seal that rested on the lips of the members as they sat in deep and solemn silence, he was followed by Mr. Lee in a strain of _belles-lettres_ eloquence and persuasive reasoning that took the hearts of his audience captive and restored to a calm the boiling agitation that shook their manly frames as the mountain torrent of Demosthenean eloquence was poured upon them by Henry. He was upon the committee that prepared an address to the  king–the people of Great Britain and to the Colonies. Those documents were written by him and adopted with but few amendments. He was upon the committee that prepared
the address to the people of Quebec and upon the committee of rights and grievances and non-intercourse with the mother country. In the warmth of his ardor he proposed several resolutions that were rejected because considered premature at that time–not that the purity of his motives were doubted. Many of the members still hoped that timely redress of grievances would restore peace. They had clearly and forcibly set forth their complaints and desires and could not yet be persuaded that ministers were madly bent on ruin. For solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity and wisdom of conclusion–the proceedings of that Congress stand without a parallel upon the historic page. So thought Lord Chatham, Burke and many of the wisest English statesmen at that time.

In 1775 Mr. Lee was unanimously elected to the Virginia Legislature where the same zeal for Liberty marked his bold career. He received a vote of thanks for his noble course in Congress and was made a delegate for the next session. A more congenial field now opened for this ardent patriot. Temporizing was no longer the order of the the day. Vigorous action had become necessary. His zeal and industry had ample scope. With all his might he entered into the good work. Upon committees–in the house, everywhere he was all activity. In 1776 he was a member of Congress. In obedience to the instructions of the Virginia Legislature and his long nursed desires, on the 7th of June he rose amidst the
assembled patriots of the nation in the Hall of Liberty and offered the resolution for the adoption of a Declaration of Independence. This resolution he enforced by one of the most brilliant and powerful displays of refined and forcible eloquence ever exhibited in our country. On the 10th of the same month he was called home by the illness of his family which prevented him from taking his place as chairman of the committee upon his resolution agreeably to parliamentary rules. Mr. Jefferson was put in his place. The wrath of British power against him was now at its zenith. During his short stay at home an armed force broke into his house at night and by threats and bribes endeavoured to induce his servants to inform them where he could be found. He was that night a few miles distant with a friend. They were told he had gone to Philadelphia.

In August he returned to Congress and most gladly affixed his name to that sacred instrument upon which his imagination had feasted for years. He continued at his post until June 1777 when he returned home to confute a base slander charging him with unfaithfulness to the American cause in consequence of having received rents in kind instead of Continental money. He was honorably acquitted by the Assembly and received a vote of thanks from that body for his fidelity and industry in the cause of freedom–rather a cooler to his semi-Tory enemies. During the two ensuing years his bad health compelled him to leave Congress several times, but his counsel was at the command of his colleagues at all times. Nothing but death could abate his zeal in the good cause.

The portals of military glory were now opened to Mr. Lee. He was appointed to the command of the militia of his native county and proved as competent to wield the sword and lead his men to action as he was to command an audience by his powerful eloquence. Defeated in the north the British made a rush upon the Southern States. Whenever they approached the neighbourhood under the charge of Mr. Lee they found his arrangements a little too precise for their convenience and abandoned their visits entirely. In 1780-1-2 he served in the Virginia legislature. The proposition of making paper bills a legal tender–of paying debts due to the mother country and of a general assessment to support the Christian religion–were then before the House and excited great interest. Mr. Lee advocated and Mr. Henry opposed them. From the necessity of the case he was in favor of the first. Upon the sacredness of contracts he based his arguments in favor of the second and from ethics he drew conclusions in favor of the last. He said refiners might weave reason into as fine a web as they pleased but the experience of all time had shown religion to be the guardian of morals. He contended that the declaration of rights was aimed at restrictions on the form and mode of worship and not against the legal compulsory support of it. In this Mr. Lee erred. He probably had forgotten that Christ declared his kingdom was not of this world and that the great Head of the Christian religion had for ever dissolved the bans of church and state by that declaration. In other respects the position is untenable in a republican government and can never promote genuine piety in any.

In 1784 he was again elected to Congress and chosen President of that body. At the close of the session he received a vote of thanks for the faithful and able performance of his duty and retired to the bosom of his family to rest from his long and arduous toils. He was a member of the Convention that framed the Federal Constitution and took a deep interest in the formation of that saving instrument. He was a U. S. Senator in the first Congress that convened under it and fully sustained his previous high reputation. Infirmity at length compelled him to bid a final farewell to the public arena. His last public services were rendered in the legislature of his own state. On his retirement a most flattering resolution of thanks for his numerous valuable services was passed by that body on the 22d of October 1792. He then retired to the peaceful shades of Chantilly in his native county crowned with a chaplet of amaranthine flowers emitting rich odors lasting as time. There he lived–esteemed, beloved, respected and admired until the 19th of June 1794 when the angel of death liberated his immortal spirit from its clay prison–seraphs conducted his soul to realms of bliss there to enjoy the reward of a life well spent.

Mr. Lee was a rare model of human excellence and refinement. He was a polished gentleman, scholar, orator and statesman. In exploring the vast fields of science he gathered the choicest flowers–the most substantial fruits. The classics, _Belles Lettres_–the elements of civil, common, national and municipal law–the principles of every kind of government were all familiar to his mind. He was ardently patriotic, pure and firm in his purposes, honest and sincere in his motives, liberal in his principles, frank in his designs, honorable in his actions. As an orator the modulation of his voice, manner of action and mode of reasoning were a _fac simile_ of Cicero as described by Rollin. He richly merited the appellation–CICERO OF AMERICA.

His private character was above reproach. He possessed and exercised all those amiable qualities calculated to impart substantial happiness to all around him. To crown with enduring splendor all his rich and varied talents–he was a consistent Christian–an honest man. As his dust reposes in peace let his examples deeply impress our heart: and excite us to fulfill the duties of life to the honor of ourselves, our country and our God.

From Sages and Heroes of the American Revolution; L. Carrol Judson

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Founder Francis Lightfoot Lee

From Sages and Heoes of the American Revolution

The actions of men cannot be well understood without a thorough
knowledge of human nature. We must trace the map of the immortal mind,
learn the avenues of its circuit, follow it through the regions of
revolving thought, become familiar with the passions that influence and
control it–learn its natural desires, innate qualities, springs of
action–its multifarious combinations. We must understand its native
divinity, earthly frailty, malleability, expansions, contractions and
its original propensities. In addition to all this knowledge, to judge
correctly of the actions of an individual we must know the predominants
and exponents of his mind–the impress it has received from education,
the motives that impelled him to action, his propulsive and repulsive
powers, the ultimatum of his designs and his ulterior objects. With all
these guides we may still become involved in error unless we move within
the orbit of impartiality, divest ourselves of all prejudice and have
our judgments warmed by the genial influence of heaven-born charity.
With all these lights we should never pass judgment of censure upon any
person unless the good of community requires it or a court of justice
demands it. Could this rule be strictly adhered to by individuals and
the press–rays of millenial glory would burst upon the wilderness of
mind and cause it to bud and blossom as the rose. A peaceful and
quiescent rest would calm the angry feelings and boiling passions of
men, daily lashed to a foaming fury by the unnecessary and often
erroneous expressed opinions of others. On this point the Sages and
Heroes of the American Revolution were examples worthy of imitation.
Each one held most sacred the reputation of his co-workers. The few
violations of this principle were frowned upon with an indignity that
gave the recusants the Belshazzar trembles.

See also Founder Richard Henry Lee, Cicero of America

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Among them no one was more tender of character than Francis Lightfoot
Lee. He was the son of Thomas Lee–born in Westmoreland county,
Virginia, on the 14th of October 1734. He was the brother of Richard
Henry Lee whose eloquence rose higher but whose reflections were no
deeper than those of Francis. In childhood he was admired for his
docility and amiable deportment–in youth he was the pride of every
circle in which he moved and when manhood dawned upon him he exhibited a
dignity of mind and maturity of judgment that all delighted to honor.

He was educated by the Rev. Mr. Craig a Scotch clergyman of high
literary attainment and profound erudition. Under his tuition the germs
of knowledge took deep root in the prolific mental soil of young Lee and
produced plants of rapid and luxuriant growth. The Scotch _literati_ are
remarkable for deep investigation, thorough analyzation and lucid
demonstration. I have never met one who was a pedant, a vain pretender
or a superficial scholar. Under such an instructor the intellectual
powers of Francis assumed a vigorous and healthful tone that placed him
upon the substantial basis of useful knowledge and enduring fame. He was
delighted with the solid sciences and spent less time in the bowers of
Belles Lettres than his Ciceronean brother. The history of classic
Greece and Republican Rome enraptured his mind with the love of liberty
and liberal principles. He read closely, thought deeply and investigated
thoroughly. He prosecuted his studies with untiring industry and became
an excellent scholar without the advantages of European seminaries to
which most of the sons of wealthy men were then sent to complete their
education. Imitating the examples of his elder brothers who had received
the highest polish of English gentilesse and French etiquette he became
a polished gentleman in his manners. Raised in the midst of affluence,
actuated by the purest ethics, free from a desire to participate in the
follies of the world, living in the peaceful enjoyment of those refined
pleasures that promote felicity without enervating the body or
corrupting the heart, the favorite of his numerous acquaintances–his
earthly happiness was of the purest kind. His mind richly stored with
scientific theory and with correct moral and religious principles, he
entered the school of experience and became emphatically a practical
man. Possessed of an ample fortune he could devote his time to what he
deemed most useful. Having early imbibed a love for rational liberty and
having fully canvassed the conduct of the British ministry towards the
American Colonies, Mr. Lee resolved to oppose the encroachments of the
king upon the rights clearly guaranteed by the English constitution. He
could not consent that the trappings of the crown, the pomp of the
courts, the extravagance of the ministry and the expenses of the
Parliament of Great Britain should be borne by the yoemanry of America
who were eloigned from the protection and fraternal feeling of that
power, deprived of participating in legislation, subject to the caprice
of every new cabinet created by the King, dragged from their native
homes to be tried by a foreign jury, oppressed by the insolence of
hireling officers, driven from under the mantle of constitutional rights
and treated as mere vassals of the mother country.

In 1765 he was elected to the house of Burgesses to represent Loudoun
county where his estate was situated. He at once took a bold stand in
favor of rational Liberty. Blessed with a strong and investigating mind,
a deep and penetrating judgment, a clear and acute perception, a pure
and patriotic heart, a bold and fearless disposition–he became one of
the most efficient advisers in the legislative body. He continued to
represent Loudoun county until 1772 when he married the estimable
Rebecca–daughter of Col. Taylor of Richmond county where he located
permanently. The same year he was elected from his new district and
continued to do good service in the house of Burgesses until he repaired
to the Continental Congress. Amidst the gathering storm of the
Revolution and the trying scenes that accumulated thick and fast around
him–he stood unmoved and undismayed. He advocated every measure
calculated to promote the independence of his country and was prolific
in plans for the accomplishment of that much desired object. As a member
of committees he had no superior. He was familiar with every form of
government and understood well the rights conferred by Magna Charta and
the British constitution. He was prepared to act advisedly and was
resolved to resist unto blood the illegal advances of the designing and
avaricious ministry. He made no pretensions to oratory, seldom spoke in
public but when so highly excited as to rise he poured upon his
opponents a flood of keen and withering logic that often made them

On the 15th of August 1775 Mr. Lee was elected to the Continental
Congress. A more expansive field was then opened before him. To do or
die–to live in chains or peril everything for Liberty had become the
dilemma. Columbia’s soil had been saturated with the blood and serum of
Americans shed by the very men who had been cherished by their bounty
and fed by their labor. The dim flickerings of hope for redress and
conciliation were fast expiring in the socket of forbearance. The great
seal of the compact had been broken by the British ministry–the last
petitions, addresses and remonstrances were prepared–the final course
for the Colonies to pursue was soon to be determined. Inglorious peace
or honorable war were the two propositions. In favor of the last Mr. Lee
put forth the strong energies of his mind. Eternal separation from
England and Independence for America could only satisfy his views. Being
upon numerous committees his influence was strongly felt. Liberty had
become a _desideratum_ with him. When the proposition of final
separation from the mother country was submitted by his brother his soul
was raised to the zenith of patriotic feeling. When the Declaration of
Rights was adopted his mind was in an ecstacy of delight. His influence,
vote and signature told how pure and strong were his desires in its

He rendered essential aid in framing the Articles of Confederation that
governed Congress and the Colonies during the Revolution. This was a
subject of great delicacy and labor. Besides the work of the committee
it passed through thirty-nine discussions in the House. He contended
that the rights of contiguous fisheries and the free navigation of the
Mississippi river should be incorporated in the claims of the United
States in all propositions of peace. The wisdom and sagacity of his
position are now fully demonstrated. It was then opposed by some and not
duly appreciated but by few.

Mr. Lee was continued in Congress up to 1779 when he declined a
re-election and retired from the public arena to scenes more congenial
to him but less beneficial to the deliberations of the august body he
had long graced with his wisdom. His enjoyment of domestic life was
transient. Contrary to his wishes he was elected to the legislature of
his native state and repaired to the post of duty. After aiding in
removing the perplexing difficulties that embarrassed the government of
the Old Dominion he again retired to the peaceful retreat of private
life where he remained until April 1797 when he was summoned to appear
forthwith at the Bar of the God he loved and had honored through life.
Calm and resigned he bowed submissively to the messenger who bore the
mandate–bid his friends an affectionate farewell and took his departure
triumphing in faith with a full assurance of a joyful reception in a
brighter and better world. He died of pleurisy and was followed in a few
days by his wife. They had no children but their graves were moistened
by the tears of numerous relatives and friends.

In public life Mr. Lee was eminently useful–his private worth shone
with equal brilliancy. Always chaste, cheerful, amusing and
instructive–he delighted every circle in which he moved. Wealthy,
benevolent and liberal–he was the widow’s solace, the orphan’s father
and the poor man’s friend. Kind, affectionate and intelligent–he was a
good husband, a faithful companion and safe counsellor. Polished, urbane
and gentlemanly–his manners were calculated to refine all around him.
Moral, discreet and pious–his precepts had a salutary influence upon
the minds of all who heard them and were not callous to good advice. He
spurned the slanderer, kindly reproved the vicious and by counsel and
example disseminated the principles of morality and religion. He was a
bright model of human excellence.

It has been erroneously stated that he was unfriendly to Washington. The
mistake of the writer probably arose from incorrectly associating Gen.
Charles Lee, who came from Wales in 1773, with the Lees of Virginia and
who was suspended from his command one year for disobedience to orders
at the battle of Monmouth. He was a brave officer and only made a small
mistake which he deeply regretted. The approval of the sentence was
voted for in Congress by Francis. After the adoption of the Federal
Constitution he was asked his opinion upon it. His answer shows his
confidence in Washington. “I am old and do not pretend to judge these
things now but one thing satisfies me it is all right–General
Washington is in favor of it and John Warden is opposed to it.” Warden
was opposed to our Independence.

Let the shining examples of Mr. Lee be reflected forcibly on our minds
and lead us to do all the good in our power whilst we live and prepare
for a peaceful and happy exit from the abysm of time.

The American Revolution Intelligence and Counterintelligence

From 1774 to 1783, the British government and its upstart American colony became locked in an increasingly bitter struggle as the Americans moved from violent protest over British colonial policies to independence. As this scenario developed, intelligence and counterintelligence played important roles in America’s fight for freedom and British efforts to save its empire.
It is apparent that British General Thomas Gage, commander of the British forces in North America since 1763, had good intelligence on the growing rebel movement in the Massachusetts colony prior to the Battles of Lexington and Concord. His highest paid spy, Dr. Benjamin Church, sat in the inner circle of the small group of men plotting against the British. Gage failed miserably, however, in the covert action and counterintelligence fields. Gage’s successor, General Howe, shunned the use of intelligence assets, which impacted significantly on the British efforts. General Clinton, who replaced Howe, built an admirable espionage network but by then it was too late to prevent the American colonies from achieving their independence.
On the other hand, George Washington was a first class intelligence officer who placed great reliance on intelligence and kept a very personal hand on his intelligence operations. Washington also made excellent use of offensive counterintelligence operations but never created a unit or organization to conduct defensive counterintelligence or to coordinate its activity. This he left to his commanders and to committees established in the colonies.
When the Revolution was over and a new nation emerged, there continued to be ample opportunities to create a counterintelligence service. Spy scares, conspiracies and European meddling occurred repeatedly. But it isn’t until the Civil War period that an effort is made to create a federal agency to conduct counterintelligence.
This chapter provides the legacy for America’s use of counterintelligence in future years.

Probably the first patriot organization created for counterintelligence purposes was the Committee (later called a Commission) for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies. It was made up of a series of groups established in New York between June of 1776 and January of 1778 to collect intelligence, apprehend British spies and couriers, and examine suspected British sympathizers. In effect, there was created a “special service” for New York which had the power to arrest, to convict, to grant bail or parole, and to jail or to deport. A company of militia was placed under its command to implement its broader charter. John Jay has been called the first chief of American counterintelligence because of his role in directing this Committee’s work.
Nathaniel Sackett and Colonel William Duer were particularly successful in ferreting out British agents, but found their greatest success in the missions of one of the dozen or so agents of their own, Enoch Crosby. Crosby, a veteran of the Continental Army, had been mistaken by a Westchester County Tory as being someone who shared his views. He confided to Crosby that a secret Tory military company was being formed and introduced him to the group. Crosby reported the plot to the committee and was “captured” with the group. He managed to “escape” and, at Committee direction, infiltrated another secret Tory unit. This unit, including Crosby, was also taken and he “escaped” once more. He repeated the operation at least two more times before Tory suspicions made it necessary for him to retire from counterintelligence work.
Another successful American agent was Captain David Gray of Massachusetts. Posing as a deserter, Gray entered the service of Colonel Beverly Robinson, a Tory intelligence officer, and became Robinson’s courier. As a result, the contents of each of Robinson’s dispatches were read by the Americans before their delivery. Gray eventually became the courier for Major Oliver DeLancey, Jr., the head of the British secret service in New York. For two years, Gray, as DeLancey’s courier to Canada, successfully penetrated the principal communications link of the British secret service. Upon completing his assignment, Gray returned to the ranks of the Continental Army and his name was struck from the deserter list, where George Washington placed it at the beginning of the operation.
Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, a senior intelligence officer under Washington, is credited with the capture of Major John Andre, who preceded DeLancey as chief of the British secret service in New York. Although Tallmadge declined to discuss the episode in his memoirs, it is said that one of his agents had reported to him that Major Andre was in contact with a “John Anderson” who was expecting the surrender of a major patriot installation. Learning that a “John Anderson” had passed through the lines “en route to” General Benedict Arnold, the commander at West Point, Tallmadge had Anderson apprehended and returned for interrogation. “Anderson” admitted to his true identity—he was Major Andre—and was tried, convicted and executed as a spy. Arnold, learning that Andre had been taken and that his own traitorous role no doubt was exposed, fled West Point before he could be captured, and joined the British forces.
General Washington demanded effective counterintelligence work from his subordinates. On March 24, 1776, for example, he wrote: “There is one evil I dread, and that is, their spies. I could wish, therefore, the most attentive watch be kept … I wish a dozen or more of honest sensible and diligent men, were employed . . .in order to question, cross question etc., all such persons as are unknown, and cannot give an account of themselves in a straight and satisfactory manner … I think it is a matter of importance to prevent them obtaining intelligence of our situation.”
Paul Revere and the Mechanics:
The first patriot intelligence network on record was a secret group in Boston known as the “mechanics.” The group apparently grew out of the old “Sons of Liberty” organization that had successfully opposed the hated Stamp Act. The “mechanics” organized resistance to British authority and gathered intelligence. In the words of one of its members, Paul Revere, “In the Fall of 1774 and winter of 1775, I was one of the upwards of thirty, chiefly mechanics, who formed ourselves into a Committee for the purpose of watching British soldiers and gaining every intelligence on the movements of the Tories.” According to Revere, “We frequently took turns, two and two, to watch the (British) soldiers by patrolling the streets at night.”
Through a number of their intelligence sources, the “mechanics” were able to see through the cover story the British had devised to mask their march on Lexington and Concord. Dr. Joseph Warren, chairman of the Committee of Safety, charged Revere with the task of warning John Adams and John Hancock at Lexington that they were the probably targets of the enemy operation. Revere arranged for the warning lanterns to be placed in the Old North Church to alert patriot forces at Charleston, and then set off on his famous ride. He completed his primary mission of notifying Adams and Hancock. Then Revere, along with Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes, rode on to alert Concord, only to be apprehended by the British en route. Dawes got away, and Dr. Prescott managed to escape soon afterward and to alert the patriots at Concord. Revere was interrogated and subsequently released, after which he returned to Lexington to warn Hancock and Adams of the proximity of British forces. Revere then turned to still another mission, retrieving from the local tavern a trunk belonging to Hancock and filled with incriminating papers. With John Lowell, Revere went to the tavern and, as he put, during a “continual roar of Musquetry . . . we made off with the Trunk.”
Fortunately, when interrogated by the British, Revere did not have his travel orders from Dr. Warren; the authorization was not issued to him until two weeks later. And when Paul Revere filed a travel voucher for his famous ride, it was not until August, some four months later, that it was approved—and when it was approved, his per diem payment was reduced from five shillings a day to four.
Paul Revere had served as a courier prior to his famous “midnight ride,” and continued to do so during the early years of the war. One of his earlier missions was perhaps as important as the Lexington ride. In December of 1774, Revere rode to the Oyster River with the intelligence report that the British, under General Gage, intended to seize Fort William and Mary. Armed with this intelligence, Major John Sullivan of the colonial militia led a force of four hundred men—all in civilian clothing rather than militia uniform—in an attack on the fort. The one hundred barrels of gunpowder taken in the raid were ultimately used by the patriots to cover their retreat from Bunker Hill.
Benjamin Church: 1
In late 1768, British troops commanded by General Thomas Gage occupied Boston, Massachusetts to curb the widely separated incidents of mob disorder that troubled the city following the enactment of the Townsend Acts. The Acts, which levied custom duties on the import of glass, lead, paints, paper and tea, was the latest in a series of burdensome taxation measures the British Parliament tried to impose on the colonies. Skirmishes occurred between Gage’s troops and the civilian population in opposition to the tax. On 5 March, 1770, five men, “the first to defy and the first to die,” were felled by British gunfire in what is termed the “Boston Massacre.” From that moment, wrote Daniel Webster, “we date the serverence of the British empire.”

Paul Revere’s now famous engraving of the incident stirred emotion of protest in the hearts of the colonists, and Samuel Adams’ well-orchestrated propaganda effort made the men martyrs and a symbol of the patriot cause. In response to the growing anger, General Gage strengthened the Boston garrison. When 1775 began, Gage had almost forty-five hundred soldiers in the city. The patriots were not idle during this time frame. They raised and drilled additional militia units throughout Massachusetts and continued to gather arms, ammunition and other military supplies which they cached at secret storehouses in the countryside.
Gage was aware that continued flare-ups between the British and the colonists could ignite into a war and he wanted to avoid precipitating such action. He also knew that to avoid a fight he needed military intelligence on the militia units within Massachusetts. Gage, who also served as colonial governor of Massachusetts, established a network of spies among the patriots. These spies provided information, sometimes in great detail, on the military preparations of the patriots. For example, in March 1774, one of his secret agents reported the patriots had stockpiled weapons and ammunition at Cambridge. On 1 September that year, the British successfully raided the Cambridge warehouse. The patriots, knowing that they needed information to avoid losing their munitions, created a small surveillance committee within the Sons of Liberty in Boston. The Sons of Liberty were secret organizations within the colonies, started in 1765, to organize opposition to the Stamp Act.
During the winter of 1774-75, the 30 members of the surveillance committee met regularly at the Green Dragon Tavern on Union Street in Boston. Members of the group regularly patrolled Boston’s streets at night to detect British military preparations and other activity. They constituted an early warning system for the patriots by identifying possible British raids into the countryside which would allow their colleagues to move their military stores to new secret locations before British troops arrived. For example, in December 1774, the committee acquired intelligence that General Gage arranged to fortify a British arsenal at Portsmouth, New Hampshire with two regiments, intelligence that drove the Sons of Liberty to raid the installation before the British arrived and haul off about a hundred barrels of gunpowder and several cannons.
The leadership of the Mechanics, as the Green Dragon group is now sometimes called, consisted of Dr. Joseph Warren, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Dr. Benjamin Church, and one or two others. It is believed that Warren, a prominent Boston physician and later a major general who was killed at Bunker Hill, was leader of the group. Church, another physician and political leader, was also a member of the Boston Committee of Correspondence and Safety, the latter body responsible for control of the militia. A minor poet as well as a medical man, Church was a prolific author of Patriot propaganda and was famous for the oration he delivered in commemoration of the Boston Massacre on the third anniversary of that event.
Dr. Church was also one of General Gage’s informers, a British double agent and probably the most valuable spy the British had in America at the time. Church was a native of Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated from Harvard in 1754 and went to England to study medicine at the London Medical College. Possibly in 1768, he returned to America with an English wife and began practicing medicine in Raynham, Massachusetts. Still accustomed to living a life of indulgence, which he acquired in London, Church kept a mistress and built an elaborate summer home. His penchant for free spending did not match his income from his medical practice. To compensate and obtain additional money, Church added spying to his professional resume.
No one knows when Church began his double agent career. “Whether he was driven by his debt or by doubt that the patriots could win, Church had apparently begun spying in 1771, while Samuel Adams was struggling to keep the cause alive. The next year, Thomas Hutchinson (fn.2) had passed along gratifying news to Francis Bernard (fn.3) in London that the man (fn.4) who had written insultingly against Bernard had come over to the government’s side.”(fn.5) Another writer states “It is not possible to pinpoint the exact date that Church began his spying for Gage, but a reasonable guess is 1774. In that year, Paul Revere was aware that the activities of his secret group, of which Church was a part, were known to General Gage. According to Dr. Savage of Barnstable, Massachusetts, who was training with Church at the same time, the latter’s finances suddenly improved. Previously, Church had been financially pressed, built a mansion in Raynham which appeared beyond his means and acquired a mistress; classic indicators for counterintelligence.”(fn.6)
Paul Revere, who had his own spies within General Gage’s command, knew that the Mechanics had been penetrated. Revere received information in November 1774 from his source that the proceedings of at least one meeting at the Green Dragon were known to Gage within 24 hours after the meeting. The only problem was the source could not provide Revere with the identity of the traitor. “We did not then distrust Dr. Church,” he later remembered, “but supposed it must be some one among us.” The only security measure the Mechanics adopted was to have each member swear on a Bible at every meeting at the Green Dragon that he would not divulge the group’s secrets; an admirable procedure but hardly counterintelligence.
On April 14, 1775, Lord Dartmouth, British secretary for the colonies, sent secret instructions to Gage pressing him to take some forceful action against the patriots, such as arresting their leaders, before the situation in Massachusetts reached “A riper state of Rebellion.” Gage ignored Lord Dartmouth’s direction. Instead, Gage decided to capture the patriot military stockpile that Dr. Church and several other agents reported were located in Concord. In fact, the General’s intelligence was so comprehensive he knew the exact location of the military stockpile within the town. Gage issued secret orders to Lt. Col. Francis Smith to proceed with a 700-man force to destroy the patriot ammunition and supply stores.
The surveillance committee obtained information on the destiny of the troops and sent Paul Revere and William Dawes to alert the patriots. They were later joined by Dr. Samuel Prescott. On the way to Concord, they encountered a mounted British patrol. Dawes escaped but had to return to Boston, Revere was captured and taken to Lexington where he told the British everything and then was released. Prescott managed to evade the patrol and get the message to Concord.
When Col. Smith and his troops arrived at Concord, he found 70 Minute Men waiting for him on the Common. Ordered repeatedly to leave the Common area, the Minute Men began to leave but ignored a British order to leave their weapons behind. A shot was fire from within the British ranks, followed by a volley from the British platoons. The gunshots killed eight patriots and wounded 10 others. Only one British soldier was wounded in the return fire. Smith destroyed a few military supplies in Concord and then began his return to Boston.
On his way back, he encountered patriot militiamen who continually assaulted his troops. British reinforcements at Lexington saved Smith and his troops from a complete disaster but it wasn’t until all the British troops arrived in Charlestown, where British men-of-war were in the harbor, that Smith could feel comfortable. The British lost 73 killed, 174 wounded and 26 were missing while the American militia suffered 93 dead, wounded or missing. Following the battles of Lexington and Concord, the American militia men surrounded Boston and began a siege, which lasted until March 1776.
On April 21, 1775, after the patriots had driven the British troops back into Boston, Church crossed the patriot lines at Cambridge and entered the besieged city to meet with Gage. It is probable that Church ignored the security risks to his espionage role for Gage because he was more concerned about maintaining contact and getting paid. Paul Revere recalled 23 years after this happened that Church told the Committee of Safety that he was going into Boston. Dr. Warren, the president of the committee, told Church that the British would hang him if he was caught but Church was adamant about going. Warren then told Church that he needed to have a cover story for being in Boston and both men devised the story that Church was there to obtain needed medicines.
According to Revere, Church returned in a few days to Cambridge. He told the committee he had been arrested, taken before Gage, and then held for several days for interrogation but set free. Revere said that after Church’s arrest later by Washington, Revere met with Deacon Caleb Davis and the two of them began to discuss Church. Revere said that “He (Davis) received a Bilet for General Gage-(he then did not know that Church was in Town)-when he got to the General’s House, he was told the General could not be spoke with, that He was in private with a gentleman; that He waited near half an Hour, when General Gage & Dr. Church came out of a room, discoursing together, like persons who had been long acquainted.” Davis further added that Church “went where he pleased, while in Boston, only a Major Caine, one of Gage’s Aids, went with him.” Revere also said that he “was told by another person, whom I could depend upon, that he saw Church go into General Gage’s House, at the above time; that He gout out of the Chaise and went up the steps more like a man that was acquainted than a prisoner.” (fn.7)
On May 24, 1775, Dr. Church wrote to Gage advising him that the Massachusetts Provincial Congress was sending him to consult with the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. His mission was to appeal to the Congress to embody the various New England militias, currently laying siege to Boston, as its own army. Neither Gage nor Dr. Church saw the opportunities presented by having a British double agent handle such an important and sensitive assignment. Church was in a unique position to spread havoc within the patriot ranks by feeding false or misleading information to the Continental Congress and/or working to defeat the assignment. The only thing Church complained about to Gage was that he would be prevented from reporting to Gage for some time.
Church’s handling of the Provincial Congress was so successful that soon after his return to Cambridge, the Massachusetts militias laying siege to Boston were converted into the Continental army under the command of George Washington. So impressive was Church that the Continental Congress appointed him director general of the army’s hospital at Cambridge and chief physician of the Continental army at a salary of four dollars per day and granted him the authority to hire four surgeons and other medical staff.

In espionage and counterespionage, luck plays an important role. For Church his luck began to run out when he received a letter in cipher from his brother-in-law, John Fleming, a Boston printer and bookseller. In his letter, Fleming urged Church to repent his rebellion against the British government and return to Boston, where Fleming believed Church would be pardoned for his crime. Fleming told Church to reply no matter what his decision and to write his response in cipher, addressing the letter in care of Major Cane (one of General Gage’s aides) and send it via Captain Wallace (fn.8) of the H.M.S. Rose, a British warship then stationed near Newport, Rhode Island.
Church replied, but it is not clear whether he believed he was writing to his brother-in-law or to General Gage. Since all communications between Church and Gage ceased when Church departed for Philadelphia, it is possible Church saw Fleming’s method of communication as a secure means of resuming his profitable espionage role with the British commander-in chief. In his response to Fleming, Church provided some exaggerated information on American military strength and some inaccurate reports of military plans, all framed within an impassioned plea to the British to adopt a more reasonable colonial policy.
Unable to take the letter directly to Newport, Church asked his mistress to take it there. Church told her to deliver the letter to Captain Wallace of the H.M.S. Rose, or to the Royal Collector, Charles Dudley. If neither of these men were available, she was instructed to give it to George Rome, a known Tory and a rich merchant and ship owner. Not familiar with the Newport environs, the mistress went to Godfrey Wainwood, (fn.9) a local baker, whom she had known in Boston and believed to be a Tory.
She asked Wainwood to take her to any of the three individuals but he made an excuse not to do so. Exasperated, she then asked Wainwood to deliver the letter for her. Wainwood agreed but deposited the letter on a shelf and forgot about it until late September 1775, when he received a pressing inquiry from the woman expressing her concerned that “you never Sent wot yo promest to send.” Realizing that only the British could have known that the letter was not delivered, Wainwood became suspicious.
Some historians claimed that part of Wainwood’s suspicions is based on the fact that the letter was in cipher, but cipher was used by many people, including Thomas Jefferson for personal letters during the colonial days. What caused Wainwood’s suspicions is the British officer as the recipient of the letter. Instead of doing as the woman requested, Wainwood took the letter to Henry Ward, Secretary of the Colony, who wrote a letter of introduction and sent Wainwood with Church’s letter to General Nathaniel Green, commander of the Rhode Island contingent of the Continental army. Greene, accompanied by Wainwood, went to see General Washington.
When Washington examined the letter he saw that it was dated July 22, (1775) on the outside and when unfolded showed it addressed to Major Cane in Boston. The ciphered contents were unreadable. Wainwood explained that before the outbreak of hostilities between the British and the Americans, he had fraternized with the woman, who was of easy virtue. Upon Washington’s orders, the woman was seized and brought to Washington’s Headquarters.
“I immediately secured the Woman,” Washington reported in a letter to the president of the Continental Congress, “but for a long time she was proof against every threat and persuasion to discover the Author, however at length she was brought to a confession and named Dr. Church.” (fn.10) Washington told James Warren and Major Joseph Hawley the details of the woman’s story and ordered them to go to Cambridge to arrest Church and get his papers.
In a few hours, Church appeared under guard and submitted to questioning. According to Washington’s letter, he “readily acknowledged the Letter. Said it was designed for his Brother Fleming and when deciphered wou’d be found to contain nothing Criminal.” Church offered no justification why he tried to send the letter to Boston by way of a British warship off Rhode Island when he have easily sent it under a flag of truce into the city from Cambridge. He also could not explain why he wrote it in cipher and refused to provide the key to decipher the message.
Washington informed the Continental Congress that a search of Church’s papers failed to find the cipher key or any other incriminating evidence, but added that he was told that a confident of Church had been to Church’s home and probably removed all the incriminating items before Washington’s men arrived to conduct the search. Washington then turned his attention to finding the key to the cipher letter.
An amateur cryptanalyst stepped forward in the person of Reverend Samuel West, who happened to have been a Harvard classmate of Church. A second person, Elbridge Gerry, a member of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and the Committee of Safety, who would later be the fifth vice-president of the United States, teamed with Colonel Elisha Porter, a colonel in the Massachusetts militia, to conduct a separate cryptanalytic attack on the cipher.
Church had used a type of cipher known as a monoalphabetic substitution, one of the easiest ciphers to solve (Edgar Allen Poe explains the technique in his short story The Gold Bug). Both West and the Gerry-Porter team provided Washington with identical translations of the letter: (see West and Gerry-Porter Letter Translation).

West and Gerry-Porter Letter Translation:
To Major Crane in Boston, on his Magisty’s Service
I hope this will reach you; three attempts have I made without success. In effecting the last, the man was discovered in attempting his escape, but fortunately my letter was sewed in the waistband of his breeches. He was confined a few days during which time you may have guess my feelings. But a little art and a little cash settled the matter.
Tis a month since my return from Philadelphia. I went by the way of Providence to visit mother. The committee for Warlike Stores made me a formal tender of 12 pieces of cannon, 18 and 24 pounders, they having to a previous resolution to make the offer to General Ward. To make a merit of my services, I sent them down and when they received them they sent them to Stoughton to be out of danger, even tho’ they had formed the Resolution as I before hinted of fortifying Bunker’s Hill, which together with the cowardice of the clusmy Col Gerrish and Col Scammon, were the lucky occasion of their defeat. This affair happened before my return from Philadelphia. We lost 165 killed then and since dead of their wounds, 120 now lie wounded. The chief will recover,. They boast you have lost 1500, I suppose, with equal truth.
The people of Connecticut are raving in the cause of Liberty. A number from this colony, from the town of Stanford, robbed the King’s stores at New York with some small assistance the New Yorkers lent them. These were growing turbulent. I counted 280 pieces of Cannon from 24 to 3 pounders at King’s Bridge which the committee had secured for the use of the colonies. The Jersies are not a whit behind Connecticut in zeal. The Philadelphians exceed them both. I saw 2200 men in review there by General Lee, consisting of Quakers and other inhabitants in uniform, with 1000 riffle men and horse who together made a most warlike appearance. I mingled freely and frequently with the members of the Continental Congress. They were, united, determined in opposition, and appeared assured of success. Now to come home; the opposition is become formidable; 18 thousand men brave and determined with Washington and Lee at their head are no contemptible enemy. Adjutant General Gates in indefatigable in arranging the army. Provisions are very plenty. Cloaths (sic) are manufacturing in almost every town for the soldiers. Twenty tons of powder lately arrived at Philadelphia, Connecticut and Providence. Upwards of 20 tons are now in Camp. Salt Petre is made in every colony. Powder Mills are erected and constantly employed in Philadelphia and New York. Volunteers of the first fortunes are daily flocking to camp. One thousand riffle men in 2 or 3 days recruits are now levying to augment the army to 22 thousand men. Ten thousand militia are now appointed in this government to appear on the first summons.
The bills of all the colonies circulate freely and are readily exchanged for cash. Add to this that, unless some plan of accommodation takes place immediately, these harbours will swarm with privateers. An army will be raised in the middle Provinces to take possession of Canada. For the sake of the miserable convulsed empire, solicit peace, repeal the acts or Britain is undone. This advice is the result of warm affection to my king and to the realm. Remember, I never deceived you. Every article here sent you is sacredly true.
The papers will announce to you that I am again a member for Boston. You will there see our motley council. A general arrangement of offices will take place, except the chief which will be suspended buy for a little while to see what part Britain takes in consequence of the late continental petition. A view to independence grows more and more general. Should Britain declare war against the colonies, they are lost forever. Should Spain declare against England, the colonies will declare a neutrality which will doubtless produce an offensive and defensive league between them. For God’s sake prevent it by a speedy accommodation.
Writing this has employed a day. I have been to Salem to reconnoitre, but could not escape the geese of the Capital. Tomorrow, I set out for Newport on purpose to send you this. I write you fully, it being scarcely possible to escape discovery. I am out of place here by choice; and therefore, out of pay, and determined to be so unless something is offered my way. I wish you could contrive to write me largely in cipher, by the way of Newport, addressed to Thomas Richards, Merchant. Inclose it in a cover to me, intimating that I am a perfect stranger to you, but being recommended to you as a gentlemen of honour, you took the liberty to inclose that letter, intreating me to deliver it as directed, the person, as you are informed, being at Cambridge. Sign some fictional name. This you may send to some confidential friend in Newport, to be delivered to me at Watertown. Make use of every precaution or I perish.

Washington confronted Church with the deciphered text. In response, Church said he only sought to impress the British with the strength and determination of the Patriots and wanted to discourage General Gage from carrying on further military action. He asserted the letter was not an intelligence report. General Washington was not persuaded by his explanation, particularly since the last line read “Make use of every precaution, or I perish.”
Washington convened his officers to discuss what to do with Church. They all agreed that the issue should be presented to the Continental Congress. Washington noted in his letter that he wanted Congress to review the 28th article of war to determine if it applied to Church.” (fn.11) On orders of the Continental Congress, Church was confined at Norwich, Connecticut. (fn.12) Within a year or two-there is some confusion over the date in the record-he was released and permitted to depart on a schooner for the West Indies. Neither the ship nor the doctor was heard from again. Presumable both were lost at sea.
The full extent of Church’s espionage activities on behalf of the British remained a mystery to Washington and the other patriot leaders. The only evidence they had was the intercepted letter. From the letter they could surmise that Church had previously provided intelligence to Gage but they did not know how much or on what topics. It was only when historians found Church’s earlier reports among General Gage’s papers did Church’s double agent role become clear.
It appears Church may have been a volunteer walk-in or a defector-in-place, not a well-planned recruitment operation by Gage. Fortunately for the patriot’s cause, Gage was mainly interested in the military intelligence Church provided. Gage failed to see the political importance Church offered to the British. For in Church, Gage had a penetration of the Patriot’s inner circle in Massachusetts, a spy who sat at the secret meetings of the Committee of Correspondence and Safety, who was a trusted member of the Mechanics, and who even served briefly as liaison with the Continental Congress, but was never exploited for his political reporting or used to conduct political sabotage. It was a major shortsightedness of Gage. Church’s espionage did have one positive benefit for counterintelligence, it lead to the enactment of the first espionage law in the colonies.
Intercepting Communications
The Continental Congress regularly received quantities of intercepted British and Tory mail. On November 20, 1775, it received some intercepted letters from Cork, Ireland, and appointed a committee made up of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Johnson, Robert Livingston, Edward Rutledge, James Wilson and George Wythe “to select such parts of them as may be proper to publish.” The Congress later ordered a thousand copies of the portions selected by the Committee to be printed and distributed. A month later, when another batch of intercepted mail was received, a second committee was appointed to examine it. On the basis of its report, the Congress resolved that “the contents of the intercepted letters this day read, and the steps which Congress may taken in consequence of said intelligence thereby given, be kept secret until further orders…” By early 1776, abuses were noted in the practice, and Congress resolved that only the councils or committees of safety of each colony, and their designees, could henceforth open the mail or detain any letters from the post.
James Lovell is credited with breaking British ciphers, but perhaps the first to do so was the team of Elbridge Gerry, Elisha Porter and the Rev. Samuel West who successfully decoded the intercepted intelligence reports written to the British by Dr. Benjamin Church, the Director General of Hospitals for the Continental army.
When Moses Harris reported that the British had recruited him as a courier to carry messages for their Secret Service, General Washington proposed that General Schuyler “contrive a means of opening them without breaking the seals, take copies of the contents, and then let them go on. By these means we should become masters of the whole plot…” From that point on, Washington was privy to British intelligence pouches between New York and Canada.
Deception Operations:
To offset British superiority in firepower and troops, General Washington made frequent use of deception operations. He allowed fabricated documents to fall in the hands of enemy agents or to be discussed in their presence. He allowed his couriers—carrying bogus information-to be captured by the British, and inserted forged documents in intercepted British pouches that were then permitted to go on to their destination. Washington even had fake military facilities built. He managed to make the British believe that his three thousand man army was outside Philadelphia was 40,000 strong! With elaborate deception, Washington masked his movement toward Chesapeake Bay—and victory at Yorktown—by convincing the British that he was moving on New York.
At Yorktown , James Armistead, a slave who joined Lafayette’s service with his master’s permission, crossed into Cornwallis’ lines in the guise of an escaped slave, and was recruited by Cornwallis to return to American lines as a spy. Lafayette gave him a fabricated order that supposedly was destined for a large number of patriot replacements—a force that did not exist. Armistead delivered the bogus order in crumpled dirty condition to Cornwallis, claiming to have found it along the road during his spy mission. Cornwallis believed him and did not want to believe he had been tricked until after the battle of Yorktown. Armistead was granted his freedom by the Virginia legislature as a result of this and other intelligence services.
Another deception operation at Yorktown found Charles Morgan entering Cornwallis’ camp as a deserter. When debriefed by the British, he convinced them that Lafayette had sufficient boats to move his troops against the British in one landing operation. Cornwallis was duped by the operation and dug in rather than march out of Yorktown. Morgan in turn escaped in a British uniform and returned to American lines with five British deserters and a prisoner!

The Hickey Plot (fn.13)
On 21 June 1776, General George Washington authorized and requested the Committee to Detect Conspiracies to arrest David Matthews, the Tory mayor of New York City, and confiscate his papers. Matthews, accused of distributing money to enlist men and purchase arms for the British cause and corrupting American soldiers, was residing at Flatbush, on Long Island, near General Greene’s encampment. Washington transmitted the warrant drawn by the Committee to General Greene on the 21st with directions that it should be executed with precision exactly at one o’clock of the ensuing morning by a careful officer. Greene dispatched a detachment of men who took Matthews into custody but found no incriminating papers.
Matthews’ arrest was the result of hearings conducted from 19 to 21 June 1776 by the Committee to Detect Conspiracies under the able leadership of John Jay. Until Jay was appointed to head the Committee, it had put off real efforts to uncover any information concerning activities or persons still loyal to the king.
During the hearings, conducted at Scott’s Tavern on Wall Street, the Committee first heard testimony from Isaac Ketchum, a counterfeiter who had been arrested and was incarcerated in the City Hall jail. Ketchum wanted to work a deal with the Committee; in exchange for his information he wanted to be set free. The Committee agreed.
According to Ketchum, two prisoners by the name of Thomas Hickey and Michael Lynch, who were in jail on suspicion of counterfeiting, attempted to recruit him for the British. Hickey and Lynch both said they abandoned the American cause and secretly joined the British side. They indicated that others had also secretly agreed to serve the British. Ketchum further told the Committee that Hickey and Lynch were recruited to the British cause by an individual name “Horbush.” The Committee at first was unable to identify Horbush but soon realized that Ketchum probably meant “Forbush,” which is a variant of the name Forbes. The Committee then quickly identified Forbes as Gilbert Forbes, a well-known gunsmith who owned “The Sign of the Sportsman” shop on Broadway. The Committee also determined that Hickey was a sergeant in Washington’s personal guards.
Two days after Ketchum’s testimony, the Committee heard from William Leary, a prominent local businessman. Leary told the American authorities that he was in the city hunting for a runaway indentured worker of his who had disappeared. Leary successfully found the worker but later lost him. As he was walking around the city, he accidentally met another former employee James Mason. Mason, believing that Leary had left the company, asked Leary if he was in New York to join the other men. Leary, not knowing what Mason was discussing, feigned agreement. Mason, joined by several others, began to recruit Mason into a conspiracy but suddenly stopped when they became suspicious of him.
The Committee interviewed Mason who provided additional details about the Loyalist plot. He informed the Committee that men were being recruited to join a special Tory corps and had received pay from Governor Tryon. A Sergeant Graham, an old soldier, formerly of the royal artillery, had been recruited by Tryon to prowl around and survey the grounds and works about the city and Long Island. Based on his information, a plan of action was conceived. Upon arrival of the fleet, a man-of-war would cannonade the battery at Red Hook. While doing so, a detachment of the army would land below the cannonade and by a circuitous route surprise and storm the works on Long Island. The ships would then divide with some sailing up the Hudson River and the others up the East River. Troops were to land above New York, secure the pass at King’s Bridge and cut off all communications between the city and the country. Upon a signal, artillerymen who were conspirators were to turn their cannon on the American troops, the ammo stores were to be blown up and King’s Bridge was to be cut to prevent the Americans from escaping.
Under pressure of interrogation, Mason revealed the names of several of Washington’s guards: Hickey, William Green (drummer), James Johnson (fifer), and a soldier named Barnes. Gilbert Forbes was the paymaster, giving the men ten shillings a week. Mason also said New York mayor Matthews contributed 100 British pounds to the plot. Mason also identified three taverns as favorite hangouts of the conspirators; The Sign of the Highlander, Lowrie’s Tavern, and Corbie’s Tavern. Corbie’s Tavern, near Washington’s quarters, was a rendezvous site for the conspirators. Thomas Hickey was supposedly recruited here. Hickey recruited Green the drummer and Johnson the fifer. According to a conversation overheard at Corbie’s Tavern, Washington was to be assassinated when the British army landed, as part of a plan for a surprise attack on the core of the Continental Army.
The Committee halted further depositions and went to notify Washington. The information was sufficient for Washington to issue the warrant for Matthews’ arrest. Since Hickey and Lynch had already been returned to Washington’s Headquarters, they were arrested by Washington’s troops. A Court-martial was convened on 24 June 1776 and Hickey was charged with “exciting and joining in a mutiny and sedition, and of treacherously corresponding with, enlisting among, and receiving pay from the enemies of the United Colonies.” Hickey pleaded not guilty.
The army produced four witnesses to testify against Hickey. Greene confirmed that Hickey had accepted funds to enlist in the Loyalist plot. Gilbert Forbes also said that he gave Hickey money. Ketchum repeated the hearsay evidence he presented to the Committee and a fourth person, William Welch said that Hickey had tried to recruit him. The only defense Hickey offered was that he was trying to cheat the Tories out of their money. As to having his name placed on board the British warship, he said he agreed to it as a precaution should the British defeat the Americans and he was taken prisoner, then he would be safe.
After a short deliberation, the officers found Hickey guilty as charged and sentenced him to death. On 27 June, Washington and his Council of Officers met. They reviewed the transcript of the trial and agreed with the sentence. On 28 June 1776 Hickey was hanged. He was the only conspirator to be executed; 13 others were imprisoned. Matthews was held as a prisoner but escaped to London. After the war he testified he had formed a plan for taking Washington and his guard but it was never realized.
Minutes Of The Committee For Detecting Conspiracies:
(Fishkill), December 23rd, 1776
Present: Leonard Gansevoort Esqr. Chairman; John Jay, Zephaniah Platt, Nathaniel Sacket, Esqrs.
Resolved that Enoch Crosby assuming the name of do forthwith repair to Mount Ephraim and use his utmost art to discover the designs, places of resort, and route, of certain disaffected persons of that quarter, who have formed a design of joining the enemy, and that for that purpose the said Enoch be made acquainted with all the Information received by this Committee concerning this plan, and that he be furnished with such passes as will enable him to pass there without interruption, and with such others as will enable him to pass as an emissary of the enemy amongst persons disaffected to the American Cause.
Resolved that Enoch Crosby be furnished with a horse and the sum of 30 dollars in order to enable him to execute the above resolution.

Resolved that Mr. Nathaniel Sackett be requested to give such instructions to Enoch Crosby as he shall think best calculated to defeat the designs of the persons above mentioned.
Ordered that the Treasurer pay Enoch Crosby 30 dollars for secret services. . .
Resolved that Nathaniel Sacket Esqr. be requested to furnish Mr. Enoch Crosby with such clothing as he may stand in need of.
1. This article was written by Frank J. Rafalko, Chief Community Training Branch, National Counterintelligence Center.
2. Thomas Hutchinson came from a prominent New England family. In 1737, despite his family’s admonishment to him about going into politics, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He later served as Chief Justice of the colony and then royal governor.
3. Francis Bernard was the nephew of Lord Barrington, the secretary of state for war in London. Barrington arranged for Bernard to be appointed as royal governor of New Jersey, but after two years Bernard moved to Massachusetts to become royal governor there. He was recalled to London in 1769.
4. Dr. Benjamin Church.
5. A.J. Langguth, Patriots The Men Who Started the American Revolution, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988, p. 311.
6. Edmund R. Thompson, ed., Secret New England Spies of the American Revolution, The David Atlee Phillips New England Chapter, Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Kennebunk, Maine, 1991, p. 17.
7. Allen French, General Gage’s Informers, Greenwood Press, New York, 1968, p. 166-167.
8. Capt. James Wallace.
9. Godfrey Wainwood or Wenwood, Letter from Washington to the President of Congress, October 5, 1775.
10. Letter from George Washington to the President of Congress, October 5, 1775.
11. The 28th article of war provided that anyone caught communicating with the enemy should suffer such punishment as a court martial might direct. Unfortunately for those who favored hanging Dr. Church, article 51 stated that such punishment was limited to thirty-nine lashes, or a fine of two months pay, and/or cashiering from the service.
12. Letter from George Washington to Governor Jonathan Trumball, November 15, 1775 in which Washington inserted the resolve of Congress he received from John Hancock regarding Church.
13. This article was written by Frank J. Rafalko, Chief Community Training Branch,

National Counterintelligence Center.
Enoch Crosby Describes His Career As A Spy
Southeast, Putnam County,
15 October 1832
In the latter part of the month of August in the year 1776, he enlisted into the regiment commanded by Col. Swortwaut14 in Fredericksburgh now Carmel in the County of Putnam and started to join in the army at KingsBridge. The company had left Fredericksburgh before the declarent started, and he started along after his said enlistment and on his way at a place in Westchester County about two miles from Pines bridge he fell in company with a stranger, who accosted the deponent and asked him if he was going down.
The stranger then asked if declarent was not afraid to venture alone, and said there were many rebels below and he would meet with difficulty in getting down.
The declarent perceived from the observations of the stranger that he supposed the declarent intended to go to the British, and, willing to encourage that misapprehension and turn it to the best advantage, he asked if there was any mode which he the stranger could point out by which the declarent could get through safely. The stranger after being satisfied that declarent was wishing to join the British army, told him that there was a company raising in that vicinity to join the British army, and that it was nearly complete and in a few days would be ready to go down and that declarent had better join that company and go down with them.
The stranger finally gave to the declarent his name, it was Bunker, and told the declarent where and showed the house in which he lived and told him that Fowler15 was to be the captain of the company then raising and Kipp16 Lieutenant. After having learned this much from Bunker, the declarent told him that he was unwilling to wait until the company could be ready to march and would try to get through alone and parted from him on his way down and continued until night when he stopped at the house of a man who was called Esquire Young, and put up there for the night.
In the course of conversation with Esquire Young in the evening, the declarent learned that he was a member of the committee for safety for the county of Westchester and then communicated to him the information he had obtained from Mr. Bunker, Esqr. Young requested the declarent to accompany him the next morning to the White plains in Westchester County as the committee of safety for the County were on that day to meet at the Court house in that place.
The next morning the declarent in company with Esqr. Young went to the White plains and found the Committee there sitting. After Esqr. Young had an interview with the committee, the declarent was sent for, and went before the committee, then sitting in the Court room, and there communicated the information he had obtained from Bunker.
The Committee after learning the situation of declarent, that he was a soldier enlisted in Col. Swrotwaut’s regiment and on his way to join it if he would consent to aid in the apprehension of the company then raising. It was by all thought best, that he should not join the regiment, but should act in a different character as he could thus be more useful to his country.
He was accordingly announced to Capt. Townsend who then was at the White plains commanding a company of rangers as a prisoner, and the Captain was directed to keep him until further orders. In the evening after was placed as a prisoner under Capt. Townsend, he made an excuse to go out and was accompanied by a soldier. His excuse led him over a fence into a field of corn then nearly or quite full grown. As soon as he was out of sight of the soldier he made the best of his way from the soldier and when the soldier hailed him to return he was almost beyond hearing. An alarm gun was fired but declarent was far from danger.
In the course of the night the declarent reached the house of said Bunker, who got up and let him in. The declarent then related to Bunker the circumstances of his having been taken prisoner, and his going before the Committee at the Court house, of being put under the charge of Capt. Townsend and of his escape, that he had concluded to avail himself of the protection of the company raising in his neighborhood to get down. The next morning Bunker went with declarent and introduced him as a good loyalist to several of the company. The declarent remained some days with different individuals of the company and until it was about to do down, when declarent went one night to the house of Esqr. Young to give information of the state and progress of the company. The distance was four or five miles from Bunkers.
At the house of Esqr. Young, the declarent found Capt. Townsend with a great part of his company and after giving the information he returned to the neighborhood of the Bunkers. That night the declarent and a great part of the company which was preparing to go down were made prisoners. The next day all of them, about 30, were marched to the White plains, and remained there several days, a part of the time locked up in jail with other prisoners, the residue of the time he was with the Committee. The prisoners were finally ordered to Fishkill in the County of Dutchess where the State Convention was then sitting. The declarent went as a prisoner to Fishkill. Capt. Townsend with his company of rangers took charge of the company.
At Fishkill a Committee for Detecting Conspiracies was sitting composed of John Jay, afterwards Governor of N York, Zerpeniah Platt afterwards first judge of Dutchess County, Colonel Duer of the County of Albany, & a Mr. Sackett. The declarent was called before that committee, who understood the character of declarent and the nature of his services, this the committee must have learned either from Capt. Townsend or from the Committee at White plains. The declarent was examined under oath and his examination reduced to writing. The prisoners with the declarent were kept whilst declarent remained at Fishkill in a building which had been occupied as a Hatters shop and they were guarded by a company of rangers commanded by Capt. Clark. The declarent remained about a week at Fishkill when he was bailed out by Jonathan Hopkins. This was done to cover the character in which declarent acted.
Before the declarent was bailed, the Fishkill Committee had requested him to continue in this service, and on declarent mentioning the fact of his having enlisted in Col. Swortwaut’s company and the necessity there was of his joining it, he was informed that he should be indemnified from that enlistment, that they would write to the Colonel and inform him that declarent was in their service. The Committee then wished declarent to undertake a secret service over the river. He was furnished with a secret pass, which was a writing signed by the Committee which is now lost and directed to go to the house of Nicholas Brawer near the mouth of the Wappingers creek who would take him across the river, and then to proceed to the house of John Russell about 10 miles from the river, and make such inquiries & discoveries as he could.
He proceeded according to the directions to said Brawers, and then to John Russells, and there hired himself to said Russell to work for him but for no definite time. There was a neighborhood of Loyalists and it was expected that a company was there raising for the British army. The declarent remained about 10 days in Russells employment and during that time ascertained that a company was then raising but was not completed. Before the declarent left Fishkill on this service, a time was fixed for him to recross the river and given information to some one of the committee who was to meet him.
This time having arrived and the company not being completed, the declarent recrossed the river and met Zepeniah Platt, one of the Committee, and gave him all the information he had then obtained. The declarent was directed to recross the river to the neighborhood of Russells and on a time then fixed, again to meet the Committee on the east side of the river.
The declarent returned to Russells neighborhood, soon became intimate with the Loyalists, and was introduced to Capt. Robinson, said to be an English officer and who was to command the company then raising. Capt. Robinson occupied a cave in the mountains, and deponents—having agreed to go with the company—were invited and accepted of the invitation to lodge with Robinson in the cave. They slept together nearly a week in the cave and the time for the company to start having been fixed and the rout designated to pass Severns, to Bush Carricks where they were to stop the first night.
The time for starting having arrived before the appointed time to meet the Committee on the east side of the river, the declarent—in order to get an opportunity to convey information to Fishkill—recommended that each man should the night before they started sleep where he chose and that each should be by himself for if they should be discovered that night together all would be taken which would avoided if they were separated.
This proposition was acceded to, and when they separated declarent not having time to go to Fishkill, and as the only and as it appeared to him the best means of giving the information, as to go to a Mr. Purdy who was a stranger to declarent and all he knew of him was that the Tories called him a wicked rebel and said that he ought to die, declarent went and found Purdy, informed him of the situation of affairs, of the time the company was to start and the place at which they were to stop the first night, and requested him to go to Fishkill and give the information to the Committee. Purdy assured the declarent that the information should be given. Declarent returned to Russells and lodged in his house.
The following evening the company assembled consisting of about thirty men and started from Russell’s house which was in the Town of Marlborough and County of Ulster for New York and in the course of the night arrived at Bush Carricks and went into the barn to lodge after taking refreshments.
Before morning the barn was surrounded by American troops and the whole company including Capt. Robinson were made prisoners. The troops who took the company prisoners were commanded by Capt. Melancton Smith, who commanded a company of rangers at Fishkill. His company crossed the river to perform this service.
Col. Duer was with Capt. Smith’s Company on this expedition. The prisoners including the declarent were marched to Fishkill and confined in the stone church in which there was near two hundred prisoners, after remaining one night in the church the Committee sent for declarent and told him that it was unsafe for him to remain with the prisoners, as the least suspicion of the course he had pursued would prove fatal to him, and advised him to leave the village of Fishkill but to remain where they could call upon him if his services should be wanted.
Declarent went to the house of a Dutchman a farmer whose name is forgotten about five miles from the Village of Fishkill and there went to work at making shoes. After declarent had made arrangements for working at shoes he informed Mr. Sacket one of the Committee where he could be found if he should be wanted.
In about a week declarent received a letter form the Committee requesting him to meet some one of the Committee at the house of Doct. Osborn about one mile from Fishkill. Declarent according to the request went to the house of Doct. Osborn and soon after John Jay came there, inquired for the Doctor—who was absent, inquired for medicine but found none that he wanted, he came out of the house and went to his horse near which declarent stood and as he passed he said in a low voice it won’t do, there are too many around, return to your work. Declarent went back and went to work at shoes but within a day or two was again notified and a horse sent to him, requiring him to go to Bennington in Vermont and from thence westerly to a place called Maloonscack, and there call on one Hazard Wilcox, a Tory of much notoriety and ascertain if anything was going on there injurious to the American cause.
Declarent followed this instructions, found Wilcox but could not learn that any secret measure was then projected against the interest of the county at the place, but learned from Wilcox a list of persons friendly to the British cause who could be safely trusted, from that place quite down to the south part of Dutchess County, declarent followed the directions of said Wilcox and called on the different individuals by him mentioned but could discover nothing of importance until he reached the town of Pawling in Duchess County where he called upon a Doctor, whose name he thinks was Prosser, and informed him that he wished to go below, but was fearful of some trouble.
The Doctor informed him that there was a company raising in that vicinity to go to New York to join the British Army, that the Captains name was Shelden that he had been down and got a commission, that the Prosser was doctoring the Lieutenant, whose name was Chase, that if declarent would wait a few days he could safely go down with that company, that he could stay about the neighborhood, and should be informed when the company was ready. That declarent remained in that vicinity, became acquainted with several of the persons who were going with that company, was acquainted with the Lieutenant Chase, but never saw the Captain to form any acquaintance with him.
The season had got so far advanced that the company were about to start to join the enemy to be ready for an early commencement of the campaign in 1777. It was about the last of February of that year, when a place was fixed and also a time for meeting. It was at a house situated half a mile from the road and about three miles from a house then occupied by Col. Morehause a militia Colonel. After the time was fixed for the marching of Capt. Sheldens company the deponent went in the night to Col. Morehause and informed him of the situation of the company of the time appointed for meeting of the place and Morehause informed declarent that they should be attended to.
The declarent remained about one month in the neighborhood, and once in the time met Mr. Sackett one of the Committee at Col. Ludingtons, and apprised him of what was then going on, and was to have given the Committee intelligence when the company was to march but the shortness of the time between the final arrangement and the time of starting was that declarent was obliged to give the information to Col. Morehause.
The company consisting of about thirty met at the time and place appointed and after they had been there an hour or two; two young men of the company came in and said there was a gathering under arms at old Morehauses, the inquiry became general, what could it mean, was there any traitors in the company. The captain soon called one or two of the company out the door for the purpose of private conversation about the situation, and very soon declarent heard the cry of stand, stand.
Those out the door ran but were soon met by a company coming from a different direction, they were taken in the house surrounded and the company all made prisoners. The Col. then ordered them to be tied together, two and two, they came to declarent and he begged to be excused from going as he was lame and could not travel, the Col. replied, you shall go dead or alive and if in no other way you shall be carried on the horse with me, the rest were marched off and declarent put onto the horse with Col. Morehause, all went to the house of Col. Morehause and when the prisoners were marched into the house declarent with the permission of Morehause left them and made the best of his way to Col. Ludingtons and there informed him of the operations of the night, he reached Col. Ludingtons about day light in the morning, from thence he went to Fishkill to the house of Doct. Van Wyck where John Jay boarded and there informed him of all the occurrences on that northern expedition.
Said Jay requested the declarent to come before the Committee the next night when they would be ready to receive him he accordingly went before the Committee where he declared under his oath all that had occurred since he had seen them. The Committee then directed him to go to the house of Col. Van Ness in Albany County and there take directions from him. He went to Van Ness house and was directed by him to go to the north but declarent cannot tell the place the duty was performed, but nothing material discovered, further that the confiscation of the personal property of the Tories and leasing of their lands had a great tendency to discourage them from joining the British Army, declarent then returned to Pokeepsie, where Egbert Benson and Melancton Smith acted in the room of the Fishkill Committee.
There was no more business at that time in which they wished to employ declarent, and he being somewhat apprehensive that a longer continuance in that employment would be dangerous, and the time for which he enlisted in Col. Swortwauts regiment having expired he came home with the approbation of the Committee. This was about the last of May 1777, and in the course of the fall after, the declarent saw Col. Swortwaut at his house in Fishkill and there talked over the subject of the employment of the declarent by the Committee and the Col. told declarent that he had drawn his pay the same as if he had been with the regiment, that the Paymaster of the Regiment lived in the town of Hurley in Ulster County. Declarent went to the paymaster and received his pay for nine months service or for the term for which the regiment was raised. The declarent was employed in the secret service for a period of full nine months.
This declarent further says that in the year 1779 in the month of May he enlisted into a company commanded by Capt. Johah Hallett for six months declarent enlisted as a sergint in said Hallets company. The term of enlistment was performed on the lines in the County of Westchester, moving from place to place to guard the country and detect Tories, that the company continued in this service until after Stony Point was taken by Gen. Wayne and abandoned and also reoccupied and abandoned by the English troops.
When this company was ordered over the river and joined the regiment at Stony Point and continued there in making preparations for building a block house until the time of the expiration of the service when the company was ordered to march to Pokeepsie to be discharged by the Governor. When they arrived, the Governor was absent the company was billetted out and the declarent was billetted upon the family of Doct. Tappen.
After remaining a day or two and the Governor not arriving, they were discharged. During this service in Westchester County the following occurrence took place a British vessel of war lay at anchor near Tellers Point and a party of sailors or marines cam eon shore and wandered a short distance from the water when a party of our men got between them and the river and made them prisoners. They were marched to the place when the company then lay, a little east of Tellers point, the number of prisoners declarent thinks was twelve and the captors six. The prisoners were afterwards sent to Pokeepsie.
This declarent further says that in the month of May in the year 1780 he again enlisted for six months in a company commanded by Capt. Livingston in Col. Benschautens Regiment. He enlisted as a sergent in the Town of Fredericksburgh now the town of Kent in Putnam County. The Regiment assembled at Fishkill and marched to Westpoint and remained there a few days some ten or fifteen, a call was made for troops to fill up the Brigade or Brigades under the command of Gen. De La Fayettes, and they were to be raised by drafts or volunteers, a call first was made for volunteers and the declarent with others volunteered and made a company which was put under the care and charge of Capt. Daniel Delavan.
The declarent continued to be a sergent in Delavans company. Col. Phillip Van Cortland commanded the regiment to which Captain Delavans company was attached, soon after the company was formed they crossed the river from West Point and marched to Peekskill where they remained one night. The next day marched to Verplanks point and crossed over to Stony Point and from thence made the best of their way to New Jersey where they remained until late in the fall when the time of enlistment having expired they were discharged, after having fully and faithfully performed the service of six months for which he enlisted.
During this campaign in New Jersey. Major Andre was arrested, condemned and executed several of the soldiers of Capt. Delavan’s company went to see him executed. This declarent was sergent of the guard that day and could not go to see the execution.
The declarent further says that he has no documentary evidence of his service, and that he knows of no person who can testify to his services other than those whose depositions are hereto annexed.

Enoch Crosby
The declarent hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll agency of any state.
The declarent has a record of his age.
The declarent was living in the town of Danbury in the state of Connecticut when he enlisted into the service, that since the revolutionary war the declarent has resided in the State of New York, in what is now the County of Putnam formerly the County of Duchess, and now lives in the same county and on the same farm where he has lived for the last fifty years. The declarent always volunteered in every enlistment and to perform all the services which he performed as detailed in this declaration.
That the declarent was acquainted with the following officers who were with the troops where he served. General Schuyler, Gen. Montgomery, General Wooster, Col. Waterbury, Col. Holmes, Gen. DeLa Fayette, Gen. Poor, Col Van Coretlandt, Col. Benschauten, Col. Ludington.
The declarent never received any written discharge, and if he ever received a sergents warrant it is through time and accident lost or destroyed.
This declarent is known to Samuel Washburn a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Putman, Benaiah Y. Morse a clergyman in his neighborhood and who he believes can testify to his character for veracity and good behaviour and thus belief of his services as a soldier of the revolution.
/S/ Enoch Crosby

October 14th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Born October 14 1644 William Penn, English Quaker leader and founder of Pennsylvania.

October 14, 1656
Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Quakers believed that you could receive personal revelations from the Lord thru the Holy Spirit, the Puritans in Mass. believed them to be heretics. The Quakers emphasized the direct revelation of Christ to the individual’s soul and minimized an ordained ministry and the traditional forms of worship in the church. Many Puritans objected to the Quakers’ belief in an inner revelation separate from the Word of God. We recognize this today as a personal relationship with Jesus, which in my opinion we all need to have. Quakers were frequently asked to leave Massachusetts. The group had been founded in the 1640s by the Englishman George Fox. After finding no peace for his soul in the churches of his day, Fox had begun to give up all hope when he had the experience of a voice speaking to him. He believed that this inner voice was the voice of God,

Because of the arrival of more and more Quakers The Federal Commissioners who were in session at Boston, Massachusetts under the presidency of Endicott. Their last proceeding before they parted was to pass the following vote: “Whereas there is an accursed and pernicious sect of heretics lately risen up in the world who are commonly called Quakers, who take upon them to be immediately sent of God and infallibly assisted; who do speak and write blasphemous things, despising government and the order of God in church and commonwealth, speaking evil of dignities, reproaching and reviling magistrates and the ministers of the Gospel, seeking to turn the people from the faith, and to gain proselytes to their pernicious ways; — and whereas the several jurisdictions have made divers laws to prohibit and restrain the aforesaid cursed heretics from coming amongst them, yet notwithstanding they are not deterred thereby, but arrogantly and presumptuously do press into several of the jurisdictions, and there vent their pernicious and devilish opinions, which being permitted tends manifestly to the disturbance of our peace, the withdrawing of the hearts of the people from their subjection to government, and so in issue to cause division and ruin, if not timely prevented; — it is therefore propounded and seriously commended to the several General Courts, upon the considerations aforesaid, to make a law that all such Quakers formerly convicted and punished as such, shall (if they return again) be imprisoned, and forthwith banished or expelled out of the said jurisdiction, under pain of death; and if afterwards they presume to come again into that jurisdiction, then to be put to death as presumptuously incorrigible, unless they shall plainly and publicly renounce their cursed opinions; and for such Quakers as shall come into any jurisdiction from any foreign parts, or such as shall arise within the same, after due conviction that either he or she is of that cursed sect of heretics, they be banished under pain of severe corporal punishment; and if they return again, then to be punished accordingly, and banished under pain of death; and if afterwards they shall yet presume to come again, then to be put to death as aforesaid, except they do then and there plainly and publicly renounce their said cursed opinions and devilish tenets.”

Massachusetts, alone of the four Colonies, carried this advice into full effect. The General Court of that Colony, which met three weeks after the adjournment of the Commissioners, received a memorial from twenty-five leading citizens of Boston, urging the necessity of more efficient measures of protection against the Quakers. “Their incorrigibleness,” say the petitioners, “after so much means used both for their conviction and preserving this place from contagion, is such as, by reason of their malignant obdurities, daily increaseth rather than abateth our fear of the spirit of Muncer or of John of Leyden renewed, and consequently of some destructive evil impending.” And they formally present the question, whether “it be not necessary, after the example of other Christian commonwealths infested with pests not more perilous than these are, and the common and universally approved argument of se defendendo, upon the sad experience that the remedy hitherto applied is not only not effectual, but contemned and abused with the highest hand, if, after the sentence of banishment added thereunto, they shall still presumptuously obtrude themselves upon this jurisdiction, whether we say, it be not necessary to punish so high incorrigibleness in such and so many capital evils with death.” The provision which threatened with death persons returning after being banished, was no novelty in Massachusetts legislation. It had been resorted to over and over again, through a course of years, and had never once failed of its intended effect in inducing the banished persons to stay away, and to confine themselves, at least, to such annoyance as they could inflict from a distance.

In July, 1656, the ship Swallow anchored in Boston harbor with two Quaker women from Barbados on board. The two women, Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, had come to Boston to share their Quaker faith. When they landed, however, they were kept on board the ship while their belongings were searched and over 100 books were confiscated. They were then hurried off to jail where they were stripped of their clothing and inspected for signs of witchcraft. Five weeks later, the captain of the Swallow was placed under £100 bond to take the women back to Barbados. But two days later, another ship with eight more Quakers came to dock! These Quakers were imprisoned for eleven weeks before they were shipped back to England. They were able to convert one man to their Quaker faith, Nicholas Upsall, but he fled to Rhode Island to avoid punishment. Notwithstanding these laws, the Quakers continued to come, and at last the situation improved, although it was not until 1724 that their appeals to the Royal Privy Council in England were sustained. A few years later laws were enacted in their favor. The Quakers also came against slavery protesting against the “traffic in the bodies of men,” and considered the question of the “lawfulness and unlawfulness of buying and keeping negroes.” The question continued to be agitated, and in 1758 the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting directed a “visitation” of all who held slaves, and decided that all who should ” be concerned in importing, selling, or purchasing slaves” should be forbidden to sit in meetings held for deciding matters of discipline. In 1776 slaveholders were to be “disowned” if they refused to manumit their slaves, and by 1787 personal ownership of slaves by acknowledged members of the society had ceased.

October 14, 1773
Just before the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, several of the British East India Company’s tea ships are set ablaze at the old seaport of Annapolis, Maryland to protest the tax rebate the British East India Company received when delivering tea. The tax exemption gave the company a strong competitive edge over its American colonial competitor companies. The protest was a precursor to the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.

October 14, 1774
Declaration and Resolves on Colonial rights of the First Continental Congress.

Following the Boston Tea Party and the adoption of the Intolerable Acts, the first Continental Congress (fn.1) met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, from September 5, to October 26, 1774. Carpenter’s Hall was also the seat of the Pennsylvania Congress. All of the colonies except Georgia sent delegates. These were elected by the people, by the colonial legislatures, or by the committees of correspondence of the respective colonies. The colonies presented there were united in a determination to show a combined authority to Great Britain, but their aims were not uniform at all. Pennsylvania and New York sent delegates with firm instructions to seek a resolution with England. The other colonies voices were defensive of colonial rights, but pretty evenly divided between those who sought legislative parity, and the more radical members who were prepared for separation. Virginia’s delegation was made up of a most even mix of these and not incidentally, presented the most eminent group of men in America. Colo. George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, Edmund Pendleton, Colo. Benjamin Harrison, Richard Bland, and at the head of them Peyton Randolph — who would immediately be elected president of the convention.

The objectives of the body were not entirely clear but, with such leadership as was found there, a core set of tasks was carried out. It was agreeable to all that the King and Parliament must be made to understand the grievances of the colonies and that the body must do everything possible to communicate the same to the population of America, and to the rest of the world.

The first few weeks were consumed in discussion and debate. The colonies had always, up to this time, acted as independent entities. There was much distrust to overcome. The first matter to be considered by all was A Plan of Union of Great Britain and the Colonies, offered by Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania. The plan was considered very attractive to most of the members, as it proposed a popularly elected Grand Council which would represent the interests of the colonies as a whole, and would be a continental equivalent to the English Parliament. Poised against this would be a President General, appointed by the crown, to represent the authority of the king in America. Conflict in Boston overcame the effort at conciliation. The arrival of the Suffolk County (Boston) resolves just prior to the vote on the Plan of Union, caused it to be discarded by a narrow margin.

On October 14, the Declaration and Resolves established the course of the congress, as a statement of principles common to all of the colonies. Congress voted to meet again the following year if these grievances were not attended to by England.

Several days later, on the 20th, came The Association, which was patterned after the Virginia Association and others that followed. This was a pact for nonimportation of English goods, to establish mechanisms throughout the colonies to enforce and regulate the resistance to Great Britain, and to keep the channels of communication open. It was to become effective on December 1, 1774 unless parliament should rescind the Intolerable Acts, by the end of 1774

Joseph Galloway (173l -1803), a Philadelphia merchant and lawyer, led a Loyalist attempt to unite the colonies within the Empire. He had served as speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly from 1776 to 1774. In the war Galloway supported the British cause and after 1778 became spokesman for the Loyalists in England. In the First Continental Congress the Patriot delegates thrust aside Galloway’s proposal and on October 14 adopted instead, by unanimous action, the Declaration of Colonial Rights reproduced here. The first draft of these resolutions was written by Major John Sullivan (1740-95 ), delegate from New Hampshire, lawyer, major of the New Hampshire militia, major general in the Continental Army, judge, and eventually governor of his state.

Before they dissolved, on October 26, the members voted to meet again in the same city on May 10, 1775, “unless the redress of grievances … be obtained before that time”

Sullivan’s draft:

Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British Parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America, by statute in all cases whatsoever, hath in some acts expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various pretenses, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county.

And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent upon the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace:

And it has lately been resolved in Parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons, and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies; and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned.

And whereas, in the last session of Parliament, three statutes were made; one, entitled “An act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading, or shipping of goods, wares and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbor of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America”; another, entitled “An act for the better regulating the government of the province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England”; and another, entitled “An act for the impartial administration of justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England.” And another statute was then made, “for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec, etc.” All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights.

And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for redress have been repeatedly treated with contempt by His Majesty’s ministers of state:

The good people of the several colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Newcastle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of Parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet and sit in General Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties may not be subverted:

Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, declare,

That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following rights:

[Note: N.C.D means nemine contradicente, meaning without a dissenting vote or unanimously Commenting on these proceedings before a committee of the British House of Commons, in June, 1779, Galloway stated that, although the resolutions were recorded as having been passed unanimously, this meant not that they were approved by every member present but by a majority of each delegation (The Examination of Joseph Galloway … before the House of Commons … , 2d ed.; London, 1780, p. 61)]

Resolved, N.C.D. 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.

Resolved, N.C.D. 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were, at the time of their emigration from the mother-country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of England.

Resolved, N.C.D. 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and en joyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.

Resolved, 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British Parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed. But, from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British Parliament, as are bona fide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother-country, and the commercial benefits of its respective members; excluding every idea of taxation, internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects in America, without their consent.

Resolved, N.C.D. 5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law.

Resolved, 6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed at the time of their colonization; and which they have, by experience, respectively found to be applicable to their several local and other circumstances.

Resolved, N.C.D. 7. That these His Majesty’s colonies, are likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes of provincial laws.

Resolved, N.C.D. 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same are illegal.

Resolved, N.C.D. 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.

Resolved, N.C.D. 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of the legislative power in several colonies, by a council appointed, during pleasure, by the crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the freedom of American legislation.

All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable rights and liberties; which cannot be legally taken from them, altered or abridged by any power whatever, without their own consent, by their representatives in their several provincial legislatures.

In the course of our inquiry, we find many infringements and violations of the foregoing rights, which, from an ardent desire, that harmony and mutual intercourse of affection and interest may be restored, we pass over for the present, and proceed to state such acts and measures as have been adopted since the last war, which demonstrate a system formed to enslave America.

Resolved, N.C.D. That the following acts of Parliament are infringements and violations of the rights of the colonists; and that the repeal of them is essentially necessary in order to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American colonies, viz.:

The several acts of 4 Geo. 3, ch. 15, and ch. 34. — 5 Geo. 3, ch. 25. — 6 Geo. 3, ch. 52. — 7 Geo. 3, ch. 41, and ch. 46. — 8 Geo. 3, ch. 22, which impose duties for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, extend the powers of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subject of trial by jury, authorize the judges’ certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages, that he might otherwise be liable to, requiring oppressive security from a claimant of ships and goods seized, before he shall be allowed to defend his property, and are subversive of American rights.

Also the 12 Geo. 3, ch. 24, entitled “An act for the better securing His Majesty’s dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores,” which declares a new offense in America, and deprives the American subject of a constitutional trial by a jury of the vicinage, by authorizing the trial of any person, charged with the committing any offense described in the said act, out of the realm, to be indicted and tried for the same in any shire or county within the realm.

Also the three acts passed in the last session of Parliament, for stopping the port and blocking up the harbor of Boston, for altering the charter and government of the Massachusetts Bay, and that which is entitled “An act for the better administration of justice,” etc.

Also the act passed in the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic religion in the Province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of English laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger, from so total a dissimilarity of religion, law, and government of the neighboring British colonies, by the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said country was conquered from France.

Also the act passed in the same session for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in His Majesty’s service in North America.

Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony in which such army is kept, is against law.

To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes that their fellow-subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have for the present only resolved to pursue the following peaceable measures:

Resolved, unanimously, That from and after the first day of December next, there be no importation into British America, from Great Britain or Ireland of any goods, wares or merchandise whatsoever, or from any other place of any such goods, wares or merchandise.

1st. To enter into a nonimportation, nonconsumption, and nonexportation agreement or association.

2. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America, and

3. To prepare a loyal address to His Majesty; agreeable to resolutions already entered into.

October 14, 1775
In London, Secretary of State Lord Suffolk receives intelligence that the colony of Pennsylvania is preparing an armed fleet and floating batteries to prevent the passage of the King’s ships through the Delaware River. He recommends that the Admiralty dispatch vessels to destroy the floating batteries.

Early in 1775 a permanent lookout scout was stationed at Lewes, and pilots were warned not to bring any British armed vessel up the bay. The river below Philadelphia was obstructed after September 9th with the chevaux-de-frise, about forty vessels being allowed to pass out before the last day of grace. A narrow, intricate channel only was left, the secret of which lay with two trusty pilots, who were in the pay of Pennsylvania, and whose duty it was to bring up vessels with stores and ammunition, privateers and other authorized crafts. The buoys had all been removed from the Delaware, and pilots were ordered to lay up their boats except when on special service. To prevent the enemy from coming up, fire-rafts were built and a floating battery was constructed at Philadelphia.

October 14, 1776
Congress dispatched 500,000 dollars to New York to pay a bounty to all soldiers would would reenlist.

October 14, 1776
Salem, NC: The Moravain diary recorded, “Tomorrow is the Election of Delegates to the next Congress. Since last February we gave the commission a written declaration that we did not meddle in political affairs we have decided to abide by it.”


1. Delegates to the first Continental Congress:

New Hampshire:     John Sullivan, Nathaniel Folsom

Massachusetts Bay:    John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Cushing, Robert Treat Paine

Rhode Island:    Stephen Hopkins, Samuel Ward

Connecticut:    Eliphalet Dyer, Roger Sherman, Silas Deane

New York:    Isaac Low, John Alsop, John Jay, Philip Livingston, James Duane, William Floyd, Henry Wisner, Simon Boerum

New Jersey:    James Kinsey, William Livingston, Stephen Crane, Richard Smith, John De Hart

Pennsylvania:    Joseph Galloway, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Thomas Miffin, Edward Biddle, John Morton, George Ross

Delaware:    Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean, George Read

Maryland:    Matthew Tilghman, Thomas Johnson, William Paca, Samuel Chase, Robert Goldsborough

Virginia:    Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, Edmund Pendleton

North Carolina:    William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, Richard Caswell

South Carolina:    Henry Middleton, Thomas Lynch, Jr., Christopher Gadsden, John Rutledge, Edward Rutledge

October 12th Colonial & American Revolutionary War History

October 12. 1492
Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas. He believed that he had found Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.

October 12. 1692
The Salem witch trials are ended by a letter from Massachusetts Governor William Phips.

October 12. 1773
America’s first insane asylum opens for ‘Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds’ in Virginia.

October 12. 1775
The Irish Parliament finalizes an address to King George III, pledging their “unfeigned zeal and unshaken loyalty” for the King and the British government.

October 12. 1776
Thomas Jefferson: “obtained leave to bring in a bill declaring tenants in tail to hold their lands in fee simple.” He won the battle to repeal the laws of entail which allowed transfer of land to an heir of body, not wives or adopted child and led to large land holding interests. He wrote “The repeal of the laws of entail would prevent the accumulation and perpetuation of wealth, in select families, and preserve the soil of the country from being daily more and more absorbed in mortmain. The abolition of primogeniture, and equal partition of inheritances, removed the feudal and unnatural distinctions which made one member of every family rich, and all the rest poor, substituting equal partition, the best of all Agrarian laws.”

October 12. 1776
British General Henry Clinton led a force of 4000 men up the East River at Throg’s Neck. Washington sent a force, not to oppose but to remove the bridge that connected the neck with the mainland.

General Howe, on the 12th, leaving Percy in command before Harlem Heights, moved the greater part of his army nine miles up the East River to Throg’s Neck, a peninsula in the Sound, separated from the mainland by a narrow creek and a marsh that was overflowed at high tide. By landing here suddenly, Howe hoped to get in Washington’s rear and cut him off from his base of supply in Connecticut. But Washington had foreseen the move and forestalled it. When Howe arrived a Throg’s Neck, he found the bridge over the creek destroyed, and the main shore occupied by a force which it would be dangerous to try to dislodge by wading across the marsh. While Howe was thus detained six days on the peninsula, Washington moved his base to White Plains, and concentrated his whole army at that point, abandoning everything on Manhattan Island except Fort Washington. Sullivan, Stirling, and Morgan, who had just been exchanged, now rejoined the army, and Lee also arrived from South Carolina.

By this movement to White Plains, Washington had foiled Howe’s attempt to get in his rear, and the British general decided to try the effect of an attack in front. On the 28th of October he succeeded in storming an outpost at Chatterton Hill, losing 229 lives, while the Americans lost 140. But this affair, which is sometimes known as the battle of white Plains, seems to have discouraged Howe. Before renewing the attack he waited three days, thinking perhaps of Bunker Hill; and on the last night of October, Washington fell back upon North Castle, where he took a position so strong that it was useless to think of assailing him. Howe then changed his plans entirely, and moved down the east bank of the Hudson to Dobb’s Ferry, whence he could either attack Fort Washington, or cross into New Jersey and advance upon Philadelphia, the “rebel capital.” The purpose of this change was to entice Washington from his unassailable position.

October 12, 1792
First celebration of Columbus Day in the USA held in New York.

October 12, 1792
The first monument honoring Christopher Columbus was dedicated in Baltimore, Maryland.

October 12, 1793
The cornerstone of Old East, the oldest state university building in the United States, is laid on the campus of the University of North Carolina

October 12, 1892
The Pledge of Allegiance is first recited by students in many US public schools, as part of a celebration marking the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.

October 11th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Oct 11, 1614; Adriaen Block and 12 Amsterdam merchants petition the States General for exclusive trading rights in the New Netherland colony.

Oct 11, 1649; Sack of Wexford: After a ten-day siege, English New Model Army troops (under Oliver Cromwell) stormed the town of Wexford, killing over 2,000 Irish Confederate troops and 1,500 civilians. Added because it is also important to understand what was happening in Great Britain at the time when our ancestors started coming here in geater and greater numbers.

Oct 11, 1727; George II and Caroline of Ansbach are crowned King and Queen of Great Britain. Also added because of the importance to Colonial America history.

Oct 11, 1759; Parson Mason Weems was born. He is remembered for his fictitious stories that he presented as fact. He was responsible for the story about George Washington cutting down his father’s cherry tree.

Oct 11, 1775; John Hancock writes to General Philip Schuyler expressing Congress’s hope that his endeavors in Canada result in convincing the Canadians to join in the union with the Colonies, form a Provincial Convention, and send delegates to the Continental Congress.

Oct 11, 1776; During the American Revolution the first naval battle of Lake Champlain was fought. The forces under Gen. Benedict Arnold suffered heavy losses, but delays the British advance until 1777. The British fleet under General Carleton surprised the American fleet lying near Valcour Island.

The Battle of Valcour Island, also known as the Battle of Valcour Bay:

A naval engagement in a narrow strait in Lake Champlain, between the New York mainland and Valcour Island. It is generally regarded as the first naval battle fought by the U.S. Navy. Although the outcome of the battle was the destruction of most the American ships, the overall campaign delayed the British attempt to cut the colonies in half by a year and eventually led to the British military disaster at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.

Following the failed American invasion of Canada, the British Navy launched a counteroffensive intended to gain control of the Hudson River Valley, which extends southward from Lake Champlain. Control of the upper Hudson River would have enabled the British to link their Canadian forces with those in British-occupied New York City, dividing the American colonies of New England from those in the South and Mid-Atlantic, and potentially finishing the revolution.

Access to the river’s source was protected by American strongholds at Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, and elimination of these defenses would require the transportation of troops and supplies from the British-controlled St. Lawrence Valley to the north.

Roads were either impassable or nonexistent, making water transport over Lake Champlain the only viable option, but the only ships on the lake were in American hands, and even though they were lightly armed, they would have made transport of troops and stores impossible for the British. The two sides therefore set about building fleets; the British at St. Johns in Quebec and the Americans at the other end of the lake in Skenesborough. The British had adequate supplies, skilled workmen, and prefabricated ships transported from England, including a 180-ton warship they disassembled and rebuilt on the lake. All told, the 30-ship British fleet had roughly twice as many ships and twice the firepower of the Americans’ 16 vessels.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s flagship was initially the USS Royal Savage, a 2-masted schooner, but he transferred to the USS Congress, a row galley. Arnold’s fleet included USS Revenge and USS Liberty, also schooners, as well as the USS Enterprise, a sloop, and 8 gondolas: USS New Haven, USS Providence, USS Boston, USS Spitfire, USS Philadelphia, USS Connecticut, USS Jersey, USS New York, and the galley USS Trumbull.

Facing them were the ships of the British Royal Navy constructed in Quebec: The flagship HMS Inflexible’; the schooners HMS Maria, HMS Carleton, HMS Royal Convert, the ketch HMS Thunderer, as well as over 20 gunboats armed with a single cannon. Arnold shrewdly chose to force the British to attack his inferior forces in a narrow, rocky body of water between the coast and Valcour Island, where the British fleet would have difficulty bringing its superior firepower to bear.

The British fleet took up positions at noon around 300 yards in front of the American battle line with the small gunboats forward, and the five main ships around 50-100 yards behind the gunboats. The British then opened up a huge broadside against the American ships which continued for the next 5 hours.

During the exchange of cannon fire, the Revenge was heavily hit and abandoned. The Philadelphia, was also heavily hit and sank later at around 6:30 P.M. The Royal Savage, ran aground and was set on fire by the crew to prevent the ship from falling in British hands. The Congress, and Washington were heavily damaged, and the Jersey and New York, were also badly hit. On the British side, casualties began mounting too. The HMS Carlton was heavily hit as it tried to land a boarding party on the grounded Royal Savage and was forced to withdraw under heavy fire. One small gunboat, commanded by Lt. Dufais, blew up and sank from a direct hit. Most of the other small gunboats were also hit, forcing them to withdraw and reform their battle line 700 yards from the American line. Two of the gunboats were so heavily damaged that they were forced to be scuttled after the action.

On October 11, the battle was not going well for the Americans when the sun set. Aware that he could not defeat the British fleet, Arnold decided to withdraw. He managed to sneak his fleet past (and through) the British fleet during the night and attempted to run for the cover of the shore batteries situated at the American-held fort at Crown Point at the south end of the lake. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and the Americans were caught short of their goal.

On October 12, after sailing only 8 miles, Arnold drove one ship, the Providence ashore in the shallow water of Buttonmold Bay off Schuyler Island where the heavier British ships could not follow, and the American ship was then stripped of guns, powder and everything else of use. The New Jersey also ran aground while the crew from the Lee did likewise.

On October 13, the British fleet finally caught up to the American fleet off Split Rock where the Washington was captured and the Congress sank attempting to flee. Arnold led about 200 men from the lost ships on foot to Crown Point where the remaining ships Trumbull, Enterprise, Revenge, New York, and Liberty finally reached safety. Arnold was forced to burn his remaining ships and withdrew further towards Ticonderoga.

Although the British had cleared the lake of American ships, establishing naval control, snow was already falling as Arnold and his men reached Ticonderoga on October 20. The British commander, Gen. Guy Carleton, had no choice but to defer the attacks on Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga and withdrew to a winter camp in Canada by early November, a decision with profound consequences.

The next year, a better-prepared American army would eventually stop the British advance at Saratoga and bring France into the war on the American side.

Oct 11, 1777; Continuing his pattern of disparaging his commanding officers, Thomas Conway sends Gates a letter suggesting that Washington should be relieved of his duties as commander-in-chief and Gates should be appointed as his replacement.

An Irish soldier of fortune, who became an officer on the American side in the Revolutionary War. He was educated in France, entered the French army, and had attained the rank of colonel when, early in 1777, he came to America and offered his services to Congress. He was appointed a brigadier general in May of this year, served at Brandywine and Germantown, and later in the year was made inspector-general, with the rank of major general, contrary to Washington’s wishes. He was the chief conspirator in the ‘Conway Cabal’, and upon the discovery of his intrigue resigned from the army in 1778. Soon afterwards, on July 22, he was wounded in a duel by General Cadwallader, who challenged him because of his attacks upon Washington. Conway then returned to France, reentered the army, and in 1784 was appointed Governor of Pondicherry and the French settlements in Hindustan. In 1792 he was appointed commander of the royalist forces in the south of France, but on the success of the Revolutionists fled from the country.

Conway Cabal details:

The most dangerous ground upon which Congress ventured during the whole course of the war was connected with the dark intrigues of those officers who wished to have Washington removed from the chief command that Gates might be put in his place. Gates had been in supplanting Schuyler on the eve of victory. Without having been under fire or directing any important operation, Gates had carried off the laurels of the northern campaign. From many persons, no doubt, he got credit even for what had happened before he joined the army, on the 19th of August. His appointment dated from the 2d, before either the victory of Stark or the discomfiture of St. Leger; and it was easy for people to put dates together uncritically, and say that before the 2d of August Burgoyne had continued to advance into the country, and nothing could check him until after Gates had been appointed to command. The very air rang with the praises of Gates, and his weak head was not unnaturally turned with so much applause. In his dispatches announcing the surrender of Burgoyne, he not only forgot to mention the names of Arnold and Morgan, who had won for him the decisive victory, but he even seemed to forget that he was serving under a commander-in-chief, for he sent his dispatches directly to Congress, leaving Washington to learn of the event through hearsay. Thirteen days after the surrender, Washington wrote to Gates, congratulating him upon his success. “At the same time,” said the letter, “I cannot but regret that a matter of such magnitude, and so interesting to our general operations, should have reached me by report only, or through the channels of letters not bearing that authenticity which the importance of it required, and which it would have received by a line over your signature stating the simple fact.”

But, worse than this, Gates kept his victorious army idle at Saratoga after the whole line of the Hudson was cleared of the enemy, and would not send reinforcements to Washington. Congress so far upheld him in this as to order that Washington should not detach more than 2,500 men from the northern army without consulting Gates and Governor Clinton. It was only with difficulty that Washington, by sending Colonel Hamilton with a special message, succeeded in getting andshows back Morgan with his riflemen. When S’orZiL’ reinforcements finally did arrive, it was tlontoo late. Had they come more promptly, Howe would probably have been unable to take the forts on the Delaware, without control of which he could not have stayed in Philadelphia. But the blame for the loss of the forts was by many people thrown upon Washington, whose recent defeats at Brandywine and Germantown were now commonly contrasted with the victories at the North.

The moment seemed propitious for Gates to try his peculiar strategy once more, and displace Washington as he had already displaced Schuyler. Assistants were not wanting for this dirty work. Among the foreign adventurers then with the army was one Thomas Conway, an Irishman, who had been for a long time in the French service, and, coming over to America, had taken part in the Pennsylvania campaign. Washington had opposed Conway’s claim for undue promotion, and the latter at once threw himself with such energy into the faction then forming against the commander-inThe Conway chief that it soon came to be known as cabal. the “Conway Cabal.” The other principal members of the cabal were Thomas Mifflin, the quartermaster-general, and James Lovell, a delegate from Massachusetts, who had been Schuyler’s bitterest enemy in Congress. It was at one time reported that Samuel Adams was in sympathy with the cabal, and the charge has been repeated by many historians, but it seems to have originated in a malicious story set on foot by some of the friends of John Hancock. At the beginning of the war, Hancock, whose overweening vanity often marred his usefulness, had hoped to be made commander-in-chief, and he never forgave Samuel Adams for preferring Washington for that position. In the autumn of 1777, Hancock resigned his position as president of Congress, and was succeeded by Henry Laurens, of South Carolina. On the day when Hancock took leave of Congress, a motion was made to present him with the thanks of that body in acknowledgment of his admirable discharge of his duty; but the New England delegates, who had not been altogether satisfied with him, defeated the motion on general grounds, and established the principle that it was injudicious to pass such complimentary votes in the case of any president. This action threw Hancock into a rage, which was chiefly directed against Samuel Adams as the most prominent member of the delegation; and after his return to Boston it soon became evident that he had resolved to break with his old friend and patron. Artful stories, designed to injure Adams, were in many instances traced to persons who were in close relation with Hancock. After the fall of the cabal, no more deadly stab could be dealt to the reputation of any man than to insinuate that he had given it aid or sympathy; and there is good ground for believing that such reports coucerning Adams were industriously circulated by unscrupulous partisans of the angry Hancock. The story was revived at a later date by the friends of Hamilton, on the occasion of the schism between Hamilton and John Adams, but it has not been well sustained. The most plausible falsehoods, however, are those which are based upon misconstrued facts; and it is certain that Samuel Adams had not only favoured the appointment of Gates in the North, but he had sometimes spoken with impatience of the so-called Fabian policy of Washington. In this he was like many other ardent patriots whose military knowledge was far from commensurate with their zeal. His cousin, John Adams, was even more outspoken. He declared himself “sick of Fabian systems.” “My toast,” he said, ” is a short and violent war;” and he complained of the reverent affection which the people felt for Washington as an “idolatry” dangerous to American liberty. It was by working upon such impatient moods as these, in which high-minded men like the Adamses sometimes indulged, that unscrupulous men like Gates hoped to attain their ends.

The first-fruits of the cabal in Congress were seen in the reorganization of the Board of War in November, 1777. Mifflin was chosen a member of the board, and Gates was made its president, with permission to serve in the field should occasion require it. Gates was thus, in a certain sense, placed over Washington’s head; and soon afterward Conway was made inspector-general of the army, with the rank of major-general. In view of Washington’s well-known opinions, the appointments of Mifflin and Conway might be regarded as an open declaration of hostility on the part of Congress. Some weeks before, in regard to the rumor that Conway was to be promoted, Washington had written, “It will be impossible for me to be of any further service, if such insuperable difficulties are thrown in my way.” Such language might easily be understood as a conditional threat of resignation, and Conway’s appointment was probably urged by the conspirators with the express intention of forcing Washington to resign. Should this affront prove ineffectual, they hoped, by dint of anonymous letters and base innuendoes, to make the commander’s place too hot for him. It was asserted that Washington’s army had all through the year outnumbered Howe’s more than three to one. The distress of the soldiers was laid at his door; the sole result, if not the sole object, of his many marches, according to James Lovell, was to wear out their shoes and stockings. An anonymous letter to Patrick Henry, then governor of Virginia, dated from York, where Congress was sitting, observed: “We have wisdom, virtue, and strength enough to save us, if they could be called into action. The northern army has shown us what Americans are capable of doing with a general at their head. The spirit of the southern army is no way inferior to the spirit of the northern. A Gates, a Lee, or a Conway would in a few weeks render them an irresistible body of men. Some of the contents of this letter ought to be made public, in order to awaken, enlighten, and alarm our country.” Henry sent this letter to Washington, who instantly recognized the well-known handwriting of Dr. Benjamin Rush. Another anonymous letter, sent to President Laurens, was still more emphatic: “It is a very great reproach to America to say there is only one general in it. The great success to the northward was owing to a change of commanders; and the southern army would have been alike successful if a similar change had taken place. The people of America have been guilty of idolatry by making a man their God, and the God of heaven and earth will convince them by woful experience that he is only a man; for no good can be expected from our army until Baal and his worshippers are banished from camp.” This mischievous letter was addressed to Congress, but, instead of laying it before that body, the high-minded Laurens sent it directly to Washington. But the commander-in-chief was forewarned, and neither treacherous missives like these, nor the direct affronts of Congress, were allowed to disturb his equanimity. Just before leaving Saratoga, Gates received from Conway a letter containing an allusion to Washington so terse pointed as to be easily remembered and quoted, and Gates showed this letter to his young confidant and aid-de-camp, Wilkinson. A few days afterward, when Wilkinson had reached York with the dispatches relating to Burgoyne’s surrender, he fell in with a member of Lord Stirling’s staff, and under the genial stimulus of Monongahela whiskey repeated the malicious sentence. Thus it came to Stirling’s ears, and he straightway communicated it to Washington by letter, saying that he should always deem it his duty to expose such wicked duplicity. Thus armed, Washington simply sent to Conway the following brief note : —

“Sir, — A letter which I received last night contained the following paragraph: ‘In a letter from General Conway to General Gates, he says, Heaven has determined to nave your country, or a weak General and bad counsellors would have ruined it.’ I am, sir, your humble servant, George Washington.”

Conway knew not what sort of answer to make to this startling note. When Mifflin heard of it, he wrote at once to Gates, telling him that an extract from one of Conway’s letters had fallen into Washington’s hands, and advising him to take better care of his papers in future. All the plotters were seriously alarmed; for their scheme was one which would not bear the light for a moment, and Washington’s curt letter left them quite iu the dark as to the extent of his knowledge. “There is scarcely a man living,” protested Gates, “who takes greater care of his papers than I do. I never fail to lock them up, and keep the key in my pocket.” One thing was clear: there must be no delay in ascertaining how much Washington knew and where he got his knowledge. After four anxious days it occurred to Gates that it must have been Washington’s aid-de-camp, Hamilton, who had stealthily gained access to his papers during his short visit to the northern camp. Filled with this idea, Gates chuckled as he thought he saw a way of diverting attention from the subject matter of the letters to the mode in which Washington had got possession of their contents. He sat down and wrote to the commander-in-chief, saying he had learned that to washiugsome of Conway’s confidential letters to himself had come into his excellency’s hands: such letters must have been copied by stealth, and he hoped his excellency would assist him in unearthing the wretch who prowled about and did such wicked things, for obviously it was unsafe to have such creatures in the camp; they might disclose precious secrets to the enemy. And so important did the matter seem that he sent a duplicate of the present letter to Congress, in order that every imaginable means might be adopted for detecting the culprit without a moment’s delay. The purpose of this elaborate artifice was to create in Congress, which as yet knew nothing of the matter, an impression unfavourable to Washington, by making it appear that he encouraged his aidsde-camp in prying into the portfolios of other generals. For, thought Gates, it is as clear as day that Hamilton was the man; nobody else could have done it.

But Gates’s silly glee was short-lived. Washington discerned at a glance the treacherous purpose of the letter, and foiled it by the simple expedient of telling the plain truth. “Your letter,” he replied, “came to my hand a few days ago, and, to my great surprise, informed me that a copy of it had been sent to Congress, for what reason I find myself unable to account; but as some end was doubtless intended to be answered by it, I am laid under the disagreeable necessity of returning my answer through the same channel, lest any member of that honourable body should harbour an unfavourable suspicion of my having practised some indirect means to come at the contents of the confidential letters between you and General Conway.” After this ominous prelude, Washington went on to relate how Wilkinson had babbled over his cups, and a certain sentence from one of Conway’s letters had thereupon been transmitted to him by Lord Stirling. He had communicated this discovery to Conway, to let that officer know that his intriguing disposition was observed and watched. He had mentioned this to no one else but Lafayette, for he thought it indiscreet to let scandals arise in the army, and thereby ” afford a gleam of hope to the enemy.” He had not known that Conway was in correspondence with Gates, and had even supposed that Wilkinson’s information was given with Gates’s sanction, and with friendly intent to forearm him against a secret enemy. “But in this,” he disdainfully adds, “as in other matters of late, I have found myself mistaken.”

So the schemer had overreached himself. It was not Washington’s aid-de-camp who had pried, but it was Gates’s own aid who had blabbed. But for Gates’s treacherous letter Washington would not even have suspected him; and, to crown all, he had only himself to thank for rashly blazoning before Congress a matter so little to his credit, and which Washington, in his generous discretion, would forever have kept secret. Amid this discomfiture, however, a single ray of hope could be discerned. It appeared that Washington had known nothing beyond the one sentence which had come to him as quoted in conversation by Wilkinson. A downright falsehood might now clear up the whole affair, and make Wilkinson the scapegoat for himself and all others. Gates accordingly wrote again to Washington, denying his intimacy with Conway, declaring that he had never received but a single letter from him, and solemnly protesting that this letter contained no such paragraph as that of which Washington had been informed. The information received through Wilkinson he denounced as a villainous slander. But these lies were too transparent to deceive any one, for in his first letter Gates had implicitly admitted the existence of several letters between himself and Conway, and his manifest perturbation of spirit had shown that these letters contained remarks that he would not for the world have had Washington see. A cold and contemptuous reply from Washington made all this clear, and put Gates in a very uncomfortable position, from which there was no retreat.

When the matter came to the ears of Wilkinson, who had just been appointed secretary of the Board of War, and was on his way to Congress, his youthful blood boiled at once. He wrote bombastic letters to everybody, and challenged Gates to deadly combat. A meeting was arranged for sunrise, behind the Episcopal church at York, with pistols. At the appointed hour, when all had arrived on the ground, the old general requested, through his second, an interview with his young antagonist, walked up a back street with him, burst into tears, called him his dear boy, and denied that he had ever made ny injurious remarks about him.

Wilkinson’s wrath was thus assuaged for a moment, only to blaze forth presently with fresh violence, when he made inquiries of Washington, and was allowed to read the very letter in which his general had slandered him. He instantly wrote a letter to Congress, accusing Gates of treachery and falsehood, and resigned his position on the Board of War.

These revelations strengthened Washington in proportion as they showed the malice and duplicity of his enemies. About this time a pamphlet was published in London, and republished in New York, containing letters which purported to have been written by Washington to members of his family, and to have been found in the possession of a mulatto servant taken prisoner at Fort Lee. The letters, if genuine, would have proved their author to be a traitor to the American cause; but they were so bunglingly con- letterscocted that every one knew them to be a forgery, and their only effect was to strengthen Washington still more, while throwing further discredit upon the cabal, with which many persons were inclined to connect them.

The army and the people were now becoming incensed at the plotters, and the press began to ridicule them, while the reputation of Gates suffered greatly in Congress as the indications of his real character were brought to light. All that was needed to complete the discomfiture of the cabal was a military fiasco, and this was soon forthcoming. In order to detach invading Lafayette from Washington, a winter expedition against Canada was devised by the Board of War. Lafayette, a mere boy, scarcely twenty years old, was invited to take the command, with Conway for his chief lieutenant. It was said that the French population of Canada would be sure to welcome the high-born Frenchman as their deliverer from the British yoke; and it was further thought that the veteran Irish schemer might persuade his young commander to join the cabal, and bring to it such support as might be gained from the French alliance, then about to be completed. Congress was persuaded to authorize the expedition, and Washington was not consulted in the matter.

But Lafayette knew his own mind better than was supposed. He would not accept the command until he had obtained Washington’s consent, and then he made it an indispensable condition that Baron de Kalb, who outranked Conway, should accompany the expedition. These preliminaries having been arranged, the young general went to The dinner at York for his instructions. There he found Gates, surrounded by schemers and sycophants, seated at a very different kind of dinner from that to which Lafayette had lately been used at Valley Forge. Hilarious with wine, the company welcomed the new guest with acclamations. He was duly flattered and toasted, and a glorious campaign was predicted. Gates assured him that on reaching Albany he would find 3,000 regulars ready to march, while powerful assistance was to be expected from the valiant Stark with his redoubtable Green Mountain Boys. The marquis listened with placid composure till his papers were brought him, and he felt it to be time to go. Then rising as if for a speech, while all eyes were turned upon him and breathless silence filled the room, he reminded the company that there was one toast which, in the generous excitement of the occasion, they had forgotten to drink, and he begged leave to propose the health of the commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States. The deep silence became still deeper. None dared refused the toast, “but some merely raised their glasses to their lips, while others cautiously put them down untasted.” With the politest of bows and a scarcely perceptible shrug of the shoulder, the new commander of the northern army left the room, and mounted his horse to start for his headquarters at Albany.

When he got there, he found neither troops, supplies, nor equipments in readiness. Of the army to which Burgoyne had surrendered, the militia had long since gone home, while most of the regulars had been withdrawn to Valley Forge or the highlands of the Hudson. Instead of 3,000 regulars which Gates had promised, barely 1,200 could be found, and these were in no wise clothed or equipped for a winter march through the wilderness. Between carousing and the backbiting, the new Board of War had no time left to attend to its duties. Not an inch of the country but was known to Schuyler, Lincoln, and Arnold, and they assured Lafayette that an invasion of Canada, under the circumstances, would be worthy of Don Quixote. In view of the French alliance, moreover, the conquest of Canada had even ceased to seem desirable to the Americans; for when peace should be concluded the French might insist upon retaining it, in compensation for their services. The men of New England greatly preferred Great Britain to France as a neighbour, and accordingly Stark, with his formidable Green Mountain Boys, felt no interest whatever in the enterprise, and not a dozen volunteers could be got together for love or money.

The fiasco was so crmplete, and the scheme it self so emphatically condemned by public opinion, that Congress awoke from its infatuation. Lafayette and Kalb were glad to return to Valley Forge. Conway, who stayed behind, became indignant with Congress over some fancied slight, and sent a conditional threat of resignation, which, to his unspeakable amazement, was accepted unconditionally. In vain he urged that he had the cabal. exactly what he said, having lost the nice use of English during his long stay in France. His entreaties and objurgations fell upon deaf ears. In Congress the day of the cabal was over. Mifflin and Gates were removed from the Board of War. The latter was sent to take charge of the forts on the Hudson, and cautioned against forgetting that he was to report to the commander-in-chief. The cabal and its deeds having become the subject of common gossip, such friends as it had mustered now began stoutly to deny their connection with it. Conway himself was dangerously wounded a few months afterward in a duel with General Cadwallader, and, believing himself to be on his death-bed, he wrote a very humble letter to Washington, expressing his sincere grief for having ever done or said anything with intent to injure so great and good a man. His wound proved not to be mortal, but on his recovery, finding himself generally despised and shunned, he returned to France, and American history knew him no more.

Had Lord George Germain been privy to the secrets of the Conway cabal, his hope of wearing out the American cause would have been sensibly strengthened. There was really more danger in such intrigues than in an exhausted treasury, a half-starved army, and defeat on the field. The people felt it to be so, and continental the events of the winter left a stain upon the reputation of the Continental Congress from which it never fully recovered. Congress had already lost the high personal consideration to which it was entitled at the outset. Such men as Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Henry, Jay, and Rutledge were now serving in other capacities. The legislatures of the several states afforded a more promising career for able men than the Continental Congress, which had neither courts nor magistrates, nor any recognized position of sovereignty. The meetings of Congress were often attended by no more than ten or twelve members. Curious symptoms were visible which seemed to show that the sentiment of union between the states was weaker than it had been two years before. Instead of the phrase “people of the United States,” one begins, in 1778, to hear of “inhabitants of these Confederated States.” In the absence of any central sovereignty which could serve as the symbol of union, it began to be feared that the new nation might after all be conquered through its lack of political cohesion. Such fears came to cloud the rejoicings over the victory of Saratoga, as, at the end of 1777, the Continental Congress began visibly to lose its place in public esteem, and sink, step by step, into the utter degradation and impotence which was to overwhelm it before another ten years should have expired.

As the defeat of the Conway cahal marked the beginning of the decline of Congress, it marked at the same time the rise of Washington to a higher place in the hearts of the people than he had ever held before. As the silly intrigues against him recoiled upon their authors, men began to realize that it was far more upon his consummate sagacity and unselfish patriotism than upon anything that Congress could do that the country rested its hopes of success in the great enterprise which it had undertaken. As the nullity of Congress made it ever more apparent that the country as a whole was without a government, Washington stood forth more and more conspicuously as the living symbol of the union of the states. In him and his work were centred the common hopes and the common interests of all the American people. There was no need of clothing him with extraordinary powers. During the last years of the war he came, through sheer weight of personal character, to wield an influence like that which Perikles had wielded over the Athenians. He was all-powerful because he was “first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Few men, since history began, had ever occupied so lofty a position; none ever made a more disinterested use of power. His arduous labours taught him to appreciate, better than any one else, the weakness entailed upon the country by the want of a stable central government. But when the war was over, and the political problem came into the foreground, instead of using this knowledge to make himself personally indispensable to the country, he bent all the weight of his character and experience toward securing the adoption of such a federal constitution as should make anything like a dictatorship forever unnecessary and impossible.

During the dreary winter at Valley Forge, Washington busied himself in improving the organization of his army. The fall of the Conway cabal removed many obstacles. Greene was persuaded, somewhat against his wishes, to serve as quartermaster-general, and forthwith the duties of that important office were discharged with zeal and promptness. Conway’s resignation opened the way for a most auspicious change in the inspectorship of the army. Of all the foreign officers who served under Washington during the War for Independence, the Baron von Steurich von steuben was in many respects the most important. Member of a noble family which for five centuries had been distinguished in the local annals of Magdeburg, Steuben was one of the best educated and most experienced soldiers of Germany.

Died Oct 11, 1779 Casimir Pulaski, or Kazimierz Pułaski in Polish, full name in Polish: (Kazimierz Michał Wacław Wiktor Pułaski) of Ślepowron coat-of-arms, born March 6, 1745 in the now-nonexistent Pulaski manor house, located near the present address 53 Nowy Świat St. near Warecka St., in Warsaw, Poland.


He was a Polish soldier, nobleman, and politician who has been called “the father of American cavalry”.

A member of the Polish landed nobility, Pulaski was a military commander for the Bar Confederation and fought against Russian domination of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. When this uprising failed, he emigrated to North America as a soldier of fortune. During the American Revolutionary War, he saved the life of George Washington and became a general in the Continental Army. He died of wounds suffered in the Battle of Savannah. Pulaski is one of only seven people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.

Benjamin Franklin recommended that General George Washington accept Pulaski as a volunteer in the American cavalry and said that Pulaski “was renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country’s freedom.” After arriving in America, Pulaski wrote to Washington, “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.”

His first military engagement against the British was on September 11, 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine. When the Continental troops began to yield, he reconnoitered with Washington’s bodyguard, and reported that the enemy were endeavoring to cut off the line of retreat. He was authorized to collect as many of the scattered troops as came in his way, and employ them according to his discretion, which he did in a manner so prompt as to effect important aid in the retreat of the army. His courageous charge averted a disastrous defeat of the American cavalry and saved the life of Washington. As a result, on September 15, 1777, Washington promoted Pulaski to brigadier general of the American cavalry.

He saved the army from a surprise at Warren Tavern, near Philadelphia, took part in the Battle of Germantown, and in the winter of 1777/78 engaged in the operations of General Anthony Wayne, contributing to the defeat of a British division at Haddonfield, New Jersey. However, the cavalry officers could not be reconciled to the orders of a foreigner who could scarcely speak English and whose ideas of discipline and tactics differed widely from those to which they had been accustomed. In addition, there was his imperious personality. These circumstances prompted him to resign his general command in March 1778, and return to Valley Forge.

At his suggestion, which was adopted by Washington, Congress authorized the formation of a corps of lancers and light infantry, in which even deserters and prisoners of war might enlist. This corps, which became famous under the name of the Pulaski Cavalry Legion, was recruited mainly in Baltimore. In September, it numbered about 350 men, divided into three companies of cavalry and three of infantry. It was one of the few cavalry regiments in the American Continental Army. Pulaski was put at its head. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow commemorated in verse this episode of Pulaski’s life.

The “father of the American cavalry” demanded much of his men and trained them in tested cavalry tactics. He used his own personal finances when money from Congress was scarce, in order to assure his forces of the finest equipment and personal safety. Congress named him “Commander of the Horse”.

In the autumn he was ordered to Little Egg Harbor with his legion, a company of artillery, and a party of militia. A Hessian deserter, Lt. Gustav Juliet, who held a grudge against Col. de Bosen, the leader of the infantry, betrayed their whereabouts to the British, who made a night attack on De Bosen’s camp. Pulaski heard the tumult and, assembling his cavalry, repelled the enemy, but the legion suffered a loss of forty men. During the following winter he was stationed at Minisink, at that time in New Jersey. He was dissatisfied with his petty command, and intended to leave the service and return to Europe, but was dissuaded by Washington. He was ordered to South Carolina.

In February 1779, the legion ejected the British occupiers from Charleston, South Carolina. Although he had frequent attacks of malarial fever, he remained in active service. Toward the beginning of September, he received orders to proceed to Augusta. There he was to join with General Lachlan McIntosh, and the united force was to move toward Savannah in advance of the army of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. Before the enemy was aware of his presence, Pulaski captured a British outpost, and, after several skirmishes, established permanent communications with the French fleet at Beaufort. He rendered great services during the siege of Savannah, and in the assault of October 9 commanded the whole cavalry, both French and American. During a cavalry charge, while probing for a weak point in the British lines, Pulaski was wounded by grapeshot. The grape shot is still on display today at The Powder Magazine military museum in Charleston, SC. After he was wounded, Pulaski was carried from the field by several comrades, including Col. John C. Cooper, and taken aboard the privateer merchant brigantine Wasp, where he died two days later having never regained consciousness.

According to several contemporary witnesses, including Pulaski’s aide-de-camp, he was buried at sea. Other witnesses however, including Captain Samuel Bulfinch of the Wasp, claimed that the wounded Pulaski was actually later removed from the ship and taken to Greenwich plantation near Savannah, Georgia, where he died and was buried. The alleged remains were later reinterred in Monterey Square in Savannah, Georgia. Remains at Monterey Square alleged to be Pulaski’s were exhumed in 1996 and examined in a lengthy forensic study. The eight-year examination ended inconclusively, and the remains were reinterred with military honors in 2004.

Oct 11, 1890; Daughters of the American Resolution founded in Washington D.C.

History from the DAR website:

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded on October 11, 1890, during a time that was marked by a revival in patriotism and intense interest in the beginnings of the United States of America. Women felt the desire to express their patriotic feelings and were frustrated by their exclusion from men’s organizations formed to perpetuate the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent. As a result, a group of pioneering women in the nation’s capital formed their own organization and the Daughters of the American Revolution has carried the torch of patriotism ever since.

The objectives laid forth in the first meeting of the DAR have remained the same in over 100 years of active service to the nation. Those objectives are: Historical – to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence; Educational – to carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people, “to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion…”; and Patriotic – to cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty.

Since its founding in 1890, DAR has admitted more than 800,000 members.

Oct 11 1976; George Washington’s appointment, posthumously, to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States by congressional joint resolution Public Law 94-479 is approved by President Gerald R. Ford.

October 10th Colonial & American Revolutionary War History

Oct 10, 1775; The Schooner USS Hannah decommissioned by Continental Congress

The schooner Hannah was the first armed American naval vessel of the American Revolution and is claimed to be the founding vessel of the United States Navy. She was owned by John Glover’s in-laws of Marblehead, Massachusetts and was named for his wife, Hannah Glover. The crew was drawn largely from the town of Marblehead.

The schooner was hired into the service of the American Continental Army by General George Washington. Washington commissioned Nicolson Broughton to command the Hannah on September 2, 1775 and ordered the vessel to cruise against the enemy. Hannah set sail from the harbor of Beverly, Massachusetts on September 5, 1775, but fled to the protection of the harbor of Gloucester, Massachusetts two days later under the pursuit of HMS Lively and a second British vessel. Leaving Gloucester Harbor, Hannah captured the British sloop Unity.

Hannah’s brief naval career ended on October 10, 1775, when she was run aground under the guns of a small American fort near Beverly by the British sloop Nautilus. After an engagement between the British ship and townspeople on the shore, Hannah was saved from destruction and capture, but was soon decommissioned as General Washington found more suitable ships for his cruisers.

The City of Beverly, Massachusetts and the Town of Marblehead, Massachusetts each claim to have been the home port of the schooner. Each asserted the honor of being “the Birthplace of the American Navy” from the career of the Hannah until a plaque, currently on display in the Selectmen’s room at Abbot Hall in Marblehead, was discovered in the Philadelphia Navy Yard proclaiming Marblehead to be the birthplace; Beverly has since reinvented itself as “Washington’s Naval Base.”

Oct 10, 1775; General Gage departs Boston for England.Military Governor of Massachusetts in 1774-1775.


Lieutenant General Thomas Gage was commanding officer at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 22, 1775. He resigned following Bunker Hill, in protest over his requests for reinforcements being denied. He remained in command until October 10, 1775, when General Willliam Howe replaced him.

He took his last salute as commander in chief of His Majesty’s forces in North America and the next day sailed for England aboard the transport Pallas. As he wound up nearly two decades of dedicated service in the American colonies, almost no one saw him off; and after his arrival in London a fellow officer wrote of him as a “poor wretch [who] is scarcely thought of, he is below contempt …” while other countrymen joked about the possibility of hanging him. For nearly half of those years in the colonies Gage had been the most powerful official on the continent; honest, honorable, a faithful servant of his king, he had given all he had to his task, only to be despised by the Americans and abandoned by the British.

It was ironic that Thomas Gage’s colonial service should have begun and ended with two of the greatest disasters of British arms in North America Braddock’s defeat and the battle for Bunker Hill; yet in the twenty years between those bloody encounters the mood and circumstances in the colonies had altered forever, and forces totally beyond Gage’s capacity to control had swept across the land like a whirlwind, catching him up, helpless, and wrecking his career in the process.

Oct 10, 1776; Salem, NC: Moravian church members recorded: “All day soldiers marched through, returning from the expedition with Gen. Rutherford. Col. Armstrong, who had been with the General, was also here. According to him they burned the Middle Towns of the Cherokee, ruined about 2000 acres of corn, and killed some of the Indians and took others prisoner.”


General Griffith Rutherford, who was commissioned for the District of Salisbury. In the summer of 1776 he raised an army of 2,400 men and marched on the English forces of the Cherokee nation. This expedition laid waste to 36 Cherokee towns. The Cherokee were forced to sue for peace and in the Treaty of Long Island of 7/20/1777, the Cherokee ceded all lands east of the Blue Ridge, as well as, lands along the Watauga, Nolichucky, Upper Holston and New River.

To stop raids when the English stirred up the Cherokee against patriots during the Revolutionary War in 1776, General Griffith Rutherford of Rowan marched, along with a regiment of 2,400 men, through Haywood County. Rutherford’s troop marched up Hominy Creek and made a crossing at the Pigeon River in Canton. They proceeded along Pigeon Gap (present U.S. 276) east of Waynesville and from there on across Balsam Gap into the Tuckasegee River Valley and across Cowee Gap into the Little Tennessee River Valley.


After the British instigated multiple Cherokee raids in July of 1776, the governments of North Carolina and South Carolina coordinated an offensive with the governments of Georgia and Virginia. North Carolinians under Brig. Gen. Griffith Rutherford were to rendevous with Col. Andrew Williamson’s South Carolinians and attack the lower and middle Cherokee settlements. The Virginians under Col. William Christian would march south and west and strike the Overhill Cherokees, while the Georgians would strike north and attack the Indian settlements in northern Georgia and South Carolina.

The settlers along the Watauga River, the Holston River, and the Nolichucky River petitioned the North Carolina Provincial Congress to become a recognized part of the State and to be named as the Washington District. This request was addressed by the Provincial Congress on August 22, 1776 and approved. The Provincial Congress then instructed the settlers to hold free and impartial elections on October 15th to elect five delegates that should attend the upcoming Congress – they first took their seats in Halifax, NC on November 19, 1776.

Since the state of Virginia also created a Washington County on December 7, 1776, one can assume that its creation had been in the works for several months earlier. The interesting part of this is that Washington County, Virginia was adjacent to Washington District, North Carolina. Add to that the fact that the NC-VA border had not been surveyed that far west in 1776, this area soon adopted the moniker of “the Squabble State.” Many folks who thought they were living in Virginia actually resided in North Carolina. The “Squabble State” continued until 1779 when the official boundaries were finally surveyed and accepted by both states.

Between 1776 and 1779, militia companies were raised by both Virginia and North Carolina in this area. Captains sometimes claimed to represent the Virginia Militia, and other times claimed to represent the North Carolina Militia. Although Colonel William Christian (often referred to as Col. Christie) was clearly commissioned by the state of Virginia – well before Washington County and Washington District were established – most of his captains were actually from within North Carolina. Some are very difficult to pin down – were they truly Virginians or North Carolinians? Because of this, many units from this area are identified as both – this is the case herein.

Word arrived quickly along the Holston River that the Indians would soon bring hostilities to the white settlers who were already in greater numbers than most realized. Makeshift forts were hurriedly thrown up and manned by all men (and many boys) available with guns – Watauga and Eaton’s Station.

On July 20th, Capt. James Thompson led five other captains with a total of about 170 backwoodsmen in an ambush against Dragging Canoe and his brother Little Owl at the battle known as Island Flats. After this battle and expulsion of the Indians, men returned to the fort at Long Islands which was built on the bank near the head of the Islands. Here they remained guarding this fort and surrounding country until the arrival of Colonel William Christian in early October.

While the locals were waiting for Col. Christian, the army under Brig. Gen. Griffith Rutherford assembled at Pleasant Gardens and commenced their westward march in late August or early September toward the Middle Towns in anticipation of linking up with the South Carolinians under Col. Andrew Williamson. Word reached camp of the troubles on the Holston River and Brig. Gen. Rutherford ordered the Surry County Regiment to divide its men and to send half up to the Hoston settlement. Col. Joseph Williams assembled eleven (11) companies and marched them back to Richmond then on to Holston. Col. Martin Armstrong and his eleven companies from Surry County continued their march with Brig. Gen. Rutherford and the rest of the Salisbury District Militia.

The army of Col William Christian was made up of about 1,800 men and marched on October 6, 1776 from the Double Spring camp toward the Indian towns. They went down Lick Creek, in present Greene County to its junction with the Nolichucky River. During the night while the army was camped here, Ellis Hardin, a trader at the Cherokee towns, came into camp with information that the Indians were waiting on the south side of the French Broad River to contest the crossing. From the camp at the mouth of Lick Creek the army marched across the Nolichucky and up Long Creek to its head, then down Dumplin Creek to the French Broad River. The army’s march was evidently along the Great War Path of the Indians, and the ford across the French Broad was near Buckingham Island.

Before the army reached the ford they were met by Fallin, a trader who had a white flag, but this was disregarded by Col. William Christian. The Cherokee Nation was divided. One faction, led by Chief Dragging Canoe who had been wounded at the battle of Island Flats, wanted to abandon the towns along the Little Tennessee River and withdraw further down the Holston. The elders and others of the tribe wanted to remain in the beloved towns along the Little Tennessee River. This faction prevailed, and the Cherokees sent Nathaniel Gist to seek peace from Col. Christian. Later, Dragging Canoe, with many young Cherokees and some Creeks, would prevail and make many vicious raids against the settlers from the Chicamauga towns in the vicinity of the present day Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Col. Christian, having been told the Indians were prepared to contest the fording of the French Broad River at Buckingham Island, attempted a ruse. He had his men light a fire and pitch tents for each mess, as if the army meant to remain in camp on the north side of the French Broad River for several days. At 8 pm, he took 1,100 men, marched about four miles below Buckingham Island and crossed the river at the ford discovered there by some scouts from John Sevier’s company. It was the intention of Col. Christian to attack the Indians drawn up to oppose the crossing of the river from behind before sunrise.

To Col. Christian’s surprise there was no Indian force there. It is possible the crossing of the French Broad River was made the night of October 15, 1776; Col. Christian had stated in a report from the Double Spring Camp on October 6, 1776 that it was his intention to cross the French Broad River on October 15th. Col. Christian allowed his men to remain in camp that day to dry their equipment and clothes which had gotten wet at the crossing made at the lower ford. While in camp on the south bank of French Broad River, in what is now Sevier County, the scout and traders from the Cherokee towns came in and reported that many of the Indian warriors had taken their families and fled south to the Hiwassee River, in present day McMinn, Meigs, and Bradley Counties.

After spending the following day in camp, the army resumed its march to the towns of the Overhill Cherokees along the Little Tennessee River, probably on October 16th or October 17th. From the fording of the French Broad River to Toqua Ford on the Little Tennessee River, the march led the army up the valley of Boyd’s Creek, in present day Sevier County, and down Ellejoy Creek from its source in Sevier County to where it runs into Little River in present-day Blount County.

The army passed the present site of Maryville, Tennessee, and on Friday, October 18th, crossed the Little Tennessee River near Toqua, probably at Tomotley Ford. That nigh was spent at Tomotley, the site of a Cherokee village downriver from Toqua. No opposition was found and next day the forces of Col. Christian marched downriver, on the south side of the Little Tennessee passing through Tuskegee, then past the site of old Fort Loudoun which was destroyed by the Cherokees in 1760, to the Big Island Town (Mialaquo). Col. Christian made his headquarters at Big Island Town near the present Vonore, Monroe County, Tennessee.

The army camped near the Indian towns about six weeks and probably returned to their homes sometime in December.

In his 1832 pension application affadavit, William Alexander (S2344) recounts:

“In the month of June 1776 this deponent entered the service of the United States in the County of Pittsylvania Va, as a Volunteer for six months, in a company of militia commanded by Captain Joseph Martin, and rendezvoused at Elliotts old store in the said County, and marched from thence direct to the Long Islands of the Holston River [at present Kingsport TN], where they joined the troops under command of Col. William Christian. After being stationed at the Long Islands of Holston for about six weeks, during which time other troops were collecting – and those that were there engaged in the erection of a Fort [Fort Patrick Henry], they marched to the Lower Towns of the Cherokee Nation of Indians [early Oct 1776]. Upon arriving at the Towns, they found them abandoned by the Indians; but after remaining there some days, a considerable number of the Indians came in and sued for peace, and surrendered themselves. Those that came in and offered terms of peace were unmolested, and a proposition made and acceeded to, that a treaty should be formed in compliance with the terms proposed, at the Long Islands of Holston in the ensuing spring – but the Towns of those who refused to surrender or sue for peace, were entirely destroyed, together with all their corn, stock and other property that could be found. After destroying their property, and committing such depredations upon them as they could, the troops returned to the Long Islands of Holston, where they remained some time, and then set out for home. This deponent however was selected by request, to take charge of one of his mess mates who was sick, and was sent on ahead of the company a few days, and arrived at home a day or two before Christmas; the rest of the Company not arriving however until a few days after Christmas.

In his 1832 pension application affadavit, Joseph Banner (W9716) recounted:

“That he volunteered the 18th of July 1776 at Old Richmond Surry County now Stokes under Capt. Richard Goode marched under Col. Martin Armstrong to the Mulberry fields commonly called Fishing Creek in Wilkes County the expedition was to relieve a fort which was besieged by the Indians on the Watauga River; while at Fishing Creek received intelligence that the fort was relieved; we remained encamped at Fishing Creek 3 weeks; was marched back to Surry County; was then placed under the command of Col. Joseph Williams & Major Joseph Winston and marched to the Long Island of Holston [River]; lay there about four weeks waiting for the arrival of Virginia Troops. Soon after they arrived [we] were all marched under the command of Genl. Christie [sic, William Christian] to the Indian Towns on Tennessee River. On the arrival of our troops the Indians fled; we destroyed their towns & remained there until there was a treaty of peace concluded with the Indians. Were then marched back and discharged about the first of December 1776.”

Oct 10, 1776; Because of General Guy Carleton release of American prisoners in Canada, Congress released all the Canadian prisoners.

October 9th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Oct 9 1635; Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, was banished from Massachusetts because he had spoken out against punishments for religious offenses and giving away land that belonged to the Indians. Williams had founded Providence, Rhode Island as a place for people to seek religious freedom.

Oct 9 1701; The Collegiate School of Connecticut was chartered in New Haven. The name was later changed to Yale.

Oct 9 1774; while attending the First Continental Congress, Washington responds to a letter from Captain Robert Mackenzie, then in Boston. Mackenzie, a fellow Virginia officer, criticizes the behavior of the city’s rebellious inhabitants. Washington sharply disagrees and defends the actions of Boston’s patriots. Yet, like many members of Congress who still hope for reconciliation, Washington writes that no “thinking man in all North America,” wishes “to set up for independency.

Oct 9 1775; Lord Dartmouth orders British officers to North Carolina On this day in 1775, just a few short months after commanding British soldiers during the Battle of Bunker Hill, General Sir William Howe writes to the British-appointed secretary of state for the American colonies, Lord Dartmouth, to inform him of his belief that the British army should be evacuated from Boston to Rhode Island, where it “would be better connected, and the corps would act with greater effect.”  From there, British forces could move expeditiously to the southern colonies, without having to go around Cape Cod. As Lord Dartmouth had previously received reports that men were needed in the southern colonies from the likes of Josiah Martin, the royal governor of North Carolina, and John Murray, the royal governor of South Carolina, he ordered General Howe to send officers stationed in Boston to North Carolina to assist Martin in the southern campaign.

Martin had been directing Loyalist efforts in North Carolina from his ship Cruiser anchored in the Cape Fear River since a Patriot attack on his home in April 1775. When the residents of Mecklenburg County effectively declared their independence from the crown that May, Martin had sent a copy of their resolves to Britain, requested military supplies from Howe’s predecessor, General Thomas Gage, in Boston and plotted to arm the slaves of North Carolina to help put down any Patriot uprising.

Word of Martin’s intent to incite a slave rebellion mobilized a successful Patriot attack against Martin’s headquarters at Fort Johnston on Cape Fear on July 20, 1775. Following the attack, Martin moved the Cruiser off the coast of North Carolina, where he continued to arm the Loyalists with British supplies. On February 27, 1776, the Patriots managed to defeat the Loyalists at Moores Creek Bridge before the Loyalists reached the coast to await a scheduled rendezvous with Cornwallis. With the Loyalists routed, Cornwallis chose not to land his men, aborting his intended southern campaign. Instead, he traveled north to join the successful British Battle for Long Island in August 1776.

Oct 9 1776; The British ships, the Phoenix and the Roebuck landed in New York near Blommingdale, as reported in letter from Tench Tilghman: Passage of the enemy’s ships through the chevaux-de-frise.

A Letter from Tench Tilghman, by express, dated the 9th instant, was received, and is in the words following:

“Head-Quarters, Harlem-Heights, 9th October, 1776.

“GENTLEMEN: About eight o’ clock this morning the Roebuck and Phoenix, of forty-four guns each, and a frigate, about twenty guns, got underway from about Bloomingdale, where they have been lying some time, and steered on, with an easy southerly breeze, towards our chevaux-de-frise, which we hoped would have given them some interruption, while our batteries played upon them. But, to our surprise and mortification, they all ran through without the least difficulty, and without receiving the least apparent damage from our forts, which kept playing on them from both sides of the river. How far they intend to go up I don’ t know, but his Excellency thought fit to give you the earliest intimation, that you may put General Clinton on his guard at the Highlands, for they may have troops concealed on board, with intent to surprise those forts. If you have any stores on the water side, you had better have them removed a second time, boards especially, for which we shall be put to great straits if the communication should be cut off. The enemy have made no move on the land side.

“I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,


“Honourable Committee of Correspondence, State of New-York.

“Be pleased to forward this intelligence up the river and to Albany. The two new ships are put in near Colonel Phillips’ s. A party of Artillery, with two twelve-pounders and one hundred Riflemen, are sent up to endeavour to secure them.”

(note: chevaux-de-frise is a medieval defense system consisting of a portable frame (sometimes just a simple log) covered with many long iron or wooden spikes or even actual spears. An anti-ship version was designed by Robert Erskine as a means of keeping British warships out of the Hudson River during the American Revolutionary War. )

Oct 9 1776; A group of Spanish missionaries settled in what is now San Francisco, California.

Oct 9 1777; General Clinton receives General Burgoyne’s appeal for help but makes not attempt to fight through to Saratoga.


On September 19, 1777 the Royal army advanced upon the American camp in three separate columns within the present day towns of Stillwater and Saratoga. Two of them headed through the heavy forests covering the region; the third, composed of German troops, marched down the river road. American scouts detected Burgoyne’s army in motion and notified Gates, who ordered Col. Daniel Morgan’s corps of Virginia riflemen to track the British march. About 12:30 p.m., some of Morgan’s men brushed with the advance guard of Burgoyne’s center column in a clearing known as the Freeman Farm, about a mile north of the American camp. The general battle that followed swayed back and forth over the farm for more than three hours. Then, as the British lines began to waver in the face of the deadly fire of the numerically superior Americans, German reinforcements arrived from the river road. Hurling them against the American right, Burgoyne steadied the wavering British line and gradually forced the Americans to withdraw. Except for this timely arrival and the near exhaustion of the Americans’ ammunition, Burgoyne might have been defeated that day. Though he held the immediate field of battle, Burgoyne had been stopped about a mile north of the American line with his army roughly treated. Shaken by his “victory,” the British commander ordered his troops to entrench in the vicinity of the Freeman Farm and await support from Clinton, who was supposedly preparing to move north toward Albany from New York City.

For nearly three weeks he waited but Clinton did not come. By now Burgoyne’s situation was critical. Faced by a growing American army without hope of help from the south, and with supplies rapidly diminishing, the British army became weaker with each passing day. Burgoyne had to choose between advancing or retreating. He decided to risk a second engagement, and on October 7 ordered a reconnaissance-in-force to test the American left flank. Ably led and supported by eight cannon, a force of 1,500 men moved out of the British camp. After marching southwesterly about three-quarters of a mile, the troops deployed in a clearing on the Barber Farm. Most of the British front faced an open field, but both flanks rested in woods, thus exposing them to surprise attack. By now the Americans knew that Burgoyne’s army was again on the move and at about 3 p.m. attacked in three columns under Colonel Morgan, Gen. Ebenezer Learned, and Gen. Enoch Poor. Repeatedly the British line was broken, then rallied, and both flanks were severely punished and driven back. Gen. Simon Fraser, who commanded the British right, was mortally wounded as he rode among his men to encourage them to make a stand and cover the developing withdrawal. Before the enemy’s flanks could be rallied, Gen. Benedict Arnold -who had been relieved of command after a quarrel with Gates- rode onto the field and led Learned’s brigade against the German troops holding the British center. Under tremendous pressure from all sides, the Germans joined a general withdrawal into the fortifications on the Freeman Farm. Within an hour after the opening clash, Burgoyne lost eight cannon and more than 400 officers and men. Flushed with success, the Americans believed that victory was near. Arnold led one column in a series of savage attacks on the Balcarres Redoubt, a powerful British fieldwork on the Freeman Farm. After failing repeatedly to carry this position, Arnold wheeled his horse and, dashing through the crossfire of both armies, spurred northwest to the Breymann Redoubt. Arriving just as American troops began to assault the fortification, he joined in the final surge that overwhelmed the German soldiers defending the work. Upon entering the redoubt, he was wounded in the leg. Had he died there, posterity would have known few names brighter than that of Benedict Arnold. Darkness ended the day’s fighting and saved Burgoyne’s army from immediate disaster.

That night the British commander left his campfires burning and withdrew his troops behind the Great Redoubt, which protected the high ground and river flats at the northeast corner of the battlefield. The next night, October 8, after burying General Fraser in the redoubt, the British began their retreat northward. They had suffered 1,000 casualties in the fighting of the past three weeks; American losses numbered less than 500. After a miserable march in mud and rain, Burgoyne’s troops took refuge in a fortified camp on the heights of Saratoga. There, an American force that had grown to nearly 20,000 men surrounded the exhausted British army. Faced with such overwhelming numbers, Burgoyne surrendered on October 17, 1777. By the terms of the Convention of Saratoga, Burgoyne’s depleted army, some 6,000 men, marched out of its camp “with the Honors of War” and stacked its weapons along the west bank of the Hudson River. Thus was gained one of the most decisive victories in American and world history.

Oct 9 1781; The last major battle of the American Revolutionary War took place in Yorktown, Virginia.
The Battle of Yorktown

Overview and results:

The Battle of Yorktown was the climax of the Revolutionary War. The combined forces of General Washington, General Rochambeau, Admiral de Grasse, and General Lafayette all converged on the greatest concentration of British troops in America. It took great amounts of planning, courage and skill to execute this attack. The opposing forces include Great Britain and the Hesse-Kassel againt France and the Americans. The British’s leader was Lord Charles Cornwallis with a force of 8,980 and the Americans and the French’s leader was George Washington with a force of 20,600. The British’s casualties included 309 men killed, 326 wounded, and 8,007 captured. The Americans’ casualties included 72 men killed, 180 wounded, and none captured.

In spite of the success of the Revolutionary Army in the years 1776 and 1777, the battles of 1780 were devastating to Washington’s army. British General Lord Cornwallis had defeated the southern Continental Army and captured Savannah and Charlestown. Many soldiers and officers were abandoning their hopes and deserting the Armysuch as General Benedict Arnold. In the autumn of 1780, the British cause did seem near triumph.

A crisis with respect to money then also came to a head. Fierce mutinies broke out because there was no money to provide food, clothing, or pay for the army.

At that critical moment, the King of France dispatched an expeditionary army of 5000 troups led by Jean Baptiste de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, to join the American Forces. The convoy sailed into Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island on July 11, 1780. The citizens of Newport celebrated the arrival of the French fleet with proper festivities. The French brought with them gold, and the New England merchants liked this relief from the Continental currency.

In 1781, after abandoning a plan to attach New York City, held by the British, the combined armies of Washington and Rochambeau began racing south to Virginia. The bombardment of Yorktown began on October 9, 1781. Lauzun’s men were masters of the battlefield. Though outnumberd by British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, they forced Tarlton to retreat behind earthworks near Yorktown in the first action of the battle.

On the morning of October 18, 1781, terms of surrender were negotiated. The formal surrender ceremony has become a legend unto itself. General Cornwallis was not present, but had remained at Yorktown claiming illness. He was represented by his second-in-command, Brig. General Charles O’Hara. O’Hara first attempted to surrender to French General Comte de Rochambeau, but Rochambeau refused and pointed him to General Washington. Washington’s only reaction was to ask him to surrender to his own second-in-command, Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln. An hour after the garrison at Yorktown had surrendered, about 1,100 Englishmen, Scotsmen, Welsh, Germans and loyalist Americans filed out of Gloucester (across the York River from Yorktown )and grounded their arms in front of “100 of Lauzun’s men and 200 men from the American militia.”

Lauzun sailed for France with the news of the victory. He had the honor of presenting this great news to the King of France, who was delighted.

Just over eight years after the Declaration of Independence, the United States of America was fully established as an independent nation.

On May 11, 1783, Lauzun, the 307 men left of his legion, and most of the remnants of the expedition sailed from Wilmington for Brest, France, where his ships docked June 11, 1783. Later, the French Revolution began. France declared war on Austria, and as the war went from bad to worse, the French Revolution turned on itself. Among the victims was Lauzun, who even though being a noble had initially welcomed the uprising. Despite faithful service in the Vendee, and in spite of the protest of his last words that he was faithful to the principles of the Revolution, some of which he had learned in America, Lauzun ascended the guillotine on December 31, 1793.

Oct 9 1812; During the War of 1812 American forces captured two British brigs, the Detroit and the Caledonia.

October 8th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Oct 8, 1633; Massachusetts Bay Colony forms its first government in the town of Dorchester and began to elect representatives called Selectmen.

Oct 8, 1775; In Cambridge, Washington’s General Officers meet at a Council of War, and agree that the new army consist of at least 20,372 men enlisted for one-year terms. They also decided to reject the enlistment of free blacks and slaves.

Oct 8, 1776; Continental Congress moved to enlist more soldiers for the duration of the war and urged each state to send a committee to the camps to appoint officers and encourage enlistments.

Oct 8, 1776; For several months, 297 Charleston citizens had been doing militia duty to protect the town now find that it has “injured their fortunes.” They petition the Assembly to establish one or more watch companies to guard the town

Oct 8, 1777; Desperate for food and ammunition, Burgoyne retreats from Battle of Saratoga

Oct 8, 1778; Raid on Unadilla In reprisal for the destruction of German Flats, a group of Continental soldiers and frontiersmen marches against the Iroquois town of Unadilla, located 50 miles west of German Flats. The Iroquois have previously fled and the patriots destroy the village.

I will try to get time to add more detail to this one. Busy and long day today.

October 7th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

Oct 7 1763 George III of Great Britain issues Proclamation of 1763, closing lands in North America north and west of Alleghenies to white settlement.

The Proclamation of 1763, issued by Great Britain’s Board of Trade under King George III, represented an attempt to control settlement and trade on the western frontier of Britain’s North American colonies. The Proclamation of 1763 essentially closed the Ohio Valley to settlement by colonists by defining the area west of the Appalachian Mountains as Indian land and declaring that the Indians were under the protection of the king. No settlement or land purchases were to be conducted there without the Crown’s approval. The proclamation also defined four new colonies that Great Britain had won from France in the just-concluded Seven Years’ War (1756–1763, known in its American manifestation as the French and Indian War). These colonies were Quebec (which in fact had long been settled), East and West Florida, and the island of Grenada.

Oct 7 1765 – Nine American colonies sent a total of 28 delegates to New York City for the Stamp Act Congress. The delegates adopted the “Declaration of Rights and Grievances.”


The Declaration of Rights and Grievances was issued by the Stamp Act Congress in New York City in October 1765. It set forth what was to become the battle cry of the colonists — no taxation without representation.

The Stamp Act, enacted by the British Parliament in 1765, was essentially a tax on the colonies. It provided that most legal documents, newspapers, other periodicals, and even playing cards be printed on special paper containing an embossed tax stamp. The British argued that revenue from the Stamp Act was needed to help repay large debts incurred during the Seven Years War (known as the French and Indian War in America). The Stamp Act was met by anger, scorn, and violent protests in the colonies. Part of this had to do with America’s resistance to paying a tax now that the French threat was gone. But anger also stemmed from the fact that the tax was imposed by the British Parliament, which contained no colonial representatives.

With delegates from nine colonies, the Stamp Act Congress was the first pan colonial meeting since the abortive attempt to agree on the Albany Plan in 1756. The Declaration of Rights and Grievances was drafted by John Dickenson of Pennsylvania and presented at the Congress. It not only opposed the Stamp Act itself, but raised the broader issue of who had the right to tax the colonists. Arguing that colonists enjoyed “all the inherent rights and privileges of people living in Great Britain, including the right to be free of taxation without representation,” the Declaration contended that Parliament had no right to tax the colonists since they had no representatives in Parliament. Only the colonial assemblies, Dickenson argued, had the right to levy taxes in North America.

Declaration of Rights and Grievances:

THE MEMBERS of this congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty to his majesty’s person and government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered as maturely as time will permit, the circumstances of the said colonies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion, respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason of several late acts of parliament.

1. That his majesty’s subjects in these colonies, owe the same allegiance to the crown of Great Britain, that is owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that august body the parliament of Great Britain

2. That his majesty’s liege subjects in these colonies, are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects, within the kingdom of Great Britain

3. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives

4. That the people of these colonies are not, and, from their local circumstances, cannot be, represented in the House of Commons in Great Britain

5. That the only representatives of the people of these colonies, are persons chosen therein by themselves; and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures

6. That all supplies to the crown being free gifts of the people, it is unreasonable and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution, for the people of Great Britain to grant to his majesty the property of the colonists

7. That trial by jury, is the inherent and invaluable right of every British subject in these colonies

8. That the late act of parliament, entitled, an act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, &c., by imposing taxes on the inhabitants of these colonies, and the said act, and several other acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists

9. That the duties imposed by several late acts of parliament, from the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely burdensome and grievous; and from the scarcity of specie, the payment of them absolutely impracticable

10. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately center in Great Britain, to pay for the manufacturers which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all supplies granted there to the crown

11. That the restrictions imposed by several late acts of parliament on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase the manufacturers of Great Britain

12. That the increase, prosperity and happiness of these colonies, depend on the full and free enjoyments of their rights and liberties, and an intercourse with Great Britain mutually affectionate and advantageous

13. That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies, to petition the king, or either house of parliament

Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies, to the best of sovereigns, to the mother country, and to themselves, to endeavour by a loyal and dutiful address to his majesty, and humble applications to both houses of parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other acts of parliament, whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is extended as aforesaid, and of the other late acts for the restriction of American commerce.

Oct 7, 1777 – During the American Revolution the second Battle of Saratoga began. Also called the Battle of Bemis Heights:


After the first battle at Battle of Freeman’s Farm comes to an end on September 19, 1777 and following a standoff September 20-October 6, 1777 Maj. General John Burgoyne now ordered his force to entrench around Freeman’s Farm. He was waiting for Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton, who was supposedly preparing to leave New York City and march north to Albany. Burgoyne waited for three weeks, but Clinton did not come. Burgoyne was now once again low on supplies and facing an American army that was growing in numbers. He could wait no longer. He had to choose to either retreat or engage General Gates.

The Battle:

On October 7, General Burgoyne sent a British force of 1,500 to test the American left flank. The Americans responded to the British movement with three columns under Colonel Daniel Morgan, Maj. General Ebenezer Learned, and Maj. General Enoch Poor, and attacked at about 3 P.M. The British line was repeatedly broken, but rallied again and again.

After Brig. General Simon Fraser was mortally wounded trying to rally his men to cover a withdrawal, Maj. General Benedict Arnold rode onto the field. He and Maj. General Horatio Gates had earlier quarrelled and had been relieved of command. However, he now led General Learned’s column against the British center held by the German troops. The Germans joined the withdrawal.

Within an hour of the beginning of the battle, the British were forced to fall back to their fortifications around Freeman’s Farm. The Americans now believed that victory was theirs, but the British heavy entrenchments proved difficult to overwhelm. After failing to overrun one redoubt, General Arnold led the attack on another that was manned by Germans. Here, he succeeded, but received a wound in the leg.

Fighting only ceased when darkness fell. The darkness had saved General Burgoyne from defeat. During the night, he left campfires burning and withdrew to a large redoubt. He had suffered 1,000 casualties to only 500 for the Americans. The following night he retreated to fortifications at Saratoga, New York, where the American force, which now numbered 20,000 surrounded the British force of 6,000.

Timothy Murphy of Captain Daniel Morgans Riflemen kills Gen. Simon Fraser and Sir Francis Clerke:

Benedict Arnold watched as Gen. Simon Fraser fervently rallied his men, and commented to Capt. Daniel Morgan that he (Fraser) needed to be “disposed of”. Within minutes, Timothy Murphy had climbed a tree, aimed his rifle, and shot Fraser through the midsection from a distance of 300 yards. His next shot killed Sir Francis Clerke (or Clarke) instantly. Fraser survived the night but died 8 October 1777. These two shots of Timothy Murphy’s are credited with turning the tide of the Revolution, demoralizing British soldiers and giving courage to the Americans.

Morgan’s Rifles were sent to join the main army at Valley Forge, and spent that memorable winter with them. The following summer, Morgan’s Rifles were sent to the Mohawk Valley of New York to defend against attacks by Tory and Indian raiders. Murphy elected to remain in New York after his service expired, joining with the Albany County Militia in 1779 or 1780. It was while he was there that he met and married Peggy (Margaret) Feeck or Feek, the daughter of Johannes Feeck. And it was against the British raids that he earned the nickname “The Rifleman”. In 1781, Murphy reenlisted in the Pennsylvania Line under Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne, and was present at the final battle of Yorktown.

After the fighting, Murphy returned to his wife and family in the Schoharie valley, and he appears there in the 1800 and 1810 censuses, living close to several Feek/Fake families. Peggy died in 1807, after giving him 5 sons and 4 daughters. He then married Mary Robertson and they moved to Charlottesville. Mary presented Timothy with 4 more sons. Being unable to read or write, he nonetheless became quite wealthy and a local politician. Toward the end of his life, he returned to the Schoharie, where he died in 1818 at the age of 67.

October 7, 1780 Battle of King’s Mountain click link for this history

October 7, 1780 Battle of King’s Mountain

A little family history:

The Battle of King’s Mountain has a very special place in history for me and my family. My father’s mother who was a King, her 4th Great Grandfather King owned King’s Mountain and it was named after her family. Another figure in the battle was Col/Gen William Campbell, who is/was a cousin. The King’s fought in the battle and many of them were in the Revolution as many of our family were, they fought bravely and honorably to further the cause of freedom in America. I am humbled, proud, and honored to have such men in my heritage. They inspire me and at the same time humble me with their bravery, sacrifice and perseverance, I can never do enough when I measure myself against them! I hope that I honor them, in the same way they honored all of us, in the creation of this Great Nation, that we all love, the United States of America!

See also History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part I 1765 to May, 1780
History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part XV October-November, 1780
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

The King family as one single family with it’s roots in Britain from what I have seen in doing genealogy seem to have played a great role in the founding of this Nation. I have done genealogy for one person who did not have a King from that line in their family. Different ones from that family came at different times in early America, they were spread out all up and down the eastern states. The first being Captain William King and his son John, both ships Captains, came in 1609 with my dad’s father’s 7th Great Grandfather, Captain James Davies/Davis. Those King’s did not stay in America at that time. Captain William King who was Rear Admiral at the time perished with his ship and all but one crew member on the way back to England as they were approaching the entry to the English Channel. Captain John, would return later to make a place for himself and his offspring.

God bless America! America thank God!

Date: October 7, 1780
Location: King’s Mountain, South Carolina/North Carolina border
Victors: Patriot Militia Colonel John Sevier, Patriot Militia Colonel Isaac Shelby, Overmountain Men
Defeated: British Major Patrick Ferguson

Many historians consider the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780 to be the turning point in America’s War for Independence. The victory of rebelling American Patriots over British Loyalist troops completely destroyed the left wing of Cornwallis’ army. This decisive battle successfully ended the British invasion into North Carolina and forced Lord Cornwallis to retreat from Charlotte into South Carolina to wait for reinforcements. This triumphant victory of the Overmountain Men allowed General Nathanael Greene the opportunity to reorganize the American Army.

Following the defeats of Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln at Charleston in May and then Maj. General Horatio Gates at Camden, British Lt. General Charles Cornwallis appeared to now have a clear path all the way to Virginia. In September, General Cornwallis invaded North Carolina and ordered Major Patrick Ferguson to guard his left flank. Ferguson provoked the Mountain Men living in the area by sending out a threat.

The Over Mountain Men came out of the mountains and pursued Major Ferguson. Along the way, they were joined by Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina militia. They caught up with Ferguson at King’s Mountain. The seven Patriot colonels came up with a plan to approach Ferguson’s position from four directions. Ferguson and his men found the higher position impossible to defend as they were in the open and the Patriots had cover to protect them. Ferguson and his all Tory force was soon defeated, forcing General Cornwallis to retreat from Charlotte, North Carolina.

On July 25, 1780, Maj. General Horatio Gates arrived in North Carolina and took command of the Southern Department. On August 16, 1780, he was routed at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina by Lt. General Charles Cornwallis. The loss at Camden and Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton’s subsequent victory over Thomas Sumter’s militia at Fishing Creek on August 17th decimated the rebel resistance in the South.

General Cornwallis appeared to now have a clear path all the way to Virginia. In September, Cornwallis invaded North Carolina and ordered Major Patrick Ferguson to guard his left flank. On September 2, Ferguson left for the Western Carolinas with seventy of his American Volunteers and several hundred Tory militia. Ferguson arrived at Gilbert Town, North Carolina on September 7. When there on September 10, Major Ferguson paroled a captured rebel and sent him into the mountains with a message to the leaders there, “that if they did not desist from their opposition to the British arms, and take protection under his standard, he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay their country waste with fire and sword.” This threat proved to be his undoing.

The mountain men who lived in the Blue Ridge area were mostly isolated and kept to themselves, but a threat to their own moved them to action. A call to arms went out and they gathered at Sycamore Shoals. David Ramsey, in his history of South Carolina, written in 1808, said, “hitherto these mountaineers had only heard of war at a distance, and had been in peaceable possession of that independence for which their countrymen on the seacoast were contending. They embodied to check the invader of their own volition, without any requisition from the Governments of America or the officers of the Continental Army. Each man set out with a knapsack, blanket, and gun. All who could obtain horses were mounted, the remainder afoot. ”

On Sept. 25th, Colonels William Campbell, Charles McDowell, John Sevier and Isaac Shelby left Sycamore Shoals in pursuit of Ferguson. The thoroughfare of their mission followed the only roadway connecting the backwater country with the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina.

Leaving Sycamore Shoals, the column marched up Gap Creek to its headwaters in Gap Creek Mountain, and there turned eastward and then south, following around the base of Fork Mountain to Toe River, and on up that stream to one of its tributaries. Here the route continued in a southerly direction until the top of the mountain was reached, between Roan High Knob and Big Yellow Mountain. From the mountaintop, descent was made along Roaring Creek to the North Toe River. It is stated in the diary of Ensign Robert Campbell that “the mountains were crossed and descent to the other side was carted before camp was made for the night. Snow was encountered in the highlands, for an elevation of 5,500 feet was reached in this march. On the top of the mountain there was found a hundred acres of beautiful tableland, and the troops were paraded, doubtless for the purpose of seeing how they were standing the march, which was about 26 miles to this point”. Campbell’s diary states that the second night, that of the 27th, they rested at “Cathey’s” plantation. Draper places this at the junction of Grassy Creek and North Toe River. Tradition has it that on reaching Gillespie Gap the troops divided, one group including Campbell’s men, moving southward to Turkey Cove, the other going easterly to the North Cove on the North Fork of the Catawba. Ensign Campbell’s diary gives the information that the fourth night, the 29th, Campbell’s men rested at a rich “Tory’s”, near Turkey Cove.

The following day the men who had camped at North Cove marched southeast down Paddy Creek, while those from Turkey Cove marched southerly down the North Fork and then hastily down the Catawba near the mouth of Paddy Creek. They continued down the Catawba to Quaker Meadows, the home place of the McDowells, and promptly made camp. During the five days that had elapsed since leaving Sycamore Flats, about 80 miles had been covered. On September 30th, Colonel Cleveland joined the marching column of 1,040 men at Quaker Meadow with the men from Wilkes County and Major Winston with the men from Surry County. An additional 30 Georgians, under the command of William Candler, joined the Patriot force at Gilberts Town, making for a combined strength of approximately 1,400 men.

The seven Colonels chose Col. William Campbell to act as overall commander. The Overmountain Men moved south in search of Major Patrick Ferguson. From the Rebel spy Joseph Kerr, they learned that Ferguson was thirty miles to the north, camped at Kings Mountain. It is said that Isaac Shelby was especially delighted to learn that Ferguson was quoted as saying, “He was on King’s Mountain, that he was King of that mountain and that God Almighty and all the Rebels of Hell could not drive him from it.” Shelby was very familiar with the Kings Mountain region and knew that it could prove to be an almost impossible position to defend.

The Colonels wanted to catch up with Ferguson before he reached Charlotte and Lt. General Charles Cornwallis’ protection, so they chose 900 of the best men and quickly made their way north. The combined force of Overmountain Men arrived at Kings Mountain the afternoon of October 7, 1780.

Having little insight into the methods and philosophies of warfare of the southern frontiersmen, Ferguson had chosen the position feeling no enemy could fire upon him without showing themselves. The Patriot force decided to surround the mountain and use continuous fire to slowly close in like an unavoidable noose.

The Battle:

When the Whig patriots came near the mountain they halted, dismounted, fastened their loose baggage to their saddles, tied their horses and left them under charge of a few men detailed for the purpose, and then prepared for an immediate attack. . . . The army was divided into two wings. The right center and right flank columns, numbering together 440, were under the direction of Colonel Cleveland.

‘This selection is published by the kind permission of the Macmlllan Company, New York.

The two wings were thus very nearly equal in strength. The plan of battle was that the two wings should approach upon opposite sides of the mountain and thus encompass the enemy. Cleveland’s and Sevier’s columns united at the northeast end of the ridge, Campbell’s and Shelby’s closing together at the southwest.

Before taking up the line of march, Campbell and the leading officers appealed to their soldiers, to the highest instincts of their natures, by all that was patriotic and noble among men, to fight like heroes, and give not an inch of ground save only from the sheerest necessity, and then only to retrace and recover their lost ground at the earliest possible moment; Campbell personally visited all the corps and said to Cleveland’s men, as he did to all, that if any of them, men or officers, were afraid, he advised them to quit the ranks and go home; that he wished no man to engage in the action who could not fight; that as for himself, he was determined to fight the enemy a week, if need be, to gain the victory. Colonel Campbell also gave the necessary orders to all the principal officers, and repeated them so as to be heard by a large portion of the line, and then placed himself at the head of his own regiment, as the other officers did at the head of their respective commands. Many of the men threw aside their hats, tying handkerchiefs around their heads so as to be less likely to be retarded by limbs and bushes when dashing up the mountain. . . . From the nature of the ground and thick intervening foliage of the trees, the Whigs were not discovered by Ferguson till within a quarter of a mile, when his drums beat to arms, and his shrill whistle, with which he was wont to summon his men to battle and inspire them with his own courage, was heard everywhere over the mountain.

The right and left wings had been cautioned that the action was not to be commenced until the centre columns were ready for the attack. These were to give the signal by raising a frontier warwhoop, after the manner of the Indians, and then to rush forward to the attack. Upon hearing the battle shout and the reports of the rifles, the right and left wings were to join in the affray. The first firing was made by the enemy upon Shelby’s column before they were in position to engage in the action. It was galling in its effect, and not a little annoying to the mountaineers, some of whom in their impatience complained that it would never do to be shot down without returning the fire; but Shelby restrained them. “Press on to your places,” he said, “and then your fire will not be lost.”

Before Shelby’s men could gain their position, Colonel Campbell had thrown off his coat; and, while leading his men to the attack, he exclaimed at the top of his voice, “Here they are, my brave boys; Shout like h—I, and fight like devils!” The woods immediately resounded with the shouts of the line, in which they were heartily joined, first by Shelby’s corps, and then the cry was caught up and ran along the two wings. Draper relates that when Captain de Peyster heard these almost deafening yells,—the same he too well remembered hearing from Shelby at Musgrove’s Mills,—he remarked to Ferguson, “These things are ominous; these are the d—d yelling boys!” Ferguson was himself dismayed when he heard them.

The part of the mountain where Campbell’s men ascended to attack was rough and craggy, the most difficult of ascent of any part of the ridge; but these resolute mountaineers permitted no obstacle to prevent their advance, creeping up the acclivity little by little, from tree to tree, till they were nearly at the top. The Virginians thus securing the summit of the hill, the battle became general. None of the Whigs were longer under the restraint of military discipline; some were on horseback, some were on foot; some behind trees, others exposed; but all were animated with enthusiasm. The Virginians were the first against whom Ferguson ordered a charge of the bayonets by his Rangers and a part of his Loyalists. Some of them obstinately stood their ground till a few were thrust through the body; but without bayonets themselves, with only their rifles to withstand such a charge, the Virginians broke and fled down the mountain. They were soon rallied, however, by their gallant commander and some of his more active officers, and by a constant and welldirected fire of their rifles they in turn drove back Ferguson’s men, and again reached the summit of the mountain. The mountain was covered with flame and smoke, and seemed to thunder. The shouts of the mountaineers, the noise of hundreds of rifles and muskets, the loud commands and encouraging words of the officers, with every now and then the shrill screech of Ferguson’s silver whistle high above the din and confusion of the battle, intermingled with the groans of the wounded in every part of the line, is described as combining to convey the idea of another pandemonium. .

But at length the two wings of the mountaineers so pressed the enemy on both sides that Ferguson’s men had ample employment all around the eminence without being able to repair to each other’s relief. The Provincial Rangers and the Loyalists, though led by the brave De Peyster, began to grow weary and discouraged, steadily decreasing in numbers and making no permanent impression upon their tireless opponents. From the southwestern portion of the ridge the Rangers and Tories began to give way, and were doggedly driven by Campbell’s, Shelby’s and Sevier’s men, and perhaps others intermingled with them.

Ferguson, by this time, had been wounded in the hand, but he was still in the heat of the battle, and with characteristic coolness and daring he ordered De Peyster to reenforce a position about one hundred yards distant; but before they reached it they were thinned too much by the Whig rifles to render any effectual support. He then ordered his cavalry to mount, with the intention of making a desperate onset at their head. But these only presented a better mark for the rifle, and fell as fast as they could mount their horses. He rode from end to end of his line, encouraging his men to prolong the conflict, and with his silver whistle in his wounded hand, with desperate courage he passed from one exposed point to another of equal danger. But the Whigs were gradually compressing his men, and the Tories began to show signs of yielding. They raised a flag in token of surrender. Ferguson rode up and cut it down. A second flag was raised at the other end of the line. He rode there, too, and cut it down with his sword. Captain De Peyster, his second in command, convinced from the first of the utter futility of resistance upon the position at King’s Mountain selected by Ferguson, as soon as he became satisfied that Ferguson would not abandon it and attempt to make his way to the relief for

which he had sent to Cornwallis, had the courage to advise a surrender; but Ferguson’s proud spirit could not deign to give up to raw and undisciplined militia. When the second flag was cut down De Peyster renewed his advice, but Ferguson declared that he would never surrender to such a d—d set of banditti as the mountain men. At length, satisfied that all was lost, and firmly resolving not to fall into the hands of the despised Backwater men, Ferguson with a few chosen friends made a desperate attempt to break through the Whig lines on the southeastern side of the mountain and escape. With his sword in his left hand, he made a bold dash for freedom, cutting and slashing until he broke it. Colonel Vesey Husbands, a North Carolina Loyalist, and Major Plummer of South Carolina joined Ferguson and charged on a part of the line they thought was vulnerable. They all fell and perished in the effort.

Captain De Peyster, who had succeeded Ferguson in command, perceiving that further struggle was in vain, raised the white flag and asked for quarter. A general cessation of the American fire followed; but this cessation was not complete. Many Patriots remembered that the notorious “Tarleton” had mowed down Patriot troops at Waxhaws despite the fact they were trying to surrender. With cries of ‘Remember Waxhaws’ and ‘Buford’s Quarter’ spurring some men to continue for a time, eventually, the fighting at Kings Mountain diminished.

The Aftermath:

The battle had lasted a little over an hour and not a single man of Ferguson’s force escaped. Though the number of casualties reported varies from source to source, some of the most commonly reported figures are that 225 Loyalists had been killed, 163 wounded and 716 were captured, while only 28 Patriots were killed, including Colonel James Williams, and 68 wounded. When General Cornwallis learned of Major Patrick Ferguson’s defeat, he retreated from Charlotte, North Carolina back to Winnsborough, South Carolina.

Historians agree that the Battle of Kings Mountain was the “beginning of the end” of British rule in its former colonies. In less than one hour of battle, the Overmountain Men not only captured the day but also undermined the British strategy for keeping America under its control. A defeat so crushing as that suffered by Major Patrick Ferguson is rare in any war. Although skewed, his position on Kings Mountain was thoughtfully selected using much experience and consideration. The plateau of the mountain was just large enough to serve as a battleground for his command and to provide space for his camp and wagon train. Water was near and plentiful. The slopes of the mountain would hinder the advance of the attackers. When attacked he expected that any retreat would be rendered perilous by flanking or encircling detachments, a condition he desired as his militia would be put to the task to stand and fight instead of having the choice to flee. From Patrick Ferguson’s point of view, a better position on which to take a stand could not have been found.

It can be assumed without a shred of doubt that Patrick Ferguson utterly underestimated the courage of the mountain men. Their apparent advantage in numbers did not discourage him from offering battle; otherwise he would have continued his march on October 7th in the direction of Charlotte and Cornwallis. But had he known that these Overmountain Men would so aggressively stand and fight with a fierceness and conviction never before experienced in his southern campaign, I’m sure he would have been much more cautious and considerably less heroic.

Narrative of the Battle of King’s Mountain:

by Robert Campbell, October 1780, South Carolina

“In the fall of the year 1780, when the American cause wore a very gloomy aspect in the Southern States, Cols. Arthur and William Campbell, hearing of the advance of Colonel Ferguson along the mountains in the State of North Carolina, and that the Whigs were retreating before him, unable to make any effectual resistance, formed a plan to intercept him, and communicated it to the commanding officers of Sullivan and Washington Counties, in the State of North Carolina. They readily agreed to co-operate in any expedition against Col. Ferguson. Col. Arthur Campbell immediately ordered the militia of Washington Co., Virginia, amounting to near four hundred, to make ready to march under command of Col. Wm. Campbell, who was known to be an enterprising and active officer. Cols. Shelby and Sevier raised a party of three hundred, joined him on his march, and moved with forced marches toward Col. Ferguson. At the same time Cols. Williams, Cleveland, Lacey, and Brandon, of the States of North and South Carolina, each conducted a small party toward the same point, amounting to near three hundred. Col. Ferguson had notice of their approach by a deserter that left the army on the Yellow Mountain, and immediately commenced his march for Charlotte, dispatching at the same time different messengers to Lord Cornwallis with information of his danger. These messengers being intercepted on their way, no movement was made to favor his retreat.

These several corps of American volunteers, amounting to near one thousand men, met at Gilbert Town, and the officers unanimously chose Colonel Campbell to the command. About seven hundred choice riflemen mounted their horses for the purpose of following the retreating army. The balance being chiefly footmen, were left to follow on and come up as soon as they could. The pursuit was too rapid to render an escape. practicable. Ferguson, finding that he must inevitably be over-taken, chose his ground, and waited for the attack on King’s Mountain. On the 7th of October, in the afternoon, after a forced march of forty-five miles on that day and the night before; the volunteers came up with him. The forenoon of the day was wet, but they were fortunate enough to come on him undiscovered, and took his pickets, they not having it in their power to give an alarm. They were soon formed in such order as to attack the enemy on all sides. The Washington and Sullivan regiments were formed in the front and on the right flank; the North and South Carolina troops, under Cols. Williams, Sevier, Cleveland, Lacey, and Brandon, on the left. The two armies being in full view, the center of the one nearly opposite the center of the other-the British main guard posted nearly half way down the mountain-the commanding officer gave the word of command to raise the Indian war-whoop and charge. In a moment, King’s Mountain resounded with their shouts, and on the first fire the guard retreated, leaving some of their men to crimson the earth. The British beat to arms, and immediately formed on the top of the mountain, behind a chain of rocks that appeared impregnable, and had their wagons drawn up on their flank across the end of the mountain, by which they made a strong breast-work.

Thus concealed, the American army advanced to the charge. In ten or fifteen minutes the wings came round, and the action became general. The enemy annoyed our troops very much from their advantageous position. Col. Shelby, being previously ordered to reconnoitre their position, observing their situation, and what a destructive fire was kept up from behind those rocks, ordered Robert Campbell, one of the officers of the Virginia Line, to move to the right with a small company to endeavor to dislodge them, and lead them on. nearly to the ground to which he had ordered them, under fire of the enemy’s lines and within forty steps of the same; but discovering that our men were repulsed on the other side of the mountain, he gave orders to advance, and post themselves opposite to the rocks, and near to the enemy, and then returned to assist in bringing up the men in order, who had been charged with the bayonet. These orders were punctually obeyed, and they kept up such a galling fire as to compel Ferguson to order a company of regulars to fact them, with a view to cover his men that were posted behind the rocks. At this time, a considerable fire was drawn to this side of the mountain by the repulse of those on the other, and the Loyalists not being permitted to leave their posts. This scene was not of long duration, for it was the brave Virginia volunteers, and those under Col. Shelby, on their attempting rapidly to ascend the mountain, that were charged with the bayonet. They obstinately stood until some of them were thrust through the body, and having nothing but their rifle, by which to defend themselves, they were forced to retreat. They were soon rallied by their gallant commanders, Campbell, Shelby and other brave officers, and by a constant and well-directed fire of their rifles, drove them back in id-lei I turn, strewing the face of the mountain with their assailant: and kept advancing until they drove them from some of their posts.

Ferguson being heavily pressed on all sides, ordered Capt. DePeyster to reinforce some of the extreme posts with a full company of British regulars. He marched, but to his astonishment when he arrived at the place of destination, he had almost no men, being exposed in that short distance to the constant fire of their rifles. He then ordered his cavalry to mount, but to no purpose. As quick as they were mounted, they were taken down by some bold marksmen. Being driven to desperation by such a scene of misfortune, Col. Ferguson endeavored to make his escape, and, with two Colonels of the Loyalists, mounted his horse, and charged on that part of the line which was defended by the party who had been ordered round the mountain by Col. Shelby, it appearing too weak to resist them. But as soon as he got to the line he fell, and the other two officers, attempting to retreat, soon shared the same fate. It was about this time that Col. Campbell advanced in front of his men, and climbed over a steep rock close by the enemy’s lines, to get a view of their situation, and saw they were retreating from behind the rocks that were near to him. As soon as Capt. DePeyster observed that Col. Ferguson was killed, he raised a flag and called for quarters. It was soon taken out of his hand by one of the officers on horseback, and raised so high that it could be seen by our line, and the firing immediately ceased. The Loyalists, at the time of their surrender, were driven into a crowd, and being closely surrounded, they could not have made any further resistance.

In this sharp action, one hundred and fifty of Col. Ferguson’s party were killed, and something over that number were wounded. Eight hundred and ten, of whom one hundred were British regulars, surrendered themselves prisoners, and one thousand five hundred stand of arms were taken. The loss of the American army on this occasion amounted to thirty killed, and something over fifty wounded, among whom were a number of brave officers. Col. Williams, who has been so much lamented, was shot through the body, near the close of the action, in making an attempt to charge upon Ferguson. He lived long enough to hear of the surrender of the British army. He then said, “I die contented, since we have gained the victory,” and expired.

The third night after the action, the officers of the Carolinas complained to Col. Campbell, that there were among the prisoners a number who had, previous to the action on King’s Mountain, committed cool and deliberate murder, and other enormities alike atrocious, and requested him to order a court-martial to examine into the matter. They stated that if they should escape, they were exasperated, and they feared they would commit other enormities worse than they had formerly done. Col. Campbell complied, and ordered a court-martial immediately to sit, composed of the Field Officers and Captains, who were ordered to inquire into the complaints which had been made. The court was conducted orderly, and witnesses were called and examined in each case. The consequence was that there were thirty-two condemned. Out of these, nine who were thought the most dangerous, and who had committed the most atrocious crimes, were executed. The others were pardoned by the commanding officer. One of the crimes proven against a Captain that was executed was, that he had called at the house of a Whig, and inquired if he was at home, and being informed by his son, a small boy, that he was not, he immediately drew out his pistol and shot him. The officers on the occasion acted from an honorable motive to do the greatest good in their power for the public service, and to check those enormities so frequently committed in the States of North and South Carolina at that time, their distress being almost unequaled in the annals of the American Revolution.”

Martin Gambill’s Ride:

First, to set the stage, let me explain a bit about the times.  Militias existed in many areas.  These Militias worked in concert with the Continental Forces commanded by General Washington and others.  These forces were the “home guard” much like the National Guard of our times.  According to what I have read, the British General Cornwallis had much of his army near present day Charlotte, NC.  He wanted to move North to either flank, or come behind Washington’s Continental Troops, who were not having much success battling Clinton’s forces in New York.  He was somewhat afraid of the mountain Militias who could be a real thorn in his side once he began his northward march.  Cornwallis selected a Major Patrick Ferguson to neutralize this threat from the mountain Militias.  The mountain Militia leaders were expecting Ferguson, and had devised an early warning system.  Brush piles were made on key, higher mountain tops.  If Ferguson was seen moving west, fires would be lit to warn of his advance.  It just so happens that Colonel Shelby from Tennesse had called many of the militia leaders to a meeting at the home of Colonel John Sevier (later an organizer and governor of the state of Franklin in NE Tennesse) near present day Boone, NC.  As the meeting was in progress, the leaders saw the signal fires lit on distant peaks.  Ferguson had begun his march.  Several of the Virginia leaders were not present. (Captain Enoch Osborn, and Colonel Campbell to name two)  In a day with no phone or telegraph, and very poor roads, it was necessary for a rider to be dispatched to warn the Virginia Militia leaders.  Martin Gambill volunteered  for this duty.  In 24 hours he rode over 100 miles of poor trails, crossed rivers and creeks, and lost at least 3 horses to exhaustion.  He lost one horse as he crossed the New River where Captain Enoch Osborn was plowing a field.  Captain Osborn sent the exhausted rider up to the house for breakfast, while he removed Martin’s saddle and placed it on one of the plow horses.  Martin continued up the New River to the Mouth of the Fox Creek, which he followed upstream, and through Comer’s Gap eventually to the Holston River, and downstream to Colonel Campbell.  Martin’s remarkable ride enabled the Militias to meet in 7 days at Sycamore Shoals in Ashe County, NC.

Oct 6th Colonial and Revolutionary War History

Oct 6, 1683 The first Mennonites arrived in America aboard the Concord. The German and Dutch families settled in an area that is now a neighborhood in Philadelphia, PA.

More Detail:
Germantown, the site of the first permanent settlement of Mennonites in America, has been called “The Gateway of American Mennonitism,” through which most North American Mennonites have symbolically passed. Thirteen Dutch Mennonite families led the way, when on October 6, 1683, they arrived in Philadelphia on the ship, the Concord. They located six miles north of Philadelphia in what became known as Germantown. More Dutch Mennonite families continued arriving, and then in 1707 Palatine Mennonite families followed, uniting with the Germantown congregation. In 1708 they erected a log meetinghouse, replacing it in 1770 with the present Meetinghouse, now some 236 years old.

Two historically significant events took place in Germantown. In 1688 the first protest against slavery in America was signed. Then in 1725 Mennonites held their first general conference, where they adopted the Dordrecht Confession of Faith, a Dutch confession dating to 1632. These two events laid the foundation for what would always be key foci for Mennonites – stating their faith clearly and expressing their faith through action in the way they lived.


Oct 6, 1775 The Continental Congress passes a resolution calling for the arrest of all loyalists who are dangerous to “the liberties of America.”


Loyalists were colonists who remained loyal subjects of the British crown as the thirteen American colonies declared independence in 1776 and became the United States of America. Loyalists refused to support independence, and sometimes joined Loyalist regiments set up by the British to defeat the American Revolution. Loyalists at the time were also called Tories, King’s Men, or Royalists. Those Loyalists who left and resettled in Canada called themselves the United Empire Loyalists. Their colonial opponents, who supported the Revolution, were called Patriots, Whigs, Rebels, Congress Men, or, in view of their loyalty to the new United States of America, just Americans. Historians have estimated that about 15-20% of the white population may have been Loyalists (that is, about 500,000), but there are no exact numbers.

The Loyalists were those who rejected the republicanism of the new nation; those who went to Canada resisted democracy there and became famous for their loyalty to the British crown, their admiration of royalty and aristocracy, and their anti-Americanism. The great majority of Loyalists remained in the United States, but their political beliefs had very little or no impact on the anti-aristocratic republicanism that became central to American values

Loyalists who went into exile lost all the property left behind, but were compensated by British claims procedures. Britain paid the Loyalists ₤3 million or about 37% of their reported losses. Loyalists who stayed in the U.S. retained their property. After Britain’s defeat in 1783,  Loyalists who remained in America and declared their loyalty to the new nation, as did over 75% of the Loyalists. From the Loyalist perspective in 1775, the Loyalists were the honorable ones who stood by the Crown and the British Empire. However once independence was declared in 1776 Loyalists who continued to support the Crown were treated by the Patriots as traitors who turned against their fellow citizens and collaborated with a foreign army. The departure of so many royal officials, rich merchants and landed gentry destroyed the hierarchical networks that had dominated most of the colonies. In New York, the departure of key members of the DeLancy, DePester Walton and Cruger families undercut the interlocking families that largely owned and controlled the Hudson Valley. Likewise in Pennsylvania, the departure of powerful families, Penn, Allen, Chew, and Shippen, destroyed the cohesion of the old upper class there. New men became rich merchants but they shared a spirit of republican equality that replaced the elitism and the Americans never recreated such a powerful upper class. One rich patriot in Boston noted in 1779 that “fellows who would have cleaned my shoes five years ago, have amassed fortunes and are riding in chariots.”


Oct 6, 1776 Since the Battle of Harlem Heights on September 16, Howe concentrated on constructing a line across Manhattan from Bloomingdale to Hell Gate and Washington built three lines at Harlem Heights.

See General Washington’s Great Campaign of 1776


Oct 6, 1777 As they proceed up the Hudson, British forces under General Clinton capture Forts Clinton and Montgomery. (see links for historical details)

General Washington’s Great Campaign of 1776

Washington’s Great Campaign of 1776

by John Fiske

Throughout a considerable portion of the country the news of the Declaration of Independence was accompanied by the news of a brilliant success at the South. After the defeat of Macdonald at Moore’s Creek, and the sudden arming of North Carolina, Clinton did not venture to land, but cruised about in the neighborhood, awaiting the arrival of Sir Peter Parker’s squadron from Ireland. Harassed by violent and contrary winds, Parker was three months in making the voyage, and it was not until May that he arrived, bringing with him Lord Cornwallis. As North Carolina had given such unmistakable evidence of its real temper, it was decided not to land upon that coast for the present, but to go South and capture Charleston and Savannah. Lord William Campbell, refugee governor of South Carolina, urged that there was a great loyalist party in that colony, which would declare itself as soon as the chief city should be in the hands of the king’s troops. That there would be any serious difficulty in taking Charleston occurred to no one. But Colonel Moultrie had thrown up on Sullivan’s Island, commanding the harbor, a fortress of palmetto logs strengthened by heavy banks of sand, and now held it wiht a force of twelve hundred men, while five thousand militia were gathered about the town, under command of General Charles Lee, who had been sent down to meet the emergency, but did little more than to meddle and hinder. In his character of trained European officer, Lee laughed to scorn Moultrie’s palmetto stronghold, and would have ordered him to abandon it, but that he was positively overruled by Rutledge, president of the provincial congress, who knew Moultrie and relied upon his sound judgment. The British commanders, Clinton and Parker, wasted three weeks in discussing various plans of attack, while the Americans, with spade and hatchet, were rapidly barring every approach to Charleston, and fresh regiments came pouring in to man the new-built intrenchments. At last Clinton landed three thousand men on a naked sand-bank, divided form Sullivan’s Island by a short space of shallow sea, which he thought could be forded at low tide. At the proper time Sir Peter Parker was to open a furious fire from the fleet, which it was expected would knock down the fort in a few minutes, while Clinton, fording the shoals, would drive out the Americans at the point of the bayonet. The shoals, however, turned out to be seven feet deep at low water, and the task of the infantry was reduced to a desperate conflict with the swarms of mosquitoes, which nearly drove them frantic. The battle thus became a mere artillery duel between the fort and the fleet. The British fire was rapid and furious, but ineffective. Most of the shot passed harmlessly over the low fortress, and those which struck did no harm to its elastic structure. The American fire was very slow, and few shots were wasted. The cable of Parker’s flagship was cut by a well-aimed ball, and the ship, swinging around, received a raking fire which swept her deck with terrible slaughter. After the fight had lasted ten hours the British retreated out of range. The palmetto fort had suffered no serious injury, and only one gun had been silenced. The American loss in killed and wounded was thirty-seven. On the other hand, Sir Peter’s flagship had lost her main-mast and mizzen-mast, and had some twenty shots in her hull, so that she was little better than a wreck. The British loss in killed and wounded was two hundred and five. Of their ten sails, only one frigate remained seaworthy at the close of the action. After waiting three weeks to refit, the whole expedition sailed away from New York to cooperate with the Howes. Charleston was saved, and for more than two years the Southern States were freed from the invader. In commemoration of this brilliant victory, and of the novel stronghold which had so roused the mirth of the European soldier of fortune, the outpost on Sullivan’s Island has ever since been known by the name of Fort Moultrie.

It was with such tidings of good omen that the Declaration of Independence was sent forth to he world. But it was the last news of victory that for the next six months was to cheer the anxious statesmen assembled at Philadelphia. During the rest of the summer and autumn disaster followed upon disaster, until it might well seem as if fickle fortune had ceased to smile upon the cause of liberty. The issue of the contest was now centred in New York. By conquering and holding the line of the Hudson River, the British hoped to cut the United Colonies in two, after which it was thought that Virginia and New England, isolated from each other, might be induced to consider the error of their ways and repent. Accordingly, General Howe was to capture the city of New York, while General Carleton was to descend from Canada, recapture Ticonderoga, and take possession of the upper waters of the Hudson, together with the Mohawk valley. Great hopes were built upon the cooperation of the loyalists, of whom there was a greater number in New York than in any other State, except perhaps South Carolina. It was partly for this reason, as we shall hereafter see, that these two States suffered more actual misery from the war than all the others put together. The horrors of civil war were to be added to the attack of the invader. Throughout the Mohawk valley the influence of Sir John Johnson, the Tory son of the famous baronet of the Seven Years’ War was thought to be supreme; and it turned out to be very powerful both with the white population and with the Indians. At the other end of the line, in New York city, the Tory element was strong, for reasons already set forth. On Long Island, the people of Kings and Queens counties, of Dutch descent, were Tories almost to a man, while the English population of Suffolk was solidly in favor of independence. And this instance of Long Island was typical. From one end of the United States to the other, the Tory sentiment was strongest with the non-English element in the population.

Before beginning his attack on New York, General Howe had to await the arrival of his brother; for the ministry had resolved to try the effect of what seemed to them a “conciliatory policy.” On the 12th of July Lord Howe arrived at Staten Island, bringing with him the “olive-branch” which Lord North had promised to send along with the sword. This curious specimen of political botany turned out to consist of a gracious declaration that all persons who should desist from rebellion and lend their “aid in restoring tranquillity” would receive full and free pardon from their sovereign lord the king. As it would not do to recognize the existence of Congress, Lord Howe inclosed this declaration in a letter addressed to “George Washington, Esq.,” and sent it up the harbor with a flag of truce. But as George Washington, in his capacity of Virginian landholder and American citizen, had no authority for dealing with a royal commissioner, he refused to receive the letter. Colonel Reed informed Lord Howe’s messenger that there was no person in the army with that address. The British officer reluctantly rowed away, but suddenly, putting his barge about, he came back and inquired by what title Washington should be properly addressed. Colonel Reed replied, “You are aware, sir, of the rank of General Washington in our army?” “Yes, sir, we are,” answered the officer; “I am sure my Lord Howe will lament exceedingly this affair, as the letter is of a civil, and not of a military nature. He greatly laments that he was not here a little sooner.” This remark was understood by Colonel Reed to refer to the Declaration of Independence, which was then but eight days old. A week later Lord Howe sent Colonel Patterson, the British adjutant-general, with a document now addressed to “George Washington, Esq., etc. etc.” Colonel Patterson begged for a personal interview, which was granted. He was introduced to Washington, whom he describes as a gentleman of magnificent presence and very handsomely dressed. Somewhat overawed, and beginning his remarks with “May it please your Excellency,” Patterson explained that the etceteras on the letter meant everything. “Indeed,” said Washington, with a pleasant smile, “they might mean anything.” He declined to take the letter, but listened to Patterson’s explanations, and then replied that he was not authorized to deal with the matter, and could not give his lordship any encouragement, as he seemed empowered only to grant pardons, whereas those who had committed no fault needed no pardons. As Patterson got up to go, he asked if his Excellency had no message to send to Lord Howe. “Nothing,” answered Washington “but my particular compliments.” Thus foiled in his attempt to negotiate with the American commander, Lord Howe next inclosed his declaration in a circular letter addressed to the royal governors of the Middle and Southern colonies; but as most of these dignitaries were either in jail or on board the British fleet, not much was to be expected from such a mode of publication. The precious document was captured and sent to Congress, which derisively published it for the amusement and instruction of the people. It was everywhere greeted with jeers. “No doubt we all need pardon from Heaven,” said Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, “for our manifold sins and transgressions; but the American who needs the pardon of his Britannic Majesty is yet to be found.” The only serious effect produced was the weakening of the loyalist party. Many who had thus far been held back by the hope that Lord Howe’s intercession might settle all the difficulties now came forward as warm supporter of independence as soon as it became apparent that the king had really nothing to offer.

The olive-branch having proved ineffectual, nothing was left but to unsheathe the sword, and a most interesting campaign now began, of which the primary object was to capture the city of New York and compel Washington’s army to surrender. The British army was heavily reinforced by the return of Clinton’s expedition and the arrival of 11,000 fresh troops from England and Germany. General Howe had now more than 25,000 men at his disposal, fully equipped and disciplined; while to oppose him Washington had but 18,000, many of them raw levies which had just come in. If the American army had consisted of such veterans as Washington afterwards led at Monmouth, the disparity of numbers would still have told powerfully in favor of the British. As it was, in view of the crudeness of his material, Washington could hardly hope to do more with his army than to make it play the part of a detaining force. To keep the field in the face of overwhelming odds is one of the most arduous of military problems, and often calls for a higher order of intelligence than that which is displayed in the mere wining of battles. Upon this problem Washington was now to be employed for six months without respite, and it was not long before he gave evidence of military genius such as has seldom been surpassed in the history of modern warfare. At the outset the city of New York furnished the kernel of the problem. Without control of the water it would be well-nigh impossible to hold the city. Still there was a chance, and it was the part of a good general to take this chance, and cut out as much work as possible for the enemy. The shore of Manhattan Island was girded with small forts and redoubts, which Lee had erected in the spring before his departure for South Carolina. The lower end of the island, along the line of Wall Street, was then but little more than half its present width, as several lines of the street have since been added upon both sides. From Corlandt Street across to Paulus Hook, the width of the Hudson River was not less than two miles, while the East River near Fulton Ferry was nearly a mile in width. The city reached only from the Battery as far as Chatham Street, whence the Bowery Lane ran northwestwardly to Bloomingdale through a country smiling with orchards and gardens. Many of the streets were now barricaded, and a strong line of redoubts ran across from river to river below the side of Canal Street. At the upper end of the island, and on the Jersey shore, were other fortresses, with which we shall shortly have to deal, and out in the harbor, as a sort of watch-tower from which to inspect the enemy’s fleet, a redoubt had been raised on Governor’s Island, and was commanded by Colonel Prescott, with a party of the men of Bunker Hill.

In order to garrison such various positions, it was necessary for Washington to scatter his 18,000 men; and this added much to the difficulty of his task, for Howe could at any moment strike at almost any one of these points with his whole force. From the nature of the case the immense advantage of the initiative belonged entirely to Howe. But in one quarter, the most important of all, Washington had effected as much concentration of his troops as was possible. The position on Brooklyn Heights was dangerously exposed, but it was absolutely necessary for the Americans to occupy it if they were to keep their hold upon New York. This eminence commanded New York exactly as Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights commanded Boston. Green had, accordingly, spent the summer in fortifying it, and there 9000 men–one half of the army–were now concentrated under command of Putnam. Upon this exposed position General Howe determined to throw nearly the whole of his force. He felt confident that the capture or destruction of half the American army would so discourage the rebels as to make them lend a readier ear to the overtures of that excellent peacemaker, his brother. Accordingly, on the 22d of August, General Howe landed 20,000 men at Gravesend Bay. From this point the American position was approachable by four roads, two of which crossed a range of densely wooded hills, and continued through the villages of Bedford and Flatbush. To the left of these the Gowanus road followed the shore about the western base of the hills, while on the right the Jamaica road curved inland and turned their eastern base.

The elaborate caution with which the British commander now proceeded stands out in striking contrast with the temerity of his advance upon Bunker Hill in the preceding year. He spent four days in reconnoitring, and then he sent his brother, with part of the fleet, to make a feint upon New York, and occupy Washington’s attention. Before daybreak of the 27th, under the cover of this feint, the British advance had been nearly completed. General Grant, with the Highlands regiments, advanced along the coast road, where the American outposts were held by William Alexander, of New Jersey, commonly known as Lord Stirling, from a lapsed Scotch earldom to which he had claimed the title. The Hessians, under General von Heister, proceeded along the Bedford and Flatbush roads, which were defended by Sullivan; while more than half of the army, under Howe in person, accompanied by Clinton, Percy and Cornwallis, accomplished a long night march by the Jamaica road, in order to take the Americans in flank. This long flanking march was completed in perfect secrecy because the people of the neighborhood were in sympathy with the British, and it encountered no obstacles because the American force was simply incapable of covering so much territory. The divisions of Stirling and Sullivan contained the 5000 men which were all that Putnam could afford to send forward from his works. A patrol which watched the Jamaica road was captured early in the morning, but it would not in any case have been possible to send any force there which could materially have hindered the British advance. Overwhelming superiority in numbers enabled the British to go where they pleased, and the battle was already virtually won when they appeared on the Jamaica road in the rear of the village of Bedford. Scarcely had the fight begun on the crest of the hill between Sullivan and the Hessians in his front when he found himself assaulted in the rear. Thrown into confusion, and driven back and forth through the woods between two galling fires, his division was quickly routed, and nearly all were taken prisoners, including the general himself. On the coast road the fight between Stirling and Grant was the first in which Americans had ever met British troops in open field and in regular line of battle. Against the sturdy Highland regiments Stirling held his ground gallantly for four hours, until he was in turn assaulted in the rear by Lord Cornwallis, after the rout of Sullivan. It now became, with Stirling, simply a question of saving his division from capture, and after a desperate fight his end was accomplished, and the men got back to Brooklyn Heights, though the brave Stirling himself was taken prisoner. In this noble struggle the highest honors were won by the brigade of Maryland men commanded by Smallwood, and throughout the war we shall find this honorable distinction of Maryland for the personal gallantry of her troops fully maintained, until in the last pitched battle, at Eutaw Springs, we see them driving the finest infantry of England at the point of the bayonet.

The defeat of Sullivan and Stirling enabled Howe to bring up his whole army in front of the works at Brooklyn Heights toward the close of the day. To complete the victory it would be necessary to storm these works, but Howe’s men were tired with marching, if not with fighting, and so the incident known as the battle of Long Island came to an end. A swift ship was at once dispatched to England with the news of the victory, which was somewhat highly colored. It was for a while supposed that there had been a terrible slaughter, but careful research has shown that this was not the case. About 400 had been killed and wounded on each side, and this loss had been incurred mainly in the fight between Stirling and Grant. On other parts of the field the British triumph had consisted chiefly in the scooping up of prisoners, of whom at least 1000 were taken. The stories of a wholesale butcher by the Hessians which once were current have been completely disproved. Washington gave a detailed account of the affair a few days afterward, and the most careful investigation has shown that he was correct in every particular. But to the American public the blow was none the less terrible, while in England the exultation served as an offset to the chagrin felt after the loss of Boston and the defeat at Fort Moultrie, and it was naturally long before facts could be seen in their true proportions.

Heavy as was the blow, however, General Howe’s object was still but half attained. He had neither captured nor destroyed the American forces on Long Island, but had only driven them into their works. He was still confronted by 8000 men on Brooklyn Heights, and the problem was how to dislodge them. In the evening Washington came over from New York, and made everything ready to resist a storm. To this end, on the next day, he brought over reinforcements, raising his total force within the works to 10,000 men. Under such circumstances, if the British had attempted a storm, they would probably have been repulsed with great slaughter. But Howe had not forgotten Bunker Hill, and he thought it best to proceed by way of siege. As soon as Washington perceived this intention of his adversary, he saw that he must withdraw his army. He would have courted a storm, in which he was almost sure to be victorious, but he shrank from a siege, in which he was quite sure to lose his whole force. The British troops now invested him in a semicircle, and their ships might at any moment close in behind and cut off his only retreat. Accordingly, sending trusty messengers across the river, Washington collected every sloop, yacht, fishing-smack, yawl, scow, or row-boat that could be found in either water from the Battery to King’s Bridge or Hell-Gate; and after nightfall of the 29th, these craft were all assembled at the Brooklyn ferry, and wisely manned by the fishermen of Marblehead and Gloucester from Glover’s Essex regiment, experts, every one of them, whether at oar or sail. All through the night the American troops were ferried across the broad river, as quietly as possible and in excellent order, while Washington superintended the details of the embarkation, and was himself the last man to leave the ground. At seven o’clock in the morning the whole American army had landed on the New York side, and had brought with them all their cannon, small arms, ammunition, tools, and horses, and all their larder besides, so that when the bewildered British climbed into the empty works they did not find so much as a biscuit or a glass of rum wherewith to console themselves.

This retreat has always been regarded as one of the most brilliant incidents in Washington’s career, and it would certainly be hard to find a more striking example of vigilance. Had Washington allowed himself to be cooped up on Brooklyn Heights he would have been forced to surrender; and whatever was left of the war would have been a game played without queen, rook, or bishop. For this very reason it is hardly creditable to Howe that he should have let his adversary get away so easily. At daybreak, indeed, the Americans had been remarkably favored by the sudden rise of a fog which covered the East River, but during the night the moon had shone brightly, and one can only wonder that the multitudinous plash of oars and the unavoidable murmur of ten thousand men embarking, with their heavy guns and stores, would not have attracted the attention of some wakeful sentinel, either on shore or on the fleet. A storming party of British, at the right moment, would at least have disturbed the proceedings. So rare a chance of ending the war at a blow was never again to be offered to the British commanders. Washington now stationed the bulk of his army along the line of the Harlem River, leaving a strong detachment in the city under Putnam; and presently, with the same extraordinary skill which he had just displayed in sending boats under the very eyes of the fleet, he withdrew Colonel Prescott and his troops from their exposed position on Governor’s Island, which there was no longer any reason for holding.

Hoping that the stroke just given by the British sword might have weakened the obstinacy of the Americans, Lord Howe again had recourse to the olive-branch. The captured General Sullivan was sent to Congress to hold out hopes that Lord Howe would use his influence to get all the obnoxious acts of Parliament repealed, only he would first like to confer with some of the members of Congress informally and as with mere private gentlemen. A lively debate ensued upon this proposal, in which some saw an insult to Congress, while all quite needlessly suspected treachery. John Adams, about whom there was so much less of the suaviter in modo that of the fortiter in re, alluded to Sullivan, very unjustly, as a “decoy duck,” who had better have been shot in the battle than employed on such a business. It was finally voted that no proposals of peace from Great Britain should receive notice, unless they should be conveyed in writing, and should explicitly recognize Congress as the legal representative of the American States. For this once, however out of personal regard for Lord Howe, and that nothing might be disdained which really looked toward a peaceful settlement, they would send a committee to Staten Island to confer with his lordship, who might regard this committee in whatever light he pleased. In this shrewd, half-humorous method of getting rid of the diplomatic difficulty, one is forcibly reminded of President Lincoln’s famous proclamation addressed “To whom it may concern.” The committee, consisting of Franklin, Rutledge, and John Adams, were hospitably entertained by Lord Howe, but their conference came to nothing, because the Americans now demanded a recognition of their independence as a condition which must precede all negotiation. There is no doubt that Lord Howe, who was a warm friend to the Americans and a most energetic opponent of the king’s policy, was bitterly grieved at this result. As a last resort he published a proclamation announcing the intention of the British government to reconsider the various acts and instructions by which the Americans had been annoyed, and appealing to all right-minded people to decide for themselves whether it were not wise to rely on a solemn promise like this, rather than commit themselves to the dangerous chances of an unequal and unrighteous war.

Four days after this futile interview General Howe took possession of New York. After the loss of Brooklyn Heights, Washington and Greene were already aware that the city could not be held. Its capture was very easily effected. Several ships-of-the-line ascended the Hudson as far as Bloomingdale, and the East River as far as Blackwell’s Island; and while thus from either side these vessels swept the northern part of Manhattan with a furious fire, General Howe brought his army across from Brooklyn in boats and landed at Kipp’s Bay, near the present site of East Thirty-Fourth Street. Washington came promptly down, with two New England brigades, to reinforce the men whom he had stationed at that point, and to hinder the landing of the enemy until Putnam should have time to evacuate the city. To Washington’s wrath and disgust, these men were seized with panic, and suddenly turned and fled without firing a shot. Had Howe now thrown his men promptly forward across the line of Thirty-Fourth Street, he would have cut off Putnam’s retreat from the city. But what the New England brigades failed to do a bright woman succeeded in accomplishing. When Howe had reached the spot known as Murray Hill, now the centre of much brownstone magnificence in Park and Madison and Fifth avenues, at that time a noble country farmstead, Mrs. Lindley Murray, mother of the famous grammarian, well knowing the easy temper of the British commander, sent out a servant to invite him to stop and take luncheon. A general halt was ordered; and while Howe and his officers were gracefully entertained for more than two hour by their accomplished and subtle hostess, Putnam hastily marched his 4000 men up the shore of the Hudson, until, passing Bloomingdale, he touched the right wing of the main army, and was safe, though his tents, blankets, and heavy guns had been left behind. The American lines now extended from the mouth of Harlem River across the island, and on the following day the British attempted to break through their centre at Harlem Heights; but the attack was repulsed, with a loss of sixty Americans and three hundred British, and the lines just formed remained, with very little change, for nearly four weeks.

General Howe had thus got possession of the city of New York, but the conquest availed him little so long as the American army stood across the island, in the attitude of blockading him. If this campaign was to decide the war, as the ministry hoped, nothing short of the capture or dispersal of Washington’s army would suffice. But the problem was now much harder than it had been at Brooklyn. For as the land above Manhattan Island widens rapidly to the north and east, it would not be easy to hem Washington in by sending forces to his rear. As soon as he should find his position imperiled, he would posses the shorter line by which to draw his battalions together and force an escape, and so the event proved. Still, with Howe’s superior force and with his fleet, if he could get up the Hudson to the rear of the American right, and at the same time land troops from the Sound in the rear of the American left, it was possible that Washington might be compelled to surrender. There was nothing to bar Howe’s passage up the East River to the sound; but at the northern extremity of Manhattan Island the ascent of the Hudson was guarded on the east by Fort Washington, under command of Putnam, and on the west by Fort Lee, standing on the summit of the lofty cliffs known as the palisades, and commanded by Greene. It was still doubtful, however, whether these two strongholds could effectually bar the ascent of so broad a river, and for further security Putnam undertook to place obstructions in the bed of the stream itself. Both the continental Congress and the State Convention of New York were extremely unwilling that these two fortresses should in any event be given up, for in no case must the Hudson River be abandoned. Putnam and Greene thought that the forts could be held, but by the 9th of October it was proved that they could not bar the passage of the river, for on that day two frigates ran safely between them, and captured some small American craft a short distance above. This point having been ascertained, General Howe, on the 12th, leaving Percy in command before Harlem Heights, moved the greater part of his army nine miles up the East River to Throg’s Neck, a peninsula in the Sound, separated from the mainland by a narrow creek and a marsh that was overflowed at high tide. By landing here suddenly, Howe hoped to get in Washington’s rear and cut him off from his base of supply in Connecticut. But Washington had foreseen the move and forestalled it. When Howe arrived a Throg’s Neck, he found the bridge over the creek destroyed, and the main shore occupied by a force which it would be dangerous to try to dislodge by wading across the marsh. While Howe was thus detained six days on the peninsula, Washington moved his base to White Plains, and concentrated his whole army at that point, abandoning everything on Manhattan Island except Fort Washington. Sullivan, Stirling, and Morgan, who had just been exchanged, now rejoined the army, and Lee also arrived from South Carolina.

By this movement to White Plains, Washington had foiled Howe’s attempt to get in his rear, and the British general decided to try the effect of an attack in front. On the 28th of October he succeeded in storming an outpost at Chatterton Hill, losing 229 lives, while the Americans lost 140. But this affair, which is sometimes known as the battle of white Plains, seems to have discouraged Howe. Before renewing the attack he waited three days, thinking perhaps of Bunker Hill; and on the last night of October, Washington fell back upon North Castle, where he took a position so strong that it was useless to think of assailing him. Howe then changed his plans entirely, and moved down the east bank of the Hudson to Dobb’s Ferry, whence he could either attack Fort Washington, or cross into New Jersey and advance upon Philadelphia, the “rebel capital.” The purpose of this change was to entice Washington from his unassailable position.

To meet this new movement, Washington threw his advance of 5000 men, under Putnam, into New Jersey, where they encamped near Hackensack; he sent Heath up to Peekskill, with 3000 men, to guard the entrance to the Highlands; and he left Lee at North Castle, with 7000 men, and ordered him to cooperate with him promptly in whatever direction, as soon as the nature of Howe’s plans should become apparent. As Forts Washington and Lee detained a large force in garrison, while they had shown themselves unable to prevent ships from passing up the river, there was no longer any use in holding them. Nay, they had now become dangerous, as traps in which the garrisons and stores might be suddenly surrounded and captured. Washington accordingly resolved to evacuate them both, while, to allay the fears of Congress in the event of a descent from Canada, he ordered Heath to fortify that much more important position at West Point.

Had Washington’s orders been obeyed and his plans carried out, history might still have recorded a retreat through “the Jerseys,” but how different a retreat from that which was now about to take place! The officious interference of Congress, a venial error of judgment on the part of Greene, and gross insubordination on the part of Lee, occurring all together at this critical moment, brought about the greatest disaster of the war, and came within an ace of overwhelming the American cause in total and irretrievable ruin. Washington instructed Greene, who now commanded both fortresses, to withdraw the garrison and stores from Fort Washington, and to make arrangements for evacuating Fort Lee also. At the same time he did not give a positive order, but left the matter somewhat within Greene’s discretion, in case military circumstances of an unforeseen kind should arise. Then, while Washington had gone up to reconnoitre the site for the new fortress at West point, there came a special order from Congress that Fort Washington should not be abandoned save under direst extremity. If Greene had thoroughly grasped Washington’s view of the case, he would have disregarded this conditional order, for there could hardly be worse extremity than that which the sudden capture of the fortress would entail. But Greene’s mind was not quite clear; he believed that the fort could be held, and he did not like to take the responsibility of disregarding a message from Congress. In this dilemma, he did the worst thing possible: he reinforced the doomed garrison, and awaited Washington’s return.

When the commander-in-chief returned, on the 14th, he learned with dismay that nothing had been done. But it was now too late to mend matters, for that very night several British vessels passed up between the forts, and the next day Howe appeared before Fort Washington with an overwhelming force and told Colonel Magaw, the officer in charge, that if he did not immediately surrender the whole garrison would be put to the sword. Magaw replied that he would fight as long as breath was left in his body, and if Howe wanted his fort he must come and take it. On the 16th, after a sharp struggle, in which the Americans fought with desperate gallantry, though they were outnumbered more than five to one, the works were carried, and the whole garrison was captured. The victory cost the British more than 500 men in killed and wounded. The Americans, fighting behind their works, lost but 150; but they surrendered 3000 of the best troops in their half-trained army, together with an immense quantity of artillery and small arms. It was not in General Howe’s kindly nature to carry out his savage threat of the day before; but some of the Hessians, maddened with the stubborn resistance they had encountered, began murdering their prisoners in cold blood, until they were sharply called to order. From fort Lee, on the opposite bank of the river, Washington surveyed this woeful surrender with his usual iron composure: but when it came to seeing his brave men thrown down and stabbed to death by the cruel Hessian bayonets, his overwrought heart could bear it no longer and he cried and sobbed like a child.

This capture of the garrison of Fort Washington was one of the most crushing blows that befell the American arms during the whole course of the war. Washington’s retreat seemed now likely to be converted into a mere flight, and a most terrible gloom overspread the whole country. The disaster was primarily due to the interference of Congress. It might have been averted by prompt and decisive action on the part of Greene. But Washington, whose clear judgment made due allowance for all the circumstances, never for a moment cast any blame upon his subordinate. The lesson was never forgotten by Greene, whose intelligence was of that high order which may indeed make a first mistake, but never makes a second. The friendship between the two generals became warmer than ever. Washington, by a sympathetic instinct, had divined from the outset the military genius that was by and by to prove scarcely inferior to his own.

Yet worse remained behind. Washington had but 6000 men on the Jersey side of the river, and it was now high time for Lee to come over from North Castle and join him, with the force of 7000 that had been left under his command. On the 17th, Washington sent a positive order for him to cross the river at once; but Lee dissembled, pretended to regard the order in the light of mere advice, and stayed where he was. He occupied an utterly impregnable position: why should he leave it, and imperil a force with which he might accomplish something memorable on his own account? By the resignation of General Ward, Lee had become the senior major-general of the Continental army, and in the event of disaster to Washington he would almost certainly become commander-in-chief. He had returned from South Carolina more arrogant and loud-voiced than ever. The Northern people knew little of Moultrie, while they supposed Lee to be a great military light; and the charlatan accordingly got the whole credit of the victory, which, if his precious advice had been taken, would never have been won. Lee was called the hero of Charleston, and people began to contrast the victory of Sullivan’s island with the recent defeats, and to draw conclusions very disparaging to Washington. From the beginning Lee had felt personally aggrieved at not being appointed to the chief command, and now he seemed to see a fair chance of ruining his hated rival. Should he come to the head of the army in a moment of dire disaster to the Americans, it would be so much the better, for it would be likely to open negotiations with Lord Howe, and Lee loved to chaffer and intrigue much better than to fight. So he spent his time in endeavoring, by insidious letters and lying whispers, to nourish the feeling of affection toward Washington, while he refused to send a single regiment to his assistance. Thus, through the villainy of this traitor in the camp, Washington actually lost more men, so far as their present use was concerned at this most critical moment, than he had been deprived of by all the blows which the enemy had dealt him since the beginning of the campaign.

On the night of the 19th, Howe threw 5000 men across the river, about five miles above Fort Lee, and with this force Lord Cornwallis marched rapidly down upon that stronghold. The place had become untenable and it was with some difficulty that a repetition of the catastrophe of Fort Washington was avoided. Greene had barely time, with his 2000 men, to gain the bridge over the Hackensack and join the main army, leaving behind all his cannon, tents, blankets, and eatables. The position now occupied by the main army, between the Hackensack and Passaic rivers, was an unsafe one, in view of the great superiority of the enemy in numbers. A strong British force, coming down upon Washington from the north, might compel him to surrender or to fight at a great disadvantage. To avoid this danger, on the 21st, he crossed the Passaic and marched southwestward to Newark, where he stayed five days; and every day he sent a messenger to Lee, urging him to make all possible haste in brining over his half of the army, that they might be able to confront the enemy on something like equal terms. Nothing could have been more explicit or more peremptory than Washington’s orders; but Lee affected to misunderstand them, set excuses, raised objections, paltered, argued, prevaricated, and lied, and so contrived to stay where he was until the first of December. To Washington he pretended that his moving was beset by “obstacles,” the nature of which he would explain as soon as they should meet. But to James Bowdoin, president of the executive council of Massachusetts, he wrote at the same time declaring that his own army and that under Washington “must rest each on its own bottom.” He assumed command over Heath, who had been left to guard the Highlands, and ordered him to send 2000 troops to reinforce the main army; but that officer very properly refused to depart from the instructions which the commander-in-chief had left with him. To various members of Congress Lee told the falsehood that if HIS advice had only been heeded, Fort Washington would have been evacuated ere it was too late; and he wrote to Dr. Rush, wondering whether any of the members of Congress had ever studied Roman history, and suggesting that he might do great things if he could only be made Dictator for one week.

Meanwhile Washington, unable to risk a battle, was rapidly retreating through New Jersey. On the 28th of November Cornwallis advanced upon Newark, and Washington fell back upon New Brunswick. On the 1st of December, as Cornwallis reached the latter place, Washington broke down the bridge over the Raritan, and continued his retreat to Princeton. The terms of service for which his troops had been enlisted were now beginning to expire, and so great was the discouragement wrought by the accumulation of disasters which had befallen the army since the battle of Long Island that many of the soldiers lost heart in their work. Homesickness began to prevail, especially among the New England troops, and as their terms expired it was difficult to persuade them to re-enlist. Under these circumstances the army dwindled fast, until by the time he reached Princeton, Washington had but 3000 men remaining at his disposal. The only thing to be done was to put the broad stream of the Delaware between himself and the enemy, and this he accomplished by the 8th, carrying over all his guns and stores, and seizing or destroying every boat that could be found on that great river for many miles in either direction. when the British arrived, on the evening of the same day, they found it impossible to cross. Cornwallis was eager to collect a flotilla of boats as soon as practicable, and push on to Philadelphia, but Howe, who had just joined him, thought it hardly worth while to take so much trouble, as the river would be sure to freeze over before many days. So the army was posted in detachments along the east bank, with its centre at Trenton, under Colonel Rahl; and while they waited for that “snap” of intensely cold weather, which in this climate seldom fails to come on within a few days of Christmas, Howe and Cornwallis both went back to New York.

Meanwhile, on the 2d of December, Lee had at last crossed the Hudson with a force diminished to 4000 men, and had proceeded by slow marches as far as Morristown. Further reinforcements were at hand. General Schuyler, in command of the army which had retreated the last summer from Canada, was guarding the forts on Lake Champlain; and as these appeared to be safe for the present, he detached seven regiments to go to the aid of Washington. As soon as Lee heard of the arrival of three of these regiments at Peekskill, he ordered them to join him at Morristown. As the other four, under General Gates, were making their way through northern New Jersey, doubts arose as to where they should find Washington in the course of his swift retreat. Gates sent his aid, Major Wilkinson, forward for instructions, and he, learning that Washington had withdrawn into Pennsylvania, reported to Lee at Morristown, as second in command.

Lee had left his army in charge of Sullivan, and had foolishly taken up his quarters at an unguarded tavern about four miles from the town, and here Wilkinson found him in bed on the morning of the 13th. After breakfast Lee wrote a confidential letter to Gates, as to a kindred spirit from whom he might expect to get sympathy. Terrible had been the consequences of the disaster at Fort Washington. “There never was so damned a stroke,” said the letter. “Entre nous, a certain great man is most damnably deficient. He has thrown me into a situation where I have my choice of difficulties. If I stay in this province I risk myself and army, and if I do not stay the province is lost forever…..Our counsels have been weak to the last degree. As to yourself, if you think you can be in time to aid the general, I would have you by all means go. You will at least save your army….Adieu, my dear friend. God bless you.” Hardly had he signed his name to this scandalous document when Wilkinson, who was standing at the window, exclaimed that the British were upon them. Sure enough. A Tory in the neighborhood, discerning the golden opportunity, had galloped eighteen miles to the British lines, and returned with a party of thirty dragoons, who surrounded the house and captured the vainglorious schemer before he had time to collect his senses. Bareheaded and dressed only in a flannel gown and slippers, he was mounted on Wilkinson’s horse, which stood waiting at the door, and was carried off, amid much mirth and exultation, to the British camp. Crestfallen and bewildered, he expressed a craven hope that his life might be spared, but was playfully reminded that he would very likely be summarily dealt with as a deserter from the British army; and with this scant comfort he was fain to content himself for some weeks to come.

The capture of General Lee was reckoned by the people as one more in a list of dire catastrophes which made the present season the darkest moment in the whole course of the war. Had they known all that we know now, they would have seen that the army was well rid of a worthless mischief-maker, while the history of the war had gained a curiously picturesque episode. Apart from this incident there was cause enough for the gloom which now overspread the whole country. Washington had been forced to seek shelter behind the Delaware with a handful of men whose terms of service were soon to expire, and another fortnight might easily witness the utter dispersal of this poor little army. At Philadelphia, where Putnam was now in command, there was a general panic, and people began hiding their valuables and moving their wives and children out into the country. Congress took fright, and retired to Baltimore. At the beginning of December, Lord Howe and his brother had issued a proclamation offering pardon and protection to all citizens who within sixty days should take the oath of allegiance to the British Crown; and in the course of ten days nearly three thousand persons, many of them wealthy and of high standing in society, had availed themselves of this promise. The British soldiers and the Tories considered the contest virtually ended. General Howe was compared with Caesar, who came, and saw, and conquered. For his brilliant successes he had been made a Knight Commander of the Bath, and New York was to become the scene of merry Christmas festivities on the occasion of his receiving the famous red ribbon. In his confidence that Washington’s strength was quite exhausted, he detached a considerable force from the army in New Jersey, and sent it, under Lord Percy, to take possession of Newport as a convenient station for British ships entering the Sound. Donop and Rahl with their Hessians and Grant with his hardy Scotchmen would not quite suffice to destroy the remnant of Washington’s army; and Cornwallis accordingly packed his portmanteaus and sent them aboard ship, intending to sail for England as soon as the fumes of the Christmas punch should be duly slept off.

Well might Thomas Paine declare, in the first of the series of pamphlets entitled The Crisis, which he now began to publish, that “these are the times that try men’s souls.” But in the midst of the general despondency there were a few brave hearts that had not yet begun to despair, and the bravest of these was Washington’s. At this awful moment the whole future of America, and of all that America signifies to the world, rested upon that single Titanic will. Cruel defeat and yet more cruel treachery, enough to have crushed the strongest, could not crush Washington. All the lion in him was aroused, and his powerful nature was aglow with passionate resolve. His keen eye already saw the elements of weakness in Howe’s too careless disposition of his forces on the east bank of the Delaware, and he had already planned for his antagonist such a Christmas greeting as he little expected. Just at this moment Washington was opportunely reinforced by Sullivan and Gates, with the troops lately under Lee’s command; and with his little army thus raised to 6000 men, he meditated such a bold stroke as might revive the drooping spirits of his countrymen, and confound the enemy in the very moment of his fancied triumph.

Washington’s plan was, by a sudden attack, to overwhelm the British centre at Trenton, and thus force the army to retreat upon New York. The Delaware was to be crossed in three divisions. The right wing, of 2000 men, under Gates was to attack Count Donop at Burlington; Ewing, with the centre, was to cross directly opposite Trenton; while Washington himself, with the left wing, was to cross nine miles above, and march down upon Trenton from the north. On Christmas Day all was ready, but the beginnings of the enterprise were not auspicious. Gates, who preferred to go and intrigue in Congress, succeeded in begging off, and started for Baltimore. Cadwalader, who took his place, tried hard to get his men and artillery across the river, but was baffled by the huge masses of floating ice, and reluctantly gave up the attempt. Ewing was so discouraged that he did not even try to cross, and both officers took it for granted that Washington must be foiled in like manner. But Washington was desperately in earnest; and although at sunset, just as he had reached his crossing-place, he was informed by special messenger of the failure of Ewing and Cadwalader, he determined to go on and make the attack with the 2500 men whom he had with him. The great blocks of ice, borne swiftly along by the powerful current, made the passage extremely dangerous, but Glover, with his skillful fishermen of Marblehead, succeeded in ferrying the little army across without the loss of a man or a gun. More than ten hours were consumed in the passage, and then there was a march of nine miles to be made in a blinding storm of snow and sleet. They pushed rapidly on in two columns, led by Greene and Sullivan respectively, drove in the enemy’s pickets at the point of the bayonet, and entered the town by different roads soon after sunrise. Washington’s guns were at once planted so as to sweep the streets, and after Colonel Rahl and seventeen of his men had been slain, the whole body of Hessians, 1000 in number, surrendered at discretion. Of the Americans, two were frozen to death on the march, and two were killed in the action. By noon of the next day Cadwalader had crossed the river to Burlington, but no sooner had Donop heard what had happened at Trenton than he retreated by a circuitous road to Princeton, leaving behind all his sick and wounded soldiers, and all his heavy arms and baggage. Washington recrossed into Pennsylvania with his prisoners, but again advanced, and occupied Trenton on the 29th.

When the news of the catastrophe reached New York, the holiday feasting was rudely disturbed. Instead of embarking for England, Cornwallis rode post-haste to Princeton, where he found Donop throwing up earthworks. On the morning of January 2d Cornwallis advanced, with 8000 men, upon Trenton, but his march was slow and painful. He was exposed during most of the day to a galling fire from parties of riflemen hidden in the woods by the roadside, and Greene, with a force of 600 men and two field-pieces, contrived so to harass and delay him that he did not reach Trenton till late in the afternoon. By that time Washington had withdrawn his whole force beyond the Assunpink, a small river which flows into the Delaware just south of Trenton, and had guarded the bridge and the fords by batteries admirably placed. The British made several attempts to cross, but were repulsed with some slaughter; and as their day’s work had sorely fatigued them, Cornwallis thought best to wait until to-morrow, while he went his messenger post-haste back to Princeton to bring up a force of nearly 2000 men which he had left behind there. With this added strength he felt sure that he could force the passage of the stream above the American position, when by turning Washington’s right flank he could fold him back against the Delaware, and thus compel him to surrender. Cornwallis accordingly went to bed in high spirits. “At last we have run down the old fox,” said he, “and we will bag him in the morning.”

This situation was indeed a very dangerous one; but when the British general called his antagonist an old fox, he did him no more than justice. In its union of slyness with audacity, the movement which Washington now executed strongly reminds one of “Stonewall” Jackson. He understood perfectly well what Cornwallis intended to do; but he knew at the same time that detachments of the British army must have been left behind at Princeton and New Brunswick to guard the stores. From the size of the army before him he rightly judged that these rear detachments must be too small to withstand his own force. By overwhelming one or both of them, he could compel Cornwallis to retreat upon New York, while he himself might take up an impregnable position on the heights about Morristown, from which he might threaten the British line and hold their whole army in check,–a most brilliant and daring scheme for a commander to entertain while in such a perilous position as Washington was that night! But the manner in which he began by extricating himself was not the least brilliant part of the manoeuvre. All night long the American camp-fires were kept burning brightly, and small parties were busily engaged in throwing up intrenchments so near the Assunpink that the British sentinels could plainly hear the murmur of their voices and the thud of the spade and pickaxe. While this was going on, the whole American army marched swiftly up the south bank of the little stream, passed around Cornwallis’s left wing to his rear, and gained the road to Princeton. Toward sunrise, as the British detachment was coming down the road from Princeton to Trenton, in obedience to Cornwallis’s order, its van, under Colonel Mawhood, met the foremost column of Americans approaching, under General Mercer. As he caught sight of the Americans, Mawhood thought that they must be a party of fugitives, and hastened to intercept them; but he was soon undeceived. The Americans attacked with vigor, and a sharp fight was sustained, with varying fortunes, until Mercer was pierced by a bayonet, and his men began to fall back in some confusion. Just at this critical moment Washington came galloping upon the field and rallied the troops, and as the entire forces on both sides had now come up the fight became general. In a few minutes the British were routed and their line was cut in two; one half fleeing toward Trenton, the other half toward New Brunswick. There was little slaughter, as the whole fight did not occupy more than twenty minutes. The British lost about 200 in killed and wounded, with 300 prisoners and their cannon; the American loss was less than 100.

Shortly before sunrise, the men who had been left in the camp on the Assunpink to feed the fires and make a noise beat a hasty retreat, and found their way to Princeton by circuitous paths. When Cornwallis got up, he could hardly believe his eyes. Here was nothing before him but an empty camp: the American army had vanished, and whither it had gone he could not imagine. But his perplexity was soon relieved by the booming of distant cannon on the Princeton road, and the game which the “old fox” had played him all at once became apparent. Nothing was to be done but to retreat upon New Brunswick with all possible haste, and save the stores there. His road led back through Princeton, and from fugitives he soon heard the story of the morning’s disaster. His march was hindered by various impediments. A thaw had set in, so that the little streams had swelled into roaring torrents, difficult to ford, and the American army, which had passed over the road before daybreak, had not forgotten to destroy the bridges. By the time that Cornwallis and his men reached Princeton, wet and weary, the Americans had already left it, but they had not gone on to New Brunswick. Washington had hoped to seize the stores there, but the distance was eighteen miles, his men were wretchedly shod and too tired to march rapidly, and it would not be prudent to risk a general engagement when his main purpose could be secured without one. For these reasons, Washington turned northward to the heights of Morristown, while Cornwallis continued his retreat to New Brunswick. A few days later, Putnam advanced from Philadelphia and occupied Princeton, thus forming the right wing of the American army, of which the main body lay at Morristown, while Heath’s division on the Hudson constituted the left wing. Various cantonments were established along this long line. On the 5th, George Clinton, coming down from Peekskill, drove the British out of Hackensack and occupied it, while on the same day a detachment of German mercenaries at Springfield was routed by a body of militia. Elizabethtown was then taken by General Maxwell, whereupon the British retired from Newark.

Thus in a brief campaign of three weeks Washington had rallied the fragments of a defeated and broken army, fought two successful battles, taken nearly 2000 prisoners, and recovered the State of New Jersey. He had canceled the disastrous effects of Lee’s treachery, and replaced things apparently in the condition in which the fall of Fort Washington had left them. Really he had done much more than this, for by assuming the offensive and winning victories through sheer force of genius, he had completely turned the tide of popular feeling. The British generals began to be afraid of him, while on the other hand his army began to grow by the accession of fresh recruits. In New Jersey the enemy retained nothing but New Brunswick, Amboy, and Paulus Hook.

On the 25th Washington issued a proclamation declaring that all persons who had accepted Lord Howe’s offer of protection must either retire within the British lines, or come forward and take the oath of allegiance to the United States. Many narrow-minded people, who did not look with favor upon a close federation of the States, commented severely upon the form of this proclamation: it was too national, they said. But it proved effective. However luke-warm may have been the interest which many of the Jersey people felt in the war when their soil was first invaded, the conduct of the British troops had been such that every one now looked upon them as foreign enemies. They had not only foraged indiscriminately upon friend and foe, but they had set fire to farmhouses, murdered peaceful citizens, and violated women. The wrath of the people, kindled by such outrages, had waxed so hot that it was not safe for the British to stir beyond their narrow lines except in considerable force. Their foraging parties were waylaid and cut off by bands of indignant yeomanry, and so sorely were they harassed in their advanced position at New Brunswick that they often suffered from want of food. Many of the German mercenaries, caring nothing for the cause in which they had been forcibly enlisted, began deserting; and in this they were encouraged by Congress, which issued a manifesto in German, making a liberal offer of land to any foreign soldier who should leave the British service. This little document was inclosed in the wrappers in which packages of tobacco were sold, and every now and then some canny smoker accepted the offer.

Washington’s position at Morristown was so strong that there was no hope of dislodging him, and the snow-blocked roads made the difficulties of a winter campaign so great that Howe thought best to wait for warm weather before doing anything more. While the British arms were thus held in check, the friends of America, both in England and on the continent of Europe, were greatly encouraged. From this moment Washington was regarded in Europe as a first-rate general. Military critics who were capable of understanding his movements compared his brilliant achievements with his slender resources, and discovered in him genius of a high order. Men began to call him “the American Fabius;” and this epithet was so pleasing to his fellow-countrymen, that it clung to him for the rest of his life, and was repeated in newspapers and speeches and pamphlets with wearisome iteration. Yet there was something more than Fabian in Washington’s generalship. For wariness he has never been surpassed; yet, as Colonel Stedman observed in his excellent contemporary history of the war, the most remarkable thing about Washington was his courage. It would be hard indeed to find more striking examples of audacity than he exhibited at Trenton and Princeton. Lord Cornwallis was no mean antagonist, and no one was a better judge of what a commander might be expected to do with a given stock of resources. His surprise at the Assunpink was so great that he never got over it. After the surrender at Yorktown, his lordship expressed to Washington his generous admiration for the wonderful skill which had suddenly hurled an army four hundred miles, from the Hudson River to the James, with such precision and such deadly effect. “But after all,” he added, “your Excellency’s achievements in New Jersey were such that nothing could surpass them. The man who had turned the tables on him at the Assunpink he could well believe to be capable of anything.

In England the effect of the campaign was very serious. Not long before, Edmund Burke had despondingly remarked that an army which was always obliged to refuse battle could never expel the invaders; but now the case wore a different aspect. Sir William Howe had not so much to show for his red ribbon, after all. He had taken New York, and dealt many heavy blows with his overwhelming force unexpectedly aided by foul play on the American side; but as for crushing Washington and ending the war, he seemed farther from it than ever. It would take another campaign to do this,–perhaps many. Lord North, who had little heart for the war at any time, was discouraged, while the king and Lord George Germaine were furious with disappointment. “It was that unhappy affair of Trenton,” observed the latter, “that blasted our hopes.”

“Washington’s Great Campaign of 1776” by John Fiske, The Atlantic Monthly; January, 1889; Volume 63, No. 375; pages 20-37.

Colonial & American Revolutionary War History Oct 5

Oct 5 1775 A committee to prepare a plan for fitting out two armed vessels to intercept enemy transport ships is appointed by the Continental Congress.

Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second Continental Congress used the word “Marines” on one of the earliest known occasions, when it directed General George Washington to secure two vessels on “Continental risque and pay”, and to give orders for the “proper encouragement to the Marines and seamen” to serve on the two armed ships.


It is necessary to sketch briefly the various sources of authority and the administrative systems under which acted the different classes of vessels throughout the course of the war. These classes were: First, Continental vessels; second, the state navies; third, the privateers, commissioned either by the Continental government or by the various states, and in some cases by both.

Public vessels cruising under Continental authority comprised not only the Continental navy, strictly speaking, including vessels fitted out in France, but also the fleets organized by Washington in Massachusetts Bay in 1775 and later in New York; by Arnold on Lake Champlain in 1776 and by Pollock in 1778 on the Mississippi River.

General Washington took the first actual step towards placing a Continental force upon the sea by fitting out the schooner Hannah, which sailed from Beverly September 5, 1775, and returned to port two days later with a prize. An important measure in making effective the siege of Boston, then in progress, was the intercepting of supplies coming to the town by water; the supplies being at the same time of the utmost value to the American army investing the town. Before the end of the year seven other vessels, officered and manned from the army, were fitted out by Washington. The next year he organized a similar but smaller fleet at New York.

The first official suggestion of a Continental navy came from the Assembly of Rhode Island which, August 26, 1775, declared “that the building and equipping an American fleet, as soon as possible, would greatly and essentially conduce to the preservation of the lives, liberty and property of the good people of these colonies,” and instructed the delegates from that province in the Continental Congress “to use their whole influence at the ensuing congress for building at the Continental expence a fleet of sufficient force for the protection of these colonies.” The Rhode Island delegates presented their instructions to Congress October 3 and this brought the matter fairly before that body. Discussion of these instructions was postponed from time to time and it was several weeks before definite action was taken on them. Meanwhile intelligence had been received of the sailing from England of two brigs laden with military supplies bound to Quebec. The practicability of intercepting these vessels was considered in Congress October 5. Strong opposition was developed on the part of a vociferous minority to any participation of the Continental government in maritime warfare; to them it appeared sheer madness to send ships out upon the sea to meet the overwhelming naval force of England. After a lively debate the matter was referred to a committee consisting of John Adams, John Langdon, and Silas Deane. Upon the recommendation of this committee it was decided to instruct Washington at once to procure two Massachusetts cruisers for that service and to request the cooperation of the governors of Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Elbridge Gerry wrote from Watertown, October 9, 1775, to Samuel Adams, then a member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, saying: “If the Continent should fit out a heavy ship or two and increase them as circumstances shall admit, the Colonies large privateers, and individuals small ones, surely we may soon expect to see the coast clear of cutters.”

On the advice of the committee appointed October 5, Congress voted on the 13th to fit out two vessels, one of them to carry ten guns, to cruise three months to the eastward in the hope of intercepting British transports. Another committee of three was appointed to inquire into the expense. October 30, 1775, is an important date in naval legislation. Congress resolved to arm the second of the vessels already provided for with fourteen guns and also authorized two additional vessels which might carry as many as twenty and thirty-six guns respectively, “for the protection and defence of the United Colonies.” By this vote Congress was fully committed to the policy of maintaining a naval armament. On the same day a committee of seven was formed by adding four members to those already appointed. This committee was the first executive body for the management of naval affairs. It was known as the Naval Committee and the members were John Langdon of New Hampshire, John Adams of Massachusetts, Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island, Silas Deane of Connecticut, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, Joseph Hewes of North Carolina, and Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina.

During the closing months of 1775 much legislation necessary for the organization of the navy was enacted by Congress on the recommendation of the Naval Committee. In the beginning there was strong opposition to all enterprises of a naval character, but it gradually broke down before the arguments of the more far-sighted and reasonable members. November 10 the Marine Corps was established. On the 25th captures of British ships of war, transports, and supply vessels were authorized and the several colonies were advised to set up prize courts. The apportionment of the shares in prizes was prescribed. In the case of privateers all the proceeds went to the owners and captors; in the case of Continental or colony cruisers two thirds of the value of a prize when a transport or supply vessel, one half when a vessel of war, went to the government, while the captors took the rest. November 28, “Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies”were adopted. These early navy regulations were brief, relating chiefly to discipline and prescribing the ration and pay. The rules provided for courts martial, but not for courts of inquiry; there was much subsequent legislation on the subject of naval courts. Pensions for permanent disability and bounties, to be awarded in certain cases, were provided for, the necessary funds for which were to be set apart from the proceeds of prizes. The rules of November 28 were framed by John Adams and were based on British regulations. Adams was a leader in all this early legislation and the part he took in the founding of the Revolutionary navy was important and influential.

Oct 5 1776 In Savannah, GA: The first Constitutional Convention met to draft a plan of government for the state. It was adopted in 1777.


The Continental Congress recommended that the newly independent states adopt a permanent frame of government. Accordingly, Georgians elected delegates to a state constitutional convention that met in October 1776 in Savannah. Whig Patriot leaders of local committees dominated the convention and produced one of the most democratic constitutions of any state. The electorate included all men over twenty-one who possessed property worth ten pounds or were employed as artisans. A one-house assembly enacted legislation, and elected the governor, judges, and other officials. Georgia’s constitution, adopted on February 5, 1777, created the state’s first counties: Burke, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Richmond, and Wilkes, all named for friends of the colonies in British Parliament, except Liberty, a title that honored St. John Parish’s early zeal for American rights.


Oct 5, 1776 Congress following up on the committee’s report on the Army in New York ordered the continental agents to turn over all salt in their hands to the commissary general.


Oct 5, 1776 General and Admiral Howe both went to Long Island to find out the ability to land in Westchester County to get in the rear of Washington and his Army.

Background and bio of Howe

William Howe was born on Aug. 10, 1729, the younger brother of the future admiral Richard Howe. After attending Eton, he entered the army at the age of 17. For the next 30 years he rose steadily in rank. He distinguished himself in the Canadian campaign of the French and Indian War. Serving under Gen. James Wolfe at the siege of Quebec in 1759, Howe in the succeeding year commanded the attack on Montreal. In 1762 he participated in the siege of Spanish-held Havana, Cuba. When the war was over, he had a brilliant record. He also enjoyed important family connections at court and by 1772 had been advanced to major general.

Commander in Chief in America

Howe also held political office. In 1758 he had been elected to a seat in the House of Commons. While he did not take an active role in Parliament debate, he made clear his opposition to the Foreign Ministry’s American policy and declared that he would refuse to accept a command in the Colonies. Yet Howe did go to America in May 1775, explaining that “he was ordered, and could not refuse.” His command of the British forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill displayed personal valor and a considerably greater degree of energy and decision than he would show later. By October, Howe had been given a local rank of full general and made commander-in-chief of the British army in the Colonies. Considerable controversy has always surrounded the roles played by William and Richard Howe during the Revolution, because in addition to commanding the military they were supposed to negotiate peace with the Americans.

Howe was forced to evacuate Boston in March 1776; he moved his troops by sea to New York. His invasion of Long Island and Manhattan included a series of tactical successes. But the long delays and ineffective pursuits that followed, though they mauled the American forces, left Gen. George Washington’s retreating army intact.

British overconfidence, the dilatory movements of Gen. Howe, and the failure of Gen. Charles Cornwallis to catch the retreating Washington all contributed to a surprising turn of events at the end of 1776. Howe had left scattered forces occupying central New Jersey as far as the Delaware River. In a surprise attack on December 6, 1776, the Americans routed a garrison at Trenton, and then 8 days later triumphed in a full-scale battle at Princeton. Gen. Howe had lost another chance to destroy Washington, and 1776 ended on a note of rebel victory.

Again, in 1777, Howe’s strategic failures resulted in reverses for the British. The grand British strategy that year involved a two-pronged attack against the Americans. First, Gen. John Burgoyne would move down from Canada into New York to interrupt colonial communications, recruit Tory allies, and prepare for a later invasion of rebel strongholds. Second, Howe would move overland to engage the Continental Army in a contest for the American capital, Philadelphia. But Howe changed his mind, decided to bring his invading forces by water, wasted time maneuvering in New Jersey, and then spent nearly all of August at sea. Consequently, Howe’s land movement toward Philadelphia did not begin until the end of August. A series of engagements – including British victories at Brandywine and Paoli – saw the British safely into the American capital. And American efforts to oust them were repulsed in early October.

Meanwhile, Howe was confronted with the decisive defeat of Gen. Burgoyne’s troops at Saratoga. Burgoyne had earlier assured Howe of his ability to care for himself; and as a result, when he was besieged, there were no British forces near enough or large enough to rescue him. While the capture of Philadelphia did not really shake the Revolutionary cause, the defeat at Saratoga truly injured the British. It also made possible the Franco-American alliance of 1778.

Return to England

In October 1777, the month of Burgoyne’s surrender, Howe offered his resignation. He then tried unsuccessfully to lure Washington into a general engagement. While Howe’s army wintered in relative comfort in Philadelphia, Washington’s men barely survived their encampment at Valley Forge. Howe finally received word that his resignation had been accepted and left Philadelphia in May 1778. Back in England, Howe became involved in an inconclusive debate on the conduct of the war and published a defense, claiming that all his actions had been determined by military necessity, not by any desire to appease the colonists.

Howe went on to hold a variety of important military positions. He became a full general in 1793. When the wars of the French Revolution began, he held important commands in the north and then in the east of England. In 1799, on the death of his brother, Richard, he succeeded to the Irish title of viscount. Failing health forced him to retire from active office in 1803. He died in Plymouth on July 12, 1814.


Oct 4-5, 1778 Raid on Mincock Island (Egg Harbor), New Jersey; A combined force of British regulars and Loyalists attempts to eradicate this nest of privateers a few miles north of what is today Atlantic City. About 50 colonials die in a surprise attack in the darkness before driving off the British and capturing some of them.

NOTE by Captain James Davis: I am proud to say that, Colonel Patrick Ferguson would later meet his death at the Battle of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, October 7, 1780. King’s Mountain was owned by my 6x Great Grandfather Samuel King.

Captain Patrick Ferguson led 300 men from the 70th regiment and the 3rd New Jersey Tory Regiment against a privateer base at Little Egg Harbor. Meanwhile, a naval force also approached. Pulaski’s Legion of Continentals was sent to combat the British, but Ferguson was able to destroy ten vessels and moved twenty miles up the Mullica River destroying storehouses, shipyards and homes of prominant patriots.

When Ferguson return to the mouth of the river, he learned that Pulaski was camped not far away and security was lax. Some believe that Captain Gustav Juliet had deserted Pulaski and gave the British that information. Ferguson took 250 men, rowed ten miles in small boat under the cover of darkness and surprised Pulaski at Mincock Island. At about 4 A.M. on October 5, 1778, the British Tories entered three house and killed about fifty officers and men by bayonet. Pulaski’s infantry commander Colonel de Boze was killed in the attack. Pulaski arrived with his dragoons and was able to drive Ferguson back to his boats with some of his men captured in the confusion. The Americans raised charges of a massacre. There is some dispute over the dates of the attack with some listing it on October 15, 1778.

Also called the Battle of Chestnut Neck

The Setting:

The southern forests of New Jersey, the Pine Barrens, prior to the American Revolution and during the war years, were a haven, a wondrous place of natural treasures, heaven-scented evergreens, flowing rivers, cedar streams and mysterious swamps teeming with vegetation, but, those same forests were inhabited by a “Nest of Rebel pirates,” as the British called the area, a place where the dense trees offered a cloak for “rebellious” activities.

The sea, the sandy coves and bays along the Jersey coast were places of amazing beauty, where a person could find tranquility, a setting for reflection. The sea cast a spell on the observer, the enigma, the majesty, the excitement and astonishment, but, those same coves were also crowded with sloops and frigates, captained by adventurous men, privateers, some opportunists and some patriots. Their aim? To rid the American waterways of British ships! And perhaps to add a bit of booty to their coffers by capturing enemy ships, taking the cargo and auctioning it in rebel ports, such as Toms River, Chestnut Neck and Mays Landing.

The Colonies, seeking to become an independent nation, had land troops led by General Washington, though few in number. A Colonial navy, however, was almost nonexistent. Washington knew that the “rebels,” without a navy, could not defeat the British. With monetary concerns, the inability to organize and equip a navy, the General had to turn to another source.

Several of Washington’s officers, whom he paid for their experience and knowledge of seafaring, found American sailors, amateur privateers, willing to stalk and capture British vessels. Privateers, just pirates, some said, but there was a difference. Privateers chose a country to have an allegiance to and only “pirated” enemies of that country.

Shortly thereafter Colonial investors commissioned privateers to seek out British merchant ships, board them, seize the cargo and capture the crews. The investors, the Colonial captains and their crews all profited from these activities.

The New Jersey coast grew into a roaring, pulsating center for privateers. At the beginning of the American Revolution, Colonial New Jersey had approximately 80,000 residents. About one third of the population sympathized with the rebel cause, another third were loyalists, and the last third were neutral, yet New Jersey played a crucial part in the war, being the scene of five major battles and two hundred minor encounters.

One of those battles was fought in October of 1778. Chestnut Neck, near the mouth of the Little Egg Harbor River, was a bustling port of trade, and, when tensions between America and Britain burst into fiery flames, the docks were cluttered with privateers and their captured vessels.

The British, frustrated and angered by Jersey’s “Nest of Rebel pirates,” wanted to crush the Colonials and eradicate the entire area of resistance. When the captured vessels Venus and Major Pearson were brought up the Little Egg Harbor River to Chestnut Neck, the confiscated cargo was estimated to be worth $500,000, and the British formulated plans for a major assault. A fleet of nine ships gathered in New York Harbor, led by the sloops Zebra, Vigilant and Nautilus. On September 30, 1778 the fleet, passing by Sandy Hook, encountered strong winds and turbulent waters, which forestalled their arrival off the bar at Little Egg Harbor until October 6. In the meantime, General Washington, having been informed of the expedition by patriot spies, ordered forces, led by Count Casimir Pulaski, to march from Red Bank in Monmouth County to Middle of the Shore (Tuckerton), and on to Chestnut Neck. New Jersey’s governor, William Livingston, sent Express Riders to forewarn the! residents.

The British fleet had been held off by the churning sea, but learning, through Tory spies, that the Colonials knew of the impending attack, the ships made haste to sail upriver to Chestnut Neck. Impeded at every turn, especially by enshrouding fog, the British doggedly pushed toward the port, while the Colonial troops, marching through the pine forest and intending to defend Chestnut Neck, got lost and never reached their destination.

Chestnut Neck had hurriedly prepared to meet the enemy with privateer ships and an armed Pilot-boat. The locals erected a “Work with Embrasures for six Guns,” level with the water, to protect the Channel. As the enemy vessels approached the shore, they were welcomed by Colonial gunfire coming from the tall meadow grass, but the British managed to land, form a line and charge.

The inhabitants, without Pulaski’s reinforcements and facing trained soldiers, retreated into the woods. Chasing, the British exhausted their supply of gunfire, and Tory Volunteers set fire to the homes, the tavern and storehouse. Apparently victorious at the port, the British forces wanted to head upriver toward an ironwork, Batsto, where patriots smelted iron and molded munitions for Colonial troops, but, not knowing the exact location of Pulaski’s men and fearing bottleneck in the river, they returned to the fleet and the expedition sailed for New York. . .without the flagship, Zebra, whose bottom became forever cemented to a sandbar.

The port was burned, but thanks to advance warning, the privateersmen, not one of whom was captured, sailed their ships far up the river, saving their valuable stores and private possessions. The British reported that Chestnut Neck had been destroyed and that it would not rise from the smoldering ashes. Not so. The port was never again what it once had been, for most of the locals rebuilt elsewhere, but just six weeks after the battle, a privateer, Captain Stevens, who had captured the Venus, towed in a prize, the armed schooner, Two Friends. . .and the seizures continued.

Privateers operated out of Chestnut Neck until the close of the War, which can be verified by viewing the Newspaper Extracts in the New Jersey Archives, chronicling the captured vessels and their cargoes for sale at Chestnut Neck.

The question again presents itself, can tranquility and revolution coexist? History seems to answer positively. Within the lovely, fragrant pine barrens of South Jersey, preserved today for all generations to enjoy, and along the shell-strewn beaches, patriots and privateers rousingly rooted out the British, leading the way to the formation of a new nation, America.

Background: Chestnut Neck

     At the entrance to the Little Egg Harbor River was a small village called Chestnut Neck. It became a hotbed of activity during the American Revolution. It was a major center for the privateers who were regularly capturing British Merchant Ships and relieving them of their cargos. The ships were landed in Chestnut Neck and their cargos were transported, first to warehouses at Chestnut Neck or further up the river to a larger community called “the Forks” . Then the captured goods would be disposed of (see below) and most made there way by wagon to Philadelphia.  

The Privateers

The American Colonists did not have and could not afford much of a navy, but the Continental Congress had seen the British effectively disrupt the French economy by commissioning private vessels to prey upon French merchant vessels. They adopted the same kind of system and issued letters (called Letters of Marquee) appointing specific ships, owners & captains to takeover British Merchant ships and confiscate the cargos. The cargos were then sold and the proceeds divided up by the Government’s Court of Admiralty. The ships owners, captains, crews and of course the government all got specific shares. Along the west Jersey coast these sales took place at Chestnut Neck (a small village at the mouth of the Little Egg Harbor River), The Forks ( a larger settlement further up the river), and at Mays Landing (on the Great Egg Harbor River). Large warehouses were built to hold the cargos, while they awaited sales and shipment.

The Privateer system was a great success for the American Rebels. It disrupted the British Merchant Fleet and prevented the British Army from being well supplied. It, also, provided a great income to the participants.

The Iron Works

The iron works at Batsto on the Little Egg Harbor River was started in 1766. Cannon balls and other military equipment was produced there and used by the Continental Army. The importance of the iron works can be seen in the fact that the workmen were given an exemption from military service.

The Salt Works

On the north side of the Bay were numerous salt works. Salt was a highly prized commodity at a time when vast quantities of food needed to be preserved for use by armies and aboard ships.

The Colonist Activity:

During September of 1777, the NJ General Assembly voted to reimburse Lt. Col. Elijzh Clark & Major Wescoat for building the fort at Chestnut Neck. The fort was built at water level and had places for 6 guns. On a nearby hill, a platform was built to mount more guns. It does not appear as if any guns were ever mounted.

Late summer of 1778

According to Mr. Kemps research almost 30 ships and their cargos were sold at “The Forks” and Chestnut Neck in August of 1778. In September at least another 6 ships were sold at Chestnut Neck and “The Forks,” including The Venus of London.

The British in New York

In New York, General Clinton and Admiral Gambier decide to organize an expedition to wipe out the privateering center at Little Egg Harbor and destroy the Iron Works at Batsto. Preparations are begun for an expedition. The expedition would become known to the British as “The Egg Harbor Expedition.”

September 29, 1778, Trenton, New Jersey

The Colonial Governor William Livingston and the Council of Safety become aware of the plans but not the destination. They dispatched riders to warn the residents of the coastal communities and informed General Washington of the expected fleet movements..

September 30,1778

Around midnight, Commander Henry Colins, on the newly commissioned  H.M.S. Zebra and 15 other ships slipped out of New York Harbor.

In command of the troops is Captain Patrick Ferguson of the 70th Regiment of Foot. (Captain Ferguson had invented and patented the Ferguson rifle on 12/4/1776)

October 1-4, 1778

The British – Due to a storm and heavy seas it took the British fleet 4 1/2 days to reach Little Egg Harbor Bay.

The Continental Army – Major General Benedict Arnold received notice of the impending attack and ordered Col. Procter’s Pennsylvania regiment of artillery to the Little Egg Harbor area. (Arnold, also, took it upon himself to empty some warehouses and move his troops and supplies further from the coast. He forgot to get permission from Gen. Washington and this is said to be part of the reason for his later Court Martial hearing. ( I am looking for more information about this part of the story.)

Because of the warning, at Chestnut Neck, several ships were able to put to sea, before the British arrived. Other remaining vessels were sent up to the river to the community known as “The Forks.” Warehouses were emptied and many residents removed themselves and their household items.

At Trenton, General Pulaski was ordered to place his Legion under the command of Major General Lord Sterling and move to the defense of the coast.

October 5, 1778

British fleet reached Little Egg Harbor around noon. At favorable tide a few of the more light weight ships enter the bay to prevent escaping ships. Armed vessels were stripped and loaded with troops. Local loyalists join expedition onboard the Zebra and inform of the militia at Chestnut Neck.

The Continental Army – General Pulaski and his Legion leave Trenton.

The Burning of Chestnut Neck Oct 6, 1778

October 6, 1778

Daybreak, the British assault force began moving across the bay, 7 miles to the mouth of the Little Egg Harbor River. It was very slow going, because of the shallow water and the lack of experienced pilots.

Two ships became grounded near Osborne Island, but the H.M.S. Zebra and two other large ships cross the sand bar and enter Little Egg Harbor Bay.

The Colonists at Chestnut Neck – A group of local militia, under the command of Captain Johnson occupy a two platform fort, that had placements for 6 guns, but unfortunately had none.

Around 4:00 pm

The British arrive and the militia was routed by the bayonet wielding British regulars. There was not much they could do to defend the town. The British had cannons and many men. The defenders of Chestnut Neck, probably numbered less then 20, with no cannons.

Commander Colins found 10 prize vessels still at Chestnut Neck. He ordered the town and all the vessels to be dismantled, set afire and scuttled. It took all night until noon on the 7th.

The Grounding of the British Ships Oct 7, 1778

October 7, 1778

Daybreak Commander Colins faced with the decision to follow the original plan and continue up the Little Egg Harbor River and destroy “The Forks” and the iron works at Batsto or to abort the mission, since the element of surprise had been lost. Local loyalists came aboard the British flagship, Zebra, and told Collins that Procter’s Artillery was on the way. Colins decided to withdraw.

At noon, the British assembled to withdraw. They had taken and destroyed the prized vessels. Burned all the storehouses and wiped out the village. Only one British soldier was wounded.

The British – It was not as easy to leave as they might have hoped. Two of the British ships were aground. Col Ferguson decided to take his soldiers and raid the north shore and the salt works. They destroyed 2 landings, 3 salt works and 10 buildings owned by patriots.

October 8, 1778

The 2 grounded ships were refloated and got underway. H.M.S. Greenwich again became grounded. The H.M.S. Dependance was left with her for protection and the rest of the ships rejoined the Zebra in the bay. Commander Colins planned to search Barnegat and Cranbury Inlets on the way back to New York, but the weather continued to worsen and the ships were unable to cross the sand bar

The Continental Army (Pulaski’s Legion) reached Little Egg Harbor. They enter the little Quaker settlement known as Middle of the shore (now, Tuckerton). They formed and encampment on the farm of James Willet. Pulaski located his headquarters at an unoccupied farmhouse belonging to Jeremiah Ridgway.

October 9 – 18, 1778

The British capture and unwary American Brigantine with a load of lumber. While they are waiting for better weather they transfer the lumber to their ships. It took 10 days to transfer all the cargo. During that time a few other American vessels were captured. Still the British Fleet was unable to put to sea.

October 12, 1778

A Hessian Lieutenant named Juliat had deserted the British on September 12 and joined The Pulaski Legion. He was assigned to the First Troop of Dragoons under Baron Bose. Baron Bose regarded Juliat with contempt for having deserted his post, even if it was with the enemy. Perhaps to get back at Baron Bose or perhaps he was always loyal to the British. Juliat took several men on a fishing party. They did not return and were thought drowned. They had actually rowed the twenty miles and were given permission to board the H.M.S. Nautilus. The story continues with intrigue. (Check it out in The Nest of Rebel Pirates, by Franklin Kemp)

The battle of Ridgway Farm Oct 15, 1778

Colonel Ferguson decides to lead an attack on the Pulaski Legion. They stop at Osborn Island and compel Thomas Osborn to lead them to the encampment. Juliat uses his influence to make sure the attack takes place at the farmhouse where Baron Bose and his troop are encamped. Ferguson left a party of 50 men behind to guard the bridge and loosen the planking, so that it could be easily removed during the retreat.

At the Ridgway Farm, the lone sentry was easily overpowered and sleeping soldiers were awakened and killed, before they could mount a defense. Only 5 were left alive and taken prisoner. Pulaski’s camp was close by and they were quick to respond, but arrived too late. Ferguson’s plan to remove the planks from the bridge, plus the high tide, cut off the pursuit and most of the British returned to their ships without incident. Baron Rose and from 30 to 50 of his men died in the attack.

Abandoning the H.M.S. Zebra and return to New York

October 20, 1778

Commander Colins decided to wait no longer and attempted to get his ships back across the bar and back to New York. After several attempts the Nautilus made it. The attempts to free the flag ship H.M.S. Zebra were unsuccessful.

October 21, 1778

Commander Colins gives up on the attempts to free the Zebra and transfer his men and himself to the Nautilus.

October 22, 1778

The Zebra is blown up and the rest of the fleet moves toward New York.

October 23, 1778

The Little Egg Harbor Expedition ends in New York Harbor, when the Nautilus drops anchor at 5:00 pm on October 23. It is met by Admiral Gambier .