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

Footnotes:

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.

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