July 5, 1777

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Hessians and British under command of German General Friedrich von Riedesel and British General Simon Fraser defeat the retreating Americans at Hubbardton.  American forces are commanded by Colonel Seth Warner with 730 men, with 41 killed in action, 95 wounded in action and 234 captured.  British forces had 1,030 men, with 60 killed in action and 138 wounded in action.  Although the Americans are defeated they fight off the enemy and gave General Arthur St. Clair’s troops time to withdraw.  The Battle of Hubbardton involved approximately 2,000 troops and resulted in approximately 600 casualties, losses on both sides was equal.

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets to Independence Hall, as well as numerous other sites, such as 2nd National Bank, Graff House, Carpenter Hall, and Christ Church.  If you are interested in learning about George Washington, join us for our Valley Forge Tour.  For Civil War buffs, come see Gettysburg.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our historical vacation packages.

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May 9, 1777

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Congress appoints William Lee as the United States’ representative to Vienna and Berlin.

John Adams writes to Nathaniel Greene about the many causes that were keeping people away from the army, one of which was the “debauchery” to be found there:  “The Indifference of the People about recruiting the Army, is a Circumstance, which ought to make Us, consider what are the Causes of it. It is not, merely the Melancholly, arising from the unfortunate Events of the last Campaign, but the Small Pox, and above all the unhappy State of our Finances, which occasion this Evil. There are other Circumstances, which are little attended to, which contribute, much more than is imagined, to this unfavourable Temper in the People. The Prevalence of Dissipation, Debauchery, Gaming, Prophaneness and Blasphemy, terrifies the best People upon the Continent, from trusting their Sons and other Relations among so many dangerous snares and Temptations. Multitudes of People, who would with chearfull Resignation Submit their Families to the Dangers of the sword, shudder at the Thought of exposing them, to what appears to them, the more destructive Effects of Vice and Impiety. These Ideas would be received by many with Scorn. But there is not the less Solidity in them for that. It is Discipline alone that can Stem the Torrent. Chaplains are of great Use, I believe, and I wish Mr. Leonard might be in the Army, upon such Terms as would be agreable to him, for there is no Man of whom I have a better opinion. But there is So much difficulty in accomplishing any Thing of the Kind, that I wish G. Washington would either appoint him, or recommend him to Congress.  The Utility of Medals, has ever been impressed Strongly upon my Mind. Pride, Ambition, and indeed what a Philosopher would call Vanity, is the Strongest Passion in human Nature, and next to Religion, the most operative Motive to great Actions. Religion, or if the fine Gentlemen please, Superstition and Enthusiasm, is the greatest Incentive, and wherever it has prevailed, has never failed to produce Heroism. If our N. Englandmen were alone, and could have their own Way, a great deal of this would appear. But in their present Situation, I fear We have little to expect from this Principle, more than the Perseverance of the People in the Cause. We ought to avail ourselves then of even the Vanity of Men. For my own Part I wish We could make a Beginning, by Striking a Medal, with a Platoon firing at General Arnold, on Horseback, His Horse falling dead under him, and He deliberately disentangling his Feet from the Stirrups and taking his Pistolls out of his Holsters, before his Retreat. On the Reverse, He should be mounted on a Fresh Horse, receiving another Discharge of Musquetry, with a Wound in the Neck of his Horse.1 This Picture alone, which as I am informed is true History, if Arnold did not unfortunately belong to Connecticutt, would be sufficient to make his Fortune for Life. I believe there have been few such Scenes in the World.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets to Independence Hall, as well as numerous other sites, such as 2nd National Bank, Graff House, Carpenter Hall, and Christ Church.  If you are interested in learning about George Washington, join us for our Valley Forge Tour.  For Civil War buffs, come see Gettysburg.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our historical vacation packages.

April 24, 1777

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A twenty-seven year old candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, James Madison, was defeated.  Madison chose not to engage in the time-honored practice of purchasing liquor for voters.  Madison would later recall that he had  regarded the liquor custom as “equally inconsistent with the purity of moral and of republican principles.”  He was “anxious to promote, by his example, the proper reform.”   He made the mistake of believing that “new views of the subject” would “prevail with the people.”  They did not.  They cast their votes for his opponent, who was the owner of a brewery.

Joshua Loring gives a message from British General William Howe about the American prisoners being held in New York:  “I am directed by his Excellency Sir William Howe to inform you, that your Prisoners here are in the greatest Distress for want of Cloathing The sick in the Hospitals are particularly in Want of this Article, so essential to their Health; To guard against the Sufferings which the Prisoners lately, in our hands underwent for want of Cloathing, & of the other Necessarys which they had a Right to expect from their Friends, and to prevent the unjust Interpretations which have been thrown out with Regard to their Sufferings, His Excellency has thought proper to have this early Intimation convey’d to You, that you may take such Steps as You shall judge necessary for their immediate Supply.  I am likewise to inform You that the General has no Objections to your employing Mr Pintard or any other Person in furnishing your Prisoners with Provisions or any other Necessary Articles1 you may be desirous of sending in to them.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets to Independence Hall, as well as numerous other sites, such as 2nd National Bank, Graff House, Carpenter Hall, and Christ Church.  If you are interested in learning about George Washington, join us for our Valley Forge Tour.  For Civil War buffs, come see Gettysburg.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our historical vacation packages.

March 12, 1777

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Congress convenes in Philadelphia.

Arthur Lee writes the following letter to Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane in Paris:  “In my return to this place, I receivd the joyful intelligence which I enclose; and in which I congratulat you a thousand and a thousand times. The Congress had removd to Baltimore, and General Putnam was providing for the defence of Philadelphia, before this happy change in the posture of the hostile Army. It is said that the cruelties exercised in the Jerseys, had so exasperated the People, that the Militia fought with irresistible fury. I am afraid Genal. Lee is a prisoner. Upwards of a thousand of the Prisoners in New York have died of famine and cruel treatment.  The barbarity of these Sarracen Invaders went so far as to destroy the Philosophical Apparatus at Princeton College, with the Orrery constructed by Dr. Rittenhouse. The Papers say, that Genl. Howe had removed part of his baggage to Staten Island, and orderd a reinforcement from Rhode Island. There is an account in the Papers of the taking of Elizabeth Town, but that makes the number of Prisoners less than 200 among whom were 80 highlanders. The loss of the enemy in all these rencounters is stated at upwards of 2000, with Artillery, Baggage, and Stores to a considerable amount. I think we may now say the Scales are at least even, and I shall continue all my life to thank General Howe for dividing his Army, from which I always hop’d for the greatest advantages to us.  I am to wait here, an Answer to what I transmitted to Court in consequence of my conference with the Duke of Grimaldi who is to meet me here to-morrow. I have represented that my not going to Madrid will be construed a refusal on the part of Spain to receive a Deputy from the States and may therefore have a very bad effect both in Europe and America. I have askd at the same time for a credit in Holland and expect that to soften the former, they will be more liberal in the latter.4 I send an Account of the late intelligence to Madrid, London and the Hague, desiring Dumas to have it inserted in the Gazettes, and translated into German to be distributed among the german troops, before they embark, with a hint that as the King of G. Britain refuses to settle a Cartel, they may remain Prisoners for life. Surely this will be a good reason for them, especially the Officers to refuse to go. I intended to have written to Mr. Dean and Sir Roger le Grand at Amsterdam to the same purpose, but I perceive by a Letter from the latter, in the post office here, going to Madrid that he is yet in Paris, which makes me suppose they have laid aside or postpond the intended journey. Mr. Carmichael can assist you in contriving to distribute the Account among the german troops, from which I think some good must arise.  It seems to me that something ought to be transmitted to the States General, representing that their agreeing to let the mercenaries notoriously hird to desolate the States of America, have a passage, will be considered as a breach of that strict neutrality which the United States expect from all those nations, who woud wish to remain in Amity with them. Vatel acknowledges that granting such passage has often been warmly[?] remonstrated against; tho he maintains that it is no breach of neutrality, nor any just cause of war. I differ from him so much, that I am willing to have my name put to such a remonstrance. It is a palpable imposition upon common sense to say, that a nation who facilitates the enterprizes of my Enemy against me, preserves a neutrality: The pretence that they woud do the same for us, is incompetent; also why will it not justify the furnishing Arms, Ammunition and Provisions in the way of trade? They both stand upon the same foot, that of contributing directly to my distruction. For in what does he who opens the way to the employment of Arms &c. against me, differ from him who furnishes them?  I had almost forgot to mention that the Ships which brought the news, are the Alexander, Capt. Williamson and the Charlotte Capt. Sinclair from Newberry port. They saild the 4th of Feby. and arrivd at Bilboa the 8th of March.  Please to remember me to Sir Roger and all our friends. If Mr. Dean shoud go to Amsterdam, he will probably meet with a Mr. Paul Wentworth; of whom I woud advise him to be much upon his guard.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets to Independence Hall, as well as numerous other sites, such as 2nd National Bank, Graff House, Carpenter Hall, and Christ Church.  If you are interested in learning about George Washington, join us for our Valley Forge Tour.  For Civil War buffs, come see Gettysburg.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our historical vacation packages.

January 2, 1777

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General Cornwallis marches toward Trenton to attack Washington with 6,000 men.  General Washington’s troops are in great danger, backed up against the Delaware River.  Fortunately, Cornwallis decides to wait until the next day to finish up the battle.  Washington deceived Cornwallis by having 400 men dig entrenchments and fires while making a lot of noise during the night while he and the bulk of the army quietly withdrew to safety.

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January 1, 1777

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Hessian prisoners taken at Trenton are marched through the streets of Philadelphia.

General Charles Cornwallis, who had been about to leave for England, rode 50 miles from New York to take command at Princeton, NJ.  The total troops there numbered 8,000; General Washington at Trenton commanded 5,000 troops.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Benjamin Franklin was appointed commissioner to Spain, in addition to his duties in France.

General Washington authorized inoculation of the entire army against smallpox.

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours, including the best tour regarding the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton in existence!  Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets to Independence Hall, as well as numerous other sites, such as 2nd National Bank, Graff House, Carpenter Hall, and Christ Church.  If you are interested in learning about George Washington, join us for our Valley Forge Tour.  For Civil War buffs, come see Gettysburg.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our historical vacation packages.

November 11, 1776

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Congress orders the Board of War to confer with the Council of Safety for Pennsylvania on plans to defend Philadelphia should it be attacked by General Howe.

The Maryland Convention orders that copies of the new Constitution be sent to all the counties.  The Maryland Constitution provides for a bicameral legislature, with the Senators elected by an Electoral College method, only property owners could vote, office holders had to have property too.

George Washington writes to John Hancock about his twin concerns of the British Army in New York and the fact that his own army is nearing dissolution, as the bulk of the men are nearing their termination dates.  “I have only time to acknowledge the honor of your Letter of the 5th Instt and Its Several Inclosures, and to inform you, that agreable to the Resolves of Congress I shall use every measure in my power that the moving & present confused State of the Army will admit of, for to appoint Officers for recruiting. You will have been advised before this of the arrival of Commissioners from the Massachusets. Others have come from Connecticut, but from the present appearance of things, we seem but little, if any nearer levying an Army. I had anticipated the Resolve respecting the Militia, by writing to the Eastern States & to the Jersey by the advice of my Genl Officers, and from a consciousness of the necessity of getting in a Number of Men if possible, to keep up the appearance of an Army.  How my applications will succeed, the event must determine. I have little or no reason to expect, that the Militia now here will remain a day longer than the Time they first engaged for. I have recommended their Stay & requested it in Genl Orders—Genl Lincoln & the Massachusets Commissrs, are using their Interest with those from that State, but as far as I can judge, we cannot rely on their Staying.  I left White Plains about 11 OClock Yesterday all peace then. The Enemy appeared to be preparing for their expedition to Jersey according to every Information. What their designs are, or Whether their present conduct is not a feint, I can not determine. the Maryland & Virginia Troops under Lord Stirling have crossed the River as have part of those from the Jersey, the remainder are now embarking. The Troops judged necessary to Secure the Several Posts through the Highlands have also got up. I am going to examine the Passes, and direct such Works as may appear necessary, after which and making the best disposition I can of things in this Quarter, I intend to proceed to Jersey which I expect to do to morrow.  The Assemblies of Massachusets & Connecticut to induce their Men more readily to engage in the Service, have voted an Advance pay of Twenty Shillings  Month in addition to that allowed by the Congress to Privates. It may perhaps be the means of their levying the Quotas exacted from them sooner than they could otherwise be raised, but I am of Opinion a more fatal & mistaken policy could not have entered their Councils, or One more detrimental to the Genl cause. The Influence of the Vote will become Continental and materially affect the other States in making up their Levies. If they could do It, I am certain when the Troops come to act together, that Jealousy, impatience & mutiny would necessarily arise. a different pay cannot exist in the same Army. the reasons are obvious & experience has proved their force in the case of the Eastern & southern Troops last Spring. Sensible of this, and of the pernicious consequences that would inevitably result from the advance, I have prevented the Commissrs from proceeding or publishing their Terms till they could obtain the sense of Congress upon the Subject and remonstrated against It in a Letter to Govr Trumbull. I am not singular in Opinion, I have the concurrence of all the General Officers of it’s fatal Tendency.

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets to Independence Hall, as well as numerous other sites, such as 2nd National Bank, Graff House, Carpenter Hall, and Christ Church.  If you are interested in learning about George Washington, join us for our Valley Forge Tour.  For those interested in the Civil War, come see our Gettysburg Tour.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our American History Vacation Packages.