December 10, 1776

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The Congress prepares and publishes an address to the American people.  It is a plea for military support against the advancing British army.  “What a pity it is then that the rich and populous city of Philadelphia should fall into the enemy’s hands.”

General Washington is uncertain whether General Charles Cornwallis will cross the Delaware above here or below from Trenton.  He also writes to General Charles Lee at Chatham, New Jersey, once again requesting that he join him to save Philadelphia:  “I last night received your favor by Colo. Humpton & were it not for the weak and feeble state of the force I have, I should highly approve of your hanging on the Rear of the Enemy and establishing the Post you mention; But when my situation is directly opposite to what you suppose it to be, and when Genl Howe is pressing forward with the whole of his Army except the Troops that were lately embarked & a few besides left at N. York, to possess himself of Philadelphia, I cannot but request and entreat you & this too by the advice of all the Genl Officers with me, to march and join me with your whole force with all possible expedition. The utmost exertions that can be made, will not be more than sufficient to save Philadelphia, without the aid of your force, I think there is but little if any prospect of doing it. I refer you to the Route Majr Hoops would inform you of. The Enemy are now extended along the Delaware at Several places. By a prisoner who was taken last night, I am told that at Penny Town there are two Battallions of Infantry—3 of Grenadiers, The Hessian Grenadiers, 42d of Highlanders & 2 Others—Their object doubtless is to pass the river above us or to prevent your joining me. I mention this that you may avail yourself of the information. do come on, your arrival may be happy & if it can be effected without delay may be the means of preservg a City whose loss must prove of the most fatal consequence to the Cause of America. I am &c.

pray exert your influence & bring with you All the Jersey Militia you possibly can, Let them not suppose their State is lost or in any danger because the Enemy are pushing thro it. if you think Genl Sinclair or Genl Maxwell would be of Service to command em I would send either.”

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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December 8, 1776

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From the Falls of the Delaware, across from Trenton, New Jersey, General Washington reports his further retreat to congress:  “Colo. Reed would inform you of the Intelligence which I first met with on the Road from Trenton to Princeton Yesterday. Before I got to the latter, I received a Second express informing me, that as the Enemy were advancing by different Routs and attempting by One to get in the rear of our Troops which were there & whose numbers were small and the place by no means defensible, they had judged it prudent to retreat to Trenton—The retreat was accordingly made, and since to this side of the River.  This information I thought it my duty to communicate as soon as possible, as there is not a moments time to be lost in assembling such force as can be collected and as the object of the Enemy cannot now be doubted in the smallest degree. Indeed I shall be out in my conjecture (for it is only conjecture), if the late imbarkation at New York, is not for Delaware river, to cooperate with the Army under the immediate command of Genl Howe, who I am informed from good authority is with the British Troops and his whole force upon this Route.  I have no certain intelligence of Genl Lee, although I have sent frequent Expresses to him and lately a Colo. Humpton to bring me some accurate Accounts of his situation. I last night dispatched another Gentn to him—Major Hoops, desiring he would hasten his march to the Delaware in which I would provide Boats near a place called Alexandria for the transportation of his Troops. I can not account for the slowness of his March.  In the disordered & moving state of the Army I cannot get returns, but from the best accounts we had between Three thousand & 3500 Men before the Philadelphia Militia and German Batallion arrived, they amount to about Two thousand.”

Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin writes to Congress to apprise then that he has arrived in France:  “Our Friends in France have been a good deal dejected with the Gazette Accounts of Advantages obtain’d against us by the British Troops. I have help’d them here to recover their Spirits a little, by assuring them that we shall face the Enemy, and were under no Apprehensions of their two Armies being able to compleat their Junction. I understand Mr. Lee has lately been at Paris, that Mr. Deane is still there, and that an underhand Supply is obtain’d from the Government of 200 brass Field Pieces, 30,000 Firelocks, and some other military Stores which are now shipping for America, and will be convoy’d by a Ship of War. The Court of England, Mr. Penet tells me (from whom I have the above Intelligence) had the Folly to demand Mr. Deane to be deliver’d up, but were refus’d. Our Voyage tho’ not long was rough, and I feel myself weakned by it: But I now recover Strength daily, and in a few days shall be able to undertake the Journey to Paris. I have not yet taken any publick Character, thinking it prudent first to know whether the Court is ready and willing to receive Ministers publicly from the Congress; that we may neither embarras her on the one hand, or subject ourselves to the Hazard of a disgraceful Refusal on the other. I have dispatch’d an Express to Mr. Deane, with the Letters I had for him from the Committee, and a Copy of our Commission, that he may immediately make the proper Enquiries, and give me Information. In the mean time, I find it is generally suppos’d here that I am sent to negociate, and that Opinion appears to give great Pleasure, if I can judge by the extream Civilities I meet with from Numbers of the principal People, who have done me the Honour to visit me. I have desired Mr. Deane, by some speedy and safe Means to give Mr. Lee Notice of his Appointment. I find several Vessels here laden with military Stores for America, just ready to sail: On the whole there is the greatest Prospect that we shall be well provided for another Campaign, and much stronger than we were the last. A Spanish Fleet has sail’d, with 7000 Land Forces, Foot, and some Horse. Their Destination unknown, but suppos’d against the Portuguese in Brasil. Both France and England are preparing strong Fleets, and it is said that all the Powers of Europe are preparing for War, apprehending a general one cannot be very distant. When I arrive at Paris, I shall be able to write with more Certainty.”

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.

 

Sexual Harassment Allegations Come to Light!

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Betsy Walker has come forth with allegations that Thomas Jefferson, after assuring her husband that he would look in on her while he was away conducting a treaty with a nearby Indian tribe, did sexually harass and attempt to seduce her.  After slipping her an ode to the efficacy of free love, Jefferson was relentless in his attempts.  On one occasion, Jefferson had come to her house to play cards.  After she went to bed he “pretended to be sick, complained of a headache & left the gentlemen…Instead of going to bed….he stole into my room….”  Jefferson was “repulsed with indignation & menaces of alarm and ran off.”

Thomas Jefferson has admitted to the charges Betsy Walker has made, and apologizes for any pain he may have caused.  “I plead guilty…that when young and single I offered love to a handsome lady.  I acknowledge its incorrectness .”   We are still attempting to discover whether or not this was a singular and unique event, although several women (including Sally Hemings, Maria Cosway, Angelica Schuyler, and others) have indicated that this may be a pattern with Mr. Jefferson.

For more stories that would make Matt Lauer blush, join us for one of our evening tours of Sex and the First City.

 

 

November 25, 1776

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British Colonel Guy Johnson, Indian Superintendent in New York, reports to Lord Germain in England that the Indians have kept their promises to him of last year and that he had sent an officer in disguise to the Six Nations.

In New York, William Franklin writes in a letter to his wife in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, regarding their son going to Paris with his father, Benjamin, “if the old gentleman has taken the boy with him, I hope it is only to put him in some foreign university, which he seemed anxious to do when he spoke to me last about his education.”  William and Benjamin are at odds, since William has chosen to support the British in the conflict.

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.

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.

 

November 6, 1776

Lord Germain, Secretary of State for America, writes two letters to Admiral Richard Howe.  The first acknowledges his report of the capture of New York.  The second lette reminds Howe that the King wanted him to engage the Southern Indians through John Stewart, Superintendent of Indians.

At an American Council of War, it is agreed that Howe would move his troops to New Jersey.  Therefore, Washington will also go to New Jersey and three thousand men will be posted at Peekskill, New York.

President of the Congress, John Hancock, writes to Washington in regards to British movements out of New York:  “I have the honor to inform you, that on yesterday morning the Enemy made a sudden and unexpected movement from the Several posts they had taken in our Front. they broke up their whole Encampments the preceding night, and have advanced towards King’s bridge and the North river. the design of this manuvre, is a matter of much conjecture and speculation, and cannot be accounted for with any degree of certainty. the Grounds we had taken possession of, were strong and advantageous and such, as they could not have gained without much loss of blood in case an attempt had been made. I had taken every possible precaution to prevent their outflanking us, which may have led to the present measure. they may still have in view their original plan; and by a sudden wheel try to accomplish it. detachments are constantly out to observe their motions, and to harrass them as much as possible.  In consequence of this movement, I called a Council of Genl Officers to day to consult of such measures as should be adopted in case they pursued their retreat to New York. the result of which, is herewith transmitted.  In respect to myself, I cannot indulge an Idea, that General Howe, supposing he is going to New York, means to close the Campaign and to sit down without attempting something more. I think it highly probable and almost certain, that he will make a descent with a part of his Troops into Jersey, and as soon as I am satisfied that the present manuvre is real and not a feint, I shall use every means in my power to forward a part of our force to counteract his designs. nor shall I be disappointed, if he sends a Detachment to the Southward for the purpose of making a Winter Campaign. from the information I have received, there is now a number of Transports at Red Hook with about three thousand Troops on board. their destination as given out, is, to Rhode Island, but this seems altogether improbable for various reasons, among others, the Season is much against it. in the Southern States they will find it milder and much more favourable for their purposes. I shall take the liberty of mentioning, that it may not be improper to suggest the probability of such a measure to the Assemblies and Conventions in those States, that they may be on their guard, and of the propriety of their establishing and laying up magazines of provisions & other necessaries in suitable places. this is a matter of exceeding importance, and what cannot be too much attended to.  From the approaching dissolution of the Army, and the departure of the New Levies which is on the eve of taking place, and the little prospect of levying a New One in time, I have wrote to the Eastern States by the unanimous advice of the General Officers, to forward Supplies of Militia in the room of those, that are now here, and who it is feared, will not be prevailed on to stay any longer than the time they are engaged for. The propriety of this application, I trust will appear, when it is known, that not a Single Officer is yet commissioned to recruit, and when it is considered how essential it is to keep up some shew of force and shadow of an Army.  I expect the Enemy will bend their force against Fort Washington and invest It immediately. from some advices it is an Object that will attract their earliest attention.  I am happy to inform you that in the Engagement on Monday Sennight, I have reason to beleive our Loss was by no means so considerable as was conjectured at first. By some deserters & prisoners we are told that of the Enemy was tolerably great. some accounts make it about Four Hundred in killed & wounded—All agree that among the former there was a Colo. Carr of the 35th Regiment.  The force that will be sent to Jersey after I am satisfied of Mr How’s retreat, in addition to those now there, according to my present opinion, will make it necessary for me to go with them, to put things in a proper channel, and such a way of defence, as shall seem most probable—to check the progress of the Enemy in case they should attempt a descent there or a move towards Philadelphia.

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.

 

November 2, 1776

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In London, England, former Governor Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts is given word that Howe had landed on New York on September 16.

An American officer in New York (William Demont) deserted to lord Hugh Percy and took with him the plans for Fort Washington on Manhattan Island.

Lieutenant Colonel Ethan Allen writes to George Washington from his British confinement in New York:  “Sir, Having Procur’d the favour of Writing a few Lines to your Excellency, I Cherfully Exbrace the oppertunity and Entertain fond Hopes Shortly to pay my compliments to your Excellency Personally; The Kings Officers Incourage me that it will not be long before I am Exchanged, and I doubt Not but that your Excellency will Promote it, the more so, as I have suffered a long and sevear Imprisonment;1 Tho, in the passage from Halifax to Newyork Harbour, where I have been a few days, I was Courteously Treated by Capt. Smith & his Officers of the Lark Frigate in which I Sailed, and am now on Board a Transport Cal’d the Glasgow, where I am well Used, and have in great measure recover’d my Health, provided a little Cash could be Sent me it would Oblige your Excellency’s Most Obedient Humble Servt

Ethan Allen

P.S. There are Twenty four Prisoners with me, some of them were Taken at Bunkers Hill but the most of them with me Near Montreal, here are Included the Master of the Brigg Washington & his Mait, Also Mr James Lovell from Boston, who is this day to be Set at Liberty in Exchange for Governor Skeen; the Prisoners are all well but Earnestly desire their Liberty.”

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.