December 2, 1777

 

 

David Bushnell, inventor of the submarine “The Turtle” creates a minefield of gunpowder kegs to harass British shipping.

“The Turtle” is the first submarine.  Bushnell came up with the idea while studying at Yale in 1775.  While at Yale he proved that gunpowder could be exploded under water.  He followed up by creating the first time bomb.  He then combined these ideas with his building of the Turtle, which was designed to attack ships by attaching a time bomb to their hulls while using a hand powered drill and ship auger to penetrate the hulls.  Its first use was in an attack on September 6.  However, on that date it failed to destroy the 64 gun ship, HMS Eagle, that was its target.

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, you will never forget our Gettysburg Tour, which is offered in either one-day or two-day packages.

 

 

 

 

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December 1, 1777

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Choosing Winter Quarters is never an easy matter, particularly not in the circumstances in which George Washington currently sees himself, militarily and politically.  Some believe he should be staying close to Philadelphia in order to continue to fight the British.  Others believe he should leave the region entirely and seek a village or town with where they can be sure to secure food and shelter.  Washington seems to have been far more concerned about military concerns – i.e., finding one last way to strike a blow at the British before the winter comes – then he was concerned about winter quarters.  His military concerns were at least, in part, due to the heavy criticism he had been receiving of late and the activities of those who sought to have him replaced by a general with more military experience and education, such as General Horatio Gates.  (For the moment, Washington had no need to worry about Charles Lee as he had been captured by the British.)  We will continue to discuss Washington’s decision to go to Valley Forge in the next couple weeks.  In order to truly gain an appreciation for the Valley Forge experience, however, you should join us for our Valley Forge Tours, which continue to operate.  After all, they didn’t let the snow stop them, so why should you?

General John Armstrong writes the following letter to George Washington:  “I beg leave to recommend, that as early as it may be Safe to make such movement, the Army may pass Over the Scuilkill & take for Some time a position on that Side.  With respect to Winter Quarters for the Army—The longer I consider the measure pointed out in the back Villiages of this State, the more inadmissable that Step appears to be, as by the large lattitude thereby given the Enemy thro’ the Winter & early part of the Spring, every doleful & pernitious consequence must be expected—The hearts of good-men thro’ all the States depressed, and this State in particular, little less than Sacrificed to the whole without real necessity! Amongst the innumerable evils resulting from that Situation, the impossition of the Oaths of Allegiance & an end to Government & the future aids of the Militia thro’ a great part of the State, must inevitably follow.  I’m therefore of opinion that in proper time, part of your Army Take possession of Wilmington, and the residue form a Chain from thence to Downingstown & perhaps the White Horse on the Lancaster road, at these two Some Cover may be had, and Hutts with Some use of Houses in the intermediate Space—these are the best Out lines that appears to me, which may be corrected and better determined when the Army is on that Side. And am with perfect respect, Yr Excellencys Most Obedt humbe Servt…John Armstrong”

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.

 

 

 

November 28, 1777

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It was kind of a “good news/bad news” situation for Abigail Adams.  After such a long separation her husband, John, had finally returned to Braintree.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that Silas Deane, the Ambassador to France, was not only suspected of financial impropriety, but had been discovered to have been intimating in letters that the Revolutionary Cause was hopeless.

On this date John Adams received the following letter from Daniel Roberdeau:  “I would not take pen in hand until I could reasonably suppose you safe arrived to your long wished for home, on which I now presume to congratulate you and sincerely hope you have met with Mrs. Adams and your Children well and every domestick concern to your entire satisfaction for all which I feel myself much interested from the sincere regard contracted for you in our short intimacy, which I shall be ever ready to cultivate whenever Opportunity offers.

I congratulate you or rather my Country in the choice of you this day as a Commissioner to France for the united States, in lieu of Mr. Dean who is recalled.1 Your domestick views of happiness was not consulted on this occasion, but the necessity of your Country for your Talents, which being devoted to her service, I expect a chearful acquiescence with a call so honorable, which I doubt not will prove a lasting honor to you and your Connections as well as a blessing to these States. I should be sorry for the least hisitation. I will not admit the thought of your refusal of the Office which would occasion a publick chagrine. I wish you had improved the opportunity when here of studying the French language, which our friend Mr. Garry is now doing. I would advise your taking french books with you and a french Companion, and if an Opportunity does not immediately present from Boston a trip to the West Indies and a passage in a french vessel to Paris would be of considerable advantage.”

Bad news for Abigail.  Good news for future historians – this appointment would cause the long separation between John and Abigail Adams which would, in turn, give us one of the greatest correspondences in American history.

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.

 

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.

July 5, 1777

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American Major General Arthur St. Clair is not able to continue holding defense of Fort Ticonderoga and evacuates, leaving substantial supplies behind.  During this time, the British occupy an undefended Mount Defiance, which overlooks Fort Ticonderoga.

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.

June 30, 1777

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General John Burgoyne’s army begins to arrive near Fort Ticonderoga.

British General William Howe leaves New Jersey for New York City and Staten Island.  He intends to carry out the plan to begin an offensive attack against Philadelphia.

George Washington’s aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, writes the following letter warning General Charles Scott about possible surprise attack from Great Britain:  “I wrote you this moment by His Excellency’s order; but he is so anxious you should be acquainted with his apprehensions on the score of the enemy’s leaving Amboy, with some of their stores remaining in it, that fearing a miscarriage of my former letter he desires me to write another to the same effect.  The enemy have had their own leisure to go off and carry whatever they thought proper. What then should induce them to leave any stores behind unless by way of ensnaring some party of ours that should be tempted by them to venture incautiously into the place they have quitted? This is much to be suspected, and you are strongly enjoined to reconnoitre well before you trust any part of your men into the Town. It will be the easiest matter in the world if you are not exceedingly vigilant to throw a party across the river upon your rear and intercept you. You had better not send your whole Brigade in; but only send in a small party to take possession of the stores, and convey as many out as you can to some other place. For this purpose you will collect as many waggons as you can about the neighbourhood. You are, by no means, to remain in Amboy all night; but retire immediately after you have put an end to any endeavours to carry off the remaining stores. Keep parties reconnoitring from Amboy to Elizabeth Town point and take every precaution to avoid a surprise.  I have ordered down provisions to Bonum Town. You can either go that place or send for the provisions from thence.

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.