June 14, 1776

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Congress orders Major General Philip Schuyler to confer with Six Nations Indians (Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca) and “engage them in our interest upon the best terms that can be procured” and to proceed to erect a fortification at Fort Stanix, New York.

Major General John Sullivan with 2500 men decides to evacuate Canada and make a stand at Ticonderoga.  The British fleet occupied Sorel in about 2 hours.

Charles Lee writes to Benjamin Franklin on his ideas to create an army and prepare for war:  “I am very happy that my letter to Lord Thanet meets with your approbation. I send you here some crude notions of what ought be adopted.  1st  A solemn league and covenant defensive and offensive to be taken by every man in America, particularly by those in or near the Sea Port Towns; all those who refuse, to have their estates confiscated for the public use, and their persons remov’d to the interior par[t of] the Country with a small pension res[erved?] for their subsistance.2dly  New York to [be] well fortify’d and garrison’d or totally destroy’d.  3dly  No Regiments to be rais’d f[or any?] particular local purposes, but one general g[reat?] Continental Army adequate to evry purpose. South Carolina may be excepted from its distance and peculiar circumstances.4thly.  The Regiments to be exchang’d those who are rais’d in one Province to serve in another rather than in their own, viz. the New Englanders in New York the N. Yorkers in New England and so on. This system will undoubtedly make ’em better Soldiers.5thly.  A general Militia to be establishd and the regular Regiments to be formd by drafts from the Militia or their substitutes.  6thly.  A certain portion of lands to be [assign]ed to evry Soldier who serves one campaign [a d]ouble portion to him who serves two, and so on.7thly.  A strong flying camp to be kept about Hampton Bay, another about Annapolis and Charles Town in S. Carolina to be well watch’d and guarded.  8thly.  The greatest [pains?] to be taken and no expence to be spar’d in securing the Indians to our interest.  These measures may appear bold but I am sure they will be efficacious and decisive decision is the onset[?] of success. I wish I had time to write a longer letter, and I wish my pen was better to be more legible.”

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June 13, 1776

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General Benjamin Lincoln directs the placement of cannon around the harbor.  A short cannonade convinces the British to weigh anchor, inspiring Lincoln to write, “This is the port of Boston again opened by our own authority, after being closed for two years by virtue of an act of the British Parliament.”

Meanwhile, “Mad Anthony” Wayne writes to Benjamin Franklin from Canada:  “After a long March by land and water Variated with Delightful as well as Gloomy prospects we Arrived here the night of the 4th. [?] Instant and on the 7th. it was Agreed in a Council of War to Attack the Enemy at Three Rivers about 47 Miles lower down, whose Strength was Estimated at 3 or 4 Hundred. Genl. Thompson was appointed for this Command, the Disposition was as follows, 4 Attack’s to be made at the same time viz. Col. Maxwell to Conduct the first, myself the Second Col. St. Clair the third and Col. Irvine the 4th. Liet. Col. Hartly the Reserves.

On the same evening We Embarked and Arrivd at Col. St. Clairs Encampment about Midnight. It was Intended that the Attack shou’d be made at the dawn of day. This we found to be Impraketecable, therefore Remained where we were until the 7th. [?] when we took boats to the Number of 1450 Men all Pennslvanis except Maxwells Battalion.  About 2 in the Morning we landed Nine Miles above the town, and after an Hours March day began to Appear, our Guides had mistook the road, the Enemy Discoverd and Cannonaded us from their ships. A Surprise was out of the Question. We therefore put our best face on and Continued our line of March thro’ a thick deep Swamp three Miles wide and after four Hours Arrived at a more Open piece of Ground, amidst the thickest firing of the Shipping when all of a Sudden a large Body of Regulars Marched down in good Order Immediately in front of me to prevent our forming, in Consequence of which I Ordered my Light Infantry together with Capt. Hay’s Company of Rifle men1 to Advance and amuse them whilst I was forming, they began and Continued the Attack with great Spirit until I advanced to Support when I Orderd them to wheel to the Right and left and flank the Enemy at the same time we poured in a well Aimed and heavy fire in front as this:

They Attempted to Retreat in good Order at first but in a few Minutes broke and run in the Utmost Confusion. About this time the Other Divisions began to Immerge from the Swamp except Maxwell who with his was Advanced in a thicket a Considerable Distance to the left, our Rear now becoming our front. At this Instant we Recd. a heavy fire in flank from Muskettry field pieces Howitzers &ca. &ca. which threw us into some Confusion, but was Instantly Remedied. We Advanced in Colums up to their breast Work’s which till then we had not Discovered. At this time Genl. Thompson with Cols. St. Clair Ervine and Hartly were Marching in full view to our Support, Col. Maxwell now began to Engage on the left of me, the fire was so hot he cou’d not mantain his post. The Other troops had Also fired off to the left. My Small Battalion Composed of my own and two Companis of Jersey men under Major Ray amounting in the Whole to About 200 were left exposed to the Whole fire of the Shipping in flank and full three thousand men in front with all their Artilry under the Command of Genl. Burgoine. Our people taking example by others gave way. Indeed it was Imposible for them to stand it longer. Whilst Col. Allen and myself were Employed in Railing the troops Let. Col. Hartly had advanced with the Reserve and bravely Attacked the Enemy from a thiket in a Swamp to the left, this hardiness of his was of the Utmost Consequence to us, we having Rallied about 500 men from the Different Regiments. We now sent to find the Genl. and Other field Officers. At the same time the Rifle men of mine and Irvins kept up a Garding fire on the Enemy. The Swamp was so deep and thick with timber and Underwood that a man 10 Yards in front or Rear cou’d not see the men Drawn up. This was the cause of the Genl. Col. St. Clair Maxwell and Irvine missing us, or perhaps had taken for Granted that we were all cut off. Col. Hartly who lay near retreated by without a Discovery on either side, until he Crossed our line near the left, which caused our people to follow him. Allen and myself were now left on the field with only twenty men and five Officers, the Enemy still Continuing their whole fire from Great and [small?] guns upon us, but afraid to venture from their lines; we thought it prudent to keept them in play by keeping up a small fire in Order to gain time for our people to make good their Retreat, in Consequence of which we Continued about an Hour longer in the field, and then Retired back into the woods which brought us to a Road on the far side of the Swamp. We followed this Road about two Miles where we went from our Small party to the place where our people had interd the Swamp by which means we even Collected 6 or 700 men with whom we Retreated in good Order but without Noureshmint of any kind, the Enemy who were Strong in Number had Detatched in two or three bodies about 1500 men to cut off our Retreat. They way laid and Engaged us again about 9 miles from the field of Battle, they did us little damage we Continued our March, and the third day Almost worn out with fatague Hunger and Dificulties scarcely to be parralleld we arrived here with 1100 men, but Genl. Thompson Col. Irvine Doct. McCalla and Several Officers are prisoners at three Rivers. Col. St. Clair Arrived alone last night their Seperation from the Army (which Appeared Indeed to be lost) was the cause of their Misfortune. I believe it will be Universally Allowed that Col. Allen and myself have saved the Army in Canada.6 Capt. Robinson has proved himself the Soldier and the Gentleman,7 his Conduct has Outgone the most Sanguine hopes of his friends, out of 150 of my own I have lost more than the One Quarter part, together with Slight touch in my Right leg, which is partly well already, we shall have more buisness soon, our people are in high Spirits.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for the best walking and driving tours in Philadelphia.  If battles (such as the one described above) are your thing, then you’ll want to join us for one of our driving/battle tours such as Valley Forge, Washington’s Crossing, Brandywine, and Monmouth.  Bow Tie Tours is the only Philadelphia tour company that offers all of these tours.

Finally, if you are looking for the ultimate July 4th Celebration this year, contact us and we will set you up with a tour given by Benjamin Rush that you will never forget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 11, 1776

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Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Philip Livingston comprise a committee chosen to prepare the Declaration of Independence.  John Adams requests Thomas Jefferson to prepare the first draft.  When Jefferson suggested that Adams write the Declaration, Adams “declined, and gave him several reasons for declining.  1.  That he was a Virginian, and I a Massachusettensian.  2. That he was a southern man, and I a northern one.  3.  That I had been so obnoxious for my early and constant zeal in promoting the measure, that any draught of mine would undergo a more severe scrutiny and criticism in Congress, than one of his composition.  4., and lastly, and that would be reason enough if there were no other, I had a great opinion of the elegance of his pen, and none at all of my own.  I therefore insisted that no hesitation should be made on his part.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for the Independence Tour Extraordinaire, a four hour tour that takes you inside the building where the Declaration was signed, and also to the place where Thomas Jefferson, alone, wrote his first draft.  Join us for our stupendous 4th of July Celebration, which comprises of a tour given by Dr. Benjamin Rush that will take you to the inside of the room where the Declaration was written!

We had a tremendous tour at Valley Forge yesterday – now that summer is here, you don’t want to miss  it.

The Ultimate July 4th Celebration!!!!

Bow Tie Tours is pleased to announce the Ultimate July 4th Celebration, a 7-Hour Extravaganza that will take you to all of the top sites in Colonial Philadelphia.  Included in this tour is admission to Independence Hall, Graff House, the 2nd National Bank/Portrait Studio, the Betsy Ross, House, and the brand new Museum of the American Revolution that includes the actual tent where George Washington slept.  This will all end off at the City Tavern for a drink and a Huzzah!

Join Dr. Benjamin Rush, a Signer of the Declaration of Independence and a man who can tell you all about the Revolution from a first-hand basis.  Hear about his friends, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington.  (Dr. Rush is portrayed by author David Cross, Director of Bow Tie Tours.)

 

Do you ever find yourself unable to come up with an appropriate celebration for the 4th?  Join us this year and you will finally have a July 4th adequate to the historical significance of the holiday.  The tour will end with plenty of time to get down to Center City to enjoy the fireworks.  So…what are you waiting for?

Call us at Bow Tie Tours (610-642-2410) to sign up for this exciting tour.

 

 

 

 

 

May 10, 1776

Congress recommends to the colonial assemblies and conventions, “Where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs have ben hitherto established, to adapt such government as shall best conduct to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and Americas in general.”

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In Rhode Island, John Paul Jones is appointed to command USS Providence.

The Commissioners from Canada (Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, Charles Carroll) inform Congress of a defeat in Montreal  (original spellings retained):  “By Col: Campbell, who arrived here early this morning from Quebeck, we are informed that two men of war, two Frigates and one Tender arrived there early on monday the 6th. instant about eleven o’clock the enemy sallied out, to the number, as is supposed, of one thousand men. Our forces were so dispersed at different posts, that not more than two hundred could be collected together at Head Quarters; this small force could not resist the enemy: all our cannon, five hundred muskets, and about two hundred sick unable to come off have fallen into their hands. The retreat, or rather flight was made with the utmost precipitation and confusion; however Col: Campbell informs us, that he imagines we have lost very few men except the sick abovementioned. Genl. Thomas was last Thursday evening at De Chambeau; at a Council of war it was determined by eleven to three to retreat to the mouth of the Sorel: this day Genl. Arnold goes down here; and if he can get information of the enemy’s real strength and it should be found inconsiderable, perhaps a council of war on reconsideration, may think proper to march the army back to Dechambeau, which is now strengthened by Col: Gratton’s, Burrels, and Sinclair’s regiments. Besides the above losses, one batteau loaded with powder, supposed to contain thirty barrels, and an armed vessel, which the Crew were obliged to abandon, were intercepted by one of the enemy’s frigates. We are afraid it will not be in our power to render our Country any farther services in this Colony: if our army should maintain possession of any considerable part of this country, it will be absolutely necessary to keep some power to controul the military.”

General Lee writes to General Washington from Williamsburg, Virginia:  “My command (as you may easily conceive) is extremely perplexing from the consideration of the vast extent of vulnerable parts of this Country intersected by such a variety of navigable waters, and the expedition with which the Enemy (furnish’d with canvass Wings) can fly from one spot to another—had We arms for the Minute Men and half a dozen good field Engineers—We might laugh at their efforts—but in this article (like the rest of the Continent) We are miserably deficient—Engineers We have but two—and They threaten to resign as it is impossible that They shou’d subsist on a more wretched pittance than Common Carpenters or Brickl[ay]ers can earn—I have written to the Congress intreating ’em to augment the pay—a word from you, woud, I make no doubt, effect it—I wish, My Dr General, You woud send me Capt. Smith on condition the Congress make it worth his while, otherwise I have not the conscience to propose it—I am well pleas’d with your Officers in general, and the Men are good, some Irish Rascals excepted—I have form’d two Companies of Grenadiers to each Regt arm’d with spears of thirteen feet long—their Rifles (for they are all Rifle Men) slung over their Shoulders—their appearance is formidable and the Men are conciliated to the weapon—I am likewise furnishing myself with four ounc’d Rifled Amusets which will carry an infernal distance—the two ounc’d hit a half sheet of Paper at five hundred yards distance—so much for military—a noble spirit possesses the Convention—They are almost unanimous for independence but differ in their sentiments about the mode—two days will decide it—I have the pleasure to inform you that I am extremely well in the opinion of the senatorial part as well as of the People at large—God send me the grace to preserve it—but their Neighbours of Maryland (I mean their council of safety) make a most damnable clamour (as I am inform’d) on the subject of a letter I wrote to the Chairman of the Committee of Baltimore to seize the person and papers of Mr Eden upon the discovery which was communicated to me of his treacherous correspondence with the Secretary of State—it was a measure not only justifiable in the eyes of Gods and Men, but absolutely necessary—the Committee of safety here are indeed as deep in the scrape as myself—the Congress must, and will, I dare say support and vindicate the measure Capt. Greer and his party are upon their March as you order’d, I was a damn’d Blockhead for bringing ’em so far—as their accounts will be intricate—but I hope not so intricate as not to be unriddled—I send you an account of the Money I advanc’d to the different Officers—to Capts. Smith Lunt and Greer—I have taken the liberty to appoint a Serjt Denmark, of the Rifle Battalion to do duty as Ensign—He is a Man of worth and I beg you will confirm his commission—another Serjt of the same Battalion I have promoted to the rank of second Lt in the Artillery of this Province—He is a German—his name Holmer and very deserving—if little Eustace cannot be provided for with you—I cou’d wish if there is a cheap method of doing it, You wou’d send him to me—as I have it in my power to place him and quite doat upon him9—my love to Mrs Washington Gates and her bad half—to Moyland—but Palfrey is a Scoundrel for not writing adieu, My Dr General…”

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May 1, 1776

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King George issues a proclamation extending the bounties for encouraging enlistments in the Royal Navy.

Patriot General John Thomas takes over forces in Quebec, replacing General David Wooster.

The Commissioners from Canada (Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, Charles Carroll) send a dispatch to Congress describing the situation there and their need of money and men:  “It is impossible to give you a just idea of the lowness of the Continental credit here from the want of hard money, and the prejudice it is to our affairs. Not the most trifling service can be procured without an assurance of instant pay in silver or gold. The Express we sent from St. John’s to inform the General of our arrival there, and to request carriages for La Prairie, was stopt at the ferry, till a friend passing changed a Dollar for him into silver, and we are obliged to that friend (Mr. M’Cartney9) for his engagement to pay the Caleches, or they would not have come for us. The general apprehension, that we shall be driven out of the Province as soon as the King’s troops can arrive, concurs with the frequent breaches of promise the Inhabitants have experienced, in determining them to trust our people no farther. Therefore the utmost dispatch should be used in forwarding a large sum hither (we believe twenty thousand pounds will be necessary); otherwise it will be impossible to continue the war in this Country, or to expect the continuance of our interest with the people here, who begin to consider the Congress as bankrupt and their cause as desperate. Therefore till the arrival of money, it seems improper to propose the federal union of this Province with the others, as the few friends we have here, will scarce venture to exert themselves in promoting it, till they see our credit recoverd, and a sufficient army arrived to secure the possession of the Country.  Yesterday we attended a Council of war, the minutes of which we inclose. The places proposed are proper to prevent the further progress of the Enemy, in case they should oblige us to raise the siege of Quebeck. The plank and timber for the Gondolas is all prepared and ready at Fort Chamblee, and some of the Carpenters are arrived from New York; others are to be engaged here:1 and as hard money is necessary for these, we have a need to advance some out of what the Congress put into our hands for our own subsistance; to be replaced when cash shall arrive.  We understand that the Troops now before Quebeck have not ten days provision; but hope, as the lakes are now open, supplies will soon reach them.  We have directed the opening of the Indian Trade, and granting passports to all, who shall enter into certain engagements to do nothing in the upper Country prejudicial to the Continental interests.  We hope to morrow to obtain an account of our debts, that ought instantly to be paid. If besides what is necessary for that purpose, we had a sum to manage by opening a bank for exchanging continental bills, it is supposed that we might thereby give a circulation to those bills. The twenty thousand pounds above mentioned will, we think, answer both these purposes.  We are told that not less than the eight thousand orderd by Congress will be a sufficient army for this quarter. As yet there are but about three thousand, including those now passing down to Quebeck, who are just come over the lakes. The small pox is in the army, and General Thomas has unfortunately never had it.”

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April 20, 1776

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Germany and Britain arrange to have more troops sent from Germany to America, including 670 infantrymen.

Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll arrive in Montreal to try to convince the Canadians to join the revolution.  They returned to Philadelphia complaining of gross mismanagement.

John Adams writes to James Warren:  “Last Evening, a Letter was received, by a Friend of yours, from Mr. John Penn, one of the Delegates from North Carolina, lately returned home to attend the Convention of that Colony, in which he informs, that he heard nothing praised in the Course of his Journey, but Common sense and Independence. That this was the Cry, throughout Virginia. That North Carolina, were making great Preparations for War, and were determined, to die poor and to die hard, if they must die, in Defence of their Liberties. That they had, repealed, or Should repeal their Instructions to their Delegates against Independence. That South Carolina had assumed a Government chosen a Council, and John Rutledge Esqr., President of that Council with all the Powers of a Governor, that they have appointed Judges and that Drayton is Chief Justice. “In short, sir, says this Letter, The Vehemence of the southern Colonies is such, as will require the Coolness of the Northern Colonies, to restrain them from running to Excess.”  Inclosed you have a little Pamphlet, the Rise and Progress of which you shall be told.   Mr. Hooper and Mr. Pen of North Carolina, received from their Friends in that Colony, very pressing Instances to return home and attend the Convention, and at the Same Time to bring with them every Hint they could collect, concerning Government.  Mr. Hooper, applied to a certain Gentleman, acquainted him with the Tenor of his Letters and requested that Gentleman to give him his sentiments upon the subject. Soon afterwards Mr. Pen applied to the Same Gentleman, and acquainted him with the Contents of his Letters, and requested the same Favour.  The Time was very Short. However the Gentleman thinking it an opportunity, providentially thrown in his Way, of communicating Some Hints upon a subject, which seems not to have been sufficiently considered in the southern Colonies, and so of turning the Thought of Gentlemen that Way, concluded to borrow a little Time from his sleep and accordingly wrote with his own Hand, a Sketch, which he copied, giving the original to Mr. Hooper and the Copy to Mr. Penn, which they carried with them to Carolina. Mr. Wythe getting a sight of it, desired a Copy which the Gentleman made out from his Memory as nearly as he could. Afterwards Mr. Serjeant of New Jersey, requested another, which the gentleman made out again from Memory, and in this he enlarged and amplified a good deal, and sent it to Princetown. After this Coll. Lee, requested the same Favour. But the Gentleman, having written amidst all his Engagements five Copies, or rather five sketches, for no one of them was a Copy of the other, which amounted to Ten Sheets of Paper, pretty full and in a fine Hand was quite weary of the office. To avoid the Trouble of writing any more he borrowed Mr. Wythes Copy and lent it to Coll. Lee, who has put it under Types and thrown it into the Shape you see. It is a Pity it had not been Mr. Serjeants Copy for that is longer and more compleat, perhaps more correct. This is very incorrect, and not truly printed. The Design however is to mark out a Path, and putt Men upon thinking. I would not have this Matter communicated.  I think, by all the Intelligence We have that North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey will erect Governments, before the Month of June expires. And, if New York should do so too Pennsylvania, will not neglect it. At least I think so.  There is a particular, Circumstance relative to Maryland, which you will learn eer long, but am not at Liberty to mention at present, but will produce important Consequences in our favour, I think.  But, after Governments shall be assumed, and a Confederation formed, We shall have a long, obstinate and bloody War to go through and all the Arts, and Intrigues of our Enemies as well as the Weakness and Credulity of our Friends to guard against.  A Mind as vast as the Ocean, or Atmosphere is necessary to penetrate and comprehend all the intricate and complicated Interests which compose the Machine of the Confederat Colonies. It requires all the Philosophy I am Master of and more than all, at Times to preserve that serenity of Mind and Steadiness of Heart, which is necessary to watch the Motives, of Friends and Enemies, of the Violent and the Timid, the Credulous and the dull, as well as the Wicked.  But if I can contribute ever so little towards preserving the Principles of Virtue and Freedom in the World, my Time and Life will be not ill spent.  A Man must have a wider Expansion of Genius than has fallen to my share to see to the End of these great Commotions. But, on such a full sea are We now afloat, that We must be content to trust, to Winds and Currents with the best Skill We have, under a kind Providence to land us in a Port of Peace, Liberty and Safety.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours.  Today Dr. Benjamin Rush will visit Crossroads Accelerated Academy, and talk to the students about the history of our country.  Check out our school offerings for visits and field trips.