June 22, 1776

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A plot to assassinate George Washington is discovered!

A dozen men were arrested in New York, including the Mayor, David Matthews, and two soldiers from Washington’s own Life Guard, one of which is Thomas Hickey.  The plot was to kill Washington and his officers the moment the British fleet appeared at New York.  Upon learning of the plot, patiriot mobs hunted down the Loyalists, and many were beaten, tarred and feathered, burned with candles, or made “to ride the rail,” which involved forcing a man to straddle a sharp fence rail held on the shoulders of two men, with other men on either side taking a grip on his legs to keep him straight, and to parade the victim through the street.

In order to protect General Washington, his headquarters were changed to City Hall.  Henry Knox and his wife were moved into Number 1 Broadway, while Martha Washington remained at the Mortier house beyond the city.

In La Prarie Canada, General Baron Frederick Riedesel reported to the Duke of Brunswick that the British had recovered Canada and only the lack of shipping prevented a rapid advance into the rear of the American colonies.

In Philadelphia, Congress printed the first American money.

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June 19, 1776

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In Canada, Benedict Arnold notifies General John Sullivan of his garrison’s successful movement out of Montreal, along with some spirits and molasses seized in that town.

In Boston Harbor an armed Connecticut vessel along with several schooners seize two British ships and take 200 sailors prisoner.

Captain Charles Pond wrote the following letter to General George Washington:  I have the Pleasure of Informing His Excellency of our taking two Prises one A Ship of 250 Tons Burthen the Sloop 35 Tons Bound to Sandy hook the Ship from Glasgow with one Compy of the 42d Regt Who was taken by one of Admiral Hopkins’s fleet who took the Soldiers on Board & Sent the Ship for Rhode Island Soon after was Taken by the Cerberus Frigate & Sent her under Convoy of the Above Sd Sloop for Sandy hook. Remaining on Board the Ship 5 Commission’d officers with 2 Ladies & 4 Privates, Prisoners Total 20.  Stores on Board the Ship Crawford 13 tierces of Beef 11 Do of Pork, 3000 Wt of Bread 4 Puncheons of Rum, 100 barrels of Coal, 10 firkins of Butter 1 Cask of Cheese.  On Board the Sloop 15 Cask of Molasses 2 Chests of Dry Goods 1 Tierce & 1 Barrel of Cags of Powder 1 Case of flints, Some Salt Petre.  The Ship is part of the way In the Inlet but at Present is Aground Pray Send Direction About the Prisoners as I am Short handed.”

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June 16, 1776

george-washington-writing-at-his-desk-by-candlelightIn Quebec, Canada, Benedict rnold’s men fought a rear guard action against the British and continued their retreat.

General Washington writes to General Schuyler regarding numerous matters:  “The Account of Mr Deane is variant from Col. Kirkland’s, but Yet they both seem to agree in the most material Point, Vizt That some Parts of our Frontiers are to feel the Effects of the Savage Resentment which the Friends of Government have been industrously trying to call forth against Us. You have done well in Your Message to the six Nations; the sooner a Conference can be held the better, & I think the most Vigorous Exertions necessary to secure a Post as You mention where Fort Stanwix formerly stood, & below that, as intimated in my last—If You can Effect these, I am hopefull all their Attempts in that Quarter will be unavailing.

I have ordered a Ton of Powder, half a Ton of Lead, five Thousand Flints, some Cannon, Intrenching Tools & a Dozen Whip Saws & files to be immediately sent You, which You will receive in two or three Days, with a List of them & Every other Article sent from hence at this Time.  I have inclosed You Copy of an Invoice of Goods now in the Hands of Mr Robert Henry in Albany, which he offered the Quarter Master Genl this Week on moderate Terms, as the Quarter Master informs Me—It certainly will be proper that You purchase them or such of them, as will suit the Army in Canada, & It will be less troublesome & expensive than sending Articles from hence, supposing they can be procured. I wish You to get Every Thing You want & that Can be had Either in Albany or Its Vicinity rather than to send here for them, I am really so immersed in Buisiness & have such a Variety of Things to attend to, That I scarcely know which way to turn Myself, Perhaps if You make a strict Inquiry, You may Obtain not only more Goods, but Other Necessaries.  The Indians are here, just returned from Philadelphia—I will communicate to them Your Wishes for their Return & Give Direction that Every Mark of Respect be shewn them by those who go with them.  I have requested the Paymaster, to procure, if possible, as Much hard Money as will discharge Mr Blake’s Claim.  How he will succeed I cannot tell; If he can get It, It shall be forwarded as soon as a proper Conveyance can be had. In Regard to a Person to superintend the Building of Gondolas & other Carpenters to carry on the Work I refer You to my Letter of the 9th & shall only add, that they cannot be now had, Every one Qualified for the Buisiness being Employed here.  The Intelligence contained in General Sullivan’s Letter is extremely pleasing & I sincerely wish his most sanguine Hopes may be more than answered. If the Affection of the Canadians can be Engaged & he seems to have no Doubt of It, It will be of much Importance & probably the Means of our retreiving our Misfortunes in that Quarter.  I find from General Arnold’s Letter to General Sullivan, Col. Bedel, Majr Butterfield & Captn Young are gone to the Sorel for Trial.9 If their Conduct was as bad & Infamous as represented, It will surely meet with an Exemplary Punishment. Men who will not discharge the Duty they owe their Country from Principle, must be influenced to It by Other Motives, or at least prevented from betraying our most Valuable Rights by a Cowardly & disgraceful Behaviour.

Inclosed You have an Extract of a Letter I received by last Nights Post from General Ward, from which we may reasonably Conjecture that the rest of the Transports which sailed with the One taken, will not be long before they arrive10—It seems Evident they expected to find General Howe at Boston & I am hopefull some Others under this Idea will fall into our Hands. There are also Accounts in Town of two or three Valuable Prizes more being taken to the Eastward, one with several light Cannon, Another a West India Man homeward bound with a Quantity of Dollars & sugars—But I fear, tho’ the Accounts seem particular, that they want Confirmation, as General Ward mentions Nothing of them.”

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June 10, 1776

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Congress stops short of declaring “total independence” from Britain, but calls for a committee to prepare a declaration based on the premise “That these United States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they all are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and all political connection between them and the state of Gret Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved,” as stated in the Virginia proposal.

George Washington writes to John Hancock, addressing the threats to Philadelphia as well as the internal threats to the cause in general.  “To Congress I also submit the Propriety of keeping the two Continental Battalions (under the Comd of Colonels Shae & McGaw) at Philadelpa when there is the greatest probability of a speedy attack upon this place from the Kings Troops. the Incouragements given by Govr Tryon to the disaffected, which are circulated no one can well tell how—the movements of these kind of People which are more easy to perceive than describe —the confident report which is said to have come immediately from Govr Tryon, & brought by a Frigate from Hallifax that the Troops at that place were Imbarking for this, added to a thousand Incidental Circumstances trivial in themselves but strong from comparison, leaves not a doubt upon my Mind but that Troops are hourly expected at the Hook.  I had no doubt when I left this City, for Philadelphia, but that some measures would have been taken to secure the suspected, & dangerous Persons of this Government before now, and left Orders for the Military to give every aid to the Civil Power—But, the Subject is delicate, & nothing is done in it—we may therefore have Internal, as well as external Enemies to contend with.”

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May 31, 1776

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Expresses are sent from Christ Church Parish in South Carolina to warn authorities in Charlestown that a large British fleet has been observed of Dewees Island, about twenty miles north.

Meanwhile, General Schuyler writes to George Washington:  “I learn with particular Satisfaction that Congress has requested your Attendance to advise with them on the Measures necessary to be adopted for the present Campaign—I foresee many salutary Consequences from this Step.  Altho’ I have transmitted you some farther disagreeable Accounts from Canada since the Date of your Favor, yet I hope they will be the last—By a Letter from General Thompson, I find he was ordered to reposses himself of Dechambault, with 1600 Men, and that he was to leave Sorrel (where General Thomas was arrived) on the 20th—He laments however that Colonel Greaton’s Regiment had been innoculated for the small pox. An Hour after I had dispatched my last of the 28th thirteen of our staunch Friends the Oneidas arrived here, with a Speech from the Sachems, informing me that some of the six Nations had gone from Niagara in Order to join our Enemies, and that they were on their way to Canada, to prevent the Defection of the Canadian Tribes—They remained here a few Hours & then proceeded.  This Morning thirty Carpenters left this to repair to Skenesborough, by the way of Ticonderoga in Order to construct Gundaloes, altho’ Nothing is prepared for building them—I hope nevertheless to finish one in a short Time, at least I will do every Thing in my power to compleat it the soonest possible, and for that purpose, I shall leave this to Morrow to put all in Train—Since General Sullivan’s Departure I have finished sixty Batteaus, nor shall I cease until I am advised by your Excellency, that no more Troops are coming this way.  I wish a person that understood the Construction of the best Gundaloes was sent up Express to me, for altho’ they should not be able to get down the Falls of Chamblé, yet they will be of Service on Lake Champlain should our Army be obliged to retreat—The Vessels we have there (except the Royal Savage) are of very little Force.  Inclose your Excellency my Orders to Colonel Dayton his Letters and other papers relative to the Transaction in John’s Town: Mr Yates the Secretary of Indian affairs will transmit you the Speeches of the Indians and the Answers to them.  I am just informed that General Thomas has taken the small pox, is at Chamblé, and rather in a dangerous way.  I have not yet had any Return from Canada either of the Army, the provisions or Stores, nor the least Information from any Officer in Command of the Disaster that befel Colonel Bedel at the Cedars; but I fear it is too true, as it is confirmed by several persons arrived since I wrote this Letter, who left Montreal on Sunday the 26th.  I am informed by persons of good Credit that about one hundred persons, living on what are commonly called the New Hampshire Grants, have had a Design to sieze me as a Tory, and perhaps still have—There never was a Man so infamously scandalized and ill-treated as I am, and I hope Congress will publickly do me that Justice, which I thank your Excellency for having done me in your Letter of the 21st—If that respectable Body is convinced (of which I make no Doubt) of my Zeal and Attachment to the Cause of my injured Country.”

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May 24, 1776

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After conferring with General Washington, Horatio Gates, and Thomas Mifflin, Congress votes to inform the commanding officer in Canada to “contest every foot of the ground” and especially prevent the enemy from ascending the St. Lawrence River.

Regarding Canada, General Washington wrote to General Schuyler:  “Inclose your Excellency an Estimate of the Men necessary to be employed in transporting and guarding the provisions between Albany and Canada, but if Flour can be procured there, nearly one half of the Number of Men mentioned for the Batteau Service may be dispensed with, when a considerable Stock is laid in, but even then I shall not have Numbers sufficient with Van Schaick’s and Wynkoop’s to clear Wood Creek cut the Roads, repair Tyconderoga, and do the Variety of Work necessary in this Quarter, I must therefore beg for a Reinforcement.1

Two Mohawk Indians came on the 21st to the Landing at the North End of Lake George and after enquiring what News, and where the commanding officer at Tyconderoga kept they said they were going to see him, but they soon took another Rout to the Westward—We suppose these to be some of the Indians who went with Sir John Johnson, we have small scouting parties out, but if we should discover them we are unable to send after them, as we have so few Men here.

Mr McNeil, who left St John’s on Friday last informs me that the 8th Regiment, and a Number of Indians were coming down the St Lawrence, and that a Reinforcement was ordered to Colonel Bedel, who is at the Cedars, and that Warner’s Green Mountain Boys were also to go up there.  As Tyconderoga is to be repaired an Engineir will be wanted, and none is to be procured here.  Having not received a Line from Mr Price to advise me of what Flour can be procured in Canada, I have thought it expedient, least the Army should suffer, to order up a Quantity: about three hundred Barrels are gone on since the 13th Instant & 1191 of pork, 115 of which reached St John’s on the 17th in the Morning and I believe about a like Quantity arrived there on each of the four succeeding Days, so that all my Fears of the army’s Starving are vanished.  I have this afternoon experienced a very severe Fit of the ague—I was in Hopes it had taken its Farewell for this Season—I shall vigorously attack it with the Bark, and hope to eradicate it by that Means.  If such a Number of British and foreign Troops are destined for Canada as is said, more of our’s will be wanted there, & very soon too.”

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May 23, 1776

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In Boston, representatives to the General Assembly are instructed to advise the Massachusetts delegation in Congress that the colony will support a Declaration of Independence “with their lives and the remnant of their fortunes.”

From Albany, General Schuyler writes to George Washington. “I found It impossible to leave Town to Day as I had intended, It is lucky That I did not, for I just now received an Express from Fort George advising me that amongst the Nails I had ordered from Canada there were very few of those wanted for the Bottoms of the Boats; This Account has plunged me into almost Inextricable Difficulty, as I can procure only four hundred Weight in this Town, I have set Every Blacksmith at Work to make what they can, I shall still fall greatly short, and beg the Favor of You to order up fifteen Cask of 24d. Nails as Many of 10d. and a like Quantity of 8d.; A New York Carpenter must be employed in Chusing them, as they go by different Names in different Colonies, I could wish that they were sent up in a Pettiauger fitted with as Many Oars as possible, and under the Care of an Officer and a Party of Good Oarsmen.  The Troops are so slow in getting from here, Altho’ General Sullivan does all in his Power to move them, That I shall be under the Necessity of sending on Provisions from Fort George, before they arrive there, which will necessarily detain some of them until a Number of Boats are built, equal to those which Carry the Provisions.  By a Letter from Colo: Hazen I find they are extreamly short of Pork in Canada and the Amazing Quantity of Baggage the Troops carry with them will put It out of my Power to forward any more from hence until they are past.  Read’s which moved Yesterday took Eight Batteaus, Starks, which has been Embarking their Baggage all Day with the Activity of Snails, will carry Something more, Nor can I prevail on them to leave any Part of It behind.  I shall leave this in the Morning and hope to reach Lake George to Morrow Night, where I am much wanted and from where I shall again do Myself the Honor to write You.”

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