December 10, 1777

Samuel B. Webb

An American raid by Colonel Samuel B. Webb and his regimenton Long Island is foiled by British ships. Webb and his regiment are captured.

In the Continental Congress, George Rogers Clark presents hisplan to capture Detroit.

Nathan Rice writes a congratulatory letter to John Adams for his return to Braintree, perhaps unaware that already Adams has beeninformed that he is to leave his family once again, this time to go toFrance.  Rice also writes about theupcoming Massachusetts Constitution, which is being formed:  “Permit me to congratulateyou on your return to your family and frends, of which I am advertised by the weekly Gazette.  It must afford not less satisfaction to the state in general to have your presence and council at this critical period, on the transactions of which depend its future happiness andtranquility—than it does to your family and private connections, to imbraceafter a tedious absence, the tender companion kind parent, and generous Friend.

When I hold up to view the welfare, and prosperity of the continent in general, to those of a single state or family—I’m at a loss whether most to rejoice at your return to Massachusetts or regret your absence from Congress.

It will ever remain asingular mark of honor to you, and a convincing proof of your Patriotism and attachment to the liberty and happiness of Mankind that no sinister views orprivate concerns, could call your attention from Congress untill you had notonly effected the union of the Colonies, but formed a plan which will both confirm that union and render it indissoluble—that being now sent forth for the acceptance of the states. God grant it may meet their speedy and hearty approbation.

The public (of whose gratitude however I do not entertain the most exalted idea) must ever acknowledge the great services you have rendered them; and however you may not think convenient to contribute further to their happiness in that exalted station you have ever held since the commencment of the dispute, yet the samevirtuous principle and generous sentiments, which have heitherto stimulated you to further the cause of mankind in general will still induce you to serve that state with which you are particularly connected, and which now in an important manner calls for the exertion of your abilities.

A Constitution is now forming—a supreme Majistrate is to be appointed—a post of the greatest honorand importance to be confered on an individual. The popular manner in which this is to be done is perhaps the best which at this crisis could have been adopted: Caprices and trifleing accidents too often actuate and govern the populace. Alarmed at this truth, I felt the most sencible pleasure on the news of  your arrival in Boston persuaded that your prudence and advice would prevent the many dangerous extravagancies of so popular a measure. Happy must it be for the good people of Massachusetts should they make chose of  [left blank] the gentleman to whom they are so greatly indebted, and who without pomp or pageantry, superiour to the wiles of a courtier or the applause of individuals would study to promote the happiniss and gain the approbation of his countrymen by a steady adhearance to the principles of vir[tue and] justice.”

Meanwhile,George Washington, having suffered yet another defeat, this time at Whitemarsh,must now make plans to gather his troops and march them to winterquarters.  He sends out the followingGeneral Order:  “The army to march at four o’clock in the morning from the right—ASubaltern from each regiment and a Captain from each brigade, under the commandof a Field Officer from the line, are to assemble at General Knox’s quarters in the morning and remain ’till the Army moves off the ground, and then see that all stragglers in the camp, and its environs, are collected and marched after it—They are also to see that no baggage, entrenching tools or other articlesare left, or that they are, secured under proper guards taken from the Pennsylvania Militia, by application to the commanding officer thereof.”

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 Warbuffs, come see Gettysburg. 

July 5, 1777

Portret_Friedricha_Adolpha_Riedesel,_barona_Eisenbach

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 16, 1777

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General John Burgoyne’s advance guard occupies Crown Point.

John Adams writes to Abigail to communicate his pleasure and receiving a letter, evidently, from his children.  He promises her that his time on the large stage will soon be up, and that he will be able to spend the rest of his days by her side:  “I had a most charming Packett from you and my young Correspondents, to day.  I am very happy, to learn that you have done such great Things in the Way of paying Debts. I know not what would become of me, and mine, if I had not such a Friend to take Care of my Interests in my Absence.  You will have Patience with me this Time, I hope, for this Time will be the last.  I shall stay out this Year, if I can preserve my Health, and then come home, and bid farewell to great Affairs. I have a Right to spend the Remainder of my days in small ones.”

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 7, 1777

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The Continental Navy frigates U.S.S. Hancock and U.S.S. Boston capture the British frigate HMS Fox.

Meanwhile General Washington, concerned about enemy movements, writes to his trusted associate Benedict Arnold:  “I imagine that since Genl Schuylers departure from Philada you command there. I therefore inclose you the Evidence of a person very lately from N. York, from which as well as from other information it appears that a Fleet is upon the point of sailing from New York—If Philada should be the place of destination they will make their appearance in Delaware Bay soon after they leave the Hook. I therefore desire that you will as soon as you are certain that the Fleet is in the Bay, give me the earliest Notice by the Expresses that are posted on the Road between this and Philada. Before you send notice to me, be sure that you are not deceived by the signal Guns, which I am told have been fired several times without any Grounds for so doing. A move of this Army upon a false alarm might prove fatal.  Could not you and Genl Sullivan contrive to give each other notice by Signals. We can do it by making lights upon the heights near princetown and at this place, but I am afraid it will be difficult between princetown and philada because the Ground is low.”

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.

 

May 29, 1777

Kazimierz_Pułaski

In the opening move of the campaign of 1777, General George Washington’s army marches from Morristown, New Jersey to Middle Brook Valley.

Benjamin Franklin wrote the following letter to George Washington:  “Count Pulawski of Poland, an Officer famous throughout Europe for his Bravery and Conduct in Defence of the Liberties of his Country against the three great invading Powers of Russia, Austria and Prussia, will have the Honour of delivering this into your Excellency’s Hands. The Court here have encouraged and promoted his Voyage, from an Opinion that he may be highly useful in our Service. Mr. Deane has written so fully concerning him, that I need not enlarge: and only add my Wishes that he may find in our Armies under your Excelly. Occasions of distinguishing himself.”

Of the many services Franklin gave to his country, his record of referring individuals from other countries here to help with the cause was exceptional, and included luminaries such as “The Baron” Von Steubon and Thomas Paine.  His referral of Pulaski was another striking example.  Pulaski would fight heroically in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, but was killed in the Seige of Savannah.

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.

 

 

 

May 17, 1777

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Almost one-third of Colonel John Baker’s 109 men are captured after Baker’s troops are attacked by Indians and the British regulars at Thomas’ Swamp.  The Indians kill 15 of the captives before British Colonel Augustine Prevost intervenes to stop the massacre.

John Adams writes to Abigail about the money problems facing the congress and the failure of all of the colonies – except for Massachusetts – to do their duty:  I never fail to inclose to you the News papers, which contain the most of the Intelligence that comes to my Knowledge.  I am obliged to slacken my Attention to Business a little, and ride and walk for the Sake of my Health, which is but infirm.—Oh that I could wander, upon Penns Hill, and in the Meadows and Mountains in its Neighbourhood free from Care! But this is a Felicity too great for me.  Mr. Gorham and Mr. Russell are here with a Petition from Charlstown. It grieves me that they are to return without success. I feel, most exquisitely, for the unhappy People of that Town. Their Agents have done every Thing in their Power, or in the Power of Men to do, and the Mass. Delegates have seconded their Efforts to the Utmost of their Power, but all in vain.  The Distress of the States, arising from the Quantity of Money abroad, and the monstrous Demands that would be made from Virginia, N. Jersy, N. York and elsewhere, if a Precedent should be once set, has determined the Congress, almost with Tears in their Eyes, to withstand this Application at present.  Every Man expressed the Utmost Tenderness and Humanity, upon the Occasion: But at the same Time every Man except the Mass. Delegates expressed his full Conviction of the ill Policy of granting any Thing at present.”

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.  Also, you don’t want to miss out on our podcast, Chasing American History!

 

May 4, 1777

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As unrest continues in the southern backcountry, Colonel John Baker leads a company of Georgia militia against a group of Indians allied with the British.

John Adams writes to Abigail regarding barbarous treatment of American prisoners of war:  “Inclosed with this you have an Evening Post, containing some of the tender Mercies of the Barbarians to their Prisoners.  If there is a Man, Woman or Child in America, who can read these Depositions, without Resentment, and Horror, that Person has no soul or a very wicked one.  Their Treatment of Prisoners, last Year added to an Act of Parliament, which they have made to enable them to send Prisoners to England, to be there murthered, with still more relentless Cruelty, in Prisons, will bring our Officers and Soldiers to the universal Resolution to conquer or die.  This Maxim, conquer or die, never failed to raise a People who adopted it, to the Head of Man kind.  An Express from Portsmouth last night brought Us News of the Arrival of Arms and ordnance enough to enable Us to take Vengeance of these Foes of Human Nature.”

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 19, 1777

220px-West_Point_Fortifications

First chaining of the Hudson.  British believe that if they controlled the Hudson they would cut Massachusetts in half.  The Patriots construct an iron chain that stretched from Fort Montgomery to Fort Clinton.  The links which are made of poor grade iron ore broke twice and are abandoned.  They weigh 35 ton and have 850 links stretching 1560 feet.  The chaining is supervised by Lieutenant Thomas Michin.  The chain was salvaged by the British and is rumored to have been used in World War II at Gibraltar.

John Adams writes to Abigail, “This is the Anniversary of the ever memorable 19. April 1775.—Two compleat Years We have maintained open War, with Great Britain and her Allies, and after all our Difficulties and Misfortunes, are much abler to cope with them now than We were at the Beginning.”

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 23, 1777

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American troops under the command of Brigadier General Alexander McDougall fail to stop British raiders from destroying magazines and storehouses in Peekskill.  Ieutenant Colonel Marinus Willet arrives from Fort Constitution with reinforcements and forces the British to withdraw the next day.

Abigail Adams writes to her husband John:  “I have a very good opportunity of writing to you by Major Ward, who sits of tomorrow morning.  I most sincerely rejoice at your return to Philadelphia. I shall now be able to hear from you every week or fortnight. You have had journeying this winter and sufficent exercise for a year.  We have very agreable Intelligence from France which suppose will be communicated to you before this reaches you. Our proportion of Men from this State will be sent along soon, our Continental vessels are not yet ready. I have been told that the person who had the care of Building MacNeals Ship, has since built a 20 Gun Ship which has been at Sea some time. Why should a pigmy Build a World?  I yesterday received yours of the 7 of March, with a Bundle of news papers, for which I am much obliged.  Nor would I omit returning my thanks for the Barrell of flower sent by my unkles vessel. I know not a more acceptable present you could have sent, that whole cargo sold for 2.10 per hundred.  There is not a Bushel of Rye to be had within 60 miles of this Town. The late act will annihilate every article we have, unless they will punish the Breaches of it. This person has nothing and the other has nothing, no Coffe, no Sugar, no flax, no wool. They have been so much accustomed to see acts made and repeald that they are endeavouring by every art to make this share the same fate.  If you have not settled your account with Mr. Barrells Estate the next time I write will inclose one I find in your Book against it. There appears one settlement, but since that there is an account which will amount to near 10 pounds.  You mention a Resignation of an office. I have not heard it mentiond, believe tis not much known as yet.  As to news we have none I think. All our Friends are well and desire to be rememberd. I suffer much from my Eyes—otherways am well as usual—and most affectily. Yours, Portia”

Adams also received a letter from his son, John Quincy:  “I received yours of the 19 of Feb and thank you for your perpetual almanack  with the assistance of my Mamma I soon found it out and find it is a very useful thing I have been a reading the history of Bamfylde moore carew he went through the   greatest part of america twice, and he gives a very pretty Desscription of maryland and philadelphia and new york but though he got a great deal of money yet I do not think he got his living either credibly or honestly for surely it is better to work than to beg and better to beg than to lie, for he addicted himself to so many falsehoods that his charecter is odious to all and a disgrace to human nature my Brothers and Sister all send their duty to you please to accept the same from your dutiful son…”

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.