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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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.

 

June 13, 1777

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General Arthur St. Clair takes command of Fort Ticonderoga.

Benjamin Franklin sends an exuberant adherent to the American cause to General Washington, despite the fact that Washington is clearly up to his ears with French “officers.”  “The Person who will have the Honour of delivering this to your Excellency, is Monsieur le Baron de Frey, who is well recommended to me as an Officer of Experience and Merit, with a Request that I would give him a Letter of Introduction. I have acquainted him that you are rather overstock’d with Officers, and that his obtaining Employment in your Army is an Uncertainty: But his Zeal for the American Cause is too great for any Discouragements I can lay before him, and he goes over at his own Expence to take his Chance, which is a Mark of Attachment that merits our Regard. He will show your Excellency the Commissions and Proofs of his military Service hitherto, and I beg Leave to recommend him to your Notice.”

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 9, 1777

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Congress appoints William Lee as the United States’ representative to Vienna and Berlin.

John Adams writes to Nathaniel Greene about the many causes that were keeping people away from the army, one of which was the “debauchery” to be found there:  “The Indifference of the People about recruiting the Army, is a Circumstance, which ought to make Us, consider what are the Causes of it. It is not, merely the Melancholly, arising from the unfortunate Events of the last Campaign, but the Small Pox, and above all the unhappy State of our Finances, which occasion this Evil. There are other Circumstances, which are little attended to, which contribute, much more than is imagined, to this unfavourable Temper in the People. The Prevalence of Dissipation, Debauchery, Gaming, Prophaneness and Blasphemy, terrifies the best People upon the Continent, from trusting their Sons and other Relations among so many dangerous snares and Temptations. Multitudes of People, who would with chearfull Resignation Submit their Families to the Dangers of the sword, shudder at the Thought of exposing them, to what appears to them, the more destructive Effects of Vice and Impiety. These Ideas would be received by many with Scorn. But there is not the less Solidity in them for that. It is Discipline alone that can Stem the Torrent. Chaplains are of great Use, I believe, and I wish Mr. Leonard might be in the Army, upon such Terms as would be agreable to him, for there is no Man of whom I have a better opinion. But there is So much difficulty in accomplishing any Thing of the Kind, that I wish G. Washington would either appoint him, or recommend him to Congress.  The Utility of Medals, has ever been impressed Strongly upon my Mind. Pride, Ambition, and indeed what a Philosopher would call Vanity, is the Strongest Passion in human Nature, and next to Religion, the most operative Motive to great Actions. Religion, or if the fine Gentlemen please, Superstition and Enthusiasm, is the greatest Incentive, and wherever it has prevailed, has never failed to produce Heroism. If our N. Englandmen were alone, and could have their own Way, a great deal of this would appear. But in their present Situation, I fear We have little to expect from this Principle, more than the Perseverance of the People in the Cause. We ought to avail ourselves then of even the Vanity of Men. For my own Part I wish We could make a Beginning, by Striking a Medal, with a Platoon firing at General Arnold, on Horseback, His Horse falling dead under him, and He deliberately disentangling his Feet from the Stirrups and taking his Pistolls out of his Holsters, before his Retreat. On the Reverse, He should be mounted on a Fresh Horse, receiving another Discharge of Musquetry, with a Wound in the Neck of his Horse.1 This Picture alone, which as I am informed is true History, if Arnold did not unfortunately belong to Connecticutt, would be sufficient to make his Fortune for Life. I believe there have been few such Scenes in the World.”

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.

February 4, 1777

Georgia adopts a new Constitution.

George Washington writes to General William Heath:  “This Letter is in addition to my public one of this date—It is to hint to you, and I do it with concern, that your conduct is censured (and by Men of sense and Judgment who have been with you on the Expedition to Fort Independance) as being fraught with too much caution, by which the Army has been disappointed, and in some degree disgraced.  Your Summons, as you did not attempt to fulfil your threats, was not only Idle but farcical; and will not fail of turning the laugh exceedingly upon us—these things I mention to you as a friend (for you will perceive that they have composed no part of my public Letter)—Why you should be so apprehensive of being surrounded, even if Lord Piercy had Landed, I cannot conceive—You know that Landing Men—procuring Horses—&ca is not the work of an hour—a day—or even a Week.  Upon the whole; it appears to me from Information, that if you had pushed vigorously upon your going first to Fort Independance that that Post would have been carried—And query, may it not yet be taken by Surprize? It is nothing for a party of light Troops to March twelve or Fourteen Miles in the course of five or Six hours—an expedition therefore undertaken with precaution, and conducted with Secrecy in a dark Night, may be attended with fortunate consequences—I drop this hint—you may improve, or reject it, as Circumstances will justifie—too large a body for such an Enterprize might be unwieldy, & expose the measure to discovery.”

In other words, Washington wrote to Heath on this day to tell him to let his action, not his boasts, do his talking, and advised him not to be too cautious.  Good advice for Doug Pederson too – not that he needs it!  GO EAGLES!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

 

Go Eagles!

 

 

January 21, 1777

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General John Burgoyne submits a plan to the government designed to isolate New England from the other colonies.

General Washington writes to Brigadier General Philemon Dickinson about a disturbing phenomenon among the troops:  “Genl Putnam communicated to me last Night the disagreeable Account that Lt. Colo. Preston’s party of Militia from Cumberland County in this State has deserted him; This practise in the Militia so generally prevails, that unless some effectual Check can be speedily applied I apprehend the most fatal Consequences. The Mischief is not confined to the Desertion alone, They stay ’till they are properly equipped to render essential Service, and by that Means plunder the Public of the Necessaries that were at first otherwise intended & would be better applied.  Now I recommend to you That you call immediately into service (by such Ways as you think best) at least one third of all the Militia of this State, making it generally known amongst them that they must come prepared to stay ’till the first of April, unless sooner discharged by Authority—It will occur to them That nothing but their most vigorous Exertion at this Time will enable me to oppose any design of the Enemy, & that therefore they ought to continue with me ’till relieved by the Regular Troops now raising—I mean however that every possible Indulgence should be shewn to those Men who have been in actual Service & were regularly discharged; and that no Excuse shall be admitted for those who have shamefully remained at Home when their everything was at Stake.”

Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours, including the best tour regarding the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton in existence!  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.