December 8, 1777

George Washington and his men at Battle of White Marxhg

In the morning, British generals and engineers analyzed the American positions tosee if they could exploit any part of their defenses.  To the astonishment of the British, the Americans, and historians ever since, Howe chose to withdraw and return to Philadelphia.  He had been successful in thetwo major skirmishes during the previous two days, but he had not gotten as fararound the American flank as he had hoped and his provisions were running low.  Also, as the now disparaged song goes, “Baby, It’s cold outside.”  The troops had left their tents and gear in Philadelphia.

At 2:00 pm, the British began their withdrawal,lighting numerous campfires—as Washington had done three days earlier—toconceal their movements. An American reconnaissance party, led by Capt. McLane,discovered that Howe was marching back down Old York Road into Philadelphia and communicated this information back to Washington. Morgan’s troops harassedthe enemy’s rear, in particular Grey’s column, which was hindered by the weightof the artillery that it was transporting. A contingent of Hessians formed tooppose them with their fieldpieces and Morgan’s troops retreated. The British arrived in Philadelphia later that day.  Washington would begin thinking about Winter Quarters.

Join us at Bow Tie Tours forPhiladelphia’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, come see Gettysburg. 

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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.

 

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!

 

April 25, 1777

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British troops under the command of General William Tryon attack Danbury, where they destroy houses, barns, storehouses, and more than 1,500 tents.  As the British withdraw they are attacked by American forces under Benedict Arnold, Davis Wooster, and Gold Silliman.  The outnumbered American troops are unable to stop the British who march through Ridgefield and Compo Hill, Connecticut enroute to their ships at Long Island Sound.  Thjis encounter lasted until April 28th.

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 2, 1777

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John Adams describes to his wife Abigail his travels throughout the American colonies:  “Last Evening We arrived safe in this Town after the longest Journey, and through the worst Roads and the worst Weather, that I have ever experienced. My Horses performed extreamly well.  Baltimore is a very pretty Town, situated on Petapsco River, which empties itself into the great Bay of Cheasapeak. The Inhabitants are all good Whiggs, having sometime ago banished all the Tories from among them. The Streets are very dirty and miry, but every Thing else is agreable except the monstrous Prices of Things. We cannot get an Horse kept under a Guinea a Week. Our Friends are well.  The continental Army is filling up fast, here and in Virginia. I pray that the Massachusetts may not fail of its Quota, in Season.  In this Journey, We have crossed four mighty Rivers, Connecticutt, Hudson, Delaware, and Susquehannah. The two first We crossed upon the Ice, the two last in Boats—the last We crossed, a little above the Place where it empties into Cheasapeak Bay.  I think I have never been better pleased with any of our American States than with Maryland. We saw most excellent Farms all along the Road, and what was very striking to me, I saw more sheep and more flax in Maryland than I ever saw in riding a like Distance in any other State. We scarce passed a Farm without seeing a fine flock of sheep, and scarce an House without seeing Men or Women, dressing Flax. Several Times We saw Women, breaking and swingling this necessary Article.  I have been to Meeting, and heard my old Acquaintance Mr. Allison, a worthy Clergyman of this Town whom I have often seen in Philadelphia.”

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.

 

 

January 9, 1777

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George Washington writes General Orders complimenting those who burned down houses that were being used by Loyalists near Bunkers Hill:  “The General thanks Major Knolton, and the Officers and Soldiers, who were under his command last night; for the Spirit, Conduct and Secrecy, with which they burnt the Houses, near the Enemy’s works, upon Bunkers-hill—The General was in a more particular manner pleased, with the resolution the party discover’d in not firing a Shot; as nothing betrays greater signs of fear, and less of the soldier, than to begin a loose, undirected and unmeaning Fire, from whence no good can result, nor any valuable purposes answer’d.  It is almost certain, that the enemy will attempt to revenge the Insult, which was cast upon them last Night, for which reason the greatest Vigilance, and Care, is recommended; as it also is, that the out-posts be always guarded by experienced Officers, and good Soldiers, who are to be considered in other duties: It is also again, and again ordered, that the men are not suffered to ramble from, or lie out of their quarters, contrary to repeated Orders on this head, and that their Arms, and Accoutrements, be always in order.  To remove present doubts and prevent future Mistakes, it is hereby expressly order’d and directed, that no persons do proceed to discharge the duty of any Office, without a regular Appointment, by Commission from the Congress, Warrant or General Order from the Commander in Chief; no allowance will be made to any one, who acts contrary to this order: All Persons therefore for their own-sakes are desired to take notice of it, and govern themselves accordingly, that no Complaints may hereafter be exhibited for services unwarranted.”

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.