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 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.”

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June 5, 1776

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Congress requires monthly status reports from all non-combat and supply departments of the floundering Army in Cancada.

In Massachusetts, a traitor examiner recommends that all suspected persons should be sent inland at least 10 miles from the coast

James Warren writes the following to John Adams, apparently referring to a suspected spy named Church:  “Doctr. Church is Arrived here. Is not your resolve relative to him somewhat Extraordinary. I fear the People will kill him if at large. The Night before last he went to Lodge at Waltham was saved by the Interposition of the selectmen but by Jumping out of A Chamber Window and flying. His Life is of no great Consequence but such A Step has a tendency to lessen the Confidence of the People in the doings of Congress.  A large Sugar Ship from Jamaica with 300 hhds. sugar 80 Puncheons rum some Madeira wine &c. &c. is taken and got into the Vineyard in her way to Bedford. It is said that 4 or 5 others are taken by two Privateers who took this. What Privateers they are I cant learn.  Must not something be done to prevent British Property being Covered by the West Indians. We shall loose our Labour, and discourage our Seamen. Why should not all English property going to Britain be liable to Capture. This matter must be Considered. We should fight them on equal Terms.  We have A Number of Seamen here supported at your Expence. If your Generosity and Civilized sentiments prevent, wont good policy dictate recourse to the Lex talionis. They are wanted. You will fine the want of them when you man your Ships.”

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June 4, 1776

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John Hancock exhorts the colonies to “exert every nerve to distinguish yourselves.  Quicken your preparations and stimulate the good people of your government and thre is no danger, notwithstanding the mighty armament with which we are threatened, but you will be able to lead them to victory, to liberty, and to happiness.”

John Adams responds to the resolution for independence drafted in the Virginia House of Burgesses that was sent to him from Richard Henry Lee.  “Your Favour of 18 May, inclosing the momentous Resolution of your wise and patriotic Convention, together with the American Crisis came duely to Hand, and yesterday, I had the Pleasure of receiving the Proceedings of the House of Burgesses. I thank you, sir for both these esteemed Favours.  Is it not a little remarkable that this Congress and your Convention should come to Resolutions so nearly Similar, on the Same day, and that even the Convention of Maryland should, in that critical Moment, have proceeded so far as to abolish the Oaths of Allegiance, notwithstanding that Some of their other Resolves are a little excentric? Your Resolution is consistent and decisive, it is grounded on true Principles which are fairly and clearly Stated, and in my humble opinion the Proviso which reserves to your selves the Institution of your own Government is fit and right, this being a Matter of which the Colonies are the best Judges, and a Priviledge which each Colony ought to reserve to itself. Yet after all I believe there will be much more Uniformity, in the Governments which all of them will adopt than could have been expected a few Months ago.  The Joy and exultation which was expressed upon that great Occasion did Honour to their good sense and public Virtue. It was an important Event at a critical Time, in which the Interest and Happiness, of themselves and their Posterity, was much concerned.”

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May 26, 1776

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Edmund Pendleton, president of the Virginia Convention, warns Maryland that Lord Dunore’s fleet has “turned up the bay and passed the mouth of the York River.”

Captain Alexander Hamilton writes to the Provincial Congress of New York, permitting that he be permitted to offer similar commissions to other companies.  “I take the liberty to request your attention to a few particulars, which will be of considerable importance to the future progress of the company under my command, and I will be much obliged to you for as speedy a determination concerning them as you can conveniently give. The most material is respecting the pay. Our company, by their articles, are to be subject to the same regulations, and to receive the same pay as the Continental artillery. Hitherto, I have conformed to the standard laid down in the Journal of the Congress, published the 10th May, 1775, but I am well informed that by some later regulation the pay of the artillery has been augmented and now stands according to the following rates: captain, £10 13s. 4d.; captain-lieutenant, £8; lieutenants, each £7. 6s. 8d.; sergeants, £3 6s. 8d.; corporals, £3 1s. 4d.; bombadiers, £1s. 4d.; gunners £3; matrosses, £2 17s. 4d.; drummers and fifers, £3. By compairing these with my pay rolls, you will discover a considerable difference, and I doubt not you will be easily sensible that such a difference should not exist. I am not personally interested in having an augmentation agreeable to the above rates, because my own pay will remain the same that it now is; but I make this application on behalf of the company, as I am fully convinced such a disadvantageous distinction will have a very pernicious effect on the minds and behaviour of the men. They do the same duty with the other companies and think themselves entitled to the same pay. They have been already comparing accounts and many marks of discontent have lately appeared on this score. As to the circumstance of our being confined to the defence of the Colony, it will have little or no weight, for there are but few in the company who would not as willingly leave the Colony on any necessary expedition as stay in it; and they will not therefore think it reasonable to have their pay curtailed on such a consideration.  Capt. Beauman, I understand, enlists all his men on the above terms, and this makes it very difficult for me to get a single recruit, for men will naturally go to those who pay them best. On this account I should wish to be immediately authorized to offer the same pay to all who may incline to enlist.  The next thing I should wish to know is, whether I might be allowed any actual expenses that might attend the enlistment of men, should I send into the country for that purpose; the expense would not be great, and it would enable me to complete my company at once, and bring it the sooner into proper order and discipline. Also, I should be glad to be informed if my company is to be allowed the frock which is given to the other troops as a bounty. This frock would be extremely serviceable in summer while the men are on fatigue, and would put it in their power to save their uniform much longer.”

Nathaniel Greene writes to John Adams, proposing that Congress determine that money be provided in the cases of injured and killed soldiers.  “The peculiar situation of American affairs renders it necessary to adopt every measure that will engage people in the service. The danger and hardships that those are subject to who engage in the service, more than those who do not, is obvious to every body which has the least Acquaintance with service, tis that which makes it so difficult to recruit. The large force that is coming against America will make it necessary to Augment our forces. If I am to form a Judgment of the success of Recruiting from what is past, the time is too short to raise the Troops and be in readiness to meet the Enemy and as every Argument has been made use off upon the present plan of recruiting to engage people in the service there must be some new motives added to quicken the motions of the recruiting parties.  From the Approaching danger recruiting will grow more and more difficult. If the Congress was to fix a certain support upon every Officer and Soldier that got maim’d in the service or upon the families of those that were kild it would have as happy an influence towards engageing people in the service and inspire those engagd with as much courage as any measure that can be fixt upon. I think it is nothing more than common Justice neither. It puts those in and out of Army upon a more equal footing than at present. I have not time to add any thing more. Major Frazier now waiting—for this. The desperate game you have got to play and the uncertainty of War may render every measure that will increase the Force and strength of the American Army worthy consideration.”

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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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