February 27, 1777

 

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In Baltmore, Congress adjourns and make plans to return to Philadelphia now that General Washington has eliminated the British threat to the city.

General Howe sends the following letter to General Washington, complaining of the treatment of some of his captured officers:  “Some Days having elapsed since the Conference between Lt Col. Walcott and Lt Col. Harrison without hearing from You for the further Prosecution of the Business relative to Prisoners of War, I am to trouble You with my Request to have a second Meeting at the same, or at any other Place You shall appoint, and to desire You will vest Lt Col. Harrison with proper Powers for reducing to the Form of a regular Cartel, the Agreement already concluded between us, for the Exchange of Prisoners.  With much Reluctance I am to remonstrate against the Treatment of Lt Col. Campbell of the 71st Regiment, who, Instead of being exchanged, to which he has an indubitable Right, is, I am credibly informed, put into close Confinement at Concord in the Massachusetts Bay, contrary to the Tenour of his Parole, which is binding to both Parties.  Serjeant McConkie and Serjeant Andrews are also, I hear, still in close Confinement in that Province.  These Grievances requiring Your immediate Interposition, I am hopeful You will give them the speediest Redress, and that All Prisoners of War at present in Your Possession, will be returned without further Delay; Their Detention being contrary to the Agreement subsisting between us. I am Sir, your most obedient humble Servant…”

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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.”

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Go Eagles!

 

 

 

January 31, 1777

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Robert Morris writes to General Washington requesting that he protect the property of a loyalist friend (original spellings retained):  “I have been honoured with several of Your favours lately but as they did not require an immediate acknowledgement and I have been much pressed with business it did not appear necessary to interrupt You or myself. We are told here the Troops have left Rhode Island & burnt Newport how true this [is] I do not know, but it is Certain they had embarked part of the Troops there before a Mr McCleary lately from thence came away, wherefore I expect it will soon be known where they are to reinforce.  I wrote to Congress respecting the removal of the Stores from hence they are averse to it unless absolutely necessary but as the Acct we then gave of Genl Putnams Force at Prince Town was too Sanguine I will mention it again and be governed by their orders for I confess I think such removal at this time woud have a bad effect & retard many usefull operations.  I take the Liberty to enclose you the Copy of a letter from Hugh Wallace Esqr. of New York to Mr Nesbitt here and hope it may be in your Excellencys power to Save his property for altho he has the Misfortune to differ from us in Politics yet if he does not take an active part I conceive it is not right to Confiscate his property, I don’t know any such instance hitherto. Here are Capt. Jones & several other people in this City that want to go into New York. I wish they was there for they poison our peoples minds daily, I think it best to send Jones in on parole because Capt. Hamond sent up Capt. Hallock of the Lexington on those terms & if Your Excellency thinks proper I will propose an exchange between those two, the other persons we don’t hold as prisoners being taken in Merchantmen but I woud put them all under parole & send them by Crosswix to South Amboy & let them Cross from thence, I think it can do no harm, & they do much mischief here, amongst the Number is also Mr Palmer Commissary of Provisions &c. under Mr Chamier who will get in Exchange a Capt. Deane asked for by the Councill of Safety or any other You please to Name, or return back. I have a Ship arrived in our Bay with 10000 bushls of Salt but unfortunately she is run aground I am sending down assistance & hope to Save her. By her I got King George’s Speech & you Will find a Copy enclosed, I have no doubt of a Rupture in Europe this next Summer & his Majesty seems to entertain some doubts about it.

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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.”

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January 4, 1777

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Benjamin Franklin writes to the Committee of Secret Correspondence about his goings on in France:  “I arrived here about two Weeks since, where I found Mr. Deane. Mr. Lee has since join’d us from London. We have had an Audience of the Minister, Count de Vergennes, and were respectfully receiv’d. We left for his Consideration a Sketch of the propos’d Treaty. We are to wait upon him tomorrow with a strong Memorial requesting the Aids mentioned in our Instructions. By his Advice we had an Interview with the Spanish Ambassador, Count d’Aranda, who seems well dispos’d towards us, and will forward Copies of our Memorials to his Court, which will act, he says, in perfect Concert with this. Their Fleets are said to be in fine Order, mann’d and fit for Sea. The Cry of this Nation is for us; but the Court it is thought views an approaching War with Reluctance. The Press continues in England. As soon as we can receive a positive Answer from these Courts we shall dispatch an Express with it.”  Franklin will do what he can to convince the French to enter into a treaty,  but everyone knows that they will be more convinced by victories that Washington can secure on the battlefield then anything Franklin says.

Major General William Heath writes from Peach-Kill New York to George Washington:  “That no time should be lost I have been sending over a Quantity of provisions to Haverstraw, and as soon as the Militia arrive in sufficient numbers shall pass over with them—A Body of the Militia belonging to this State, have Rendezvous’d at North Castle, & Col. Thomas’s Regiment below white plains—A Number of the Disaffected have been taken, & the night before last 37 Recruits who were going to join Rodgers—They were all armed with Pistols, & had Two Musquets in the Company—About 300 it is said are engaged with the Enemy, and are to march down from the upper parts of Dutche’s County in small parties, lying concealed in the day time—We have found out some of their Stages on the Roads, and have a number of parties out to intercept them—We have just taken one Strang, with his Warrant from Rodgers to enlist men, secreted in the inside of his Breeches; we also suppose him to be a Spy—I have ordered a General Court Martial to sit this day, for his Tryal.  I learn from some of the Deserters that Rodgers is alarmed at our Motions on this Side, which are making towards him, and am this moment told that they have drawn in all their parties, that were without Fort Independence & it is said have moved their Cannon from the Fort—The Expedition to that Quarter which has been long meditating by the Convention, is now in a fair way to be attempted; this is to secure Rodgers and Collect Forage—Upon the Request of the Committee I have ordered General Parsons to take the Command, and we are determined to keep the Enemy within narrow Limits.  I have lately been informed that Your Excellency is impowered to raise 12 New Regiments & to appoint the Officers—I beg leave to recommend to your Excellency’s notice Colonel Wm Malcom, late Commander of one of the New York Battalions, whose Conduct I have observed to be such as I think makes it my duty to recommend him.  Some doubts have arisen here with respect to the Arms, that are lost or missing, there are a number ought to be paid for, the Question arises what Sum is to be stopped for them, & where it is to be stopped, in the Hands of the Deputy paymaster or with the paymaster of the Regt. I should be happy to know your Excellency’s Opinion and Direction in this matter and as soon as agreable to your Excellency.”

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October 11, 1776

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Moravians recorded:  “All day soldiers marched through, returning from the expedition with General Rutherford; Colonel Armstrong, who had been with the General, was also here.  Acccording to him they burned the middle towns of the Cherokee, ruined about 2,000 acres of corn, and killed some of the Indians, and took others prisoner.”

Because of General Guy Carleton’s release of American prisoners in Canada, Congress releases all the Canadian prisoners.

Congress urges General Washington to obstruct the Hudson River and hold the British at Fort Washington in New York and Fort Lee in New Jersey.

The fleet under General Guy Carleton surprises the American fleet lying near Valcour Island.  Benedict Arnold’s fleet is trounced by the professionally manned 84 gun fleet.  The British outnumbered the Americans by 2 to 1.

John Adams has good news for Abigail:  “I suppose your Ladyship has been in the Twitters, for some Time past, because you have not received a Letter by every Post, as you used to do.—But I am coming to make my Apology in Person. I, Yesterday asked and obtained Leave of Absence. It will take me till next Monday, to get ready, to finish off a few Remnants of public Business, and to put my private Affairs in proper Order. On the 14th. day of October, I shall get away, perhaps. But I dont expect to reach Home, in less than a fortnight, perhaps not in three Weeks, as I shall be obliged to make stops by the Way.”

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, come see our Gettysburg Tour.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our American History Vacation Packages.

October 8, 1776

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Congress moves to enlist more soldiers for the duration of the war and urges each state to send a committee to the camps to appoint officers and encourage enlistments.

For several months, 297 Charleston citizens had been doing militia duty to protect the town and now find that it had “injured their fortunes.”  They petition the Assembly to establish one or more watch companies to guard the town.

John Adams writes to Abigail telling her, not only how much he treasures her letters, but also with his analysis of the recent military action in New York:  “I ought to acknowledge with Gratitude, your constant Kindness in Writing to me, by every Post. Your favour of Septr. 29. came by the last. I wish it had been in my Power, to have returned your Civilities with the same Punctuality, but it has not.  Long before this you have received Letters from me, and Newspapers containing a full Account of the Negociation. The Communication is still open and the Post Riders now do their Duty and will continue to do so.  I assure you, We are as much at a Loss, about Affairs at New York, as you are. In general, our Generals were out generalled on Long Island, and Sullivan and Stirling with 1000 Men were made Prisoners, in Consequence of which, and several other unfortunate Circumstances, a Council of War thought it prudent to retreat from that Island, and Governors Island and then from New York. They are now posted at Haarlem about 10 or 11 Miles from the City. They left behind them some Provisions, some Cannon and some Baggage.  Wherever the Men of War have approached, our Militia have most manfully turned their backs and run away, Officers and Men, like sturdy fellows—and their panicks have sometimes seized the regular Regiments.  One little skirmish on Montresors Island, ended with the Loss of the brave Major Henley, and the disgrace of the rest of the Party. Another Skirmish, which might indeed be called an Action, ended in the defeat and shamefull flight of the Enemy, with the Loss of the brave Coll. Knowlton on our Part. The Enemy have Possession of Paulus Hook and Bergen Point, Places on the Jersy side of the North River.  By this Time their Force is so divided between Staten Island, Long Island, New York, Paulus Hook and Bergen Point, that, I think they will do no great Matter more this fall, unless the Expiration of the Term of Inlistment of our Army, should disband it. If our new Inlistments fill up, for Soldiers during the War, We shall do well enough.—Every Body must encourage this.  You are told that a Regiment of Yorkers behaved ill, and it may be true, but I can tell you that several Regiments of Massachusetts Men have behaved ill, too.  The Spirit of Venality, you mention, is the most dreadfull and alarming Enemy, that America has to oppose. It is as rapacious and insatiable as the Grave. We are in the Fasce Romuli, non Republica Platonis. This predominant Avarice will ruin America, if she is ever ruined. If God almighty does not interpose by his Grace to controul this universal Idolatry to the Mammon of Unrighteousness, We shall be given up to the Chastisements of his Judgments. I am ashamed of the Age I live in.  You surprise me with your Account of the Prayers in publick for an Abdicated King, a Pretender to the Crown. Nothing of that Kind is heard in this Place, or any other Part of the Continent, but New York and the Place you mention. This Practice is Treason against the State and cannot be long tolerated.  I lament the Loss of Soper, as an honest, and usefull Member of Society.  Dont leave off writing to me—I write as often as I can.”

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, come see our Gettysburg Tour.  Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our American History Vacation Packages.