August 15, 1776

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General Nathaniel Greene informs General George Washington that on the previous evening the Hessian troops had disembarked on Staten Island.  His own troops, busy removing livestock and grain and dismantling mills, were, he felt in excellent spirits and confident of putting up a good fight.  Without doubt, the most ominous information for Washington was the fact that Greene, a most promising General, had fallen victim to raging fever.

An Independent Milita Company, led by Captain Dennis Gauge, while on patrol near Roanoke attacked a British foraging party.   The British were all killed or captured.

George Washington, awaiting events in New York, writes to President of Congress, John Hancock:  “As the situation of the Two Armies must engage the attention of Congress and lead them to expect, that, each returning day will produce some Important Events, This is meant to Inform them that Nothing of Moment has yet cast up. In the Evening of Yesterday there were great movements among their Boats and from the Number that appeared to be passing and repassing about the Narrows, we were Induced to beleive they Intended to land a part of their force upon Long Island, but having no report from Genl Greene, I presume they have not done It.”

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 American History Vacation Packages.

 

August 14, 1776

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Congress today resolves to offer all foreign deserters from the British army a secure refuge, including religious liberty, the investment of the rights, privileges, and immunities of natives, as established by the laws the states and 5 ¼ acres of unapprpriated lands.

In Boston, the city observed the 11th anniversary of the popular resistance which prevented the execution of the Stamp Act in Boston.  The Sons of Liberty erected a pole at the site of the original Liberty Tree.

The HMS Phoenix and Rose anchored in the Hudson River near New York City are boarded by American sailors with plans to set them ablaze.

Abigail Adams writes to John about the sorry state of education at home, and points out that it is important not only to educate the sons, but the daughters as well.  You remark upon the deficiency of Education in your Countrymen. It never I believe was in a worse state, at least for many years. The Colledge is not in the state one could wish, the Schollars complain that their professer in Philosophy is taken of by publick Buisness to their great detriment. In this Town I never saw so great a neglect of Education. The poorer sort of children are wholly neglected, and left to range the Streets without Schools, without Buisness, given up to all Evil. The Town is not as formerly divided into Wards. There is either too much Buisness left upon the hands of a few, or too little care to do it. We daily see the Necessity of a regular Government.—You speak of our Worthy Brother.3 I often lament it that a Man so peculiarly formed for the Education of youth, and so well qualified as he is in many Branches of Litrature, excelling in Philosiphy and the Mathematicks, should not be imployd in some publick Station. I know not the person who would make half so good a Successor to Dr. Winthrope. He has a peculiar easy manner of communicating his Ideas to Youth, and the Goodness of his Heart, and the purity of his morrals without an affected austerity must have a happy Effect upon the minds of Pupils.  If you complain of neglect of Education in sons, What shall I say with regard to daughters, who every day experience the want of it. With regard to the Education of my own children, I find myself soon out of my debth, and destitute and deficient in every part of Education.  I most sincerely wish that some more liberal plan might be laid and executed for the Benefit of the rising Generation, and that our new constitution may be distinguished for Learning and Virtue. If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Philosophers, we should have learned women. The world perhaps would laugh at me, and accuse me of vanity, But you I know have a mind too enlarged and liberal to disregard the Sentiment. If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the first principals which are instilld take the deepest root, great benifit must arise from litirary accomplishments in women.”

 

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 American History Vacation Packages.

August 11, 1776

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General orders prohibit furloughs or discharge of officers and soldiers without the knowledge and consent of General George Washington.

In Boston, Massachusetts, the Declaration is read in all the local churches.

In Little River, South Carolina, Major Andrew Pickens, with a detachment of 25 men was attacked by a group of 135 Cherokee Indians while on a reconnaissance mission.  The American troops killed several Indians who then broke off the fight and withdrew.  The battle was also known as the “Ring Fight”

John Adams writes to James Warren:  “I Informed you in my last that we were Calling in every 25th. Man of the Train Band, and Alarm List to supply the places of your Battalions called away and already Marched. These Men are coming into the place of Rendesvous Dochester Heigths, but you have Appointed no General Officer to Command them, and unless General Ward can be prevailed on to Continue, I know not how they can be furnished with pay subsistence Barrack Utensils, or Ordinance Stores. Would it not be well to Appoint A Major General to Command in the Eastern department only. I am not Aware of any disadvantages in such An Appointment. I hope before this the Confederation, and matter of foreign Alliances are determined, As I suppose matters will go more glibly after the decleration of Independance, which by the way was read this Afternoon by Doctor Cooper, and Attended to by the Auditory with great Solemnity, and satisfaction.  Matters of great Importance must after all remain to be settled, Among which I Conceive Coin and Commerce are not to be reckoned Among the smallest. These are indeed such Intricate subjects that I dont pretend to Comprehend them in their full Extent. Your Currency still retains its Credit, but how long that will last if you Continue large Emissions is difficult for me to Guess. Commerce is A Subject of Amazeing Extent. While such Matters are on the Carpet how can we spare you.  I suppose Mrs. Adams will Inform you by this Post that She and the Children are well tho’ Charles has not yet had the Small Pox, which is the Case with many others After being Inoculated 2. 3. and even 6 or 7 Times. The Physicians cant Account for this. Several Persons that supposed they had it lightly last winter, and some before, now have it in the Natural way. Mrs. Warren and myself have been fortunate enough to have it very Cleverly and propose going home this week. She Joins me in the sincerest regards, for you and Mr. Adams, and wishes for your Health and Happiness. I am &c.  If the News you have from France be true the Ball must wind up soon.  God Grant a Confirmation. I long to be A Farmer again.

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August 7, 1776

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The College of New York (formerly King’s College) agreed to turn its telescope over to George Washington for his use “in discovering the arrangements and operations of the enemy.”  Upon viewing the growing strength of the British forces under the Howe brothers, Washington’s aide felt that the “whole world seems leagued against us.  Enemies on every side and no new friends arise.  But our cause is just, and there is a providence which directs and governs all things.”

The American USS Hancock commanded by Captain Wingate Newton, captured the HMS Reward and brought t into port.  The cargo was unloaded including turtles intended for delivery to Lord North.

George Washington writes to a prisoner, Major Christopher French, regarding his request for parole:  “I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your favour of the [22] July int[i]mating your Expectation of Release on the 12th of this Month.  I have considered your Parole, advised with those whose Knowledge & Experience give Weight to their Opinion & otherwise endeavoured to inform myself how far your Construction of it is founded upon Justice, Reason or Usage—I do not find it warranted by either, My Duty therefore obliges me to over rule your Claim as a Matter of right. As a matter of favour, Indulgence is not in my Power, even if your General Line of Conduct as a Prisoner had been unexceptionable.  I have therefore wrote to the Committee of Hartford, sent them a Copy of this Letter & hope you will without Difficulty conform to the Regulations already made with Respect to Prisoners by the General Congress.  It is probable a general Exchange of Prisoners will soon take place, it will then be a Pleasing Part of my Duty to facilitate your Return to your Friends & Connections, as I assure you it is now a painfull one to disappoint you in an Expectation which you seem to have formed in a full Persuasion of being right and in whic⟨h⟩ on Mature Deleberation, I am so unhappy as totally to Differ from You.”

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July 28, 1776

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Colonel Paul Sergeant and Israel Hutchinson with their Continental troops from Boston, as well as several British ships, arrive at Horn’s Hook, New York.

At Fort Ticonderoga, in New York, the Declaration of Independence is read by Colonel Arthur St. Clair and when he added “God save the free independent states of America,” the Army demonstrated their joy with cheers.  “It was remarkably pleasing to see the spirits of the soldiers so raised, after all their calamities, the language of every man’s countenance was.  Now we are people, we have a name among the States of the world.”

Joseph Ward writes to John Adams from Boston:  “I have the pleasure to inform you that the Continental armed Schooners Hancock and Franklin sent into Marblehead this day a Transport from Hallifax bound to New York with provisions and dry goods. There are many Tories on board, among whom is the noted Benjamin Davis.  Last Sunday a Transport from Ireland came into this Harbour, (not knowing the Pirates were gone) and was taken; She had seventeen hundred Barrels of Beef and Pork and four hundred Casks of Butter for the use of the Enemy.  Some days since our Hearts were made glad with the glorious Declaration of the Independent States of America! Blessed be their memory and immortal Fame attend those who had the Wisdom and Virtue and Magnanimity to Do This! We have undoubtedly many and great things yet to do, but in my humble opinion, the greatest is done; the Foundation is now laid.”

Nathaniel Greene writes to George Washington from Long Island:  “Col Hands reports that the Enemy continues as they were. they fird several Guns last Night different from any custom that has prevaild amongst them since the Arrival of the fleet, A considerable noise and movement of the Boats was heard, after the Signal Guns; and the hurry and confusion they seemd to be in after the firing discoverd they were Alarm’d, Perhaps they have heard of the fire Ships.  Capt. Talbut of Colo. Hitchcocks Regiment, begs the command of one of these Vessels. he is a daring Spirit and I dont doubt will execute the command agreeable to your Excellencys wishes. As I am totally Ignorant of the matter, I could give him no encouragement until your Excellencys pleasure was known.”

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July 19, 1776

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The Congress resolved to publish in “several gazettes” a copy of the circular letter and enclosed declaration, which Lord Howe had sent to former Royal Governors Franklin, Eden, Penn, Dunmore, Martin, and Wright.  They hoped that in publishing the Commission’s terms, the few who still remain suspended by the hope found in justice or moderation of their late King, mauy now, at length, be convinced, that the valor alone of their country is to save its liberties.

Off the coast of Charlestown, South Carolina British General Henry Clinton sailed with his troops convoyed by the one frigate that Commodore Peter Parker had in condition to go to sea.  He would join Howe on Staten Island on August 1, 1776.

General Washington writes the following missive to Horatio Gates:  “I expected ’ere this to have heard from you; as I have not, I will open the corrispondance by expressing my exceeding great concern on acct of the determination of your board of General Officers, to retreat from Crown Point to Ticonderago; assigning (contrary to the opinion of all your Field Officers) for reason, that the former place is not tenable with your present force, or the Force expected.  My concern arises from information, and a firm belief, that your relinquishing Crown point is, in its consequences, a relinquishment of the Lakes, and all the advantages to be derived therefrom; for it does not admit of a doubt, but that the Enemy will possess themselves, if possible, of that pass (wch is a key to all these Colonies) the moment you leave it, & thereby confine your Vessels to the narrow part of the Lake in front of that Post, or, by having them in the Rear of it cut off all kind of Supplies from, & intercourse between your Camp & them; securing by this means a free and uninterrupted passage into the three New England Governments for Invasion thereof.  Nothing but a belief that you have actually removed the Army from the point to Tyconderago, and demolishd the Works at the former; and the fear of creating dissentions, & encouraging a Spirit of remonstrating against the conduct of Superior Officers by inferiors, have prevented me by Advice of the Genl Officers here, from directing the Post at Crown point to be held till Congress should decide upon the propriety of its Evacuation—As the case stands I can give no Order in the matter, least between two opinions; & places, neither are put into such a posture of defence, as to resist an advancing Enemy. I must however express my sorrow at the Resolution of your Council—& wish, that it had never happened; as every body who Speaks of it also does; & that the measure could yet be changed with Propriety.  We have the Enemy full in view of us, but their operations are to be suspended ’till the Reinforcement hourly expected, arrives, when I suppose there will soon be pretty warm work—Lord Howe is arrived. He & the Genl his Brother are appointed Commissioners to dispense pardons to Repenting Sinners.”  Note the sarcasm with which Washington refers to his upcoming meeting with the British Peace Delegates.

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July 7, 1776

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John Hancock sends the Declaration of Independence to the New York Convention meeting in White Plains with a letter that closes, “The important consequences to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the ground and foundation of a future government, will naturally suggest the propriety of proclaiming it in such a manner that the people may be universally informed of it.”  He sends the same letter to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

At a conference at Fort Pitt, a Mingo chief, just returned from a meeting at Niagara, advised the Virginians and Pennsylvanians that the Indians did not wish to fight, but would prevent either the English or the Americans from crossing their lands.

In Crown Point, New York, General Philip Schuyler withdraws his Northern Army and moves toward Ticonderoga.

In New York, George Washington writes to New York’s Governor Trumbull, “The situation of our affairs calls aloud for the most vigorous exertions and nothing else will be sufficient to avert the impending blow.  General Howe has already about 10,000 men.”

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