Congress adopts Rules for the Regulation of the Navy

Congress adopts Rules for the Regulation of the Navy

 

On this day in history, November 28, 1775, Congress adopts "Rules for the Regulation of the Navy," the first set of guidelines governing the American navy. Congress had first established the Navy on October 13th, when it called for the purchase and arming of two vessels to be used for intercepting British ships. On the same day, a committee of seven people was formed to oversee naval affairs. The committee consisted of John Adams of Massachusetts, John Langdon of New Hampshire, Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, Silas Deane of Connecticut, Joseph Hewes of South Carolina and Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island. The committee was called the Naval Committee and it set the course for the US Navy’s development.

 

On November 28th, Congress adopted "Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies of North-America," on the recommendation of the Naval Committee. The Rules were largely created by John Adams. Adams had no naval or military experience himself, but he was an eminent lawyer and may have had some experience with maritime law since he practiced in the prominent port city of Boston.

 

Adams borrowed heavily from existing British naval rules. In fact, the first seven articles of Adams’ Rules are taken almost verbatim from "Rules of Discipline and good Government to be observed on board His Majesty’s Ships of War," the British naval guidelines since 1730. The main difference is that wherever the British articles said "His Majesty’s Ships," Adams changed it to "ships of the Thirteen United Colonies."

 

Adams’ Rules contain 41 articles altogether. They deal with such things as food rations, how to deal with crimes and dereliction of duty on board ship, the proper conduct of officers, the proper care of injured seamen, how to deal with captured ships and how to deal with mutiny and sedition. The Rules also contained strict guidelines about personal behavior, forbidding "dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices," requiring regular church services on board ship and punishment for swearing, cursing, blaspheming God and drunkenness.

 

"Rules for the Regulation of the Navy" formed the basis of all naval regulations in the United States for decades to come, many of the articles being passed nearly word for word into future naval regulations.

 

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Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"The Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."
Samuel Adams


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Tea ship Dartmouth arrives in Boston Harbor

Tea ship Dartmouth arrives in Boston Harbor

 

On this day in history, November 27, 1773, the tea ship Dartmouth arrives in Boston Harbor. This was the first of three ships in Boston that would be involved in the Boston Tea Party. Taxes on tea was a longstanding issue between the colonists and England. The Townshend Acts of 1767 taxed five items: glass, lead, painters colors, paper and tea. The Townshend Acts actually had the effect of lowering the price of tea in the colonies, because it removed a duty paid by the British East India Company, allowing them to sell tea more cheaply. The colonists, however, were not inclined to pay any tax and boycotted British goods until the taxes were repealed in 1770… except for the tax on tea!

 

The British East India Company fell into serious debt and Parliament tried to help with the Tea Act of 1773, allowing the Company to ship its goods directly and more cheaply to the colonies by bypassing the middlemen in England who raised the price. This arrangement would save the British East India Company from bankruptcy because it would sell more tea and it would still affirm Parliament’s right to tax the colonies because the tea tax was still in place.

 

Once the Tea Act was passed, the Company sent tea to several American ports. The tea never landed in New York or Philadelphia because patriots wouldn’t allow it to be unloaded and the ships returned home. In Charleston, the tea was confiscated and resold to fund patriot activity against the British.

 

More dramatic events unfolded in Boston. The Company had sent four ships to Boston. The Dartmouth arrived on November 27th, but colonists wouldn’t allow it to be unloaded. Two other ships arrived over the next two weeks and the fourth was lost in a storm. Patriots posted sentries to make sure the tea wasn’t unloaded. By law, if import duties were not paid within 20 days, the ships and their cargo were to be confiscated and sold to pay the duties. Consequently, Governor Thomas Hutchinson would not allow the ships to return to England, which the owners and captains had volunteered to do.

 

The deadline for the confiscation was December 17. The colonists wanted to prevent the confiscation and sale of the cargo and ships since the money would still be used to pay the unjust taxes. This is the reason they picked December 16th for the Boston Tea Party. After a rousing meeting at the Old South Meeting House, several thousand citizens marched to Griffin’s Wharf where the ships were docked. They cheered as dozens of men, some disguised as Indians to protect their identities, boarded the three ships and dumped 46 tons of tea into the harbor, so much that the water was brown for a week! Parliament’s response? To shut down the government of Massachusetts and close Boston Harbor until the tea was paid for. This response led directly to the colonists’ forming of the First Continental Congress to create a unified colonial response to these Intolerable Acts, and to the outbreak of the American Revolution.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com  

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"Do not conceive that fine Clothes make fine Men, any more than fine feathers make fine Birds."
George Washington (1783)


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General Artemas Ward is born

General Artemas Ward is born

 

On this day in history, November 26, 1727, General Artemas Ward is born. Artemas Ward was a prominent figure in Massachusetts politics during and after the American Revolution. Ward was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard in 1748. He opened a general store in Shrewsbury in 1750, but in 1751, at the age of 24, he began a life of politics. Ward’s first government job was as the township assessor for Worcester County. He became a justice of the peace in 1752 and began the first of many years of service as a representative to the Colony’s General Assembly.

 

In 1755, during the French and Indian War, Ward became a major in the Worcester County militia. He did not see active military service, however, until two years later when the British attacked the French held Fort Ticonderoga. Ward became a judge on the Court of Common Pleas in 1762, a position he would hold for decades. In the General Assembly, he served alongside such figures as James Otis, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Ward became so well known for speaking out against British policies in the Assembly that Governor Francis Bernard took away his military commission and voided the election results from Worcester County in 1768 to keep Ward out of the Assembly.

 

As tensions with England increased, the entire 3rd Regiment of Worcester County resigned from its position under British command and went to Shrewsbury, where they informed Col. Ward that they were now in his service. After Governor Bernard dissolved the Assembly in October, 1774, the cities of Massachusetts set up a new government under the "Committee of Safety," placing Ward as General over the whole colony’s militia.

 

Ward’s first job as general was to get the British out of Boston. He organized the defenses on Bunker Hill and at the Siege of Boston. When the newly appointed General George Washington arrived, Ward helped integrate the Massachusetts militia into the Continental Army. Ward was made a Major General, second in command of the Continental Army only to George Washington. General Ward remained in command of the Eastern Department after the British left Boston and held this position until March 20, 1777, when he resigned for health reasons.

 

Ward continued to serve as a judge during and after the war. As President of the Executive Council, he ran the government of Massachusetts for three years during the war. After this, he served as a delegate to the Continental Congress for a year and in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for six years, including one term as Speaker of the House in 1786. While concurrently serving as Speaker of the House and as a Justice of the Peace, Ward faced down rebels on the steps of the Worcester County Courthouse during Shay’s Rebellion, a rebellion over taxes and government policies. Ward served two terms as a Federalist member of the US House of Representatives when the government under the new Constitution was formed.

 

Artemas Ward finally retired as a judge and from a long life of public service in December, 1797, at the age of 70. He passed away on October 28, 1800 and was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Shrewsbury. His legacy includes several accomplished authors and the well preserved Artemas Ward House, which is now owned and managed by Harvard University.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com  

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

“A man has property in his opinions and the free communication of them.”
James Madison


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Last British soldiers evacuate the United States

Last British soldiers evacuate the United States

 

On this day in history, November 25, 1783, the last British soldiers evacuate the United States. The signing of the Treaty of Paris ended hostilities between the United States and Great Britain on September 3, 1783. Sir Guy Carleton, commander of British forces in North America at the time, received orders in August to begin planning the evacuation of all remaining British troops from the United States.

 

The evacuation plans dragged on because of large numbers of Loyalists descending on New York in a panic to flee the country. Nearly 30,000 Loyalists and escaped slaves left with the British, most ending up in Quebec or Nova Scotia.

 

General Carleton finally announced the last of the troops would be leaving at noon on November 25th. George Washington waited outside the city until the British left and their flag was removed from a pole at the Battery at the southern end of Manhattan (A battery is a military fortification with guns or cannons). Wiley British soldiers had hoisted their Union Flag on a greased pole on their way out of the city.

 

Several attempts were made to get the flag down, but were unsuccessful due to the grease. Eventually, American soldier John Van Arsdale was able to climb the pole by nailing pieces of wood to the pole and climbing up on them. He tore the British flag down and replaced it with the American Flag. Shortly after, a triumphant General George Washington entered the city and marched down Broadway to the Battery.

 

For a hundred years after, Evacuation Day was celebrated around the United States, but especially in New York City. Evacuation Day was New York City’s biggest celebration of the year for a century and the evacuation was commemorated with a game of boys competing to take down a Union Flag from a greased flagpole in Battery Park. A descendant of John Van Arsdale would then climb the pole and put up a US Flag.

 

Once the Civil War came and Abraham Lincoln announced the annual Thanksgiving Day, Evacuation Day celebrations around the country tended to be absorbed by Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Evacuation Day was eventually lost because the date of November 25 was so close to the Thanksgiving date of the last Thursday of the month. The annual celebrations continued in New York, however, until World War I, at which time people seemed to lose their animosity toward Britain after its allied cooperation with the United States during the war.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com  

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."

James Madison


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North Carolina wins the Battle of Midway Church

North Carolina wins the Battle of Midway Church

 

On this day in history, November 24, 1778, North Carolina wins the Battle of Midway Church. General Augustine Prevost, commander of British forces in British East Florida organized the first British invasion of Georgia in November of 1778, after Sir Henry Clinton determined the British would begin its "Southern Strategy."

 

Prevost’s army split into two units. The first unit was commanded by General Prevost’s brother, Lt. Col. Mark Prevost, the second by Lt. Col. L. V. Fuser. Fuser’s column marched up the seacoast, while Prevost’s marched in tandem with them, but several miles inland.

 

The plan was to meet at Sunbury and attack the Americans at Fort Morris, where they also expected to meet another group of British soldiers who were expected to arrive from New York. On November 22, 1778, 100 soldiers under the command of Continental Army Colonel John White and Major James Jackson confronted Prevost’s 700 professional soldiers a mile and a half south of Midway in Liberty County, which was called St. John’s Parish at the time.

 

White and Jackson were severely outnumbered, but they hoped to hold out until reinforcements arrived from Savannah. Colonel James Screven soon arrived, but with only 20 soldiers and the Americans were forced to pull back to form a line at Midway Church. Midway Church is an historic church founded by the original Puritan settlers who came to the area from South Carolina. They settled in Midway, named for its distance "midway" between the ports of Savannah and Darien.

 

The area surrounding Midway Church was one of the hotbeds of patriot activity in Georgia during the American Revolution. Midway Church has a long and storied list of former members, including Declaration of Independence signers Lyman Hall and Button Gwinnett who both owned land nearby. The church’s list of members includes other such notables as the aforementioned Colonel James Screven, General Daniel Stewart, Continental Congressman Benjamin Andrew, US Senators Augustus Bacon , Alfred Iverson and John Elliot, Governors Nathan Brownson, John Martin and Richard Howley, the first US minister to China, John E. Ward and US Representatives William Fleming and John Cuthbert. Other famous descendants from Midway’s founding families include Ellen Wilson, wife of President Woodrow Wilson, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, President Theodore Roosevelt and inventor Samuel Morse.

 

Colonel Screven was injured and captured by the British during the Battle of Midway Church. He later died in British custody from his wounds and is thus one of Georgia’s first Revolutionary War heroes. Prevost began to get nervous and decided to pull back because he knew the closer they got to Savannah, the more likely it would be for large numbers of militia to join the Continentals and overpower them. Midway Church was burned down by the British later during the war, but was rebuilt in 1792.

 

The following day, November 25th, Lt. Col. Fuser arrived at Sunbury with 500 soldiers, intending to attack Fort Morris, which was defended by 200 Americans. Fuser, like Prevost, realized his soldiers were in severe danger being so deep inside patriot territory. He decided to pull back as well and Britain’s first invasion of Georgia came to intend.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com  

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

Self-defense is a primary law of nature, which no subsequent law of society can abolish; the immediate gift of the Creator, obliges everyone to resist the first approaches of tyranny.
Elbridge Gerry


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General William Moultrie is born

General William Moultrie is born

 

On this day in history, November 23, 1730, Governor and General William Moultrie is born. Moultrie was a celebrated general of the American Revolution, primarily for his role in keeping the British out of the South during the early years of the war at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

 

William Moultrie was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He became a colonel in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment in 1775. By September of that year, the South Carolina Council of Safety had grown concerned with British ships patrolling Charleston Harbor. They knew the city of Charleston was vulnerable to invasion from the sea and sent Colonel Moultrie to defend the narrow entrance to the harbor.

 

Charleston Harbor was guarded by Sullivan’s Island on the north and James Island on the south. On September 15th, Col. Moultrie’s men attacked the British Fort Johnson on the edge of James Island, but the soldiers had been warned and had abandoned the fort. Moultrie erected his own cannon to guard the harbor and flew a new flag, which he created himself, over the fort, at the direction of the Council of Safety. The flag featured a blue field with a crescent in the corner with the word liberty on it. The flag later became known as the Fort Moultrie Flag. The current flag of South Carolina is a very similar version of the Fort Moultrie Flag.

 

In March, 1776, Col. Moultrie began constructing Fort Sullivan on Sullivan’s Island. When a British fleet arrived on June 28, 1776, a battle ensued. Col. Moultrie’s men were outnumbered 5 to 1, but the fort held. Only 12 men died in the fort, while the British fleet lost 220 men dead or wounded! It took Sir Peter Parker 3 weeks to repair his ships, after which he abandoned the southern campaign. The British would not make another serious attempt to take Charleston for another three years.

 

For his heroics, Colonel William Moultrie was promoted to Brigadier General by the Continental Congress and his company was merged into the Continental Army. General Moultrie and others failed to prevent Savannah, Georgia from falling to the British in 1778 and he was captured when the British returned to capture Charleston in 1780, but was returned in a prisoner exchange. In 1782, General Moultrie became the last person appointed a Major General by Congress during the war.

 

After the American Revolution, William Moultrie became the Governor of South Carolina, serving in this position twice, from 1785-1787 and from 1792-1794. Fort Sullivan was renamed Fort Moultrie in his honor and the fort continued to function as the primary defense of Charleston until Fort Sumter was built. Fort Moultrie served as an active military post for the US Army from 1798 until the end of World War II. William Moultrie died in Charleston in 1805, a few years after writing his memoirs in Memoirs of the American Revolution, two volumes detailing the war in the Carolinas and Georgia.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com  

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

“Permit me then to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a Declaration of Independence, and call upon the world and the Great God who governs it to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof.”
Nathanael Greene


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General William Moultrie is born

General William Moultrie is born

 

On this day in history, November 23, 1730, Governor and General William Moultrie is born. Moultrie was a celebrated general of the American Revolution, primarily for his role in keeping the British out of the South during the early years of the war at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

 

William Moultrie was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He became a colonel in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment in 1775. By September of that year, the South Carolina Council of Safety had grown concerned with British ships patrolling Charleston Harbor. They knew the city of Charleston was vulnerable to invasion from the sea and sent Colonel Moultrie to defend the narrow entrance to the harbor.

 

Charleston Harbor was guarded by Sullivan’s Island on the north and James Island on the south. On September 15th, Col. Moultrie’s men attacked the British Fort Johnson on the edge of James Island, but the soldiers had been warned and had abandoned the fort. Moultrie erected his own cannon to guard the harbor and flew a new flag, which he created himself, over the fort, at the direction of the Council of Safety. The flag featured a blue field with a crescent in the corner with the word liberty on it. The flag later became known as the Fort Moultrie Flag. The current flag of South Carolina is a very similar version of the Fort Moultrie Flag.

 

In March, 1776, Col. Moultrie began constructing Fort Sullivan on Sullivan’s Island. When a British fleet arrived on June 28, 1776, a battle ensued. Col. Moultrie’s men were outnumbered 5 to 1, but the fort held. Only 12 men died in the fort, while the British fleet lost 220 men dead or wounded! It took Sir Peter Parker 3 weeks to repair his ships, after which he abandoned the southern campaign. The British would not make another serious attempt to take Charleston for another three years.

 

For his heroics, Colonel William Moultrie was promoted to Brigadier General by the Continental Congress and his company was merged into the Continental Army. General Moultrie and others failed to prevent Savannah, Georgia from falling to the British in 1778 and he was captured when the British returned to capture Charleston in 1780, but was returned in a prisoner exchange. In 1782, General Moultrie became the last person appointed a Major General by Congress during the war.

 

After the American Revolution, William Moultrie became the Governor of South Carolina, serving in this position twice, from 1785-1787 and from 1792-1794. Fort Sullivan was renamed Fort Moultrie in his honor and the fort continued to function as the primary defense of Charleston until Fort Sumter was built. Fort Moultrie served as an active military post for the US Army from 1798 until the end of World War II. William Moultrie died in Charleston in 1805, a few years after writing his memoirs in Memoirs of the American Revolution, two volumes detailing the war in the Carolinas and Georgia.

 

http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com  

 

Jack Manning

President General

2019 – 2021

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

“Permit me then to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a Declaration of Independence, and call upon the world and the Great God who governs it to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof.”
Nathanael Greene


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