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De La Balme’s Defeat

De La Balme's Defeat

 

On this day in history, November 5, 1780, a Revolutionary War battle known as De la Balme's Defeat or De la Balme's Massacre takes place when retired French cavalry officer Augustin de la Balme is killed near present day Fort Wayne, Indiana in a battle with Miami Indians. The officer had been appointed in 1777 as the Continental Army's Inspector of Cavalry, but resigned this position due to his dislike for Polish General Casimir Pulaski, the Commander of the United States Cavalry.

 

In 1780, De la Balme left on a voyage down the Ohio River on a mission to capture the British Fort Detroit. Historians are uncertain whether he undertook this mission on his own or if he was acting on secret orders from General George Washington. De la Balme gathered Canadian colonists who had been living under British rule along the way in Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes (in what is now Indiana).

 

De la Balme's men moved north toward Fort Detroit and when they arrived in Kekionga (modern day Fort Wayne, Indiana), they found an unoccupied British and Indian trading post, the British and their Miami Indian allies having left the post, apparently on a hunting mission. De la Balme occupied the post and began to raid other British posts in the area. On the 5th, De la Balme set out for a post along the Eel River.

 

In the meantime, a group of Miami hunters returned to Kekionga, killed the 20 men De la Balme had left there and spread the word among the local Indians. Chief Little Turtle, who lived on the Eel River nearby, attacked De la Balme's party before he could reach the trading post. de la Balme's men entrenched themselves along the river, but were eventually overcome. De la Balme and most of his men were killed, with only a few escaping to tell the tale.

 

Chief Little Turtle would go on to become a successful war chief against the Americans in the Northwest Indian Wars of the 1790s and, in spite of De la Balme's failure, the British would post a group of Rangers at Kekionga to protect it from further attack. Fort Detroit would remain in British possession until the signing of the Jay Treaty in 1794.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

Secretary General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"Our unalterable resolution would be to be free. They have attempted to subdue us by force, but God be praised! in vain. Their arts may be more dangerous than their arms. Let us then renounce all treaty with them upon any score but that of total separation, and under God trust our cause to our swords." 
Samuel Adams (1776)

Admiral D’Estaing Leaves for the West Indies

Admiral D'Estaing leaves for the West Indies

 

On this day in history, November 4, 1778, French Admiral Charles Hector, Count D'Estaing, left Boston for the West Indies. This was a great blow to the Americans who were counting on French involvement to help them win the war against Great Britain. France had joined the Americans earlier in the year and D'Estaing's arrival in July with sixteen ships had brought great hope to the Americans.

 

D'Estaing's first mission was to blockade the British fleet in the Delaware River, but the British had evacuated Philadelphia and the fleet returned to New York before D'Estaing's arrival. D'Estaing then sailed for New York, but was not able to cross the shallow sandbars into New York Harbor. With the consultation of American generals, D'Estaing then sailed for British occupied Newport, Rhode Island, where he was to assist the Americans in ousting the British from the city.

 

Admiral D'Estaing began to unload his 4,000 soldiers to help the Americans in the Battle of Rhode Island, but took them back on board when another British fleet arrived. He then attempted to engage the British fleet, but a storm arose that lasted for two days, heavily damaging and scattering both fleets. The British fleet returned to New York for repairs. D'Estaing regathered and returned to Newport to tell the generals that his fleet was too damaged to be of any help. He sailed for Boston for repairs, much to the consternation of the Americans. In Boston, D'Estaing was assailed as a "deserter."

 

On November 4, the Americans were even more distressed when D'Estaing sailed for the West Indies to help in the war against Britain there instead. He returned briefly to America to help with an attack against British occupied Savannah, Georgia in September, but this mission failed also and D'Estaing returned to France. The Americans were bereft of French naval help until the arrival of Admiral Charles-Henri-Louis d'Arsac de Ternay at Newport in May, 1780.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

Secretary General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”
George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress (8 January 1790)

Vermont Ratifies the Bill of Rights

Vermont ratifies the Bill of Rights

 

On this day in history, November 3, 1791, the state of Vermont ratified all twelve amendments to the Bill of Rights that were suggested by Congress. Ten of them would be agreed upon by 2/3rds of the states and would become the Bill of Rights.

 

Vermont was the 10th state to ratify the Bill of Rights, which would not become law until Virginia ratified them on December 15, 1791, just one month later. With Virginia's ratification, the required 2/3rd's majority of the states was met and the 10 amendments became law. Congress originally proposed 12 amendments, but only 10 of them were ratified by enough states.

 

Vermont ruled itself as a sovereign country for 14 years after it declared independence from Great Britain on January 15, 1777. Note that it was not one of the original thirteen colonies, but was in an area called the "New Hampshire Grants." When Vermont first declared independence from England, it was called the Republic of New Connecticut.

 

At the time Vermont ratified the Bill of Rights, it was the newest state in the union and the first to become a state after the original thirteen. She was formally welcomed into the United States on March 4, 1791 and adopted the Bill of Rights 9 months later.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

Secretary General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism." 
Alexander Hamilton (1775)

George Washington issues Farewell Orders to the Continental Army

George Washington issues Farewell Orders to the Continental Army

 

On this day in history, November 2, 1783, George Washington issued his Farewell Orders to the Continental Army as he officially retired from the service. He concludes the orders with, "May ample justice be done them (the soldiers who fought) here, and may the choicest of Heaven’s favors both here and hereafter attend those, who under the divine auspices have secured innumerable blessings for others: With these Wishes, and this benediction, the Commander in Chief is about to retire from service–The Curtain of separation will soon be drawn–and the Military Scene to him will be closed for ever."

 

In these orders, Washington thanks the soldiers for their service and sacrifice. He talks about how astonished he is that they actually won. He mentions God’s intervention on their behalf. He also commends the soldiers for coming together from different backgrounds and cultures and working together to form a cohesive unit.

 

Washington assures the troops they will be paid by the Congress as the states pony up their share of the debt incurred during the war. He tells them the same virtues of bravery, economy and prudence they exhibited in the war will assist them in being successful in private life as they return home. Lastly, Washington says there is nothing he would not do if it was in his power to assist these men to be successes in life.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

Secretary General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

“If the Freedom of Speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
George Washington

 

Stamp Act officially takes effect

Stamp Act officially takes effect

 

On this day in history, November 1, 1765, the Stamp Act of 1765 was to take effect. The protests, rioting, boycotts and threats of the colonists against stamp distributors and customs officials had already taken their toll though. When November 1st arrived, there was not a single stamp distributor left in the colonies who had not resigned his position, with the exception of Georgia’s because he did not arrive until January, and he resigned… after one day on the job!

 

The Stamp Act was issued in order to raise funds to help administer the colonies and to pay down the high debt incurred by Britain during the French and Indian War. It was the creation of Prime Minister George Grenville who was not particularly favorable to the colonists, who burned up any stamps they could find, boarding ships and storming government buildings to find them.

 

Officials in numerous towns were threatened with their lives if they attempted to enforce the acts. Some were driven from town or into hiding. Others were attacked at home or held at gunpoint until they made an oath that they would not enforce the hated Act.

 

All this pressure, along with an economic boycott of British goods eventually caused Parliament to capitulate. The Act was repealed in March, 1766.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

Secretary General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time."
Thomas Jefferson

New York merchants sign non-importation agreement

New York merchants sign non-importation agreement

 

On this day in history, October 31, 1765, New York merchants sign a non-importation agreement, agreeing not to import goods from Great Britain in protest of the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act placed a small tax on all paper goods, such as contracts, licenses, newspapers, almanacs, etc. The tax affected nearly everyone since it was placed on such common goods.

 

Lawyers, businessmen, judges and other affluent people were hit particularly hard by the tax because so much of their work required legal papers and contracts. The New York Non-Importation Agreement was signed by 200 New York City merchants who agreed not to import any more British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed. They were joined by many merchants and common people in the other colonies as well.

 

The colonists rebelled against the Stamp Act in many ways, including mob actions and riots against British officials, but the non-importation agreement had the most serious effect in London. English merchants suffered terribly because the Americans wouldn’t import their goods or pay their bills. Widespread unemployment gripped England as a result. Pressure from these London merchants ultimately caused Parliament to back down and repeal the Stamp Act.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

Secretary General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"As long as property exists, it will accumulate in individuals and families. As long as marriage exists, knowledge, property and influence will accumulate in families."
John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1814

Naval Committee Established by Congress

Naval committee established by Congress

On October 30, 1775, the Continental Congress appoints seven members to serve on an administrative naval committee tasked with the acquisition, outfitting and manning of a naval fleet to be used in defense against the British. Almost two weeks earlier, on October 13, 1775, Congress had authorized the construction and arming of vessels for the country’s first navy.

Members of the first naval committee included some of the most influential members of the Continental Congress and several “founding fathers,” including John Adams, Joseph Hewes, John Langdon, Richard Henry Lee, Silas Deane and Stephen Hopkins, the committee’s chairman.

On December 22, Esek Hopkins, Stephen’s brother, was appointed the first commander in chief of the Continental Navy. Congress also named four captains to the new service: Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle and John Burrows Hopkins. Their respective vessels, the 24-gun frigates Alfred and Columbus, and the14-gun brigs Andrew Doria and Cabot, as well as three schooners, the Hornet, the Wasp and the Fly, became the first ships of the Navy’s fleet. Five first lieutenants, including future American hero John Paul Jones, five second lieutenants and three third lieutenants also received their commissions.

With help from the committee, America’s first navy went from a fleet of two vessels on the day Congress established the naval committee to a fleet of more than 40 armed ships and vessels at the height of the War for Independence. The Continental Navy successfully preyed upon British merchant shipping and won several victories over British warships. This first naval force was disbanded after the war. What is now known as the United States Navy was formally established with the creation of the federal Department of the Navy in April 1798.

https://www.history.com/

 

Jack Manning

Secretary General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” 
John Adams