General Richard Montgomery takes Montreal

General Richard Montgomery takes Montreal

 

On this day in history, November 13, 1775, American General Richard Montgomery takes Montreal without a fight. The Americans had decided to try to take British Quebec in the fall of 1775. This was the first military offensive of the new Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Their goal was to take Quebec and convince the French speaking citizens to join them in their rebellion against England.

 

General Guy Carleton was the Royal Governor of Quebec. Carleton had focused his efforts against Ethan Allen of Vermont, who tried to take Montreal in September. Carleton’s distraction with Allen allowed General Montgomery to take Fort St. Jean, the main British defense post south of Montreal. The fort was surrendered to Montgomery on November 3.

 

Montgomery continued on to Montreal and Carleton, whose forces were depleted from the fight with Allen, fled north to Quebec City. This allowed Montgomery to march into Montreal without opposition. Montgomery left Brigadier General David Wooster in charge of Montreal and continued on to Quebec where he met with Colonel Benedict Arnold’s battalions of New England militia. They had braved an arduous journey across the forests of Maine to meet Montgomery in December. Many had died along the way of starvation or illness and many had deserted.

 

Montgomery and Arnold attacked Quebec City at 4 am on December 31, 1775, but were badly defeated. Carleton was waiting for them and began firing when they were in range of the city’s walls. General Montgomery was killed in the first fusillade. Benedict Arnold was wounded in the leg. Arnold tried to keep up the siege but was forced to give up. Over 60 Americans died and more than 400 were captured in the Continental Army’s first defeat. The Americans stayed at their posts in Montreal and surrounding Quebec City until the spring, still hoping to take the city. When newly appointed General John Thomas decided continuing the siege was pointless, the Americans fell back to Fort Ticonderoga in New York, never again to fight on Canadian soil.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

President General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"The great and chief end therefore, of men united into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property."
John Locke

Abigail Adams reveals anger toward Great Britain

Abigail Adams reveals anger toward Great Britain

 

On this day in history, November 12, 1775, Abigail Adams pens a letter to her husband John Adams who is in Philadelphia at the Continental Congress. Abigail’s letter is a response to Great Britain’s refusing to receive Congress’ "Olive Branch Petition," a last effort by Congress expressing a wish for reconciliation if the King will right the wrongs done to them.

 

The insult was that the King would not even receive their petition. When word got back to America, the mood quickly changed. Many had hoped for reconciliation right up to the end, but with the King’s refusal to even receive their petition, they knew it was too late.

 

Abigail’s letter reveals the bitter and hostile response that many Americans had at the news. She wrote, "Let us seperate, they are unworthy to be our Breathren. Let us renounce them and instead of suplications as formorly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseach the almighty to blast their counsels and bring to Nought all their devices."

 

Even as Congress was writing the Olive Branch Petition to the King in June of 1775, they were already preparing for war, even though the majority was not yet at the place of wanting to declare independence. If their letter was rejected, they knew that war was inevitable. News of the King’s refusal pushed enough in the Continental Congress over the line to make a majority and a Declaration of Independence was made within seven months of the news.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

President General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

“If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
Abigail Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams

 

 

Joseph Hewes Funeral at Christ Church

Joseph Hewes funeral at Christ Church

 

On this day in history, November 11, 1779, the funeral for Joseph Hewes, signer of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia and "Father of the US Navy," was held at Christ Church in Philadelphia. Hewes was a very successful shipping magnate with a fleet of his own ships from Edenton, North Carolina. He was only 44 years old when he was first elected to the Continental Congress.

 

Because of his shipping experience, Hewes was appointed as head of the Naval Committee by Congress. His first responsibility was to oversee the arming of four ships Congress voted to arm. Hewes turned his own ships over for the Navy's use and also helped General George Washington draw up his initial plans for the war.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

President General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families." 
Benjamin Rush (1773)

Last battle of the American Revolution is fought

Last battle of the American Revolution is fought

 

On this day in history, November 10, 1782, the last battle of the American Revolution is fought as American militiamen attacked Shawnee villages near Chillicothe, Ohio in retaliation for attacks by Loyalists and Indians against Sandusky, Ohio, Lexington, Kentucky and other places. General George Rogers Clark and over a thousand militiamen on horseback attacked and burned several Shawnee villages and defeated them decisively.

 

Contrary to the understanding of many Americans, the surrender of British General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia in October, 1781 did not end the Revolutionary War. It was a pivotal point, but hostilities continued for two more years and a preliminary peace treaty was not signed until November 20, 1782, more than a year after Cornwallis’ surrender.

 

When Cornwallis surrendered, the British still had tens of thousands of soldiers on the continent, in New York, the Carolinas, Georgia, the West Indies, Canada and on the western frontier. There were numerous conflicts with the British after Cornwallis’ surrender, but even more so with their Indian allies on the frontier and in the back country civil war between patriots and Loyalists in the south. In fact, more Americans died in the fighting after Cornwallis’ surrender than in the whole first year of the war, including the Battles of Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill and Quebec.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

President General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can."
Samuel Adams

General Thomas Sumter wins the Battle of Fishdam Ford

General Thomas Sumter wins the Battle of Fishdam Ford

 

On this day in history, November 9, 1780, General Thomas Sumter escaped capture in South Carolina by the British Major James Wemyss at the Battle of Fishdam Ford. Instead, Wemyss was wounded in the arm and the knee and was captured by Sumter.

 

Sumter and Wemyss were arch rivals in the battle between the British and the colonists along the Santee River in east central South Carolina. Sumter’s plantation had been burned at the beginning of the summer by the infamous Colonel Banastre Tarleton (the villain in Mel Gibson’s "The Patriot" movie). In response, Sumter raised a powerful local militia to terrorize the British in return.

 

General Wemyss was sent to South Carolina by British General Charles Cornwallis to defeat Francis Marion, also known as the Swamp Fox (Mel Gibson’s character in "The Patriot"), an inspiring local figure using guerilla tactics against the British.

 

Wemyss failed in his mission to take Marion or Sumter. Sumter was however, wounded by Tarleton only a week and a half after Fishdam Ford, forcing him to step down from his position. Francis Marion stepped up to drive the British out of the Carolinas and into Virginia where they surrendered to George Washington the following year.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

President General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontentment

Fire destroys Revolutionary War Records in War Department

Fire destroys Revolutionary War Records in War Department

 

On this day in history, November 8, 1800, a fire destroys the Revolutionary War records in the War Department building in Washington DC. Most other records of the war were lost during the British invasion of Washington DC during the War of 1812.

 

Because of the fire, few records from the Revolution were in federal custody until 1873 when Secretary of War William Belknap purchased records from several private collections, including those of Timothy Pickering, who had been a member of the Board of War between 1777 and 1785 and Adjutant General and Quartermaster General of the Continental Army, and those of Samuel Hodgdon, who served as Commissary General of Military Stores during some of the war years. In addition, Secretary Belknap purchased several minor collections and individual items from various people.

 

Over the next several decades, records of the American Revolution held by other departments were consolidated and all were transferred to the Department of State. In 1914 and 1915, the War Department made photocopies of Revolutionary War records held in various institutions in North Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts. The whole collection was transferred to the National Archives in 1938.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

President General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

"Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?"
George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

Governor Dunmore signs Dunmore’s Proclamation

Governor Dunmore signs Dunmore’s Proclamation

 

On this day in history, November 7, 1775, what became known as Dunmore’s Proclamation was signed by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore and Royal Governor of the Colony of Virginia. This proclamation declared martial law in the colony and promised freedom to all slaves who would leave their Virginia masters and join the Royal army.

 

Dunmore hoped to reassert his authority in the colony after living aboard a ship at Yorktown for several months when the rebellion started becoming violent. His hopes were never realized, only one or two thousand slaves left to join his meager force of 300 soldiers. Patriot and Loyalist slave owners turned against him. The Virginia Convention issued an amnesty to any slaves who would return home.

 

The slaves that could fight became part of "Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment" and only fought in one battle, the Battle of Great Bridge, which the British lost. Many of Dunmore’s soldiers died in a smallpox outbreak the following year. In 1776, Dunmore was forced to abandon the colony and he took 300 of the slaves with him back to England.

 

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

 

Jack Manning

President General

National Society Sons of the American Revolution

www.sar.org

 

"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others."
Alexander Hamilton (1788)