Patriots ambush Loyalists as French set sail

Patriots ambush Loyalists as French set sail

On August 13, 1781, Patriot forces led by Colonel William Harden and Brigadier General Francis Marion, known as the “Swamp Fox,” lure British commander Major Thomas Fraser and his 450 soldiers into an ambush at Parker’s Ferry, 30 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile, 3,000 soldiers set sail with the French fleet on their way to aid the Patriot cause.

Fraser’s command consisted of 450 Loyalists who had begun an uprising in the region. Marion, who earned his nickname for his ability to “outfox” his opponents in the swamps of the South Carolina backcountry, sent his fastest riders ahead to tempt Fraser into a waiting Patriot trap. The maneuver succeeded. Fraser ordered his men to charge, and three successive volleys of musket fire by the Patriots mowed down the ranks of the Loyalist cavalry. Only a shortage of ammunition among the Patriots saved the Loyalists, who lost half their force in the skirmish. Fraser himself was hit three times in the course of the engagement, but managed to continue in command of his men.

While Marion and Fraser tested their mettle in South Carolina, General George Washington celebrated the Patriots’ good fortune that just as the French fleet commanded by Francois DeGrasse departed St. Domingue for the Chesapeake Bay, British General Charles Cornwallis had chosen Yorktown, Virginia, at the mouth of the Chesapeake as his base. Washington realized that it was time to act. After DeGrasse beat the British at sea on September 5, Washington trapped Cornwallis at Yorktown on October 17, 1781, effectively ending the War for Independence.

READ MORE: American Revolution: Causes and Timeline

Thomas Gage

General Thomas Gage (10 March 1718/19 – 2 April 1787) was a British Army general officer and colonial official best known for his many years of service in North America, including his role as British commander-in-chief in the early days of the American Revolution.

Being born to an aristocratic family in England, he entered military service, seeing action in the French and Indian War, where he served alongside his future opponent George Washington in the 1755 Battle of the Monongahela. After the fall of Montreal in 1760, he was named its military governor. During this time he did not distinguish himself militarily, but proved himself to be a competent administrator.

From 1763 to 1775 he served as commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, overseeing the British response to the 1763 Pontiac's Rebellion. In 1774 he was also appointed the military governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, with instructions to implement the Intolerable Acts, punishing Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. His attempts to seize military stores of Patriot militias in April 1775 sparked the Battles of Lexington and Concord, beginning the American Revolutionary War. After the Pyrrhic victory in the June Battle of Bunker Hill, he was replaced by General William Howe in October 1775, and returned to Great Britain.


In the first stage of the war, the British Army was trapped in the peninsular city of Boston and were forced to abandon it on March 17, sailing to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to await reinforcements. [7] Washington then began to transfer regiments to New York City, which he believed the British would attack next because of the port's strategic importance. [8] [9] Washington left Boston on April 4, arrived at New York on April 13, [10] and established headquarters at the former home of Archibald Kennedy on Broadway facing Bowling Green. Washington had sent his second-in-command Charles Lee ahead to New York the previous February to establish the city's defenses. [11]

Lee remained in New York City until March, when the Continental Congress sent him to South Carolina construction of the city's defenses was left to General William Alexander (Lord Stirling). [10] Troops were in limited supply, so Washington found the defenses incomplete, [12] but Lee had concluded that in any case it would be impossible to hold the city with the British commanding the sea. He reasoned that the defenses should be located with the ability to inflict heavy casualties upon the British if any move was made to take and hold ground. [11] Barricades and redoubts were established in and around the city, and the bastion of Fort Stirling was built across the East River in Brooklyn Heights, facing the city. [13] Lee also saw that the immediate area was cleared of Loyalists. [14]

Strategy Edit

Washington began moving troops to Brooklyn in early May, [15] and there were several thousand of them there in a short time. Three more forts were under construction on the eastern side of the East River to support Fort Stirling, which stood to the west of the hamlet of Brooklyn Heights. These new fortifications were Fort Putnam, [16] Fort Greene, [17] and Fort Box [18] (named for Major Daniel Box). [19] They lay from north to south, with Fort Putnam farthest to the north, Greene slightly to the southwest, and Box slightly farther southwest. Each of these defensive structures was surrounded by a large ditch, all connected by a line of entrenchments and a total of 36 cannons. [20]

Fort Defiance was also being constructed at this time, located farther southwest, past Fort Box, near present-day Red Hook. [19] In addition to these new forts, a mounted battery was established on Governors Island, cannons were placed at Fort George facing Bowling Green, and more cannons were placed at the Whitehall Dock, which sat on the East River. [21] Hulks were sunk at strategic locations to deter the British from entering the East River and other waterways. [22]

Washington had been authorized by Congress to recruit an army of up to 28,501 troops, but he had only 19,000 when he reached New York. [23] Military discipline was inadequate routine orders were not carried out, muskets were fired in camp, flints were ruined, bayonets were used as knives to cut food, and firearm readiness was lax. [24] Petty internal conflict was common under the strain of a large number of people from different environments and temperaments living in relative proximity. [25]

Commander of the artillery Henry Knox persuaded Washington to transfer 400 to 500 soldiers, who lacked muskets or guns, to crew the artillery. [21] In early June, Knox and General Nathanael Greene inspected the land at the north end of Manhattan and decided to establish Fort Washington. Fort Constitution, later renamed Fort Lee, was planned opposite Fort Washington on the Hudson River. [21] The forts were intended to discourage the British ships from sailing up the Hudson River. [21]

British arrival Edit

On June 28, Washington learned that the British fleet had set sail from Halifax on June 9 and were heading toward New York. [26] On June 29, signals were sent from men stationed on Staten Island, indicating that the British fleet had appeared. Within a few hours, 45 British ships dropped anchor in Lower New York Bay. [27] Less than a week later, there were 130 ships off Staten Island under the command of Richard Howe, the brother of General Howe. [28] The population of New York went into panic at the sight of the British ships alarms went off and troops immediately rushed to their posts. [27] On July 2, British troops began to land on Staten Island. The continental regulars on the island took a few shots at them before fleeing, and the citizens' militia switched over to the British side. [28]

On July 6, news reached New York that Congress had voted for independence four days earlier. [29] On Tuesday, July 9, at 18:00, Washington had several brigades march onto the commons of the city to hear the Declaration of Independence read. After the end of the reading, a mob ran down to Bowling Green with ropes and bars, where they tore down the gilded lead equestrian statue of George III of Great Britain. [30] In their fury, the crowd cut off the statue's head, severed the nose, and mounted what remained of the head on a spike outside a tavern, and the rest of the statue was dragged to Connecticut and melted down into musket balls. [31]

On July 12, the British ships Phoenix and Rose sailed up the harbor toward the mouth of the Hudson. [31] The American batteries opened fire at the harbor defenses of Fort George, Fort Defiance, and Governors Island, but the British returned fire into the city. The ships sailed along the New Jersey shore and continued up the Hudson, sailing past Fort Washington and arriving by nightfall at Tarrytown, the widest part of the Hudson. [32] The goals of the British ships were to cut off American supplies from New England and the north, and to encourage Loyalist support. The only casualties of the day were six Americans who were killed when their own cannon blew up. [32]

The next day, July 13, Howe attempted to open negotiations with the Americans. [33] He sent a letter to Washington delivered by Lieutenant Philip Brown, who arrived under a flag of truce. The letter was addressed "George Washington, Esq." [33] Brown was met by Joseph Reed, who had hurried to the waterfront on Washington's orders, accompanied by Henry Knox and Samuel Webb. Washington asked his officers whether it should be received or not, as it did not recognize his rank as general, and they unanimously said no. [34] Reed told Brown that there was no one in the army with that address. On July 16, Howe tried again, this time with the address "George Washington, Esq., etc., etc.", but it was again declined. [35] The next day, Howe sent Captain Nisbet Balfour to ask if Washington would meet with Howe's adjutant face to face, and a meeting was scheduled for July 20. [35] Howe's adjutant was Colonel James Patterson. Patterson told Washington that Howe had come with powers to grant pardons, but Washington said, "Those who have committed no fault want no pardon." [35] Patterson departed soon after. [35] Washington's performance during the meeting was praised in parts of the colonies. [36]

Meanwhile, British ships continued to arrive. [37] On August 1, 45 ships arrived with generals Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis, along with 3,000 troops. By August 12, 3,000 more British troops and another 8,000 Hessians had arrived. [38] At this point, the British fleet numbered over 400 ships, including 73 war ships, and 32,000 troops were camped on Staten Island. Faced with this large force, Washington was unsure as to where the British would attack. [39] Both Greene and Reed thought that the British would attack Long Island, but Washington felt that a British attack on Long Island might be a diversion for the main attack on Manhattan. He broke his army in half, stationing half of it on Manhattan, and the other half on Long Island the army on Long Island was commanded by Greene. [39] On August 20, Greene became ill and was forced to move to a house in Manhattan where he rested to recover. John Sullivan was placed in command until Greene was well enough to resume command. [40]

Invasion of Long Island Edit

At 05:10 on August 22, an advance guard of 4,000 British troops left Staten Island under the command of Clinton and Cornwallis to land on Long Island. [41] At 08:00, all 4,000 troops landed unopposed on the shore of Gravesend Bay. Colonel Edward Hand's Pennsylvanian riflemen had been stationed on the shore, but they did not oppose the landings and fell back, killing cattle and burning farmhouses on the way. [42] By noon, 15,000 troops had landed on shore along with 40 pieces of artillery, as hundreds of Loyalists came to greet the British troops. Cornwallis pushed on with the advance guard, advancing six miles onto the island and establishing a camp at the village of Flatbush. He was given orders to advance no further. [42] [43]

Washington received word of the landings the same day, but was informed that the number was 8,000 to 9,000 troops. [44] This convinced him that it was the feint which he had predicted and therefore he only sent 1,500 more troops to Brooklyn, bringing the total number of troops on Long Island to 6,000. On August 24, Washington replaced Sullivan with Israel Putnam who commanded the troops on Long Island. [45] Putnam arrived on Long Island the next day along with six battalions. Also that day, the British troops on Long Island received 5,000 Hessian reinforcements, bringing their total to 20,000. [46] There was little fighting on the days immediately after the landing, although some small skirmishes did take place with American marksmen armed with rifles picking off British troops from time to time. [47]

The American plan was for Putnam to direct the defenses from Brooklyn Heights, while Sullivan and Stirling and their troops would be stationed on the Guan Heights. [48] [49] The Guan (hills) were up to 150 feet high and blocked the most direct route to Brooklyn Heights. [48] [49] Washington believed that, by stationing men on the heights, heavy casualties could be inflicted on the British before the troops fell back to the main defenses at Brooklyn Heights. [50] There were three main passes through the heights the Gowanus Road farthest to the west, the Flatbush Road slightly farther to the east, in the center of the American line where it was expected that the British would attack, and the Bedford Road farthest to the east. Stirling was responsible for defending the Gowanus Road with 500 men, and Sullivan was to defend the Flatbush and Bedford roads where there were 1,000 and 800 men respectively. [48] Six-thousand troops were to remain behind at Brooklyn Heights. There was one lesser-known pass through the heights farther to the east called the Jamaica Pass, which was defended by just five militia officers on horses. [51]

On the British side, General Clinton learned of the almost undefended Jamaica Pass from local Loyalists. [52] He drew up a plan and gave it to William Erskine to propose to Howe. Clinton's plan had the main army making a night march and going through the Jamaica Pass to turn the American flank, while other troops would keep the Americans busy in front. [53] On August 26, Clinton received word from Howe that the plan would be used, and that Clinton was to command the advance guard of the main army of 10,000 men on the march through the Jamaica Pass. While they made the night march, General James Grant's British troops along with some Hessians, a total of 4,000 men, were to attack the Americans in front to distract them from the main army coming on their flank. [53] Howe told Clinton to be ready to move out that night, August 26. [53]

Night march Edit

At 21:00, the British moved out. [54] No one except the commanders knew of the plan. Clinton led a crack brigade of light infantry with fixed bayonets in front, followed by Cornwallis who had eight battalions and 14 artillery pieces. Cornwallis was followed by Howe and Hugh Percy with six battalions, more artillery, and baggage. [54] The column consisted of 10,000 men who stretched out over two miles. Three Loyalist farmers led the column toward the Jamaica Pass. The British had left their campfires burning to deceive the Americans into thinking that nothing was happening. [54] The column headed northeast until it reached what later became the village of New Lots, when it headed directly north toward the heights.

The column had yet to run into any American troops when they reached Howard's Tavern (also known as "Howard's Half-Way House"), just a few hundred yards from the Jamaica Pass. [55] Tavern keeper William Howard and his son William Jr. were forced to act as guides to show the British the way to the Rockaway Foot Path, an old Indian trail that skirted the Jamaica Pass to the west (located today in the Cemetery of the Evergreens). William Howard Jr. describes meeting Howe:

It was about two in the morning of August 27 that I was awakened by seeing a soldier at the side of my bed. I got up and dressed and went down to the barroom, where I saw my father standing in one corner with three British soldiers before him with muskets and bayonets fixed. The army was then lying in the field in front of the house. General Howe and another officer were in the barroom. General Howe wore a camlet cloak over his regimentals. After asking for a glass of liquor from the bar, which was given him, he entered into familiar conversation with my father, and among other things said, "I must have some one of you to show me over the Rockaway Path around the pass." My father replied, "We belong to the other side, General, and can’t serve you against our duty." General Howe replied, "That is alright stick to your country, or stick to your principles, but Howard, you are my prisoner and must guide my men over the hill." My father made some further objection, but was silenced by the general, who said, "You have no alternative. If you refuse I shall shoot you through the head.

Five minutes after leaving the tavern, the five American militia officers stationed at the pass were captured without a shot fired, as they thought that the British were Americans. [57] Clinton interrogated the men and they informed him that they were the only troops guarding the pass. By dawn, the British were through the pass and stopped so that the troops could rest. [57] At 09:00, they fired two heavy cannons to signal the Hessian troops below Battle Pass to begin their frontal assault against Sullivan's men deployed on the two hills flanking the pass, while Clinton's troops simultaneously flanked the American positions from the east. [57]

Grant's diversionary attack Edit

At about 23:00 on August 26, the first shots were fired in the Battle of Long Island, near the Red Lion Inn (near present-day 39th Street and 4th Avenue). American pickets from Samuel John Atlee's Pennsylvania regiment fired upon two British soldiers who were foraging in a watermelon patch near the inn. [58]

Around 01:00 on August 27, the British approached the vicinity of the Red Lion with 200–300 troops. The American troops fired upon the British after approximately two fusillades, they fled up the Gowanus Road toward the Vechte–Cortelyou House. Major Edward Burd had been in command, but he was captured along with a lieutenant and 15 privates. [59] This first engagement was fought in the vicinity of 38th and 39th streets between 2nd and 3rd avenues near a swamp located adjacent to the Gowanus Road. [60]

Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons and Colonel Atlee were stationed farther north on the Gowanus Road. Parsons was a lawyer from Connecticut who had recently secured a commission in the Continental Army Atlee was a veteran of the French and Indian War in command of the First Regiment of Pennsylvania Musketry. Putnam had been awakened by a guard at 03:00 and told that the British were attacking through the Gowanus Pass. [61] He lit signals to Washington, who was on Manhattan, and then rode south to warn Stirling of the attack. [62]

Stirling led two units of Colonel John Haslet's 1st Delaware Regiment under the immediate command of Major Thomas Macdonough, and Colonel William Smallwood's 1st Maryland Infantry under the immediate command of Major Mordecai Gist both Haslet and Smallwood were on courts-martial duty in Manhattan. Following close behind was Parson's Connecticut regiment with 251 men. Stirling led this combined force to reinforce Parsons and Atlee and stop the British advance. Stirling had a total of 1,600 troops at his command.

Stirling placed Atlee's men in an apple orchard owned by Wynant Bennett on the south side of the Gowanus Road near present-day 3rd Avenue and 18th Street. Upon the approach of the British, the Americans:

took possession of a hill about two miles from camp, and detached Colonel Atlee to meet them further on the road in about sixty rods he drew up and received the enemy's fire and gave them a well-directed fire from his regiment, which did great execution, and then retreated to the hill. – General Parsons

Stirling took up positions with the Delaware and Maryland regiments just to the north of Atlee's men on the slopes of a rise of land between 18th and 20th streets. Some of the Maryland troops were positioned on a small hill near 23rd Street, which the local Dutch called "Blokje Berg" (Dutch for cube or block hill). At the base of this hill, the Gowanus Road crossed a small bridge over a ditch which drained a marshy area. When the British advanced up the Gowanus Road, the American troops fired upon them from positions on the north side of the ditch. To the left was Colonel Peter Kachline's Pennsylvania regiment. [63]

Just to the southeast of Blokje Berg were a few hills amongst them was a hill which is the highest point in King's County at 220 feet which came to be known as "Battle Hill," in what is today Greenwood Cemetery by the cemetery's boundary of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue. The British attempted to outflank the American positions by taking this hill. The Americans tried to prevent the British move, sending troops under Parsons and Atlee to take the hill. The British got there first but the Americans were able to dislodge them in fierce fighting. Battle Hill was the site of especially brutal fighting, with the Americans inflicting the highest number of casualties against the British troops during the entire Battle of Long Island. Among those killed was British Colonel James Grant, which led the Americans to believe that they had killed General James Grant. He was alleged to have been shot by a Pennsylvanian rifleman who had been sniping at the British from up in a tree. Among the American dead was Pennsylvania Colonel Caleb Parry, who was killed while rallying his troops. [64]

The Americans were still unaware that this was not the main British attack, in part due to the ferocity of the fighting and the number of British troops engaged. [65]

Battle Pass Edit

The Hessians, in the center under the command of General von Heister, began to bombard the American lines stationed at Battle Pass under the command of General John Sullivan. [66] The Hessian brigades did not attack, as they were waiting for the pre-arranged signal from the British, who were in the process of outflanking the American lines at that time. The Americans were still under the assumption that Grant's attack up the Gowanus Road was the main thrust, and Sullivan sent four-hundred of his men to reinforce Stirling.

Howe fired his signal guns at 09:00 and the Hessians began to attack up Battle Pass, while the main army came at Sullivan from the rear. [66] Sullivan left his advance guard to hold off the Hessians while he turned the rest of his force around to fight the British. Heavy casualties mounted between the Americans and the British, and men on both sides fled out of fear. [66] Sullivan attempted to calm his men and tried to lead a retreat. By this point, the Hessians had overrun the advance guard on the heights and the American left had completely collapsed. [67] Hand-to-hand fighting followed, with the Americans swinging their muskets and rifles like clubs to save their own lives. It was later claimed, Americans who surrendered were bayoneted by the Hessians. [68] Sullivan, despite the chaos, managed to evacuate most of his men to Brooklyn Heights though he himself was captured. [67]

Vechte–Cortelyou House Edit

At 09:00, Washington arrived from Manhattan. [70] He realized that he had been wrong about a feint on Long Island and he ordered more troops to Brooklyn from Manhattan. [70] His location on the battlefield is not known because accounts differ, but most likely he was at Brooklyn Heights where he could view the battle. [71]

Stirling still held the line against Grant on the American right, to the west. [71] He held on for four hours, still unaware of the British flanking maneuver, and some of his own troops thought that they were winning the day because the British had been unable to take their position. However, Grant was reinforced by 2,000 marines, and he hit Stirling's center by 11:00, and Stirling was attacked on his left by the Hessians. [68] [71] Stirling pulled back, but British troops were coming at him from the rear, south down the Gowanus Road. The only escape route left was across Brouwer's millpond on the Gowanus Creek which was 80 yards wide, on the other side of Brooklyn Heights. [72]

Maryland 400 Edit

Stirling ordered all of his troops to cross the creek, except a contingent of Maryland troops under the command of Gist. This group became known to history as the "Maryland 400", although they numbered about 260–270 men. Stirling and Gist led the troops in a rear-guard action against the overwhelming numbers of British troops, which surpassed 2,000 supported by two cannons. [72] Stirling and Gist led the Marylanders in two attacks against the British, who were in fixed positions inside and in front of the Vechte–Cortelyou House (known today as the "Old Stone House"). After the last assault, the remaining troops retreated across the Gowanus Creek. Some of the men who tried to cross the marsh were bogged down in the mud and under musket fire, and others who could not swim were captured. Stirling was surrounded and, unwilling to surrender to the British, broke through their lines to von Heister's Hessians and surrendered to them. Two hundred fifty six Maryland troops were killed in the assaults in front of the Old Stone House, and fewer than a dozen made it back to the American lines. [73] Washington watched from a redoubt on nearby Cobble Hill (intersection of today's Court Street and Atlantic Avenue) and reportedly said, "Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose." [72] [note 1]

Disengagement Edit

The American troops who were not killed or captured escaped behind the fortified American positions centered on Brooklyn Heights. In a move later denounced by analysts [ who? ] as a bad mistake, [ citation needed ] Howe then ordered all of his troops to halt the attack, despite the protests of many officers in his command who believed that they should push on to Brooklyn Heights. Howe had decided against a direct frontal assault on the entrenched American positions, choosing instead to begin a siege and setting up lines of circumvallation around the American positions. He believed the Americans to be essentially trapped, with his troops blocking escape by land and the Royal Navy in control of the East River, which they would have to cross to reach Manhattan Island. [74] [75]

Howe's failure to press the attack and the reasons for it have been disputed. He may have wished to avoid the casualties that his army suffered when attacking the Continentals under similar circumstances at the Battle of Bunker Hill. [75] He may also have been giving Washington an opportunity to conclude that his position was hopeless and surrender, in the European gentleman-officer tradition. Howe told Parliament in 1779 that his essential duty was to avoid excessive British casualties for insufficient purpose, and capturing Brooklyn Heights would likely not have meant capturing the entire American army. "The most essential duty I had to observe was, not wantonly to commit his majesty's troops, where the object was inadequate. I knew well that any considerable loss sustained by the army could not speedily, nor easily, be repaired. . . . The loss of 1,000, or perhaps 1,500 British troops, in carrying those lines, would have been but ill repaid by double that number of the enemy, could it have been supposed they would have suffered in that proportion." [76]

Retreat to Manhattan Edit

Washington and the army were surrounded on Brooklyn Heights with the East River to their backs. [78] As the day went on, the British began to dig trenches, slowly coming closer to the American defenses. By doing this, the British would not have to cross over open ground to assault the American defenses as they did in Boston the year before. [79] Despite this perilous situation, Washington ordered 1,200 more men from Manhattan to Brooklyn on August 28. [78] The men that came over were two Pennsylvania regiments and Colonel John Glover's regiment from Marblehead, Massachusetts. In command of the Pennsylvanian troops was Thomas Mifflin who, after arriving, volunteered to inspect the outer defenses and report back to Washington. [80] In these outer defenses, small skirmishes were still taking place. On the afternoon of August 28, it began to rain and Washington had his cannons bombard the British well into the night. [81]

As the rain continued, George Washington sent a letter instructing General William Heath, who was at Kings Bridge between Manhattan and what is now the Bronx, to send every flat-bottomed boat and sloop without delay, in case battalions of infantry from New Jersey came to reinforce their position. [82] At 16:00, on August 29, Washington held a meeting with his generals. Mifflin advised Washington to retreat to Manhattan while Mifflin and his Pennsylvania regiments made up the rear guard, holding the line until the rest of the army had withdrawn. [82] The generals agreed unanimously with Mifflin that retreat was the best option and Washington had orders go out by the evening. [83]

The troops were told that they were to gather up all their ammunition and baggage and prepare for a night attack. [83] By 21:00, the sick and wounded began to move to the Brooklyn Ferry in preparation for evacuation. At 23:00, Glover and his Massachusetts men, who were sailors and fishermen, began to evacuate the troops. [84]

As more troops were evacuated, more were ordered to withdraw from the lines and march to the ferry landing. Wagon wheels were muffled, and men were forbidden to talk. [84] Mifflin's rear guard was tending campfires to deceive the British. At 04:00, on August 30, Mifflin was informed that it was his unit's turn to evacuate. [85] Mifflin told the man who had been sent to order him to leave, Major Alexander Scammell, that he must be mistaken, but Scammell insisted that he was not and Mifflin ordered his troops to move out. When Mifflin's troops were within a half mile of the ferry landing, Washington rode up and demanded to know why they were not at their defenses. Edward Hand, who was leading the troops, tried to explain what had happened, but Mifflin arrived shortly. [86] Washington exclaimed "Good God. General Mifflin, I am afraid you have ruined us." Mifflin explained that he had been told that it was his turn to evacuate by Scammell Washington told him it had been a mistake. Mifflin then led his troops back to the outer defenses. [86]

Artillery, supplies, and troops were all being evacuated across the river at this time but it was not going as fast as Washington had anticipated and daybreak soon came. [86] A fog settled in and concealed the evacuation from the British. British patrols noticed that there did not seem to be any American pickets and thus began to search the area. While they were doing this, Washington, the last man left, stepped onto the last boat. [79] At 07:00, the last American troops landed in Manhattan. [87] All 9,000 troops had been evacuated with no loss of life. [87]

Conclusion of the campaign Edit

The British were stunned to find that Washington and the army had escaped. [87] Later in the day, August 30, the British troops occupied the American fortifications. When news of the battle reached London, it caused many festivities to take place. [88] Bells were rung across the city, candles were lit in windows and King George III gave Howe the Order of the Bath. [89]

Washington's defeat, in the opinions of some, revealed his deficiencies as a strategist, because of how he split his forces. His inexperienced generals misunderstood the situation, and his raw troops fled in disorder at the first shots. [90] However, his daring nighttime retreat has been seen by some historians as one of his greatest military feats. [91] Other historians concentrate on the failure of British naval forces to prevent the withdrawal. [92]

Howe remained inactive for the next half month, not attacking until September 15 when he landed a force at Kip's Bay. [93] The British quickly occupied the city. On September 21, a fire of uncertain origin destroyed a quarter of New York City. In the immediate aftermath of the fire Nathan Hale was executed for spying. Although American troops delivered an unexpected check to the British at Harlem Heights in mid-September, Howe defeated Washington in battle again at White Plains and then again at Fort Washington. [94] Because of these defeats, Washington and the army retreated across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. [95]

Casualties Edit

At the time, it was by far the largest battle ever fought in North America. [74] If the Royal Navy is included, over 40,000 men took part in the battle. Howe reported his losses as 59 killed, 268 wounded and 31 missing. The Hessian casualties were 5 killed and 26 wounded. [4] The Americans suffered much heavier losses. About 300 had been killed and over 1,000 captured. [6] As few as half of the prisoners survived. Kept on prison ships in Wallabout Bay, then transferred to locations such as the Middle Dutch Church, they were starved and denied medical attention. In their weakened condition, many succumbed to smallpox. [96] : 191

Historians believe that as many as 256 soldiers of the First Maryland Regiment under Colonel William Smallwood fell in the battle, about two-thirds of the regiment. It is known that they were buried in a mass-grave, but the grave's exact location has been a mystery for 240 years.

The most significant legacy of the Battle of Long Island was that it showed there would be no easy victory, and that the war would be long and bloody. [96] : 2

1961 – East Germany begins construction of the Berlin Wall

In an effort to stem the tide of refugees attempting to leave East Berlin, the communist government of East Germany begins building the Berlin Wall to divide East and West Berlin. Construction of the wall caused a short-term crisis in U.S.-Soviet bloc relations, and the wall itself came to symbolize the Cold War.

Throughout the 1950s and into the early 1960s, thousands of people from East Berlin crossed over into West Berlin to reunite with families and escape communist repression. In an effort to stop that outflow, the government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin. The U.S. government responded angrily. Commanders of U.S. troops in West Berlin even began to make plans to bulldoze the wall, but gave up on the idea when the Soviets moved armored units into position to protect it. The West German government was furious with America’s lack of action, but President John F. Kennedy believed that “A wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” In an attempt to reassure the West Germans that the United States was not abandoning them, Kennedy traveled to the Berlin Wall in June 1963, and famously declared, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (“I am a Berliner!”). Since the word “Berliner” was commonly referred to as a jelly doughnut throughout most of Germany, Kennedy’s improper use of German grammar was also translated as “I am a jelly doughnut.” However, due to the context of his speech, Kennedy’s intended meaning that he stood together with West Berlin in its rivalry with communist East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic was understood by the German people.

In the years to come, the Berlin Wall became a physical symbol of the Cold War. The stark division between communist East Berlin and democratic West Berlin served as the subject for numerous editorials and speeches in the United States, while the Soviet bloc characterized the wall as a necessary protection against the degrading and immoral influences of decadent Western culture and capitalism. During the lifetime of the wall, nearly 80 people were killed trying to escape from East to West Berlin. In late 1989, with communist governments falling throughout Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall was finally opened and then demolished. For many observers, this action was the signal that the Cold War was finally coming to an end.

Samuel Whittemore

One of the first heroes of the war, Samuel Whittemore was also the oldest. An astounding 78 at the start of the Revolutionary War, Whittemore had a long military career before the war broke out. He fought in the French and Indian Wars and helped capture the strategic Fortress of Louisbourg twice over his years of service and though the evidence is scarce, he seems to have retired in his 60&rsquos as a captain of Dragoons.

Immediately after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first engagements of the war, the British marched back to Boston, dealing with skirmish Americans all the way. Whittemore was working his fields when he noticed the British marching close to his land. A British relief force had been sent to speed the main force&rsquos retreat and was fast approaching Whittemore&rsquos town.

Not about to stand for any Brits marching through his land, Whittemore loaded his musket and pistols and set up to ambush the Brits. As they came close, he shot and killed one with his rifle and then drew his pistols and killed two more men. Then, at 78 years old, Samuel Whittemore drew his sword and charged the masses of soldiers.

Whittemore didn&rsquot make it far before he was shot in the face and bayonetted 13 times. As the British cleared the area Whittemore&rsquos friends found him in a pool of his own blood, trying to reload his musket. Whittemore was brought to the doctor and pronounced a lost cause. His loved ones waited for Samuel to die, but he just didn&rsquot die.

A monument to Whittemore&rsquos deeds, though the dates are a bit off. Wikipedia

After a lengthy recovery, Whittemore fully recovered. He had horrible scarring across his face from the gunshot but would otherwise live a normal life for another 20 years. Whitmore would live to see the end of the war, the ratifying of the Constitution and even the beginnings of the quintessential sport of baseball. We know little of Whittemore&rsquos specific military history, but his brave stand at the beginning of the war inspired thousands and certainly qualifies him as a hero of the revolution.

Historical Annotation Project: Articles of Capitulation

Article IV. [1] Officers are to retain their side-arms. [2] Both officers and soldiers [3] to keep their private property of every kind and no part of their baggage or papers to be at any time subject to search or inspection. The baggage and papers of officers and soldiers taken during the siege to be likewise preserved for them. [4]

It is understood that any property obviously belonging to the inhabitants of these States, in the possession of the garrison, shall be subject to be reclaimed. [6]

Article V. The soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania, [7] and as much by regiments as possible, and supplied with the same rations of provisions as are allowed to soldiers in the service of America. [8] A field-officer from each nation, to wit, British, Anspach, and Hessian, and other officers on parole, [9] in the proportion of one to fifty men to be allowed to reside near their respective regiments, to visit them frequently, and be witnesses of their treatment and that their officers may receive and deliver clothing and other necessaries for them, for which passports are to be granted when applied for. [10]

Article VI. The general, staff, and other officers not employed as mentioned in the above articles, and who choose it, to be permitted to go on parole to Europe, to New York, or to any other American maritime posts at present in the possession of the British forces, at their own option [11] and proper vessels to be granted by the Count de Grasse [12] to carry them under flags of truce to New York within ten days from this date, if possible, and they to reside in a district to be agreed upon hereafter, until they embark. The officers of the civil department of the army and navy to be included in this article. Passports to go by land to be granted to those to whom vessels cannot be furnished. [13]

Article VII. Officers to be allowed to keep soldiers as servants, according to the common practice of the service. Servants not soldiers are not to be considered as prisoners, and are to be allowed to attend their masters. [14]

Article VIII. The Bonetta sloop-of-war to be equipped, and navigated by its present captain and crew, and left entirely at the disposal [15] of Lord Cornwallis [16] from the hour that the capitulation is signed, to receive an aid-de-camp to carry despatches to Sir Henry Clinton [17] and such soldiers as he may think proper to send to New York, to be permitted to sail without examination. When his despatches are ready, his Lordship [18] engages on his part, that the ship shall be delivered to the order of the Count de Grasse, if she escapes the dangers of the sea. [19] That she shall not carry off any public stores. Any part of the crew that may be deficient on her return, and the soldiers passengers, to be accounted for on her delivery.

Article IX. The traders are to preserve their property, and to be allowed three months to dispose of or remove them and those traders are not to be considered as prisoners of war. [20]

The traders will be allowed to dispose of their effects, the allied army having the right of preemption. [21] The traders to be considered as prisoners of war upon parole.

Article X. Natives or inhabitants of different parts of this country, at present in York or Gloucester, are not to be punished on account of having joined the British army.

This article cannot be assented to, being altogether of civil resort. [22]

Article XI. Proper hospitals to be furnished for the sick and wounded. They are to be attended by their own surgeons on parole and they are to be furnished with medicines and stores from the American hospitals. [23]

[1] Article IV of the Articles of Capitulation, one of the documents which marked the end of the American Revolutionary War, was signed by British, American, and French generals on October 19, 1971.

The American Revolutionary War was a global war that essentially marked the ending of British rule on the Americans, due to growing “philosophical and political differences” (Wikipedia contributors, “American Revolutionary War”). But the most effective interpretations of these causes were made “in the decade following the treaty of peace in 1783”, even though the war was over by then and Americans, by then, were free (Smith, “David Ramsay and the Causes of the American Revolution”).

To describe the leaders of the war, the American Revolutionary War was fought between the British Monarchy, led by King George III, the President of the United States, George Washington, and King Louis XVI.

Fun fact: King Louis XVI was also known as “his Most Christian Majesty”, a phrase used before the beginning of the excerpt being analyzed here (“Articles of Capitulation October 18, 1781”), specifically during the introduction.

[2] “It is recognised now that the defeat at Yorktown was the event which marked the beginning of the end of the War of American Independence indeed, there are accounts which stop at the victory. It was not so clear at the time, and in fact the war went on for two more years.”
(Grainger, “The Battle of Yorktown, 1781: A Reassessment”)

The above insight details the significance of the Articles of Capitulation as an epilogue to the Siege of Yorktown, a battle where a French army led by nobleman Comte de Rochambeau, and an American army led by George Washington, captured British Army Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis and an army of British and German soldiers (the German soldiers were also known as Hessian soldiers, discussed later).

The collective British army were referred to as “officers”.

The word “side-arms” referred to weapons the British carried during this time, such as rifles and muskets, but during this time, “the musket was the
dominant weapon of the day”, as there were no major technological advancements in terms of weapons. (Rostker, “The American System of Providing for the Wounded Evolves.”).

[3] A soldier, in this time, was one who served in the army for pay, whereas an officer referred to one who simply held an office yet, the word “office” could have meant several things, such as employment, duty, place, etc.

In the document here, “office”, in direct relationship with “officers”, would have referred to a person’s duty, as the duties of the British “officers”, for example, were to fight for their land, their people, and their values.

The “officers” stated in this article were British generals such as Cornwallis, who held a higher position than the “soldiers” they commanded.

To elaborate a little further, the “common practice during this era was for captured military officers to be treated as gentlemen” and confined in “houses and inns”, not prisons. But despite British and American differences on how officers should have been treated, “no overarching agreement was ever reached.” (Shattuck, “10 Facts About Prisoners of War”).

[4] What else did the Americans and French capture from the British? They seized their “baggage and papers”, which could have referred to some sort of money or loot, or packages which contained food and military supplies. Nevertheless, the terms of this article state that these items were to be returned to the British.

Again, the word “siege” referred to the Siege of Yorktown, the turning point of the Revolutionary War this battle took place from September to October of 1781. The Articles of Capitulation marked the ending of this siege.

For a blueprint which laid out the routes each army took during the Siege of Yorktown, follow this link:

[5] Near the ending of Articles IV through VII, the word “Granted” was placed to signify a promise, a declaration, an agreement the terms of these articles would be carried out to their fullest extent.

In Articles IX through X, however, answers, which will be further delved into, were given as to what the consequences of those terms were.

[6] In terms of location, the Articles of Capitulation were signed in Virginia, in the United States, so “inhabitants of these States” plainly refers to the American army.

The word “garrison” meant troops, or soldiers, and referred to British soldiers who took American supplies during the Siege of Yorktown as well as the Revolutionary War as a whole.

“Property” referred to any territory or land the British took from the Americans, not necessarily the French, since this was primarily a battle between the American and British armies.

The Battle of Germantown in 1977, for example, was one where British soldiers took control of a town in Philadelphia and “drove away the Americans, inflicting twice as many casualties as they suffered” ( Staff, “Battle of Germantown”). So the Americans were determined, in these Articles, to reclaim the land that was theirs. Rightfully so, the signing of this document occurred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document which made it known to the British that the Americans that they ruled were free to build their own government, in 1976.

[7] After “Cornwallis took steps to surrender”, and after the signing of the Articles of Capitulation, many British soldiers were kept as prisoners of war in America (Middleton, “SIEGE OF YORKTOWN: CLASS ACT IN A WAR OF BLUNDERS Military Analysis.”).

After the document (Articles of Capitulation) was signed, however, evidence from “Virginia’s Soldiers in the Revolution” by the Virginia Historical Society, suggested that Americans, and not only British, interestingly enough, were also prisoners of war during this time:

“Washington detached practically the entire Virginia line from his immediate command to aid in the defence of Charleston in 1780, and on the fall of that place, the garrison became prisoners of war”.

Here, the “garrison” was referring to those people who were serving in the American army, not to be confused with the British army. Even though some Americans were prisoners of war during the Revolutionary, it was not too long until the British joined them, after the signing of these Articles.

Furthermore, the conditions of prison camps and facilities were incredibly precarious, as “Americans had trouble housing prisoners” even though prison camps were set up in Virginia and Pennsylvania, “supporting and guarding large numbers of prisoners was, regardless, a burden on every community.” (Shattuck, “10 Facts About Prisoners of War”).

[8] The quote below shows a time when Americans were kept as prisoners of war during the late 1770’s in Britain, and were treated very harshly inside the prisons:

“The prisoners would first be stripped of their clothing and given old worn-out garments, marking the beginning of their ill treatment. From the time of capture until exchange or death, depending on which occurred first, the prisoners were treated in a most scandalous manner…” (Lindsey, “Treatment of American Prisoners of War During the Revolution”)

The statement in Article V, however, indicated that President George Washington would have liked the treatment of British prisoners of war to be more lenient, as the U.S. victory over the U.K. indicated that legal and military circumstances were now in the favor of the United States of America.

[9] “A field officer” corresponded to the ranks of someone such a lieutenant or colonel. Specifically, Article V states that British, Anspach, Hessian, and other commanding officers were to be included in these terms, as Washington was allowing for them to care for and help their men.

Hessians were “hired by King George III to help defeat the American Revolutionaries”, and consisted of thousands of German troops serving as underlings to British forces. (Museum of the American Revolution, “A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution”). They were part of most of the major battles of the Revolution, such as the Battle of Germantown (discussed later), the Battle of Trenton, and, relevant to the Articles of Capitulation, the Siege of Yorktown.

Finally, Anspach (present-day Ansbach) was a city in Bavaria, Germany the Anspach soldiers, like the Hessians, were also of German origin during the Revolution, they sided with the British. Even though they were not as well-known as the Hessians, they fought against Americans and French soldiers with the amount of soldiers they had however, their numbers dwindled quickly and drastically. For example, during the Siege of Yorktown, their “regiment lost an estimated 12 killed and 34 wounded.” (National Parks Service, “German Auxiliary Units at Yorktown”).

[10] Americans essentially allowed British, Anspach, and Hessian officers to oversee and live near their men, in a proportion of one officer to fifty men.

This is in significant contrast, to, as shown previously, the British’s harsh treatment of American prisoners of war. It seemed that unlike King George III (the King of England during the American Revolutionary War), who seemed unforgiving with his mistreatment of American soldiers, President George Washington was more humane and fair with his treatment of British soldiers.

An example of the type of passport that was given to a field-officer, for the purposes of seeing his men, can be found at the link here:

[11] This phrase clearly made mention to any of the people who were not included in Articles IV and V most likely, these people, referred to as “the general, staff and other officers”, were the British, Anspach, and Hessians, who were the losing part of the war. These people could travel to Europe and different parts of America under supervision of British forces as well as permission from King George III.

Technically speaking, the “American maritime posts” here refer to those that stretched from “Corunna, Spain, to Havana, Cuba, in the second half of the 18th century” (Monroy, “Maritime Post Routes between Corunna and the Caribbean as a Geographic Information System (Gis) Model.”).

For images regarding these routes, look at the links below:

To add an interesting, final point, some of the prison ships where captives were held were “anchored in Wallabout Bay (New York), Charleston Harbor (South Carolina) and St. Lucia (West Indies).” (Marsh,“POWs in American History: A Synopsis”).

[12] “He is best known as a French admiral during the Revolutionary War, when his fleet was active in American waters. His success at the 1781 Battle of Virginia Capes played a major role in the victory of General George Washington and the Continental Army at the Battle of Yorktown, and thus in securing American independence.” (RBSC Manuscripts Division News, “Naval Journal of the Comte de Grasse”)

The above quote signifies that Count de Grasse (born François Joseph Paul de Grasse) supported the Americans and was integral in ending the Revolution, since his country, France, desired supremacy in Europe.

According to Article VI, he was shown to be responsible for granting transportation to British soldiers, continuing to maintain a position of authority even as the war was ending.

[13] “After Congress’s order to confine all naval prisoners,” it seems like the officers mentioned in Article VI were also prisoners of war and were allowed access to different parts of America (Jones, “The Dreadful Effects of British Cruility”).

“American privateers, who were the principal target of British persecution, were eager to exact retribution” on the British civil officers. Unlike the seemingly lenient treatment of prisoners of war after the Siege of Yorktown, this peer-reviewed article offers a different perspective on the treatment of British soldiers (Jones, “The Dreadful Effects of British Cruility”). This could have suggested that the theory regarding Washington’s leniency towards British soldiers could have been misconstrued and heavily debated.

Those historians against Washington’s fair treatment of soldiers after the signing of the Articles of Capitulation suggested that “American humanity must have looked more like American hypocrisy”. Again, in the context of the Revolution, this quote might have signified that a promise of treating the British with a sense of fairness might not have seemed like a very realistic option. (Jones, “The Dreadful Effects of British Cruility”). Evidence that could have suggested some sort of mistreatment is delved into below.

Of these prisoners of war could not go by “vessels”, (ships), had they not be granted privilege, then they would have to travel by “land”, which most likely meant that these prisoners would have to remain in the United States of America.

[14] “During the 17th and 18th centuries, more modern thinking on the status of prisoners of war began to develop… Individual soldiers were enemies only so long as they were armed and the captors only rights over prisoners were to keep them from returning to the battle lines… American prisoners were held in extremely crowded ships off the coast where thousands died from starvation and exposure.” (National Parks Service, “History and Legal Status of Prisoners of War”)

Here, soldiers, lower in rank and status when compared to officers, were treated as servants, but they were not considered prisoners and were not treated as harshly as such. Rather, a “common practice of the service” was used, as described by John Rees’ “War As A Waiter: Soldier Servants” below:

“Officers of both sides during the War for American Independence were allowed one or more personal servants, also called waiters, but the practice was regulated.”

In this context, the “waiters” would refer to the soldiers under the officers interestingly enough, most of these soldiers were white, “given then relatively small numbers of blacks in Continental regiments” (Rees, “War As A Waiter: Soldier Servants”).

[15] “Cornwallis raised a flag of truce after having suffered not only the American attack but also disease, lack of supplies, inclement weather, and a failed evacuation” (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, “Surrender of the British General Cornwallis to the Americans, October 19, 1781”).

Among these “supplies” (as mentioned above), the “Bonetta sloop-of-war” was returned to Lord Cornwallis. A sloop-of-war was a kind of warship used in the British Royal Navy, and this type of ship was first constructed “during the Commonwealth, especially for the war with the Dutch Republic”, which began in the 1600’s (Lambert, “The Sloop of War: 1650-1763”). “Bonetta” was the specific name the sloop-of war being referred to here. Additionally, the sloop of war had a single gun deck with “no more than 18 guns”, which meant that compared to Royal Navy ships serving in North America, these warships were both smaller and weaker (Lambert, “The Sloop of War: 1650-1763”).

[16] According to St. George Tucker, an American militia officer in the Revolutionary War, the way Cornwallis opted to surrender to President Washington by sending a letter proposing a “cessation of hostilities” (ceasefire, negotiation) (Riley, “St. George Tucker’s Journal of the Siege of Yorktown, 1781”).

[17] An “aid-de-camp” is a personal assistant to a person of a higher rank, such as Sir Henry Clinton, and is tasked with the responsibility of delivering a bulletin, or a message, to his officer.

Sir Henry Clinton was a British Army officer part of the losing side of the Siege of Yorktown, a battle which, again, proved to be pivotal for the Americans in terms of their eventual independence.

A scholar such as Richard Middleton, who wrote “The Clinton-Cornwallis Controversy and Responsibility for the British Surrender at Yorktown” would take account to Clinton’s blame of the loss in Yorktown on Lord Cornwallis because of two things:

“The first concerned Cornwallis’s suggestion that he ‘had been compelled’ to take post at Yorktown contrary to his advice. The second was that Cornwallis had only remained at Yorktown because of repeated promises of help.”

But altogether, Sir Henry Clinton and the army, under command of Lord Cornwallis, were ultimately defeated in the Siege, so it seems interesting for Middleton’s article to essentially pit Cornwallis and Clinton against each other, even though they were representing the same nation, and blame was, thus, to be placed on both of their leaderships.

[18] “Lordship”, as stated in Article VIII, was a commonly used term in the United Kingdom and was a reference to a bishop or a man with some title the word bore a respectful connotation. Here, “his Lordship” was referring to Lord Cornwallis, as he is directly mentioned in Article VIII.

Cornwallis’ historical significance was in display before the Battle of Yorktown, as he sought to build a base of “fortifications” to ambush American and French soldiers. He chose Yorktown and “began the construction of fortifications” in August 1781, but a month later, “the French fleet blockaded him by sea”, and Cornwallis was later confronted by American and Virginian forces, “he was forced to capitulate” (Hatch, “Gloucester Point in the Siege of Yorktown 1781.”).

Ironically, Lord Cornwallis did not attend the surrender ceremony, as he claimed sickness.

[19] Article VIII describes the possibilities of what could have happened if the “Bonetta sloop-of-war” was not properly delivered to Lord Cornwallis.

“The dangers of the sea”, for example, referred to warships which were at sea and in danger of attacking strangers perhaps “the 600-ton, 26-gun ship Caesar of Boston” was an example of the measures that could have been taken to have ensured that the “captain and crew” of the “Bonetta sloop-of-war” (stated in Article VIII) were all safe. (Frayler, “Privateers in the American Revolution”).

[20] Even though there were trade restrictions on New England during the American Revolution, one of the reasons which might have sparked the war in the first place (trade and tax laws), it appeared as though there was a plethora of traders during the late 1770s and early 1780s.

The New Englanders sought “sugar…molasses and rum” from the West Indies, which was controlled by the British, in exchange for “lumber, grain, flour, and salt fish”, which seemed like less valuable, yet desired, goods by the British (“The West Indies and the Sugar Trade”).

According to Article IX, the traders could keep any of the goods they carried, having “three months to dispose of…them”.

Unlike some of the soldiers held captive, traders were not considered prisoners of war however, for the British, a significant inquiry was whether these “tradesmen…deserved the courtesies automatically due real gentlemen in uniform” (Burrows, “The Lost Story of Revolutionary POW’s”).

[21] The “allied army” refers to the joint American and French forces fighting for the causes of independence and European supremacy, respectively. The Americans and French, however, were able to set aside their cultural differences, even though their leaders, Washington and Rochambeau, respectively, were of different origins.

For example, according to “The French Alliance and the Winning of American Independence”, by historian Edward Ayres, “General Rochambeau took great pains to cultivate good relations with his American allies and treated George Washington as his equal. “

Finally, the traders from the American and French side had a right called “preemption”, as mentioned in Article IX, meaning they could purchase items or goods before the British were able to purchase the same items.

[22] These cities referred to the towns of York and Gloucester in Virginia, where the surrender ceremony of the British, as well as the signing of the Articles of Capitulation, was made.

This article was not granted, unlike the other seven in the document excerpt, because of “civil resort”, or irreconcilable differences between British and Americans regarding the treatment of those who had joined the British army and had committed treason.

For example, during the Revolution, there were American colonists who “continued to side with the Crown”, known as loyalists, who were considered, by American patriots, people who committed treason against Americans (Maxey, “Treason in the Revolution”). The patriots were a group whose values of independence and pride for their nation were opposite to to the loyalists and their values for obedience and fear of their King (George III). The patriots bore sentiments of no longer wanting to live under the British because they had been taxed, without representation, endlessly, and felt that they should not have been under the control of a nation millions of miles away.

Eventually, during the Revolution, “Congress passed a resolution in June 1776… punishing all persons… who, entitled to the protection of its laws, nevertheless waged war, or adhered to the King of Great Britain, or gave aid and comfort to the British army.“ (Maxey, “Treason in the Revolution”).

This article was not promised because Americans and British could have viewed those who had committed treason against their respective countries in two different lights.

[23] Article XI, the last in this excerpt, focused on care for both “the sick and wounded”, as many diseases, such as smallpox, for example, plagued the thirteen colonies, due to little technological resources and advancements.

“In 1777 alone, more than one hundred thousand people in North America died as a result of virulent smallpox epidemics.” (Abrams 55-57). Because of American and British fear for continued death, hospitals needed to be “furnished”, according to Article XI, and made so that they could maximize the amount of people who lived.

The types of medicine and nutrition provided to wounded soldiers of both sides of the war were not included to the following: “the diet of corn meal and rice doses of niter, calomel and several cathartics and a “cleansing” of uniforms by washing and smoking them” (Abrams 55-57).

Unfortunately for both the Americans, French, and British, “the Pennsylvania Hospital” was one of the few proper medical care facilities in the late 1900s that could cure the sick and wounded. This meant that of the 3600 placed in the hospital, “2,000 had been returned to duty, 690 had died or deserted, and 910 remained,” which indicated that more hospitals needed to be constructed!

“A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution” Museum of the American Revolution, 22 Feb. 2017,

Abrams, Jeanne E. Revolutionary Medicine: the Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health. New York University Press, 2015.

Blanco, Richard L. “AMERICAN ARMY HOSPITALS IN PENNSYLVANIA DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 48, no. 4, 1981, pp. 347–368. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Burrows, Edwin G. “The Lost Story of Revolutionary War POW’s” AMERICAN HERITAGE, vol. 58, no. 5, 2008,

Frayler, John. “Privateers in the American Revolution.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

“German Auxiliary Units at Yorktown.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

Grainger, John D. The Battle of Yorktown, 1781: A Reassessment. NED – New edition ed., Boydell and Brewer, 2005. JSTOR,

Hatch, Charles E. “Gloucester Point in the Siege of Yorktown 1781.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 2, 1940, pp. 265–284. JSTOR, JSTOR,

“History and Legal Status of Prisoners of War.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Staff. “Battle of Germantown.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,

Jones, T. Cole. “The Dreadful Effects of British Cruilty.” Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 36, no. 3, Fall2016, p. 435. EBSCOhost.

Lambert, Andrew. “The Sloop of War: 1650-1763.” The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology., vol. 44, no. 2, 2015, p. 465.

Lindsey, William R. “Treatment of American Prisoners of War During the Revolution .” XXII, 1973,

Marsh, Alan. “POWs in American History: A Synopsis.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1988,

Maxey, David. “Treason in the Revolution.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

Middleton, Drew. “SIEGE OF YORKTOWN: CLASS ACT IN A WAR OF BLUNDERS Military Analysis.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Oct. 1981,

Middleton, Richard. “The Clinton- Cornwallis Controversy and Responsibility for the British Surrender at Yorktown.” [“History”]. History, vol. 98, no. 331, July 2013, pp. 370-389. EBSCOhost.

Monroy, María Baudot. “Maritime Post Routes between Corunna and the Caribbean as a Geographic Information System (Gis) Model.” Culture & History Digital Journal,

“Naval Journal of the Comte De Grasse | RBSC Manuscripts Division News.” Princeton University, The Trustees of Princeton University,

Rees, John. “War as a Waiter: Soldier Servants.” Journal of the American Revolution, 28 Aug. 2016,

Riley, Edward M. “St. George Tucker’s Journal of the Siege of Yorktown, 1781.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 3, 1948, pp. 375–395. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Rostker, Bernard. “The American System of Providing for the Wounded Evolves.” Providing for the Casualties of War: The American Experience Through World War II, RAND Corporation, 2013, pp. 57–74. JSTOR,

Shattuck, Gary. “10 Facts About Prisoners of War.” Journal of the American Revolution, 28 Aug. 2016,

Smith, Page. “David Ramsay and the Causes of the American Revolution.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 1, 1960, pp. 51–77. JSTOR,

“THE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS. Precedents of the American Revolution. The British Government Never Assenting to a General Exchange, nor Conceding National Rights to the Colonies.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Dec. 1861,

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, “Surrender of the British General Cornwallis to the Americans, October 19, 1781”,

“The West Indies and the Sugar Trade.” The American Revolution, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,

“Virginia’s Soldiers in the Revolution.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 19, no. 4, 1911, pp. 402–414. JSTOR,

Wikipedia contributors. “American Revolutionary War.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 Jun. 2018.

The Strange Fate Of The Black Loyalists

IN THE EARLY summer of 1775 the rebeb of Virginia evicted their royalist governor, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, from his capital at Williamsburg and drove him to refuge aboard a British warship. With only three hundred Royal Marines at his disposal, Dunmore lit upon a controversial recruiting stratagem. On November 7 he seized Norfolk, established his headquarters there, proclaimed martial law throughout Virginia—and went on to state: “I do hereby further declare all indentured servants [and] Negroes … free, that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining His Majesty’s Troops, as soon as may be. …” Within a week Dunmore had mustered three hundred runaway slaves into his “Ethiopian Regiment,” whose slogan, “Liberty to Slaves,” was presumed to represent British policy. Within a month the “Ethiopians” were sufficiently armed and drilled to put to rout militia under Col. William Woodford at Kemp’s Landing.

The colonists were horrified. “Hell itself,” wrote one, “could not have vomited anything more black than this design of emancipating our slaves. ” A flood of slave defections would deplete the rebels’ labor force, demoralize them with the prospect of imminent insurrection, and swell the British ranks with new recruits whose freedom, whose very lives, would rest upon the Crown’s fortunes. Ironically the British high command may have shared the sentiments that moved the colonists to outrage at Dunmore’s plan: in fact, the move had already been considered and rejected, and Dunmore himself appears to have slipped his offer quietly, even guiltily, into his proclamation of martial law.

Nonetheless, it had a profound effect. In early December Edward Rutledge of South Carolina wrote that it tended “more effectually to work an external separation between Great Britain and the Colonies, than any other expedient, which could possibly have been thought of.” George Washington branded Dunmore, his erstwhile friend, “the most formidable enemy America has.” Able-bodied slaves were withdrawn far from British lines, and threats of reprisal were published. Moreover, it was bruited that Dunmore intended to renege on his promise, and this, sadly, proved true. Far from representing a policy, his plan was only a temporary expedient. On December 9 Woodford’s militia avenged its defeat at Kemp’s Landing by beating Dunmore in a brief, sharp fight at Great Bridge. The earl razed Norfolk, retreated to his fleet, and harassed the coast for several months before retiring to New York and thence to London. He demonstrated his gratitude to the blacks who had fought for him by returning most of them to slavery in the West Indies.

The reluctance of the high command notwithstanding, younger officers along the coast became enthusiastic for the Dunmore stratagem they issued more such offers, which were met with equally enthusiastic responses. A “Company of Negroes” fought for the Crown in the New England campaign, and General Howe evacuated them from Boston in March 1776, along with the other Loyalists. This established an important precedent thereafter, the emancipation offer was taken to include an implicit guarantee of security. The high command finally carried practice into policy in 1779, when Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief, issued the Philipsburg Proclamation. It pledged to “every Negro who shall desert the Rebel Standard … full security to follow within these lines, any Occupation which he shall think proper.” The runaway need no longer enlist in His Majesty’s forces but only in His Majesty’s cause to win freedom “under the Lion’s paw.”

The Americans could only underbid the Philipsburg Proclamation, reversing the interdiction against black enlistment and, in some states, bartering manumission for military service. (South Carolina, however, offered new white recruits a bounty in slaves: for privates, one grown Negro for colonels, three grown blacks plus a child.) By war’s end at least five thousand blacks had served the rebellion in arms, but far more—as many as one hundred thousand, a fifth of the slave population of the Thirteen Colonies—had thrown in their lot with the British. Ambitious and daring, these runaways braved militia patrols to gain the British lines or swam out to British warships some lived for years as fugitives before making their way to freedom. The black Loyalists were employed by the British as servants, military laborers, custodians of confiscated estates. Many followed their professions—shipwright, carpenter, coastal pilot—for in the days before the cotton economy demanded mindless field labor, slaves often received vocational training. Few actually bore arms, and numbers of them were simply left to fend for themselves. They did not expect to prosper at once and tolerated disappointment in the certainty of future reward.

CORNWALLIS FAILED AT Yorktown on October 17, 1781 in July of the next year the British evacuated Savannah and by November, Gen. Alexander Leslie was preparing to withdraw from Charleston. White Loyalists urged him to return all the blacks to their former masters lest the Americans retaliate for the loss of their slaves by refusing compensation for confiscated Loyalist estates. But at Savannah, as at Boston, the black Loyalists had been evacuated, and Leslie wanted to follow these precedents. He offered to return only captured and confiscated slaves, not those who had responded to the Philipsburg Proclamation. The Americans spurned the agreement, and so in the confusion of a hasty and unsupervised evacuation, five thousand black Loyalists set sail for other parts of the Empire, hopeful, as Leslie wrote, that “their past services will engage the grateful attention of the government.”

Leslie saw that Britain could fulfill the commitments of the Philipsburg Proclamation only by resettlement, for regardless of the outcome of the war, emancipated blacks could never hope to live freely and securely among the aggrieved colonists. However, no program for resettlement existed, despite the fact that Britain had advertised the proclamation by trumpeting the slogan “Freedom and a Farm.” Black Loyalists taken to the West Indies often fell back into slavery, and the few thousand who made their way to New York by way of Savannah or Charleston found no farms and only precarious freedom the evacuation of New York by the British was impending.

The black Loyalists had scorned the blandishments of their American masters and, at great risk, had sought to advance themselves as free souls. Indeed, such was the proclamation’s allure that many blacks already free took advantage of it and joined the Crown. But streaming into New York, a city teeming with frightened Tory refugees, where jobs were scarce and wages low, in which the last light of Empire was about to be extinguished, the blacks plunged instantly into desperate poverty. Public assistance was not readily forthcoming. White Loyalists, who had suffered considerable losses, held Britain in their debt they resented the black civilians who had lost nothing but their chains, who owed their freedom to the Crown yet felt themselves entitled to the Crown’s support. It was not the general view that blacks ought to be compensated for having been made slaves in the first place.

In May of 1782 Sir Guy Carleton had arrived in New York to replace Clinton as commander-in-chief during the last hours of the Revolution. To him went the melancholy assignment of supervising the withdrawal of troops from the Northeast and the evacuation of New York, England’s last foothold in the United States.

His task was made the more difficult by-Article VII of the provisional peace treaty, which provided that “His Brittanic Majesty shall with all convenient speed and without … carrying away any Negroes or other Property of the American Inhabitants withdraw all his Armies, Garrisons, and Fleets from the said United States.” Clearly this prohibited the evacuation of the black Loyalists from New York. Rumors, trailing panic, spread among the blacks that England would repudiate them. Slave owners did indeed converge on the city in search of runaways, and accounts circulated of blacks being seized in the streets or dragged from their beds. But Carleton was not to betray them.

ON MAY 6, 1783, Carleton and Washington clashed over the interpretation of Article VII during a stormy meeting at Orangetown, New York. Washington, chagrined at the flight of some of his own slaves, argued that “slaves which have absconded” remained the property of their owners and could not be evacuated. Carleton maintained that the Philipsburg Proclamation had freed all slaves who claimed its protection and that no black who had done so before November 30, when the signing of the provisional treaty had ended British jurisdiction in the United States, could revert to the status of chattel or “property” under the treaty’s terms. Carleton would surrender only confiscated or captured slaves or those who had arrived behind his lines after November 30. It was an audacious position, a triumph of justice over scruples, for the general knew perfectly well that the proclamation had never had the force of law, that the emancipation it conferred was entirely spurious, since British law and the colonial courts continued to recognize a right of property in slaves. But Carleton remained adamant and played his hand with a flourish:

“Delivering up the Negroes to their former Masters would be delivering them up some possibly to Execution and others to severe Punishment which in [my] opinion would be a dishonorable Violation of the public Faith pledged to the Negroes in the Proclamation. … No interpretation [of the Treaty] [can] be sound that [is] inconsistent with the prior Engagements of the Faith and Honor of the Nation, which [I] should inviolably maintain with Peoples of all Colours and Conditions.”

And he mooted the argument by disclosing that he had already sent numbers of black Loyalists to safety in Nova Scotia.

Washington seethed but reluctantly agreed that only confiscated slaves and post-treaty refugees would be returned, with compensation negotiated for the loss of the rest. Thereafter, from ten o’clock in the morning until two in the afternoon every Wednesday between May and November of 1783, a “Book of Negroes,” kept by a joint British-American commission, was opened in Samuel Fraunces’s Queen’s Head Tavern on the corner of Pearl and Broad streets in Lower Manhattan. In it were registered the details of each black Loyalist’s enslavement, escape, and military service. Blacks whose claims to freedom withstood challenge from the commissioners received certificates from Brig. Gen. Samuel Birch entitling them to transport from the United States. Over three thousand Loyalists enrolled in the Book of Negroes, and when they were offered their choice of resettlement in Florida, the West Indies, or Nova Scotia, all of them, mistrustful of the southern colonies, where the slave system prevailed, and having had no word of the fate of previous emigrants to the Caribbean, elected Nova Scotia.

These formalities gave reassurance that Britain meant to redeem her promises, and the blacks filed aboard ship without incident. On November 21 Washington crossed into Manhattan, occupying Harlem Heights in the wake of the British withdrawal, and on the twenty-fifth, as Gen. Henry Knox led the triumphal procession of American troops into Lower Manhattan, the last of the black Loyalists departed the new republic on what would prove to be only the beginning of an arduous quest for freedom.

Nova Scotia, wrested from the French in 1749, bobs alongside what was then British North America like a dinghy moored to the mainland only by the narrow isthmus of Chignecto. By the time of the Revolution, Nova Scotia, the northernmost frontier of European settlement in the New World, had become a dead end no longer crucial to the defense of the St. Lawrence, its economy had contracted, and numbers of its pioneers, many of whom had come up from New England, were trickling away to the Ohio Basin. The province remained a barely penetrated wilderness inhabited by peaceable Micmacs and fringed with half-deserted coastal villages. Never self-sustaining at the best of times, Nova Scotia’s circumstances were becoming perilously straitened by the reduction of grants from London. But then, with the success of the rebellion to the south, the province was presented an opportunity to repopulate with Loyalist refugees and thereby warrant increased aid.

Nova Scotia was hardly a choice assignment for a civil servant, and its officials tended to be men of small energy, content with such modest comforts as they could import to their cozy, isolated capital, Halifax. Presiding over the drowsy bureaucracy was Lt. Gov. John Parr, an Irishman so thoroughly unambitious that he had cheerfully conceded the title of governor to an absentee nobleman in order to keep his sinecure in this Siberia of British North America. Eager as he was to resettle the Loyalists in his bailiwick, Parr made no preparations to receive them beyond escheating a few abandoned grants (without bothering to ascertain why they had been abandoned). He had no idea how many Loyalists—fully thirty thousand—were crowding toward him expecting his logy administration to take prompt action in the granting of lands.

There were two primary disembarkation points for the Loyalists. One was at Port Roseway—soon to be renamed Shelburne—on the southwest coast about 125 miles from Halifax. With its picturesque little harbor, Shelburne was expected to become a focus of maritime commerce. A model city, complete with gridded streets and public commons, had been designed for the site. But before the survey could be completed, seven thousand Loyalists overran the district. On the other side of Nova Scotia four thousand Loyalists were unloaded on the shores of the Bay of Fundy they threw up a shantytown of sod houses at Digby near the Annapolis Valley, where the province’s richest farmlands lay. Digby and Shelburne were intended as trading centers only according to the government’s sketchy plans, settlers would receive quarter-acre house lots in the towns and much larger farm grants in the vicinity.

THE SIZE OF the entitlements and the priority of accommodation were exactly prescribed. Those Loyalists who had lost estates should be compensated first in proportion to their sacrifices after them, veterans of active duty were entitled to acreage according to rank—one thousand acres for field officers, seven hundred for captains, five hundred for subalterns, two hundred for noncoms, and one hundred for private soldiers. Civilians were entitled to one hundred acres for the family head and fifty for each additional family member. No racial distinctions were recommended. By government policy no Loyalist settler should work for wages, but all should establish themselves within three years as independent yeoman farmers.

The process of land-granting was tortuous prospective grantees had to submit petitions, which the administration processed with maddening slowness. The black Loyalists were to suffer not so much from overt hostility as from their own inexperience at manipulating dilatory bureaucracies—and from a touching innocence. They knew so little what to expect in Nova Scotia that some, arriving during the winter of 1783, thought the snowy capes were covered with salt.

The black Loyalists were not the first of their race in the province. Assimilated Moors had been among the crews of the Portuguese caravels that fished for cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the summers of the sixteenth century some are said to have jumped ship and vanished among the Micmacs. Slaves had been imported to what was then New France as early as 1628, but the long and unproductive winters made the cost of keeping them prohibitive. Though little practiced, slavery remained legal throughout the eighteenth century. In 1772 Lord Mansfield had ruled from the Court of King’s Bench in London that “the air of Britain has long been too pure” for slaves to breathe by virtue of respiration all men were free under a British sky, but the colonial atmosphere conferred no such benefits. Wealthy white Loyalists brought their slaves with them to Nova Scotia, though this remained a guilty indulgence, and these slaves were euphemistically referred to as “servants.”

The omens were not favorable for the black Loyalists. They did not know that the “Company of Negroes” evacuated from Boston in 1776 had very nearly been exchanged for British prisoners-of-war. The status in law and society of free blacks was unclear, and a community that tolerated slavery could never completely endorse the aspirations of free blacks.

Immediately upon their arrival at Shelburne, black Loyalists were segregated from whites and their slaves, shunted to separate quarters, and required to perform public labor to earn provisions that the whites received gratis. Still, it suited the black Loyalists to keep their distance from the other refugees having shaken off their fetters, they held in contempt those who hadn’t and little wished to associate with slaves they liked to see themselves as a chosen people, an aristocracy. The most senior officer among the Black Pioneers, Col. Stephen Blucke, proved to be an appropriate leader. A man of considerable education, he was bumptious, grandiloquent, and sly. In August of 1783 Shelburne’s deputy surveyor showed Blucke the site for a proposed black township several miles from Shelburne and recalled that Blucke pronounced it acceptable to his “black gentry.” The first black ghetto in North America would be named Birchtown, in honor of Gen. Samuel Birch.

The largest contingent of demobilized Black Pioneers landed at Digby their senior officer, Sgt. Thomas Peters, actively petitioned the government for a separate black townsite, and in deference to these veterans Parr granted the request promptly. The enclave was named Brindley Town, and it was all the Digby blacks would ever receive. Few of the Birchtowners got their promised farmlands either (Blucke being a notable exception). Only at Preston, near Halifax, where blacks and whites were settled among one another, did more than a few black Loyalists receive farm lots their grants, however, were smaller than the whites’, the land was poor, and the blacks soon found themselves looking for jobs in town or working for their white neighbors.

By 1784 Shelburne, swarming with ten thousand inhabitants, was the most populous city in British North America. Most of its residents were landless and destitute. Disbanded white soldiers, surly with impatience, roamed the streets in search of work blacks from Birchtown began moving into Shelburne, where, because they would accept lower wages than the whites, they monopolized a meager job market already distorted by slave labor. Resentments ignited on July 26, 1784 Shelburne exploded in a race riot. White mobs pulled down houses with ships’ tackle and drove the blacks back to Birchtown.

The following year white Loyalists at Annapolis, near Digby, forced the Parr administration to grant their lands by “sitting-in” on the glebe and commons. But the blacks knew no better how to agitate in their own interests than how to shepherd a petition through a maze of bureaucrats. Though settlement lagged far behind schedule, rations were reduced by a third in 1784 and by another third in 1785 in accordance with the government’s three-year plan. Shelburne slaveholders, unable to support their bondsfolk, turned them out in the winter of 1784, and the Birchtowners took them in, pleased to affirm their superiority by dispensing charity despite their own poverty.

PARR’S ADMINISTRATION had never taken inventory of Nova Scotia’s arable lands and harbors and had no idea what it was bestowing on the Loyalists. By 1785 settlers had discovered the soil was too shallow, the growing season too short, and their farms too remote to support them all as independent yeomen. The country around Shelburne was little better than a swamp, and the pretty little harbor was ice-blocked or fogbound most of the year, unsuitable for heavy maritime commerce. Nevertheless, in 1787, precisely on schedule, government rations were withdrawn, and famine promptly ensued. Emergency provisions had to be hunted up and distributed. Homeless blacks died in the streets of Birchtown, and many slaves whose masters had evicted them (while retaining the option to reclaim them in better times) decamped for the United States. A contingent led by Thomas Brownspriggs fled north to Chedabucto Bay and Cape Breton Island. Over the next four years, emigration, starvation, and disease decimated the black population.

Under the stress of these vicissitudes, the black Loyalists gathered in around their churches. The Methodists, led by the blind and fiery Moses Wilkinson, attracted many converts in Birchtown and Preston, but the Baptists remained the predominant black sect. Self-governing Baptist congregations provided the black Loyalists with their only practical experience of political autonomy and reinforced their aspirations. The Anglican Church of England claimed only a few black members (Colonel Blucke was one), for the established church segregated its congregations and charged stiff pew fees. Moreover, the Methodists and Baptists emphasized personal revelation and inspiration. Each worshiper, little better than a slave in the world, became a prophet in church, for God spoke directly to these folk—and He did not speak directly to the Anglicans. Unfortunately, sectarian rivalries prevented the churches from uniting as a political force. It remained for a secular leader to precipitate the events that would save the black Loyalists.

By 1790 most white Loyalists were settled, but the majority of blacks remained landless, and their deprivation had come to serve provincial interests. They provided cheap labor and a reliable market for local goods. These wage slaves, virtual peons, bore the Nova Scotian economy unsteadily on their backs. In 1790 Sgt. Thomas Peters, unable to obtain his grant after seven years of trying, collected powers of attorney from 202 black families in Brindley Town and the province of New Brunswick. Backed by this personal constituency, he drew up a list of grievances and boldly set out for London to seek satisfaction directly from the British secretary of state.

On his arrival Peters found himself swept up and lionized by the abolitionist directors of the Sierra Leone Company. These men, bankers and politicians, had taken over a defunct Crown Colony on the west coast of Africa and were resolved to transform it into a profitable private settlement for British blacks freed by Lord Mansfield’s ruling. Peters’s tales of discontent among the Nova Scotian blacks suggested a new source of colonists. The directors saw to it that the newly appointed secretary of state received Peters’s memorandum what is more, they induced the secretary to send a letter to Parr reproaching him for his negligence, instructing him to satisfy the black Loyalists, and requiring his cooperation in the enlistment of black volunteers for the Sierra Leone project.

The company dispatched as its agent the twenty-five-year-old John Clarkson, a gifted idealist with a dangerous proclivity for romance. Tactless and intemperate, Clarkson accompanied Peters back to Nova Scotia, where he lost no time in antagonizing Parr, who was already testily defensive because of the secretary’s letter. Parr’s assistance was vital to the project, and though Clarkson grasped this, he seems to have treated the governor with chilly and consistent arrogance. He also alienated Peters, whose natural claim to leadership of the project Clarkson would never acknowledge. Peters wisely confined himself to recruitment in Digby and New Brunswick, consolidating his standing among those black Loyalists, while Clarkson worked the Halifax and Shelburne areas. The young agent secured the support and friendship of David George, a popular and courageous black Baptist minister who had braved white mobs to live and preach before integrated congregations in Shelburne. It was George who organized an assembly of curious Birchtown blacks at which Clarkson committed a fateful indiscretion.

THE YOUNG MAN had been charged, perhaps disingenuously, only to oversee recruitment that was to have been carried out by Parr’s appointed agents. But Clarkson, passionately sympathetic to the blacks even before his arrival, could scarcely restrain himself from advocating the project and soliciting volunteers. At the Birchtown meeting, intoxicated by the enthusiasm of the audience who, after all, had nothing to lose by pinning their hopes on Sierra Leone, Clarkson wildly misrepresented the venture according to his own vision of it as an experiment in social democracy rather than a private, profit-making enterprise. He promised no quitrents for company grants and claimed that taxes “for charitable purposes” within the colony would be the only imposts this created the impression that the company would operate only for its colonists’ interests and that blacks might govern themselves. He concluded by pledging his life to the service of the black Loyalists, who then burst into applause. Within three days six hundred blacks from the area had enrolled.

Parr had anticipated that no more than thirty families would apply from the province, but 544 persons volunteered from Birchtown alone, 200 from Brindley Town. Alarmed by the prospect of losing so much cheap labor and such a large market, white landowners agitated against the venture. Parr did his best to obstruct it but died of gout on November 25, 1791, and his successor proved more agreeable.

Between them, Clarkson on the west coast and Peters on the east induced over twelve hundred prospective colonists to assemble at Halifax, the embarkation point, during the late autumn and early winter of 1791. There, huddled in unheated warehouses and old barracks, they endured sickness and hunger with incredible forbearance, while Clarkson scurried around the city arranging shipping and provisions. He drove himself to exhaustion but accomplished the enormous task almost singlehandedly, while Peters and David George acted as his deputies among the blacks. Sectarian differences began to melt in the warmth of an incipient nationalism even Peters, who bridled at Clarkson’s assumption of authority, banked his ambition for the sake of the venture. The exodus finally began on January 15, 1792, when, nearly a decade after the evacuation of New York, a flotilla of fifteen ships bearing 1,193 black Loyalist’s sailed out of Halifax for Sierra Leone.

The colonists arrived in Africa two months later, and they began accumulating grievances almost at once. The chief complaint was the company’s governance, which disappointed their expectations of self-rule. Peters organized a rebellion that served only to rekindle sectarian rivalries the Methodists sided with him, but David George, faithful to his friend Clarkson, brought the Baptists behind the company. The uprising died down but certainly would have broken out anew had not Peters unaccountably ruined himself by being caught stealing from the body of a dead man. The sergeant who might have become the first head of an African state died soon afterward in disgrace. The black Loyalists, their dream of independence crushed, settled for wealth instead. Building from their original lands, they moved into trading and became a mercantile elite, while indentured native laborers, little more than slaves, worked their farms. They called themselves Nova Scotians to distinguish themselves from the Africans and emigrants from elsewhere in the Empire, and their sense of spiritual eminence became mere snobbery. In 1808 Sierra Leone reverted to the Crown, and by 1840 tax laws and property confiscations had eroded the Nova Scotians’ power. Eventually their bloodlines subsided in Creoledom, the popular culture of the immigrant blacks that survives in Sierra Leone to this day.

NOVA SCOTIA’S economy was devastated by the exodus from the black community. Stephen Blucke, who had disparaged the Sierra Leone project—and whose reward was to entertain Prince William Henry, later William IV, in his Birchtown home—misappropriated funds entrusted to him for black relief and fled to the Bay of Fundy, where, legend has it, he was eaten by wild animals. By 1832 Birchtown was a ruin, Shelburne virtually a ghost town. During the War of 1812 a new wave of black refugees, lured from the United States by offers similar to the Philipsburg Proclamation, arrived in Nova Scotia they encountered no better fortune than their Loyalist forebears and found no Clarkson or Peters to lead them to an African Canaan. They put down roots in the province and reestablished a black community.

Today that community numbers some ten thousand, but what Loyalist families might have remained after the exodus are largely submerged among the descendants of the 1812 refugees and the more recent arrivals from the West Indies. In eastern Guysborough County, however, and on Cape Breton Island the Loyalists who fled the famine of 1784 may have left a clearer lineage. Neither Clarkson nor Peters recruited here, and it is doubtful the Sierra Leone project was even advertised in these precincts. The blacks who came here dispersed among farmers and fishermen, settling on the perimeters of white communities, forgetting their African heritage, and adopting the folklore and language of the Europeans.

From among those who found refuge with the Scots of Cape Breton’s Skye Valley, Kipling probably drew the dour black cook in Captains Courageous who “called himself Mac Donald and swore in Gaelic. ” They can still be seen in the hamlets and fishing villages of northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, where the Appalachians glimmer out in the Atlantic —unexpected black faces that seem very far from home. These may be the last descendants of the black Loyalists, those wandering children of the American Revolution.

Associate Harry L. Walen describes how the settling of Australia by the British Crown was influenced by loss of the American colonies &mdash and that some of the people involved in the early growth of our nation and the subcontinent had similar backgrounds.

As the time for the America's Cup race off Perth, Australia drew near, so also did interest in this vast subcontinent increase. There are many similarities between the governments and the life styles of our two countries. The frontier spirit of the United States of America is reflected in that of Australia, which many think of now as the "Last Frontier." The fact that Australia is on the other side of the planet Earth &mdash at the "antipodes", at least 22 hours from Boston even on the wings of a 747 &mdash is undoubtedly a major reason that it is not better known to us.

The possibility of connections between the development of Australia and our American Revolution, however, had never occurred to me until my wife and I visited Australia in 1985 &mdash not, let it be said, in connection with the Cup races! At that time, reading the newspapers and conversing with residents, I became suddenly aware that Captain Cook had claimed Australia for the British Crown in 1770 and that in 1788 England established a penal colony near Port Jackson, which later became Sydney. The Columbia Encyclopedia says, "Australia was long used as a dumping ground for criminals, bankrupts and other undesirables from the British Isles."

Obviously, the English peopling of Australia began at this time. With convicts came supervisors, a military force to back them up, support services, wives and families, and subsequently entrepreneurs seizing on a possible source of inexpensive labor and adventurers seeking opportunity. The 19th century saw the development ofsuch agrarian industries as wheat farming and sheepraising, and the discovery of metal ores, with mining and smelting. Australia was-on its way.

Strong Convict Element
During our subsequent visit in 1986 we became keenly aware of the convict background as we visited Macquarie Harbor and Sarah Island in Tasmania, which housed penal colonies between 1803 and 1853. The television documentary serial, ". for the Term of His Natural Life. ", dramatized the story of an early convict and brought that period into sharp focus.

"What," I wondered, "did England do with these convicts and bankrupts and political undesirables before the discovery of Australia? And why did they choose Australia at this particular time? And where did all the miscreants come from? Had there been a sudden crime wave in England?" And then it hit me like a stroke of lightning, so obvious that I felt a little foolish. Of course &mdash Hadn't England formerly transported debtors, bondspeople, convicts sometimes to islands in the Caribbean and more frequently to the American colonies? And after the Revolution broke out &mdash an event which at first must have seemed, to the British authorities, merely a civil outbreak &mdash no further miscreants could be transported there.

Gang labor on the Great West Road. (National Library of Australia)

How fortuitous it must have seemed to the penal authorities in England to have a new, unpeopled colonial possession to receive those sentenced to be transported. Wasn't it, then, the American Revolution that was a direct antecedent of the early development of Australia as a penal colony &mdash one composed of Englishmen many of whom had a tradition of lawlessness and little reason to love their mother country &mdash and thereby indirectly responsible for the establishment of Australia as a nation?

End of War Stimulates Action

Was I off base in my assumptions? Where could I find further information about this subject? Reading in encyclopedias and historical reference books, I found references to The Story of Australia, by A.L. Shaw, the Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Sydney, Australia, a "popular"history of Australia printed in Great Britain, and released in 1954 by Roy Publishers of New York. From this book I have excerpted the following passages:

On page 33, Mr. Shaw summarizes Sir James Cook's reports on the discoveries along the coast of what we now know as Australia, and then writes, "For fifteen years the (British) government did nothing. Involved in the difficulties of the American War of Independence, it had no time to consider any possibilities of settlement in the remote antipodes. Yet it was this American war that finally gave the stimulus to action for the loss of the American colonies raised a number of problems for British statesmen.

What was now to be done with the convicts hitherto transported to America? What could be done, if anything, for the American `loyalists'? And for British trade?"

He goes on to describe the "fantastic state" of English criminal law in the late 18th century, the frequently futile attempts to ensure law and order with an inadequate police force and by the levying of extreme punishments to "deter offenders" and the reprieving of many convicted offenders from public execution in London "on condition of their being transported to the colonies, while many were sentenced to transportation in the first place, so that before the American War of Independence about a thousand criminals were sent to Virginia and Maryland every year.

"No wonder, then, that the war caused an overcrowding of the gaols (jails), which had never been intended to hold large numbers of convicted prisoners for long terms of imprisonment. No wonder either, that the hulks, fitted out on the Thames as a temporary, emergency measure to hold the convicts until they could again be trans-ported (shades of Great Expactations, by Charles Dickens!) were soon overcrowded also."

Settling Begins in Late 1700s
Shaw details the debate in England as to what to do with "four thousand convicts crowding the hulks and the county gaols." Finally in May 1787 "the First Fleet set sail from Portsmouth (England), and on 26 January 1788 Governor Phillip, with his party of 1030, including 736 convicts, landed at Sydney Cove, in Port Jackson, New South Wales." From the home government Phillip soon requested "free settlers" land grants were made to officers and marines "emancipated" convicts, who had completed their terms, were given grants. By 1800 there was an increasing mixture of people in more than one location, providing the first stable English population of Australia.

A road gang in the bush near Sydney, c.1835. (National Library of Australia)

"Now, wait up a moment," thought I there was such a strong background for developing the life style of Australia, mustn't there have been something similar for those parts of colonial America that formerly had harbored the bankrupts and the convicts?" I remembered reading in the National Geographic that even in the middle of the 17th century, after many early inhabitants of Jamestown had died from malaria and other swamp-country diseases, or removed to Williamsburg, troops drummed the laborers from barracks to fields and woods to labor, back for a midday meal, thence to the fields and woods, and finally each day back to the barracks for food and sleep &mdash certainly not a picture of the lives of free-born Englishmen. How many of our own early settlers, then, had been transported from England? How much of the character of our own early colonials had been moulded from such a background?

As a matter of fact, I have frequently wondered what forces had shaped the common man to follow the leadership in rebellion. There was, indeed, a sense of independence in frontier life. That England economized by allowing &mdash indeed, even encouraging! &mdash colonists to bear arms to defend themselves on the frontier (France had kept troops for this purpose, so that the peasant farmer immigrants had not developed this arms-bearing tradition.) &mdash had produced an armed citizenry. But these elements could not entirely have shaped the reason for rebellion, although they did document one reason for its success.

Punishment by labor on maritime projects. (National Library of Australia)

There were, of course, many whose memories of England were not of thehappiest &mdash people who had left religious oppression to fashion their own lives according to their beliefs, and others who had left under duress, as indentured servants, bondspeople, bankrupts or as convicts. Complete independence from a stern mother may have seemed to be a desirable goal.

Is it possible that we see pressures that could have played a part in setting the stage for the beginning of the American Revolution and then providing the impetus for seeing it to its sometimes almost impossible conclusion? Do we see England's safety valve blown off, only to be replaced by another in Australia? We do in fact see this vast subcontinent starting its national life as a penal colony of Great Britain. And, looking at common factors in our backgrounds, we descendants of the Founders and Patriots of America and Sons of the American Revolution can now see an historical link between the two countries that has been passed over too lightly.

It is interesting to note that a Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has been formed recently in Sydney, Australia.

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The creation of an “American Establishment” was not a novel occurrence. It actually followed the age-old British custom, which already existed in Ireland and Britain. The idea was to grant these Loyalist Volunteers “nominally equal status” to their regular British Army counterparts . It was the hopes of the King and Parliament that this would encourage loyalist to enlist in the British Army down the road after volunteer service.

Loyalist Trails UELAC Newsletter, 2016 Archive

The 2016 UELAC Conference in Summerside PEI will be hosted by the Branches of the Atlantic Region: Abegweit, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on July 7-10.

Information about the conference, including the registration form, is now available read here.

She dashed through the enemy's forces on a horse &ndash or was it a farm wagon? Her father was a patriot &ndash or was he a loyalist? Did a rebel's bullet kill her &ndash or a broken heart? Such is the confusion surrounding the exploits of the loyalist heroine, Kate Fowler.

The War of 1812 has Laura Secord as its brave heroine, a woman who walked twenty miles to tell the British forces of an impending American attack. The British newspapers of the 1850s described Florence Nightingale as a "ministering angel" for her role in providing medical care during the Crimean War. Four centuries earlier, the guidance of Joan of Arc led the French army to victory in the Hundred Years War. All of these examples raise the question, Is there no loyalist woman from the American Revolution whose accomplishments would make her the equal of these heroines of the past?

Kate Fowler might be such a candidate. But before we can consider her worthiness as a loyalist heroine, we need to review some facts regarding the Siege of Fort Ninety-Six in the summer of 1781.

Built to protect the settlers in South Carolina's backcountry, Fort Ninety-Six gained strategic importance during the American Revolution because it was where several important roadways converged. The fort was built as a star redoubt, a design favoured by Europe's military engineers, and thus it was sometimes referred to as the Star Fort. Fort Ninety-Six was in a part of South Carolina that had witnessed horrendous violence rebels and loyalists routinely murdered and pillaged one another.

After 1780, the British command put Lt. Col John Cruger, a New York Loyalist, in charge of the fort. (Everyone who served at Fort Ninety-Six was a colonist except for one British officer.) Ann Cruger accompanied her husband to his new posting where she "lived in the garrison, fared as the people did, was beloved . for her kindness and hospitalities upon all occasions."

In May of 1781, Continental troops led by General Nathanael Greene and a local militia laid siege to the Star Fort for 31 days. (Cruger saw to it that his wife was safely installed in the home of a Presbyterian minister a mile away.)

Cut off from military supplies and food, Cruger wondered if he should surrender and risk entrusting his loyalist forces to the mercy of the Continental Army. Sometime around the twelfth of June, word came to the Star Fort's defenders that Lord Francis Rawdon and two thousand British troops were on their way from Charlestown to rescue the besieged loyalists.

Revolutionary War records note that the bearer of this good news was a man named Hugh Aiken. His report raised the morale of Cruger's men, giving them the spirit to continue their fight until Rawdon arrived.

One more set of facts needs to be kept in mind before we turn our attention to young Miss Fowler. Today in South Carolina's Ninety Six -- a town that is very proud of its patriot history-- there is a Kate Fowler Road. About two and a half miles from the town is a stream called the "Kate Fowler Branch". Why would these places bear the name of a woman who had absolutely no connection to the victorious patriots?

It seems that if a story about a woman has sufficient elements of heroism and romance, it has the power to make generations of patriotic Americans cherish her even if she had been a loyalist. For this is how Kate Fowler's name has survived to the 21st century. There are no less than nine different versions of this loyalist woman's adventures.

In the first of these legends, our loyalist heroine is described as "a young woman of the neighbourhood" of Ninety-Six -- a pioneer's daughter, who fell in love with a British officer of "Star Fort". A later novel (perhaps William Gillmore Simm's 1855 book, The Forayers) is credited with naming her Kate Fowler. This brief account was the "grain of sand" around which eight other legendary "pearls" would eventually grow.

In 1896, Francis Muench published a book of poems called Palmetto Lyrics. Included in this volume was an 18 stanza-poem titled Kate Fowler. This would become her second legend.

Notes from William Gilmore Simms' 1842 History of South Carolina accompanied Muench's ode to the loyalist heroine. This historian maintained that Kate was the "instrument employed by the British for encouraging Cruger to protract the siege". She lived near the fort her father and brothers were all patriots. Kate had been on such good terms with General Greene as to have once shared a meal with the patriot officer.

However, the young woman had "formed a matrimonial engagement with a British officer" and so she did what she could to aid her lover's cause. Reference is also made to the Kate Fowler Branch, describing it as flowing from the old fort into the Saluda River.

Muench's poem introduces his heroine in stanza six: "Kate Fowler twas who --plain and short--loved Major Cruger of the fort". After overhearing that Rawdon was on his way to help the besieged loyalists, Kate wrote a letter to Cruger, "her lover-friend". Disguising herself as a young man, she mounted a horse, and made a dash for the fort. Just as Kate came close to the ramparts, a rebel musket found its mark, and she fell to the ground. The loyalist soldiers took the letter from her upheld hand.

When Cruger realized it was Kate, "Called he with wild emotion: Kate, thou? My Kate! It cannot be". The melodrama continued. "He held her still in his embrace and with his tears he bathed her face."

Cruger's men opened fire on the rebels "with thunders of resentment". Greene could not capture the fort -- and all because of Kate, the "martyr-carrier". The rebels retreated, and Cruger returned to where Kate lay and discovered that she had not died of her gunshot wound. Thanking God, Cruger exclaims, "to thee alone we owe, to thee, our rescue and our victory -- then smiling she expired!"

This legend contradicts several facts. Cruger was an American loyalist and not a British officer. Although officers had certainly taken mistresses with them on military campaigns, Cruger's alleged relationship to Kate seems improbable given the proximity of his wife during his time at Ninety-Six. Also, contemporary sources had identified the messenger as being a man.

Confused yet? Read seven more legends about Kate Fowler in next week's Loyalist Trails.

To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.

Many Loyalists came to Canada by ship, especially those who settled in the Maritime provinces and, to a lesser extent, in Quebec.

I was working on an article having to do with the Book of Negroes and got sidetracked &ndash but in a good way. I ended up compiling the list of loyalists (black and white) who sailed from New York to (present day) Saint John on the evacuation ship, John & Jane.

By using David Bell's Victualing Muster List in his American Loyalists to New Brunswick and Carleton's Book of Negroes, I have been able to make a fairly thorough manifest. (Some loyalists may have slipped through the cracks, but the attached list is more complete than either source by itself).

When the terms of peace became known, tens of thousands of the Loyalists shook the dust of their ungrateful country from their feet, never to return. The party sailed from New York, in nine transport ships, on October 19, 1782, and arrived a few days later at Annapolis Royal.

On April 26, 1783, the first or 'spring' fleet set sail. It had on board no less than seven thousand persons, men, women, children, and servants. Half of these went to the mouth of the river St John, and about half to Port Roseway, at the south-west end of the Nova Scotian peninsula. All summer and autumn the ships kept plying to and fro.

In June, the 'summer fleet' brought about 2,500 colonists to St John River, Annapolis, Port Roseway, and Fort Cumberland. By August 23 John Parr, the governor of Nova Scotia, wrote that 'upward of 12,000 souls have already arrived from New York,' and that as many more were expected. By the end of September he estimated that 18,000 had arrived, and stated that 10,000 more were still to come. By the end of the year he computed the total immigration to have amounted to 30,000. As late as January 15, 1784, the refugees were still arriving.

See the Loyalist Ships section.

The topics and speakers for the conference include:

&bull Lois Huey: Molly Brant A Legacy of Her Own

&bull Todd Braisted: Grand Forage 1778: The Battleground Around New York City

&bull J.L. Bell: The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War

&bull James Kirby Martin: Benedict Arnold in the Mohawk Valley: The Rescue of Fort Schuyler (Stanwix)

The Mohawk played a key role in the struggle for American independence. Four great days of history, nine fascinating presentations, two distinct bus tours of Mohawk Country Historic Sites, banquet with keynote speaker at the historic 1765 Goose Van Alstyne Tavern and much more.

Contact Brian Mack who also handles registration at [email protected] or 518-774-5669.

The Vikings are back in North America, although in truth they've been with us since at least the eighteenth century, when the Vinland sagas began to fuel speculation about the lands Leif Eiriksson and his compatriots tried to colonize around 1000 AD. Their latest sighting is at Point Rosee in southwestern Newfoundland, where American archaeologist Sarah Parcak claims to have found evidence of Norse iron processing. If she is right, Point Rosee would be only the second broadly accepted Norse site in North America, after the L'Anse Aux Meadows find of the 1960s.

In my research into processes of colonialism and the historic construction of race and migration theories, I deal with a phenomenon I call White Tribism. The Point Rosee find has nothing to do with White Tribism, but White Tribism has a lot to do with why so many people are fascinated with efforts to prove Europeans colonized North America, long before Columbus. White Tribism comes in several variants, but they all involve the idea that Old World peoples we would recognize as Caucasian, "white," or northern European (or their Old Testament ancestors) arrived in the Americas at some point in pre-Columbian antiquity. Read more.

Newspapers are among our favorite things at Journal of the American Revolution, providing endless information and insight about America's Revolutionary era. In addition to news, notices, and opinion pieces, newspapers carried advertising that reveals important aspects of the people who placed ads and read them. Some of the ads were actually about people. When soldiers absconded from their duty, for example, army officers sometimes placed advertisements in newspapers, giving a description of the deserter and offering a reward for his return. American newspapers advertised thousands of deserters during the course of the war this week, we'll present one ad each day as a very brief survey of these important sources of information.

First off is the first deserter advertisement of the war &ndash as a substantial American army coalesced on the heights around Boston in April, May and June of 1775, bringing order to this disorganized composite force was the greatest challenged faced by the army's leaders:

Deserted from the subscribers company in Col. Wooster's Regiment, one James Parker, a transient Irishman, about 36 years of age, middling stature, his face pitted with gun-powder, short black hair, had on a light colour'd coat, and is a taylor by trade. Whoever shall take up said deserter, and return him to the subscriber, shall be reasonably rewarded by Thomas Porter.

  • Men born on both sides of the Atlantic
  • A variety of ages
  • A soldier accompanied by his wife
  • Some men with short hair
  • Desertion was sometimes a very, very big problem

The Loyalist Gazette is on track to be shipped around the first of May, subject to the vagaries of the printer and the mailing house.

Enjoy the benefits of the digital copy: early delivery, colour throughout, and save on storage.

People who are paid-up members and Gazette subscribers can register for the digital copy of the Spring 2015 issue). Each request is processed at Dominion Office (to check that the requirements are met) before the access details are returned. The office is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Register today if you are into digital. (You can still get the paper copy mailed if you really need it)

We hope you will enjoy this year's issues of the Loyalist Gazette &ndash in digital full colour.

We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to Issue an unequivocal, sincere and public apology to the elderly yet living British Home Children and all the descendants of Home Children. We seek this apology in order to acknowledge that this child migrant scheme is an important part of Canadian history and to recognize that it is a legacy that has roots in the harm and displacement of thousands of vulnerable children. An apology would ensure a higher profile for British Home Children, thus enabling the education of the public. An apology would help to heal the wounds of separated families and providing a chance for more people to discover their family history within the context of a proud Canadian culture.

In 2017 Canada will mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation. This is your celebration! How will you join Canadians taking part from coast to coast to coast? The Canada 150 adventure awaits you.

The logo is composed of a series of diamonds, or "celebratory gems", arranged in the shape of the iconic maple leaf. The four diamonds at the base represent the four original provinces that formed Confederation in 1867: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Additional diamonds extend out from the base to create nine more points--in total representing the 13 provinces and territories.

The Canada 150 logo will become an evocative symbol and an enduring reminder of one of Canada's proudest moments. The maple leaf motif is recognized at home and abroad as distinctively Canadian, and it fosters feelings of pride, unity and celebration. This unique and colourful design is simple enough to be drawn by children, and versatile enough to appear in color variations. The possible uses of the symbol are as unlimited as the spirit and imagination of the Canadian public.

The Canada 150 website contains information, including details about government funding of projects. Many of us are old enough to remember centennial projects from back in 1967 and may want to do something similar next year. Every year is an opportunity to celebrate the loyalist refugee heritage!

UELAC has struck a Canada 150 Celebrations committee, co-chaired by Sandy McNamara and Andrew Fleming. Get involved, consider a project for 2017.

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at [email protected]

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

  • Go for a walk, long or short. The organizing committee for Settlers Trek 2016 have been hard at work for many months, in preparation for a landmark event which will begin in Brockville on May 15th . The group of volunteers with a keen interest in local history is planning the re-enactment of the original journey made by Scottish settlers and some Loyalists who left Brockville in the spring of 1816 to found the military settlement of Perth 200 years ago. The six-day 100 km trek will follow a route from Brockville and travel through Lyn, Delta, Portland and Rideau Ferry, and then on to Perth, which closely follows the route of the original settlers. Many events are being planned by local groups along the way. Read more details.
  • A few years ago, Fred Hayward gathered information about the formation of the branches of the UELAC and posted that to the UELAC website. Each year a Gazette is issued, the Branching Out section for any branch which contributed to the prior issue is added to that branch's history. Initial information about the newest branch - Assiniboine - has now been added history/Adding-Branches.php# assiniboine
  • The Adverts 250 Project. An Exploration of Advertising in Colonial America 250 Years Ago This Week. What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week? "A parcel of HOUSEHOLD AND KITCHEN FURNITURE."
  • A declaration by Sir William Howe. August 28th, 1777 to reassure those loyal and forgive those who return to the fold. . As a former history teacher and guidance counsellor I was well aware of the term United Empire Loyalists. What I was not aware of, however, was the fact that more than 8,000 of these displaced individuals were black. (A column from the Cape Breton Post)
  • Black history researcher David Peters is seven generations removed from his ancestor Thomas Peters, but says he feels a strong connection to the man. "Thomas Peters, being worshipped, as he was, around the black community, other kids turned up. I'm the descendant of one of them," said Peters. (Column at CBC) from American Revolution on Waldeck Line Rd., Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia
  • Postcard of memorial at landing of United Empire Loyalists, Saint John, New Brunswick and another postcard of the Saint John, NB, Sesquicentennial of the landing of the United Empire Loyalists, 1783 - 1933.
  • The person (or group?) who puts British "Loyalist" flags in Old Burying Ground in Arlington, Massachusetts every April has visited.
  • It was on this day in 1828 that Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language was published. Webster put together the dictionary because he wanted Americans to have a national identity that wasn't based on the language and ideas of England. Read more (scroll down) , a new museum set to open in Philadelphia in 2017. In part, DAR will underwrite a copy of the painting Siege of Yorktown which hangs in the palace of Versailles.

Long-time Bicentennial Branch member, Joy Ruby (Bell) Tweney-Austin died on April 11th in her 88th year. She was predeceased by her parents, George Bell and Agnes Selkirk, and her son, William Ray Tweney. She is survived by her sons, Thomas Edward Tweney and Ernest Selkirk Austin, 7 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild.

Joy was the Bicentennial Branch Newsletter Editor for many years before retiring in 2008. Most of this time was before newsletter software, digital photography and scanners so the task of producing 4 annual newsletters was not so simple. High quality photocopies of photographs taken at meetings and details of meetings including guest speakers plus certificate presentations were provided to her. She took this information, added seasonal anecdotes, humorous asides and created a folksy, entertaining and educational newsletter year after year.

Because of mobility and other health issues Joy seldom left her apartment. She owned a photocopy machine and produced the newsletter literally 'in-house'. Joy was a great supporter of the Branch and was very proud when she proved descent from Loyalist John Helmer for her son, Thomas, in 1994 and her granddaughter, Susanne Joy, in 2006. She was a very special person who contributed much to the heritage of the Bicentennial Branch and she will be missed.

Watch the video: Patriots ambush Loyalists as French set sail August 13 1781