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Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by mac66, Jan 16, 2013.
Keep it up!
The conflict between the crown and colonists didn't happen over night. In fact is was a decade long escalation of push and push back. By 1764, England was on the edge of a fiscal cliff. They had just finished the "7 years war" with France around the globe. In north America it was known as the French and Indian war because that's who they were fighting.
To pay for the wars the crown turned to the American colonies. Britain like most of the major powers generated wealth by exploiting the natural resources of the regions they conquered or settled and then created a market in those locations to sell finished products back to. The American colonies had the most resources and were their biggest market. They enjoyed the highest standard of living of all of Britain's colonies including that of the homeland. It is always the way to go after the rich, they can afford it. So the crown imposed new taxes on the colonies. First it was for sugar and then they devalued the money basically creating run away inflation.
The colonists had always considered themselves lucky to be "free Englishmen" protected by one of the first codified statement of human rights from centuries before, the Magna Carta. They were also somewhat autonomous from the direct government involvement. They were a long way from Parliament and as such had developed their own style of local government and justice system over a period of decades. The colonists had pushed back the frontier with their own hands. They had fought the French, Spanish, pirates, Indians and marauders of all kinds. They had fought for the land. The had bore and buried their children on it. They developed a system that worked and they highly resented the crown taking what they considered to be theirs.
The new taxes shocked and angered them. They formed groups to protest the new taxes. One group that was particularly vocal was The Sons of Liberty. Men like Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, John Hancock and others became leaders. They were able to successfully argue down new taxes only to have them replaced with others.
The more the crown pushed, the more the colonists resisted and pushed back. This caused the crown to send more troops to enforce the regulations and protect the tax collectors and government officials. Of course this escalated the tension between the two sides and increased the odds of a confrontation. With the passing of the Stamp Act (taxing every commercial piece of paper such as newspapers, contracts, letters etc) the resistance intensified.
Samuel Adams one of the major rabble rousers was in charge of the Boston Mob. Not an organized crime mob but laborers and tradesmen whom he could get on short notice to start a demonstration or antagonize the soldiers in Boston. This came to a head in March of 1770 when soldiers taunted by the mob and pelted with snowballs opened fired on the crowd, the infamous Boston Massacre. The British sent more troops into the city in a show of force and of course the Boston Massacre became galvanizing event for the resistance.
The crown backed off for a time and for several years an uneasy peace reigned with only minor conflicts. However, with the passing of the Tea Tax in 1773, colonial passions were again flamed which resulted in the Boston Tea Party. As everyone knows, Sons of Liberty dressed as Indians went aboard ship and dumped the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tea into the harbor. While the Indian garb may have been to disguise those involved, it was actually used because Indians were considered the symbol of a free people.
The crown was outraged and sent more troops. They created more restrictions such as the Townsend Acts which implemented financial sanctions and import, export regulations. These were met with more resistance. By 1774, the American colonies were under martial law and Boston was occupied by thousands of troops sent in to enforce the mandates of the Coercive/Intolerable Acts.
Awesome and informative , great posts , more , more , !
I should have mentioned that Fort William and Mary is in Portsmouth, NH
I know I'm not the only one to see the similarities. Scary indeed. Dibs on the role of Paul revere. Playing the part of Benedict Arnold is colon powell.
Thank you, please continue.
As a rabble rouser myself.... I want the role of John Paul Jones! Man had steel ones!
I admire Samuel Adams. I would be him but I dont know a thing about brewing beer. Please continue.
great thread! please keep it going.
By 1774, the colonists were not only resisting but actively planning for the inevitable. Because the crown banned public meetings and militias the colonists set up "Committees of Correspondence". Paul Revere became the chief messenger and director of communications between the various groups spread throughout the colonies. He often made long dangerous rides carrying dispatches from the leaders in Boston to New York, Philadelphia and the other colonies.
Banning the militias only heightened their activities. What was for years a rag tag group of farmers and shop keepers were now openly arming and training out in the towns and villages.
Colonies had also formed provisional governments and holding meetings in open defiance of the law. John Hancock was the president of Massachusetts colonial congress and work side by side with his chief mentor and aide Sam Adams.
General Gage of course knew all of this. Most of the people in the colonies were not for a revolution. Most did not support the movement and were loyal to the king. As loyalists they felt obligated to keep the Gage's forces apprized of what was going on out in the countryside. Even many of leaders of the resistance were not openly for revolution but belonged to stand up for their rights as free Englishmen.
In February of 1775, Gen. Gage received information of more stock piling of weapons in Salem, Massachusetts. With good intelligence at hand he sent a ship load of soldiers to Salem. The orders were to arrive early Sunday morning, stand off until daybreak and then make their way to town while everyone was still sleeping or at church. The destination was a local forge where they had information that ship's cannons were being converted to field pieces.
The troops came ashore and quietly made their way to town only to be observed by a local. He ran back to the village and raised the alarm. The villagers turned out led by the local minister. When the regulars (what they were called by the locals) reached town they were greeted by a raised draw bridge and a angry crowd on the other side. The officer in charge demanded the bridge be lowered while the minister engaged him in conversation and negotiation. Finally the bridge was lowered and the troops were allowed to pass.Reaching the foundry the soldiers found it had been stripped clean while the minister stalled them at the bridge. They returned to Boston empty handed and embarrassed.
Very good. Please post more.
A lot of it I remember from my readings of history. But I think your presentation is very good and easy to read. That is a complement.
I've been there too. Also, when I go deep sea fishing with my stepfather, we take his boat right past there, since he's docked upriver in Newington.
mac66, Keep up the good work! I'm really enjoying reading all of this!
This is kind of like Paul Harvey (RIP), the rest of the story. Thanks for posting this.
In March of 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, a prominent Boston physician and head of the intelligence gathering operation in Boston gave a rousing oration on the 5 year anniversary of the Boston Massacre. In attendance at the church that day were numerous British officers who hissed and booed so loudly that they were run out into the street. Troops were summoned to quell the near riot.
By now, Revere, Warren and the mechanics were patrolling the streets every night looking for any signs of mobilization. In early April Warren received letters off a packet ship from England that another raid was imminent. Reports started coming in that British officers in plain clothes were seen out surveying the roads west of Boston and watching militia units. They were identified in the taverns and way stations by the fact they were carrying pistols under their cloaks. No one carried pistols but army officers.
The concern became so great that during the second week of April Paul Revere rode the 18 miles west to Concord to warn John Hancock, Sam Adams and Dr. Benjamen Church. Church, another Boston physician, was head of the security committee. He and the others were in Concord conducting meetings of the provisional congress.
Back in Boston, orders for Gen. Gage had arrived on the same ship from which Dr. Warren received his letters. Gages' orders were clear. He was to make all efforts to quash the insurrection and arrest the leaders, particularly Hancock, Adams and Revere. Gage had his own intelligence organization in place. He knew of the meeting in Concord. He also knew that large stores of military goods were in Concord and he exactly who had them and where they were. He knew the strength and size of the militia units along the way. He knew the conditions of the roads. He also knew that his army was being closely watched.
Gen. Thomas Gage had up to this point been roundly criticized in London for not cracking down on the rebels earlier or more harshly. Some of his junior officers referred to him behind his back as "Old Lady Gage" for not rounding up and hanging the leaders. He chose however to use a softer hand knowing that harsh treatment would only further inflame the passions of the colonists.
His actions were also tempered by the fact that he had lived in the colonies since the 1740s and because his wife, Margaret Kimble Gage was the American born daughter of rich family in New Jersey. She was heiress to the family fortune. She and Gage held large estates in New Jersey and large plantations in the West Indies. He also loved his wife and had a lot to lose if a revolution started.
Margaret was the top rung of society being married to the most powerful man in north America. She was sometimes called the Queen of America but she was sympathetic to the cause of liberty.
Gen. Gage formulated his plan. On April 18th, under cover of darkness, he would send a column of troops under the command of Col. Francis Smith. Their sealed orders, only opened after they left Boston would be to go to Concord and confiscate or destroy all military stores hidden there. They were to arrest Hancock and Adams and any other rebel leader the ran across and return to Boston by noon of the next day. Hours before their departure, he would send out 20 officers in advance to spread out along the roads to pick up any messengers coming out of Boston.
In order to keep the plan a secret, he would tell only three people. They were Col. Smith who would lead the brigade of 700 men, his second in command, Gen. Hugh Earl Percy, and inadvertently his wife Margaret.
On April 18th, Revere and Dr. Warren were kept busy by reports of a mobilization. Boats were being lowered from all the war ships in the harbors. Army officers were telling stable boys to get their horses ready. Troops had been confined to quarters or being called into garrison. As the day wore on and the soldiers retreated back into their quarters Boston became quiet. Tension hung in the air. Something was up and everybody knew it.
Fixed it for ya!
Sorry, I couldn't help myself!
Take away low information voter's Internet porn and Obammy will have more to worry about than nutty right wingers.
By evening, troops were being moved to the south end of Boston near the back bay. It was still unknown which direction the army would move. Would they take the short route by boat across the Charles river or would the march out by the long road?
In those days, Boston was only connected to land by a narrow strip of land called Boston Neck. The road in and out was controlled by a gate. If the army marched south they would have to swing south around the back bay then back up to Cambridge to get to the road west to Concord. If they took the shorter route across the river they would essentially land in a swamp and make their way west to pick up the road from Charlestown to Cambridge. The water route was shorter but would take more logistics to move 700 men across.
Learning of the troop movements Dr. Warren called upon his one intelligence source high up in Gen. Gage's command. He was able to get details of the plans of the column.
Immediately Warren called on Revere and another man named William Dawes. Their plan was put into place. Revere would cross by boat to Charlestown and proceed west to put out the alarm. Dawes would try to get out the south end of Boston and spread the word as well with the idea the one of the two of them might get through. The penalty if caught was likely the hangman's noose.
With the troops massing at the south end, it was still unknown which way they would go. Another part of Revere's and Warren's communication plan was implemented. As soon as troops started moving observers would spread the word to a pair of men in the north end. Those men, vicars in the North Church would then post lanterns in the steeple. One light if the troops went out Boston neck and two lanterns if they went across the bay in boats.
Paul Revere made his way to the water's edge on the north side of Boston. He was met by two men who began rowing him across the bay. The moon was full and laying in it's mooring out in the bay directly in their path was the British ship of the line, HMS Somerset.
always good to hear interesting bits of history.
Excellent read. Thanks for posting. Keep them up!
While Paul Revere was being rowed across the bay to Charlestown, William Dawes had to make his way through the gate blocking entry to the city on Boston neck. He then had to take the long southern road around and the up to the road to Lexington. The guards at the gate were ordered not to let anyone in or out but Dawes had developed a relationship with the guards. He may have slipped them a drink, a coin or just a good word and was allowed to pass.
Paul Revere's boat was quietly rowed and was able to skirt the HMS Somerset by staying in it's moon shadow. Reaching the far shore he was met by his contacts and given a horse named Brown Beauty. The horse chosen because of it's speed and endurance. Looking back toward Boston, Revere and his contacts noticed two lanterns in the North Church steeple. The army was coming by the short route over the river, he needed to hurry.
Revere's ride was to take him through Charlestown down the Charlestown neck and south into open country where he would pick up the west road north of Cambridge. As he swiftly rode he swung south and noticed a pair of riders in the road ahead. He slowed and upon realizing they were British Officers, wheeled his horse around and took off across the fields. The officers immediately gave chase. One was eventually bogged down in mud and Revere was able to outrun the other. The choice of Brown Beauty had been a good one.
The chase had pushed Revere north and fearing other riders he chose to take the north road up to Medford a detour of 5 or 6 miles out of the way. This did however afford him the opportunity to contact local leaders who in turn sent out other rides to spread the word.
Unlike popular myth, Revere did not ride through the countryside shouting "the British are coming". He and everyone else considered themselves British so it didn't much sense to call them what they themselves were. He also didn't shout out, instead he had a well established fan out notification system in place. He would wake the local leader who in turn would send out more riders. By this method by the end of the night some 80 riders had spread the word to a distance of 100 miles away.
After Medford, Revere swung south back down to Menotomy (now modern day Arlington) and notified his contacts there. After a short rest he turned west on the road to Lexington. Revere reached Lexington around midnight.