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tv   American Navys Role in Revolutionary war  CSPAN  September 21, 2014 9:05am-10:01am EDT

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participated in scale addriest of individuals that are highly organized. they have individual specialty in rules, some writes the know how to wash the money. just like organized crime. there's pictures of it. recon photo, all of that kind of to g, everybody going in work. they go to that building, that's their job. photos of eastern european towns, for instance, number of an insane people who drive lamborghinis this.hings like spam, f that where the fraud,armaceuticals, tax
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welfare fraud, those kinds of of gs, staggering amount money that traces back to data hat was stolen, stored in the government. monday night, 8:00's tern on the communicators. 2.span >> tim mcgrath explains how the congress explains the navy role in the rev nugs nair war. including enslaved sailors and he scottish-born john paul jones. this event was hosted by the museum.s tavern it's about an hour. >> thank you, jennifer.
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as always, i'm happy to be at fraunces tavern and to get a chance to talk about something heart, the r to my continental navy. here in june we nowhered with the commodore barry award, it occurred to me that a book on award could win the commodore barry award. mewere in the throws of give a fair ship. might giveitles that me something for the book. he turned count were he correspondents of joseph pulitzer, boom, the naval noble.ce of alfred
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and my personal favorite, being fan.eball cy young sailor. in the summer of 1959, my father mother abandoned and wildwood new jersey all of my in laws to spent two weeks. there was no board walk, no amusement rides to speak of. o playing with lifelong friend -- lifelong meaning about three years, and no late-night roller coasters and jukeboxes echoing over the buy to he perfect lull put an 8-year-old to sleep. there was the atlantic ocean and the beach. and its rulers, green head flie flies. flies. inside, a book shelf crammed ith history including samuel elliott morrison's biography of john paul jones. the first ever grown-up book i ever read.
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paul jones starring robert stack as jones going to the movies with my dad was always fun. he got a particular kick when i me to see a take ovie called the devil's disciple me believing it was a but ur versus dracula film it was george bernard shaw's satire on the american revolution. my mother learned her bette davis wass laying katherine the great opposite stack, that meant company. it was a friday night. theater was crammed with loud teenagers. o once stack -- i mean jones, won his great victory at flamboro head, my dad stood up and said let's get out of here. due to the unruly
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crowd or his lack of enthusiasm never learneds, i but my mother didn't talk to him for days. and i don't want to think about of breakfast we had had if the film had been, "whatever happened to baby jane." years later, i bought my mom a john paul jones but it time ed miss davis of the of need. stories l in love with of the navy. which is why you and i are here on the. sailors?are motor boaters, fishermen, or surfers, you know how easy it is to fall in love with being on water. the navy story is not just about dates and battles, it's a story about politicians. sailors, ers,
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officers, some very brave, many tragic ends, and a few buffoons. it's about wives and lovers and like all narratives from the of our collective slaves and while we can't tell ll of this remarkable but rarely told saga tonight, i'd like to share with you what i learned about these men and women. of the1770s, the economy british american colonies was so dependent on the maritime that man's business, be he a ur trader, furniture maker, baron, factory owner, plantation indentured loyee, servant, or slave, the food that ne put on the table was in a large part due to the sea. the atlantic ocean. the caribbean sea. water that cloak western europe were the major of business.
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there were taxes on goods, on shipping, and stamps on everything. 1773, while the indians of boston tea party included silver smiths, physicians, awyer, merchants, and shopkeepers, there were quite a few sailors among them. although it was the black apprentice, joshua wyeth with three generations of artists had the best line of the affair talking about making a large cup of tea for the fishes. 21, 1775.ard to april john barry the top captain for successful firm in to adelphia was coming up
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the black prince, returning from her maiden voyage to england. city tavern, he the st. george's society for the ssistance of englishmen in distress, we don't have clubs with such catchy names anymore. we're having the annual st. george's day feast upstairs. was proposing the toast of help to king george iii in withourse your burst knews of lexington and concord. others spilled their glasses and upended chairs in the rush to spread the news, morris alone glass, toasted the cause, then stepped out to the uncertain future. day under what barry noted in his log was fine, clear unshine weather, the black prince nestled against the stock total pandemonium. described the words covered with inhabitants. with wagons full
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of goods, ships that had space the hulls for their goods, 50e67 other stled into the water going up and down gangplanks. learning the fellow columnist in massachusetts has that, they hoped for one more killing in the english arketplace before the real killing came up to delaware. returned to was sea without properly being refitted. american navy is down the street in congress outside for officer royal navy whose gang was adding their names to the king's muster oles, adams had no maritime experience at all.
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he had been out to sea once in his life, 15-mile fishing trip cahasset off of maa. he left his wife and children in a brain tree farm outside of could see the ey bombardment and attack and he was receiving regular reports of around boston. not from the boston papers but the mother of his children. town asoccurred in this abigail adams put it and we were all night. from may to october of 1775, he argued for such a force. the first battle was fought in the room of what is now hall.ndence feet wide, one
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friggot. length of a the most imposing marylander, case, a lawyer with a vicious tongue and relished it.g the american navy for him was the maddest idea in the world. listed allies among their colleagues, the enemy by ed out the cause just being the enemy. shelling h navy began used the e the ousted exile and declared freedom of all virginia slaves owners while they oined the emancipation proclamation for four score and eight years. y october, even chase saw the navy as a necessity. and on the 13th, the continental
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navy was born. adams drafted the articles of war for the new navy's officers sailors, steven hawkins of the first four five captaincies for his family nd new england contacts including his brother who became the first and only commander in chief of an american navy. adams called his serving new naval to the orce the pleasantness part of my neighbors. but a colleague of his took full new force once he arrived in paris. seasick throughout the entire crossing, franklin was ordered by congress once he arrive in france, he was to, as they put it, let old england see how they ike to have an active enemy at their own door. franklin f the war,
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did just that, handing out commissions and giving orders to crews the british coastline aptured and destroyed british shipping, and spread a level of ear on the coast that have not been seen since the spanish armada. arthur lee, better born and educated than franklin. and a lawyer.or he treated people beneath him to him meant just about and the with disdain navy captains who took the orders and private suggestions. lee's machinations against the officers during and after the petty at best or worst.ght ugly at congress soon appropriated to build 13 friggots with construction from port
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smith to baltimore. funding was short. of inflation ic set in, congress found itself to opriating $1 million refit and repate one friggot. drafted by the ship wrights like 2 brothers. designs e one handsome and intuitive methods of construction. but to judge the ship's progress, one need not look at receipts for delivery of timber, iron, rope, and kansas. waste book entries for rum. one punch delivered on a monday not reordered for a week meant the work was slow. delivered on a monday followed by four more on wednesday, now there's progress. at sea, they were beautiful to behold. of this he sailors
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first fleet were from philadelphia. offered a en were whopping $8 a month to sign the muster roles. received much less. each -- even today, few jobs are more dangerous than being a sailor. firemen, e modern day hours of boredom punctuated by of courage g acts necessary to survive. living before the mast and the foxell, a sailor was exposed to the elements before his watch crowded area wreaking of water, livestock, smoke, and shipmates. now introduced to a new hazard, combat. against ort to stand the expertly trained gunners of greatest h navy, the war machine yet built by man continental officers drilled their sailors excessively at their guns. a goal was to match that of
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british gun crew and complete 11-step process in two minutes. because they lacked gun powder americans had the shadow box, pant mining their oves inle the last round when they might actually fire a cannon ball. tom cavern in philadelphia gave to the marine corps, the second in command for the the es being recruited for new navy was robert malign whose tavern.y ran a the family of the captain of the conistoga ned the tavern in washington. coincidence? these men ge, but distinguished themselves battle after battle. marine, william hamilton that passed the foot turned the tide of battle for john paul jones.
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conle flikt of interest must not have been invented yet. n one letter to a colleague, robert morris bewailed private only toin one paragraph mention he was investing in a the next. flak sailors comprised 10% of the navy's muster roles war.ughout the quite a few were slaves. one bought by john barry before first cruise. he was no sooner ashore when he resold the man whose pay in shares went to the master, appealed to the pennsylvania committee of safety for the earned in lieved he combat, he was not looking to uy new slots or spend it in caverns or brothels, what he his d to purchase was freedom.
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intervene onmittee his behalf? they would or could not. saw action at s sea on continental ships, all of them including this man, saw shares go and price to their masters. many of them jumped ship once vessel reached port. their captains called their act desertion. called running off; it freedom.alled ne african-american who personified duty and resilience was james horton, a free black provided an income for his widowed mother. captured by a british friggot. sons.utored the when the ship reached no new york, he was offered the choice
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the royal navy, eturning to england, or transferred by other prisoners a few miles from here to the east andersonville of the revolution. became an abolitionist. john kessler was a german maker son, apprentice to a broom meister. once the boy got his sea legs, a liking to him and he rose from landsman to stewart marines. he was captured near jamaica and a ship mself aboard bound for new england. in rags and starving, he made boston where he found the continental friggot alliance
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need of hands.e climbing up the gang mrapg, he was greeted by the captain, john barry who was happy to see to see as kessler was him. they joined each other after the war. the shortage of manpower grew so pressing that captain signed on rmy castoffs, invalids, jail birds, and british prisoners, often using them as marines. continental captain ordered the officers to keep a weathered eye out for treachery frequently found it. the navy's muster roles often as well, oreigners frenchmen, scandinavian, and the closest foreigners as far as the government was concerned, native americans. american indian sailor learned of a plot on british hands to avoid a crew, the captain, and all officers save them one.
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telling of his captain of the plans saved many lives and leaders beingring flogged mercilessly. hey were hung by their thumbs until they named their accomplices. shipmates.uded two boy from old cabin naples who named the officers joseph brussels, an active americanizing the foreign ame 100 years before ellis island made that a habit. borrow battle of flame head that recorded more a higher percentage of casualties than other fight or war on land or sea, both of the sailors lost brussels,rdan a limb, an arm. despite the risks of battle and rarelyments, and they're being paid by congress, continental sailors showed
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endurance, and humor. 1777.e late days of barely out of the throats of south carolinians surprisingly ere paid their shares. the subsequent celebration stuff of legend. newspapers escorting. females covered in jewelry for renders, we can only imagine. tack n bought a horse and only to prove he was an equestri questrian, he was a hell of a sailor. authorities found him dead drunk carrying his saddle and bridle. slurring his words he explained he had lost his ship but saved
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his rigging. the continental navy -- i want to go for foster brooks there. the continental navy list of captains includes few well known names but each one possessed his approach to management and personality quirks. mariners all skilled and brave. new englanders disliked each story o much that their reads like a sea-going odd couple. they were incredibly brave but crossed leaders like ambert weekes that took franklin to france and cruised the waters of great britain with reprisal. escaping through the ship is a line, sawing through the support allowing the reprisal faster. pursuer.e the there was young nicholas bitle who served in the royal navy
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the war and went on an expedition to the north pole a h horacio nelson as shipmate. the courage was as second nature to him as breathing. i oughtothing, but what to fear, he matter of factually brother, a dashing handsome lady's man with an of whom and when to fight. he would have eclipsed jones and for one tragic unforeseen split second. the official top captain was the overbearing james nicholson, an experienced mariner with two rothers also serving in the navy and giving command of the friggot virginia being bought and built in baltimore. the wrath of the towns folk and the governor of to land and he refused venture to sea and succeeded in giving him the nickname, the
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snug in the harbor. hen he finally put to sea the day before april fool's day in a series ofountered marx brothers e couldn't pull off. but he would later fight one of battles against the british. a re was the frenchman, deadly duellist whose command and inept.sulting the deadly marquis in the novel cloned with inspector clue as firing to the flamboro if there was a sailor's captain among the lot, it was john bar face down ill had to one mutiny by british prisoners, americans, and then the unofficial one by the unpaid officers.
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whole, his men liked and respected him. one officer wrote how the the seaman wasof a delight and good humor would to be the subject of joke and mirth. when anyone had neglected or and when ing wrong asked by cap pain barry how he came to neglect it, the person state.begin a he thought so-and-so. he would hastily say, who gave think which to occasionally the crew to address he comrades, who gave you the right to think? don't you uh know captain barry thinks for us all. instance, he overheard he line and let a long silence send the speaker to fear before laughing himself. one captain with the skills, pekrathmun of rhode island. he had been a lieutenant. years later in several squadron l ships, the
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found himself close to the jamaica fleet. merchantmen being led across the atlantic. eeing the 100 ships, rathburn sailed amongst them getting close enough to one to hail them, discuss conditions in the of day, and invite the men across the water for tea or something stronger. arrived and was made a prisoner, rathburn sent a cut crew to the ship and her out of the fleet, discretely sending the prize back to boston. other captains saw how easy it was and join in the fun.
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to exchange for american prisoners only to find the crew kidnappers cowed by the absent laird's very pregnant wife. nevertheless, both unsuccessful acts created panic up and down and went a coast long way towards increasing nti-war sentiment in britain
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parliament. more captain that burned british ships than jones and barry combined. favored by smugglers and half the sites of a friggot british rizing the isles. of all of the american rebels and ding washington franklin, there was cunninghamm who king george wanted to see hanged the most. he almost got his wish. out activities while france was still neutral forcing rail against a man dunnkirk alled the pirate on their ancient enemy. cunningham did more in the war than franklin.
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he truly was the real errol flynn. then the women who loved these men. nicholas bitle flirted the plantationil owner won his heart. bitle redrafted the will. elizabeth did get married 19 tragic end.his john paul jones was a ladies' man having one girl in every port. he was once schmitten with phyllis wheatley of boston and poem to her. john barry's second wife sara her husband's th absences but the consequences of
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a family ripped in two. sara was a stitch sister of betsy ross. flags flew atop jones' ship ranger. while her brother samuel marched others to fight with washington in trenton and brother n, her older was such a staunch loyalist he responsibility by william howe to see that the patriots didn't burn the city down. left he british philadelphia, william went with not into exile but to one ship and d on command a privateer near the raid down the chesapeake. captured at yorktown and never saw philadelphia again. t fell to young sara, now caring for the young sister's eight children after the woman died in childbirth to have to return of the austin estate seized by the
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for ylvania assembly william's treason. gustavus cunninghamm was captured, he feels sent to england to hang weighted down 55 pounds of chains. letters but e spared the news after washington promised the british that six officers would meet the same fate, certain that her beloved gusty as she called killed, the 24-year-old wife, the remarkable cunninghamm, gave her children to relatives and atlantic in the philadelphia merchantmen. he flight aboard ship was difficult for sailor, imagine what ann went through. seasick, unable to cross the for her sailor's arm. her nautz yeah returning again and again as she tried to sleep on a pitching see. ann informed ,
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stay until would she had to be talked out of going london tore to plead for husband's life. that is devotion. a special courage we could only admire. through the eight years of the revolution, by war's end, there were only two. john adams so optimistic of the on set now wrote at war's end, it's very difficult to think of our navy without tears. with peacetime became a horrific depression is a more accurate word. and sailors and officers cheered and sung about in the taverns now haunted the waterfronts, desperate for any work, moved by their plight, a pen aniless john barry $200 to buy shares at a reduced rate to give them families.eed their when the bank calm in the loan, arry asked his friend and partner in the cattle rest ling
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could loan him the money. but wayne didn't have it either. hen joanna young a friend of barry and jones and whose ship petitioned a storm, congress for the half pay given turned widows, congress her down. for naval officers were, as they put it, in a less severe service and situation of realizing substantial prizes, meaning unfortunately neither john or joanna young ever saw. playing politics began a part. even if the petitioners had no onlyiations whatsoever, it what site.o or of e three survivors amputees appeals to congress for
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pensions, congress did not deliberate so much as bicker. a sizable block of congressmen upon them but opposed it merely because morris supported it. opposing jordan hobbled in on crutches, personally appeals of decency. sense even with such a stirring appearance, the petition was three votes.y and congress appropriated funds to pay off the sailors in the bernard rashard 1848. doesn't all this sound familiar? one last thought -- as the marines, sailors, their families of the revolution et the bar for devotion and duty in sacrifice for succeeding
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generations of americans so, and the publicss set the example of support the taxes are ong as no levied for the best weapons, decent wages, or to care for widows and orphans. or as the press just recently week, even enough money for them to feed their loved ones. tries to teachll us the same lesson. war john kessler, barry's protege did everything grocery store to defer trading with new england indians before returning to where he served as sheriff of northern liberties 1840. his death in his descendents include the akers of the legendary ohio clock that's kept time for united 00 years in the states senate. it never stopped ticking until last year during the government
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shutdown. wonder how s, i nicholas ames forton, bitle, and ann cunninghamm, all f the women who tried means souls and endangered their livesle would feel about the inability of 21st century resolve to differences, find common ground, and get the job done just as they did. i think they would tell us to out.e up or ship thank you very much. [ applause ] thank you. americans?rry cap were those 10% armed? what were their duties? them really break down what was done. certainly in are battle given arms. same ere trained in the
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uite a few -- wonderful book where he breaks down the list of african-americans who serve in revolution. and under the ships, there's quite a few listed as gunners' mates. no one is given an officer's bosun's mate, but they are given responsibilities that meant that they were as of the in the survival ship and the shipmates as anyone else. else. i've not had that question before. that's a good question. there's never been a mutiny of the u.s. navy? is that true? we're kind of just talked about -- there were ractically every captain had a mutiny to face. jones had several. know, for all of his
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reputation and everything else, was very disliked by his sailors. found funny when we started to research the barry ook, he's not too popular with naval historians either. they love john barry. hey call him silent john because he never said two words if one would do. meanwhile jones at the drop of a hat, if a beggar on a street corner would say do you have any the navy, he'd say wait a minute. boar the man to death. he'd go, just don't you have a dollar? yes, sir? >> you mentioned that -- yes, sir. > then you quote john adams naming it after the founder of the world. google and king century.f the ninth how did this come about? >> how did he do all this?
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>> yeah. > he was dealing with the vikings. i'm not being smart aleck. he just -- i would imagine that would have been the first marie antoinette if he hasn't viking ething with the rates and literally decided fleet.ave their own he's the founder of the british navy. yep? any other -- yes, sir. yes, i read your biography of ohn barry and was first catholic to serve in a high position. was he ever discriminated against for -- he never gives any notification of it, you know? spread there's a collection that's in the new york historical society. independent sea port museum with the family papers and and documents of the library of congress and the ational archives but never mentions at all anything about being discriminated against. classic case the of ability sur mounding any prejudices.
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he was ery lucky when sent to the colonies that he came to philadelphia because much more anti-catholic fervor in the new england colonies than there was philadelphia was thought of as wide open minded. there was a philadelphia fish when 100he early 1700s irish immigrants showed up at the docks, he looks as if going to send inhabitants hither. so i don't think it quite turned out that way. yes, sir? like to know that the sons the revolution, john fraunces award who mr. mcgrath said exceeded all other capturing prizes and enduring hardships during that
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time. of people have never heard gustavus cunningham, mr. goes a long way in remedying that deficiency, thank you for that. i will say if anybody is thinking of buying or reading his book, do it, it's a wonderful book. thank you. sir.ank you, i'm always happy when my brother shows up. it just -- i would like to point of the things that i being o terrific about able to -- this is terrific to have it done here. cunninghammgustavus here at third and lum board. nd a few feet away from him is mr. fraunces. decater is there.
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and the poem that begins with a an s. with a u and with and it's fairly -- you know, old everything else. but i must think about the poor to write y who tried it it. any other questions? oh, over , going -- here? a oh. their own states have navy? >> most did, yes. captainshe continental were officers of the navy. was the maryland -- and it was new england
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worked adams, and he very hard to enlist southern to his cause and congressman gadson of south joined in.artily members of congress got suspicious for the first in s that the ships were action from virginia up to halifax. here.nted to help down one of the things they started to insist on is the ship's fight protect the coastlines of the southern states in fact the first fleet supposed to go to virginia and fight lord dunmore's feet. -- fleet. guys ey gauged these aren't ready yet to have a battle with the british navy. e sails to the bahamas, captures a couple of forts that are poorly manned and comes back with a little bit of gun powder,
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cannons, and depending on what book you read, venereal disease or smallpox. british friggot off of rhode sland and the captain, cunningham, goes to great links it's right and they're fighting for the british navy. documentedle is well by both sides. there's a mid shipman named fanny who wrote a narrative. another one, and, of course, john paul jones who never stopped writing about it. that, hat -- you say this was ng flip, but
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kill or be killed for hours. his ship was sinking. one of his sailors said, you drown.e're going to there is forest, there's wood, we'll float. be fine. but hamilton is one of the marines sent to the fighting the fourth about hour of this battle, he walks seen a ropes if you've wooden trip with a sail set and you'll see the lines that these holding on to ng the -- to the spar and walking feet across these very thin ropes. were so close that the masts were almost interconnected. mr. hamilton takes grenades and inches his way along the end of to get over to serrapas. and from there, he can look down hatch and start selling the grenades down the hatch and
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things up. buts, if you watch john paul jones, he's better peter cushing ng in the first star wars movie. van w him better as dr. elsing killing jessica lee in vampire movies. point he realized, you know, this is crazy. he must have looked at jones as sailors did and said this guy is going to kill all of us. how do they battle? do they sort of battle the navy?sh never good enough
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to go fleet-to-fleet. they were engaged in two, three ships against each other. right. >> one of my favorites, we talked about the odd couple of earlier d mcneil, and n that cruise, they run into superior british ships. like nley who doesn't maicon and maicon said, come to my ship. hey encounter a fight with the fox. it's being won by manley. mcneil is holding back. it's going their way. he comes in and sails in with to watch the me fox strike its colors and because he's the closest ship, to claim boat over her as a prize which didn't do mcneil.endear manley to gets captured and escaped
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later in the cruise. an entirely different story than mcneil, manley is than boston, one of boston's early heroes with ashington's navy and mcneil is drummed out of the navy and they as a lot of give and take. otherery captain like the captai captain. james nicholson had a few friends. barry did. there's a wonderful story after battle andunded in a he's recuperating in boston when jones who's paul been given command of a ship and the line on the stocks in new england. they have a delightful breakfast together. we know most about it because writes a long letter to barry after the breakfast. doesn't tell jones is james nicholson wrote him a etter saying jones is campaigning to be an admiral, and doing this and that.
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and i told the congressman if making jones an admiral, you should make barry an admiral too. not true. nicholson saying i'm the top admiral. i'm the first he never said anything to jones. by the time jones writes the he learned that nicholson had written the letter for not giving it any credit. interesting characters. yes, sir? cornwallis own when was cut off by the french, what role did the americans play? pretty much none. they were strictly the french navy. by then the continental navies down to five or six ship ms. they were all elsewhere? > if the french hasn't intervened, would it have drug on and on. >> there's points, we know war r because of the civil because of the documentation of
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petersburg falls, i'll wage a guerrilla war. and washington said the same hing, thinking if the french aren't coming to help, we'll just go to the woods and know, just harass them until they give up. navy wasn't strong enough by then. at he british population unwilling to keep it?ding >> the analogy to me was the ttitude the same with the vietnam war when we were younger nd those who served bravely there that came back and were not being as well regarded which is a tragedy. but where america was so gung ho the er in the war after gulf of tonkin incident by the end of the war, this is done. sameritish are feeling the way. party and edmond burke
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had been against it from the get go. they're saying we're not going to iraq. news. and fox they were mounting off what side things e as to where are. of british treatment captains by barry and jones gets on by the press that the americans are taking better guys as prisoner than we have been doing with them. that, again, went a long way promoting -- getting the war to an end. any other questions? much thank you all very for coming. have a good evening. >> you're watching american weekend, every weekend. on c-span 3.
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to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. with live coverage of the u.s. the senate pan and on c-span 2, here on c-span 3, we complement that coverage by relevant u the most congressional hearings and events.ffairs on the weekends, c-span 3 is home to american history tv with the nation's ll tory, including unique series, the civil war's history. the american artifacts, touring historic sites to discover what artifacts reveal about the past. history book shelf with the best known american history writers, the presidency, looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history with top professors delving into america's past. nd the new series real america featuring archival government and educational films through the 1930s and
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>> next, author and historian eric wittenberg discusses the battle of trevilian station which took place on june 11, in 1864. he explains how general grant raid toto send him on a destroy rail rode junctions. he describes a decision -- and how those choices led to the decisive confederate victory. this was hosted by the emerging civil war blog. like to say the man i'm about to introduced needs no introduction. mostly because it's so cool to be introduced that way. but we a


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