tv Lectures in History The American Revolution 1775-76 CSPAN September 3, 2019 12:26pm-1:33pm EDT
c-span's campaign 2020, your unfiltered view of politics. >> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, supreme court and public policy events from washington, d.c., and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of the government. >> american history tv continues now with a look at military engagements from the military revolution from april 1875 to july of 1776. we examine the battle of bunker hill, american invasion of canada and eventual british evacuation of boston. this is an hour.
>> okay, everybody. last class we were talking about outbreak of the american revolution. we say all this. tension is building in the spring of 1775 in april, general thomas gage sends troops into the country side, fighting breaks out at lexington and concord. as night falls about 20,000 americans descend on boston, lay siege to the city in this war nobody wants, been brewing for 12, 13 years has started. so today we're going to talk what's call -- anybody take french? am i pronouncing it right? probably. okay. close enough. this is april 1775, so right after lexington and concord through the declaration of independence. this is sometimes called the popular uprising phase, okay? this is the year of the revolution that probably more
people supported the war than any other one. why do you suppose there's so much support for the war this year? any ideas? go ahead, isabel? they haven't really started fighting it. they don't know what war is going to mean. anybody else? any ideas? okay. this is like fury. i've got some images here to show you guys. kind of a neat quote. there's a historian teaches at lsu, he coined this phrase and it comes from an observer. keep in mind it's philadelphia not boston. the sentence is rage militaire, passion for arms has taken possession of the whole continent. americans are literally fighting mad. okay? that's why there's so much support for the war.
this wild passion. even the word. rage. what's rage? go ahead, ivan? anger. intense anger. the americans are just really furious. all this stuff has been building up, and it comes boiling out. what's sort of interesting during this rage militaire phase americans are on the offensive. americans are actively taking the war to the british. what we're going to look at is rage mill teitaire in the south boston. what we're going to see is what's going on here is partly about the war, partly about what is the american war aims, okay? different people have different ideas of what those war aims are. the final thing i would say here, it starts april 1775, lexington and concord.
what's july '76? what happens in july '76? go ahead. >> declaration. >> declaration of independence ends rage militaire. popularity and support of the war begins to decline. okay? that emotional edge doesn't last. the horrors of war kind of take the edge off of that. it's hard to maintain a really high emotional peak for extended periods. maybe a bad analogy. when you meet somebody and fall in love, you're in love with them and can't stop thinking about them. at the 20th anniversary, i love you, too, could you pass the salt in it's not the same thing. the intensity of the first year fades away. also, not all americans support independence. we'll look at somebody today who kind of fits that model. so we're going to start with the north. okay. fighting breaks out at lexington concord in april.
we talked about that. all right in the what's significant is fighting spreads to upstate new york. if we look at this map, we can see this is lake champlain. at the southern end of lake champlain there's a large british forward called fort t f tikonderoga. benedict and seized the fort because it's loaded with cannons, military equipment. this attack on the fort is not authorized by congress. congress is meeting for the first time this day. we're going to pick this up later. it's authorized by massachusetts committee of safety and a bunch of angry guys in vermont. they are taking the war to the english. okay? there's no reason this should happen but it does. over the next couple days, we see a map that extends on this, the american sees a second fort
called crown point, which we really don't need to worry about. benedict arnold actually raids canada. the americans are taking the war to the champlain valley, taking the war to the british. okay? that's rage militaire. the second place you see is boston. what's going on in boston? we said these 20,000 americans descend on the city of boston and the city is under siege. this is the governor of massachusetts. he's british commander in north america. his name is thomas gage. gauge is an interesting guy. gage is married to an american. may be a spy. he somewhat sympathizes with americans.
he bloefts in liberty but not the american sense of what liberty is. throughout the fall of '74 and the spring of 1775, gage keeps asking for reinforcements. keeps send letters to linkengla it's pretty bad, send reinforcements. instead of reinforcements they send three more generals, a guy by the name of william howell. we'll talk about him later today. he'll feature prompt naeinently clinton and another we'll talk about later in this course. what do you think the significance is gage asks for reinforcements and they send three generals. what's the ramifications of that? a lot of conflicting views.
emily? >> british don't think manpower is necessary at this point. >> they might in the think manpower is necessary. might not have faith in thomas gage. the bridge that brings these three generals, serabus is the ship, the three-headed dogs that guard hell. one for each general. this is boston. you can see boston is on this peninsula sticking out here. you can see this very narrow called boston neck. americans are at roxbury and cambridge and have the british bottled up in boston. here you can see boston harbor. you see castle william. we read about castle william.
he's fled. that's where castle william is. what's interesting, this shows american anger after lexington and concord, the americans don't just sit here, they don't try to storm the city, they could never get across the boston neck, what the americans do is they fortify this peninsula here. this is call the charlestown peninsula. the theory is americans control this high ground, they could put artillery up here and potentially shell the city and make boston harbor untenable. the americans occupy this land on the night of june 16th. they are supposed to go to this hill called bunker hill. bunker hill is the back hill. there's actually two hills. bunker hill is 40 feet taller than breed's hill. in the darkness, the men get confused. they actually go to the forward hill called breed's hill. it's closer to boston.
in some ways that's good, in some ways bad. over the course of the night they dig a fortification. okay? when the british wake up on the morning of june 17th, they can hear shoveling, they don't know what's going on. when they hear the shoveling, they find somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 to 3,000 americans have dug fortifications on bunker's hiller breed's hill technically and overlooking the city of boston. okay. thomas gage decides that this is a threat. you can't let those troops stay overlooking the city, and you've got to drive them back. and the man who gage puts in tactical command, the guy who will command on the battlefield is sir william howe, commander on the ground.
now, if you're the british and you see these americans are up there on this hill, what would you guys do? how would you attack them? what ideas? go ahead. [ inaudible ] >> either here or here? >> look down upon them. >> okay. in a sense, you control the water, that's very doable. also cut off their retreat route. okay. anybody else? >> use british navy to encircle that. >> okay. use the british navy to encircle the whole peninsula, shell the heck out of those guys. that would be a pretty good strategy. anybody else? those are all pretty good. that's not what britain decides to do. that's not what sir william howe decides to do. instead he lines up 2200 british soldiers shoulder to shoulder and sends them straight up the hill. okay. it's kind of interesting, british soldiers, and you can see this here, this is a
relatively accurate painting, probably a second assault. we can see dead guys here and i'll explain why we know it's not the third. they wear lots of belts. they crisscross. natural target points. british officers wear a shiny metal disk around their throat. it's a symbol of authority. british officers rub it so it will shine in the sun. any bad things about having a shiny metal thing around your throat? they know exactly where to shoot. same with crisscrossing belts. the famous quote from bunker hill is don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes. that's probably actually said. the british march up bunker hill and americans fire their first volley at under 150 feet. the british go down in waves. they are literally blasted down
the hill and they reform. william howe puts them in line and sends them back up a hill the second time. >> this is very hacksaw ridgesque, every time they crawl up the ridge they get wiped out. >> crawling over the guys in the first wave. why do you suppose howe adopted this tactic? why not swing around with the navy, shell them, isolate, line up and go up the hill. yeah. >> it's always how they have been fighting. >> who have they been fighting. >> militia. >> americans. they aren't going to stand up against british regulars. they are way underestimating american ability, way overestimating british ability. the british march up the hill a second time and get palaced down the hill a second time. the way we know this is the third assault, the third assault howe calls for reinforcements,
bring over more soldiers, third assault he let's them take off their backpacks. british soldiers carry 60 to 80 points of equipment. first assault carrying equipment. third time don't need to carry equipment up the hill. the third time up the hill the americans have run out of gunpowder. the british overrun bunker hill. the british capture bunker hill. okay? bunker hill is technically a british victory. they seize charlestown peninsula. >> up breed's hill. >> breed's hill. that's a good point of it's technically the battle of breed's hill but remembered as bunker hill. bunker hill is the hill americans meant to be on and in the darkness they picked the wrong hill. british win the battle of breed's hill or bunker hill and occupied charlestown peninsula. okay? bunker hill is tremendously important because it has lots of
ramifications. it feeds in with this idea of rage militaire. we're going to pick that up in a minute. one of the legacies of bunker hill is the casualties. british soldiers take horrible losses at bunker hill. 268 british soldiers are killed, 828 are wounded out of about 22 or 2400. casualty rate of somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 to 50%. william howe is personally on the field. almost all of william howe's staff is killed. howe miraculously unhurt. bullets whizzing around, kill everybody around him but never hit him. two british regiments are completely wrecked. the british in boston are just horrified by this. you have to think bhow small boston is. dying men. it's summertime, hot. the british army is horrified by what exactly has happened here. what's striking and we'll pick
this up a little later today, british army is innered for the next nine months. they don't try anything after this. they have just been pummeled by bunker hill. american loss alt bunkers hill 115 dead and 305 wounded. okay. a second result of bunker hill is even though the americans have lost this hill, the americans are greatly encouraged by this. it shows americans will fight. americans will fight like crazy. as the british ultimately sees the hill and enters this american earth where american soldiers fight them with rocks, butts of gunsz, they don't have bayonets. they comment they stand up like this. normal soldiers will run. these angry americans don't do that. another legacy of bunker hill is tremendously heavy officer casualties. very hard to put precise numbers
on anything, any war, especially the american revolution. it's estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of 12, 13% of all british officers killed in american revolutionary war are killed at bunkers hill. americans are targeting officers. they are shooting these guys down like crazy. okay. what's interesting is william howe's response. he says -- not william howe, but thomas gage's response, he said americans are spirited up by rage and enthusiasm. ranl, anger, rage and enthusiasm as great as ever people were possessed of. you must proceed in earnest or give the business up. let's look at that quote. the americans are now spirited up by a rage and an enthusiasm as great as ever people were possessed of. what does that mean? what's howe or gage literally
saying here? he said i've never in my entire career seen anybody so angry. the americans are like unbelievable angry. the next quote is very interesting. you must proceed in earnest or give the business up. what's that mean? proceed in earnest or give the business up. go ahead, gabe. yeah, telling parliament, telling british war, you need to send the whole army. this is full blown war. this is not a little rebellion. if you're in the going to commit the entire empire, don't even bother. this is wildly out of control, okay? you go back to the quote, rage militaire has swept the continent. there's another guy, we'll talk about him later, richard montgomery, he's in new york city. we've got philadelphia, boston, new york city. this is what richard montgomery says about bunker hill. he says, see what the enthusiasm
of liberty and indignant sense of injury is capable of doing. okay. enthusiasm. tremendous anger, okay? he says every friend of old england wishes this contest speedily concluded. if it lasts many months, she is done with us forever. what's that last part of the line mean? every friend of old england wishes this contest speedily ended. if it lasts many months, it will go on forever. what's that mean? what's this guy, richard montgomery, saying here? anybody? go ahead, isabel. >> everyone who is a supporter of england wants this to be over fast. if it's not, they are just going to give up. >> okay. this war is wildly violent. if this lasts very long, there's never going to be reconciliation. there's going to be too much blood spilled. it shows you some people are still hoping for reconciliation. richard montgomery is one of them. we'll get back to him in a
little bit. okay? this is rage militaire. the final thing to say here, final result of battle of bunker hill, is parliament relieves thomas gage. they see he's failed, okay? one of the things we're going to see, we talked about how the coming of the revolution britain kept going through prime ministers. once war breaks out britain keeps going through commanders in america. when you keep changing commanders, that's a bad sign. that's a sign the war is not going well. you can't pick somebody to stay. thomas gage is relieved of command he sent back to england. the new commander is william howe, he was at bunker hill. he'll show up prominently in your book. some historians have argued and i don't want to give away too much of that book, one of the problems with william howe he was sympathetic to americans, a member of parliament and told constituents he wouldn't fight
against americans, changes his mind when they offer him the command. the other effect, some historians have argued william howe is traumatized by bunker hill. he's gun-shy. after bunker hill he'll never commit his men in a major assault. probably today you'd say he's ptsd. horribly scarred by seeing his men -- >> thomas gage -- >> he's overall command. the guy in charge is the man messing up. of the three generals who arrived, howe was senior so howe is the commander in north america. makes no sense. that's what happens. that's rage militaire. okay? we've got another manifestation of rage militaire in the north. this is invasion of canada. we talked a little about canada. canada is new to the british empire, treaty of paris.
we said there's like 70,000 french canadians there. okay? we said parliament has just passed quebec act to try to appease canadians. quebec act extended providence to the ohio river. quebec act allowed catholicism, allowed appointed assembly in the use of french law in the province of quebec. what's interesting is the americans think the french canadians might want to join them. and maybe the americans would be welcomed in canada. why do you suppose they might think that? any ideas? yeah. >> still sour from -- >> still sour. maybe french canadians haven't been assimilated into the
empire, maybe they would join this french rebellion. is there any down sides to that thinking? >> it might be more interested in france taking back that area. >> okay. they might want the french back. do you suppose the french canadians have great love for americans? shaking your head no, gabe. why? >> i assume they helped the french in the french-indian war. >> they did. americans helped the british. >> the americans who pretty much started the war to begin with in the ohio river valley. >> okay. that's part of it. the americans aren't noted for being fond of catholicism. they call quebec act part of intolerable acts. why the americans are going to be welcomed in canada is an open question but congress thinks they might be. one of the things congress is thinking about. this is where the whole situation in canada gets really, really complicated. there's 70,000 french canadians. they are generically called the new subjects because they are
new to england. but after the british congreque canada, 3,000 english merchants settled in canada. these are called old subjects. they were out the old subjects don't like the québec act because they don't like there's no elected assembly, and they don't like french law. they want common law and elected assembly. throughout the spring of 1775 before lexington and concord, americans are sending spies into canada, and canada is sending spies out saying the new subjects are indifferent, but the old subjects would welcome an american invasion. congress believes there's going to be support for an invasion of canada. they also want canada because if they would take canada, they would get the british off their back door. this is the traditional invasion route into the interior and new england. that's why that seized trikond
row ga. congress believes -- and this is an interesting idea. if they could take canada, it would show parliament they were serious. and there was some talk maybe you could use canada as a bargaining chip. we'll give you canada back if you repeal this act. something like that. okay? once again the americans capture ticondaroga in may, but congress doesn't know what to do. congress actually for a while considers inventorying all the captured cannons and moving them to a safe place so they can give them back to england when the war is over because congress believes reconciliation is going to happen. but throughout the summer of 5 '75, congress begins to believe maybe reconciliation won't
happen, and congress authorizes an invasion of canada, but they don't do this until the end of june. that's late. it's going to take a couple months for the armies to get ready. that means american armies aren't going to enter canada until september or october. why is that a problem? logically? yeah, dan? >> it's canada in late fall. >> why is that bad? >> it's cold. >> it's cold. winter campaigning is not a good decision, but that's what congress does. congress doesn't quite know what's going on. they can't quite make up their mind what to do. they ultimately adopt an invasion of canada. it's interesting the order says if the canadian inhabitants don't mind. how are you going to know? are you going to ask them? yeah, okay, you can invade. all right. so congress authorizes an invasion of canada. it's smart. one prong led by benedict arnold, that guy who captured
fort ticodaroga is going to lead an army through the main wilderness. about 1,000 men, mainly new englanders. the theory is they would attack québec city directly. they would emerge from the wilderness and attack québec city. this is benedict arnold. if you look at this painting, this is québec city in the background. arnold's march to québec turns to be a nightmare. winter sets in earlier than they plan. he has about 1100 men. the final 400 have most of the supplies they turn back. they take all the supplies with them so the other 700 are trapped in the wilderness with no food. part of the problem for arnold is the americans have a map from the coast of main to québec. and the map says this route is about 160 miles.
the map is off by about a factor of two to three. it's 300 or 400 miles. so these guys are caught in the rivers of northern maine and parts of southern québec in winter, and these men starve. these men are like walking square crows. this account is very heavily recorded. lots of arnold's men live diaries. some historians suspected it's new englanders. they have high literacy rates. you read about their accounts. they're eating squirrel tails, their shoes, cartridge boxes. some people have dogs. the dogs disappear relatively quickly because there's no food. they're like walking scare crows, but they make it to point lavie. they call upon the city of québec to surrender and the british laugh at them. there's 600 square crows telling this walled city to surrender.
they don't do it. but arnold does make it to québec. historians at the time, writers at the time compared this to hannibal's march through the alps with elephants. this is the famous route. this is the one everybody knows about because it's well-documented and it's benedict arnold and americans like him because benedict arnold is kind of an interesting figure because he's a hero and traitor at the same time. but the guy i want to focus on is the man who leads actually the main army in canada. it's actually the main invasion for us. nobody remembers him today. it's richard montgomery. montgomery's job was to take the city of montreal. he was supposed to face the main british army and the theory was if montgomery attacked montreal, the british would put all their force against them and québec would fall without resistance. they were going to hit the two
major cities of canada simultaneously. well, what's interesting about montgomery at first i did my doctoral dissertation on him, so that makes him fascinating. i told my wife if we ever had a son we would name him richard montgomery gabriel. mercifully, that never happened. s he shows us about the coming of conspiracy. montgomery is 37, born in ireland, and a former british officer. spends 15 years in the british army. it's interesting. three very high-ranked american general officers from the american revolution are all former british soldiers and seemingly know each other. gates, charles lee. richard montgomery enters the army at 18.
he sees extensive service in north america. he's a ticondaroga, he catches malaria in the caribbean. he fights in pontiac's rebellion, extensive duty. and on the way to fight pontiac's indians, his ship runs aground on the hudson river and he meets the livingstons. meets their eldest daughter. she remembers when his regimen he's not there, and he's going to marry here in a future point. following service in america, montgomery goes to england and seemingly sympathizes with the american position. he seems to be a political liberal for his time, and montgomery grows disallusioned
partly because he can't get promoted. now, this is something to bring up a little bit. at this point in history british officers are partly promoted but it's a purchase system. if you have enough money, you can buy yourself a commission. there's a scale. a second lieutenant is like 500 pounds. the first lieutenant is like 800 pounds. a captain is 1500 pounds. majority is 26 00 pounds. so montgomery's dad buys him a commission. he earns his way up and serves as a captain. multiple times after the french and indian war, remember, we talked about the british army is cut in size after the french and indian war. montgomery is passed over. he never can get promoted and he gets disgusted and he comes to america. he writes a very interesting letter to his cousin and says i cast my eyes on america where my pride and poverty will be much more acceptable.
he's pretty wealthy, but by british standards, he's pretty poor. he settles in new york city or near new york city, a place called kings bridge. in 1772 he marries the eldest daughter of this wealthy american family called the livingstons. okay? what's interesting is montgomery sees the coming of the revolution. he sees boston tea party. doesn't seem to do anything. the thing that seems to politicize him is the coercive acts. the coercive acts cause him to enter the american service. he's a member of the new york provincial congress. that's new york's revolutionary government. okay? and in june, 1775, because of his military background congress makes him a general. congress picks him to be a
general. okay? and montgomery's comments on being made a general are pretty interesting. i want to read this quote to you. listen to the last line and think about what we've talked about in this class. montgomery writes, the congress having done me the honor of electing me a brigadier general in their service is an event which must put an end for a while, perhaps forever, to the quiet scheme of life i have prescribed for myself. listen to this line. he says for though entirely unexpected and undesired by me, the will of an oppressed people compelled to choose between liberty and slavery must be obeyed. the will of an oppressed people compelled to choose between liberty and slavery must be o y obeyed. what's montgomery believe in? this was on your test.
freedom? >> a conspiracy. >> he wanted a conspiracy. there's no doubt. britain is out to enslave the americans. and montgomery is put in command of the invasion of canada. he's the number two officer. the number one officer gets ill and montgomery takes over. montgomery leads the main american army into canada. just south of montreal, north of the current day american border, there's a british fort at a place called st. john's, and montgomery lays siege to st. john's for 43 days. this is a map drawn by the british commander. thick, swampy woods. not a great place you'd want to spend 43 days in october. it rains inses e. he calls his army drowned rats
crawling through the swamp. but after 43 days st. john's surrenders and when st. john's surrenders montgomery captures almost all the british army ain canada that's been sent against him. he destroyed it. montgomery occupies mont recall. they surrender without firing a shot. montreal surrenders on november 13th. so montgomery has taken the eastern part of -- the western part of canada and destroyed the british army and canada. the only thing left is québec city and about 70 regulars. they're the guys holed up in québec city facing arnold. and montgomery throughout this entire period writes -- utters to his wife, and he repeatedly talks about being home sick and how he has moral qualms against fighting the british army. he was a british officer for 15
years. his great fear is he's going to have to fight his old regimen. he hears word his old regimen is being deployed to america. he writes heaven save me from having to fight my own regimen. he says i feel closer to the people of the 17th regimen than i do even my own family. god, i hope i don't have to fight these guys. montgomery horribly home sick, increasingly disillusioned with american troops advances to québec city. he meets arnold outside of québec and the americans lay siege to québec. the americans have about 900 men. arnold had about 600. montgomery had about 300. montgomery left about 500 behind in montreal. he works his way down to québec city. montgomery tries to shell the city. québec is a walled city.
the american artillery is so light the cannon balls bounce off them. montgomery sends letters in saying they should surrender. they send the messages back unopened. montgomery who outranks arnold faces a huge problem and that's on january 1st, most of arnold's armies enlistment expires. most of arnold'sermy is going to go home on january 1st. what montgomery decides is on the night of december 31st, 1775, to try to storm the city of québec. the midst of a roaring blizzard, wild blizzard, the american army is demolished. richard montgomery is killed almost immediately. hits by grape shot in the face and groin. killed immediately. benedict arnold is seriously wounded and the american army in canada is shattered.
okay? what's interesting here, and this is a quick aside, montgomery becomes the great -- go ahead, brooke. >> did they really only go in because it was all going to expire? >> they were going to go home. yeah. that's why they attack. because if we wait until january 1st, half the army is going home. >> did they think they had any chance? >> that's a debatable question. montgomery believes he has a fighting shot because he thinks the blizzard is going to hide them. okay? it didn't work. there's very wild accounts. montgomery is leading the attack. montgomery grabs an ax and is hacking his way through. he's the first guy through the gates and the first guy killed. he really wants to go home. i mean, he really does. montgomery becomes the first martyr of the revolution, or at least the first major martyr. there's a guy killed at bunker
hill called warren. richard montgomery is the first and highest ranking officer killed in general officer killed in the revolution. he's the highest american officer killed in the revolution. on the day richard montgomery is killed, his overall commander who is back in albany sick writes a letter and says there's a rumor that you've been killed. i hope that's not true. and congress just made you a major general. congratulations. as he's writing that letter, montgomery is being killed. what's interesting, and if any of you would take the early republic class, he'll walk about it. montgomery becomes a hero. this painting was done in 178 6. if you look, montgomery, if you compare it to a lot of renaissance paintings, looks like christ being taken down from the christ. you can see the battle flags.
they symbolically are making a cross. richard montgomery is like almost a deity. 17 states will name counties after richard montgomery. the first monument congress ever approved is in new york city in a place called st. paul's chapel. richard montgomery is buried in québec. the british bury him with honor. 43 years they dig him up and bury him in new york city. but this is richard montgomery. thomas payne will write an appeal for independence using montgomery's ghost to argue for independence. montgomery becomes this great hero. what's interesting is he doesn't want independence. we saw that one letter he wrote where he said we hope this thing ends quickly or england is through with us quickly.
about two weeks before richard montgomery is killed, he writes a letter to his brother-in-law who is a member of congress. and he says has the americans approached any foreign powers? and have they set a date beyond which reconciliation is impossible? he never gets an answer because he gets killed. he has an interesting postscr t postscript -- whatever. an add on. okay. that's going to look good on tv. i hope and do believe that the ministry will not reduce us to this melon collie necessity. i hope we never have to adopt a position of independence. i hope they don't force us to do this. okay? so richard montgomery doesn't get killed dying for american independence. he gets killed dying for neglect. the americans want their rights back and they want to be left alone. okay? and the american army persists in canada until the spring, but the american army in canada is finished. we'll talk about this a little bit more next week.
horrible smallpox epidemic destroys what's left it. the invasion of canada fails. canada won't be the 14th colony. it won't become a bargaining chip. they try like crazy, but it doesn't happen. now i ask you guys to read a document. this translation of this british report an who d the time to do that, throughout that document called the journal of francios -- it keeps talking about the people called the boston a. who's the boston a? anybody know?boston, the new england area? >> okay. anybody else. you're basically right. >> i think it was said it was the americans in general. >> it's interesting the french canadians think anybody is from america is from boston. all americans are boston a. if you look at the way the
americans spell it, it's not bo. it's ba because of the ak sent. the document keeps talking about the happbitants. who are the habitants? >> the french? >> yeah. they're the french canadians. the common people, the farmers. so those are the people who you don't know if they're going to help the americans or not. that's what everything was ultimately riding on. from that document the francios baby journal, did you see -- >> they protect the spies, i don't have my notes, but i read there were three spies that stayed and there was a notice sent to have them removed, and then the general that was supposed to remove them told a friend of his that they needed to get them out.
>> okay. so they ate american spies coming in and out of canada. anything else they did? >> smuggled food and armaments. >> they arm them and provide them food. anybody else? anything they do? some of them stand guard. some of them build signal fires for the americans. some of them fight with the americans. not that many. did anybody see anything why the americans aren't welcome in canada? there's one or two things. you have to read it fairly carefully. anybody? repeatedly it says the americans buy provisions and they don't give them cash. they give them ious. what's the matter with doing that? >> can't pay someone if you're dead. >> can't pay someone if you're dead. anything else that's bad about ious? what is it implying? >> well, they never really get it. >> they don't get it.
they're assuming the army is going to stay in canada and canada is going to become part of the united states. what if that doesn't happen? the ious are worthless. why don't you suppose the americans and canada don't just give the french canadians gold coins and stuff, pay in cash? >> they don't have any hard currency. >> they don't have any. they can barely feed themselves. as the american army stays in canada, they begin to requisition supplies and take things. that doesn't build a lot of confidence among the french canadians and the british are saying if they can't feed themselves and keep taking your food, what's the odds they're going to treat you well if you become part of the united states. it's doomed. it's over. but there is a silver lining. poor richard montgomery and other dies who died of smallpox don't die in vein.
this is a major diversion for the british. britain has to send in the neighborhood of as many as 12,000 troops to canada. they're going to have to permanently keep 4,000 to 6,000 troops to keep canada loyal or under control. and by diverting troops to canada, there's less troops to fight in the main lower 13 colonies. okay? so in a sense, the invasion of canada works out okay for the americans, but it's a very, very, high loss. all right? that's rage military in the north. fighting is also spreading to the south. we talked about boston. we talked about new york and canada. well, virginia, virginia have a royal colony. most populist, wealthiest, largest royal colony and the royal governor is a man by the name of lord dunmore. as early as may of 1975, lord
dunmore seizes all the gun powder held at the capital colonial williamsberg. anybody been there? ever see the powder magazine, the big brick building? they seize all the gun powder there because he doesn't want the american rebels to do it. throughout the summer of '75 n dunmore fights little militias. give me liberty or give me death, that guy. the other thing lord dunmore does, and we'll pick it up later, but in november lord dunmore issues a proclamation that he tells any slave who enters british area and takes up arms will be set free. what dunmore is doing is creating a forest made up of a hand full of british regulars, loyalists and slaves. and by the fall of 1775, he has about 1200 of these people in
the area around norfolk, virginia. dunmore flees to a british warship. you'll see these guys. we saw british authority collapse in new jersey in the benjamin franklin book. british authority in new york collapses. british authority across america is collapsing. dunmore is on a british warship. in december dunmore lands his combined force of about 1200 in a place called great bridge, and there they try to defeat the america militia force and take the city of norfolk. the americans defeat dunmore's force at great bridge. the battle of great bridge is an american victory that secures virginia for the colonist cause. december 9th, 1775,. at the same time montgomery is in canada, there's fighting in virginia. just to wrap dunmore up, he hangs around off the coast and
on january 1st, he burns the city of norfolk of the ground. he burns it. some will argue that very much alienates british sympathies in virginia. the british burn anything. talked about how do you win this war? how do you make civilians like you? how do you promote the loyalist population? maybe burning cities isn't the answer. and very soon after burning norfolk, disease breaks out on dunmore's ships. d dunmore's ships scatter. dunmore goes to florida and later staten island. what's pasort of tragic, the slaves are taken to the west indies and sold as slaves. the british didn't free them. they moved them from virginia to barbados. v.a. has been secured.
the same situation is happening in north carolina. there's a royal governor in north carolina who has fled to a warship. this is a man by the name of josiah martin. josiah martin issues a very bombastic, bold proclamation. i want to read you part of this. martin issues this proclamation in january, 1776. he say a most daring horrid and unnatural rebellion is exerted in this province by base and insidious artifices by wicked and designing men. that's a lot. that's really bad. and then he called upon all loyal people to rise to the british standard. calls on all males to join the british cause. he says all such rebels who will not join the royal banners, rebels and traitors, their lives and properties will be forfeited. okay?
if you don't join, we'll kill you and we'll take your property. martin's proclamation resonates in north carolina. we talked about north carolina in the regulator movement. we said north carolina is battling east versus west. there's lots of different ethnic groups in rural north carolina. there's scotch irish, germans, highland scotts and a force of about 1500 highland spots who are loyalists begin to march toward the coast. there's word that a british naval squadron is approaching north carolina. if this british naval squadron could meet the 1500 loyalists, maybe they could subdue north carolina. well, on february 27th, 1776, another battle is fought. this is called the battle of moores creek bridge. battle of moores creek bridge.
february 27th, 1776. this is moore's creek bridge. it's a little bridge over this deep swampy scream called moore's creek. what the americans did is they took the plankings off the bridge. and they greased them. and the americans are on this side of the bridge with guns, and there's about 1500 loyalists on the other side in kilts, bag pipes and carrying broad swords. and crying out king george in broad swords. they try to walk across the runners of the greased bridges under fire. what do you suppose their odds are? >> bad. >> bad. that's an understatement. they get slaughtered. the americans lay the planking down, counter attack. and within a couple of days about 40 of these people have been killed and over 8 00 have been captured. and north carolina is now secure for the patriot cause. virginia has been secured at great bridge. north carolina is secured at
moore's creek bridge. okay. the patriots are taking over. we've got a final case. this one in south carolina. south carolina has another royal governor. this man's name is william campbell. ki william campbell flees to a british warship. all british governors do that, flee. campbell has heard that a naval force eventually is going to come to charleston. it's a major southern city. it's a best port south of new york. it's also a very rich area. lots of slaves, rice, indigo. and in early june, this british naval squadron arrives off the coast of charleston. this naval squadron was supposed to go to north carolina but they were delayed by storms. and by the time they arrive at north carolina in march, they find out about moore's creek wr bridge. north carolina has been lost so
they go to south carolina. and on june 28th, 1776, the british navy attacks charleston in what's called the battle of sullivan's island. this would be the battle of sullivan's island. anybody ever been to charleston? what do you think of charleston, matt? >> very old. >> very old. very historic. okay. pretty nice place, actually. okay? the british navy has a disaster. the americans are firing very, very accurately. they shoot the heck out of two british warships. a third british warship gets stuck. the british are forced to burn it because they're afraid the americans will capture it, and the british are repelled to charleston and south carolina is now secured for the colonist's cause. the three major southern colonies have all been secured. the royal governor of georgia flees. georgia is now secured. the americans have secured the deep south. this is a very famous painting
of the battle of sullivan's aland. this man is sergeant jasper. a very famous story. this fort is called fort sullivan -- it's made out of logs that absorb cannon balls. well, their flag staff gets shot down, and they're afraid if the flag goes down people might think fort sullivan is surrendered. sergeant jasper reattaches the flag pole. you'll find about 20 different versions of sergeant jasper at sullivan's island. about two years later sergeant jasper tries this again and gets killed. probably shouldn't have pressed his luck. the whole story of this in the south is the deep south is being secured to the patriot cause. virginia, north carolina, south
carolina, georgia. and there will be no more fighting in the carolinas or actually anywhere in the south until 1778. that means these colonies contribute support, troops, resources to the fight in the north. it means these governments can coalesce. it means these people can coerce loyalists and put them into place. >> is there a decisive battle in georgia? >> georgia is very new and only settled. a very small population. with everything else falling apart in the south, the governor literally flees. he escapes and goes on a warship. georgia rolls over. doesn't even fight. we have one lost topic. that's boston. the siege of boston. boston has been under siege since bunker hill. the americans can't get in.
the british can't get out. george washington shows up immediately after bunker hill, assumes command of this 20,000 man force and begins to turn it into the main continental army. washington meets all these guys who are new englanders. he's never seen a new englander before. they have black soldiers, washington has qualms about that. okay? but washington doesn't have the strength to get into the city. the british don't have the strength to get out. and for the next nine months boston remains under siege. there's periodic skirmishes. there's no food in boston. it's brought in overseas or the land raiding parties. there's lots of little battles like this one noodles island for livestock and sheep. but the americans need cannons. they need cannons that are blast the british out of boston.
and the americans remember they do have cannons at fort ticondaroga. there's about 60 heavy cannons at ticondaroga. in the winter of 1776 george washington sends a man named henry knox who will be the chief of his artillery. they load these 60 heavy cannons onto sleds driven by oxen, and they drag them from lake sham plain to boston. it's about 200 miles. it takes about 8 weeks. one of the real forgotten events of the american revolution, but an important event. the continental army is getting heavy artillery, heavy, powerful cannons. okay? and knox arrives back at boston sometime in late february or early march. and that gives washington an
idea. let's go back to our first map. i probably should have put one earlier. or later. can't do anything with the charlestontown peninsula. the brit risch occupying. doesn't do anything to put him here. you have dorchester heights. it overlooks boston harbor and the city. it has high ground. looks a lot like breeds hill. and in early march, 1776, george washington puts his heavy artillery on dorchester heights making boston untenable. american artillery can sink any ship in boston harbor. they can shell the city. william howe, british commander, wakes up and finds heavy american cannons overlooking the city. william howe could fight. he could land troops here and line them up and do bunker hill all over again. william howe, though, has lost
his stomach for bloody, linear combat. and what william howe does is on st. patrick's day, 1776, william howe evacuates boston. the british army leaves boston. goes to nova scotia. the british go to halifax. when the british leave, about 1,000 loyalists go with him. you're going to see something. every time the british evacuate an area, thousands of loyalists go with them. loyalists don't want to be left behind. they don't know what the americans are going to do to loyalists. that's maybe not a particularly wonderful prospect. the other thing that's interesting about the evacuation of boston and people don't actually remember this, is that for all practical purposes the war in new england is over. there's almost no major fighting in new england after this point. there's periodic coastal raids on the british.
we'll take new port new england and the americans will lay siege to it. there's no fighting. for all practical purposes the american revolution in new england has ended. the war will go on another seven years but the fighting in new england is pretty much over. all right? the other thing that's kind of interesting here and it brings rauge military to a close. when they leave boston, aside from places in detroit and fort niagra, there are no british soldiers left in the 13 colonies. the americans have driven the british army out. british authority in america has collapsed and there is no more british military presence south of québec and north of st. augustine, florida. the british are gone. okay? the american rebellion seemingly has succeeded. all right?
rauge millitaer has been a big year. the americans are fighting mad and they're not going to take anymore. we'll close it here. any questions or concerns? >> whenever they're evacuating the city, did the americans just let them go? >> yeah. there's some thought of maybe trying to sink them. but they figure it's better probably to just get them gone. it's interesting, too, when the americans enter the city, they find the british trashed boston. they beat the heck out of it. they used churches as stables. they take shingles and all fences are gone for firewood. but that's not surprising. the british didn't like boston. boston is the home of the massacre and the tea party. british are really revengeful on boston. yes. >> when lord dunmore asks the slaves to join, what's the result of that for the people that are patriots? >> that's a heck of a question. what do you suppose the results would be? >> i feel like i read this made
them distrust britain even more, like, if they were going to free their slaves, what -- >> that's exactly right. that goes back to the question we asked. how does britain win? it makes lots of sense to free slaves and ask them to fight their masters. it's not going to make loyalist slave holders happy, though. if you'll free some slaves, will you free all slaves? will you free only ones that help you and not ones that don't? what if they don't help you but you're a loyalist? but dunmore is not thinking long-term. he needs to hold virginia, and he thinks slaves are the way to do it. yes, james? >> about the virginia royal governor. you said he burned norfolk a day after he is defeated? >> if i said a day -- it's january 1st. it's about three weeks later. >> okay. so when he retreated, did he still have men to go from to burn that city? >> yeah. he loses about 3 00 men at great bridge. he has about 12 00.
they flee the ships and the ships just stay offshore early in the morning of january 1st, they start to shell the city and land landing and burn most of the city. then they leave. what's sort of ironic, norfolk has very strong trade ties with the british empire. most people in norfolk are actually loyalists so they burn a loyalist city. and they leave about four houses and the americans come in and burn those. norfolk is literally burned to the ground. anybody else here? >> when they're in boston, the british, is that when they cut down the liberty tree? >> yes. yeah. anyone else here? okay. then i will see you guys next class. and i hope you got something out of it. we'll see you next time.
weeknights this week, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight we examine the cold war beginning with historians discussing the concept of the deep state in american history. and then francis gary powers junior whose spy plane was shot down by the soviet union takes us on a tour of the cold war museum. edward r mur row narrates a film on nato, and austin carson discussed his book. john curly discusses the influence of photographs during the cold war, and jim razenbe razenberger presented a history of the bay of pigs. watch it tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern on c-span3, and enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-span3. american history tv products are now available at the new
c-span online store. go to c-span store.org to see what's new for american history tv and check out all of the c-span products. our live coverage is saturday at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. online out cspan.org or listen with the c-span radio app. american history tv continues now with the discussion on george washington's character. we heard how general washington related to his fellow soldiers and how he viewed himself during the american revolution. we examined george washington's legacy and how we remember him today. this lasts about an hour. okay. today what we're planning to do is spend a little time talking about george