Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History The American Revolution 1775-76  CSPAN  August 31, 2021 1:49am-2:56am EDT

1:49 am
bunker hill, and the american invasion of canada and the eventual british evacuation of boston. >> okay. everybody, so last class we were talking about the outbreak of the american revolution, and say all of this tension is building in the spring of 1775 in april of general thomas gage is sending troops into countryside and battle breaks out, and then americans are coming into boston and lays siege on the city, and this war that nobody wants, but it has been brewing for 12 or 13
1:50 am
years has started. so, today, we are going to talk with what is called rog militaire. does anybody speak french? am i saying it right? this is sometimes called the popular uprising phase. this is the year of the revolution that probably more people supported the war than any other one. why do you suppose that there's so much support for the war this year? any ideas. go ahead, isabel? >> they had not started fighting yet. >> so they had not started fighting yet, and so they don't know what the war is, and so they have no idea. so, some of you, this is like fury, and i have some images to show you, and there is a guy who
1:51 am
teaches at lsu and he coined this phrase rage millitaire as the french call a passion for arms has taken control of the whole continent and the americans are literally fighting mad. they are literally fighting mad. okay. and that why there is so much support for the war. it is like this wild passion, and even the word, rage. and what is rage? what is rage? go ahead, ivan. >> anger. >> so intense anger, and the americans are just angry and all of this stuff is building up and boiling out. and what is sort of interesting during this rage millitaire phase is that the americans are taking it to the british, and so
1:52 am
it is from the north and the south and specifically to boston. what we will see is what is actually going on here is partly about the war. it is partly about what is the american war aims, okay. and different people have different ideas of what those war aims are. and the final thing that i would say here is, okay, it starts april 1775, lexington and concord, and what is july 1776? what happens in july of 1776? go ahead. >> declaration of independence. >> that is what ends the rage millitaire and the popularity of the war ends. so it does not last, the horrors of war takes the edge off of it, and it is hard to maintain a high emotional peak for extended periods. maybe a bad analogy, but when you meet somebody and fall in
1:53 am
love, you are in love with them and you can't stop thinking of them, and then at the 20th anniversary, and i love you, and me, too, and pass the salt. it is not the same thing, okay. the intensity of this first year fades away, and also not all americans support independence. we are going to be looking at some that fit that model. okay. so we are going start with the north. okay. fighting breaks out at lexington/concord in april, and we talked about that, okay. but what is significant is that fighting spreads to upstate new york, and if we are looking at the map, this is lake champlaine, and at lake champlaine, there is a large british fort cuyahoga, and on may 10th, 1775, a group of american militia led by ethan allen, and benedict arnold seizes fort cuyahoga, because it
1:54 am
is filled with cannons and military equipment, and this attack is not authorized for congress, because they are meeting for the first time on this day, and we will pick it up later, and it is authorized by the massachusetts committee of safety and a bunch of angry guys in vermont. they are taking the war to the english. no reason that this should happen, but it does, and over the next couple of days, and we will see the map in a minute that expands on this, and the americans seize a second fort called crown point that we don't have to worry about, but it is in canada and the americans are taking the war to the champlaine valley, and they are taking it to the british and that is rage millitaire, and the second place is boston. what is going on in boston? we said that the 20,000 americans descend on boston, and the city is under siege. well, this is the governor of massachusetts, and he is also
1:55 am
british commander in north america, and his name is thomas gage. gage is an interesting guy, because he is married to an american, and maybe even an american spy for those who are doing the female spies. gage's wife is maybe somebody to look at. gage has been in america since the french and indian war. he is somewhat sympathizes with the americans and he believes in liberty but not in the american sense of what liberty is. and throughout the fall of '74 and the spring of 1775, gage keeps asking for reinforcements, and he keeps sending letters to england, and the situation is pretty bad, and we should send more reinforcements. instead of sending gage, yeah, gage reinforcements, the british send three more generals. a guy by the name of william howe, and we will talk about howe later today. howe is going to feature prominently in the book
1:56 am
"washington's crossing." the guy by the name of henry clinton and a guy named john bourgoin. and what do you think is the sense of the three generals? what is the ramification of that? any ideas? yeah? >> as to what they should do, confusion. >> a lot of conflicting views. anybody else? emily. >> the british don't think that the manpower is necessary at this point. >> they may not think that the manpower is necessary. >> they may not have a lot of faith in thomas gage. >> right. when you are asking for reinforcements and they send three more generals, that is interesting. the british ship that brings them is "h.m.cerebus," and
1:57 am
cerebus is the three-headed monster that guards gates of hell, and some say that is one for each of the generals. so now, they are going to have the british bottled up in boston. here is boston harbor. and here is castle william, and remember that we read that document about the boston riots and the governor was writing from castle william. he has plead. that is where castle williams is. but what is interesting here, and this is going to show the american anger after lexington and concord, and the americans don't just sit here, they don't just try to storm the city, and get across the boston neck here, but what they do is to fortify the peninsula here. this is called the charlestown peninsula, and the theory here is that if the americans control the high ground, they could put the artillery up here and potentially shell the city, and
1:58 am
make boston harbor tenable, and the americans occupy this land on the night of june 16th. they are supposed to go to hill called bunker hill. bunker hill is the back hill. there is actually two hills. bunker hill is 40 feet taller than breed's hill, but in the darkness, the men are confused, and they go to the forward hill called breed's hill, and it is closer to boston and in some ways that is good, and in some ways it is bad, and over the course of the night, they dig a fortification. okay. and when the british wake up on the morning of june 17th, they could hear some shoveling, and they don't know what is going on, and when they hear the shoveling, they go to find somewhere in the neighborhood 200 to 300 are technically overlooking breed's hill in
1:59 am
boston and thomas gage decides this is a threat. you can't let those troops stay overlooking the city, and you have to drive them back. and the man who gage puts in tactical command and the guy who is going to command on the battlefield is sir william howe. so gage in this overall command, and william howe is the tactical command, and he is is the commander on the ground, okay. now, if you are the british and you see these americans up here on the hill, what would you guys do? would you attack them? leave them there? any ideas? >> i would go to bunker hill, because it is 40 feet higher -- >> well, here or here, and since you control the water, it is a do-able, and also cut off the retreat route. anybody else? neil. >> use the british navy to
2:00 am
encircle the whole peninsula. >> yes, and you could encircle the whole peninsula, and shell the heck out of those guys that is a good strategy. that is all pretty good, because that is not what britain decides to do or sir william howe decides to do. instead, he lines up 2200 british soldiers shoulder to shoulder and sends them straight up the hill. now it is interesting that the british soldiers and you can see it here, and this is a relatively accurate painting, and this is the second assault and there are dead guys here, and i will explain why this is not the third. they wear belts that crisscross and natural target points. british officers wear a shiny metal around their throats. it's a symbol of authority.
2:01 am
the famous quote from bunker hill is don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes. they reform william howell and sends him back uphill a second time.
2:02 am
who are they fighting? >> americans. >> they are way under estimating american abilities. they are way over estimating british ability. the british mark up the hill a second time and they get blasted down the hill a second time. british soldiers carry about 60 to 80 pounds of equipment. third time they say maybe we don't need the carry equipment up the hill. the third time up the hill, the americans have run out of gun powder and the british over run bunker hill.
2:03 am
it's technically the battle of breeds hill but it's remembered as bunker hill. bunker hill is the hill the americans are supposed to be on but in the darkness they picked the wrong hill. we'll pick that up in minute. why the legacies of bunker hill is the casualties. british soldiers take horrible losses at bunker hill. 286 soldiers are killed approximate 800 wounded. casualty rate of somewhere of 45 to 50%. william is on the field. almost all of his staff is
2:04 am
killed. it's summertime. it's hot. the british army is horrified by what happened. they are largely for about the next nine months. they don't try anything after this. the americans are greatly encouraged by this. it shows americans will fight.
2:05 am
the americans will fight like crazy. american soldiers stay and fight them with rocks. british officers comment they never seen soldiers stand up like that. these angry americans don't do that. very hard to put numbers on anything. it's in the neighborhood of 12, 13% of all british officers killed in the american revolutionary war are killed at bunker hill. americans are targeting them. they are shooting the guys down like crazy.
2:06 am
rage and enthuiasm as people were possessed of. you must proceed in earnest or give the business up. the americans are spirpted up by a rage and enthusiasm. what does that mean? what is he saying here? he's saying i've never seen someone so angry. the next quote, you must proceed in earnest or give the business up. what's that mean? proceed in earnest or give the business up. go happy, gabe. he's telling the british war, you need to send the whole army. this is fall blown war.
2:07 am
this is not a little rebellion. if you're not going to commit the entire empire, don't bother. this is wildly out of control. there's another guy in new york city. he says, see what the enthusiasm of liberty and indig nant sense is capable of doing. it if lasts many months she is done with us forever. what's that mean?
2:08 am
this war is wildly violent. some people are hoping for reconciliation. this is rage militaire. parliament relieves thomas gage. they see he's failed. one of the things we're going to see, we talked about how the coming of the revolution, britain kept going through prime ministers.
2:09 am
once the war breaks out, britain keeps going through commanders in america. when you keep changing commanders, that's a bad sign because you can't pick somebody to stay. and thomas gage is relieved of demand. the new commander is william howe, the guy who fought at bunker hill. what's interesting, he's going to show up very predominantly in your washington's crossing 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 is william howe is sympathetic to the americans. he's a member of parliament and told his constituents he wouldn't fight against the americans. he changes the mind when they offer him the command. but the other effect is some historians have argued that william howe is traumatized by bunker hill. some say he's -- probably today
2:10 am
you would say he has ptsd. he's horribly scarred -- >> isn't he the one who sends waves of people to die at breed's hill? >> he is. the guy in charge is a guy who is messing up. and of those three generals who arrived, howe was senior. howe was now the commander in north america. makes no sense, but that's what happens. okay? that's rage militaire. okay? well we've got another manifestation of rage militaire in the north and this is the invasion of canada. we talked a little bit about canada. canada is new to the british empire, treaty of paris. we said there's 70,000 french canadians there. and we said parliament has just passed québec act to try to appease the french canadians. it extended the providence of québec to the ohio river. it allowed catholicism.
2:11 am
it allowed for an appointed assembly and the use of french law in the providence of québec. 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. >> sour from the french indian war. >> maybe they haven't been assimilated into the empire and maybe they would join this rebellion. is there any downside to that thinking? yeah? >> 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. why?
2:12 am
>> i assume they helped the french in the war? >> they certainly did. and the americans helped the british. >> the americans who -- pretty much started the war in the ohio river value. >> that's part of it. they call the québec act part of the intolerable acts. congress thinks they might be welcome. one of the things that congress is thinking about -- and this is where the whole situation of canada gets really, really complicated. there's 70,000 french canadians here and these people are called the new subjects because they're new to england. but after the british conquer canada, about 3,000 american and english merchants settle in canada. they were traditionally english. the old subjects don't like québec act because they don't like that there's no elected
2:13 am
assembly and they don't like french law. they want common law and an elected assembly. throughout the spring before lexington and concord, americans are sending spies into canada and canada is sending spies out saying that 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, if they would take canada, they would get the british off their back door. this route down lake champlain is an invasion route. this is kind of an interesting idea. if they could take canada, it would show parliament they were
2:14 am
serious and there was some talk that you could use canada as a bargaining chip. we'll give you canada back, if you repeal -- something like that. once again, the americans capture tie ticondaroga. they consider moving the cannons to a safe place so they can give them back to england when the war is over. congress still believes reconciliation is going to happen. throughout the summer of '75, congress believes that 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 of months for the armies to get ready which mean americans armies aren't going to enter until september or october. why is that problematic? logically. >> canada in late fall. >> why is that bad? >> it's cold. congress doesn't know what's
2:15 am
going on. they can't make up their mind what to do. so they adopt an invasion of canada. the order says if the canadian inhabitants don't mind. how are you going to know? are you going to ask them? there's going to be two prongs to this invasion. it's actually very smart. one prong led by benedict arnold is going to lead an army through the main wilderness. and the theory was, they would attack québec city directly. they would emerge out of the wilderness and attack québec city. this is benedict arnold. if you look at this painting, this is québec city in the background. and arnold's march to québec turns out to be a nightmare.
2:16 am
winter sets in earlier than they plan. he has about 1,100 men. the final 400 have most of the supplies. they turn back. they take all of 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 maine from 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. these guys get caught up in the rivers of northern maine and parts of southern québec in winter and these men starve. these men are walking scarecrows. this account is very heavily recorded.
2:17 am
lots of arnold's men leave diaries. and you read about these guys' accounts, they're eating squirrel tails, shoes, some people have dogs and the dogs disappear quickly because there's no food. arnold and 600 men make it to this place called point lavee and they call about the city of québec to surrender and the british laugh at them. there are 600 scarecrows 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. this is the famous route.
2:18 am
this is the one everybody knows about because it's well documented and it's benedict arnold. americans like benedict arnold because he's an interesting figure, a hero and the traitor at the same time. but the guy i want to focus on the main invasion force. his named is richard montgomery. this is richard montgomery. and montgomery's job was to take the city of montreal. he was supposed to spread up lake champlain and the theory was, if montgomery attacked montreal, the british would put all their force against him and québec would fall without resistance. they were going to hit the two major cities of canada simultaneously. well, what's interesting about montgomery is, first, i did my dissertation on him. so that makes him fascinating. i told my wife, if we had a son, i would name him richard montgomery gabriel, but mercifully that never happened. he's an interesting guy.
2:19 am
he shows us something about the coming of the revolution. he shows us something about conspiracy. he shows us something about rage militaire. montgomery is 37 years old and a former british officer. he spends 15 years in the british army. three very high-ranked american general officers from the revolution are all former british soldiers. they all seemingly know each other. we'll talk about gates later, charles lee, we'll talk about him later. richard montgomery enters the army when he's 18 years old. he's a ticondaroga. catches yellow fever in the caribbean. he fights in pontiac's
2:20 am
rebellion. and on the way to fight pontiac's indians, richard montgomery's ship runs aground on the hudson river and meets a family called the livingstons. meets their eldest daughter. she remembers when his regiment comes back, he's not there and he's going to marry her at a future point. following service in america, montgomery goes back to england and seemingly sympathizes with the american position. he seems to be a political liberal for his time and montgomery grows disillusioned partly because he can't get promoted. this is something to bring up a little bit. at this point in history, british officers are promoted by a purchase service. if you have enough money, you can buy yourself a commission. a second lieutenant is 500 pounds, the first lieutenant is
2:21 am
800 pounds. a majority is 2,600 pounds. montgomery's dad buys him a commission and he earns his way up and he serves as a captain. but multiple times after the french and indian war, montgomery gets 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 he 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 near new york city. in 1772, he marries the eldest daughter of this wealthy american family called the livingstons. montgomery sees the coming of the american revolution. he sees the boston tea party. the thing that seems to
2:22 am
politicize him is the -- they cause him to enter the american service. he's a member of the new york provincial congress. and in june 1775 because of his military background, congress makes him a general. congress picks him to be a general. and montgomery's comments are pretty interesting. listen to the last line and think about what we talked about in this class. 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.
2:23 am
the will of an oppressed people pressed to choose between liberty and slavery, must be obeyed. freedom. he believes in the conspiracy. 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. and montgomery leads the army into canada. just north of the current day american border, there's a british fort at a place called st. john's. and they lay siege for 43 days.
2:24 am
if you look at this map, this is a map drawn by the british commander of st. john's. look at what he calls, thick swampy woods. not a great place you would want to spend 43 days in october. it rains incessantly and he becomes more and more depressed. he calls his army drowned rats crawling through the swamp. but after 43 days, st. john surrenders. and they capture almost the entire british army and he's just destroyed it. montgomery proceeds on and occupies montreal. montreal surrenders without firing a shot. montgomery has taken the eastern part of -- the western part of canada and he's destroyed the british army in canada. the other thing that is left is
2:25 am
québec city and about 70 regulars. the guys holed up in québec city facing arnold. and montgomery, throughout this entire period writes letters to his wife and talks about being home stick and how he has moral qualms against fighting the british army because he was a british officer for 15 years. and his great fear is he's going to have to fight his old regiment. he hears word that his regiment is being deployed to america and writes something like, heaven save me from having to fight my old regiment. i feel more closer to the people of the 17th regimen than i do with my own family. i hope i don't have to fight these guys. and montgomery, horribly home sick advances to québec city.
2:26 am
he meets arnold outside of québec and the americans lay siege to québec. the americans have about 900 men. montgomery left about 500 behind in montreal. he works his way down to québec city. montgomery lays siege to québec for about a month. he tries to shell the city. québec is a walled city. the american artillery is so light, the cannonballs bounce off of them. montgomery sends letters telling the british governor he should surrender. he sends the messages back unopened.
2:27 am
montgomery who outranks arnold faces a huge problem and that's on january 1st, most of arnold's arm enlistments expires and are going to go home on january 1st. richard montgomery decides 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. benedict arnold is seriously wounded and the american army in canada is shattered. what's interesting here, this is where we're going to take a quick aside, is montgomery becomes the great -- yes. go ahead, brook. >> did they really only go in because all of their -- it was
2:28 am
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? >> do you 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. i didn't work. and there's very wild accounts. montgomery is literally leading the attack. there's these barricades. montgomery grabs an ax and hacking his way through. he's the first guy killed. he really wants to go home. he really does. montgomery becomes the first martyr of the revolution, or at least the first major martyr. richard montgomery is the first and highest ranking american officer killed in the revolution. highest american officer killed
2:29 am
in the revolution, highest ranked. and kind of an odd irony on the day richard montgomery is killed, his overall commander who is back in albany writes him a letter and says, there's a rumor 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, if you would take the early republic class next semester, we'll talk about this a little more, he becomes a major hero. this is a famous painting done in 1786. if you would look, you could put up all of these other paintings, montgomery -- if you compare it to a lot of renaissance paintings it looks like christ being taken down from the cross. richard montgomery is like
2:30 am
almost a deity. the first monument that was paid for was of richard montgomery in new york city at a place called st. paul's chapel. 43 years later, they dig his body up to new york city and bury him in new york city. this is richard montgomery. thomas payne will write for an appeal of independence using montgomery's ghost to argue for independence. montgomery becomes this great hero. what is interesting is he doesn't want independence. we saw that one letter he wrote where he said we hope, you know, 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
2:31 am
and have they set a date beyond which reconciliation is impossible? he never gets answered because he gets killed. and he has an interesting postscript, an add-on, okay, i hope and believe that the ministry will not reduce us to this melancholy assessment. so richard montgomery doesn't get killed dying for american independence, he gets killed for neglect. the american army persists in canada until the spring, but the american army in canada is finished. we'll talk about this a little more next week. horrible smallpox epidemic destroys what's left of it. canada because become a bargaining chip. they try like crazy, but it doesn't happen. i asked you guys to read a document, this translation of this british report on who collaborated.
2:32 am
if anybody had the time to do that, throughout that document it's called the journal of -- it keeps talking about these people called the boston a. who is the boston a.? >> people from the boston and new england area. >> you're basically right. anybody else. >> i think you said it was americans in general. >> it's the americans in general. it's interesting, the french canadians think anybody who is an american is from boston. they're a new englander. all americans are from boston. that document keeps talking about the habitants. who are the habitants? anybody pick that up? >> the french -- >> the french canadians.
2:33 am
that's exactly right. 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 baby journal, did you see any ways the french canadians helped americans? anybody see anything? this is question number two that i passed out. yeah? >> they protect the spies -- i have it written done in my notes.
2:34 am
what i read was, 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 before -- >> okay. they aid american spies. anything else? >> they smuggled food and armorments. anybody else? some of them stand guard, 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? if it looks repeatedly, it says the americans buy provisions and they give them ious. what's the matter with doing that? why? >> you can't pay someone if you're dead. >> anything else that's bad about ious. what is it sort of implying? >> 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. if that doesn't happen, those ious is worthless. why don't they pay for cash? why not give the french canadians gold coins and stuff? why give them paper ious? >> they don't have any hard
2:35 am
currency. >> they don't have any. they can barely feed themselves. as the army stays in canada, they begin to take things because they're starving to death. that doesn't build a lot of confidence among the french canadians. and the british keep saying, if they can't feed themselves, what are you supposed the odds of that they're going to protect you and treat you well if you become part of the united states. the american invasion of canada is doomed. probably always was doomed. but it's definitely over. but there's a silver lining, like poor richard montgomery and all of these other guys who died in smallpox don't die in vain, this the a major diversion. they will be forced to send
2:36 am
12,000 troops to canada to reconquer it. they're going to keep 4,000 to 6,000 troops to keep canada loyal and under control. and by diverting troops to canada, there's less troops to fight in the main lower 13 colonies, okay? in a sense the invasion of canada works out okay for the americans but it's a very, very, very high loss. that's rage militaire in the north. but fighting is spreading to the south. talked about boston, new york, canada. well, virginia, virginia is a
2:37 am
royal colony. most populous, wealthiest royal colony and the royal governor is a man by the name of lord dun more. and he seizes all of the gun powder in willamsburg. they seize all of the gun powder because he doesn't want the american rebels to get it. throughout the summer of '75, he fights these skirmishes with american militia. the other thing he does, we're going to pick this up later in this class, in november he issues a proclamation that he tells slaves, any slave who enters british area and takes up arms will be set thing. what he's doing, he's creating a force made up of a handful of british regulars, loyalists and slaves. by the fall of 1775, he has about 1,200 of these people in the area around norfolk virginia. he flees to a british warship. we saw british authority
2:38 am
collapse in new jersey in the benjamin franklin book. british authority in new york collapses. british authority all across america is collapsing. in december, dunmore lands at great bridge. and they try to defeat the american militia force and take the city of norfolk. and they defeat dunmore 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 to the ground. he burns it. some will argue that very much alienates british sympathies in virginia because if dunmore will burn a city, will he burn other cities? we talked about how do you win this war?
2:39 am
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. the ships scatter. dunmore goes to florida. later goes to staten island. but what's sort of tragic, the slaves who had fled, they're taken to the west indies and sold as slaves. the british didn't free them, they moved them from virginia to barbados. so virginia 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 named josiah martin. i want to read you part of this
2:40 am
proclamation. it's issued in january 1776, an unnatural rebellion is exerted in this province by artifices of 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. he 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 property will be forfeited. if you don't join, we'll kill you and take your property. dunmore's -- not dunmore. martin's proclamation resonates in north carolina.
2:41 am
we said north carolina is badly divided, east versus west. there's lots of different ethnic groups in rural north carolina, irish, germans, and a force of 1500 high land scotts who are loyalists begin to march towards the coast. there's word that a british naval squadron is approaching north carolina. if this british naval squadron could meet these loyalists, maybe they could subdue north carolina. on february 27th, 1776, another battle is fought. this one is called the battle of moore's creek bridge. february 27th, 1776. this is moore's creek bridge. it's a little bridge over this deep, swampy stream. and what the americans did, they took the plankings off the bridge and greased them. and they're crying out, king george.
2:42 am
they try to walk across the runner's of the bridges under fire. what do you suppose their odds are? bad. that's an understatement. they get slaughtered. the americans lay the planking down, counterattack, and within a couple of days, about 40 of these people have been killed and over 800 have been captured. and north carolina is secure for the patriot cause. virginia has been secured at great bridge. north carolina is secured at moore's creek bridge. the patriots are taking over. we've got a final case, this one in south carolina.
2:43 am
south carolina has another royal governor. this man's name is william campbell. he has flees to a warship. campbell has heard that a naval force eventually is going to come to charleston because charleston is a major southern city. it's the 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 bridge. north carolina has been lost so they go to south carolina. and on june 28th, 1776, the british navy attacks charleston in the battle of sullivan's island. this would be the battle of sullivan's island. anybody ever been to charleston?
2:44 am
what do you think of charleston, matt? it's very old, very historic. pretty nice place, actually. 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 colonists'
2:45 am
cause. the three major southern colonies have all been secured. the royal governor of georgia flees. georgia is secured. the americans have secured the deep south. this is a very famous painting of the battle of sullivan's island. this man is sergeant jasper. very famous soldier -- or very famous story. this fort is made out of palmetto logs. the americans will recover 300 cannonballs. their flagstaff gets shot down and they're afraid if the flag goes down, people might think they've surrendered. so he stands up and he reattachs the flagpole. very famous scene. you'll find 20 different versions of sergeant jasper at sullivan's island. two years later, he tries this again and gets killed. probably shouldn't have pressed his luck. but the whole story here of rage militaire 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
2:46 am
actually anywhere in the south until 1778. that means these colonies contribute support, troop, resources to the fight in the north. it means these governments can coalesce. these people can coerce loyalists -- >> was there a divisive battle in georgia. >> georgia is very new. it was only settled in the mid 1730s. very small population. with everything else falling apart in the south, the governor flees. they arrest him and he escapes and goes on a warship. so there's -- georgia rolls over. doesn't even fight. so that's rage militaire in the south. well, we have one last topic and that's boston. okay. the siege of boston. let's go back to the very first picture here. boston has been under siege since bunker hill. the americans can't get in. the americans can't get out. george washington shows up and
2:47 am
begins to turn it into the main continental army. washington crossing begins at this point. washington meets all of these guys who are new englanders. they have black soldiers. washington is up about that okay. washington has the strength to get into the city but doesn't have the strength to get out. for the next nine months, boston remains under siege. there's periodic skirmishes. the british have a hard time. there's not enough food. there's lots of battles at this place called noodles island for livestock, for sheep. stuff like that. what americans need, cannons, cannons that can blast out of boston. the americans remember they do have cannons at ticonderoga. so in the wind of 1776, george washington sends a man named henry knox who will be the chief of his artillery. to boston. take about eight weeks. one of the forgotten events of the american revolution but an important one. the continental army is getting artillery. and that goes to washington and the map. can't do anything with the
2:48 am
charlestown peninsula because the british are occupying it. doesn't do anything to put it here but you've got this place called dorchester heights. dorchester heights overlooks boston and the harbor. and looks a lot like breed's hill. in an early march 1776, george washington puts his heavy artillery on dorchester heights making boston untenable. american artillery can sink any ship in boston. william howell, british commander, wakes up and finds heavy american cannons overlooking the city. william howell could fight. he could land troops here. he could line them up and do bunker hill all over again. william howell, though, mass lost his stomach for bloody linear combat. and what william howell does, on st. patrick's day 1776, william howell evacuates boston. the british army leaves boston, goes to halifax, 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
2:49 am
an area, thousands of loyalists go with him. loyalists don't want to be left behind. they don't know what americans are going to do to loyalists. that's not a particularly wonderful prospect. the other thing that's interesting about the evacuation of boston and people don't actually remember this is for all intents and purposes the war in new england is over.
2:50 am
there's almost no major fighting in new england after this point. there's periodic coastal raids on the british. newport, rhode island. for all practical purposes, the fighting in new england is pretty much over. the other thing that's kind of interesting here to bring rage militaire to a close, nobody remembers this but it's actually correct. when the british army leaves
2:51 am
boston aside from the places like the great lakes and ft. niagara, there are no british soldiers. it looks like the americans have won the revolution. british authority in america has collapsed and there is no more military presence south of quebec and st. augustine, florida. the british are gone, okay? the american rebellion has exceedingly succeeded. rage militaire has been a very big year. the americans are fighting mad and they're not going to take it anymore. okay. we'll close it here. any questions for any, any concerns? >> yes, isabella. >> whenever they were evacuating the city, did the americans just let them go? >> yeah, there's some thought of trying to sink them but they think it's probably better to
2:52 am
get them gone, okay? it's interesting when the americans, they find the british trashed boston. they beat the heck out of boston. they used churches as stables. they burn everything in sight for firewood. they take shingles. and that's not pricing the british didn't like boston. it's the home of the massacre and the tea party. the british are relentless. >> with the slaves, what are the results of that? >> see, that's a heck of a question. what do you suppose the results would be? >> i think i read somewhere that this made distrust for even more, like if they were going to free their slaves? >> yes, that's exactly right. that goes back to that question we asked, how does britain win? it makes sense to free slaves and ask them to fight their masters. it's not going to let loyalist slaveholders happy.
2:53 am
because if you'll free some slaves will you free all slaves? only ones that help you -- what if they don't help you but you're a loyalist? you know what i mean. dunmore is not thinking long term. he needs to hold virginia and he thinks slaves are the way to do it. yes, james. >> back to the virginia governor, you said he burned norfolk the day after he is defeated -- >> if i say the day, i'm wrong. it's january 1st. it's about three weeks later. >> when he retreated, did he still go to burn that city down? >> yeah, he loses about 300 men the great bridge. he's got about 1200. they flee to ships and the ships just stay offshore. and early in the morning of january 1st, they start to shell the city. and they burn most of the city and then they leave. it's sort of ironic, norfolk has very strong ties with the
2:54 am
british empire. so norfolk are mostly loyalists. so they burn a loyalist city. they leave about four houses and the americans come in and burn those. norfolk is literally burned to the ground. anybody else here? yes. >> when they are in boston, does that when they cut down the liberty tree? >> yes. >> anyone else here ? i will see you guys next class. home you got something out of it.
2:55 am

17 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on