May 8, 1815: Murder of David Ramsay

1-2-6D9-25-Ramsay_David%20copy

 

 

Forgotten today, Ramsay was famous in his time as one of the first major historians of the American Revolution.  During the Revolution he served in the South Carolina legislature and as a field surgeon with the South Carolina militia, being imprisoned by the British for a year after the fall of Charleston.  In 1785 he published a two volume History of the Revolution in South Carolina, in 1789 a two volume History of the American Revolution, in 1807 a Life of Washington, and, posthumously, in 1816-1817 a three volume History of the United States.  All during his literary career, and I have noted only his major works, Ramsay maintained a large practice in Charleston as a physician.  Appointed by the court to examine the sanity of William Linnen, a tailor after Linnen attempted to kill his attorney.  Ramsay reported to the court that Linnen was mad.

After Linnen’s release he sought revenge and ambushed Ramsay, shooting him in the back and the hip.  Carried to his house, before he died Ramsay made the following statement:  ‘I know not if these wounds be mortal; I am not afraid to die; but should that be my fate, I call on all here present to bear witness, that I consider the unfortunate perpetrator of this deed a lunatic, and free from guilt.'”

Advertisements
Published in: on May 8, 2019 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

George Washington Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

 

Throughout his life George Washington had a great deal of sympathy for the struggles of the Irish against their English rulers, seeing in those struggles a mirror for the American fight for independence.  Irish immigrants to America, Protestant and Catholic, were enthusiastic in their embrace of the American cause, and during the Revolutionary War many of the soldiers who served in the Continental Army were Irish or of Irish descent.  Therefore when General Washington heard in March 1780 that the Irish Parliament had passed free trade legislation, he issued the following general order to the Army on March 16, 1780:

The general congratulates the army on the very interesting proceedings of the parliament of Ireland and the inhabitants of that country which have been lately communicated;  not only as they appear calculated to remove those heavy and tyrannical oppressions on their trade but to restore to a brave and generous people their ancient rights and freedom and by their operations to promote the cause of America. (more…)

Published in: on March 17, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on George Washington Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day  
Tags: , ,

Cowpens

A very accurate video on the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781.  Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, the American commander, was an American original.  An ill-educated frontiersman, Morgan was also a natural leader of men, made easier by his height, well over six foot, and his robust sense of humor, along with his willingness to use his fists to enforce discipline if necessary.  He served in the French and Indian War, being sentenced to 499 lashes for punching a British officer.  He later made a joke of it saying that in carrying out the sentence the count was one short, but it was a tribute to his toughness that he survived such an experience.  It is a pity that the late John Wayne, circa 1955, did not appear in a movie bio of this remarkable man. (more…)

Published in: on March 12, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,

Bicentennial Minutes

People of a certain vintage will recall the Bicentennial Minutes shown each night on CBS in the lead up to the Bicentennial in 1976.  I greatly enjoyed them at the time.  Here is the final one on December 31, 1976:

 

Published in: on March 11, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Bicentennial Minutes  
Tags: ,

Brown Bess

 

The video above is taken from Sharpe’s Eagle and depicts the battle of Talavera.  It illustrates the impact of massed British volleys of “Brown Bess”, as the British troops affectionately named their musket,  musket fire on French columns.  (The redcoats are armed with muskets;  Sharpe and his green jacketed men are armed with rifles.)

During the American Revolution the RedCoats , the Continentals and the American militia were armed with the Brown Bess musket.  For its time the Brown Bess was a formidable weapon.

“To meet these combat conditions, the new British Brown Bess standard musket was designed to deliver a large bullet at low velocity.  It employed a sturdy stock for use as a club in close fighting and had an overall length that combined with a long, socket bayonet to create a spear or pike for impacting an enemy’s line.  It was also designed to be durable and to withstand the rigors of years of active campaigning.  The Brown Bess was to successfully fulfill all of these demands.”

Here is a paean to the Brown Bess by Rudyard Kipling: (more…)

Published in: on March 10, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Brown Bess  
Tags: ,

The Liberty Song

 

Something for the weekend.  The Liberty Song sung by Bobby Horton.

Written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768, the song was sung by patriots in America to the tune of Heart of OakThe video below is the most hilarious scene from the John Adams mini-series where a completely fish out of water John Adams gets donations for the American cause from French aristocrats as they sing the Liberty Song, led by Ben Franklin who is obviously immensely enjoying himself.  It is a good song for Americans to recall, and perhaps especially so in this year of grace, 2019.

 

(more…)

Published in: on February 16, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Liberty Song  
Tags: , ,

January 27, 1776: Henry Knox Delivers the Noble Train of Artillery to Washington

 

One of the interesting aspects of wars and revolutions is the unexpected talents and abilities that come to the fore in the most unlikely of individuals.  As that remarkable year 1775 was drawing to a close, General Washington, if he was to force the British  to leave Boston, needed a substantial artillery force, which he entirely lacked.  Twenty-five year old Colonel Henry Knox, a fat Boston book seller prior to the War, came up with the idea of transporting the artillery from newly captured Fort Ticonderoga in northern New York to the siege lines around Boston.  This was accomplished by Knox from December 5, 1775 to January 27, 1776, transporting sixty tons of artillery and ammunition, 59 cannon, mortars and howitzers, through wilderness in the dead of winter, a truly astounding feat. On December 17, 1775 Knox wrote to Washington:

I return’d to this place on the 15 & brought with me the Cannon being nearly the time I conjectur’d it would take us to transport them to here, It is not easy [to] conceive the difficulties we have had in getting them over the Lake owing to the advanc’d Season of the Year & contrary winds, but the danger is now past & three days ago it was very uncertain whether we could have gotten them untill next spring, but now please God they must go – I have had made forty two exceeding Strong Sleds & have provided eighty Yoke of oxen to drag them as far as Springfield where I shall get fresh Cattle to Carry them to Camp – the rout will be from here to Kinderhook from thence into Great Barrington Massachusetts Bay & down to Springfield There will scarcely be possibility of conveying them from here to Albany or Kinderhook but on sleds the roads being very much gullied, at present the sledding is tolerable to Saratoga about 26 miles; beyond that there is none – I have sent for the Sleds & teams to come here & expect to begin [to] move them to Saratoga on Wednesday or Thursday next trusting that between this & then we shall have a fine fall of snow which will enable us to proceed further & make the carriage easy – if that should be the case I hope in 16 or 17 days time to be able to present to your Excellency a noble train of artillery. (more…)

Published in: on January 27, 2019 at 6:12 am  Comments Off on January 27, 1776: Henry Knox Delivers the Noble Train of Artillery to Washington  
Tags: ,

January 14, 1784: Congress Ratifies the Treaty of Paris

 

Two hundred and thirty-five years ago the War of Independence officially ended with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by Congress.  Nine states were needed under the Articles of Confederation to ratify the treaty and with the rough winter of 1783-1784 only seven states were represented in Congress meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.  The arrival of delegates from Connecticut and South Carolina on January 13 and January 14 allowed the treaty to be ratified unanimously by the delegates present.  Congress had previously on April 11, 1783 announced the cessation of hostilities with Great Britain.  The British had evacuated New York City on November 25, 1783, their last major foothold in the new United States.  Member of Congress Edward Hand of Pennsylvania, who had served in the Continental Army and risen to the rank of Major General, shared the hopes of many of the American people when he wrote:  “God grant the Peace may be perpetual & productive of every happiness to America, as I think it commences with the joint & full accord of all her good Citizens.” 

Published in: on January 14, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 14, 1784: Congress Ratifies the Treaty of Paris  
Tags: ,

December 27, 1776: General Washington Reports

 

A good video on the battle of Trenton is here.  Here is the report that Washington wrote to Congress on the Trenton victory:

27 December 1776

Sir:

I have the pleasure of congratulating you upon the success of an enterprise which I had formed against a detachment of the enemy lying in Trenton, and which was executed yesterday morning. The evening of the 25th I ordered the troops intended for this service to parade back of McKonkey’s Ferry, that they might begin to pass as soon s it grew dark, imagining we should be able to throw them all over, with the necessary artillery, by twelve o’clock, and that we might easily arrive at Trenton by five in the morning, the distance being about nine miles. But the quantity of ice, made that night, impeded the passage of the boats so much, that it was three o’clock before the artillery could all be got over; and near four before the troops took up their line of march. This made me despair of surprising the town, as I well knew we could not reach it before the day was fairly broke. But as I was certain there was no making a retreat without being discovered and harassed on repassing the river, I determined to push on at all events. I formed my detachment into two divisions, one to march by the lower or river road the other by the upper or Pennington road. As the divisions had nearly the same distance to march, I ordered each of them, immediately upon forcing the out-guards to push directly into the town, that they might charge the enemy before they had time to form. (more…)

Published in: on December 27, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on December 27, 1776: General Washington Reports  
Tags: , , ,

General John Glover and His Marbleheaders

A good argument can be made that but for the presence of John Glover and his Marblehead Regiment in the American Revolution, the War might well have been lost.

Born on November 5, 1732, Glover grew up in poverty in Marblehead, Massachusetts, after the death of his carpenter father when Glover was 4 years old.  Glover became a cordwainer and rum trader, working his way up to become a merchant and a ship owner.  Elected to the Marblehead Committee of Correspondence following the Boston massacre, Glover’s political sympathies were firmly allied with the patriot cause.  A member of the  Marblehead militia since 1759, with the coming of the War Colonel Glover marched the Marblehead militia, Almost all fishermen, to the siege of Boston in April 1775.

While active on land in the fight for independence, Glover was also active on the sea.  General Washington commissioned Glover’s schooner Hannah, to raid British supply vessels.  The Hannah is considered to be the first ship of the US Navy.

The Marblehead militia regiment joined the Continental Army, becoming the 14th Continental regiment.

In 1776, Glover and his “amphibious regiment”, as it was called, saved the army after the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Long Island, by ferrying it to Manhattan in a nighttime operation.  On land throughout the New York campaign the regiment fought fiercely in every engagement.  It capped its service by ferrying the Army across the Delaware on Christmas 1776 to attack the Hessians at Trenton. (more…)

Published in: on December 26, 2018 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on General John Glover and His Marbleheaders  
Tags: , , ,