Several of us attended a
Book Signing here in Colorado and though we would share some
information and may find this interesting.
Thomas Fleming, author of a
number of books on the American Revolution and people of that
time, shared some of these interesting items to a group of people
at a Denver Book signing.
When asked to highlight some
important things we might not know about the war of independence.
"Most people are unaware of these 13 things that were
never told you in school."
1) The Americans of 1776 had
the highest standard of living and the lowest taxes in the Western
World. Farmers, lawyers and business owners in the colonies were
thriving, with some plantation owners and merchants making the
equivalent of $500,000 a year. Most business owners were white
male, as were the professionals in the colonies.
The British tried to gather
this new found wealth with taxes, which brought the violent cry of
Patrick Henry, "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death!"
2) There were two Boston Tea
Parties, everyone knows the story of 50-60 "Sons of
Liberty", disguised as Mohawks, protested the 3 cents per
pound British tax on tea by dumping chests of the drink into the
Boston Harbor on Dec. 16, 1773.
Fewer know that the improper
Bostonians repeated the same act on March 7, 1774. The two tea
parties cost the British around $3 million in modern money.
3) Capt, John Parker of the
Lexington Militia did not say: "If they want a war, let it
begin here." Awaken by Paul Revere, Parker and 78
militiamen mustered on the Lexington, Mass., town green on April
19, 1775. They wanted to send a warning to the leaders of the 700
British soldiers on their way to Concord, the Americans would not
stand anymore collection of powder and weapons.
Parker nor his men had any
desire to start anything, being out numbered and untrained. The
words were put into his mouth a 100 years later. The Capt.
positioned his men as far away as possible from the British line
of march, as the British approached, Parker ordered his men to
disperse. Seeing this the British opened fire without provocation,
starting the Revolution.
4) Benjamin Franklin wrote
the first declaration of independence in 1775, disgusted with the
arrogance of the British and appalled by the bloodshed at
Lexington and Concord. Thomas Jefferson was enthusiastic, but many
others in the Continental Congress were revolted at it. It took
another year of fighting and bloodshed to persuade the Congress to
vote for a Declaration to be written by Jefferson with Franklins
5) Nathan Hale was hanged
for spying according to our history books, what about the charges
of trying to burn New York on Sept. 20, 1776. Members of Hale's
regiment with a few other American soldiers slipped into British
held New York and place resin-soaked logs in a number of
buildings. They were trying to deprive the British of winter
quarters, Hale was caught the next day after the fire destroyed
more than 25% of the city. He was hung as being a spy without
trail and considered a leader of the incendiaries.
6) America's first submarine
attach took place in New York harbor on Sept. 6, 1776. David
Bushnell, a Connecticut inventor called his 6 inch thick oak
walled submarine the "Turtle" because of its resemblance
of two large tortoise shells joined together
targeted the "HMS Eagle", flagship of the British
fleet, was to secure a cask of gunpowder to the hull of the Eagle,
but got entangled in the Eagle's rudder bar. Was forced to surface
after loosing her ballast before it could place the gunpowder and
7) Benedict Arnold was one
of Washington's best Generals in the first three years of the war,
we would have probably lost the war if not for this man. In 1775
he was within a whisker of conquering Canada, he built fleets and
fought the bigger British fleet to a standstill on Lake Champlain.
In 1777 at Saratoga he was brilliant in his leadership on the
field of battle, forcing the British to surrender, this victory
persuaded the French to join the war on the American's side.
Arnold switched side in 1780
partly because he disapproved of the French Alliance.
8) In 1779 one in seven
Americans in Washington's army was black, hesitant at first, he
changed his mind after the fighting at Bunker Hill. The all black
First Rhode Island Regiment was composed of 33 freedmen and 92
slaves who were promised to be freed at the end of the war. They
distinguished themselves at the battle of Newport, but were all
killed at another British attach a few months later.
9) Probably the best known
woman in the Continental Army was "Molly Pitcher",
a nickname, Mary Ludwig Hays was her real name. She replaced her
wounded husband at the cannon during the Battle of Monmouth in
1778. Margaret Corbin was badly wounded in her husband's gun crew
at the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776. Thousands served as
nurses, cooks and wagon drivers in Washington's Army throughout
10) George Washington was
the best spymaster in American history, he ran dozens of espionage
rings in British held New York and Philadelphia, the man who could
not tell a lie was a genius at disinformation. He constantly
befuddled the British by leaking, through double agents, inflated
reports on the strength of his army.
11) Frenchmen out numbered
Americans almost three to one at the victory of Yorktown,
Washington had 11,000 men, while the French had at least 29,000
soldiers and sailors, all engaged in the battle. The 37 French
ships played an important role in the trapping of the 8700 strong
British army and winning the engagement.
12) By the year 1779 there
were more Americans fighting with the British than with
Washington. There were no less than 21 regiments (estimated to
total 6500 to 8000 men) of loyalists in the British army and
Washington reported a field army of 3468. About a third of
Americans opposed the Revolution.
13) After Yorktown, George
III vowed to keep fighting, Parliament demurred, the King wrote a
letter of abdication, then with drew it. He tried to console
himself that Washington would become a dictator and make the
Americans long for royal rule. When told that Washington planned
to resign his commission, the monarch gasped that if this was done
"he would be the greatest man on earth."