Smoke Signals

Nov/Dec 2011



Staff Writer
























































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 suggestions.

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

The "Turtle" 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 was captured.

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 the war.

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."





Page 7  

This website may not be reproduced in part or in whole without the written permission of the North American Frontiersmen. All Rights Reserved, Copyrighted 2005-2012.