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PERIOD IV. 1763-1789. THE REVOLUTION.
4. News of the affair at Lexington and Concord spread through the whole country, rousing, the people to prepare for war. Before the close of the month, a formidable army had gathered about Boston, and begun to throw up intrenchments from Roxbury to the Mystic.
On the evening of the 18th, few were prepared to take up arms against the mother country. On the evening of the 19th, "the king's governor and the king's army found themselves closely beleaguered in Boston." The veteran John Stark, with volunteers from New Hampshire, pushed forward to the scene of action. Israel Putnam, of Connecticut, without waiting for a change of clothing, left his farm-laborers in the field, and hastened to rouse the neighboring militia, in answer to the summons from Lexington. Nathanael Greene came with a thousand men from Rhode Island.
5. Although studious to avoid striking the first blow, the Americans were now ready to act on the offensive. Accordingly, early in May, volunteers, chiefly from Vermont, led by Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, accompanied by Benedict Arnold, of Connecticut, seized Ticonderoga,1 and soon after Crown Point,2 thus opening the way for the invasion of Canada.
6. Not long after these events, Gage received large reënforcements from England, under the distinguished Generals William Howe, Henry Clinton, and John Burgoyne, making the whole garrison in Boston about ten thousand men. Gage now prepared to act vigorously. He issued a proclamation offering pardon to all opposing the government, on condition that they should return to their allegiance, excepting John Hancock3 and Samuel Adams,4 who were to be reserved for hanging.
7. Royal authority terminated this year throughout the country, the kings governors, for the most part, abdicating their governments, and taking refuge on board English ships.
1 At break of day Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, as the troops of Vermont were sometimes called, reached the fort, and rushed in at the gate the commander was surprised in bed, and summoned to surrender. "By what authority?" asked he. "I demand it," said Allen, "in the name of the Great Jehovah, and of the continental Congress.- The summons was instantly obeyed, and the fort, with its valuable Stores, was surrendered.
2 See Map. p. 90. 3 See p. 110, ¶ 26. 4 See p. 106, ¶ 14.
QUESTIONS. -- 4. What was the effect of news of the affair at Lexington and Concord? What is said of the army which gathered about Boston? -- What of Stark? Of Putnam? Of Greene? 5. What expedition was fitted out? The result? 6. What reënforcements did Gage receive? What proclamation did he issue? 7. What is said of royal authority, and the king's governors?
CHAPTER II. THE WAR.
On the second night after the outrage at Lexington, Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, seized a quantity of powder belonging to the colony, and conveyed it on board an armed vessel. The provincial militia, greatly exasperated, put themselves under the lead of Henry,1 and compelled the governor to pay the full value of the powder. The cowardly Dunmore immediately issued a proclamation against "a certain Patrick Henry, and a number of deluded followers, who had put themselves in a posture of war;" and, not long afterwards, apprehensive of personal danger, fled on board a British man-of-war. On the very first day of the next year, he caused Norfolk, the largest and richest town in Virginia, to be bombarded and burned for refusing to furnish provisions to the king's forces.
8. The Second Continental Congress met at Philadelphia, May 10. This Congress sent a last petition2 to the king, appointed a committee of secret correspondence with the nations of Europe, and assumed the authority of a general government of the colonies, under the style of the United Colonies of America. As military opposition to Great Britain was now resolved upon, Congress adopted the army before Boston as the Continental Army, and appointed George Washington3 commander-in-chief of "the forces raised or to be raised in defence of American liberties." There were also appointed four major-generals and eight brigadier-generals.4 Georgia was, for the first time, represented in the Continental Congress, at its next session, in September.
9. On the 17th of June was fought the battle of Bunker Hill,5 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in which the Americans, after having twice repulsed twice their number of the English, were compelled to retreat in consequence of the failure of their ammunition. This was the first actual battle of the war.
10. To make the investment of Boston more complete, the Committee of Safety6 ordered Colonel William Prescott, with about a thousand men, to occupy, on the night before the battle, Bunker Hill. For some reason, Prescott advanced farther down the Peninsula of Charlestown, and began to fortify Breeds Hill, where the battle was actually fought. At dawn the
1 See p. 103 ¶ 5. 2 See p. 110, ¶ 25.
3 The honor of having suggested and advocated the choice of this illustrious man is justly ascribed to John Adams, of Massachusetts. On presenting their commission to Washington, Congress unanimously adopted the resolution "that they would maintain and assist him, and adhere to him, with their lives and fortunes, in the cause of American liberty."
4 The major-generals were Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, and Israel Putnam. The brigadier-generals were Seth Pomeroy, Richard Montgomery, David Wooster, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathanael Greene.
5 See Map, p. 114. 6 See p. 110, ¶ 26.
QUESTIONS. -- What of Dunmore in Virginia? Of the destruction of Norfolk? 8. When and where did the Second Continental Congress meet? What petition did it send? What committee appoint? What authority assume? What army adopt, and under what name? Who was appointed commander-in-chief? What is said of Georgia? 9. What is said of the battle of Bunker Hill? 10. Give a more particular account of the battle.
PERIOD IV. 1763-1789. THE REVOLUTION.
English were astonished to discover that a redoubt had been thrown up by, the Americans during the night, and began a cannonade upon them from Copp's Hill, in Boston, and from ships of war in the harbor. The Americans, however, urged on their defences, and during all the forenoon lost but a single man. Stark, early in the day, brought up his New Hampshire volunteers; and Putnam was present to inspire the patriot troops with his own indomitable courage. A little after noon, three thousand British, under command of Generals Howe and Pigot, crossed over in boats from Boston, and advanced upon the redoubt, firing as they ascended the hill. But the Americans reserved their fire until the enemy was within about ten rods, when a terrific discharge of musketry cut down whole ranks of the assailants. The British retreated in confusion.
Rallied by their officers, they advanced again to the attack, and again were repulsed with heavy loss. Reënforced, they made a third charge upon the redoubt. But the Americans had now exhausted their scanty stock of ammunition, and being without bayonets, after having obstinately defended themselves for some time with the but-ends of their muskets, they retired up the peninsula.
11. To the Americans the consequences of the battle were those of a decided victory. They learned that their enemy was not invincible; the national pulse beat higher, and the arm of opposition was braced more firmly. At the same time the patriots were made to feel the importance of stricter discipline and greater preparations. The loss of the English was over a thousand; that of the Americans, not quite half as many. Among the Americans killed was the lamented General Joseph Warren, a distinguished patriot of Boston, and president of the Provincial
QUESTIONS. -- 11. consequences of this battle to the Americans? Loss to each side?
CHAPTER II. THE WAR.
Congress of Massachusetts; among the English, Major Pitcairn, who first lighted the torch of war at Lexington. While the battle was raging the town of Charlestown was set on fire by order of General Gage.
12. Washington reached Cambridge,1 the headquarters of the American army, July 2, and was received with joyful acclamations. His attention was immediately directed to organizing his undisciplined forces, and to a more vigorous prosecution of the siege of Boston.
13. While the commander-in-chief was thus employed, two expeditions were sent out for the invasion of Canada; one by way of Lake Champlain, under Generals Schuyler2 and Montgomery, of New York; the other, by the Kennebec, under Colonel Arnold.3 But the colonial forces gained no permanent foothold in Canada.
14. Schuyler falling sick, the command devolved on Montgomery.4 St. John's5 was taken by siege, and Montreal surrendered soon after without resistance. Montgomery then marched upon Quebec, and fell, on the last day of the year, while leading his forces to a desperate but unsuccessful assault upon that city. Arnold was despatched, with about one thousand men, from Cambridge, to penetrate Canada by way of the Kennebec and the wilderness. Two months of incessant toil and hardship brought him to the St. Lawrence, near Quebec, where be effected a junction with Montgomery, who took command. After the failure of the assault upon Quebec, and the fall of his chief, Arnold retired, with the remainder of the army, a few miles up the river, and encamped for the winter. The next year the Americans abandoned Canada.
15. English cruisers kept up a constant alarm along the New England coast. Falmouth, now Portland, then a town of five hundred houses, was burned (October 18), to punish the inhabitants for their spirited resistance to British authority.
16. Events of 1776. -- Early in 1776 it was determined to dislodge the enemy from Boston. Accordingly, on the night of March 4, Washington sent a party to fortify Dorchester (now South Boston) Heights. By morning, intrencbments had been thrown up that completely commanded the town and harbor. General Howe,6 who had succeeded General Gage,
1 See Map, p. 114. 2 See p. 115, ¶ 8, note 4. 3 See p. 114, ¶ 5. 4 See p. 92, note 1.
5 While the siege of St. John's was going on, Colonel Allen, rash as he was brave, with but little more than a hundred men, penetrated to Montreal, and attacked that city, then garrisoned by a considerable force. Defeat was the penalty of this wild adventure, and Allen was sent to England a prisoner, in irons. 6 See p. 114, ¶ 6.
QUESTIONS. -- 12. When did Washington reach Cambridge? now was he received? To what did he direct his attention? 13. What two expeditions were sent out? Result? 14. Give some particulars of these expeditions. 15. What is said of British cruisers? Of Portland? 16. What steps were taken to dislodge the enemy from Boston, and with what result?
PERIOD IV. 1763-1789. THE REVOLUTION.
perceiving his position to be no longer tenable, evacuated Boston, March 17. A detachment of Americans took immediate possession, and on the next day Washington entered the town, to the great joy of the inhabitants.1
As the Americans entered the town, Howe's army, about eight thousand in number, with more than eleven hundred adherents to the royal cause, was sailing out of the harbor for Halifax, in one hundred and twenty vessels. The British were permitted to retire unmolested, with the tacit understanding that the town should not be destroyed.
17. Fearing lest the British fleet, on leaving Boston, should steer for New York, Washington sent detachments of troops, under General Putnam, to fortify and protect that city. The commander-in-chief soon followed, with the main body of his army. He placed a considerable force at Brooklyn, on Long Island, and stationed the remainder in the city itself. His whole force now was seventeen thousand men.
18. In the winter General Clinton had sailed from Boston with troops. Early in June, having been joined by a powerful squadron from England, under Sir Peter Parker, be appeared before Charleston,2 South Carolina. The harbor was guarded by a small fort3 on Sullivan's Island, in which was stationed a garrison of about four hundred men, under the brave Colonel William Moultrie. An attack, by sea and land, was made upon this fort, June 28, which resulted in the mortifying failure of the British.
While the American riflemen held the land force, under Clinton, in check, Moultrie, with but a tenth as many guns as were brought to bear upon him, so crippled the ships, that after a bombardment of several hours, Parker was obliged to retire, with heavy loss.
In a few days the British sailed for New York, and the southern colonies gained a respite from the calamities of war for two years and a half. See p. 133, § 111.
1 For eleven months had the citizens endured the insolence of a hostile force, and the hardships of a siege. Churches had been stripped of their pews, shops rifled of their goods, and houses pillaged. The Old South Church was turned into a riding-school, and Faneuil Hall into a play-house. Cold and hunger had been added to the other afflictions of the inhabitants.
2 The contest in that quarter had already begun. Anticipating aid from England, the Tories of North Carolina had collected a large number of troops, under Macdonald. But on the 26th of February they were utterly muted by the patriots, at a place since called Moore's Creek, in honor of the patriot leader, Colonel Moore.
3 This fort was afterwards named, in honor of its defender, Fort Moultrie. See Map, p. 137.
QUESTIONS. -- When did the Americans take possession of the town? -- What further is said of the departure of the British? 17. What steps did Washington now take to defend New York? How did he place his army? 18. Describe the attempt of the British to take Charleston. Result. -- What did the British next do? What respite did the southern colonies gain?
CHAPTER II. THE WAR.
II. FROM THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE TO THE INVASION OF GEORGIA. -- WAR CHIEFLY IN THE NORTH. -- 1 Events of 1776 continued. -- So far the colonies had been struggling only for a redress of grievances. But the character of the war was now to be changed. England had replied to the petition to the king by continuing her measures of oppression, and sentiments of loyalty among the Americans had given place to a desire for independence.1
England declared the colonists rebels, and colonial ships lawful prizes. She determined to send to America twenty-five thousand more British soldiers, and seventeen thousand Hessians,2 hired of petty German princes.
2. In accordance with instructions from Virginia, Richard Henry Lee, early in June, introduced into Congress, then in session in the State House in Philadelphia, a resolution declaring, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States. On July 4, 1776, a Declaration of Independence,3 drawn up by Thomas Jefferson, was solemnly adopted by Congress, and the thirteen colonies became free and independent states. The new-born nation was named the United States of America.
As the news of this action of Congress spread through the country, it was everywhere greeted with the firing of cannon, the ringing of bells, and other demonstrations of public exultation.4
1 A pamphlet, entitled Common Sense, published the early part of this year, by Thomas Paine, a recent emigrant from England, advocated, with great vigor, the necessity of a separation from the mother country, and exerted a powerful influence in preparing the popular mind for this change. "This pamphlet," says Dr. Rush, "burst upon the world with an effect that has rarely been produced by types and paper in any age or country."
2 So called because most of them were obtained from the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel.
3 See Appendix, p. 5. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston, were appointed a committee to draft a declaration, in accordance with the purport of Lee's resolution. More than a year before this, the people of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina had declared themselves independent of England.
4 By a singular coincidence, the bell on the Old State House, in Philadelphia, the first to peal forth the glad tidings of freedom, had upon it this inscription: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof."
QUESTIONS. -- 1. For what had the colonies so far been contending? To what had American sentiments of loyalty given place? -- What further measures of oppression did England adopt? 2. What resolution was introduced into Congress? By whom? For what is July 4, 1776, memorable? What name was given to the new-born nation? -- How was the news greeted?
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