Battle of Bunker Hill Begins

Battle of Bunker Hill begins

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British General William Howe lands his troops on the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking Boston, Massachusetts, and leads them against Breed’s Hill, a fortified American position just below Bunker Hill, on this day in 1775.

As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, American General William Prescott reportedly told his men, “Don’t one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” When the Redcoats were within 40 yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, throwing the British into retreat. After reforming his lines, Howe attacked again, with much the same result. Prescott’s men were now low on ammunition, though, and when Howe led his men up the hill for a third time, they reached the redoubts and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Americans were forced to retreat. However, by the end of the engagement, the Patriots’ gunfire had cut down nearly 1,000 enemy troops, including 92 officers. Of the 370 Patriots who fell, most were struck while in retreat.

The British had won the so-called Battle of Bunker Hill, and Breed’s Hill and the Charlestown Peninsula fell firmly under British control. Despite losing their strategic positions, the battle was a morale-builder for the Americans, convincing them that patriotic dedication could overcome superior British military might.

The British entered the Battle of Bunker Hill overconfident. Had they merely guarded Charlestown Neck, they could have isolated the Patriots with little loss of life. Instead, Howe had chosen to try to wipe out the Yankees by marching 2,400 men into a frontal assault on the Patriots’ well-defended position on top of the hill. The British would never make the same mistake again.

 

o   Author

History.com Staff

o   Website Name

History.com

o   Year Published

2009

o   Title

Battle of Bunker Hill begins

o   URL

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/battle-of-bunker-hill-begins

o   Access Date

June 16, 2017

o   Publisher

A+E Networks

1763 – Pontiac’s Rebellion Begins

Pontiac’s Rebellion begins when a confederacy of Native American warriors under Ottawa chief Pontiac attacks the British force at Detroit. After failing to take the fort in their initial assault, Pontiac’s forces, made up of Ottawas and reinforced by Wyandots, Ojibwas, and Potawatamis, initiated a siege that would stretch into months.

As the French and Indian Wars came to an end in the early 1760s, Native Americans living in former French territory found the new British authorities to be far less conciliatory than their predecessors. In 1762, Pontiac enlisted support from practically every Indian tribe from Lake Superior to the lower Mississippi for a joint campaign to expel the British from the formerly French lands. According to Pontiac’s plan, each tribe would seize the nearest fort and then join forces to wipe out the undefended settlements.

In April, Pontiac convened a war council on the banks of the Ecorse River near Detroit. It was decided that Pontiac and his warriors would gain access to the British fort at Detroit under the pretense of negotiating a peace treaty, giving them an opportunity to seize forcibly the arsenal there. However, British Major Henry Gladwin learned of the plot, and the British were ready when Pontiac arrived in early May, and Pontiac was forced to begin a siege. At the same time, his allies in Pennsylvania began a siege of Fort Pitt, while other sympathetic tribes, such as the Delaware, the Shawnees, and the Seneca, prepared to move against various British forts and outposts in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

On July 31, a British relief expedition attacked Pontiac’s camp but suffered heavy losses and were repelled in the Battle of Bloody Run. Nevertheless, they had succeeded in providing the fort at Detroit with reinforcements and supplies, which allowed it to hold out against the Indians into the fall. The major forts at Pitt and Niagara likewise held on, but the united tribes captured eight other fortified posts. At these forts, the garrisons were wiped out, relief expeditions were repulsed, and nearby frontier settlements were destroyed.

In the spring of 1764, two British armies were sent out, one into Pennsylvania and Ohio under Colonel Bouquet, and the other to the Great Lakes under Colonel John Bradstreet. Bouquet’s campaign met with success, and the Delawares and the Shawnees were forced to sue for peace, breaking Pontiac’s alliance. Failing to persuade tribes in the West to join his rebellion, and lacking the hoped-for support from the French, Pontiac finally signed a treaty with the British in 1766. In 1769, he was murdered by a Peoria Indian while visiting Illinois. His death led to bitter warfare among the tribes, and the Peorias were nearly wiped out.

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 – President George Washington

George-Washington

“WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:

“NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;- and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

“And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

“GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.”

washington sign

 

 

Signed: George Washington

Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

Nathan Hale

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” were the last words of 21-year-old American patriot Nathan Hale, who was hanged by the British without a trial on SEPTEMBER 22, 1776.

A Yale graduate, 1773, Nathan Hale almost nh1became a Christian minister, as his brother Enoch did, but instead became a teacher at Union Grammar School.

 

 

 

When the Revolutionary nh2War began in 1775, Nathan Hale joined a Connecticut militia and served in the siege of Boston.

 

 

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On July 4, 1775, Hale received a letter from his Yale classmate, Benjamin Tallmadge, who was now General Washington’s chief intelligence officer:

“Was I in your condition … I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honour of our God, a glorious country, & a happy constitution is what we have to defend.”

nh4Nathan Hale accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment under Colonel Charles Webb of Stamford.

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Tradition has it that Nathan Hale was part of daring band of patriots who captured an English sloop filled with provisions from right under the guns of British man-of-war.

nh6Following the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, August 27, 1776, the British went from Staten Island across Long Island and were intent on capturing New York City.

General Washington was desperate to know British plans and wrote on September 6, 1776:nh7

“We have not been able to obtain the least information on the enemy’s plans.”

Washington sought a spy to penetrate the British lines to get information.

On September 8, 1776, Nathan Hale stepped forward as the only volunteer. nh8

Knowing that the act of spying on the British, if caught, would be punishable by death, his fellow officer Captain William Hull attempted to talk him out it.

Hale responded:nh9

“I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary.

If the exigencies of my country demand a peculiar service, its claim to perform that service are imperious.”

On September 12, 1776, Hale was ferried behind enemy lines to Long Island to discover British troop movements. nh10

On September 15, 1776, 4,000 British troops landed at Kip’s Bay at the east end of 33rd Street and proceeded to capture New York City. nh11

General Washington retreated to Harlem Heights on Manhattan Island’s north end.nh12

On September 21, 1776, Hale was captured by the “Queen’s Rangers” commanded by an American loyalist, Lieut. Col. Robert Rogers.

General William Howe ordered Hale to be hanged the next morning.nh13

Hale wrote a letter to his mother and brother, but the British destroyed them, not wanting it known a man could die with such firmness.

Hale asked for a Bible, but was refused. He requested a clergyman, but was denied.nh14

Nathan Hale was marched out and hanged from an apple-tree in Rutgers’ orchard, near present-day 66th Street and Third Avenue in New York City on SEPTEMBER 22, 1776.

The Essex Journal stated of Nathan Hale, February 13, 1777:nh15

“At the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defense of his injured, bleeding Country.”

 

 

nh16DVD Vol. 1- Miracles in American History (Episodes 1-10)

Nathan Hale may have drawn inspiration for his last words “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” from the well-known English play “Cato.” nh17

The play “Cato” was written by Joseph Addison in 1712, as Hale had been involved in theater while a student at Yale:

“How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue!
Who would not be that youth? What pity is it
That we can die but once to serve our country.”nh18

Cato the Younger (95-46 BC), was a leader during the last days of the Roman Republic who championed individual liberty against government tyranny; representative republican government against a despotic dictatorship; and logic over emotion.nh19

nh20Attempting to prevent Julius Caesar from becoming a dictator, Cato was know for his immunity to bribes, his moral integrity, and his distaste for corruption.

George Washington had the play “Cato” performed for the Continental Army while they were encamped at Valley Forge.

nh22American Heritage Magazine’s article, “The Last Days and Valiant Death of Nathan Hale” (April 1964), gave fellow soldier Lieutenant Elisha Bostwick’s description of Nathan Hale:

“He was undoubtedly pious; for it was remark’d that when any of the soldiers of his company were sick he always visited them & usually prayed for & with them in their sickness.”

nh23Nathan Hale’s nephew was Massachusetts Governor Edward Everett, who spoke at the dedication of the Battlefield right before Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

 

 

 

nh24Nathan Hale’s grand nephew was well-known author Edward Everett Hale, who wrote:

“We are God’s children, you and I, and we have our duties … Thank God I come from men who are not afraid in battle.”

 

 

 

nh25Capturing this patriotic spirit, American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his poem, “Voluntaries” (1863):

“So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, ‘Thou must’
The youth replies, ‘I can'”

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