Sunday, March 17, 2019

Episode 088 British War Plans for 1776

Two weeks ago, we said goodbye to Gen. Howe’s army as they evacuated Boston for Halifax.  At the same time Washington began redeploying the Continental Army to face wherever the British Army struck next, presumably New York City.  Last week, we popped in on the Americans around Quebec, also waiting to see what the British would do next.

British go “all-in” with Military Option

Back in London, the North Ministry had spent the winter preparing for full scale warfare.  After the battles and Lexington and Concord, and later Bunker Hill, it became clear to all that the colonials were not going to back down with a small show of force.  If Britain wanted to keep the American colonies they would have to hit them hard and with everything they could muster.  Today I want to go over the war planning and deployments that will take us all the way through 1776.

Lord Germain (from Wikimedia)
In London, King George III had become actively involved in the planning and policy making for the war.  Unlike the first and second King Georges, George III sought a more active role in actually governing Britain, not just sitting as a figurehead mostly focused on his ancestral home in the German state of Hanover.

King George had given his full support to Prime Minister, Lord North who you may recall won an overwhelming victory in the 1774 elections, meaning he would not have call another election until 1780.  Although there were no formal parties in British politics.  Everyone referred to North and his political allies as Tories.  The opposition party used the term Whig.  In 1775, North had replaced his step-brother, Lord Dartmouth with Lord Germain as Secretary of State for American Affairs.  Germain was much more on board with the idea that the Americans needed to feel more military strength and less attempted accommodation if they were ever going to resolve the ongoing disputes.  Germain’s view aligned much more closely with that of North and King George.

Raising a Serious Army

Gone were the days when British officers bragged they could conquer all of America with 5000 soldiers.  The Americans had proven they were not pushovers, and the American population was in the millions.  Raising an army with which to overwhelm the colonies was no easy task.  A few decades later, we will see the Napoleonic wars which involved millions of soldiers fighting and dying.  But in 1776, the King did not have the ability to send the entire population off to war.  Armies tended to be small and expensive to run.  Remember that only one year earlier, Gen. Gage had requested 10,000-20,000 reinforcements.  Lord Dartmouth all but laughed at him.  Those numbers were unthinkable.

In 1775 before they really began to gear up for the war, Great Britain maintained an army of less than 50,000 soldiers worldwide, less than 40,000 if you only count infantry.  The bulk of these were needed in Britain.  They kept 12,000 soldiers in Ireland, which was always ready to rebel if there were no soldiers to keep them in submission.  The government garrisoned another 15,000 in England in order to suppress possible domestic rebellions or deter any invasion from Europe.  They already had about 8000 in America.  The other 10,000 or so were spread all over the world, defending outposts in Gibraltar, the West Indies, Africa, and many other colonies.
Hessian Soldier (from Kokomo Herald)

The British could not deploy large numbers of soldiers from existing outposts without risking an uprising in those places.  So when the North Ministry proposed sending around 40,000 soldiers to America, they needed some serious recruitment.  These soldiers would also cost a lot of money.  Remember, the whole reason we were in this mess was because the government was still paying off debts from the last war and did not want to keep raising domestic taxes.  Now they had to raise more taxes and go deeper into debt in order to control colonies that were supposed to reduce taxes and debt.  But they figured, a short term show of force would lead to decades of submission and payment of colonial taxes, so it would pay off in the long run.

As I discussed before, the Ministry increased recruiting at home, mostly in Ireland and Scotland.  They also hired mercenaries from abroad, mostly from the German states, including the bulk of them from Hesse-Cassal and Brunswick.

The army buildup also necessitated a naval build up.  Britain had never before sent so large a force so far overseas.  Transporting and supplying the troops would be a major undertaking for the navy.  Britain also had to go on a shipbuilding and ship buying binge to support the army.

The numbers vary depending on sources, but generally, the Ministry planned to send about 32,000 troops to New York and about 8000 to Quebec.  About a quarter of the troops sent to New York were German mercenaries, what most people call Hessians.  The force in Canada included about 3000 German mercenaries, primarily from Brunswick.

As I’ve mentioned before, the use of German mercenaries provoked outrage in the colonies.  They accused the King of bringing outsiders into a family feud, treating the colonists as a foreign enemy.  It became one of the justifications for the Declaration of Independence.  If the King treats us as a foreign enemy, then we owe him no allegiance.

Some of these troops were already in North America and the rest did not come over all at once.  General Cornwallis had taken several regiments to the Carolinas where he met up with General Clinton.  But they knew they had to rejoin General Howe in New York within a few months.  About 8000 were already there, Howe’s occupying army in Boston and then in Halifax.  Still, it was a huge and costly logistical problem to get the troops into place and to supply them once there.

Admiral Richard Howe

Getting such a large force across the Atlantic was unprecedented.  Britain had never sent such a large force so far away.  Indeed, no country would have such a large trans-Atlantic crossing again until the end of the age of sail, and World War I.

Transport and support of the army would require a massive fleet  Britain would commit over 150 ships, more than half its fleet, to the American mission.   The Ministry decided the new fleet would need a new commander, they appointed Admiral Richard Howe.

Admiral Howe came from British aristocracy.  His father was a Viscount and member of Parliament.  His mother was the illegitimate child of King George I.  Even so, Howe did not have a particularly comfortable life.  His father had money troubles.  To help get him solvent, Howe, received an appointment as Governor of Barbados, which paid £7000/yr, a very lucrative sum a the time.  It meant that family had to pack up and move to the West Indies.  As with so many Europeans that moved to the West Indies, Gov. Howe served for less than three years before he caught a tropical disease and died in 1735.  Richard was only nine years old at the time.  The family moved back to London where Richard’s older brother George inherited his father’s title.

Richard had only a prominent family name.  That was good enough to get a naval commission as an ensign at age 14.  Howe earned a reputation as a no-nonsense officer and later commander.  He served in the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War, including a prominent role in the famous battle of Quiberon Bay.  By the end of the Seven Years War he had been promoted to commodore.

Richard’s real road for advancement came in a way he almost certainly did not want.  In 1758, his older brother George died in America during the assault on Fort Carillon that I discussed back in Episode 10.  Since George had no children, Richard inherited the family title, making him a viscount and a peer.

A the end of the war in 1763, Lord Howe received an appointment as a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, part of the Admiralty Board.  He also served Treasurer of the Navy beginning in 1765. In 1770, he moved up to rear admiral and deployed as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet in November 1770.

Richard Howe (from Wikimedia)
By the time the American conflict reached its crisis point, Lord Howe sat as a well respected legislator, administrator, and combat officer.  He seemed ideally suited to take command of the North American station in 1776.  But beyond his reputation, Howe had one other thing going for him.  His little brother General William Howe, had just become the army’s Commander for North America.

The British Army and Navy commanders had consistently fought with one another in North America, and in most other stations.  General Gage and Admiral Graves had a notorious feud which only got worse each year.  The current relationship between General Howe and Admiral Shuldham was a little better, but still not great.  Each branch had its own separate duties and priorities.  Each reported back to a different command structure.  Neither wanted to take a secondary role to the other.  Perhaps having two commanders who were brothers, would aid in the necessary cooperation between the army and navy.  In February 1776, Admiral Lord Howe received his promotion to Vice Admiral and received his orders to take command of naval forces in North America.

War and Diplomacy

The one big concern that the ministry must have had was whether the Howe brothers would pursue the proper strategy.  Both General Howe and Admiral Howe had opposed a hard line position against the colonies for years.  Both brothers served in the House of Commons.  Even though Admiral Howe was a Viscount, his peerage was in Ireland, which did not qualify him for the House of Lords.  He would receive an Earldom nearly a decade later and sit in the House of Lords then, but in the 1770’s Lord Howe sat in Commons as a representative of Dartmouth.

In Parliament, both Howes had opposed the Ministry’s hard line policies against the American colonies.  They opposed the Intolerable Acts in 1774 and argued for accommodation rather than confrontation.

Prime Minister Lord North, Secretary of State Lord Germain, and King George all clearly favored a much more aggressive approach, using military might rather than political accommodation to resolve the disputes.  Germain was probably the most aggressive, or at least the most outspoken proponent of a hard-line policy.  He advocated using the navy to bombard cities along the coast, and to have the army sack and loot the countryside.  The idea was to show the colonists what life was like when they rejected the protection of the King.  Once they had a taste of this, they would happily return to obedience and accept a few small taxes as the price of their peace and prosperity.

The Howes, however, supported the liberal views of the minority Whigs, men like William Pitt, Isaac Barre, and Edmund Burke.  The colonists had reasonable complaints that the ministry could accommodate.  The whole point of colonies were to bring wealth to the mother country.  When the colonies were happy, Britain thrived on the colonial trade.  These fights not only destroyed that profitable trade, but threatened to drive Britain into deeper debt with military costs to crush the colonial protests.  Further, using brutal tactics against the colonists would only push more of the population into the patriot cause.  The Howes saw the war as a civil war between family.  It only made the Empire look more weak and divided to the real enemy, France.

General Howe had pledged to his constituents that he would oppose serving in any military role in America.  He saw the plan as short sighted and wrong headed.  Richard Howe, did not speak as bluntly, but generally shared his brother’s views.

Both Howe brothers were especially sympathetic with the Americans.  They deeply appreciated the act of respect that Massachusetts had given them. The colony had created a memorial at Westminster for their older brother George after his death in battle in 1758.  Richard had also been on friendly terms with Benjamin Franklin during Franklin’s years in London.  The two of them found a great deal of agreement in colonial policy.

The Howe brothers’ views on colonial policy were not unique or even unusual among many top officers.  At least one source I read indicated there were more than 100 officers more senior to Howe when he took his command in America.  Many of these were probably older officers who had no interest in facing the rigors of war.  But a great many of them objected to going to war against their fellow subjects.  In the end, the Howe brothers both received orders to go to America and accepted them.  But one had to wonder how hard they would prosecute the war, and especially the hard-line policies which the Ministry seemed to prefer.

In the end, the Ministry decided that the Howe brothers would do their duty.  They would be the best suited to command the massive invasion planned to subdue the colonies.

Plan of Attack

Officials in London did debate the best way to end the rebellion.  Even within the majority who supported war over diplomacy, or at least some show of war to strengthen diplomatic negotiations, there were diverse opinions.  Some favored not using the Army at all.  The Navy could cut off all transatlantic trade.

Not having soldiers in the colonies was an interesting idea.  Colonists would have no target to vent their anger.  There would be no risk of another firefight like Lexington and Concord.  There would be no massive cost of an occupying army.  The navy would simply capture all trading vessels and confiscate them.  This would hopefully cover most of the costs.  More importantly, the colonies would simply suffer from a lack of necessary imports.  Quality of life would diminish.  People would blame the patriot leaders for their problems.  Eventually divisions between colonies, or even within colonies would arise, leading to chaos and possibly even bloodshed.  The people would eventually beg for the return of royal authority to restore order and allow prosperity to return.

Johnny Burgoyne
(from Wikimedia)
It was an interesting proposal.  However, that is essentially the strategy that Britain tried to treat the US during the Napoleonic wars.  It did not work then, and probably would not have worked in the 1770’s.  Instead, the Ministry backed the plan to send the massive invasion fleet along with a huge army that would shock and awe the colonists.  A few decisive battles would prove the military might of Britain.  Faced with military domination, the colonists would come to their senses, accept the authority of the King and Parliament, and agree that loyal obedience was better for all than rebellion.

Though the troop levels were unprecedented, the overall strategy was nothing new, nor much of a surprise to anyone.  Even 40,000 soldiers could not be everywhere to quell a population of about 2.5 million.  New England, for the moment, seemed ungovernable.  Instead, the army would focus on New York and Canada.  Gen. Howe, who still had the support of the administration after the evacuation of Boston, would command the force at New York.  Supporting Gen. Howe would be his older brother, Admiral Lord Howe,  The combined fleet under Howe would work with the Army.  It was hoped that with the two brothers in command, the traditional Army-Navy rivalry would not cause too many problems.

While the Howes took New York, General Burgoyne would return with the fleet to Quebec to break the siege there.  Burgoyne’s reinforcements would then fall under the command of the more senior General Carleton.  The forces in Canada would work their way down into New York, across Lake Champlain, retaking all the towns and forts that the Continental Northern Army had conquered.  Eventually, the Canadian force and the Howe’s main force from New York would link up along the Hudson River.  This would cut off and isolate New England from the rest of the colonies.

From there, British forces would regain control of all the central and southern colonies, where officials believed there were still large numbers of loyalists waiting to turn out and support the King.  They only needed an army to rally around.  Regulars could also rely on loyal Indian tribes, and possibly even slaves to help crush the rebels.  Once local Tories were in control, the main body of regulars could move on to other colonies.

New England would be isolated and cut off from all trade, or invaded once the other regions were pacified.  But more likely, they would all surrender once they saw the full power of the British military in action.

Peace Commission

In the early months of 1776, the North Ministry, along with the active input of the King, worked to establish a Peace Commission.  Admiral Howe insisted that this be part of the effort to retake America.  This would not be like earlier efforts to compromise with the colonists and find a mutually acceptable political solution.  The Ministry had accepted that military might would be the only way to get the rebellious colonists to accept who was in charge.  But once British control became obvious to all, the King wanted to be merciful in allowing the rebels back into the protection of the Empire.

The Peace Commission’s authority went through great debate.  Admiral Howe, Lord North, Lord Germain, and Lord Dartmouth, who while no longer Secretary of State still sat in the Cabinet as Lord Privy Seal, all threatened to resign.  But the King kept everyone in line.  The contentious debate was over how much authority the give the Peace Commissioners.  Could they promise to repeal taxes, or acts of Parliament?  Could they broker new political solutions or negotiate changes to royal charters?  In the end, the answer to all of these was “no.” The hardliners won the debate. The Peace Commissioners could only offer pardons to those who gave up and accepted obedience to the King and his government.  Any changes would have to wait until after military might reasserted sovereign authority.

Admiral Howe who remained politically opposed to the attempt to defeat the colonies militarily, still insisted that he and his brother General Howe have the authority as Peace Commissioners.  After defeating the enemy in battle, they could then be magnanimous in victory by offering pardons and bringing the war to a quick victory  Both Howes wanted to use this authority to bring a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, even if they did not have authority to make any political reforms.  When Admiral Howe set sail for America in May 1776, he carried these instructions for himself and his brother.

Whatever political concerns they had, the Ministry trusted them to do their duty well.  The Howe brothers would carry out London’s plan of attack.

Next week: as the Howe brothers prepare to invade New York, we take a look at General Washington’s preparations to stop them.

- - -

Next  Episode 89: Washington Moves to New York (available March 24, 2019)

Previous Episode 87: Canada Spring, 1776

Click here to donate
American Revolution Podcast is distributed 100% free of charge. If you can chip in to help defray my costs, I'd appreciate whatever you can give.  Make a one time donation through my PayPal account. Also, see the very bottom of this page to see how you can support this podcast by making purchases you would make anyway on Amazon.  Thanks, Mike Troy

Click here to see my Patreon Page
You can support the American Revolution Podcast as a Patreon subscriber.  This is an option for people who want to make monthly pledges.  Patreon support will give you access to Podcast extras and help make the podcast a sustainable project.  Thanks again!

Further Reading


British Army at Outbreak of the Revolution:

Admiral Lord Richard Howe:

Peace Commission of the Howes:

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts Report on the manuscripts of Mrs. Stopford-Sackville, of Drayton House, Northamptonshire Vol. 2, Hereford: Hereford Press, 1910
(includes Germain’s correspondence related to America).

Barrow, John The Life Of Richard, Earl Howe, London: John Murray,1838

Donne, W. Bodham (ed) The Correspondence of King George the Third with Lord North from 1768 to 1783, Vol 1, London: John Murray, 1867.

Johnston, Henry The Campaign of 1776 Around New York and Brooklyn, Brooklyn: Long Island Historical Society, 1878.

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Saxon, Gerald Brown The American Secretary: The Colonial Policy of Lord George Germain, 1775-1778, Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1963.

Fleming, Thomas 1776: Year of Illusions, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1975.

McCullough, David 1776, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

O'Shaughnessy, Andrew The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.

Watson, J. Steven The Reign of George III 1760-1815, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960.

Whiteley, Peter Lord North: The Prime Minister Who Lost America, London: Hambledon Press, 1996 (book recommendation of the week).

* This site is a registered Amazon Associate.  Please help support this site by purchasing any of these books, or any other Amazon product, via the links on this site.  If you start by clicking on a book link above and then browse to buy something completely different on Amazon, American Revolution Podcast will get credit for your purchase.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Episode 087 Canada, Spring 1776

Last week the British finally evacuated Boston.  The British, however were still holding Quebec.  The Americans could not take the city.  If they could not take control before British reinforcements arrived in the spring, Canada would almost certainly remain British.

When we last left Canada in Episode 79, General Richard Montgomery had been killed and Colonel Benedict Arnold injured, and most of their army captured in the failed attempt to take the city of Quebec on January 1, 1776.

Following the battle, Arnold, who found out about his promotion to general in late January, ran the continued siege of Quebec from his hospital bed.  His force of only a few hundred men was smaller than the force of defenders inside the city.  He begged for reinforcements but received almost none.  Remember at the end of 1775, General Washington’s army around Boston almost dissolved completely as enlistments came to an end with no end in sight for that siege either.  As a result, little more than General Arnold’s tenacity and refusal to give up was keeping the siege alive.

Only General Guy Carleton’s lack of faith in his troops, kept him from marching out of city and crushing what remained of the Continental Army in Canada.  To be fair, most of Carleton’s defenders were civilian militia. The Continentals had captured most of his regulars at St. Jean.  Carleton expected large numbers of reinforcements in the spring.  He was content to sit tight inside the walls of Quebec and await relief.

Arnold Fighting With Other Officers

As if Arnold’s lack of troops and having to command from a hospital bed was not enough of a handicap, he also had to deal with the fact that almost all of the officers under his command hated him.  Arnold had made enemies of Colonel Easton, Colonel Warner, and Major Brown during the capture of Fort Ticonderoga nearly a year earlier.  All of these officers had backed Arnold’s rival Ethan Allen.  Arnold had actually physically beaten up Easton the year before, something I described  back in Episode 60.  They had been under the command of General Montgomery.  After his death, they came under Arnold’s command.  None of them were happy about it.

Sketch of the city of Quebec following the New Year's Eve 1775 attack (from Wikimedia)  

Adding to the hostile subordinates was the fact that Arnold also now had General David Wooster as his immediate superior in Montreal.  Wooster and Arnold were both brigadier generals now, but Wooster had seniority, giving him authority over Arnold. Wooster also remained Arnold’s oldest wartime enemy.  Recall that a day or two after Lexington, Captain Arnold of the New Haven militia had to threaten to attack the New Haven powder house by force of arms to get the powder his men needed before marching to Boston.  The councilman he had threatened to attack was, of course, now his superior officer, General Wooster.

Fortunately, for Arnold, he still had a friend in Maj. General Philip Schuyler, who was still in overall command of the Northern Army.  Congress almost took away this one Arnold ally, when it removed Schuyler from command of Canada, replacing him with General Charles Lee.  Those orders only lasted a few weeks though, before Congress decided Lee was of better use in New York City.  But Congress had limited Schuyler’s command to New York.  It would send a new commander, John Thomas in a few months. I’ll discuss Thomas in an upcoming episode.  For the moment though Wooster was the senior officer in theater.

Local Support

A big part of the plan was for patriots to raise local militia to fight alongside the Continental Army to overthrow the British.  The Continental Congress never had the resources to send thousands of soldiers to Canada to overthrow the government.  Without local cooperation, success seemed unlikely.

The locals, though, did not seem terribly interested.  The British had recruited hundreds of Scottish Highlander immigrants living in Canada.  These were the primary forces defending Quebec.

Locals around Quebec, however, had no great interest in joining either side.  Most were French Catholics who had lost the French and Indian War a over a decade earlier.  They did not have the same militia traditions found in New England and had never had elected leaders.  Overall, British rule had been good to them.  After France surrendered Canada to Britain, they retained their right to practice their Catholic faith, keep their private property, and continue their lives pretty much as it had been.  The recently passed Quebec Act, which outraged the other colonies, benefited Quebec greatly by opening up the Ohio Valley to their control.

Benedict Arnold 
Most locals simply wanted to avoid the suffering brought on by war, and feared picking the wrong side.  That could mean losing their property, or even their lives.  Had the Continentals captured Quebec, it’s likely that more Canadians would have thought they could win and jumped on the bandwagon.  But the failure to capture Quebec made the likely outcome that London would send a large number of reinforcements in the Spring and push the Continentals out of the region.  No one would want to be seen as a supporting treason against the King once the regulars reestablished control.

The Continentals had done their best when they entered Canada they brought a letter from Congress To the Oppressed Inhabitants of Canada in both English and French translations.  The letter explained that they came as friends, to help liberate Canada from British tyranny.  But most Canadians, as I said, were not feeling particularly oppressed.  Things actually seemed to be improving for them under British rule.

The British, of course, countered with pamphlets of their own, saying, Look, we just gave all you French speaking Catholics a whole bunch of rights that you did not have even when France ruled here.  We just gave you authority over the Ohio Valley.  Now, take a look at all the horrible things the colonists have been saying about the threat of French Popery and see how they treat Catholics in their own colonies.  Do you really want to side with them?  For the most part, the French Canadians did their best to sit out the war.

It did not help that the Continentals had no cash, but were demanding food, clothing, shelter, and other supplies from the Canadians.  Sure, they handed out paper currency, or sometimes just written notes which might or might not be repaid at some point in the future, but who knows if those would be worth anything?  Some Canadians started accepting Continental currency at a discount, to account for the risk that it might turn out to be worthless at some point.  Rather than deal with that reality, General Arnold simply issued an edict saying that anyone who refused to take Continental currency at face value would be considered an enemy of the cause and treated as such.  After that, most locals simply did there best to avoid doing any business with the Continental Army.

General Wooster had also done his best to damage any possible good relations with the locals.  From his command in Montreal, Wooster arrested any locals who seemed insufficiently patriotic. Some he held locally, but most he shipped off to Albany where they would be someone else’s problem to feed and care for.  In Albany, Gen. Schuyler received a steady stream of prisoners, most of whom he saw as no real threat.  Many of them has simply expressed displeasure at some of Wooster’s policies.  Schuyler began paroling many and allowing them to return home.  It was Wooster’s complaint about these paroles that made public the animosity between him and Schuyler.

Moses Hazen

The Continentals did raise some local support though.  Colonel James Livingston of New York was authorized to recruit the First Canadian Regiment in the fall of 1775 as the Continentals were making their way toward Quebec.  Although he claimed to  have raised 1000 recruits, it appears his regiment never had more than 200 active soldiers during the campaign.  But his claims may have given motivation to start recruiting for a second Canadian Regiment under Moses Hazen.

Although he lived in Montreal, Hazen’s sympathy for the patriot cause probably had its roots in the fact that he was born and raised in Massachusetts.  He had come to Canada as a colonial officer during the French and Indian War, participating in several major battles to push France out of Canada.  He even purchased a Lieutenant’s commission in the regular army, retiring on half pay at the end of the war.

After the war, Hazen settled in Montreal where he became a prominent local government leader and businessman.  By the time of the invasion, he owned large tracts of land around St. Jean and elsewhere.

Sir Guy Carleton
When Arnold first attacked St. Jean back in early 1775, Hazen seemed to back the British, reporting to Governor Carleton and working with the British to organize defenses against the invaders.  When General Montgomery planned to retake St. Jean in the fall, Hazen visited General Schuyler to try to convince him that the defenses were too strong and that they should not attack.

While Schuyler listened at first, he eventually decided that Hazen was giving him false intelligence and had him arrested.  When Carleton’s forces moved against the patriots, they abandoned their prisoner.  But the British now did not trust Hazen either and imprisoned him in Montreal.  In November, when Carleton had to retreat back to Quebec, Hazen once again fell into the hands of the patriots.  This time, Hazen decided to get on board wholeheartedly with the patriot cause.  He assisted in the failed attack on Quebec in January 1776.  Afterwards, Congress gave him a commission as colonel and authorized him to recruit the Second Canadian Regiment for the Continental Army.  Hazen had only raised about 250 soldiers for his regiment by March 1776, where his men were serving under General Wooster in Montreal.

I’m giving this background on Hazen because he will eventually go on to become a general in the Continental Army and be involved in many other events.  But that is getting ahead of ourselves.

For now, in the spring of 1776, Arnold is commanding a few hundred men surrounding Quebec, which seems to be going nowhere. Wooster has a few hundred more men at Montreal and is worried about Indian attacks or local uprisings that may challenge his control of the region.  Similarly, Schuyler remains in Albany, responsible for the entire region, and now seems primarily concerned about possible Indian uprisings as well.

Although the patriots had forced Governor Carleton into a defense of Quebec, giving him no control of anything outside the city, there were still British garrisons elsewhere in Canada.  Along the east coast, British authority remained unchallenged in Halifax and the whole area around the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Everyone fully expected a relief fleet from Britain to arrive in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the spring.  That force would attempt to make its way up the St. Lawrence River to break the Siege of Quebec.  The only questions were how large the relief force would be, and how much resistance the Continentals could put up to stop them.

Also, further to the west, small garrisons of British regulars remained in places like Detroit and Green Bay.  While these small garrisons were no threat themselves, the officers at those garrisons were encouraging local tribes to consider going to war against the Continentals.

For the tribes, war was an opportunity for plunder.  It also made them more valuable in the eyes of the British, meaning they could get more gifts or favorable treaty terms in the future.  So the threat of Indian attack from the western tribes also seemed like a very clear and present danger once the spring fighting season began.

Congressional Committee

Following the January defeat at Quebec, the Continental Congress sent an investigative committee headed by Benjamin Franklin to investigate the failure to take Quebec.  Committee finally arrived in March,1776.  Where they met with Generals Schuyler, Wooster and Arnold, all separately, as well as other locals to assess the viability continuing the Quebec Campaign.

In the end, the Committee agreed with Arnold’s view that Congress’ failure to provide the necessary money and manpower had made victory there impossible.  The Committee wrote to Congress requesting £20,000.  Congress, of course, had nowhere near that much hard currency.  They were printing paper notes as fast as they could, but did not have gold and silver.

When Congress could not provide the necessary money and manpower, the Committee recommended pulling out of Canada and taking a defensive posture in Northern New York.  Franklin’s Committee spent nearly two months in the region.  They came away with a good impression of Arnold, and seemed to agree that Wooster was not up to the job.

Battle of Saint Pierre

During the months following Quebec, both sides mostly waited to see who would get reinforcements first.  But Arnold could not remain idle.  If he did not have the resources for combat, he could at least have his army preparing for battle by taking better positions and entrenching them.

In March 1776, Arnold ordered a small contingent of artillery to set up a battery at Pointe-Lévis, directly across the St. Lawrence river from Quebec.  The location gave the Continentals a range of fire that would cover Quebec’s harbor as well as any shipping trying to move up or down river.  It would help to keep Quebec isolated from receiving supplies, but more importantly could fire on any British reinforcements seeking to relieve Quebec.

Map of Quebec City (from Wikimedia)
Local French loyalists living in the area, sneaked into Quebec and informed General Carleton.  Despite his concerns, Carleton was still in no mood to risk his position by sending his army outside the city walls.  Instead, he gave instructions to the informant to deliver to Louis Liénard de Beaujeu, another French Canadian loyalist.  Beaujeu came from a French noble family and had personally served as an officer against the British army during the French and Indian War.

When the war ended and Britain took control of Quebec, Beaujeu, who has been born in Canada and owned vast properties in the region, threw in his lot with the British.  He helped to end animosities between Indian tribes and the British government now controlling all of Canada.  When the Continentals invaded Quebec, Beaujeu remained loyal to the British government.

Under Carleton’s instructions, Beaujeu raised about 170 French Canadian volunteers to attack the battery before it could be completed.  Beaujeu sent an advance force of 46 men to Saint-Pierre to establish a base of operation as the home of a local loyalist and militia commander.

Because the local population was so divided, local French-Canadians favoring the Continentals got word of the plans and notified Gen. Arnold.  Not wanting to wait for an attack, Arnold immediately dispatched 80 Continental soldiers to confront the loyalist attack force.  Hazen, who was at this time still operating independently as a recruiter for the Continentals, also raised about 150 local patriot militia to fight alongside Arnold’s detachment on Continentals.

On March 25, the combined patriot force discovered the loyalist advance force at Saint-Pierre, and surrounded the home that they had occupied.  The loyalists barricaded themselves inside the home, leading to a firefight.  The patriots had a small field cannon with them, making their job much easier.

Both sides killed about six enemy, and probably about a dozen wounded on each side (as usual, records are vague and contradictory).  A few of the loyalists escaped, but most surrendered and were taken prisoner.  For the locals, this really was a family feud.  Most of the French Canadians on either side knew each other.  Many were related.

In the end, not wanted to create further hard feelings with the locals, the patriots released the prisoners on the promise that they would not again take up arms against the patriots.  Beaujeu, realizing he had lost about a quarter of his force, the element of surprise, and the morale of his men, gave up his attempt to take the battery.  He had to go into hiding to avoid capture and arrest by the Continental Army.

Wooster Takes over Quebec

In April 1776, Gen. Wooster decided that he should take control of the army around Quebec.  By this time, Arnold had mostly recovered from his leg wound and was back to preparing the army for the spring offensive.  Wooster, however, made it clear to the junior general, that Wooster was now in charge and he would not be taking any advice from Arnold.

David Wooster
In frustration, Arnold requested to leave Quebec and took over Wooster’s old command at Montreal.  Some accounts say his horse took a fall, causing him to re-injure his wounded leg, and that was the reason for him leaving Quebec.  But I’m inclined to believe it was Wooster.  He could not stand the man and definitely did not want to take direct orders from him everyday.  The fact that Arnold did not leave Quebec in January when he had a life threatening leg injury indicates he would not leave just because of a much more minor injury that did not even break a bone.

Wooster launched an artillery barrage against Quebec from the Plains of Abraham.  The problem was, he only had a few guns, far fewer than the defenders.  Wooster spent a few days taking pot shots at the city, but clearly would have no impact other than wasting the dwindling supply of Continental ammunition.  One defender mockingly noted that the attack, only killed one young boy in his home, wounded one sailor, and injured one turkey.  The attackers did set a few buildings on fire, but this in no way seriously threatened the defense of the city.

After that pointless attack, Wooster settled in to wait for something to happen.  Like Carleton, Wooster would do much of anything else unless he received more reinforcements.  As a result, both armies sat and waited.

- - -

Next  Episode 88: British War Plans for 1776

Previous Episode 86: The Evacuation of Boston

Click here to donate
American Revolution Podcast is distributed 100% free of charge. If you can chip in to help defray my costs, I'd appreciate whatever you can give.  Make a one time donation through my PayPal account. Also, see the very bottom of this page to see how you can support this podcast by making purchases you would make anyway on Amazon.  Thanks, Mike Troy

Click here to see my Patreon Page
You can support the American Revolution Podcast as a Patreon subscriber.  This is an option for people who want to make monthly pledges.  Patreon support will give you access to Podcast extras and help make the podcast a sustainable project.  Thanks again!

Visit for a list of all episodes.

Visit for free downloads of all podcast episodes.

Further Reading


James Livingston:

Moses Hazen:

Letter from Continental Congress  to the oppressed inhabitants of Canada, May  29, 1775:

Americans win the battle of Saint Pierre:

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Codman, John Arnold’s Expedition To Quebec,  New York, MacMillan Co., 1901.

Hill, George Benedict Arnold: A Biography, Boston: E.O. Libby & Co. 1858.

Kingsford, William The History of Canada, Vol. 6,  Toronto: Roswell & Hutchinson, 1887.

Smith, Justin Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony: Canada, and the American Revolution, Vol. 2, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907.

Winsor, Justin (ed) Arnold's expedition against Quebec. 1775-1776: The Diary of Ebenezer Wild, Cambridge: John Wilson & Son, 1886.

Withington, Lothrop (ed) Caleb Haskell's diary. May 5, 1775-May 30, 1776. A revolutionary soldier's record before Boston and with Arnold's Quebec expedition, Newburyport: W.H. Huse, 1881.

Würtele, Fred C. Blockade of Quebec in 1775-1776 by the American revolutionists (les Bastonnais) Vol 1) Quebec: Daily Telegraph Job Printing House, 1905.

Würtele, Fred C. Blockade of Quebec in 1775-1776 by the American revolutionists (les Bastonnais) Vol 2) Quebec: Daily Telegraph Job Printing House, 1906..

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Anderson, Mark The Battle for the Fourteenth Colony: America’s War of Liberation in Canada, 1774–1776, University Press of New England, 2013.

Cubbison, Douglas R. The American Northern Theater Army in 1776, Jefferson, NC: Macfarland & Co. 2010 (book recommendation of the week).

Hatch, Robert Thrust for Canada, New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1979.

Fleming, Thomas 1776: Year of Illusions, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1975.

Lefkowitz, Arthur S. Benedict Arnold's Army: The 1775 American Invasion of Canada During the Revolutionary War, El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2008.

Martin, James Benedict Arnold: Revolutionary Hero, New York: NYU Press, 1997.

Phillips, Kevin 1775: A Good Year for Revolution, New York: Viking Penguin, 2012.

Randall, Willard Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor, William Morrow & Co. 1990.

* This site is a registered Amazon Associate.  Please help support this site by purchasing any of these books, or any other Amazon product, via the links on this site.  If you start by clicking on a book link above and then browse to buy something completely different on Amazon, American Revolution Podcast will get credit for your purchase.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Episode 086: Evacuation of Boston

Last week, the Continental Army took Dorchester Heights.  The British could not retake the heights by force, and put their entire force under risk of attack of bombardment from the heights.

Decision to Evacuate

Now months earlier, British General William Howe had planned to evacuate Boston.  Secretary of State Germain had even sent communications authorizing evacuation months earlier, but Howe felt a winter evacuation would be to difficult.

He had planned to move his army down to New York and make New York City his base of operations in the spring.  London was sending large numbers of reinforcements in a few months.  Howe was mostly awaiting their arrival.

Howe Evacuates Boston (from Mt. Vernon)
Gen. John Burgoyne was deploying to Canada, where he would reassert control there.  Burgoyne would then move down the Hudson as Howe moved up the Hudson.  With this, the two armies would cut off New England and isolate the most troublesome part of the continent.  New England colonists would suffer under a British blockade while the regulars pacified and reasserted control over the middle and southern colonies, where they thought patriot sentiment was not as universal.

It seemed like a good plan. The problem was Washington and the Continental Army had pushed up Howe’s timeline.  Howe’s reinforcements from London were not there yet.  He did not want to take his relatively small force to New York.  Part of the Continental Army, along with New York militia was already building defenses around New York.  The last thing Howe wanted was to land his relatively small force and possibly face an attack under possibly worse circumstances than the one he just left.  Howe wanted to invade with overwhelming force there to make sure they could overcome any resistance.  That could not happen for a few more months.

Admiral Shuldham made clear he was not going to leave his ships in the harbor under rebel guns.  Without the navy, Howe could not stay.  He would lose his already difficult access to food and supplies.  The regulars had to leave now.  So, Howe decided to move everyone up to Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Halifax remained under Royal control and would not be a combat zone.  Howe would wait there until he could coordinate his much larger invasion of New York with the reinforcements coming from Britain.

Evacuation Logistics

By March 7, 1776, Howe had made the decision to evacuate to Halifax.  Putting that plan into effect was a major task in itself.  First, there were over 8000 soldiers in Boston, some sources say nearly 9000, about a quarter of whom were sick.  Some sources say it was closer to 11,000, but I think that is including the estimated 2400 camp followers, wives and children of the soldiers who could not be left behind.  Some say records say the number of camp followers was smaller, but that is because records exist for only about half the regiments being evacuated.  In addition, there were more than 1100 Tory colonists who could not be left behind to face patriot vengeance.  It total, Howe had to board an estimated 12,000 people, along with all their belongings aboard ship under enemy fire, all the time worried that the patriots might attack while the regulars were in the process of evacuating.

The British had about 125 ships at their disposal, enough to carry all the people, though there was an uncomfortable amount of crowding aboard ships. There was not enough room for all the equipment, supplies, and personal effects of the colonists trying to move with the army.  Even worse, the navy had been losing sailors to disease and desertion all winter.  They did not have enough sailors to man all the ships they had at their disposal.  They ended up destroying several ships that they could not take with them.

Informal Agreement

In an attempt to make the evacuation easier, Howe sent out a notice to the patriots on March 9.  The Notice declared that the British had decided to evacuate Boston.  If the rebels fired on them while evacuating, they would burn the city.  If left alone, they would leave the city intact and allow the Continentals to take control.

Howe could not seek a direct agreement with Washington.  The problem was that Howe refused to address Washington as “General” or any other title conferred on him by the Continental Congress.  Doing so would have legitimized the authority of Congress, something he could not do.  Washington refused to accept any communication from the British which failed to address him as General.  Instead, Howe had several Boston Selectmen sign a note stating Howe’s position and had that note carried under a flag of truce out to the patriots.

Washington did not respond formally, but apparently agreed to the deal and did not fire on the regulars as they packed their ships for departure.  He did not want to waste ammunition nor see the destruction of Boston.  If the regulars would pack up and go, that was good enough for Washington.

Battle of Nook Hill

But that is not to say Washington simply sat and waited for the British to leave.  Washington had already begun deploying soldiers under the command of General Charles Lee to New York, thinking that would be where the regulars would be headed.  Lee had been hard at work setting up defenses in and around New York City.  Now Washington prepared to deploy more of his army to New York, to greet any British landing there.

But Washington also could not be sure that Howe’s planned evacuation was a trick.  He could be stalling for time as he waited for expected reinforcements to arrive.  Or, he could load up the ships, carry his men a few miles up or down the coast, land them and march back toward Boston and attack the Continentals from the rear.

Continental Artillery
(from Boston 1775)
So, Washington continued work on his defenses.  Nook Hill was a smaller hill on Dorchester Heights closest to the Harbor and well within range of British artillery at Boston Neck.  On March 9, the Continental Army began construction of a fort on Nook Hill.  They began work after nightfall in hopes of erecting a fortification by morning.

But the workers could not see enough to work and lit a fire to help them see.  The regulars immediately spotted the fire on Nook Hill.  The regulars were not ready to march out of Boston to attack, but they unleashed an artillery barrage against Nook Hill.  One report indicates the Patriots later collected over 700 cannonballs fired at them that day.  For all the firing, the regulars killed only five Continentals on Nook Hill.  That was enough to discourage the construction of the fort.  The Continentals evacuated Nook Hill.

This repeated itself over the next few days, as Continentals attempted building more fortifications in plain view of the regulars.  The British would fire artillery and the Continentals would back away.

Finally, on the night of March 16, the Continental successfully established a fortification on Nook Hill during the night.  Washington wanted the fortification in case the Regulars really were not leaving, he could be in a better position to attack the town.  By that time though, the British were so close to leaving, that they did not put up much resistance.  They fired a few cannons that they still had in place, old ones that they planned to spike on their way out of town.  Under much reduced fire, the Continentals held their occupation of the fort on Nook Hill and mounted cannons aimed directly at Boston.

Looting and Leaving Boston

While Gen. Howe had agreed not to burn Boston, he also did not want to leave anything of use in the city that could be used by the enemy to further their rebellion.  At first, Howe ordered that citizens turn over all woolens and linens.  These were apparently in short supply in the Continental Army, but also would probably be needed when the regulars arrived in Halifax.  Later, he extended the order to salt, sugar, flour, furniture, and any remaining weapons.  Soldiers looted houses looking for such goods, and taking whatever else of value they happened to find.  Howe ordered that looters be shot on site, but that didn’t happen.  No one in the army was in much mood to fight about protecting colonist property.

One of the notable looters was a man named Crean Brush, an Irish born Tory.  Brush had moved to New York back in 1762.  He had settled in the Green mountains.  That put him in direct conflict with Ethan Allen who had been fighting New York’s control of the region.  Brush had been on the committee that declared Allen an outlaw to be shot on sight.  After fighting started, Brush went to Boston to get authority to raise a Tory regiment tasked with hunting down and killing Allen and the Green Mountain Boys.

Crean Brush (from Boston 1775)
Instead, Gen. Gage had put him to work in Boston, finding housing for his soldiers, which often meant kicking locals out of their homes.  Brush later worked for Gen. Howe trying to find supplies for the army by taking control of warehouses and confiscating whatever the army wanted.  As you might guess, this did not make him many friends.  To top it off, Howe put Brush in charge of searching all the houses and confiscating everything the army wanted during the last days of the occupation.  Brush loaded up one of the ships leaving with the British fleet loaded with anything of value that he could carry.

Unfortunately for Brush, his ship, the Elizabeth was the one ship in the fleet captured by a patriot privateer and returned to patriot controlled Boston.  The patriots tried him, but amazingly could not convict him.  Still, they just kept him in jail because, you know, regardless of any trial, the guy was a Tory and a looter.  After 19 months, near the end of 1777, his wife came to visit him.  Using her clothes, he snuck out of prison dressed as a woman and fled to British controlled New York.  He could not get any help from the army getting compensated for all the property he lost.  He died the next year, allegedly from suicide.

At the risk of getting really off topic here, I should also mention that Brush’s humiliation did not end with his death.  Years, later Ethan Allen, the man who for years he had tried to kill, married his stepdaughter.  Ironically, Allen then took up the family claims from New York on Brush’s confiscated properties, putting him against the New Hampshire claims he had fought for all his life.

Map of Boston during Siege, 1776 click to zoom (from Reddit)
Anyway, back to the evacuation: On March 16, Howe ordered all Boston civilians not leaving with the fleet to remain confined to their homes, to ensure the soldiers would not have any problems and to keep the streets free for the military.

Despite their efforts, the British left behind a great many things. They spiked dozens of cannons and threw tons of food and other supplies into the Harbor.  They even had to scuttle a few ships that did not have enough sailors to take with them.  Even so, they left tons of supplies for the Continentals to capture when they re-entered the city, including stables with at least 110 horses.  Later, Washington estimated the Continentals captured supplies worth at least £30,000.

For the next week, the British Army made every effort to strip everything of value from the city, either destroying it or loading it aboard ship.  Finally, on the morning of March 17, they had packed everything they could, made their final boarding, and sailed out of Boston Harbor for the last time.

One of the last tasks fell to Cap. Jesse Adair, who you may recall was the marine lieutenant who had ordered the regulars to confront the militia on Lexington Green a year earlier rather than continue marching past them.  Howe tasked Adair with covering Boston Neck with crows feet, little spikes that would pierce a soldier’s foot unless they walked very slowly to avoid them.  The point was to slow down any entry into Boston as the last ships were leaving.  Adair started at the British entrenchments and worked his way toward the Continental lines, spreading them as close as he could until he came under enemy fire.  Brain trust that he was, he then realized he had to run back over the ground he just covered with crows feet in order to escape the enemy.  He was nearly captured, but managed to pick his way back across the neck and get back into Boston safely.

Howe was one of the last officers to board a ship and depart Boston.  He knew many in London would not understand his fleeing the city without a fight.  He had been writing letters for months saying there was no way the Continentals could ever attack Boston without being slaughtered.  Now he had to flee to save his army.  But there really was no other option.  To this day, Boston celebrates March 17 as Evacuation Day.

Continental Army Enters Boston

As the fleet sailed away, the Continental Army moved into the city.  Washington gave the honor of retaking the city to Generals Ward and Putnam, both New Englanders who had been at the siege since it began 11 months earlier when the militia chased the regulars from Lexington and Concord back into Boston.  Ward and Putnam took a select force of about 1000 soldiers into the city.  All of the soldiers selected had already survived smallpox and were therefore immune from the disease that was still ravaging Boston.

As the troops entered the city, they halted upon seeing that there were still regulars manning some of the fortifications a Boston Neck and on Bunker Hill.  On closer examination though, it turned out the defenders were simply scarecrows wearing old uniforms.

John Hancock House (from Col. Society of Mass)
The Continentals began recovering anything the British had left behind or attempted to destroy.  They were surprised by how much they could recover, including guns, ammunition, as well as other supplies.  Also, almost as soon as they entered the town, they began building fortifications to defend the harbor should the British decide to return.

Washington himself entered the city a few days later to take command.  While the British had looted most houses, Washington was pleased to report to John Hancock that his mansion was surprisingly intact.  Gen. Clinton had lived in Hancock’s home during much of the occupation, and had made an effort to protect the personal items of his unwilling host.  Washington also took note of the defenses that the regulars had built through the city, and realized that if he had attacked by water if planned, his men would have run into almost impregnable defenses.

The Departing Fleet

Although the British had left Boston, most of the fleet remained just off the coast, waiting for favorable winds.  Admiral Shuldham sent messenger ships to London to inform the ministry of the evacuation and to the other colonies to warn British ships headed for Boston to head to Halifax instead.

All of those leaving were crammed into crowded quarters.  Benjamin Hallowell, a member of the Board of Customs, left with the fleet.  He reported sharing a cabin with 36 other people, all crammed together and sleeping on the floor.  Roughly 100 of the Tories fleeing Boston with the fleet were government officials.  Most of them would settle in Canada, England, or somewhere in the Caribbean.  The other 1000 or so were private citizens, many without much of anything in the way of assets.  They had to make new lives for themselves having left the only home they ever knew.  Most of them would find themselves on lists permanently barred from ever returning to Massachusetts on pain of death.  For now, they found themselves stuck on crowded ships going nowhere.

On March 20, the final garrison at Castle William on Castle Island, blew up the walls of the fort, then burned all wooden structures on the Island, leaving nothing for the enemy.  They also boarded ships and joined the fleet in open waters.  Everyone sat miserably in crowded ships listening to Boston patriots celebrate their victory.  It would be another week before favorable winds allowed the fleet to set sail for Halifax on March 27.

Continental Army to New York

Until the fleet actually left, Washington had to keep his forces on alert in case the enemy returned.  He had to hold off on sending most of his forces to New York, where he still thought the fleet might be headed, in case of an attack.  Once the fleet definitely set sail for Halifax, he began deploying almost all of the Continental Army to New York, leaving only a small garrison in Boston.  Washington himself left to catch up with his Army on April 4.

Reproduction of the Congressional Medal (from CoinCommunity)
Among those left behind in Boston were Gen. Artemas Ward and Col. Richard Gridley.  Ward, the first Commander in Chief, and Gridley the first Chief of Artillery and Chief Engineer did not make the cut to remain with the Continental Army.  Both men were old and had health issues.  Ward submitted his resignation to Washington before the Army moved south.  Washington forwarded the resignation to Congress, which rejected it.  Instead, Ward remained in Boston as commander of the “Eastern Army” which consisted of only a few hundred Continentals.  The fighting had left New England and there just wasn’t that much to do there.  Ward finally resigned the following year and went into retirement.

Gridley had already given over command of the Artillery to Henry Knox.  Following the Evacuation of Boston, Gridley also passed over Command of the Engineering Corps to Rufus Putnam, who had designed defenses for Dorchester Heights.  Gridley remained in Massachusetts where he used his forge to manufacture locally made howitzers and mortars for the Continental Army.

The Continental Congress praised Washington for his success in the Siege of Boston.  It ordered a gold medal struck in his honor.

- - -

Next Episode 87: Canada Spring, 1776

Previous Episode 85: Dorchester Heights

Click here to donate
American Revolution Podcast is distributed 100% free of charge. If you can chip in to help defray my costs, I'd appreciate whatever you can give.  Make a one time donation through my PayPal account. Also, see the very bottom of this page to see how you can support this podcast by making purchases you would make anyway on Amazon.  Thanks, Mike Troy

Click here to see my Patreon Page
You can support the American Revolution Podcast as a Patreon subscriber.  This is an option for people who want to make monthly pledges.  Patreon support will give you access to Podcast extras and help make the podcast a sustainable project.  Thanks again!

Further Reading

Resources to learn more about today’s topic.


What forced the British to Leave Boston?

Letter from Boston Selectmen to Washington, March 8, 1776:

Crean Brush vs. Ethan Allen: A Winner’s Tale, by John Duffy and Eugene Coyle (PDF):

Bell, J.L. Crean Brush in Very Distressed Times, March 2008:

Jolley Allen Missed Evacuation Day in 1776 and it Cost Him Everything:

Richard Gridley, the Nearly Forgotten Patriot, by Steven Baule, Journal of the American Revolution (2013):

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Brooks, Noah Henry Knox, a Soldier of the Revolution, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1900.

Buell, Rowena (ed) The Memoirs of Rufus Putnam, Boston: Houghton & Mifflin Company, 1903.

Dana, Elizabeth Elery (ed) John Barker diary - The British in Boston, 1774-1776, Cambridge: Harvard Univ Press, 1924.

Drake, Francis The Life and Correspondence of Henry Knox, Boston: Samuel B. Drake, 1873.

Force, Peter American Archives, Series 4, Vol 4, Washington 1837.

Force, Peter American Archives, Series 4, Vol 5, Washington 1837.

French, Allen The Siege of Boston, New York: Macmillan, 1911.

Frothingham, Richard History of the Siege of Boston, Boston: CC Little & J. Brown, 1851.

Martyn, Charles The life of Artemas Ward, the first commander-in-chief of the American Revolution, New York: Artemas Ward, 1921.

Neeser, Robert (ed) The despatches of Molyneux Shuldham, vice-admiral of the Blue and commander-in-chief of His Britannic Majesty's ships in North America, January-July, 1776, New York: Naval Historical Society, 1913.

Stark, James H. The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the other side of the American Revolution, Boston [self-published], 1910.

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Beck, Derek The War Before Independence: 1775-1776, Naperville, Ill: Sourcebooks, 2016.

Fleming, Thomas 1776: Year of Illusions, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1975 (book recommendation of the week).

Lockhart, Paul The Whites of Their Eyes, New York: Harper Collins, 2011.

McCullough, David 1776, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

Philbrick, Nathaniel Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, New York: Penguin Books, 2013.

Puls, Mark Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2010.

Smith, David Whispers Across the Atlantick: General William Howe and the American Revolution, Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2017.

* This site is a registered Amazon Associate.  Please help support this site by purchasing any of these books, or any other Amazon product, via the links on this site.  If you start by clicking on a book link above and then browse to buy something completely different on Amazon, American Revolution Podcast will get credit for your purchase.