Sunday, January 19, 2020

Episode 132: Britain Adjusts its War Plans




General William Howe had hoped to end his 1776 campaign with the subjugation of New Jersey in December.  With that, he expected the remainder of the Continental Army would dissolve and he could focus on granting pardons to everyone who swore loyalty to the King.  Of course, General Washington had other ideas, fighting the battles of Trenton and Princeton and keeping up the Forage War across New Jersey for most of the winter.  This kept the Continental Army and the counter-offensive alive for at least another year.

Howe left the skirmishing in New Jersey to his subordinates.  Howe himself, spent the winter in New York enjoying one party after another and his mistress, Betsy Loring.  His professional focus remained on the inevitable campaign that would begin again in the spring of 1777.

More Shock and Awe

Even before Washington counter-attacked at Trenton, indeed even before Howe had completed pushing the army out of White Plains New York, Howe had begun writing Secretary of State Lord George Germain and others in London calling for more reinforcements.  Remember, Howe had begun the New York campaign a combined Army and Navy force of about 42,000 men, not even counting the 8000 or so stationed in and around Quebec.

General William Howe
(from Wikimedia)
With about 10,000 sailors and marines, only about 32,000 of the British and German forces in New York were army.  Over the course of the campaign, he had lost nearly nine thousand soldiers as prisoners or through desertions or death. Most deaths coming from disease.  Howe would need more reinforcements for the 1777 campaign.

Remember, when preparing for the 1776 campaign, officials had decided to deploy an overwhelming force in order to crush this rebellion.  In 1775 the entire British army worldwide consisted of only about 50,000 soldiers.  Sending 40,000 to New York and Quebec had been quite a burden.  They did so in the hope that they could end this war quickly, rather than having an expensive drawn out effort lasting many years.

Howe’s letters to Lord Germain in the fall of 1776 informed him that there was no way the campaign would end that year and that they needed to send many more reinforcements in order to crush patriot moral and force a surrender.  This had to frustrate Germain.  Howe also said he found that he could raise almost no Tory regiments from among the locals, meaning they would need more from recruits Britain or mercenaries from Europe.

By late November, about the time General Lord Cornwallis was chasing the rapidly disintegrating Continental Army across New Jersey, Howe provided more specifics on his planned campaign for 1777.  He would deploy one army of about 10,000 men from Providence, Rhode Island, marching through New England toward Boston.  He would launch another army of 10,000 men up the Hudson river toward Albany, presumably linking up with forces from Quebec and cutting off New England from the colonies to the south.  Another army of 8000 would occupy New Jersey and create a threat against Philadelphia, thus preventing Washington from moving troops to deploy against the other two armies.  Finally, he would maintain a force of around 5000 in and around New York City to defend his base of operations there.  Once Howe has subdued New York and New England early in the season, he would then capture Philadelphia and begin moving south to subdue the southern colonies.

To accomplish all of this he would need another 15,000 soldiers.  Again, his hope seemed to be that overwhelming force would get the patriots to surrender without even having to fight a major bloody battle.

Howe wrote about all of these plans even before Washington had launched his attacks against Trenton and Princeton, capturing about 1400 prisoners and putting almost all of New Jersey back in contention.

Following the revitalization of the patriots after those victories, Howe conceded that he would have to fight a decisive battle to defeat the rebels, something he had not really tried to do in 1776.

No Reinforcements

Sir George Germain, Lord
Sackville (from Wikimedia)
Howe had hoped for more reinforcements to shock and awe the patriots into surrender.  It seems, though, that the only people shocked were officials back in London who saw no good justification for spending more money to raise and deploy another 15,000 reinforcements.  Germain told Howe that he was not getting anywhere near that number of soldiers.  First Germain thought 15,000 was excessive because 7800 soldiers should give Howe the 35,000 total he said he required.  A few years later, at a Parliamentary inquiry over the events of 1777, Howe testified that Germain’s numbers only made sense if Howe counted his soldiers who were disabled on sick leave and those who had been captured as available for duty.

Even beyond that dispute, Germain further determined that the ministry simply was not willing to pay for an army of 35,000 to put in Howe’s command.  He ended up sending about 2300 reinforcements for Howe’s 1777 campaign.  Howe needed to find a way to win this war with the already massive force under his command, a force that far outnumbered anything the Continentals had put in the field.

Focus on New York

Like every commander at time, Howe had subordinates who did not think he was up to the job, that they could do a much better job, and were not afraid to say that to anyone back in London who would listen.

General John Burgoyne had left Canada in December 1776 after the northern army had taken Crown Point following the battle of Valcour Island, and then retreated back to Canada without attacking Fort Ticonderoga.  Commanding General Guy Carlton’s caution in not taking Ticonderoga that winter had upset many officers, including Burgoyne.  So Burgoyne’s personal mission in London focused more on bad mouthing Carleton rather than Howe, but he of course made clear that he had better ideas than all the commanders in North America.

In February 1777, Burgoyne drafted a memorandum: Thoughts for Conducting the War from the Side of Canada where he described in detail how he would lead an army of 8000 regulars, 2000 Canadian militia, and 1000 Indians (or “savages” as he called them) down from Canada, capturing Fort Ticonderoga.  A diversionary force would leave from Montreal and move down Lake Ontario toward the Mohawk River.  The main force would move from Quebec, down Lake George to capture Crown Point and Ticonderoga.  Ultimately, the force would continue on to Albany, where the northern army would either link up with Howe’s forces moving up from New York City, or at least establish communications with New York City via the Hudson River.

General John Burgoyne
(from Wikimedia)
This was not an original idea.  It was very similar to what Carleton had proposed and failed to do the year before.  It was also what military planners had suggested from the very beginning, as a strategy to cut off troublesome New England from the rest of the continent.

Burgoyne, with his detailed plan, successfully lobbied to lead the campaign himself.  Lord Germain, Lord North, and King George all agreed that Burgoyne was best for the job.  The King even weighed in with very specific Remarks on the conduct of the War from Canada  about Burgoyne’s plan.  The main concern was that London did not want to send more expensive reinforcements to Canada, and also that they wanted a sufficient force in Canada to protect it from another invasion.  As a result, they shaved Burgoyne’s request to send a force of 11,000 down to about 7200 regulars and Hessians, with around 3800 remaining in Canada.

With Burgoyne’s acceptance of the reduced numbers, he left London near the end of March so that he could be back in Quebec by early May.  He needed to get moving if he would have time to organize his troops, obtain the necessary supplies, and begin his campaign by some time in June.

This left leaders with two uncomfortable problems.  First, giving Burgoyne command of the northern army invading New York would be a slight against General Carlton, who was senior to Burgoyne and the current commander of the northern army in Canada.  Some historians indicate this was an issue of personal animosity between Germain and Carleton.  If there was any ill will between the two men, there certainly was also good objective reasoning not to put Carleton in charge.  Carleton’s inability to secure Ticonderoga, despite marching right up to its walls the year before did not exactly enhance his reputation as an aggressive fighter to officials in London.

General Sir Guy Carleton
(from Wikimedia)
The administration was clearly frustrated with the slow pace of events in America, and laid the blame on Howe and Carleton.  Giving an independent command to an aggressive fighting general like Burgoyne might be just the thing to bring the rebellion to a faster conclusion.

No one, however, wanted to disgrace or attack Carleton.  Instead, they used the argument that whoever led the expedition would have to link up with Howe’s army and come under Howe’s command.  They wanted Carleton to retain his independent command of Canada.  After all, he also was the Governor of Canada.  So, Carlton had to remain in Canada while Burgoyne led the bulk of the northern army into New York.

Regardless, Carlton would take this action as a slight against his leadership abilities.  Sure enough, when Carlton received word of Burgoyne’s assignment, he immediately sent word that he wished to be recalled to London.  But there would be no time for him to fight or challenge the orders once received.  He had to go along with it.  The Ministry kept Carlton in Canada.  He would remain there, discontented, until the summer of 1778.

The second ego bruised was that of General Henry Clinton, who had been seeking an independent command of his own and expressed continued frustration at serving under Howe.  Before Burgoyne arrived in London, Lord Germain and others had already been considering a similar plan to Burgoyne’s, with the intention of giving command of the force to General Clinton.  As second in seniority to Howe, and given the fact that he had been frustrated with Howe’s refusal to take his strategic advice the year before, Clinton would be the obvious leader.  Howe had actually assumed Clinton would get the northern command and had requested that London send Burgoyne back to America to become Howe’s second in command.

General Sir Henry Clinton
(from Wikimedia)
But with the decision to give the command to Burgoyne, the administration had to find a way to appease Clinton.  To make things even more uncomfortable, Clinton was already on his way to London.  As I mentioned back in Episode 119, Clinton had secured Rhode Island for Howe, after being left out of the entire New Jersey campaign.  Frustrated, he boarded a ship for London in January and arrived in March, just after the administration had handed the New York expedition to Burgoyne.  Even before hearing of this latest slight to his honor, Clinton had planned to resign his commission.  He felt everyone held him responsible for the failure to take Charleston, South Carolina back in the spring of 1776, and that he was getting dumped into unimportant posts where he could do little to restore his reputation.

The ministry did not want Clinton to resign, but they also did not seem to want to give him any important command either.  Instead, they opted to stroke his ego.  The King honored him with a Knight of the Bath for his services, promoted him to Lieutenant General, and let him address Parliament.  After giving him all that, Germain told him he had to go back to New York and babysit New York City while Burgoyne invaded New York and Howe took his army to on its spring campaign.

Howe Plans to Take Philadelphia

So with the northern army’s invasion of New York approved and ready to go, planners could consider Howe’s other suggestions, an invasion of New England and the capture of Philadelphia.  Howe’s grand program that he had proposed in the fall looked even more sketchy after Washington attacked Trenton and Princeton and took back most of New Jersey.  London still was not willing to send the reinforcements that Howe wanted.  As a result, he dropped his plans for New England.  The British outpost in Rhode Island would remain with a limited force to provide a check on New England, but the planned offensive came to nothing.

Burgoyne's proposal for 1777 (solid) and
Howe's attack path for Philadelphia (dots)
(from US History)
Instead, Howe focused on capturing Philadelphia. In his correspondence with Germain and others over the winter, Howe did not say explicitly how he planned to assault Philadelphia.  Everyone assumed he would march his army across New Jersey, cross the Delaware River at some point and assault the city.  His plan to put his entire army on ships, sail down to Maryland and assault Philadelphia from the south seems to have come later.

And this is really where things break down.  Germain and others in London assumed that Howe would provide support for Burgoyne’s invasion in New York.  An attack across New Jersey would occupy the attention of the Continental Army, thus relieving pressure on Burgoyne.  Germain also seemed to think that at some point, Howe would march northward to link up with Burgoyne’s army, either in Albany or somewhere in upstate New York.

Germain thought Howe would take Philadelphia early in the season.  Everyone in London believed that Pennsylvania harbored a great many loyalists who would rise up, as they did in New Jersey, once the King’s troops entered the colony.  Howe would take Philadelphia easily, set up a reserve force of mostly locals to hold the city, then move the bulk of his combat troops north to assist Burgoyne by late summer or early fall.

 Confusion Reigns

Overall, the war planning over the winter of 1776-77 left none of the generals completely happy.  As I mentioned,  General Carlton was mortified that Burgoyne got command of the army invading New York.  He wanted to return to London.

General Clinton also more senior to Burgoyne was similarly upset and tried to resign.  His resignation refused, he returned to New York and commanded the tiny contingent holding New York City while others engaged with the enemy.  Although he commanded a force of around 7000, almost all of them were German mercenaries or local loyalist militia.  He had almost no regulars under his command.

I mentioned in an earlier episode that General Lord Percy had returned home in early 1777 to resign as well.  The King accepted his resignation and he left the army permanently. 

General Lord Cornwallis
(from Nat. Portrait Gallery)
General Lord Cornwallis was ticked off that he was getting the blame for Washington’s successes in NJ that winter and that he could not return to London to advocate for himself.

General Howe was frustrated by London’s refusal to give him the reinforcements he needed to carry out his plans for three armies.  He could not strike at New England, nor did he have enough men to send a separate army up the Hudson River to coordinate with Burgoyne.  He had to settle for capturing Philadelphia only.

Even General Burgoyne, who got the plumb command over two more senior generals and got his plan of attack approved, only received less than two-thirds of the number of soldiers he had sought for the mission.

Having all the leading generals upset and angry at each other was bad enough.  What was worse was that no one seemed to have a sure understanding of the overall strategy for the year ahead.   Burgoyne thought that Howe or Clinton would assist with his offensive by pushing up from New York City toward his advance, or at least attacking New England to draw away some of the enemy.  Clinton did not receive any such orders.  When later urged to push up the Hudson to relieve Burgoyne, he refused to do so because it would leave New York City vulnerable to attack.

Similarly, Howe made his only goal for the year capturing Philadelphia.  There was some discussion that he might assist Burgoyne in the fall after pacifying Philadelphia.  But He never received explicit orders to do so.  Many historians put the blame on Lord Germain for this.  They point to a story just before Easter 1777, when Germain was eager to get out of London and return to his country home.  His secretary reported that he never sent explicit orders to Howe to assist Burgoyne.  Not wanting to wait in London, Germain had his staff work on the orders and send them to his home for his signature later.  But all Howe ever got was a copy of Burgoyne’s orders that indicated that Howe might be of some assistance at some point.  Howe never even started his move on Philadelphia until the end of July, and did not even enter Philadelphia until the end of September.

Howe, therefore never made any effort to send a force up the Hudson to relieve Burgoyne in the late summer when it might have helped.  But the truth is he knew what Burgoyne was doing and even if Germain gave him some discretion in how to act, it seems he should have been prepared to support Burgoyne.  Later, during a Parliamentary inquiry into the matter, Howe justified himself as follows:

Had I adopted the plan to go up the Hudson River, it would have been alleged that I had wasted the campaign with a considerable army under my command, merely to ensure the progress of the northern army, which could have taken care of itself, provided I had made a diversion in its favour by drawing off to the southward the main army under General Washington. Would not my enemies have gone further, and insinuated that, alarmed at the rapid success which the honourable General [Burgoyne] had a right to expect when Ticonderoga fell, I had enviously grasped a share of the merit which would otherwise have been all his own? and let me add, would not Ministers have told you, as they truly might, that I had acted without any orders or instructions from them?

In other words, Howe would have been criticized for sitting around New York all summer waiting to assist the northern army rather than doing something proactive like capturing Philadelphia.  Howe blamed Burgoyne for getting the reinforcements that Howe wanted for his own plans.  Howe reasoned that if Burgoyne got the soldiers, he should be capable of defeating the Americans without more help from another army.

None of the other generals would ever admit to such a thing, but all were probably waiting for Burgoyne to fail.  Burgoyne had criticized everyone else for being too cautious and for lobbying for his own command over the backs of more senior generals.  He was an upstart who was junior to all these other generals.  Further, he had no family in Parliament to support him politically if he did fail.  If Burgoyne’s aggressive offensive failed, it would show why those cautious tactics he criticized were the right strategy. As it was, everyone started the fighting season of 1777 with a different idea of how things would work.  We will see in a future episode the results of that confusion.

Next week: British test American resolve on the Hudson by raiding the town of Peekskill.

- - -

Next Episode 133 Peekskill Raid (available Jan. 26, 2020)

Previous Episode 131 Congress - Baltimore Edition


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Further Reading:

Websites

Hargreaves, Reginald "Burgoyne and America's Destiny" American Heritage, June 1956,
Vol. 7, Issue 4. https://www.americanheritage.com/burgoyne-and-americas-destiny

Sir Guy Carleton: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/carleton_guy_5E.html

Fleming, Thomas “The Enigma Of General Howe” American Heritage, Feb. 1964: http://www.americanheritage.com/content/enigma-general-howe

Burgoyne, John, Thoughts for Conducting the War from the Side of Canada (transcript):
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wTItb7HmaZnbCzpkQ72zyHMiNdFVhCbYim_YR_Zws3g

King George, Remarks on the conduct of the War from Canada (Transcript): 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/17nm75ZMjKu3gdXFvKE_I_haUvfVZDetTY7YeFgwrNsI


Free eBooks
(from archive.org unless noted)

The Detail and Conduct of the American War, under Generals Gage, Howe, Burgoyne, and Vice Admiral Lord Howe, (original reports and letters) The Royal Exchange, 1780.

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).

Burgoyne, John A State of the Expedition from Canada: as laid before the House of Commons, London: J. Almon, 1780.

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

Howe, William The Narrative of Lieut. Gen. Sir William. Howe, H. Baldwin, 1781.

Publication date 1781

Books Worth Buying
(links to Amazon.com unless otherwise noted)*

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.

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

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.

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Episode 131 Continental Congress - Baltimore Edition





The last few weeks, we have covered some of the most pivotal events of the Revolution.  The massive British Army under General Howe invaded New York and New Jersey, sending the Continental Army fleeing before it.  The Continental Army then countered to retake New Jersey.  Last week we looked at events in the south over the same period as Tories in Florida with their Creek and Seminole allies seemed to have no trouble pushing into patriot-controlled Georgia.  Today we look at what the Continental Congress was doing as all these events unfolded.

Relocating Congress

As the British army moved toward Philadelphia in December 1776, the Continental Army was not able to mount much of any defense.  Many on both sides assumed the British would take Philadelphia before ending the year’s offensive.  Members of Congress, not eager to become prisoners of war, decided to leave Philadelphia.  On December 12, the Congress voted to adjourn and reconvene in Baltimore, Maryland the following week.

Fite House (from US Capitols)
In Baltimore, locals first offered Congress the Courthouse, but it was too small.  Instead Congress rented the Henry Fite House, which was actually a hotel and tavern on the western edge of town.  The three story, 14 room brick building had several rooms large enough for committee meetings.  At the time, it was the largest building in Baltimore.  Congress rented the building from Fite for three months for £60.

Overall members were not happy with Baltimore.  It was not the charming modern city that exists today. As one member put it “the town was exceedingly expensive, and exceedingly dirty, that at times members could make their way to the assembly hall only on horseback, through deep mud."  In his diary, John Adams called it “the dirtiest place in the world.” There was also a 107 year wait for Orioles tickets.

Washington Gets More Power

Putting aside the conditions in Baltimore, Congress got to work.  Remember mid-December was the low point of the patriot movement.  Everyone expected the British to take Philadelphia.  The Continental Army might be captured in the process.  If not, officers and soldiers were already deserting what they saw as a lost cause.  Congress had been reluctant to turn over much power to General Washington and the rest of the military leadership for fear of losing civilian control of the army.  Since there was no executive branch, Congress itself had to act as a department of war, trying to run everything through committees.

Washington at Trenton
Congress voted on December 27 to give Washington special powers for six months to raise his own army from the states, appoint officers, and take appropriate action against uncooperative civilians.  This was the day after Washington’s victory at Trenton, but the timing was purely coincidental.  It is not clear whether word of the victory had even reached Congress by the time of the vote.  The matter had been under debate for days prior.

This was not about handing out power to a victorious general.  Congress was effectively admitting that it was not capable of making the necessary executive decisions that had to be made decisively and quickly by the Commander in Chief.  It put a six month time limit on the powers to make sure Washington did not become a dictator.  With the army on the verge of collapse, and the only serious replacement for Washington, General Charles Lee, now a British prisoner, Congress decided it had to go all in, depending on Washington to run the army as best he saw fit.

Congress expressed concern about some recent prisoners.  Congress directed Washington to investigate and protest General Howe’s treatment of Richard Stockton, who I discussed back in Episode 118. Treatment of a captured member of the Continental Congress was an issue near and dear to the hearts of the rest of the members.  Congress also denounced British treatment of Charles Lee.  When initially captured, there were rumors that Lee would be shipped back to England and hanged as a deserter or traitor. Congress affirmed Washington’s position that if the British hanged an American general, the Americans would hang a British officer of the same rank.

By the time Congress passed this resolution though, the British were treating Lee quite well.  They allowed Lee to send for his dogs and servants.  General Howe met personally with Lee during this time.  Howe eventually got Lee to send a letter to Congress asking them to send a delegation to New York to discuss peace terms.  By mid-February though, it appeared that the Americans were back on the offensive.  Congress rejected Lee’s proposal.

Foreign Policy

Congress was not ready to consider any peace proposal if Britain did not recognize American Independence.  That position required military victory.  Washington’s minor victories in New Jersey had been a huge boost for morale, but they did not change the thinking on either side that Britain would eventually crush the rebellion unless the Americans could get a few more countries involved.

I mentioned back in Episode 115 that Congress had appointed Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee to work as Commissioners along with Silas Deane in France.  They needed to pull France into the war with Britain.

Franklin in Paris
(from U. Penn)
Congress, however, did not want to rely on France alone.  Franklin had only arrived in France in late December.  Before Franklin could do much of anything, let alone get any reports back to Congress, the delegates added to Franklin’s duties by appointing him to serve as a Commissioner to the Court of Spain.  Both France and Spain had lost colonies to Britain during the Seven Years War.  Congress hoped that both countries might find this an opportune time to reclaim lost real estate while Britain was tied up in America.  Entry of any other European power into war against Britain would force London to spread its resources more thinly, and give America a better chance of holding onto its independence.

I’m going to get into Franklin’s exploits in Paris in a future episode, but for now, I want to point out that Congress was already expanding his role and attempting to get whatever European powers into a war that would improve the American odds of winning.

Congress also was not convinced that anyone could convince France to start a new war with Britain.  If they could not get France into the war, Congress at least hoped to receive more covert assistance in the form of munitions and other supplies needed to help the war effort.

Vermont Independence, Not Now

As if there was not enough going on, political leaders in the New Hampshire Grants met in a convention in the town of Westminster.  There, they drafted their own declaration of independence, calling themselves the Republic of New Connecticut.  A few months later, they would change the name to Vermont.

The declaration was especially controversial because New York still considered this territory to be part of New York.  Anxious not to annoy the New York delegation, Congress opted to ignore the declaration entirely, not approving or criticizing it.  It would not receive a delegation from the new self-proclaimed republic nor do anything else to recognize its status.  The people of Vermont would have to wait more than a decade to get any recognition.  For this reason, I’m only mentioning this in passing for now.  I will talk more about the politics of Vermont independence in a future episode.

Money Problems

A much more immediate problem for Congress was money.  Congress had been pumping out millions of dollars in paper money, which promised the bearer some day would receive hard currency.  But especially when it looked like the British might win, no one wanted to accept the Continental currency since a British victory meant there would be no entity around to make good on that paper.  Even when the Americans looked like they had a chance of victory though, continental paper continually suffered from hyper-inflation.  Congress had no plan in place to receive any hard money (gold and silver) to pay off the paper.  States would not give it the power to collect taxes.  It could only get anything from the states if the states unanimously agreed to such a plan.  Congress never seemed capable of doing that.

1st Ed. Adam Smith "Wealth of Nations"
published in 1776 but did not influence
Congress' monetary policies.
(from Great Thinkers)
On January 14th, Congress passed some recommendations for states to come up with tax money.  But for a people fighting a war over a foreign government trying to collect taxes from the states, there was a strong inclination for many states to oppose this.  Anyone ever getting anything of value in exchange for their paper currency continued to look like quite a gamble.

Congress’ only response to this was to order people to accept the money at face value in exchange for their goods.  The only time that really worked was when soldiers pointed a gun at merchants and ordered them to turn over their goods in exchange for paper, or go to jail.  As a result, few people were willing to supply the government with much of anything.

During this session, Congress approved borrowing another $13 million through the sale of loan certificates.  It also increased the interest rates from 4% to 6%.  Even with these changes, the risks were too high for most speculators.

In December and January, New England leaders met at a conference in Providence, Rhode Island to discuss the growing problems of government credit and currency acceptance.  Although over in Britain, Adam Smith had published his new book, The Wealth of Nations, no one in America seemed interested in the invisible hand of the market.  Instead, delegates recommended the establishment of mandatory prices on a wide range of commonly needed goods, and forcing merchants to accept paper money at those prices.  The Continental Congress endorsed the New England Conference’s recommendations, and also recommended that the middle and southern states hold similar conferences.

This, of course, only continued devalue the Continental dollar and created even more economic chaos across the continent.  But to be fair to Congress, they really had no choice.  Congress had no power to raise money through taxes, and little chance of obtaining that power in the foreseeable future.  States would not come up with the necessary funds to prosecute the war.  As a result, delegates saw no option other than to continue printing paper money and force people to accept it for goods and services.

Changing the Medical Corps

In addition to building a diplomatic corps and creating an economic system out of nothing, Congress also spent considerable time running military affairs.  Although they had just given Washington a great deal of authority over such things, Congress could not help but meddle in disputes that came to its attention.

Congress had appointed John Morgan as Physician-in-Chief of the Army back in October 1775.  This was right after it removed Benjamin Church on suspicion of espionage.  Dr. Morgan had been a Quaker physician in Philadelphia before the war, but had served in the French and Indian War and left his Quaker upbringing behind many years before the war even started.  He became a committed patriot and by most accounts served reasonably well as Physician-in-Chief for well over a year.  The big complaint against him was that he was unable to make medical supplies available to regimental surgeons.  But the problem there was not administrative competence.  It was that the Continental Army had no supplies, and no money to buy them.

John Morgan
(from Wikimedia)
Dr. William Shippen, also from Philadelphia, and Dr. Samuel Stringer of Albany both tried to undermine Morgan and replace him.  In the fall of 1776, Congress had decided to divide medical authority, limiting Morgan’s authority to New England and giving Shippen administrative control over the mid-Atlantic region where the Continental Army was now centered.  Stringer, put in charge of the Northern army medical staff, simply refused to obey any of Morgan’s orders.  Morgan visited Congress in an attempt to figure out why they had done this, but could not get a hearing.

Finally in January 1777, Congress decided it had had enough.  Without consulting Washington and without any hearings, Congress simply dismissed Morgan and Stringer from the army and put Shippen in charge.  Morgan, unhappy with his dismissal and unable to get a hearing, published a book over 200 pages long trying to vindicate himself and his reputation.

Morgan made it his goal in life to take down Shippen.  In late 1778, Morgan working with Dr. Benjamin Rush, a member of Congress and also a Philadelphia physician, had Shippen brought up on charges of fraud and speculation.  Among other things, they accused Shippen of speculating in the sale of goods needed by the wounded and personally profiting from their sale.  Shippen avoided conviction by one vote and continued to serve until he resigned in 1781.

Congress later exonerated Morgan of any wrongdoing, but did not reinstate him.  His army career was over for good.

Congress also made another important medical decision during this session. It recommended that all Continental soldiers receive smallpox inoculations.  This was controversial.  A safe vaccination would not be discovered until years later. The inoculation as it existed at the time often left the soldiers sick with a mild version of the disease for a couple of months, rendering them incapable of fighting or marching.  It also killed a small percentage of those inoculated. For this reason, Washington at one point had banned inoculations and even jailed some private doctors who inoculated soldiers.

At the same time though, smallpox could ravage armies.  It had killed thousands of soldiers, especially in the northern army during the Quebec campaign, where I think it was decisive in the failure to secure Canada for the patriots.  Smallpox had already claimed the life of Major General John Thomas as well as the Army’s first foreign General, Frederick William, Baron de Woedtke, both of whom had succumbed to the disease months earlier.  John Adams called smallpox “ten times more terrible than Britons, Canadians and Indians, together." The decision to inoculate soldiers, with which Washington also had come to agree, would end up saving thousands of desperately needed soldiers.

Congress also created a Commissary General of American Prisoners whose job would be to provide necessities for the American POWs that the British held in New York. The thousands of prisoners, mostly captured during the New York campaign and the surrender of Fort Washington were literally starving to death aboard prison ships.  After Congress approved the position, Washington appointed Elias Boudinot to serve as Commissary General.  I plan to discuss his activities in a future episode.

Promoting Generals

Congress also took the opportunity to use the session to appoint more generals.  Although Congress had granted Washington authority to commission field officers, Congress retained for itself the authority to commission new general officers.  Early in the session, it has appointed Henry Knox as a new brigadier general and chief of artillery.  It also appointed Francis Nash general to assist with the organization and defense of the Carolinas.

Major General Lord Stirling
(from find a grave)
Toward the end of the session though, Congress decided to make some larger promotion decisions.  On February 19th, it promoted five men to major general: William Alexander (Lord Stirling), Thomas Mifflin, Arthur St. Clair, Adam Stephen, and Benjamin Lincoln.  Two days later, it promoted nine others to brigadier general.

All promotions can be controversial in the sense of who gets it and who does not.  But these appointments had a particular impact on one man: Benedict Arnold.  General Arnold had seniority over all five of the appointees to major general.  Arnold was already ticked that he had not received promotion in an earlier round back in August 1776.  But at least in that round, all those who did get promoted were senior to him, even if their service was not particularly distinguished.  Arnold, who had almost single-handedly held off a British invasion from Canada that fall, and who was one of the most senior brigadier generals in service, seemed a lock for promotion in this round.

When you got passed over for officers with less seniority, that usually was taken that the leadership did not respect you and that you should resign.  Arnold wrote to Washington, inquiring about this and indicated that he would resign.  He only held off because Washington said there must have been some mistake and that he should wait until Washington could make inquiries into what happened.

As it turned out, there was no mistake.  Congress had considered and rejected Arnold.  The main reason given was that Congress already had two major generals from Connecticut, and that before this, no State had three major generals.  Of course it did not seem to bother anyone that Virginia got its third major general in this round, in addition to the Commander in Chief.   General Adam Stephen who just got bumped up was particularly undistinguished and someone who General Washington despised.

Thomas Mifflin
(from Wikimedia)
The reality was that despite Arnold’s impressive fighting record, he did not have friends in Congress to advocate for him.  Members knew his record of fighting with superiors and with the officers under his command.  Arnold wrote out several resignations but ended up remaining at his post, mostly because Washington pleaded with him to do so and promised to work things out.

Arnold wrote back to Washington to say that he could interpret this action in no way other than Congress had lost faith in Arnold as a leader and was politely asking him to resign.  The only things that kept him from doing so immediately was that he expected Congress to send another leader to take over his command, and his desire to go to Philadelphia and seek a court martial prior to resigning.  With that he would have the opportunity to hear the criticisms against him and defend his reputation before submitting his resignation.

This dispute would linger for a few months.  In May, following Arnold’s noted leadership at the Danbury Raid, which I’ll discuss in a future episode, Congress finally decided to give him the promotion.  However, going from the most senior brigadier general to the most junior major general meant that the promotion changed nothing in terms of who could give him orders and who he could order.  So the same five men who had been promoted over him were still his senior.  So, Arnold’s grudge against Congress for being denied proper respect for his services would continue.

Return to Philadelphia

By the end of February delegates decided the Continental Army’s counter offensive in New Jersey had made Philadelphia apparently secure for the time being.  On February 27th, the delegates adjourned their Baltimore session and resumed work in Philadelphia on March 5th.

Next Week, I will look at how the British military and political leadership debated strategic war plans and prepared for the 1777 fighting season.

- - -

Next Episode 132 Britain Adjusts its War Plans

Previous Episode 130 Fort McIntosh, Ga



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.
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 

Websites

Rush, Benjamin “Historical Notes of Dr. Benjamin Rush, 1777” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 27, No. 2, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania; University of Pennsylvania Press, 1903, pp. 129-150: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20086080

John Morgan: http://history.amedd.army.mil/surgeongenerals/J_Morgan.html

John Morgan: https://www.archives.upenn.edu/people/1700s/morgan_john.html

William Shippen: https://www.archives.upenn.edu/people/1700s/shippen_wm_jr.html

Samuel Stringer: https://exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov/albany/bios/s/sastringer5046.html

Smallpox during the Revolutionary War: https://www.armyheritage.org/75-information/soldier-stories/209-smallpox

Elias Boudinot: http://theforgottenfounders.com/the-forgotten-fathers/elias-boudinot

Letter, Washington to Arnold, March 3, 1777: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-08-02-0514

Letter, Arnold to Washington March 11, 1777: http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-08-02-0584

Procknow, Gene “Personal Honor and Promotion Among Revolutionary Generals and Congress” Journal of the American Revolution, 2018: https://allthingsliberty.com/2018/01/personal-honor-promotion-among-revolutionary-generals-congress

Free eBooks
(from archive.org unless noted)

Journals of the Continental Congress, Vol. 6 (Oct. 9 - Dec. 31, 1776) Washington: Government Printing Office 1906.

Journals of the Continental Congress, Vol. 7 (Jan. 1 - May 21, 1777) Washington: Government Printing Office 1907.

Morgan, John A vindication of his public character in the station of director-general of the military hospitals and physician in chief to the American army, anno 1776, Boston: Powers and Willis, 1777.

Books Worth Buying
(links to Amazon.com unless otherwise noted)*

Mello, Robert A. Moses Robinson and the Founding of Vermont, Vermont Historical Society, 2014.

Montross, Lynn The Reluctant Rebels, The Story of the Continental Congress 1774-1789, Harper & Bros. 1950.

Smith, Page John Adams, Doubleday and Co. 1962.

Steffen, Charles G. The Mechanics of Baltimore: Workers and Politics in the Age of Revolution, 1763-1812, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1984.

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Episode 130 Fort Mcintosh, Georgia


As continental troops pushed the British out of most of New Jersey, other parts of the country were inspired to get more active as well.  Patriots had taken over Georgia, forcing most of the Tories in that colony to flee to East Florida, mostly to St. Augustine.

Florida In the Revolution

I guess the first question to address is why Florida did not join the rest of the colonies in the protests and later rebellion and independence.  The short answer is that there really wasn’t much to Florida at the time.  Britain had only acquired Florida at the end of  the Seven Years War in exchange for returning Cuba to Spain.  When Spain withdrew from Florida, all but eight Spanish subjects left as well.  Britain had attempted to attract new settlers with little luck

Many of the British land owners in Florida by the 1770’s were absentee land speculators who still were not quite sure if Florida was going to go back to Spain at some point in the future. The oppressive heat and mosquitoes did not make the area particularly attractive for settlement.

Gov. Patrick Tonyn
Florida itself was divided into East and West Florida.  East Florida covered most of what is today the State of Florida and had its capital in St. Augustine.  West Florida covered the gulf coast, what we today call the western part of the Florida panhandle, and had its capital in Pensacola.  Today I’m just going to talk about East Florida.

What little population that lived in East Florida beyond Indian tribes lived in and around St. Augustine.  The estimated population was around 3000, half of which were slaves of African descent.  Another thousand or so were Roman Catholic indentured servants, mostly from the Mediterranean island of Minorca (modern spelling Menorca), which was a British possession at this time.  So only about 500 were free people, and a good number of those were women, who had no say in politics.  This meant that there were only a few hundred free Englishmen living in Florida.  For the most part, the weather was unbearable, and many died from tropical illnesses.  Few people wanted to live there, and those who did often did not last long.

Florida’s Governor, Patrick Tonyn had been a career officer with 30 years experience in the Regular army, rising to colonel.  In 1774 he came to St. Augustine to collect on the 20,000 acre land grant the Crown had given him, and also to serve as the colony’s new governor.

Almost right away, his little colony started to grow as Tories from Georgia and the Carolinas began to flee Patriot harassment in their home colonies.  Tonyn used the opportunity to grow his colony by providing land grants to the new refugees, eventually getting permission from London to take ownership of some private lands that absentee landlords had never come to claim.

In the spring of 1776, Patriots from South Carolina and Georgia conducted several raids into Florida, mostly to burn or plunder Tory plantations.  Around the same time, Lord Dunmore in Virginia ordered Governor Tonyn to send reinforcements to Virginia.  Florida had to send away most of the single regiment stationed at St. Augustine.  Tonyn complained that he barely had enough soldiers to garrison the fort, let alone fight off any potential attack.

Florida’s government had a small patriot faction that Tonyn thought posed a potential risk. The Governor identified at least four prominent men who he thought supported seditious activities.  William Drayton, the Chief Justice of the colony was a cousin of patriot William Henry Drayton of South Carolina.  Two wealthy merchants, James Penman and Spencer Mann, also seemed to favor the patriots.  Tonyn also suspected Andrew Turnbull, who was Provincial Secretary and clerk of the East Florida Council as leaning toward the patriot cause as well.  Each of these men eventually ended up back in South Carolina, though many of their issues seemed to be related toward an animus with Governor Tonyn.  Mostly they did not like Tonyn, as opposed to having some ideological support for the patriots.

British Florida (from Swanbourne)
Tonyn also had concerns about his Lieutenant Governor John Moultrie, the brother of South Carolina patriot leader William Moultrie.  William had fought General Clinton at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in Charleston Harbor that I discussed back in Episode 96.  By late 1776, he held a general’s commission in the Continental Army.  Despite William Moultrie becoming leading patriot, John Moultrie stayed a committed Tory, supporting the loyalist cause.  He eventually went into exile in England after the war.  In 1776, John Moultrie attempted to raise a loyalist militia regiment that he would lead to defend the colony in case of invasion, possibly by his own brother.

Despite Moultrie’s efforts, the attempts to raise six white companies and four black companies, presumably made up of slaves, did not seem to come of much. It does not appear that the regiment ever recruited the men it hoped to muster. There simply were not enough men in Florida to form a regiment and still keep the plantations going.  They mostly raised a few small companies of Rangers who could conduct hit and run raids.

Governor Tonyn next turned to the largest source of men and military power in the region, the Creek and Seminole Tribes.  The Creeks largely wanted to remain neutral and stay out of this fight.  But the Seminole were more inclined to support the British.  The Seminole were a relatively new political organization, having broken away from the Creek nation about a generation earlier.  They came primarily from natives who had been treated particularly badly by the Spanish when Spain controlled Florida.  The Seminoles had allied themselves with the British in Georgia in order to fight the Spanish in Florida.  When Britain took control of Florida after the French and Indian War, the Seminole enjoyed a period of relative peace and prosperity.  They had good relationships with British Indian agents, and had every reason to want to remain loyal allies.  They were especially concerned about Indian agents’ warnings that the colonists wanted to move further inland and take over their lands.  So, backing royal authorities seemed to be in their direct interest.

The Seminole Chief Ahaya, known as Cowkeeper because, well he had become a prosperous cattle rancher in northern Florida, supported Tonyn and agreed to provide warriors to fight the Georgians who were threatening Florida.  Although the Creeks overall remained neutral, some local Creeks also joined with the Seminole, with particular interest in raiding the Georgia frontier.

Button Gwinnett

Button Gwinnett
(from Wikimedia)
While Governor Tonyn was scrambling to find any force he could to counter the Georgia patriots, the Georgia patriots were not terribly united.  Much of the internal dissension in Georgia surrounded a man named Button Gwinnett.  A relatively recent immigrant from Britain, Gwinnett had spent about a decade in Georgia trying to build a life for himself.  He was not terribly good at it.  He found himself deeply in debt and seeking bankruptcy protection in 1773.

He then tried his luck at politics, organizing settlers in western Georgia to reduce voting requirements and let more of them vote.  When the patriots took over the colony in January 1776, Button became commander of the Georgia militia.  However, most officers balked at his appointment.  Gwinnett had no military experience, and many even doubted if he was really a committed patriot.  A month later, the new government sent Gwinnett to Philadelphia as a delegate to the Continental Congress, and turned over military leadership to Lachlan McIntosh.

While in Philadelphia, Gwinnett tried to get himself a commission as a general in the Continental Army.  However, the others in the Georgia delegation supported McIntosh, who got the appointment in September.  About that same time, Gwinnett returned to Georgia to become Speaker of Georgia’s Provincial Congress.

Lachlan McIntosh

Lachlan McIntosh was also an immigrant, from Scotland.  He then lived in South Carolina for years, before moving to Georgia with his brothers.  He was a merchant who also had little combat experience, but was a respected patriot and longtime militia officer.  He had seen some combat a year earlier in some of the early skirmishes in 1775.

Colonel McIntosh replaced Gwinnett as commander of the Georgia Battalion in early 1776.  He then received a general’s commission in the Continental Army in September, which Gwinnett also wanted.  Henry Laurens, who was at the time Vice President of South Carolina, knew McIntosh before the war and was a business associate.  He supported McIntosh’s commission in the Continental Army.  Gwinnett, despite his success in becoming Speaker of Georgia’s Assembly, seemed to hold a grudge against McIntosh that would cause problems for both men.

Georgia Constitution

I mentioned back in Episode 92, that the Georgia Provincial Congress was at this time in the middle of creating its first State Constitution.  Leaders had begun drafting the document in April 1776.  Before the Declaration of Independence, many contemplated this to be a temporary document until they settled the dispute with London.  After independence, it took on more significance.  Leaders debated the Constitution for months, eventually approving it to take effect on February 5, 1777.

The new Constitution put most of the power in the legislature, and created a separation of powers.  However, on February 22, about two weeks after it took effect, the Council of Safety declared a state emergency based on rumors of a British invasion from Florida.  It gave State President Archibald Bulloch virtually dictatorial powers over the state.  Bulloch had been President since June and was a big supporter of Lachlan McIntosh.  He had even served under then Colonel McIntosh a year earlier before becoming President.

Two days after receiving dictatorial powers, Bulloch died.  Rumors circulated that he was poisoned, although no one ever proved anything.  On his death, Speaker Button Gwinnett assumed the presidency.  A big part of his agenda seemed to be settling scores with his political enemies.  The top of that enemies list was Lachlan McIntosh.

Gwinnett-McIntosh Feud

Gwinnett, while still in the legislature, had launched an investigation of Lachlan’s brother, William McIntosh who was at the time a lieutenant colonel leading Georgia patriots in the western part of the state.  Gwinnett accused Colonel McIntosh with negligence for failing to defend several plantations against a raid by British soldiers and Indians from East Florida.  Exhausted from fighting and frustrated by Gwinnett’s inquiry, Colonel McIntosh took a leave of absence and gave up his command.  Incidentally, William McIntosh had a Creek wife.  His son, William McIntosh Jr. would grow up to be an important Creek Chief who sold out the Creeks in the State of Georgia decades later, leading to their removal from the state.  But that is getting into a whole different story.

Lachlan McIntosh
(from Wikimedia)
After William McIntosh resigned, Gwinnett went after Lachlan’s other brother, George McIntosh, who was serving the Assembly, a member of the Committee of Safety, and like his brothers, a political opponent of Gwinnett.  Apparently John Hancock had sent a letter to the President Bulloch accusing George McIntosh of treason for allegedly assisting a merchant who was buying rice for British soldiers in Florida.  The primary evidence against McIntosh was a captured letter from Florida Governor Tonyn saying that he thought McIntosh was a loyalist.  Bulloch had ignored the letter, knowing that McIntosh was an ardent patriot.

When Bulloch died in February 1777, Gwinnett found the Hancock’s letter and ordered McIntosh arrested.  Since the Assembly was out of session at the time, Gwinnett sent a sheriff to bring back McIntosh in chains to Savannah.  Once he arrived, Gwinnett denied him bail and threw him in jail to await trial.  McIntosh remained in jail until Gwinnett missed a meeting of the Committee of Safety, at which time the Committee voted to release McIntosh on bail.

Undeterred, Gwinnett wrote to the Major General Robert Howe, the commander of the Continental army’s southern department, asking the General McIntosh be removed from command because his brother’s arrest for treason might create a resentment that would result in his failure to perform his military duties.  General Howe, continued to have faith in McIntosh and refused to act on the letter.

First Raid on Fort Mcintosh

As the patriots fought among themselves, Florida Governor Tonyn had cobbled together a force of local militia and Seminole warriors to challenge the Georgia border.  General McIntosh had ordered a series of small forts built along the Georgia-Florida border.  The word “forts” might be a little generous.  The largest of these posts were log stockades with minimal defensive measures.  The militia sent to occupy them had been left there for months without pay or supplies.  They were not designed to defend against any serious siege.  They served as bases for militia who tried to stop roving bands of mounted loyalists who raided southern Georgia, mostly in search of cattle and slaves to steal.

Fort McIntosh, which was known as Beard’s Bluff at the time, was a small wooden stockade that housed a company of 27 militiamen who were in no mood to be there.  On December 28, 1776 the garrison rode out on a standard patrol only to run into an ambush about 400 yards from the fort.  The patrol commander, Lieutenant Bugg, took an arrow, as did his horse.  Three other soldiers were also wounded.  The other eight soldiers on the patrol turned and fled back to the fort without firing a shot, abandoning their comrades.  Bugg, who could still walk, eventually made it back to the fort, but the Seminole killed and mutilated the bodies of the other three soldiers left behind.

Back at the fort, Bugg called on the men to prepare to defend the fort until reinforcements could arrive about two days later.  The men though, were in no mood to fight.  They had been left for months in the middle of nowhere. They had no interest in being massacred.  The soldiers decided to flee the fort and run away.  Left alone, Bugg had to ride to Savannah and report what had happened.  The army did not prosecute the militia for desertion, but Lieutenant Bugg resigned his commission a few weeks later.  It’s not clear whether it was from his own disgust, or because he felt pressure to do so after being unable to control his men.

Siege of Fort McIntosh

General McIntosh decided to reoccupy the fort, this time using a small company of Continental soldiers, supplemented by South Carolina militia who had fought at the battle of Fort Sullivan.  They had come to Georgia to prevent any British invasion from the south.  Militia Captain Richard Winn of South Carolina commanded the new outpost, now given the name Fort McIntosh.  The combined force of about 80 men rode on patrol, trying to capture any enemy raiding parties that had crossed the border and threatened local farms.  Over the next few weeks, they captured a few Indians, but did not have any major confrontations.

On February 17, 1777 a group of about 70 Florida Rangers and 80 Indians attacked Fort McIntosh.  Colonel Thomas “Burntfoot”  Brown commanded the attacking force.  Brown had been a Georgia loyalist.  He got his nickname after patriots burned the bottom of his feet in an attempt to get him to renounce his loyalty to the King.  They also tarred and feathered him, fractured his skull, and scalped him.  Brown escaped with his life and fled to Florida.  He helped to organize the Florida Rangers from other loyal colonists.  Given his background, he was not terribly interested in showing much mercy to the patriots.

Along with Brown was another officer named Daniel McGirth who had been fighting with the patriots in South Carolina.  According to one story, a superior officer ordered McGirth to give up his horse.  When McGirth refused, the patriot militia court martialed him, ordering him whipped and imprisoned.  McGirth then escaped to Florida where he took a commission in the loyalist militia.  So McGirth also had a personal motivation for revenge.

Nothing remains of Fort McIntosh today, except this maker
(from Wikimedia)
The Fort McIntosh firefight lasted for about five hours, after which Brown demanded unconditional surrender of the fort.  Otherwise, he would order the entire garrison to be slaughtered.  Captain Winn was not quite ready to surrender, but sent back a reply saying that he expected his men to be treated as prisoners of war if captured.

Fighting continued for the rest of the day, with the defenders suffering one killed and three wounded.  After dark, Winn sent a messenger to nearby Fort Howe (aka Fort Barrington) calling for reinforcements.  But since Fort Howe only had a garrison of about 40 men, even if the entire garrison rode to their rescue, the enemy would still outnumber them.

The following morning, about 200 British regulars arrived along with more Creek warriors.  Winn estimated he was facing a force of about 400 to 500 men.  Fighting resumed as Winn held out hope of reinforcements who never came.

With the arrival of the regulars, the command of the attacking force fell to an officer identified in Winn’s reports as “Colonel Frasier.”  This was actually Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Fuser, an officer of the 60th Royal American Regiment then operating out of St. Augustine.  The fighting continued for most of the day.  In the afternoon, Winn and Fuser ceased fire and met in the middle of the field outside the fort for a parlay.  Unlike Brown’s demand of unconditional surrender a day earlier, Fuser was willing to allow the garrison to leave the fort and retreat north, taking only two officers as hostages.

Winn however, remained concerned that after his men gave up their arms, and left the fort, the Rangers and Indians would attack and massacre them.  He requested a company of Regulars escort the garrison north to protect them from attack.  Colonel Fuser agreed to the terms.  By evening of the 18th, the British occupied the fort.

The garrison marched north protected by a company of British Regulars.  After marching about two miles, the Regulars abandoned the men and returned back to Fort McIntosh.  Fearing a setup, the men kept off the road, marching through swamps.  Fortunately, no attack came and the garrison reached Fort Howe without further incident.

General McIntosh did not hear about the siege until the morning of the 18th. He tried to arrange a relief force of men and supplies.  Before he could get organized though, an express rider rode in with the message that the British and Indians had taken the fort.

Brown and the Florida Rangers did not attempt to attack the retreating garrison.  They satisfied themselves by rounding up about 2000 head of cattle and taking them back to Florida.  The Regulars did not remain at the fort long.  They left a contingent of Rangers to garrison the fort.  A few weeks later Colonel John Baker led a contingent of Georgia militia to retake the fort.  But the presence of an armed British ship on the river nearby forced them to call off the attack.

For the next few months loyalist Rangers and their Indian allies conducted multiple raids across southern Georgia, with the patriots unable to mount an effective defense.

Next Week: The Continental Congress meets in Baltimore.

- - -

Next Episode 131 Continental Congress - Baltimore Edition

Previous Episode 129 Prisoners of War

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.
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

Websites

Porter, Kenneth W. “The Founder of the ‘Seminole Nation’ Secoffee or Cowkeeper” The Florida Historical Quarterly, 1949: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30138772 (free to read with registration).

Hawkins, Philip C. Creek Schism: Seminole Genesis Revisited, University of South Florida: unpublished masters thesis, 2009: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3003&context=etd

Smyrnea: Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the Mediterranean Settlement at New Smyrna and Edgewater, Florida, 1766-1777: https://www.unf.edu/floridahistoryonline/Turnbull/index.htm

Beeson, Kenneth H. “Janas in British East Florida” The Florida Historical Quarterly, 1965: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30147732 (free to read with registration).

San Marco, Florida history
https://www.unf.edu/floridahistoryonline/Plantations/plantations/San_Marco-The_Hermitage.htm

The Tonyn Family: http://www.swanbournehistory.co.uk/charles-william-tonyn-vicar-of-swanbourne-1760-1767

Piecuch, Jim, “Patrick Tonyn: Britain’s Most Effective Revolutionary-Era Royal Governor” Journal of the American Revolution, 2018 https://allthingsliberty.com/2018/03/patrick-tonyn-britains-most-effective-revolutionary-era-royal-governor

Smith, Roger C. The Fourteenth Colony: Florida and the American Revolution in the South, University of Florida: unpublished doctoral dissertation, 2011: http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/UF/E0/04/27/45/00001/smith_r.pdf

Button Gwinnett: https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/declaration/bio13.htm

Lachlan McIntosh: https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/lachlan-mcintosh-1727-1806

Gen. Lachlan McIntosh: http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/mcintosh.html

Lawrence, Alexander A. “General Lachlan McIntosh and His Suspension from Continental Command During the Revolution.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly, vol. 38, no. 2, 1954, pp. 101–141: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40577507

Pennington, Edgar Legare. “East Florida in the American Revolution, 1775-1778.” The Florida Historical Society Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 1, 1930, pp. 24–46: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30149717

Continental Congress committee report clearing George McIntosh of accusations of being a Tory Oct. 9, 1777: https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/06-05-02-0182

Richard Winn: http://www.carolana.com/SC/Revolution/patriot_leaders_sc_richard_winn.html

Thomas Brown: https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/thomas-brown-1750-1825

Lynch, Wayne “Richard Winn at Fort McIntosh” Journal of the American Revolution, 2013:
https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/12/richard-winn-fort-mcintosh

Lynch, Wayne “Daniel McGirth, Banditti on the Southern Frontier” Journal of the American Revolution, 2016: https://allthingsliberty.com/2016/08/daniel-mcgirth-banditti-southern-frontier

Just for fun: Stephen Colbert and Lin-Manuel Miranda sing about Button Gwinnett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhFeQSBZUSk

Free eBooks
(from archive.org unless noted)

Clemens, William M. Button Gwinnett, Man of Mystery, Pompton Lakes, NJ: Self-published, 1921.

Corse, Carita Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the New Smyrna colony of Florida, Florida: Drew Press, 1919.

Hawes, Lilla M. (ed) Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. 12: the Papers of Lachlan McIntosh, Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1957.

Jones, Charles C. Biographical Sketches of the Delegates from Georgia to the Continental Congress, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1891.

Jones, Charles C. The History of Georgia Vol. 2, Boston: Houghton & Mifflin Co. 1883.

McCall, Hugh The History of Georgia, containing brief sketches of the most remarkable events up to the present day, (1784), Atlanta: A.H. Caldwell, 1909 reprint.

Books Worth Buying
(links to Amazon.com unless otherwise noted)*

Cashin, Edward The King's Ranger: Thomas Brown and the American Revolution on the Southern Frontier, New York: Fordham University Press, 1999.

Coleman, Kenneth The American Revolution in Georgia, 1763–1789, Univ of Georgia Press, 1958.

Drewien, D.J. Button Gwinnett: A Historiography of the Georgia Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Pittsburgh: Rosedog Books, 2007

Jackson, Harvey H. Lachlan McIntosh and the Politics of Revolutionary Georgia, University of Georgia Press, 1979.

Johnson, Daniel M. This Cursed War: Lachlan McIntosh in the American Revolution, Self-published,  2018.

O'Donnell James H. Southern Indians in the American Revolution, Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1973.

Piecuch, Jim Three Peoples, One King: Loyalists, Indians, and Slaves in the Revolutionary South, 1775-1782, Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2008.

Searcy, Martha C. The Georgia-Florida Contest in the American Revolution, 1776-1778, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1985.

Wright, James L. Florida in the American Revolution, Univ. Presses of Florida, 1975.

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.