Sunday, May 30, 2021

ARP203 Dominica & St. Lucia

The French fleet under Admiral d’Estaing had come to America in July 1778 as part of the new Franco-American Alliance.  France and Britain had gone to war a few months earlier.  France hoped to use the war in America to take advantage of a weakened Britain and to recover some of the colonies that it lost to Britain in the Seven Years War.

Before the war, some French leaders even hoped that the North American colonies in rebellion might be willing to put themselves under the authority and protection of the King of France.  While it quickly became apparent that would not happen, an independent North America would weaken Britain and perhaps at least open up some valuable trading relationships.

West Indies

With the control of North America seemingly off the table, France focused more on the West Indies, or what we today call the Caribbean.  These island colonies brought immense amounts of wealth to whoever controlled them.

18th Century West Indies Port
I’m not going to go through an exact breakdown of who controlled which islands since there are probably over a hundred little islands, some of which were divided between multiple countries.  These very frequently changed hands over the course of the 18th Century.

Of course, Spain dominated the region with its control of Cuba and San Domingo.  Spain also controlled almost all of the mainland around what we today call the Gulf of Mexico and Central America.  Spain had gotten there early, at the end of the 15th Century, and dominated the region before other European powers even took an interest.

Spanish officials had largely enslaved the local population, but much of that population very quickly died out, mostly due to a lack of resistance to European diseases.  Spain had no interest in colonizing these new lands with free Spanish colonists.  Rather, Spanish officials wanted to produce crops, primarily sugar, which grew well in the region, for the benefit of Europeans and for making massive profits.  Maximizing profits means keeping labor costs down.  Allowing local free colonists to run the local plantations would mean that most of the profits would go there. Instead, officials turned to African slavery as the primary labor force for these island colonies.

By the 18th Century, all the islands were dominated by African slave labor.  As other countries, such as Britain, France, and the Netherlands claimed ownership of various islands, they also used African slave labor as the primary labor force on their islands.  As a result, these islands were producing a massive amount of wealth for the colonizers and at very little cost for the labor force on the islands.

As other European powers saw Spanish wealth grow, they wanted to get in on the action.  France settled several colonies, the largest of which became Haiti.  Britain settled on some of the smaller islands, including the Bahamas and Jamaica.  The Netherlands occupied several small islands as well.  Even Denmark colonized a few of what today are the US Virgin Islands.

Whenever these countries went to war, or saw a weakness, they were quick to seize more islands for themselves.  So, control frequently went back and forth, with the slaves continuing to do the work for the new owners.

When France ended the Seven Years War, it not only ceded Canada to Britain, it also ceded a number of islands, including Granada, St. Vincent, and Dominica.  Britain had captured St. Lucia during the war, but turned it back over to France when the war ended.

As the rebellion in America began in 1775, France and Britain were still at peace.  Various French governors gave support to American privateers, but could not recapture any of the islands they may have wanted.  Once the war began in 1778, taking back islands, and protecting one’s own islands, became an active concern for both France and Britain.

The area known as the Leeward Islands were some of the most vulnerable properties at risk.  This is a series of islands at the eastern end of the Caribbean, that includes Martinique, Granada, Domenica, St. Lucia, and others.

Admiral Samuel Barrington

In 1778, the British Commander in the West Indies was Admiral Samuel Barrington.  I won’t spend too much time giving a background on him because it’s the same old story I’ve already told for so many other officers. 

Samuel Barrington
Barrington was the fourth son of British aristocrat. His father, John Barrington was a Viscount. Although the Barrington’s lived in England, the peerage was in Ireland, meaning he could not sit in the House of Lords.  Instead, Barrington held a seat in the Commons.  The father was expelled from Parliament before Samuel was born for supporting an illegal lottery.  He ran for office several more times but never succeeded.  He died when Samuel was only five years old. 

Samuel’s older brother William Barrington inherited their father’s land and title.  At age 11 Samuel shipped off to sea and by age seventeen was a lieutenant in the British Navy.  Because his older brother was serving in the Admiralty, Barrington saw a pretty meteoric rise through the ranks, making captain by age 18.  He received several plumb positions and earned favorable opinions of several admirals under which he served.

Captain Barrington saw active combat during the Seven Years war, and commanded a ship in the fleet under Admiral John Byron that captured Louisbourg from the French.  After the war, Barrington spent several years in Europe studying other navies and naval defenses, particularly in Russia and France. In 1768, Barrington received command over an important junior officer, the Duke of Cumberland, who was George III’s younger brother.  The two men formed a close and long-lasting relationship.

Samuel’s navy career continued to receive favor, at least in part because his brother became Secretary of War and also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.  By 1778 William was sick of the war and wanted to retire.  He did so by the end of the year. But before leaving in 1778, Samuel received a promotion to Rear Admiral of the White and a commission as Commander in Chief of the Leeward Islands station.  Admiral Barrington sailed for the West Indies aboard his flagship The Prince of Wales in May 1778.  When he arrived he had only two ships under his command, operating out of Barbados.

Barrington’s primary concern on arrival was the French garrison at Martinique, which included several ships of the line and several thousand soldiers.  Initially Barrington only had his own ship and one other ship of the line to contest all of the Leeward Islands with France.  More ships would arrive from North America after several months, but French forces posed an immediate threat to multiple islands.  Barrington followed orders from London to consolidate his forces at Barbados, in order to deter an attack there. With Britain and France having just gone to war, military attacks were only a matter of time.  


The island of Dominica sat just north of Martinique.  Christopher Columbus gave the island its name because he found it on a Sunday.  The small island’s lack of any valuables and resistant natives meant that the Spanish largely ignored the island.  France laid claim to the whole string of islands in the early 17th Century, but again did not settle Dominica.  Britain and France signed a treaty leaving the island and neutral and settled only by the local natives.

In the early 18th Century, France began to set up timber camps on the island to collect wood.  Later, it established coffee plantations on the island.  The French introduced African slaves for labor.  Also a group of poor French colonists from a failed revolt on Martinique moved to the island.  Britain captured the island during the Seven Years War and kept the island after the war ended. With the outbreak of war in 1778, France saw an opportunity to reclaim Dominica.  

Thomas Shirley
The British Governor of the island, Thomas Shirley, was the son of William Shirley, who you may remember from early episodes of this podcast, was the Royal Governor of Massachusetts in the 1740’s and 1750’s.  In 1756, Governor Shirley lost his job in Massachusetts because he was seen as a little too pro-colonist and not supportive of London’s policies.  After a few years, in England, William Shirley got an appointment as Governor of the Bahamas.  The elder Shirley, ruled for about a decade, keeping relative peace and quiet in the Bahamas during an era when colonial protests over Parliament’s tax policies were creating problems elsewhere.

In 1767, William Shirley wanted to retire for health reasons and return to England.  His son, Thomas Shirley, left England for the Bahamas to take over for his father.  Technically, William Shirley remained governor, even though he was back in England.  His son Thomas was acting governor.  In 1774, though, after the father had died and London wanted to appoint a new Governor of the Bahamas, Thomas received an appointment as Governor of Dominica.  

The following year, after the rebellion began in New England, Governor Shirley saw the potential vulnerability of Dominica and began building up defenses on the island.  London objected to the cost of such defenses, which got the governor in trouble with the ministry.  In June 1778, Shirley had to sail home for consultations. Shirley left command to his lieutenant governor William Stuart.  

One reason that London probably objected to Shirley spending money on defenses, was that no matter how much he spent, Dominica was a tiny island with a tiny British population.  Most of the island inhabitants were French speaking locals who had no interest, and might even welcome a French attempt to retake the island.  Dominica was right next to the much larger French Island of Martinique.  Any defense the British built on Dominica was not going to stop a French invasion from Martinique.

Shirley tried to make his case his London, but ministry officials told him Shirley, you can be serious. While he was in London, word of the war reached the West Indies.  The governor of the French West Indies, François Claude Amour, marquis de Bouillé, received the news of war in August along with instructions to capture Dominica.  

Dominica had about 100 regulars on the island, not enough to mount any serious resistance. Governor de Bouillé’s only military concern was whether there were any British Navy ships that might be available to thwart the invasion.  Governor de Bouillé signed a treaty with Lieutenant Governor Stuart agreeing that neither island would provide harbor to enemy privateers.  He used that as an opportunity to scout out the island and make sure the navy was not around.  The British had ordered all naval ships to Barbados, so Dominica was, in fact, vulnerable.

French forces assault Dominica
France still had civilians on the island who favored French rule, and may have sent some undercover soldiers who blended in with the French-speaking population.  They got word to the local French militia not to turn out if the British called on them.  Some also managed to get into the Fort Cachacrou, get the local British soldiers drunk and pour sand into the canons, thus making them temporarily inoperable.

On the night of September 6th, a fleet carried about 1800 French soldiers and another 1000 militia volunteers boarded a fleet of ships at Martinique.  At dawn the next morning, the fleet easily overran the fort with a drunk garrison and inoperable cannons.  The British attempted to call out their own militia but could only get about 100 men to muster.

The British managed to put up a little more resistance when the French moved on the capital at Roseau.  British artillery inflicted about 40 casualties on the attacking French.  Within a few hours though, the French took the high ground and accepted the British surrender.  The entire operation was over in less than 24 hours after the French fleet left Martinique.

Normally, a French invasion force would plunder the locals and loot anything of value.  However, the French wanted to retain local support.  Instead they demanded a ransom of £4,400 to be distributed to the soldiers.

With Dominica secure, French left a force of about 800 on the island and returned to Martinique.  The British were surprised by how easily the island had fallen, and blamed Lord Barrington for failing to use the British Navy to protect the island, in spite of his orders to move his ships to Barbados.

Since retaking Dominica seemed that it would take more resources than the British could expend at the time, they turned their attention to this island of St. Lucia.

St. Lucia

Just to the south of Martinique, St. Lucia had a little more activity in the early colonial era than Dominica. Spanish explorers noted the island’s existence as early as 1500, but did not bother to settle it or do much of anything, other than claim it as part of Spain.  In the mid-1500’s the island became a base of operations for French pirate François le Clerc.

French fleet at St Lucia
In 1605 an English ship got blown off course and decided to settle on St. Lucia.  The local natives spent the next few months attacking and raiding the colony. Within a few months, two-thirds of the inhabitants were dead and the remainder fled the island.  Over the remainder of the century, both England and France attempted to establish settlements on the island, but were run off by the natives or by attack from the other country.  At one point the French allowed the Dutch to build a small fort on the island.  Even that did not stabilize anything.

By the end of the 1600’s St. Lucia was generally recognized as a French colony most of the time.  Over a few periods in the 18th Century, France and Britain declared it to be a “neutral” island where neither country claimed ownership.  But any claims of ownership never remained permanent for very long.  In the fifty years before the American Revolution, the Island’s status changed eight times.  After the Seven Years War, France regained control.  

With the capture of Dominica in September 1778, both Britain and France recognized that open warfare would quickly expand in the region.  Both countries had already ordered fleets in North America to make their way south during the winter months. French Admiral d’Estaing left Boston on November 4, with his fleet repaired and ready for action.  On that same day, a British fleet under Commodore William Hotham left Sandy Hook with 5000 British regulars under the command of General James Grant.

Troop position on St Lucia
On December 10, the British fleet reached Barbados.  There, Commodore Hotham joined with the larger fleet under Admiral Barrington.  The soldiers remained aboard ship for two days while the officers formed a plan of attack.  On December 12, the fleet sailed for St. Lucia.  

By the evening of December 13, the British began landing regulars on the island and taking the high ground without much of any fight.  By the 14th, Major General Grant, supported by Brigadier Generals Robert Prescott and William Medows had secured the island and occupied key positions.  

Later that same day, d’Estaing’s fleet arrived off the coast of St. Lucia.  The French fleet had sailed to Martinique, and was planning an invasion of Barbados when they received word of the attack on St. Lucia.  Admiral d’Estaing immediately sailed for the island in hopes of relieving the French defenders there.

The French fleet had more ships and more soldiers than the British.  Admiral Barrington had only seven ships of the line and three smaller frigates.  His largest ship was the 74 gun Prince of Wales. The French fleet under d’Estaing had twelve ships of the line and four frigates.  Eight of the French ships had at least 74 guns, including the 80 Gun Tonnant and the 90 gun flagship Languedoc

If the French had arrived first, they almost certainly could have repelled the British assault.  But the British had managed to overrun local defenses and had already established lines on the high grounds on the island. When d’Estaing sailed near the harbor, British artillery opened fire on his ships.  That is how d’Estang discovered he was too late.  It was already almost night, so both fleets prepared for battle the following morning.

French and British Lines at St Lucia
On December 15 Admiral Barrington and Admiral d’Estaing both formed their ships in a line of battle.  The two fleets engaged in a traditional naval battle where each fleet formed into lines, sailed past the other line and fired broad sides into each other.  d’Estaing led the attack from aboard the Languedoc attempting to engage the British fleet at the entrance of Carenage Bay.  Accurate British fire with support from shore batteries, forced the French to disengage after a first pass.

Later that afternoon, the French launched a second naval attack, using all twelve ships of the line and focusing their wrath on the British flagship, Prince of Wales. A heavy assault on both sides led to some ship damage, but casualties were relatively light.  Neither side captured or sank any ships.  After several hours, the French, once again, disengaged.

The next morning, d’Estaing appeared to be preparing a third line of attack, but then sailed away at the last minute.  That evening, the French managed to land a force at Gros Islet Bay, several miles to the north, on another part of the island, putting over 7000 soldiers on the beaches.  The French outnumbered British forces, but the British had seized the high ground and had time to entrench.  The French launched three major assaults against the British line, but were repulsed each time, taking hundreds of casualties.

After several weeks, word arrived that a larger British fleet under Admiral John Byron was sailing down from Newport to join with Barrington’s fleet.  The French, hearing this news, boarded their ships and set sail back to Martinique on December 29, before the larger British fleet arrived.

So as 1778 ended, the French had taken Dominica and the British had taken St. Lucia.  Barrington would receive great praise in London for taking St. Lucia and holding it against a superior force.  The two sides would continue the battles over various islands in 1779 and beyond, but that will have to be topics for future episodes.

Next week, the British begin their southern campaign in North America with the capture of Savannah, Georgia.

- - -

Next Episode 204 British Capture Savannah 

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Further Reading


Hon. Samuel Barrington:

Captain Samuel Barrington:

Boromé, Joseph A. “Dominica during French Occupation, 1778-1784.” The English Historical Review, vol. 84, no. 330, 1969, pp. 36–58. JSTOR,

Hiscocks, Richard The Battle of St. Lucia – 15 December 1778, Jun 27, 2016:

Battle of St. Lucia

Dominica, Map:

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Atwood, Thomas The History of the Island of Dominica, London: J. Johnson, 1793. 

Barrington, Samuel The Barrington papers, selected from the letters and papers of Admiral the Hon. Samuel Barrington, London: Navy Records Society, 1937 (borrow only): Vol. 1 & Vol. 2.  

Clowes, William Laird The Royal Navy: A History From The Earliest Times To 1900, Vol.3, London: S. Low, Marston, Co. 1898. 

Ekins, Charles The Naval Battles of Great Britain, from the accession of the illustrious House of Hanover to the throne to the Battle of Navarin, London: Baldwin and Cradock, 1828. 

Mahan, Alfred Thayer Major Operations of the Royal Navy, 1762-1783. Being chapter XXXI, in The royal navy. A History, Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1898

Books Worth Buying

(links to unless otherwise noted)*

O'Shaughnessy, Andrew Jackson An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean, Univ. of Penn. Press, 2000.

Sheridan, Richard B. Sugar and Slavery: An Economic History of the British West Indies, 1623-1775, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1974. 

Toth, Charles (ed) The American Revolution and the West Indies, Kennikat Press, 1975 (or borrow from

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

ARP202 Cherry Valley Massacre

When we last left the Mohawk Valley in Episode 197 Iroquois under Mohawk Captain Joseph Brant and the Tory force known as Butler’s Rangers under New York Colonel John Butler were wreaking havoc in upstate New York.  A series of raids over the course of the spring and summer of 1778 had left the people living in the Mohawk Valley in daily fear for their lives.  The attacks had culminated in the destruction of German Flatts in September 1778.  Thanks to advance warning and good defensive forts, the Americans had avoided a massacre there, but the destruction of a sizable village called for a response.

Unadilla and Onaquaga

In the early spring, most of the raids had come from Quebec.  Raiders would march into New York, attack isolated farms or small villages, and then return before the militia could gather and respond in force.  By the fall of 1778, the raiders were more permanently occupying territory in the Mohawk Valley.  

Incident in Cherry Valley
Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief who was leading most of the attacks, had formed a base of operations in the village of Unadilla and Onaquaga.  Both of these were villages along the Susquehanna River.  Before the war, both villages had mixed populations of settlers and various Indian tribes.  

Unadilla had originally been an Oneida village, but had become dominated by Mohawks in the years leading up the war.  Onaquaga had been a Seneca village.  But as I said, both villages had a mix of not only various Iroquois tribes, but also some Algonquin speaking tribes as well as settlers of European descent.

By 1778, the Oneida and any patriot settlers had fled the area. The two villages were friendly to Brant’s warriors and Butler’s Rangers.  They provided shelter and supplies for the raiding armies.

Following the destruction of German Flatts in September, 1778, patriot leaders were looking to respond in kind.  New York Governor George Clinton and New York Militia General Abraham Ten Broek targeted Unadilla and Onaquaga. 

Governor Clinton sought permission to use continental soldiers to perform the raid against these villages.  Washington assigned Lieutenant Colonel William Butler.  William Butler was not any relation to the loyalist John Butler.  William had come to America with his family from Ireland years earlier and worked mostly as a fur trapper in what is today western Pennsylvania.  He served as a militia officer before the war, and took a commission with the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment shortly after the war began.  Butler served in the Quebec Campaign, and later received distinction at the Battle of Monmouth.  Washington ordered Colonel Butler to raid the Indian bases in the Mohawk Valley to disrupt operations, but left the specifics of the campaign to the New York leaders.

Butler marched his regiment for four days from Fort Schoharie to Unadilla in early October his force of 267 men was primarily Continentals, with a few dozen New York militia joining them.  At the time Butler’s force reached Unadilla on October 6, the warriors were away.  Brant was leading a raid on an area near Kingston, NY, nearly 100 miles away. 

The civilians in Unadilla received word of the approaching fled into the woods or to Onaquaga.  Butler found the town virtually abandoned.  They did capture two Tories who said that  most of the population had fled to Onaquaga.  Butler forced the man to act as a guide, reaching Onaquaga two days later on October 8.  Again, the local population had received word of their arrival and abandoned the town.    

The Continentals burned the town of about forty homes.  Butler noted in his report that these were well-built houses with glass windows and stone fireplaces.  The men also killed or ran off any animals, and destroyed grain warehouses and anything else of value.  They completed their work in a few hours, then beginning the march back to Unadilla.  

They reached Unadilla again on October 10, still abandoned.  Again, the men destroyed the town burning all the buildings, including two mills, running off or killing the livestock, and destroying grain.  Between the two villages, the raids destroyed the homes and winter food of about 700 residents.  The only home they spared was the one that belonged to the captured Tory who served as their guide.

Rain and flooding slowed the expedition’s return to Fort Schoharie.  By October 16, the men had returned.  Because the warriors were away, and the civilians fled, there were no casualties.  But the loss of the two villages was devastating to the residents, many of whom were the families of Brant’s warriors.

Christopher Carleton

Back in Quebec, General Frederick Haldimand saw the series of raids conducted by Brant’s Iroquois warriors and Butler’s Rangers a great success in challenging American control of upstate New York.  Late in the year, he approved a raid by British regulars into New York.  To lead the raid, Haldimand selected Major Christopher Carleton.  

Frederick Haldimand

Major Carleton was the nephew of General Guy Carleton.  Major Carleton's parents had died at sea when he was only four years old.  His uncle assisted with his education and upbringing.  At age 12, his family purchased a commission for him in the regular army.  After a few years, he purchased a lieutenancy and married Anne Howard, the sister of Maria Howard, who was the wife of his Uncle Guy Carleton.  

Lieutenant Carleton served in Quebec in the years after the French and Indian War.  He spent several years living with the Mohawk and learning their language.  Later, he would be transferred back to England and receive a promotion to captain.  In 1776, Captain Carleton was part of the relief force sent to Quebec.  He served as an aide on General Carleton’s staff, and also led several detachments of Mohawk warriors during the 1776 campaign that included the battle at Valcour Island.  The following year, he purchased a major’s commission in another regiment, where his other uncle, Thomas Carleton, was a Lieutenant Colonel.

Major Carleton remained with his regiment in Quebec when Burgoyne’s army marched into New York, eventually leading to the army’s surrender at Saratoga.  With Burgoyne’s army now prisoners, the reduced garrison in Quebec feared another American attack.

Carleton’s Raid

After General Carleton returned to England, the new Commander, General Frederick Haldimand continued to take actions to make any such invasion more difficult.  In August, Haldimand deployed a force under loyalist leader John Peters, to destroy a road that the Americans were building in the Onion Valley, in what is today northern Vermont, that might be used as part of an invasion of Canada.  The group also was tasked with the capture of Colonel Moses Hazen, a Continental officer who had lived in Quebec and who was clearing the road in the Onion Valley in hopes of encouraging another US invasion of Quebec.

The group of loyalists and Indians led by Peters failed after the Indians became unhappy with his command and insisted on returning to Canada.  The Peters raid, therefore, petered out after the destruction of only a few homes.

Haldimand then tasked Major Carleton to lead a new raid, knowing that Carleton had a good relationship with the Indians and regulars alike.  Carleton took a group of about 350 regulars and loyalists, along with about 100 Indian warriors.  His men boarded two ships, the Carleton, named after his uncle, and the Maria, named after his aunt, both of which had been part of the fleet during the Valcour Island campaign.  Rounding out the fleet were two smaller gunboats and many bateaux.

The fleet would sail up Lake Champlain, destroying any buildings and food stores that could be of benefit to an invading army.  They would also round up prisoners who were potentially friendly to the patriot cause.  They departed on October 24, and arrived at Crown Point, near the southern end of Lake Champlain on October 31.  Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga were both abandoned ruins by this time.  The Americans made no attempt to occupy them, nor did Carleton’s force attempt to set up a garrison.  Instead the raiders captured men they thought friendly to the American cause, and to destroy any buildings, food, or other supplies which could be of benefit to an American force that wanted to invade Quebec.

The men spent the next couple of weeks raiding farms and villages near the lake.  At Moore’s Mill, near what is today Shoreham, Vermont, the local militia fired on the raiders, leading to one of them being wounded.  But the resistance only lasted a few minutes before the militia withdrew.

The force returned to the northern end of Lake Champlain on November 14.  Major Carleton’s report to General Haldimand boasted that the raiders had destroyed enough supplies to have supported 12,000 men on a four month campaign.  The raiders destroyed a saw mill, a grist mill, 47 houses, and 48 barns.  The men had captured 80 head of cattle, which they drove back to Quebec.  They also took seventy-nine prisoners of suspected patriots.

The Americans had suspected there would be a fall raid, but it came so late that the Americans had already gone home for the winter.  The only reported battle casualty was the one wounded soldier from Moore’s Mill. Another man had been killed by a falling tree, and seventeen were reported missing after an overloaded bateaux sank on Lake Champlain.  The raiders did not report any enemy casualties, just the captured prisoners.

The Carleton raid was relatively uneventful because most American settlers who lived near lake Champlain had long abandoned the area because of the fear of attack.  In upstate New York, however, the fighting only seemed to be growing.

After the Americans destroyed Unadilla and Onaquaga, the raiders under Joseph Brant returned to the area.  They were not happy with the destruction and began considering where to take their revenge.

Col. William Butler

Joining Brant for the raid was another Tory militia officer named Walter Butler.  This is the third Butler that I’ve mentioned recently, so it may be getting confusing.  First, we had Colonel John Butler who was the loyalist from upstate New York who fled to Quebec and founded Butler’s Rangers.  I also introduced Lieutenant Colonel William Butler, who was no relation and who led the Continental raid against Unadilla and Onaquaga.

Butler's Rangers
Leading this raid with Brant was Major Walter Butler.  Walter was the son of the Tory Colonel John Butler.  Walther was serving as an officer in Butler’s Rangers.  He had served with Brant under General Barry St. Leger and fought at the battle of Oriskany.  

After the surrender of Burgoyne’s army at Saratoga, Butler snuck back into New York from Quebec with the hope of recruiting more loyalists for Butler’s Rangers.  In late 1777, the Americans captured him at a tavern in German Flatts, and arrested him.  He was convicted and sentenced to death.  While awaiting execution of sentence, Butler spent most of the winter in an Albany jail.

Butler had lived in Albany for a time before the war, while he was studying law.  So he had many friends and family in the area.  After claiming to get sick, Butler’s friends convinced local authorities to let him move into a nearby home under house arrest.  There, someone could tend to his health.  Authorities did not give him parole as he was not considered an enemy soldier.  Rather, he was a convicted criminal.  They posted an armed guard at the house.

The owners of the home, as well as others, conspired to help him escape.  One night, an attractive woman got the guard drunk until he passed out.  Locals provided Butler with a horse and supplies to make his escape back to Niagara.

Butler then joined up with Brant for much of the raiding over the summer and fall of 1778.  By some accounts, the two men did not really get along well.  Brant found Butler to be arrogant and ill-tempered, while Butler resented having to serve under Brant.

After the American assault on Unadilla and Onaquaga, the two British leaders agreed on a joint attack against Cherry Valley.

Cherry Valley

Cherry Valley was a small village about fifty miles from Unadilla.  The Americans had built a fort there to protect the community.  It was under the command of Colonel Ichabod Alden, with a regiment of 300 Continental soldiers.  

Alden was a Massachusetts officer who had joined the fight shortly after Lexington in 1775.  He was from Plymouth and a direct descendant of John Alden, the Pilgrim.  After the war moved south from Boston, Colonel Alden remained in New England on fairly easy duty.  In July 1778, General John Stark ordered Alden and his regiment to Cherry Valley New York in order to protect against Indian raids.  The Continentals had built a fort there, which was a log stockade surrounding to block houses.  They named it Fort Alden in honor of the commander.

The regiment had been on alert for the summer and fall, but by November, everyone was pretty well convinced that the fighting was over until spring. Alden had moved out of the fort and was staying in a nearby home as his winter quarters.  Other officers had also moved into nearby homes, some with their families.

The Massacre

Brant held a meeting of local tribes and included other Tories in a meeting to discuss the attack on Cherry Valley.  At that meeting was at least one American spy.  The Commander at Fort Schuyler, Major Robert Cochrane, received word that the joint native-Tory force had agreed to target Cherry Valley.  He sent a note by messenger to Alden warning him of the attack.  Alden received the note on November 8.

Joseph Brant
Rumors of an imminent attack spread around Cherry Valley.  Local residents had put their valuables in the fort during the summer in anticipation of an attack, but had moved back to their homes for the winter.  Now, they sought to return to the fort.  Alden dismissed the warning note as an “idle Indian rumor” and did not bother to move anyone or anything back to the fort.  Instead, he sent out several scouting parties on November 9 to look for any evidence of an attacking force.

One of the scouting parties of about ten men under Sergeant Adam Hunter moved south from Cherry Valley.  Not terribly concerned about finding anything, they did not make much effort to hide their presence.  One morning, the camp awoke to find itself surrounded by enemy warriors.  Sergeant Hunter immediately recognized one of the leaders.  A year earlier, he had been on guard duty in Albany, when a young woman got him drunk and allowed his prisoner to escape.  Now Hunter was looking directly at that former prisoner, Major Walter Butler.

Under interrogation Hunter told Butler about the defenses at Cherry Valley, and the fact that the officers were quartered in nearby homes.  The attackers organized a plan to send in squads to take out the officers at their homes before launching the main attack on the fort.

A group of Seneca warriors attack the Wells house where Alden and his Lieutenant Colonel William Stacy were staying.  Many of these warriors had just had their home destroyed at Onaquaga, so they were not in a great mood.  They swarmed the home seeking to kill everyone inside.  Colonel Alden fled the home and, according to some stories, was chased down by Joseph Brant himself.  Alden fired at Brant, but his gun misfired. Brant threw a tomahawk into Alden’s head, killing him.  Brant then scalped the colonel and returned to the Wells home.

The warriors went on a killing spree in nearby homes.  They slaughtered the Wells family where Alden and Stacy were staying, even though Wells was a friend of loyalist Colonel John Butler.  The attackers killed the women and children, something that Brant had struggled to prevent in earlier raids.

The attackers failed to take the main garrison in Fort Alden, but the garrison inside had to watch as the attackers went on a rampage against the surrounding homes.  In total, the attackers killed 14 soldiers and 30 civilians, mostly women and children.  They also captured another 11 soldiers and 60 civilians, again mostly women and children.

The raiders burned most of the town and withdrew with their prisoners.  According to one story, the warriors prepared to dispatch the soldier prisoners that evening, preparing a stake for Lieutenant Colonel Stacy, where he might be tortured or burned alive.  Butler seemed willing to allow this to continue.  Stacy allegedly appealed to Brant as a fellow freemason for mercy.  Brant stepped in and ended the proceedings.  Stacy would be taken back to Niagara as a prisoner.

The attackers also released about half of their prisoners to return to Cherry Valley.  Butler pointedly kept as prisoner a Mrs. Moore and a Mrs. Campbell, along with their children.  Butler knew their husbands.  John Moore was a delegate to the Provincial Congress from Tryon County, and Colonel Samuel Campbell served on the Tryon County Committee of Safety.  Butler’s own mother and some of his siblings were still being held as prisoners by the patriots.  Shortly after the attack, Butler sent a letter to General Phillip Schuyler suggesting an exchange of the captured families for his own.  He also noted that he had gone to great efforts to keep the Indians from killing these prisoners and was not sure how much longer he could do so.  That exchange would not take place for another two years.  

The group made their way back to Niagara, although Mrs. Campbell’s mother, an elderly lady, could not keep up and was tomahawked to death.  At fort Niagara, Butler allegedly had to prevent Brant’s sister, Molly Brant, from turning over Colonel Stacy to an angry group of Indian warriors.  Stacy would also spend years in captivity, not returning home until the war was essentially over in 1782.

News of the Cherry Valley massacre only inflamed tensions further.  George Washington would order a campaign against the native tribes in upstate New York the following year in retaliation for these attacks.  That, of course, will be the topic of a future episode.

Next week we head to the Caribbean where the British and French battle over the islands of Dominica and St. Lucia. 

- - -

Next Episode 203 Dominica & St Lucia 

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Further Reading


William Butler raids Unadilla and Onaquaga

Timeline 1778:

Joseph Brant:

Walter Butler:

Sturtevant, Jessica “Carleton’s Raid on the Champlain Valley” Valley Voice, 2018

The Battle of Cherry Valley (Massacre):

Cherry Valley Massacre:

Fort Alden:

“To George Washington from George Clinton, 24 September 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

“To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel William Butler, 27 September 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

“To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel William Butler, 2 October 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

“To George Washington from George Clinton, 3 October 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

“To George Washington from George Clinton, 15 October 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

 “From George Washington to George Clinton, 16 October 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

“To George Washington from George Clinton, 17 October 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

“To George Washington from Colonel Ichabod Alden, 4 November 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives,

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Campbell, Douglas Central New York in the revolution: an address delivered August 15th, 1878, at the unveiling of a monument in commemoration of the massacre at Cherry Valley, New York in 1778, New York: F.J. Ficker, Law & Job Printer, 1878. 

Cruikshank, E. A. Story of Butler's Rangers and the Settlement of Niagara, Welland, Ontario: Tribune printing house, 1893. 

Halsey, Francis W. The Old New York Frontier, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902 (online recommendation of the week):

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Graymont, Barbara The Iroquois in the American Revolution, Syracuse University Press, 1972 (book recommendation of the week). 

Kelsay, Isabel Thompson Joseph Brant, 1743-1807, Man of Two Worlds, Syracuse Univ. Press, 1984. 

Mintz, Max M. Seeds of Empire: The American Revolutionary Conquest of the Iroquois, NYU Press, 1999. 

Reynolds, Paul R. Guy Carleton: A Biography, William Morrow,1980. 

Swigget, Howard War out of Niagara, Port Washington, NY: I.J. Friedman. .

Williams, Glenn F. Year of the Hangman: George Washington's Campaign Against the Iroquois, Westholme Publishing, 2005. 

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

ARP201 Treason in Philadelphia

When the British left Philadelphia in June 1778, they took with them many of the loyalists who had worked with them during the occupation.  Those refugees had to leave behind virtually all of their property and begin a new life in New York or elsewhere in the British empire.  Many loyalists opted to remain in Philadelphia, and take their chances by appealing to the mercy of the returning patriots.

Military Governor Benedict Arnold

Philadelphia was under martial law. Major General Benedict Arnold took command of the city almost immediately after the British evacuation.  This was Arnold’s first command since Saratoga.  While Washington’s army endured Valley Forge, Arnold had been recuperating from his leg wound, suffering terrible pain and fighting off the attempts of doctors to amputate.  He spent several months in New York, then returned home to Connecticut.  In May, 1778, about a month before the British evacuation in Philadelphia, Arnold came to Valley Forge.

Benedict Arnold

Washington had been encouraging Arnold to remain home.  Due to his injury, Arnold’s leg was now several inches shorter, resulting in a permanent limp.  He was still in terrible pain and could not walk without crutches.  Even so, Arnold wanted to play a role in the spring campaign.  Washington, having just gotten through the Conway Cabal, was happy to have a top general whose loyalty he could trust, but he knew that Arnold’s body was not yet ready for the rigors of a military campaign.

Washington urged Arnold to take command at Philadelphia.  The Continentals needed to return the city to its former functionality.  Philadelphia had been a town of thousands of artisans, making all sorts of necessary military goods.

Arnold needed to restore order in the city quickly.  Washington also needed Arnold to prevent warfare from breaking out between the patriot radicals in the city, and the loyalists whom the British had left behind. 

Based on its Quaker tradition, many in the Philadelphia area avoided taking a vocal side in the conflict and just wanted to keep their heads down and continue to make a living.  They were not always happy with British policies, but believed they had a duty to obey the law.  When the Americans controlled Philadelphia in the early years of the war, they complied with the laws passed by the radical patriots.  But when the British took control, they were happy to comply with the new British authorities.  When the British left, radical patriots wanted these people punished as collaborators.  Much of the Continental leadership, however, wanted to put these civilian workers back to productive work.

One of Arnold’s first actions was to implement Washington’s orders to halt all trade out of the city, in order to prevent loyalists from removing valuable supplies, which would likely find their way to British-occupied New York.  Congress had placed a complete ban on the sale, transfer, or removal of all goods. General Arnold posted guards at key locations to enforce the restrictions.

For a region suffering from the deprivations of war, Arnold did not make a good first impression.  He arrived in Philadelphia in a coach and four, then proceeded to occupy the Penn Mansion, the former home of the colonial governor, and most recently occupied by General William Howe. 

Penn Mansion

The British had stripped the mansion on their way out, so Arnold spent a small fortune refurbishing the house, buying new furniture, and hiring servants.  For the people of Philadelphia, who were starving, and under a ban on engaging in any business, this extravagance seemed outrageous.

Arnold had been a wealthy merchant before the war.  But the intervening years had destroyed his business.  His fleet of ships was long gone.  Much of his personal funds, that he had spent on behalf of the army was never repaid.  Congress had not even bothered to pay his salary in the two and a half years that he had served. Arnold seems to have decided that he was entitled to make a little money from his position, and to resume a comfortable life.

There was a great deal of goods held in Philadelphia that the British had not removed or destroyed.  Because of Congress’ ban, much of it was still being held in warehouses.  Some enterprising merchants had purchased luxury items at pennies on the dollar from desperate residents or from British soldiers who had looted them and were leaving town.  Arnold made some questionable deals by granting a pass to one ship, whose owner had agreed to sell him thousands of pounds worth of goods at bargain prices.  

Arnold also cut deals with a number of Tories to buy certain goods not needed by the army but which were in danger of seizure by Pennsylvania officials.  Again, Arnold bought these goods at pennies on the dollar since the Tory merchants had to do that or lose everything to public seizure.  Once Arnold owned them, the goods were no longer Tory-owned and could not be seized by the state.

Later, some of these goods ended up at Little Egg Harbor in New Jersey.  Arnold received advance word of the planned British raid there.  He sent a train of teamsters using government wagons, to bring back to Philadelphia many of the personal items he had purchased, before the British could seize them.

In short, Arnold was using the power of his office for private gain.  While this would violate a whole host of ethics laws today, Arnold’s defenders argue that his actions were not illegal at the time.  The legality of much of it was debatable at the time.  Congress was continually on the look-out for war profiteers, especially people who benefited from holding a public office.  Delegates were in the middle of the Silas Deane Hearings at this time, investigating the former delegate to France for allegedly profiting while serving abroad. Other important leaders, including Congressional delegates like Robert Morris and Robert Livingston were already under scrutiny.  Arnold was playing a very dangerous game.

Reed and the Radicals

Congress was not, perhaps, Arnold’s greatest threat.  The radicals in the Pennsylvania state government were thirsting for some revenge.  Most of Pennsylvania’s patriots leaders lived in and around Philadelphia.  When the British took over, they took over all of the property left behind by known patriots.  The British looted and destroyed many of their houses as they evacuated.  This was not much different from the rest of Philadelphia, which saw most of the city in terrible condition from the British occupation.  The big exception to the destruction was the good neighborhoods where wealthy Tories lived.  These were wealthy men of substance, who made nice with the British leadership in an attempt to keep their families and properties intact.  Some of them hosted British officers, and largely were able to maintain their homes in good condition.

Patriots were not happy that some folks were so much better off because they had refused to stand up for the patriot cause.  One member of the Continental Congress proposed that everyone who had remained in Philadelphia during the occupation be put under house arrest and forced to pay a collective tribute of 100,000 to the cause.  Another suggested that about 500 Tories in the city be hanged and their property seized and sold.

The latter suggestion came from Joseph Reed, who was not only a delegate to the Continental Congress, but who also sat on the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania.  At the time, the Council did not have a President because Thomas Wharton died about a month before the British evacuation.  Vice President George Bryan served as acting President.  The entire Council though, seemed to be looking to bring some sort of punishment on what they regarded as collaborators, and also to raise some much needed cash in the process.

Joseph Reed 

Joseph Reed would be elected President of Pennsylvania in December 1778.  Even before his election, he became one of Benedict Arnold’s greatest adversaries.  You may recall that Reed was a former aide-de-camp to George Washington.  The two men parted ways a short time after Washington read a letter back in 1776 indicating that Reed had thought that General Charles Lee should replace Washington as commander in chief. 

Reed remained active as a colonel and played a pivotal role in the attack on Trenton.  Congress offered him a commission as a brigadier general, which General Washington urged him to take, but Reed turned it down.  Although Reed remained an officer in the Continental Army, he left active duty to serve both in Congress and in the Pennsylvania state government.

Reed quickly became a major player in Pennsylvania politics.  The former lawyer from Philadelphia turned down an offer to become the state’s Chief Justice.  As I said, he did take a position in the Continental Congress and on the Executive Council.  Reed also seemed to be a hard core idealist.  Like many leaders, he had lost a personal fortune as a result of the war.  General Howe had once offered Reed a £10,000 bribe to become an advocate for reconciliation, in other words, for the loyalist side.  Reed turned it down cold and reported the incident. Reed strongly supported the radical effort to punish any Tories who remained in Philadelphia.

Treason Trials

It wasn’t just the leadership that wanted punishment, the people of Philadelphia were demanding it.  Many of the wealthier families who got through the British occupation unscathed now found rocks being thrown through their windows, or being assaulted as they walked down the street. 

Many moderates were concerned that things could quickly spin out of control and into a reign of terror.  It seemed, though, that there would have to be some examples.  In the end, twenty-three men were indicted by a Philadelphia grand jury and put on trial for treason against the state by collaborating with the enemy. Ten others were indicted for other capital crimes.  

The courts, however, tended to be dominated by moderates.  Most of the accused were wealthy men who could hire good defense lawyers.  These lawyers knew who to put on the jury who did not want to see their neighbors die for doing what they had to do during the occupation.  In the end, only four were convicted of treason, and two of those were pardoned.  The unlucky two who were not were both Quakers: Abraham Carlisle and John Roberts.

Abraham Carlisle was one of the first defendants brought to trial. The prosecution accused the prosperous, elderly carpenter, of serving as a guard at the city gates during the British occupation.  This meant that he had accepted a commission, worked in the service of the British Army, and was therefore a collaborator and a traitor.

The defense argued that the prosecution could not produce a written commission.  But several witnesses testified that that had seen him guarding the gate.  A jury found Carlisle guilty and sentenced him to be hanged.  He appealed his case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which upheld the conviction. Later, several people, including Chief Justice Thomas McKean petitioned the Supreme Executive Council to commute the sentence.  But the Council refused to do so.

The grand jury also indicted a miller named John Roberts, charged with recruiting men to join the British army. The defense argued that the prosecution could not produce one person who actually enlisted as a result of Roberts’ efforts.  But Roberts had confessed that he tried to recruit people and other witnesses testified to his efforts.  A jury found Roberts guilty and sentenced him to death.  Like Carlisle, he appealed to the Supreme Court unsuccessfully, and petitions to the Supreme Executive Council were denied.

On November 4, 1778. Both men were brought before a large crowd in the center of town.  They were led to a public gallows and hanged.

Both Carlisle and Roberts were older men and who were well known and liked in their communities, politics aside.  Their guilt seems pretty clear, but was not terribly different from perhaps hundreds of other men.  It seems they were chosen as examples, in part to mollify the radicals in the city.  Following their executions, cries for more treason trials fell off.  

The Shippens of Philadelphia

In this climate, many families who had successfully steered through the British occupation were concerned about what would happen to them.  One such family was the Shippen family.  

Edward Shippen was a well established jurist, and member of the Philadelphia establishment.  He was a direct descendant of a different Edward Shippen who helped establish the city with William Penn and served as its first mayor.

Edward Shippen
Before the war, Shippen tried to stay out of politics.  Although he was opposed to mob actions, he also made every effort to bend when the public demanded it.  During the Stamp Act, Shippen suspended his legal practice in order to avoid being attacked for using the stamped paper necessary for such practice.  At the same time, he was part of the colonial government establishment.  He sat on the Admiralty Court for a time, and also served on Pennsylvania’s Provincial Council under colonial Governor John Penn. Shippen also worked with Benjamin Franklin in founding the Junto discussion group, the city’s first subscription library, and the American Philosophical Society.

When the war began, Shippen’s positions in the colonial government targeted him as a potential Tory.  He tried to lay low, even moving out of Philadelphia to a country home in New Jersey for a time.  Shippen was not an outspoken Tory, but he did refuse to sign a loyalty oath to the radical new State Constitution in 1776.  As a result, he once again had to suspend his legal practice.

Shippen had one son and four daughters.  One of his daughters, Elizabeth was engaged to a Continental officer who was a British prisoner in New York.  All of his children, in their late teens or early twenties, were still living at home when the war began.  In December 1776 Shippen’s son, also named Edward, traveled to Trenton, New Jersey in an attempt to join the British army.  He was there at Christmas when the Americans attacked the city and took him prisoner.

George Washington personally freed the boy and allowed him to return home, but the incident did nothing to weaken suspicions about the family’s loyalist tendencies.  When the British army arrived in Philadelphia in 1777, Shippen used his prior position in the colonial government to stay on good terms with the British.  Judge Shippen did not stick his neck out or play any role in the occupation that would get him targeted as a collaborator. 

However, his youngest daughter Peggy, who was age 17 at the time, became active in the Philadelphia social scene, going to dances and other events with young British officers.  She ended up spending a concerning amount of time with a dashing British captain by the name of John André.

The Shippen girls were, by all accounts, attractive and active in Philadelphia society.  Shippen complained that Peggy spent the inflation-adjusted equivalent of well over one million dollars on clothes in just one year.  Like her sisters, Peggy was well-educated and well-read in matters of poetry, philosophy, and even politics.  She was comfortable among the social elites and enjoyed an exciting social life.  

That all ended for Peggy when the British evacuated.  Once again, patriots looked at the Shippens as loyalists.  While none of them had done anything that would bring criminal indictments, the fear of property confiscation or other random attacks by the public still loomed.  In the three years following the British evacuation, the state named 487 families accused of loyalism.  A few were imprisoned, but most had their property seized and were expelled from the state.

Recognizing how precarious his position had become, Shippen agreed to take the Pennsylvania loyalty oath. Beyond that, he needed to cultivate some connections with powerful patriots to provide cover against potential attacks. 

Arnold and Peggy

General Arnold had dined at the Shippen home before the occupation.  He knew Judge Shippen and had met Peggy when she was just sixteen.  His wife had died in 1775 and his three children were being raised by his sister in Connecticut.  

Peggy Shippen
Once Arnold became military governor, his sister and children joined him in Philadelphia.  Arnold held teas and other social gatherings for all of Philadelphia’s elite society, including those who were suspected loyalists.  Shippen welcomed the relationship, even after Arnold proclaimed his love for the 18 year old Peggy in September, 1778.  Shippen was reluctant to allow such a relationship, but did not stand in the way of it.

Arnold’s relationship with the Shippens and other suspected loyalists may have given some cover to the loyalists, but it greatly damaged Arnold’s reputation among radical patriots.  They saw Arnold as a corrupt leader, enriching himself from his government position, and providing protection to Tories who had collaborated with the British just a few months earlier.

Arnold, in turn, grew to despise the radicals, who he saw as persecuting good people, mostly because they were wealthy and had made efforts to protect their property in these difficult times.  On November 3, 1778, the night before the hanging of Carlisle and Roberts, Arnold held a public reception at City Tavern, personally inviting leading Quakers and accused loyalists to attend.  

In some ways, Arnold may have been oblivious to the local politics and the trouble brewing against him.  As a military officer in the Continental Army, he did not have to answer to state officials.  Arnold was focused more on his next career opportunity.  He was exploring the idea of being appointed an Admiral in the Continental Navy, and sailing off to the Caribbean to capture some island colonies for America.

This was not actually as far fetched as it might sound.  Even though he was an army general, Arnold had captained several ships in battle already, during the Valcour Campaign, and might very well have made a good naval commander.  Further, navy captains kept a share of the capture of prize vessels, which might have provided Arnold with a legitimate way to earn some money. The Continental Congress did not dismiss the idea because of any lack of faith in Arnold’s ability. Rather, the delegates figured that the French would handle all naval issues and there was no need to spend more money on building up a Continental navy with the related costs.  Further, France was planning to capture British colonies in the West Indies for itself.  Any plans for the US to begin capturing islands might have led to a rift in the alliance.

I only mention that to show where Arnold’s head was at the time.  He was looking to his own personal career future, which had nothing to do with the radicals in Philadelphia who complained about his ethical behavior.

Besides, there were many Pennsylvania leaders who supported Arnold.  Conservative patriots, including militia General John Cadwalader, Congressional Delegate Robert Morris, and Chief Justice Thomas McKean spoke approvingly of Arnold’s efforts to restore order in the city and protect the wealthy from what they saw as mob rule.  But to radicals like Joseph Reed, Timothy Matlack, or Thomas Paine, Arnold was a corrupt counter-revolutionary who was standing in the way of real reform and true republican government.

Arnold, of course, used to controversy and criticism continued to act as he saw fit.  Meanwhile the radicals only grew in power.  In December 1778, Joseph Reed took office as President of Pennsylvania.  One of his primary missions seemed to be to bring down Benedict Arnold.  The fighting would only grow between the two factions through 1779, but that will have to be the topic of a future episode.

Next week: We return to upstate New York where Tories and Iroquois warriors stir up more fighting at the Cherry Valley Massacre.

- - -

Next Episode 202 Cherry Valley Massacre

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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. You may also donate via Venmo (@Michael-Troy-20), Zelle, or popmoney (send to

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Further Reading


Abraham Carlisle and John Roberts Trials, 1778:

Maxey, David W. “TREASON ON TRIAL IN REVOLUTIONARY PENNSYLVANIA.” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 101, no. 2, 2011, pp. i-212. JSTOR,

Larson, Carlton F. W. “The Revolutionary American Jury: A Case Study of the 1778-1779 Philadelphia Treason Trials” SMU Law Review, Vol. 61, Issue 4, 2008.

Kimsey, Kenneth The Edward Shippen Family: A Search for Stability in Revolutionary Pennsylvania, Univ. of Arizona (dissertation) 1973:

Shippen Family of Philadelphia:

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Bancroft, George Joseph Reed; a Historical Essay, New York, W. J. Widdleton, 1867. 

Hill, George Canning Benedict Arnold. A Biography, New York : Worthington, 1884. 

Kimsey, Kenneth Roeland The Edward Shippen Family: A Search for Stability in Revolutionary Pennsylvania, Univ. of Arizona (dissertation) 1973 (borrow only, see link under websites for downloadable version).  

Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson Robert Morris, Patriot and Financier, New York: Macmillan Co. 1903. 

Reed, William Bradford Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, Vol. 1 & Vol 2. Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1847. 

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Foner, Eric Tom Paine and Revolutionary America, Oxford Univ. Press, 1976 (book recommendation of the week).

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

Rappleye, Charles Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution, Simon & Schuster, 2010. 

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.