On January 10, 1776, Thomas Paine’s famous pamphlet, Common Sense, was published.  It was highly critical of the system of monarchy and argued for American independence from England. This 48-page pamphlet was read all over America and even in England and France.  More copies were sold than any other book in America up until that time.  George Washington ordered it be read to his troops that were encamped in Massachusetts.

When Paine wrote Common Sense, he used language the common people in America could easily understand.  This was in contrast to many other authors of that time, who used language more oriented to those in the upper class.  Even many illiterate people in America heard the words of Common Sense, which energized almost all of the patriots.  A Loyalist pamphlet entitled Plain Truth, an attempt at a persuasive rebuttal of Paine’s pamphlet, was largely a failure.  However, the Loyalists did have British military victories to rally people to their side for a while.

On July 12, 1979, “Disco Demolition Night,” an infamous promotion at a baseball game on the South Side of Chicago, took place.  Fans who brought a disco record to be destroyed received a game ticket for less than a dollar.  In between the doubleheader of the Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers, fans stormed the field, and all kinds of mayhem ensued.  The second game of the doubleheader was forfeited to the Tigers–the last forfeit to occur in the American League. This riot was the biggest one by fans at a baseball game since Ten-Cent Beer Night in Cleveland five years earlier.  Coincidentally, a couple of players and an umpire who were at Ten-Cent Beer Night were also present at Disco Demolition Night.

Two hundred forty years ago on December 16, the Sons of Liberty, some disguised as Indians, dumped chests of British tea into the Boston Harbor protesting the tax on tea.  The Boston Tea Party was actually the first of two such events in Boston and the first of many that would take place throughout the eastern seaboard of America.

In response, the British ordered the port of Boston closed to all commerce, except for supplies for the British.  This action was the first of the Intolerable Acts—a series of new laws the British passed aimed at punishing the colony of Massachusetts for its resistance to British policies.

I mentioned “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in the epilogue of my book The Hessians and the American Revolution: The Whole Story.  In the original version, written by Washington Irving in 1820, the Headless Horseman was said to be the ghost of a Hessian decapitated by a cannonball in a fictional battle of the American Revolution.

In the new television series Sleepy Hollow, however, the Headless Horseman is not a Hessian but a British redcoat.  Instead of losing his head to a cannonball, he is decapitated by Ichabod Crane.  Furthermore, the Headless Horseman is depicted as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

 

After the American defeat at the Battle of Brandywine, George Washington made a bold attack on the British army led by General William Howe. The result was a British victory. Nevertheless, American morale benefited from the battle because it was based on a sophisticated plan that almost worked. In addition, France became convinced that America could win the war and deserved aid. The Battle of Germantown can be considered one of the turning points in the American Revolution.

August 1776 was a pivotal month in the American Revolution. England first received word of the Declaration of Independence. With the largest army the British had ever sent to North America, King George III was pulling out all the stops to crush the rebellion. On August 27, the British and Hessians soundly defeated George Washington and the Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island. The New York Campaign of 1776, a decisive victory for the British, was made possible by the participation of large numbers of Hessian troops.  American morale, which had been so high due to previous military victories and the announcement of the Declaration of Independence, plummeted. The British success in New York convinced the large numbers of Loyalists in New York, as well as elsewhere in America, to take a more active role in supporting the British.  George Washington and the Americans would face the dual challenge of surviving the onslaught of the formidable British and Hessian troops and the tidal wave of Loyalist support that was engulfing many areas. 

For more detail about these significant events, you may want to read my books, The Long Road to Revolution and The Hessians in the American Revolution.

The bloody battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775 near Boston.  After the British defeat at Concord two months earlier, the British were determined to use overwhelming force to crush the American rebellion.  However, the American forces were able to place the British troops in Boston under siege.  Although Bunker Hill was ultimately a British victory, the British lost more men than the Americans.  In fact, the British army suffered heavier losses at Bunker Hill than in any other day during the American Revolution.  These appalling losses caused the British commander, General Thomas Gage, to be relieved of his command.  For England to ultimately prevail in this conflict, Gage argued that British officials should mobilize an enormous army, which would include a significant number of foreign soldiers.  The following year, the German Hessians would be shipped to America, along with the largest British army ever sent overseas at that time.

On an April morning in 1775, the American Revolution suddenly started in Lexington and Concord near Boston, but the real revolution had been years in the making. My book, The Long Road to Revolution, tells the story in exciting detail.

Some time ago I visited the Marine Corps Museum off of I-95 in Virginia. This free museum covers centuries of American history. I highly recommend a visit. For more information, go to  http://www.usmcmuseum.org.

This month is an appropriate time to read about the San Patricios. My book, The Irish Who Fought for Mexico, tells the story of the Irish immigrants who came to America shortly before the Mexican-American War (1846-48). Some of them decided to fight for Mexico and became known as the San Patricio Battalion.

On March 5, 1770, the Boston Massacre took place, in which five Americans were killed in a confrontation with British troops. This incident helped to boost the popularity of the Sons of Liberty in Boston and was one of several major events that led to the American Revolution.

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry gave his famous speech in Richmond, Virginia, ending in "Give me liberty or give me death!" These powerful words would inspire Americans and many others around the world for centuries to come. It is considered one of the most epic speeches in American history. All of this is discussed in my latest book The Long Road to Revolution: The Many Conflicts in Colonial America.

I just finished the text of my latest book, The Long Road to Revolution. This book is the story of how the American colonies went from dependence to independence. It will be available first as an e-book, on or about February 5.

I recently gave a presentation about the Hessians at the Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site in Mount Vernon, New York, at the Battle of Pell's Point annual encampment. I highly recommend a visit to the site and hope everyone in the area is safe after the storm.

This time of the year in 1776, the British, with the help of the Hessians, won a series of battles against George Washington's Continental Army in the New York campaign -- at Long Island, Kips Bay, White Plains, and Fort Washington. This was not surprising because the Hessians were known to be very well-trained and disciplined soldiers. In addition, their reputation struck terror into the hearts of the Americans, giving the British and Hessian side a major psychological advantage in the New York campaign.

On July 9, 1755, a French and Indian force routed a larger British army commanded by General Edward Braddock near present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It was one of the biggest Indian victories over whites in the history of North America and one of the worst defeats in the history of the British military.  The battle, known as Braddock's Defeat, or the Battle of the Monongahela, demonstrated the effectiveness of guerilla warfare and the strength of a multi-tribal Indian coalition.  It served as a valuable training ground for future commanders in the American Revolution such as George Washington on the America side and Thomas Gage, a future British general. 

Read more . . .

Braddock's Defeat on Amazon Kindle
Braddock's Defeat on Barnes and Noble NOOK

On July 3, 1754, Fort Necessity in southwestern PA was attacked by a French army during the French and Indian War. The British garrison defending the fort was led by Lieutenant Colonel George Washington. Washington was decisively defeated in the battle. On July 4, the French allowed Washington's troops, after surrendering, to march out of the fort with their weapons. Nevertheless, the defeat was a humiliating one for Washington. It would also be the last time he would ever surrender.

Read more. . .

Braddock's Defeat on Amazon Kindle.
Braddock's Defeat on Barnes and Noble NOOK.
Braddock's Defeat on Apple Itunes.
Braddock's Defeat on Sony Reader.

During the Mexican-American War, when the United States wanted to expand, hundreds of Irish and other immigrant soldiers decided to fight on the Mexican side.  Known as the San Patricio Battalion, they fought in the important battles of Monterrey, Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, and Churubusco.  The San Patricios were among the fiercest and most determined soldiers in the Mexican Army, fully committed to their newly adopted country.  As a result, the San Patricios hold a highly respected place in Mexican history.

Read all of this and more in my book, The Irish Who Fought for Mexico: The San Patricio Battalion in the Mexican-American War.

The Irish Who Fought for Mexico on Fast Pencil Marketplace.
The Irish Who Fought for Mexico on NOOK.
The Irish Who Fought for Mexico on Kindle.

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