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3.17.2019

george washington and saint patrick's day

The winter of 1779 - 1780 was brutal around Morristown, New Jersey. We often think about Valley Forge and a brutal winter. That was two years before. Valley Forge was no cakewalk but the winter in Morristown was much worse. Approximately six feet of snow fell that winter making supply to the camp impossible at times. Men were housed in log huts bedded with straw. Keeping warm was a challenge.

Men went without food for days at a time. Moral had suffered terribly.

Washington wanted to boost the spirits of the men. He needed to. His army was coming apart at the seems.

The make-up of the Continental Army was about a quarter Irish or "Scotch-Irish". These men immigrated mainly from Ulster, the northern part of Ireland. They were mostly Presbyterians who left to come to America to avoid British oppression. They were more than willing to fight for independence from the British Crown. Generals who were born in Ireland or who had Irish parents commanded seven of the eleven brigades stationed at Morristown.
Support for the American cause was made clear by the citizens of Ulster. This was one way to "get back" at King George III.

In an effort to give at least some relief from the bad winter, Washington issued a general order on March 16, 1780. This order allowed that all work and detail parties cease for the day of March 17. The order also mentioned that no rioting take place and order was to be maintained.

The soldiers drank rum mostly. One Pennsylvania regiment enjoyed rum purchased by their commander. March 17 had a special place in Washington's heart. On March 17, 1776 the British evacuated Boston mostly because of the brutal winter and a smallpox outbreak. The British Army sailed to Nova Scotia.
Map of Morristown
Washington had done a good deed. There was still not much to do militarily at Morristown. The Continental Army was at a strategic point that Washington did not want to give up. The strategic location between Philadelphia and New York was where Washington wanted to be.

About 10,000 men were camped at Morristown. The conditions put the fighting force at 8,000 men. The demoralized state of the army did not go unnoticed by Washington. He had written to Congress about the scarcity of supplies. This did little good and Washington allowed his soldiers to forage the country to obtain food. New recruits were scarce as well.

Despite these hardships Washington stayed at Morristown to wait for better weather and good news. News did come from Marquis de Lafayette in May. Lafayette met Washington at Morristown to tell him that the French were sending a second fleet to assist the Americans.


Sources for this post: Morristown, NJ
                                   George Washington's St. Patrick's Day
                                   Washington's Encampment


                                 
          

3.04.2019

dorchester heights

On March 4, 1776 British General William Howe received word of the American position overlooking Boston. He had to wonder if Boston was defensible.

Howe
What tipped the balance was American Brigadier General John Thomas. He had slipped 2,000 troops along with cannon and plenty of supplies into Dorchester Heights the night before. The Americans had enough time to dig trenches for the artillery.

Thomas

Howe had no choice but to evacuate Boston. He sailed his army to Nova Scotia. Howe stayed there until March, when he moved to New York. He engaged Washington there to disrupt the Colonials, who marched away from New York as a result.

Dorchester Monument


The Dorchester Monument was erected in 1898. It is part of the Boston National Historic Park.

The history.com post was the source of this post.

2.18.2019

george washington facts

This President's Day I have found an interesting post on George Washington.

From mountvernon.org here is post about 10 facts about George Washington. I am spotlighting some highlights from this post. 

Prior to Yorktown, the American military effort was facing destruction. In January 1781 Washington was very concerned. Money was short and the French had seen setbacks. In May of that year Washington's situation began to improve. France had given a gift to the American treasury and the French fleet drove off the relief expedition to aid Cornwallis at Yorktown. Good news indeed. With aid from the French at Yorktown, Washington laid siege on September 28, 1781.  

A consistent supply chain hindered Washington and he had issues with the Continental Congress on this particular matter.  Washington was focused on management and organization. He maintained the army throughout good times and bad. 



Supply problems were rife at Valley Forge. Bad roads hindered the supply chain. 

Washington was appointed as Commander of the Continental Army on June 14, 1775. This position lasted more than six years. Washington had not commanded a large army in the field before. However, Washington brought his organizational skills to the command. British Army formations were having difficulty going through much of the terrain. Washington used this to his advantage.

Washington developed risky plans to divert attention away from the British. Not all of his plans worked but he was able to allude destruction by the British. 

Studying Washington is fun and I've enjoyed digging in to learn more.

1.08.2019

first state of the union

On January 8, 1790 President George Washington gave the First Annual Message to a Joint Session of Congress.

It is known more today as the State of the Union Address.

It was held in the Senate Chamber of Federal Hall in New York City.




Washington's speech was a milestone for the Constitution. He was displaying the separations of the three branches of government. 

Washington’s address was a precisely calibrated political statement. The president was positive and encouraging, even as he subtly sought to direct the actions of Congress.

Federal Hall - New York City
Washington did make the call for a standing army. He also touched on establishing a currency and the need for standardized weights and measures. Oh yes, and there was immigration. He too mentioned a need for a postal system and education improvement.

Washington new the challenges that lay ahead for the new nation. He addressed them with determination. He proved he was a leader. He proved he was sincere.

The source for this post: First Annual Address

 







12.14.2018

the death of george washington

George Washington died December 14, 1799


Washington wasn't feeling well on the morning of December 13th. Throughout the day his condition worsened. He had had two wills. He read them over and threw one into the fire. His funeral was on December 18th.



Washington had left in his will to emancipate all of the enslaved people he had owned after Martha Washington's death. She signed a deed of manumission and they were freed on January 1st, 1801.



Martha Washington


George and Martha Washington are buried in the New Tomb at Mount Vernon.