tv Naval Logistics in the American Revolution CSPAN October 25, 2015 2:37pm-4:01pm EDT
to was lincoln was until the very end. seward introduces lincoln and he gets in the newspaper the next day. one woman said lincoln was a more attractive man than she would be. [laughter] i guess his reputation had preceded him. [laughter] thank you all. great evening. stick around. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> with the 2016 presidential contest in full swing, american history tv to look at cap past presidential elections in give thearchival coverage of campaign trail. join us for the road to the white house rewind, sunday mornings at 10:00 eastern, continuing through the election, here on american history tv on c-span3.
>> next on "american history tv," from the u.s. naval academy in annapolis, maryland, for historians discuss the challenges of naval logistics for the fledgling navy during the revolutionary war. the scholars detail how the american navy successfully cooperated with a much larger french navy to help defeat the british by 1781. this u.s. naval academy program is about one hour and 20 minutes. professor smith: good afternoon, everyone. thank you for being here today. this is a session on naval logistics and the american revolution. my name is gene smith and i will be the chair. today we have three papers and comments by dr. glenn williams.
our first paper is by tom long, who is an assistant professor and coordinator of history in the department of george washington university. he joined the u.s. navy. he graduated from harvard law school in 1970 in practice corporate banking law until he retired. afterwards, he went back and got a phd in history from george washington university. he teaches courses in early american history, constitutional history, military and naval history, and today he is going to offer you a paper. "water, water everywhere -- logistics of the 1975 -- 1775-1776 campaign. professor long: is a pleasure to be here with you today.
i'm going to do this a little awkward. before dawn in 1775, john murray, the fourth earl of dunmore was forced by rebellious virginians to abandon the capital in williamsburg and flee with his family. he fled to the protection of the british royal navy. the chesapeake bay watershed, his territory, was critical to the war effort. the american revolution interrupted in april of 1775. virginia was the most populous and profitable of all the colonies in british north america. it was arguably the most important strategically as well. the value of the average annual export of tobacco from virginia
exceeded 750,000 pounds. grain exports was over 200,000 pounds. together, they combined for 37% of all the exports from the continental colonies in north america. after august 1776 despite a bridge blockade, they exported tobacco to the west indies in exchange for you nations. economic historian -- exchange for munitions. economic historians have suggested that the revolution might not have been one without that much-maligned staple, tobacco. the geography of the chesapeake a region largely dictated the strategy britain would need to control the area. the bay is the largest tributary in the united states, stretching 195 myers to its northernmost -- miles to its northernmost reach in the chesapeake's. it was the perfect place to harbor large ships. there are two great ironies about the ubiquitous water of
the chesapeake region. first, although these were major thoroughfares for everyone in the region, they were almost enormous obstacles for any military force trying to move through the area that did not have naval support. although they delivered fast quantities of fresh water, british worships were constantly short of potable water. historian jeremy black has suggested that a serious maritime strategy vigorously pursued it might have led to a different conclusion in the revolution.
it is arguable that seaboard strategy and concentration on efforts of any control of blockading the rest of the coast was the most sensible one for them to pursue. they would avoid two of their principal difficulties. logistics and the problem that they could not fight in the interior. he knowledge that america could not have been conquered by a maritime strategy, but it is necessary to consider the possibility that the american conflict would have ended as many of the other wars did, with a compromised piece. as early as 1774, british leaders advocated such a strategy. virginia became radicalized in 1774. lord dunmore, on the 24th of december, wrote a letter to london calling for a close blockade imposed by a strong and flexible naval force in the chesapeake area the port should be blocked up in their communication cut off by water, even with the neighboring colonies. no vessel should approach any port in virginia. the british needed small warships in order to dominate
littoral waters of the colony but they did not have the infrastructure necessary to some or chesapeake. when the enemy with the french or spanish fleet, they could rely on water and repair facilities from the colonies. the colonies became the enemy. their ability to keep ships on station for long periods became highly problematic. when dunmore fled the governor's palace, the hms macklin sailed down and around yorktown, where dunmore went aboard hms boeing, anchored off yorktown. on the ninth of june, dunmore was a governor without a colony. he was forced to wage a campaign to reassert his authority. the hms otter. the line drawings are the original drawings from the national maritime museum in greenwich, or they have the ships drawings. she was commanded by matthew squire. she becomes a major player in the battle of the chesapeake dunmore not the only naval force
in the chesapeake. george colyer became the commander of british forces in america on the fourth of april, 1779. he recognizes the wisdom of the dunmore and jeremy black plan. he was not the only one. the british government had concluded that war in america should be reduced to a maritime, concentrating the resources on the rebel support, resulting in a conflict which weariness might then draw both sides towards a compromise. when, or colyer -- commodore colyer immediately advocated in attack, he met with general clinton and they planned an attack. colyer and brigadier general matthew launched an attack
against rebels in the massachusetts the area. colyer intended to and the rebellion by shutting up the navigation of the chesapeake. when in virginia, colyer used were sheets -- warships to wreak havoc in the area. he quickly became convinced that the operation should not be merely a rate as clinton and matthew wanted, but an occupation resulting in the establishment of a naval base in the area. he wrote clinton urging that his forces should remain and be reinforced, arguing that the shipyard was the most considerable in america and that it could serve as the hub of a strategic position and easily defended major naval base. adhering to their rating strategy, general matthew would not even wait for a reply from
clinton to colyer's request. he sailed out after 24 days in the bay. secretary of state lord george germane endorsed the strategy. the secretary recommended, the way they do, that clinton establish a permanent facility in portsmouth and conduct an active campaign in the chesapeake. clinton was unwilling to commit expensive forces to the chesapeake area in 1780 he sent major general alexander leslie to lead innovation of the chesapeake. the fleet is supporting the army. they are not initiating strategy. they are not taking strategic operation. leslie took the fleet and went to charleston to aid cornwallis in his campaign and the carolinas. when germane learned that
clinton had again failed to establish a base in the chesapeake, he wrote the general a scathing letter. he asserted the king had commanded him that you carry out the chesapeake project when the king's service require it. when hostilities had broken out in massachusetts in 1775, the british royal navy was one of the most military -- powerful military forces in history, if not the most powerful. they have 131 ships of the line. they had a massive industrial complex, infrastructure, if you will. it was composed of dockyards needed to support the bluewater war in european waters. warships in the age of sail were intended to be self-sufficient for several months. drinking water was a serious problem in areas like virginia, where it is hot in the summer. water would foul in a short amount of time. access to drinking water was important, as water from many of the rivers was stagnant and not safe for drinking. the only maybe dockyards in the area were at halifax, nova scotia, 700 miles to the or, or the english harbor of antigua
400 miles to the south. before the outbreak of hostilities -- before the outbreak of hostilities, royal navies in the chesapeake could avail themselves of plentiful local sources of food and water. norfolk had a population of six and 6000 people and was home to -- 600-6000 -- 606,000 people. more than 3000 of those people signed loyalty oath to the british government. the local citizenry would deliver to the fleet at their peril. john shaw was attacked and nearly tarred and feathered by a rebel mob. the navy would get a few provisions from the region after
that. the seven small ships the ploy by dunmore -- deployed by dunmore were the ships called for by colyer and his colleagues. they ranged inside from the little schooner hms magdalen to the 44 guns. the otter, also 14 guns, was one of the most active ships. her design called for a complement of 125 men, including ships crew and her marines. her story is illustrative of the problems. the ship log provides insights into life aboard a small ship and logistical problems. she carried just 83 sailors and officers and 13 marines. even a ship as small as the
otter required a steady flow of food, ammunition, and fresh water. the navy had no establishment to provide such facilities in the chesapeake. in the three weeks in which he sailed from boston to virginia, the otter took on water on five separate occasions. she arrived as dunmore was fleeing and became immediately heavily involved. she attacked rebel shipping. the captured several prizes. she participated in numerous raids on rebel outposts. in october 1775, while based in the elizabeth river, she was constantly in search of fresh water for her crew. the day she arrived at anchor, she sent for water. it reflects that water was "received on board on 21 days during the month, and that on three others her crew was sent to look for water." being able to do with loyalists may provisioning easier than that it would become later. the ship also received fresh
beef six times between the 21st 10 31st from october. provisioning of water was a constant occupation, but not yet extremely difficult. on the ninth of december, dunmore's forces were defeated in the battle of break ridge. the norfolk loyalists who professed loyalty to the governor were forced to flee. 90 ships in the elizabeth river became consumers of water and provision instead of suppliers. not only did it neutralize, but it compounded the problem. in addition, getting water became extremely risky. the otter toted down the elizabeth river to their water point. they anchored. at 10:00 the next morning, rebels fired at the boats going up the river for water. the ship fired two of her six founders, which made them
scatter. i imagine it did. when the rebels disregarded in order to move away from the waterfront issued by the hms liverpool, that had just arrived, they opened fire. otter participated in the attack on norfolk and the fire that resulted completely destroyed the largest city in virginia and her major port. otter remained in the norfolk area, usually using her tenders to attack the rebels. conditions deteriorated on the ship rapidly. the situation was much worse than it had been in october. on the first of february, otter's men fired on rebels from the ship and when they dispersed, captain squire sent a party on short as a forging unit. conditions were terrible. they were met with strong gales
and hail, snow, and sleep. he sent them a short six days later. they were attacked. the marines were captured and taken prisoner. the ship received the water only six times in october -- only six times. 21 times in october. not much fanfare. that is not much deal. cause of death, generally not listed. it appears that the cause of death was most frequently exhaustion and disease. the ninth of or 1776, he found the ship and dangerously weakened condition. apart from manning her tenders, the otter could not muster more
than 20 men for duty. the entire fleet had less than four weeks supply of meat and eight of bread. he ordered water to conduct a raid on baltimore. before he could do it, the lower entry on logbook, roebuck had to send over a lieutenant, a midshipman, 18 seamen, and 10 marines. she captured five prizes and conducted reconnaissance. they wind up evacuating up the bay. hammond tells dunmore to leave the norfolk area and evacuate up to quinn's island because they are told there is a good harbor there and there is plenty of fresh water. they arrived. the day they arrived, sailors on the island sent 270 pounds of fresh beef above hms boeing. on the seventh of june, foy sent 11 men ashore to dig a well to provide fresh water for everyone. the summer heat became too oppressive.
in the matter of a month, the well went dry. they run out of water. they are forced to abandon quinn's island. this is a drawing thomas jefferson made of quinn island. they move from quinn's island to the potomac river at st. george's island. they get to st. george's. they need to conduct one more operation before they could even consider evacuating the bay, which is what they are planning to do. hammond has advised dunmore that they need to leave the bay altogether. he sales with roebuck all the way up the potomac as far as quantico, where he was able to
fill caps for the entire fleet. they then sailed out of the chesapeake. the otter was the first to leave. she sailed out on the fourth of august, 1976 -- 1776. the next day, boeing sailed out bound for england. on the seventh, roebuck sailed out carrying lord dunmore. after 1776, the british tried to maintain a distant blockade. boeing came back. she could remain onshore a brief time before she too ran out of water in her salience -- and her sailors were exhausted. she had to abandon her blockading and sale on the seventh of november. lacking water provisions and repair facilities, the crews were exhausted. it is clear that without a facility that could provide support within the region, the small ships needed for a literal campaign of that sort could not function.
no one could say for certain what would have happened had the british actually established secure basis. we do know that while dunmore's fleet was in the bay, little commerce was able to escape. after they left, trade flourished, enabling the colonies to finance the entire war. the siege at yorktown might have ended differently if the british fleet was based there. it is possible that a compromise solution contemplated by the british government after the french had entered the war and suggested by jeremy black might have resulted from such a stalemate in the chesapeake. in any case, it is clear that the vital importance of logistics in a remote amphibious campaign of this sort is absolutely demonstrable and demonstrated by the british campaign here as personified by the experience of hms otter. thank you. [applause]
professor smith: thank you very much, tom. our second presentation is by michael crawford, who holds a doctor in american history from boston university. he has taught at texas tech university and he served a fellowship in the editing of historical documents at the adams papers at the massachusetts historical society. before joining the staff of the historical center. he is a specialist in the navy as well as in american religious history. dr. crawford has written or edited 15 books, including volumes in the award-winning series "naval documents in the american revolution." in 2008, the board of directors of the uss constitution museum bestowed upon him the samuel eliot morrison award of recognition of scholarship and contribution to maritime
history. since 2008, dr. crawford has been the senior historian at the naval history and heritage command. today, his presentation is going to be entitled supply of the french fleet and north america in 1778. thank you, jeanne. french squadron of 12 ships of the line, four frigates, caring 1000 soldiers, right on the coast of north america on the fifth of july, 1778, and it left the coast to sale for the west indies on fourth of november. this essay is going to answer a simple question about this
expedition. how did the feet -- how did he feed his men while he was in north america? a simple question. what did the fleet need? it had an aid, decided -- we don't have the list, but it was summarized as meat or smoked fish in place of soul provisions. preserved vegetables, especially sauerkraut. this get to be -- biscuits to be baked in boston. when the fleet arrived in boston at the end of august, towards the end of our period, he had a schedule drawn up for three-month period and he gave it to william heath, the continental major general at that post. the schedule called for more
than a million pounds of bread or flour, about a quarter million pounds of pork. a similar amount of beans and peas. 400 quintals or 40,000 kilograms of fish. mustard,ix quintals of a necessity for a french diet. and 720 towards of wood. if we roughly calculate this at one pound of bed -- a bread or biscuit a day per man for 10,000 men, although there were 12,000, roughly calculating, that is a million pounds of bread or flour that would subsist the fleet for 100 days. by the time the fleet made landfall at delaware river on the seventh of july, it was short of fresh water. when it arrived at newport in late july, it had on board only 20 days of victuals and was desperate for refreshments doubles because of scurvy on board the fleet.
before the french took up the middling soldiers in america, the british face the same challenge, but the french did not imitate the solution that the reddish devised. divide.ritish the british army had no supplies stockpiled in north america and the british planners, and tenting to draw the bulk of their supplies from north america extended -- expected the need to send supplies from europe temporary. they soon realize that shipping provisions from europe had to continue indefinitely, at least until the army had classified a significant amount of territory from which the army could draw its supplies. it transferred responsibility for transferring army victuals victuals -- vittels.
procuring provisions, particularly flour, proved a challenge for all the armed forces involved in the war in america. and nowhere more so than in new england. century,t the 18th bread was always much more abundant and very much cheaper than the wheat producing colony of pennsylvania than in new england with its snip -- it's stony ground and short summers. i the outbreak of the revolutionary war, new england was even less self-sufficient in grain production and more dependent on importation of flour, posing challenges to those tasked with supplying the fighting men of the new england theater of the american revolution. englandhortages in new were a cute enough that various state governments competed against each other for foodstuffs and imposed embargoes on their export across state lines. the drainorried about of foodstuffs from exporting them abroad, laid an against
expectations and a long list of until 15s from 10 june november, 1778. in september, congress acted to facilitate the flow of foodstuffs from the mid-atlantic and southern states into new england where the shortages created hardships. the british had evacuated philadelphia three weeks earlier and the continental congress had resumed residents in the city. -- was to admiral transport to the french ambassador to philadelphia and sale the fleet northward to see what it could do against the british fleet now at new york. he presented the list of the fleet's requirements to congress. congress intern and trust in the continental marine committee with the responsibility of providing the items on the list to the french fleet. on 12 july, the marine committee
wrote that some transports would be dispatched immediately with water and some barrels of right and flour and jeremiah wadsworth had orders to collect 50 blocks and 700 sheets as well as vegetables and poultry near shrewsbury new jersey that would be accessible to the fleet outside of sandy hook where it was watching the british fleet inside the hook. in the meantime, john hooker was assigned to be agent for the french navy and the two men work together to procure this get and flour for the fleet. he then ordered his flight to rhode island to cooperate with the american full-service -- american forces and general
sullivan appeared the french fleet weighed anchor on the third of july, too soon for the prevention's -- the provisions to arrive. system commissary general had succeeded in sending onboard the fleet 50 head of cattle but had not been able to procure sheep and entry. notice sullivan received with the possibility of cooperating with the french on the 22nd of july. two days later, confirmation that the campaign would go forward. at that time, the general had only 1600 troops present and scarcely a sufficiency of provisions for them. after leaving sandy hook, the fleet cruised at sea several days to give sullivan time together forces, including two brigades of continental soldiers marching to rhode island under the mat -- under the command of markey the lafayette.
sullivan came on board the flagship the next day to consult and he took the opportunity to tell sullivan of the fleet slow state of provisions and particular need for fresh festivals. on the first of august, sullivan wrote that he had assigned thomas lloyd halsey the task of supplying the fleet, that 60 fat oxen were on their way and would arrive the next day, that this get was baking and that halsey would supply fresh vets doubles. should there be a failure on his -- fresh vegetables. should there be a failure on his itt, beg you to let me know and i will have a supply for you. on three august, halsey apologized for not supplying all wants, including
vegetables which were scarce due to lack of rain. that evening, he was able to send sullivan a gift of pineapples and french -- and aesh lemons, captured in prize laden with tropical fruit, distributed among the french fleet. on for august, sullivan again reassured that he would not want for provisions. assurances,ivan's other correspondents on the same date make it clear that the americans were having difficulty procuring flour and baking biscuit. for instance, lieutenant colonel fleury explained to the admiral that the quantity of wheat necessary for provisioning the french fleet cannot be furnished to him at the moment without starving sullivan's own troops.
lafayette arrived in rhode island with the continental troops in his command on the evening of the fourth of august, delayed the joint operation from day-to-day until he and a staying only agreed to lead troops simultaneously on the land of rhode island were newport is located on the 10th of august. but on the morning of the ninth, the british fleet arrived, appeared off of newport eared and on the 10th, the wind being favorable, the french fleet set sail to engage the british fleet during although the mid-atlantic states were the warehouses of the northern states, securing an adequate supply of in philadelphia proved less easy than the wise men assumed that it would be. in philadelphia, the marine committee and hooker were relying on the continental commissary together provisions
and dispatch them to the french fleet. the1 august, the day when french fleet was at sea maneuvering to engage the british fleet, he reported having sent supplies sufficient to fill two orders of the marine committee to the fleet. ship a having ready to large amount of additional this get pork and rice. beans, mustard and cheese would not be available until the fall harvest. the next day, the 12th of august, the day during which the french and the british fleets were dealing with the aftermath of a violent and destructive storm the present -- that prevented the two fleet -- two shifts from engaging, the chairman of the marine committee wrote, gerard reported having a 20-day supply of salt and biscuits and tales drawn up. lee apologized for the delay,
it's planning that the enemies control of the sea between the virginia capes and rhode island this edited -- necessitated a long carriage by land. both said that the only item in short supply was sold provisions , owing to the want of salt and the demand to the continental army. a day later, 13th of august, wadsworth road sullivan. it would not be until the harvest that a quality supply would be available. in the aftermath of the great storm, d'estaing sent word to sullivan that they would not be able to capture newport but would be taking shelter in boston where the fleetwood would -- would refit. on arriving in boston on the 26th of august, the french admiral explained to the continental congress how the matter provisions played into
his decision to suspend participation in the rhode island campaign. need for provisions was -- on the fleet's arrival in boston, major general heath reported to washington on the the fleet provision had prevented. for weeks, he had been sending provisions to rhode island. and now the fleet shows up in boston. the unexpected destination of the squadron to this place will not be a little embarrassing on that account. boston, the staying wrote to general washington, if the fleet could be repaired and fitted until adequately reprove visions, it would not be able to engage in any further
operations. outside new england, americans had three regions from where they could draw supplies to the fleet. upstate new york, pennsylvania and maryland and virginia procuring provisions from each region proved difficult. on the 14th of september, the marine committee ordered that 3000 barrels of flour be purchased in albany and be shipped to boston where it would be eight into bread. flournight later, the from albany would not region time in order for the commissary general to draw additionally on flour magazines in england. shipments of flour from pennsylvania to boston were slow, having received naval reinforcements from england, the british had regained command of the seas between a case of virginia and boston. been sente shamir had immediately in july.
in the convoy was still in the delaware unable to deliver cargoes. provisions from the mid-atlantic states had to travel by land. on the second of september, ashington reported considerable amount of provisions on the way to philadelphia. 20 days later, he lamented it appears that none of the provisions destined for the french fleet had yet arrived. heath 12th of october, was finally able to report provisions were arriving daily. of the supplies by the french was pinching the american troops and the fleet still needed a lot more. supplying boston from virginia and maryland was proved impossible. the british command of the seas.
so the marine committee ordered that the supplies be put in a warehouse near the shore where the french fleet could come and get it. in september, realizing that the american officials efforts to vittel the fleet was insufficient, d'estaing commissioned his own completely. themroviders sold it to instead of to the american army. on the fifth of november, the to after d'estaing was set head for the west indies, he wrote the pairs a detailed report. -- two -- he wrote to paris a detailed report. he praised all of the officials who helped supply his fleet. afforded married an american a word of thanks. the french did not apply the
lessons they learned from this experience to their future. they did not follow the british example of having a supply chain from europe. when the french admiral to turn carried 7000 troops to america in 1780, the convoy only carried two months instead of four months of supplies, expecting a second division to come and bring the rest of the supplies. the second division was canceled. the in america, you again continental army was having a supply crisis. and the french and the americans competed for the supplies. andfrench paying hard coin letters of exchange on the european market, monopolizing of the efforts of
the continental army to be themselves. perhaps it was the result of the american efforts to supply them. french were content to repeat the process because, in the end, that process, however inefficient and however injurious it proved to the continental army, it did obtain for them the vigils they needed. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, mike. is johnd presenter donnee. he has worked with john o'malley in georgetown on the historiography in the catholic hetorical with mike crawford
is currently writing his thesis on the relationship between georgetown american -- georgetown university at the turn of the 20 century. he is a senior fellow for the designing the futures of university initiative at georgetown and a john carroll fellow. the paper today's entitled " french bread right of late september, 1778." what a group of baker's toiled on the boston front or in a srowd approached the baker and demanded the biscuits they were baking. crowd, beinge
refused, beat them in an outrageous manner. two officers were nearby and they rushed to investigate the disturbance. they attempted to restore order and the crowd seated to assault them as well. -- weree seriously or seriously wounded. one died a week later. minorath turned a incident into a potentially disastrous one. he was the chamberlain to the french king's brother and the brother-in-law to the flag officer on the french fleet. luckily, cooler heads prevailed in both the american and french officials did their best to put the incident behind them.
it was agreed that tory loyalists had to somehow be responsible. by the time the french elite imparted boston in early november, -- the french fleet departed boston in early november, the riot was all but forgotten. the bridge out that were not responsible, then it follows that the townspeople boston must have assaulted the baker's here the questions that follow immediately from that is why would they have done so? since no one was ever charged with a crime in relationship to the right, it is impossible to say with certainty who was responsible for assaulting the french speakers at night. however, the circumstances around the rights provide several clues as to who could have been responsible. the first clue is the lack of evidence against the british sailors.
the stang was quick to grab onto this explanation as a way to avoid further conflict, a grain that some sailors, many of whom who were deserters from the provided no doubt due for instruments for what has been done. he is obviously trying to distance any americans from possible suspicion. it seems that an unspoken agreement emerged tween the two of them in the absence of any , british deserters aboard the marlborough would be to blame. the most obvious benefit of this itsanation lies in
political attractiveness. any shared anger have the possibility to strengthen ties between the two countries by directing popular anger against a mutual and me. this incident could not have come than a better time. unlikely that political considerations did not play a role in assigning blame. in the same letter where general heath blame the sailors from
heath identified the semen as american. this is in sharp contrast to all the public discussion to the riots which fairly laid the blame on british elements within the city two different conversations occurred at the same time, one in public blaming the british and one in public where americans might be responsible. it is difficult to believe that american officials would not britishsued sympathizers if they had the opportunity to do so. it seems more than likely that those responsible for the riot
were residents of boston and that the british were sickly scapegoats. sailors were not responsible, what caused the citizens of boston to turn on the bakers? we will examine a number of the most popular explanations, the linguistic differences that lead to conflict, that a bread shortage in boston led to a food ride, and that anti-french sentiment among the lower classes was responsible. the first of these explanations, the linguistic differences between the french bakers and those who approach to them is the least convincing. one can imagine a group of american sailors and dockworkers approaching the french bakers, the air filled with a warm aroma baking bread and the inability
to communicate their desire for some. although they most likely cannot understand the french bakers refusal, it must have been cleared to the crowd that they were being refused. it does not follow that fighting would inevitably break out. moreover, it appears the french had hired an american to act as their chief baker, who had -- who would have been able to explain why they could not part with the bread. the language barrier most likely exacerbated tensions. however, linguistic tensions alone could not have caused the riot. the second, that a flower shortage in the city proves more reliable. they wouldely that have led a few men stand in their way. if anything, it would have made
them angrier at the apparent unfriendliness -- unfairness of foreigners eating while they went hungry. iter those circumstances, would not have been surprising for some type of violence to break out. the food ride was a well-established them a popular tradition by the 18th century. many saw violence as appropriate recourse when one individual or group was unfairly priming another of food. if the authorities refused to rectify the situation, it was not in common fremont to take matters into its own hands aired between 1770 -- own hands. there were six riots in boston. they were rarely punished. in the baker's like -- and the assumed that there would be fewer know consequences. a flower shortage would have provided a powerful incentive.
this explanation is highly attractive, provided that there was indeed a flour shortage in boston at the time. however, historians are divided. we will look at the three major factors contributing to the flour situation in boston. by the late colonial period, new england had ceased to produce as much grain to feed its population. production had shifted south to the mid atlantic colonies, especially pennsylvania, maryland and virginia. by the 1750's, most new england towns were importing flower to feed their populations -- flour to feed their populations.
to make matters worse, the depreciation of continental and state currencies hampered the attempts of most people to acquire what flour was available. by 1777, paper money was rapidly depreciating. as the value dropped, new england farmers were left bringing whatever surplus they had into cities because they did not want to sell their crops at a loss. furthertempts only encouraged farmers to keep the surpluses. those with imported goods could potentially trade them for flour. without access to such goods, most of the artisans and other workers in the towns could only complain about being left with nothing to eat. and into this mess fell the french fleet with the 10,000 sailors and soldiers on board and very little left to feed them. the fleet had sailed from france
in early april, 1778, carrying in a freshwater to last three months and enough drive provisions to last about four months. reachedime the fleet the eastern seaboard in early july, it was beginning to run shorter provisions. congress and various segments of the continental supply system scrambled to assemble provisions. the fleet arrived off newport in late july, it had not been supplied with basic needs. in early august, general john sullivan reported that the french had no more than 20 days provisions on hand. fleet ato resupply the newport were unsuccessful. when the fleet arrived in boston, it was not better supplied. the fleet would need over a million pounds of flour for the next three months. writing to general washington, heath expressed his doubts that such amount could be assembled. "but how this quantity can be
procured here, especially the flour, i cannot help." the new better than most of difficulties of supply and doing that. he had struggled with the commissary to provide adequate provisions to the various military contingents in the area. the british decision in the summer of 1778 to cease supplying the british soldiers who had been captured at saratoga meant another 5000 mouths to feed just outside the city. the presence of the french fleet added to an already stressed system. to make matters worse, the average bostonian, the fleet had brought a hard -- a large supply of hard currency. once it had become clear that the commissary was unable to provide for its needs, d'estaing began purchasing 2000 barrels of flour independently of the commissary using the currency
and bills of credit he had brought with him. while these purchases allowed d'estaing to feed his men, it had the dual effect of moving a large debts of removing a large quantity of flour from the market and simultaneously driving up the price of the flour that remained. reported that flour suppliers would only accept hard currency as payment. this was advantageous for the french. it made the task of acquiring flour more difficult for the lower classes in boston because they only had access to the depreciated american currency. the situation for the workers and artisans on the waterfront was grim in the fall of 1778. the depreciation of paper currency and general collapse of water-born trade between the states meant procuring far was increasingly difficult. what little was available was going to the merchants who had access to the kinds of goods that farmers were willing to trade for. the demands of the american
military forces further strain supplies. once a french started purchasing flour on their own, prices skyrocketed. for the poor people of boston, the fall of 1778 was undoubtedly one of acute shortage and want, lending credence to the expedition that hunger right on by a shortage of bread prompted the townspeople to assault the french bakers that night. along with the possibility of hunger as a motivating factor, anti-french and sentiment almost certainly played a role in the right. new england's place bordering french canada had intensified french.y among especially among those who had served during the french and indian war from 1754-63. that animosity would not immediately vanish with the commencement of the alliance with the french. even those who hadn't served
against the french themselves or were too young to remember the last war grew up in an environment where public displays of anti-catholic and by extension anti-french attitudes were common. the largest of these displays was the annual pub date prayed celebrated every fifth of november in boston and other american seaports which culminated in a bonfire where people burned effigies of the pope, the devil, and the steward claimant to the throne. this encouraged a strong protestant ethos in the city and undoubtedly contributed to an anti-catholic and anti-french sentiment among the lower classes. unlike the members of the elite, who enjoyed ample opportunity to socialize with french officers, common people had little opportunity to interact with the french. to see those men who had long been held in contempt apparently stealing flour off of their tables must have angered many of the hungry bostonians.
theseition to long-standing prejudices, more recent events had contributed to an air of tension between the new allies. following the aborted assault on new york city, d'estaing and his fleet had sailed to newport. when d'estaing decided to withdraw his fleet to boston, sullivan publicly censured d'estaing for this decision and blamed him for the failure and subsequent withdrawal of the expeditions. tensions ran high. although sullivan later apologized, many americans shared his disappointment and anger. having held such high hopes for the new alliance, to have the french sailed to boston without having made any major country visions to the war effort, was disappointing to say the least. james warren to samuel adams from boston in early september explained that we have "a foolish spirit prevailing with anchor against the french leaving rhode island. it is highly unlikely that this
rancor subsided before the fleet anchor in rhode island. there were several more violent incidents over the following weeks and suggests these incidents were the result of an underlying tension between the two groups and not a one-time affair. washington noted, disharmony between locals and french sailors proved to be a far greater concern than complex of personal honor among the officers. the alliance between the onion united states and france probably never came closer to ending than on that fateful night. a simple misstep at any number of moments could have spelled the end of cooperation between the two nations and possibly a different outcome for the revolution. the american leaders in boston, especially general william heath, did their best to remove any possibility of blame from the townspeople by assigning it to british sailors serving on ships in the harbor. the lack of arrests makes it impossible to say for certain who was responsible. however, given the strong political motivations existing
, itblaming the british seems highly likely that the townspeople of boston were in fact responsible. this conclusion seems the more likely when considering the possible reasons for the bostonians to riot. for several months, it caused substantial hardship for bostonians. the language barrier between the townspeople and the sailors also contributed to escalating the tensions already present. driven by anti-french sentiment and the lack of bread, the writers came within an inch of irreparably or changing the course of the revolution. what's more, this right serves as a powerful reminder that revolutionary america was not a unified america. and the expense of some groups
differed greatly from the experience of the elites. the riots and the far-reaching political consequences it almost had ultimately serves to remind us of the often forgotten power of the american people to alter the course of events. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, michael. today, we are fortunate to have comments offered by glenn williams, senior historian for military history at fort mcnair. he is a retired army officer who entered public history as a second career. "yearauthor of the book of the hangman, george washington's campaign against the iroquois" and the recipient
of the thomas fleming award. he is also author of "the uss constellation." offensive,ing the 1966, september 1967." and others. theddition, he has been better of the u.s. army's campaign of the war of 1812 bicentennial commemorative template series published by the u.s. army center for military history. and author of a forthcoming book entitled "last conflict of
america's colonial period" to be released in early 2016. without any further do, clinton. that,n: one comment on [indiscernible] the just for 1015 that the center would be upset if they hear this on c-span. [laughter] unless i corrected. ok, you get this army guy going to talk about navy logistics. you will get it in the proceedings, but you did not hear it in the spoken papers. mike starts at his paper talking about two things, one attribute it to napoleon or frederick the great about an army traveling on its stomach. the second one attribute it to omar bradley makes comments, something about amateurs talk strategy and professionals talk logistics.
but those are really kind of army ways of looking at it. i was racking my brain to find a navy way to talk about logistics. i have to admit. i was in them from trish officer. i was the sky with the ones in the back with a funny looking equipment and boxes and that the armytuff and then says we are going to make your specialty logistics management. day.t me home one i was running down the street with logistics command on the right-hand side. underneath their use it -- the unit designation was the motto "try waiting without us." [laughter] how many of you play chess at
one time or another? i was on the chess club in high school. i never want any games. if you can imagine playing chess and one of your pieces breaking night needing to be forged or getting some fodder or the queen having to be fed, then it really couple kate's a game of chess. the papers, all of which i enjoyed reading, inlly brought this about and different ways. i think they really complemented each other in one way or another. my next slide, i like to show this picture. i was the curator at uss constellation. i started my career i docent. army, mytired from the
first paying job was curator of the ship. i found this picture that is really neat. guess where this is taken. in the severn river. about where the tripoli monument camera setup.e constellation was here for 25 years as a naval training vessel navy and the way eaglehe coast guard uses on the bay. i thought it would be a neat thing to put up there. even though it is a hundred years pass the time we are talking about at a photograph that was not around at that time. but it's my connection to the navy. three papers, you have all heard them. the longer versions are even better. we will discuss some of the aspects of them.
tough. it's really you cannot separate operations and logistics. in all three of the papers, we saw how logistical problems contributed to the inability to accomplish certain missions, to launch certain operations and to be successful in those operations. and the two are inseparable. threeo saw between the papers different ways of fighting by yourself or fighting as part of a coalition and have or detract from your ability to supply and maintain your forces on their operations. we also looked at the differences between the long supply chain back to your home country and your logistical infrastructure and relying on local procurement and some of the problems inherent in that,
such as competition. not only was the army, but also andeen coalition partners the regional variances. we talked about the price of wheat in the mid-atlantic states and hown new england operational concerns or what is happening elsewhere in the in thet can affect those price and ability to get the logistics from their ring. logistics, of course, impacts on any kind of military force whether it is for sure or float in a number of areas. strength being one. being an army guy, i think of arnold's expedition into canada. on the way to canada, he had no problem hunting game to supply the meat. what they didn't have at that time of the year was access to fresh vegetables. meat, but they of
strength of the men deteriorated raidmarket rate -- market rate because they did not have vegetables. army suffered more deaths and hospitalizations due to non-battle reasons. a lot of this is directly attributed to the logistical support they get. basically, the type of food and how well preserved or not presumed -- preserved the food is and how fresh it is. mike mentioned that it did not seem like the french had learned from their earlier experience in bringing logistical support from france or from the continent. time, food is the
queen of the seas. i don't think the french fleet naval security around the world. --y had to think of a threat they had to rely more on local procurement than from metropolitan france. support really brought out in the bread right paper and a number of things going in with this. about it very well put wasn't only national interests involved. accident amount of ethnic conflict between people that grew up and endless tradition
looking at the french as the enemy. involved in the hundred years war couple centuries ago and now we are in the myth of another -- the midst of another hundred years war with the french and you are telling me they are on our side? are religious differences, new england basically calvinist in the french navy and soldiers being mostly catholic. but take that one step farther. there are a lot of french emigres or their descendents living in the boston area as well. paul revoir ispaul lava french but he is also a huguenot french.
if it wasn't brought out enough in the papers by mike and tom, it goes into a little more detail about the system of the the and how the royal navy, british royal navy and the french navy were supplied and content in the european -- continent. andsystem of vitteling arming and provisioning and transporting is really well done in the long versions of the papers. so if you get a chance to look at those, i highly recommend them. and of course, logistical considerations also tend to limit or operational reach. we saw that here. the operation in rhode island had to be curtailed because of logistical reasons. tom mentioned he thought well, maybe the story of yorktown would have been different had the british established a naval base there. but remember why we ended up going to yorktown in 1781 and
washington have always wanted to attack new york. it was seen as his worst defeat. it was the center of political and military government for the british. it was their biggest naval base in what became the continental united states. and why was it there? frenchthe reasons is the through too much water to get over the bar in setting up. it would have been secure there. they didn't have the protection of shallower water in haven bay have they established a set or hook. that might have been a consideration. i'm nothing is wide washington was always try to talk rochambeau to attack new york. and rochambeau said, hey, george, look southward what sealed the deal is when emerald o'gara said i am coming as far as [indiscernible]
that is when they turned their attention to the chesapeake more .han anything else one of the things i was told to look at was omissions were things that would make the papers better. i really enjoyed all the papers. majordn't consider these comments to take to heart. but there are things i worry about. tom reddy couple of quotes from some of the letters and the kind of throws out some navy ranks when he says one made her one midshipman or so forth during it would have improved the paper had he explained the system of naval ranks and the royal navy. as you can see by the chart, it can get pretty busy. i thought it might have stood a little bit of explanation.
mate, aance, a master's shipmaster's mate was pretty much the same rank as a midshipman. -- a pathhad a pad that could lead to a commission as a lieutenant. they were junior officers. they were cockpit officers. in that case, they were it will. but a midshipman was a gentleman and a master's mate had worked his way up the ranks. so he was not. so they were not socially even though they were right all i would throw that out as a suggestion. if i were grading you, i would not do you points for it. same thing goes for. kids in those days were considered either of the line or below the line. tom's paper mentions cruisers, which is technically correct. they are operating away from the fleet cruising. pretty much a fleet in being. i thought it might have been a little better if he had mentioned the class of the ship,
such as frigates, fleets of war, etc. that can be confusing, too. in those days, a cruiser is a ship operating away from the fleet. if you compare a frigate to a cruiser in world war ii, that can get confusing, too. i would like to have seen a little more explanation of that. and these again are my pet needs. i call them nerdy pet peeves. things when i read 18th-century brand-new,n i was zero years in grade, stationed in europe and a rifle company us yell out the five signs of a warning.
a pen andnotebook and getting ready to write something and he is watching tv and the caption is you pick up mistakes in warmer things. [laughter] that's me. and.a native baltimore i think will have their maryland flag upside down and i have to tell them. i do it at the post office. i do it at the volunteer fire department. yes, i am one of those nerds that does stuff like that. where was i going with this? [laughter] nerdy things that get into myroft -- that get into craw. the british army during the revolutionary war is the british army, not the royal army. yes, the royal navy. and it's not the royal marines. -- still hisl the
britannic majesty's marines. they were rated according to the weight of the projectile. you have a 24-pam projectile. that is the way the name of the gun gets its name. but the gun is not a 24-pound gone, it is a 24 pounder aired just one of my nerdy -- party four pounder. just one of my nerdy pet peeves. the use of terms that don't belong. when i wasne i found editing the war of 1812 series is the were baking 12 hour where one side fired a barrage. you cannot fire a barrage with muzzle-loading cannon. in samuelk it up johnson's dictionary, you will find i am right. when it's a bombard, it means to attack with bombs. in theapon fires a bomb
18th century? the answer is a mortar. the top deck.e is those are guns. they only fire solid shot projectiles. that is what dunmore's fleet mostly had. that is what most fleets mostly is a way the bottom version. so they are attacking with cannons in your cannon aiding. the treatises of the 18th century, they fought a can a nod -- a cannonade. uper than that, that wraps my comments. i turn it back over to jean. jean: thank you. [applause] i would like to open up first of all with -- with the speakers
like to make any further comment? no? good. ok. we will open up the floor to questions. you cannot think of one, make one up. >> and we will make up an answer. [laughter] >> first off, i would not be talking about the pope right now. he will be here next week. [laughter] >> what is your reasoning and source material? this man's intern two years ago. on the third or fourth, he hands me a packet from the previous intern about this incident and hes see what you can find was a little suspicious about the official line that the british were responsible. so i have been digging. i found a bunch of interesting
stuff in that grew into this paper. my sources are largely published collections of letters the delegates to the continental congress and then from the naval naval -- from the >> i have to say that my plan was to steal the research he had and to write a paper on the bread riots. but michael did such a good job. [laughter] >> his comment about the sources, for those of you that are not familiar, the naval documents of the american revolution is one of the most marvelous collections of materials you will ever find anywhere. if you are not familiar with them, please get familiar with them. and also, talk them up. you heard the ammo today -- the
he thoughtay say michael is doing a wonderful job. it has been a long time since it has been published. you have to pay to publish the book that has been sold by the government building office -- publishing office for profit . >> the next design will go through august 1778. >> there are 11 out already and they are four inches thick. these are really remarkable. they are absolutely priceless. so encourage their issuance. >> they are not priceless. they cost about $100 each. [laughter] >> but there value is inestimable. jean: other questions? add, in addition
to the naval documents of the american revolution, they also which should be coming out with volume four, hopefully, soon. [laughter] >> may i also mentioned we also have the spanish-american war series now. >> that's modern stuff. [laughter] but they do have one on the barbary wars. >> yes. >> no further questions? thank you so much for being here today. we have a last round of applause here. [applause]