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tv   American Revolution in Boston  CSPAN  August 13, 2016 8:36am-9:47am EDT

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really well, they internalize all this stuff so i along after say it to them. their own brain says it to them. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q1 day. -- q and a. >> you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. the c-span radio app makes it easy to follow the election wherever you are. it is free to download from the apple app store or google play. get up-to-the-minute schedule information for c-span radio and c-span television, plus podcast times. stay up-to-date on all the election coverage. means youadio app always have c-span on the go. >> up next on american history
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tv, author derek beck discusses his book, "igniting the american "the war before american independence." in this hour-long talk in new york city, mr. beck details the strategies on both sides of the conflict that took place in and around of boston, massachusetts prior to the declaration of independence. >> tonight, we are delighted to have derek beck presenting "the war before american independence." derek has always had a passion for military history which inspired him to start his career in the u.s. air force. he has served as an officer. in 2005, he earned a masters of science degree at m.i.t. where he also fell in love with boston's revolutionary past. to further pursue writing, he later transferred to the air force reserve.
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he still remains quite active, presently holding the rank of major. derek's first book, "igniting the american revolution, 1773-1775" was released in april. his second book was released in may. i would have like to welcome derek to the lectern. derek: thank you all for coming. it is an honor to be here. a very historic site so it is pretty cool to give a historic lecture at an historic site. as mentioned i have two books , and they together tell the entire boston campaign. coversst is actually, it from the start of the war which the start of the action at the boston tea party in 1773. then the first shots are fired and it ends with the siege of
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boston just beginning. it is kind of how book two starts. both books are standalone, they can be read independently, but they do together they tell the entire boston campaign. a little bit more of who i am and the reason behind this book. i was already kind of described the details. when i joined the air force, i was stationed at los angeles air for space and i discovered an interest in filmmaking. i started working on some short films on the weekend, took some courses at the new york film academy both in l.a. and here. i wanted to focus on writing and storytelling. then i went to m.i.t., became interested specifically in the revolutionary history, and i thought it would make a great movie. i started a film script about the start of the war and that was the outline that became these two books. i was discovering a lot of details that cannot be captured
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in a film. i was going to the source material, the original letters, some of which had never been published. there was a lot of i would say underrepresentation on the british side. i was trying to tell the story from both sides so i felt like i had to turn this into a book which then became two books. , so, why history? that is a question i hear a lot. why history? history is boring. i think that is wrong. if you think it is boring, you are not reading the right books because history is exciting. look at mel gibson in "the patriot." the fact is, there were people shooting at each other. if you are in these events, if you could see them, your heart would be racing for sure. they should not be boring. it is like an action event. sure, it happened in the past, but it should be a very exciting thing. that was kind of my approach. i approach it from a cinematic way. i wanted to capture that excitement.
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the academic answers for why people study history is that we understand your culture where we , came from. this sort of cultural roots of everything we do today in this society. the other reason, of course, is hopefully we learned from the past. a lot of times we don't learn from the past. but hopefully we can take something from the past and learn from it. not make the same mistakes. i think the reason is exciting and i have different approaches to make that happen. one of the key things, i think, is focusing on real people and make them real. george washington was the hero of the revolution, but he is not a superhero. he has flaws. if you read his letters are seeing his perspective he was , doubting himself quite a bit. that makes him more relatable in my mind. seeing it from both sides, the american and the british side, gives you a real value and
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relatable understanding to the british. the british are not just robotic enemies, they have logic behind their decision-making. i am in the air force. i work with british officers today. they seem to be good chaps. i thought why is it that i would sort of learn that they are the bad guys and americans are the good guys? in fact that is the other approach. i actually avoid the word "patriot." patriot means a lover of one's country. so the british were fighting for their empire and their country. they were patriots in their eyes. the fact is sometimes the good guys look like the bad guys and sometimes the bad guys look like the good guys. i tried to portray it as though you're a journalist following the action along and you make the decision. you can decide who are the good guys ignore the bad guys. i don't make the decision for you. finally, this is something that a little different from most history books. lots of history books are bogged down by the details.
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we have this event, this event, and then this gap in information. we have to theorize how to connect these two events. most history books explain the different sources and explain the different perspectives and it just bogs down the story. i go with my prevailing theory based on the evidence and i explain and defend it in the back. all of the things that you need as an historian, the endnotes, mine are beefed up. i have more appendices the most history books. as a result, there is this historic information in the back that historians love, but the body of the book reads like a narrative. reviews of called it compare it to reading and action novel. i don't want to bog down the story. i want you to enjoy the action and the events and all of the sort of stuff that slows down most history books doesn't need to be in the body. book -- i will recap the first book to catch you up to where the second book is.
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the first book starts with the boston tea party. the ultimate result of the tea party is that the british tried to force boston to pay back the tea. they pass a series of acts or laws that effectively cripple one is the -- effectively cripple boston. one is the port act closes down the port of boston, putting many people out of work and creating a local economic depression. the second is the massachusetts government act. it restricts freedom of assembly and something like this event are now. getting together and talking about the things the government hasn't sanctioned was not allowed. the big take away really was that the royal governor that was a civilian and american board is was replacedorn with general thomas gates, the first royal governor who is also a military governor. he is also the commander in chief of all british forces in
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north america. throughout 1774 -- the tea party is to the end of 1773. throughout 1774 to enforce these acts, the british call them the colors of acts, the americans called in the intolerable acts. previously, there were no troops in boston since 1770 and the boston massacre. the result of the boston massacre was the kick the troops out of boston. now they have come back and it turns out that at the end of 1774, one out of five souls in boston is a soldier or officer. imagine, you have a lot of people out of work, kind of ticked off, and they have nothing to do. and boston, by the way it is , hard to tell what boston looked like back then. it was a peninsula than. -- then. in the 1800s, they lowered a lot of hills and filled in the mud flats and basically created boston as it is today. back then it was a small peninsula.
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you had a lot of time on your hands. you have soldiers reminding you every day because you see them everywhere that you are in this predicament because of overbearing parliamentary decisions. so what is going to happen? you will have a lot of fighting in the streets. there are a lot of brawls that happen. then escalation occurs both in and outside of boston. finally, the new royal governor, general gauge the british , general decides that he has to take action. he learns of intelligence that americans are collecting weapons outside of boston in concorde. he is going to take a preemptive action to seize those weapons to prevent the americans from an uprising in boston. the leader of the revolution at this point is dr. joseph warren. he is basically unknown today. that is too bad. he is my focus character for the first part of this book and into the second book.
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he is, in my mind, the guy that should be remembered. the names we all know john , hancock, samuel adams, john adams. in april 1775, right as they are about to seize the weapons in concorde, these men that you know from boston are actually outside of boston. they are not in boston. dr. joseph warren is in boston, the guy controlling the protests, not quite a full on revolution, but the reaction to british oppression in boston. after the first shot, hancock we the two atoms -- adams boston. warren is the one left in charge. he becomes the de facto governor. warren is the guy who sends these two men -- when he sees the british mustering on boston common preparing to go out to , concorde to seize these weapons, at first he sees indications throughout the town
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that this may be happening so we -- he sends the men on the left, william dawes as a precaution to ride out to lexington to warn hancock and similar items. -- samuel adams. later, warren actually sees the troops and so he sends the man on the right in an urgent ride to lexington, and that man is very famous, i am sure we all know who he is. he is the famous actor, jack black. [laughter] i think they look the same. but, paul revere. paul revere rides out and then they ride together to concorde going house to house yelling -- , and i think we all know what he says. the americans are coming. he says the americans are coming. you are all looking at me confused. if i came to your house in the middle of the night, knocked on your door, and yelled that the americans are coming, you would give me the same look.
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if you had a musket you would aim it at me because you think i'm crazy. same with paul revere. he did not go to those houses and say the british are coming because they are all british. the big issue, the big reason why there is issue between american colonies in britain is because the american colonies want to be treated more like british. they feel like they are second-class citizens. it is really not about taxation. the whole taxation with representation. focus on the representation part. they are second-class citizens and they don't have any representation in parliament. they see how they are treated in many different ways, just the way that george washington complained that he couldn't have any kind of position in the government of virginia because he was american-born. there are lots of indications that people are fed up with being second-class citizens. they wanted to be treated like
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britons in britain. they were not and that was the major complaint. they were proud to be british, they were happy to not be french, and they wanted to be recognized as british. if you would have come up to any house at that time and say the british are coming, they would have looked at you very confused. it makes no sense. paul revere said something like -- he leads three versions of a deposition of his ride that night. he doesn't tell us what exact he said. he may have said -- probably said something like "the regulars are coming" referring to the regular army. where the redcoats are coming. or as it is depicted in the reenactment in concorde every year "the regulars are turning , out." he definitely did not say the british are coming. the british to come -- i have to use those terms because it is a modern audience. i need to make those distinctions.
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on their way to concord which is , over here, they meet up with the lexington militia on a green that is kind of like a park. the road passes through the south. the british should have stayed on the road and passed them. the lexington militia was standing in protest not really , intending for any skirmish. a shot rings out, the first shot. we don't know who shot first, but there are indications that it came from an american spectator on the sidelines. at the end of the day, it didn't matter. first shot rang out. the americans used in the propaganda war to come. who shot first is important , just like in star wars in 1977. it is kind of hard to see here. han solo in 1977 shoots a bounty hunter that is after him for money on behalf of jabba the hutt. he shoots in cold blood this bounty hunter. in the 1990's, george lucas
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remakes the star wars movies and changes it, digitally altered the scene so that the bounty hunter shoots and han solo fires second. that is a big deal because george lucas felt that han solo needed moral authority. it is the same case for the americans. they felt like whoever shot first was vitally important that the british were seen as the one who started the war. the americans were the ones who had to be the victims to win the hearts and minds as it would be with the french later on in the war. after the first shot in lexington, the british do make their way unharassed to concorde. then there are the militia thanks to paul revere and other
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riders, many other riders. they come to concorde and there is ambush upon ambush all the way to lexington. the original expeditionary force nearly destroyed and almost out of ammunition. until they get to lexington and are relieved to see a reinforcement of british soldiers there. the british reinforcement and developed the occupational force and take them back toward boston. the worst fighting his house to house in a town now called then, now called arlington. the result of this daylong battle is that the british find themselves penned up in boston, besieged. all these malicious around boston. -- malitia surround boston. by the way, they didn't find any of these weapons in concorde because they were all hidden ahead of the british arriving. for the next two months, the british are stuck in boston. they get new officers and
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new soldiers arriving almost daily in may. two of these gentlemen are william howe and his deputy. howe is going to lead in an siege of. bust the that is what leads to a plan where the british are going to go south. this is the peninsula of boston, these are the americans surrounding them. there is a peninsula to the south. it is called dorchester. now it is part of boston. it is a no man's land. there are no houses. the british are going to send troops by boat. they will take the american headquarters in cambridge. that is the land. there is a no man's land of charlestown. there is a real town there but because the troops are on one side and americans are on the other, the inhabitants realize they are stuck in a abandon the town. by june of 1775, it is also a no
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man's land. however, the american intelligent network -- intelligence network is pretty good. instead of waiting for the british, they decide on june 16 that they are going to do a preemptive maneuver and create a ford or a redout out of earth on a hill in charlestown, very near the british in boston. erey will put some canon th that will rain down on boston and put the british at risk. the british will decide that morning, june 17, when they discover this new fortification ed's hill, thate they will meet the americans in -- first realpage battle real pitch battle of the war. meanwhile, it takes the british a little while to cross the river by boat. there is a square four foot or
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five foothill of dirt they created here and they extended out into one long line. then they build some little other fortifications. here there is a fence. the fence is basically one fence they have reinforced with another fence ahead. .t is stuffed with hay the americans think that they are ready. general howe is on the field and he is dismayed to see that this rail fence, which was his intended path -- he is going to try to circle around and surround these americans on the hill -- he is dismayed to see that this was put up as he was transitioning across the river, but he is happy to see a secret way yet undiscovered by the americans. it is this beach path. the beach is actually about eight to ten feet below the battlefield. the americans cannot see it. about four or five feet wide, rocky, and there are no
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americans there. the british plan is going to be to move their lightest troops, which they call the light infantry, they carry little. light weapons and light baggage, up that beach. the plan is that they are going to get around americans and break this fence and everyone will surround them basically. the british are supposedly the greatest army in the world. that is the plan. however, new hampshire sends some troops over there. one of their colonels determines that the beach is actually open. he decides to put a couple dozen americans down there and they put together a little kabul fence with a couple of rocks. the more than knee-high. they wait for the british. the british are 330 troops coming up that way. the british have bayonets, the americans have no bayonet.
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here's what happens next. i will read from the book briefly. the new hampshire man is colonel stark. "stark and his defenders held their fire at the elegant column of light infantry moved up the beach towards them with bayonets glistening. slowly, they approached the stake in the ground faced earlier by stark, perhaps a lead fusilier noticed it as he marched by. the british column was determined to plow through stark's men with bayonets alone. they were nearly close enough to begin their charge. they held the barrels steadied to a level when some new englander twang gave the order. likely only half fired first, the others fired next as the first reloaded. their musket balls formed a wall of lead that flung toward the
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helpless british, ripping into them, their bodies tumbling off the beach and into the river. they struggled to maneuver over the carnage that have been the brothers in arms. the new hampshire man kept an almost incessant fire on them, mowing them down four at a time, rank by rank. officers and privates fell. the officers shouted and tried to push their men on, but some lead british blindly fired the muskets towards the white smoke that it replaced the fenced defenders a fatal mistake. , the redcoats lingered within the lethal range of american muskets. which only allowed the yankees to slaughter more of them causing british bodies to pile , up as hurdles of carnage for those behind. this caused the column to compress on itself. the front ranks during to a halt for them in the back continued forward. the british officers somehow
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managed to drive the following companies forward in a feeble charge. both momentum and initiative were lost. the unforgiving american musketry continued to wipe out the lead british soldiers before the column at last gave way and began to fall back. " meanwhile, as they are doing this, the other forces are moving forward but kind of stalling outside a musketry range. and the british royal navy bombards charlestown because american snipers are there. it starts a blaze. the light infantry doesn't do what is expected. the fight on the beach doesn't go as the british expect and they retreat. now general howe is stuck and has a decision to make. this attack is not meant to be an attack. they are just stalling and waiting for the beach attack to do its job. now he has to make a decision. he decides he is going to
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charge his troops on the battlefield toward the americans. it is not a smart decision, probably one he did because of honor. the fact is -- just imagine this. the americans are behind a four or five foot pile of dirt. they have muskets. nobody really has rifles at this point. muskets are kind of like tubes with balls in them. if you could take a tube, put it on a tripod, and aim it at a target 50 feet away, they are so inaccurate. the ball just bounces down the tube and it flies out. the risk of actually getting shot by a musket is very low. sure, the way to do this and the reason they march in line is that if you get a bunch of guys together and they all should together that some of those shots will hit the target. most of them will not. then, if you do fire, now you have about 30 seconds it will take you to reload. probably a little slower because
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you are nervous because you have guys running at you with blades on their guns. by the way, you don't have any bayonets. so basically, the americans have , come to a knife fight without a knife. the british have blades, every one of them. fixed on their muskets and these muskets are long in the bayonets are long. they are like long, shiny spears running at you. the americans basically don't have any of that. this is pretty scary. if the british simply continue forward once the musket balls start shooting out and certainly you can fire beyond 50 feet and maybe hit something, but they are wildly inaccurate past 50 feet. if they keep their lines and get within lethal range and charged toward the americans, the americans will have no choice but to retreat. but that is not what happened.
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so, they move forward, the american start shooting, and the british make a fatal mistake and they stop and shoot back. the americans are behind four or five foot tall piles of dirt or rail fences stuffed with hay. the british are standing out in the open. it doesn't go well for the british. they suffer extreme casualties and they finally retreat. so, now howe has to figure out what he will do differently. the beach attack did not work. he repositions the troops into column formation. a column over here, that will make sense because in the first couple of troops in a column, which is about four guys wide and hundreds deep, even if they do get shot down, there are so many more behind that you can't stop the momentum. the americans won't be able to stop the momentum.
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they know this but they will hold their ground regardless. on the british right they position just like before. they hope the americans are going to fall for it. it is a ruse. so they kind of cooly march forward and then they prepared to do a charge. as the british drew near, the americans held their fire, waiting until the redcoats were closer, uncomfortably closer. suddenly, all at once, the british left wing broke their stride and rushed forward. on the british right, the front line comprised of grenadiers and light infantry charged forward, firing from a safe distance. simultaneously the second minor british right wing suddenly
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maneuvered into a column in surged left. they instantly charged left, passing the british field artillery. in an instant, almost the entire british assault had become a swarm of columns. this surprised the redoubt defenders, but escott -- presco tt held fire. it became clear that the position was no longer affected so they began firing. what happens next is that the light infantry stays over here and fires from a distance to keep the defenders in check. that would be can move over this way. everyone else just storms into and over these earthen works into the americans. again, the americans do not have bayonets, but the british do. it is pretty intense fighting. on the very far british left,
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one is a marine lieutenant and he realizes that his troops are kind of mixed with some of the other companies and have gotten disorganized. he talks to the officers next to him and they agreed to charge in and over the redoubt. by the way dr. joseph warren had , come to the field and he is there as a volunteer, working with colonel prescott the , american in charge. lieutenant waller is the marine. he asks his officers to form a line and charge with the bayonets. the officers all agree in together the three storms past the hedges through the ditch, , and up the ramparts. inside the redoubt prescott quickly refocuses his gang he -- yankee he defenders in that direction, meeting the valiant british charge with stiff resistance. the regulars take heavy casualties including british , captain campbell. n swarmed as his me
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up the redoubt. but there were too many redcoats for the rebel defenders. as the british began mounting the western parapet, they began mowing them down. the next wave of soldiers took their place, firing into the redoubt. one shot hit the thigh of colonel richard greeley. the british poured into the readout. they moment later, the british poured in from all sides. the battle at the redoubt instantly became a vicious and bloody melee. the british swarmed in. this imbalance the front line yankees. lieutenant waller wrote, "i can't begin to describe the horror of the scene within the redoubt. when we entered it, it was streaming the blood and strong with dead and dying men. soldiers stabbing some and dashing out the brains of others. a site to dreadful for me to dwell any longer on."
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this is pretty grotesque, intense fighting. and the result -- by the way, there is a reinforcement of british ready to come over. the result is that the americans are forced to retreat. they don't have bayonets, they can't fight at close range. during the retreat, there are stories about dr. joseph warren. he died in this battle in the final attack. one story is that he is shot in the back of the head as he is rushing out. another is that he gave a dying speech before he was shot. a third is that he is shot in the face as he is rallying some of the retreating americans to shoot one more volley into the oncoming british. the reinforcement does come over and they pursue the americans also. -- off the peninsula. this is dr. joseph warren. dr. joseph warren was reinterred four times and his skull was photographed by his nephew.
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he was also a doctor and founder of mass general hospital. they didn't think about forensics. nobody put a ruler in here to figure out size, but through the forensics of the biographer, they were able to try to get some measurement on the orbitals. here is the entry would. here is the blast out of the back of the skull. this entry wound, this shot is determined at about a half an inch in diameter. the musket of the british soldiers carried was three quarters of an inch. the shot is smaller, which means it is probably a pistol shot. a pistol is carried by either an officer or an officer's servant. we don't know much about the servants, but a lot of these officers are nobles. they had servants, either civilians from home, or they hand-picked a soldier.
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whoever it was, the most important thing to take away from this picture is that the muzzle velocity of guns at that time was very low. which means to shoot through the skull he was shot at close range and the story he rallied the troops to fire into the british is probably true. he definitely saw his assailant and that was probably the last image he saw. that is how dr. joseph morin dies. that is why he is probably forgotten because he died early , in the war. he was the first martyr of the revolution. he was very well loved in massachusetts. john adams and samuel adams thought of dr. warren as a protege. he may have been a future u.s. president. unfortunately, we will never know. what was the point of the battle of bunker hill? now the british have charlestown peninsula. they are still surrounded and dorchester remains open. they meanwhile put 2600 officers
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and soldiers into this fight, not counting the reinforcement that comes over later, of which 41% are killed or wounded. almost half of the fighting force is killed or wounded for a peninsula that no one really needed or cared for. meanwhile the british now have , to extend their troops to two peninsulas to protect morland. they have less meant to do it because they lost quite a few. the americans meanwhile -- george washington tried to figure out later how many americans fought at the battle. because there was no real organization, no one really knows for sure. george washington estimated that perhaps 3000 participated overall. they would come and go throughout the day. it is believed that no more than 2000 were there at once, of which 22% killed or wounded or captured by the british when they took the field.
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they have a little garrison on this island. but they gained nothing. do they have a little elbow room? maybe. but they are still stock and -- stuck and that is the issue. they sacrificed a lot of people for very little gain. george washington is already been selected by the continental congress take over the militia because it is a mess organizationally, and turn them into a new continental army. and yet he is on his way to boston before the battle of bunker hill. i believe he is around new york during the battle of bunker hill. he never meets dr. joseph warren. i consider the battle of bunker hill kind of the turning point in leadership. dr. joseph born hands over the leadership of the revolution to george washington by dying. general howe takes over as the
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new commander and it will be howe vs. washington for most of the rest of the war. washington gets to massachusetts. besides trying to assemble the content alarming, he has almost -- also has almost no guns to force the british from boston. he also has a major british force in canada which he has very strong concerns that they will come down and break the siege of boston, which is in fact their aim. they authorize a new campaign into canada. personally, i never learned any of this in elementary school. i had no idea that canada was involved in the revolution. the were invited to continental congress as the 14th colony. there were others invited other than the 13 that came. there were others invited. benedict arnold is one of the
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two key men in this campaign. he goes up through maine and goes up through quebec city. richard montgomery has some sieges along lake champlain and up through montreal where he ultimately meets benedict arnold at quebec city. i will not give everything away in the book, but the battle of quebec city is epic. they fight during a blizzard on new year's eve 1775. up to this point, the walled city of quebec has never been breached. in the french and indian war, the way that the british wanted french was athe finally goaded the french commander to come out of his fortress onto the field in front of it and that is where the english beat the french and took the city. the french would have stayed in the city, it would have still been french. but benedict arnold think they
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can do it. the ultimate result of the campaign into canada is that it is successful. upkeeps the british penned in canada long enough for general washington to forced the evacuation of boston. the key thing here is that the guns they needed were in for t ticonderoga. that was upstate new york near saratoga and albany. they were taken in may of 1775 but nobody had brought the guns to the boston area. colonel henry knox is the guy. he is sent there in december of 1775. the stories are that he carried all these guns by oxen, pulling these guns over the berkshires and over frozen rivers into the boston area where washington
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could use them to forced the british from boston. of course, he had no oxen. this is a myth. not true at all. he had mostly horses. the reason that this myth is interesting. a lot of people go to george washington's letters, they see this letter from knox saying, i am bringing the guns, 134 heads of oxen and he calls at the noble trend of artillery. then, after that letter is sent, knox actually negotiates with the local guy who has a monopoly on oxen. the local guys like, i am the only guy in town who has got them. you are getting funded by places by frigid air that is wealthy. i'm going to charge you triple. knox went a couple of days back and forth with this guy and finally said, i am done. he hired forces instead. he broke off negotiations. it is not entirely accurate to say that he didn't use any oxen.
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in a few key places, he would find a farm where they would let him over a difficult spot where they would lend him an ox for one day or just for that spot. for the most part, it was horses that carried all these guns to massachusetts. finally with those guns in , massachusetts, dorchester, the open space south of boston, on the eve of the boston massacre anniversary which is march 4 is the eve, march 5 is the anniversary, washington puts these guns in a new ford, just like what they did for bunker hill. he puts them on hills in dorchester and he knows the new englanders will fight more fiercely on march 5, the anniversary of the boston massacre. that is what he does this. the british wake up on march 5, see another fort, this time with a lot of guns and they decide -- general howe decides he's going to put men in boats and attack
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the americans fortified in dorchester. it's basically bunker hill again. general howe didn't learn anything. he just lost 41% of his guys and maybe he's going to wipe out the rest of them. here's the issue with this. i kind of glossed over it because canada turned out not to be a big deal at the battle of bunker hill on the american side because they didn't know how to use them yet. but now they do and they have a lot more guns and on heights overlooking boston. the reason howe has to do something is because these guns can hit anywhere in boston and they're too high for him to shoot back at. his guns cannot get a ball that high. they're on the hill, they can shoot down on boston. meanwhile, john hancock, the richest man in boston, has given washington approval to destroy the town if need be, whatever needs to be done to get the british out of boston. general howe has no choice. the royal navy doesn't have better luck shooting balls up
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towards the heights. they actually do something called firing on the uproll, so when a swell of water goes by, and the boat rocks up, you can maybe fire the ball a little higher but it's still not high enough. they have no way to put the americans on dorchester heights at risk except by landing troops and taking the americans on just like at the battle of bunker hill. it would be fatal for the americans. i'm sorry, fatal for the british. meanwhile, the weather is really poor. some people call it a hurricane. some people call it a nor'easter. some people call it a gale. whatever it is, once the british are actually on the boats, they are beached on castle island. they decide to postpone the fight to that night. meanwhile, the americans basically refortify and strengthen their positions all throughout the weather to the point that general howe calls off the attack. so weather prevents what would
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have been the battle of dorchester heights. they agreed to terms. this is march 5. and on march 17, st. patrick's day, 1776, the british finally, every last one of them, are out of boston. they regroup in nova scotia with plans to come here in new york. in new york, it makes sense for them. the royal navy can support them because they can surround the island and there are a lot of worry list here in new york. so the plan is to move the campaign to new york and that's where all the fighting will be from 1776 onward. all this happens before independence. the declaration of independence is not the start of the war. one of the things i thought interesting when i was trying to get this book published, some of the people i was talking to early on said, well, we're very interested in things that happened before the war but we want to know about things
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happening from july 4, 1776, onward. i explained one does not simply separate and revolt against your home government unless a lot of things happen and of course the war actually begins in april 17 -- april 19, 1775. now -- [laughter] i wanted to leave you with a final thought. if you think america's divided today, i tried to find the most serious looking pictures of both of these two. i was trying to position them so they were staring at each other. [laughter] derek: i would argue that we've always been divided. it goes back to the beginning. for example, we have the civil war. captain america versus ironman, i don't know if you saw it. i'm on team captain america. we have the real civil war.
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clearly a divide. we fought over that one. there's also a major controversy that is waging throughout the country, especially in georgia. i don't know if you know about it here in new york. that's coke versus pepsi. atlanta, if you go there and have a pepsi, that's not going to happen. and the point is it goes back to the beginning. we've always had some kind of division, even in the revolution. it's easy to think in retrospect, yes, i would be a patriot. but would you be? would you be willing to put your finances, house, livelihood at risk to support a revolt against the lawful government? and the question, probably the answer to it depends on when specifically you're thinking about it. so if you're asking this question before any shots are fired, you're probably more likely to be a loyalist. or a pacifist maybe, but not really committed to armed revolt against king george iii.
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as things happen like battle of bunker hill, you're probably more swayed to finally find because the oppression is now violent. it depends also on which colony you are. in new york, there are a lot more loyalists which is partly why the british moved the campaign to new york. however, in massachusetts, only 20% were loyalists. as far as the pacifists, there were a lot of them that were truly pacifists in pennsylvania. others in other colonies were probably simply undeclared, didn't want to pick sides. that was the case with canada which is why they didn't send , anyone to the continental congress. it's an interesting rhetorical question and if you think about that question in modern times, there's also revolutionary forces of sorts even today. i suspect being in the american air force, i would be a loyalist. [laughter] even though i want to say i'm a patriot.
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with that, there are any questions? [applause] i think they are passing the mic. >> -- dr. warren's body and bury him in a grave in front of earth works and chop him up and it wasn't until a year latter they were able to identify him by examining his teeth. derek: he was buried at the battle by the earth works and he was thrown in with no ceremony with another unknown american soldier. he was not chopped up. but, yes, he was identified by paul revere's handy work. it's considered the first known forensic dentistry. paul revere, as a silver smith, there was no true dentistry. he just dabbled in dentistry and he put a silver wire to connect an ivory tooth in warren's mouth
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and he was able to identify his handiwork and determine that yes, that is dr. joseph warren's skull. that's true, yeah. >> i'd like to know what kind of a doctor was dr. warren? derek: you mean specifically? >> what type -- was he a position that physician? derek: there were no specialties at that time. there are two categories, you're a physician or surgeon. and surgeons, while they're respectable today, they were considered the low form of being a physician back then. and it's a strange thing. physicians were generalists but they didn't do any cutting. they would send you to a surgeon and the guy that gets his hands bloody is the lower quality guy. yes, sir. >> did americans actually fire the cannons they had at dorchester hill? derek: they did fire some shots. i glossed over dorchester but
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for several days prior to, they're firing all around boston just to get the british kind of confused and unprepared for this assault that's coming so they're firing all around and sort of the british are kind of beefing up defenses on all sides of boston because they don't know what's going to happen but yes, there are some shots. but there's really no attack, it's mostly just harmless shots. yes, sir. >> what episode is the conclusion of your book then? what period does it end? what date? derek: so it ends on approximately march 17, 1776, which is the british evacuation of boston and it's leading up, basically a cliffhanger setup for the new york campaign. so these two books are potentially part of a series and there may be more books. no one has ever written a series of books covering the entire
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revolution, probably because it's long and it's hard and the war doesn't end until 1781. treaty is 1783 but the fighting, 1781. when i started the project, it was a film script but it's now a miniseries, which is part of the reason why i live in los angeles. if you're familiar with "band of brothers," think "band of brothers" set in the revolution. if you read it, it's visual and cinematic because i see the scenes when writing them. any other questions? >> yes. knowing warren's importance to the revolution, why did he not stay off the battlefield, especially with the other leaders gone? and why didn't he go to the congress anyway? derek: he was actually offered -- well, they considered offering him a position as
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surgeon general for the new army but they knew he wouldn't take it. he was just a guy that had to be in the middle of it all. he was actually in the fight -- i glossed over that, too, but the battle of monacacy, where the fighting was when the british went out to concord and back, he was there on that fight, as well, and a shot passed through his hair and broke the pin holding his hair up, so he almost died there. but he's just the type of person that had to be in the fight. but he went as a volunteer so colonel prescott as well as general putnam, a connecticut guy, were both at the battle and in both cases they offered their command to warren because of their respect for him and warren was just approved to be a major general in the new -- well, in the massachusetts army, the continental army wasn't quite assembled yet, but the paper work, like bureaucracy today, the paper work wasn't done yet so he wasn't a major general yet
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but he came to the battlefield as a volunteer and in both cases, putnam and prescott offered their command and he said i don't know what i'm doing, i'm just here as a volunteer and i want to learn from you guys because you've been setting up these fortifications and i want to learn and be in the fight. but he's just -- that was his attitude. he wanted to be the true form of leadership, literally being in the fight at the front, not at the back. >> i have a question. i have two questions, actually. as your editor and as a native of concord, massachusetts, who do you think actually started the american revolution, concord or lexington? that's not my real question. but one of the things you do so well, derek, is you bring to light these characters and these people who kind of were lost in all of the history, and everything that happened
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throughout the american revolution and certainly leading up to it. i'm curious to know, besides dr. warren, is there anyone else who you feel like really hasn't been given their due, who really should be as a historical figure and somebody who is a big influence in the early days of the revolution? derek: i think richard montgomery, maybe not as big of an influence as dr. joseph warren, but he's the guy that i showed, leads one of those two prongs up to quebec city. he certainly hasn't been given his due. he's buried here in new york, though. again, i'm trying not to give away what happens in the battle of quebec for those who don't know the story but he's certainly an incredible leader and he's -- because canada is ignored, he's often ignored but he is one of the good generals at the early start of the revolution.
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>> to what do you attribute the failure of canada to join the american revolutionary cause? derek: there's a couple of answers to that. for the first continental congress, they were not invited, the canadians. part of the complaints the continental congress sent to england that was they were appalled that britain was treating massachusetts with such oppression while being liberal to the catholics in canada. so they talked about how the continental congress wrote about how the -- how england had fought many wars with france to keep catholicism out of the british isles and now, thanks to the french and indian war and canada and quebec -- canada and quebec are interchangeable terms in this time -- becoming part of the empire, now catholicism was part of the empire, as well, officially part of british
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america. when the continental congress complained of this to britain, the people, the government in canada, learned about this. so nevertheless, in the battle of quebec and the campaign into canada, there are canadians that fight on both sides and those that are fighting on the american side, there are some french, but there are also a lot of just people like probably moving from new england up that way as it became officially part of british america so they could now freely move from colony to colony. while on the british side, a lot of those that were fighting were actually the retirees from the british army who had been given land in exchange for going and settling and putting that british influence in canada and quebec. so there's a lot of interesting aspects of canada.
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>> do you know about when the first casualty actually happened? i've heard all kinds -- i've heard as early as 1770, it was the first casualty, on "lives and legends with bill o'reilly" and he said the first casualty was an 11-year-old boy, in the boys of the revolution. or something like that. this is something i've heard. derek: so i -- first of all, i didn't watch any of that "legends and lives" but i'm told i made the cut for the john adams episode. i am in that episode. but the answer is, it depends on when you count the start of the american revolution so it's academic, really. the american revolution is a political movement. the revolutionary war is the fighting within that larger umbrella term, the american revolution. and i think no one would argue that the revolutionary war began with lexington and concord in
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april 19, 1775. when the american revolution begins is a harder thing to answer. a lot of people would say it began with the end of the french and indian war because the whole taxation problem came because because britain needed money after they depleted all their treasury to pay for this war, really fought to defend the western boundary of the 13 colonies against the french and the indians and established this new boundary so the french indian war was also the seven years' war in europe so became a world war of sorts and was hugely expensive for the british , so they needed to raise revenue and a lot of people would argue that's the start of the american revolution because needing that revenue needs new taxes, taxation without representation, protests in america. it depends on how you define the
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start of the american revolution, i guess. we need to get the microphone appear. >> is there a book you recommend on joseph warren, bio? derek: biography? biography by dr. samuel foreman. he's the most recent biographer. it's the most up to date. >> my question is -- how old was dr. warren at the time of the revolution and who would you like to play him in the miniseries? derek: i forget his exact age. he's like 34 or 35. i don't remember exactly. but he's -- yeah, he's a young guy and he's very accomplished and he's a well respected doctor in boston. i have no idea who. i don't know. what is that? harvard.
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haaarvard, as he might say. so harvard was interestingly enough, there's no medical school at harvard yet. he's also kind of a proponent of a harvard medical school and part of the training was he would actually -- this was illegal -- but they would actually -- they had a club where they stole bodies from a cemetery to do, like, autopsies and stuff to learn anatomy because you had to learn it from books. it was considered unacceptable to actually use any formerly live specimens to learn. and so he was a proponent of a harvard medical school. i believe his brother was kind of the one that actually made that happen later on. but the other part is that harvard was really, you had two degree options. it was founded as a clergy kind of school where you could learn to be a preacher. or you could just get a liberal arts, latin, learn the classics.
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so that's what most of them did and that's what he did. he learned the classics and got a liberal arts degree and then you would go as an apprentice under an established doctor and that's how you learned to be a doctor. >> was there any noticeable tension when washington, the outsider from virginia, came up to new england to assume the command of a bunch of new england militias? derek: there was a lot of tension. that's part of the second book. one of the issues is -- this is crazy to me -- but, so, each militia would vote their officers in for a term depending on the county or the colony. it might be a year or two years. the officers had to curry favor with their men because they didn't want to get vetoed out or they want to get re-elected. so the command was just abysmal. and george washington complained very much about this in his
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letters and in his diary. and the other problem was while the southern colonies were starting to assemble troops to send up to the new continental army, some of the officers were coming that way and had no men to lead and washington wanted to break this, what we call localism, where, for example, the people of this county will only serve under an officer from their county and in no way am i going to serve under some guy from, like, north carolina, like that's ridiculous. and so george washington basically broke up all these militias and turned them into mixing people and he was constantly fought. there were men that refused to join the continental army because you had to choose to join the continental army so he was having to re-enlist all these people to the new contract and it was just a mess. and that's part of what he's dealing with while he's lacking gun powder, while the british are doing other things in and around boston and it's just a
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big mess for him throughout december -- well, all the way to december 1775. and that's definitely in the book. kind of hard to encapsulate in a presentation. any other questions? >> i have a question. i never heard any mention of catholicism ever brought up before in this era. was there kind of a constant undercurrent between france and britain on a religious level? i've never heard of it -- a religious war, proxy war? derek: this wasn't a religious war but later on, the french joined with the americans against the british in part because they just had this long-standing hatred of each other and so after the americans convinced the french king that they can win some battles and
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the turning point is the battle of saratoga, the french decided they're going to support the americans and part of it's just like so, wait, i get to fight the english again, and this time i have a good reason to do it because i'm supporting a new nation? yeah, sure, we, the french, will absolutely do this. so they just took the opportunity once they were sure the americans could win. but, yeah, there was a lot of fighting. i think it goes back to joan of arc. [indiscernible] derek: not really, no. not at this point. this is more just long, just hatred between the two countries. yes, sir? part of these gives him -- -- part of the schism -- as a
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catholic, you owed allegiance to the pope, even the king of france owed allegiance to the pope and the english were anti-catholic because the buck stopped with the king who was the head of the church in england. and so that was the main -- going back to henry, when he broke with the church and created his own church. so -- i mean, created the church of england. that's why they were kind of anti-catholic. in the americas, the only colonies that really had a lot of catholics was maryland. pennsylvania was almost open to any church but most places were anti-catholic and just what i was really going to say was that the image of paul revere is really the basis for the label on the sam adams beer because sam adams was not an attractive man and they used paul revere as the model. [laughter] if you've had enough, sam would look good. derek: was it paul revere or jack black? [laughter]
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yes, sir? >> what was the best privitereing operations in boston at that time? were they nascent or something already up and running? derek: it was. the first sort of navy is really these whale boats that they affixed very small cannons, but they're fast and surprising a lot of transports coming from england. they start to organization. the continental army takes charge ultimately but they're kind of under congress initially and they actually sanctioned more of these ships and boats to be built later on in the fall of 1775. but, yeah, the whale boaters are really the first navy on the seas and they're hindering the resupply of the british, penned up in boston. it's a big issue for the british. and actually that's one of the -- the charming nancy is one major transport the americans take because of the privateers and the charming nancy has a ton
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of gun powder and muskets and stuff. everything the americans needed -- with one transport ship they got it all. they didn't get it all but they got a lot of it. any other questions? go for it. >> i heard there were a whole bunch of people warning the americans, not just paul revere. is that true or not? derek: paul revere wasn't really famous until longfellow wrote the poem and the reason longfellow wrote the poem is because he was trying to arouse patriotism ahead of the civil war and he did a good job because we all know who paul revere is. but paul revere, actually, he doesn't ride very far before he's captured by the british. longfellow failed to mention that, i guess. israel bissile -- i forget how


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