tv Lectures in History The American Revolution 1775-76 CSPAN January 13, 2019 12:00am-1:11am EST
the securities and exchange . >> grants, on c-span skew day. >> next, michael gabriel teaches a class about military engagement during the american revolution from april 1775 to july 1776. he highlights the battle of bunker hill, the american invasion of canada, and the eventual british evacuation of boston. his classes about one hour. prof. gabriel: ok, everybody. last class, we were talking about the outbreak of the
american revolution. all of this tension is building in the spring of 1775, in april, general thomas gage since troops into the countryside and fighting breaks out at lexington and concord. at nightfall, about 20,000 americans descend on boston, lay siege to the city, this war that nobody really wants but has been brewing for probably 12, 13 years, has started. we are going to talk about -- does anybody take french? rage militaire. this is sometimes called the
popular uprising phase. this is the year of the revolution, that probably more people supported the war than any other one. why do you suppose there's so much support for the revolution this year? any ideas? student: they haven't started fighting it. prof. gabriel: they haven't started fighting it. any other ideas? i have some images to show you guys. there is a historian who teaches at lsu, and he coined this phrase, rage militaire. it comes from philadelphia, as the french call, a passion for arms, has taken possession of the whole continent. the americans are literally fighting mad. ok? that's why there is so much support for the war. there is this wild passion. even the words -- rage. what is rage? anger. intense anger. the americans are really
furious. all of this has been building up and it comes boiling out. what is sort of interesting during this phase is the americans are on the offensive and actively taking the war to the british. what we are going to look at is rage militaire in the north, south, and specifically in boston. we're going to see that what is going on here is partly about the war, partly about what is the american war aim? different people have different ideas of what those war aims are. the final thing i would say here, it starts in april 1775, lexington concorde. what is july 1776? the declaration of independence.
popularity in support of a war begins to decline. the emotional edge does not last. the horrors of war take the edge off. it's hard to maintain an emotional peak for extended periods. . it might be a bad example, but when you fall in love with someone, you can't stop thinking about them, then the 20th wedding anniversary, it is pass the salt. it's not the same thing. the intensity fades away. also, not all americans support independence. we will look at some today that fit that model. we are going to start with the north. fighting breaks out at lexington and concorde in april. we talked about that. what is significant is fighting spreads to upstate new york. you can see this is lake champlain. at the southern end, there is
for ticonderoga. in may, 1775, a group of americans led by ethan allen and benedict arnold sees for ticonderoga -- it is loaded with military cannon. the attack is not authorized by congress. congress is meeting for the first time. we will pick that up later. it is authorized by the messages committee of safety and a bunch of angry guys in vermont. they are taking the war to the english. or is no reason this should happen but it does. over the next couple of days, and we will see a map in a minute that expands on this, at crown point, which we don't really need to worry about, and benedict arnold invades canada. they are taking the war to the british.
that is rage militaire. the second part is boston. we said that the city is under siege. this is the governor of massachusetts. he is also rich commander in north america, thomas gage. he is an interesting guy. he is married to an american. his wife is an american, maybe even an american spy. gage's wife is someone to look at if you are doing female spies. he has been in america since the french and indian war. throughout the fall of 1774 and spring of 1775, gage keeps asking for reinforcements.
he sends letters to england, the situation is pretty bad, we should send more reinforcements. instead of sending gage a reinforcements, the british sent three more generals. a guy by the name of william howe. he will feature prominently in your book. a guy named henry clinton. and a guy named john burgoyne. what do you suppose the significance is that gage asks for reinforcements and britain sends three generals? what was the ramification of that? any ideas? student: [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: a lot of conflicting views. student: the british don't think manpower is necessary at this point. prof. gabriel: they might not think manpower is necessary.
they might not have a lot of faith in thomas gage. when you ask for reinforcements and they send three more generals, that's not a huge vote of support. interestingly, the british ship that brings the three generals is the hms cerebus, which is the name of the three-headed dog who guards hell. you can see boston on this peninsula sticking out here. it is called the boston neck. the americans are at roxbury and cambridge and they have the british bottled up in boston. you can see boston harbor. here you can see castle william. remember we read the document about the boston riots and the governor was writing from castle william? that's where it is. what is interesting here, and this shows the american anger after lexington and concord.
the americans don't just sit here, they don't try to storm the city, they could never get across the boston neck, but what the americans do is they fortify will this peninsula, called the charlestown peninsula. you read here is that -- the theory here is that the americans control this high ground, and they can put artillery up here and potentially shelled the city and make boston harbor untenable. the americans occupied this land on the night of june 16. they are supposed to go to this hill called bunker hill. bunker hill is the back hill. it is about 40 feet taller than breeds hill, but in the darkness, the men get confused and go to the forward hill, breeds hill, it is closer to boston. in some ways that is good and in some ways it is bad. overnight, they dig a fortification. when the british wake up on the morning of june 17, they can
hear some shoveling and they don't know what is going on. they hear some shoveling and find that 2000, 3000 americans have dug in and are overlooking the city of boston. thomas gage decides that this is a threat. you cannot let those troops stay overlooking the city you have to drive them back. and the man who gage puts in tactical command, the guy who will command on the battlefield, is so william howe. he is tactical, he's the commander on the ground. now, if you're the british, and you see these americans are a p on this hill, what would you guys do? how would you attack them? what would you do? any ideas?
student: [indiscernible] bunker hill is 40 feet higher. prof. gabriel: here or here. ok. innocence, you control the water, that is doable, and you can cut off their retreat route. student: that the british navy to encircle. prof. gabriel: shell the heck out of those guys. that would be a good strategy. that is not what britain decides to do. that is not what so william howe the size to do. instead, he lines up 2200 british soldiers shoulder to shoulder, and since the straight up the hill. it is kind of interesting -- british soldiers, and you can see this here, this is a relatively accurate painting. this is probably the second assault. they wear lots of belts. the belts crisscross.
natural target points. british officers wear a shiny metal desk around their throat called a gorgon. a symbol of authority. british officers would rub it so that it would shine in the sun. anything bad about having a shiny metal thing around your throat? they know exactly where to shoot. same with the crisscrossing belts. the famous quote from booker hill is don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes. that is probably actually said. the british march up the hill and the americans fired their first volley at under 150 feet, and the british go down in waves. they are literally blasted down the hill and they reform. william howe puts them in line and sends them back up a second time. student: [indiscernible]
every time they crawl up the ridge, they get wiped out? prof. gabriel: oh yeah. and they are crawling over there on guys. what he suppose he opted for this tactic? why not swing around with the navy? why did they go straight up the hill? student: it is always how they has been fighting. prof. gabriel: it's always how they have been fighting. who have they been fighting? student: militia. prof. gabriel: they are way underestimating american ability and overestimating british ability. they go up a second time and get blasted down the hill a second time. the way we know this is the third assault, because the third assault, howe calls for reinforcements, and he lets them take off their backpacks. british soldiers carry 60-80 pounds of equipment. the first us all, they are
-- first to assaults they are , carrying the equipment, the third time of the hill, the americans have run out of gunpowder. the british overrun booker hill. the british capture bunker hill. bunker hill is technically a british victory. they seized the charlestown peninsula. student: [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: well, breeds hill. that is a good point. it is technically the battle of breeds hill. it is known as the battle of bunker hill, because it was the hill they were meant to be on. the british win the battle of breeds hill or bunker hill and occupy the charlestown peninsula. ok? but bunker hill is tremendously important because it has lots of ramifications. it feeds into the idea of rage militaire. one of the things about bunker hill is the casualties.
british soldiers take horrible losses. 268 british soldiers are killed, 828 are wounded, out of about 2200. casualty rate of about 45-50%. william howe was personally on the field. almost all of his staff is killed. he miraculously is unhurt, bullets kill everybody around him but not him. british regiments are completely wrecked, and the british are horrified by this. you have to think about how small boston is, and boston is now filled with wounded guys, dying men. it is summertime, it is hot. the british army is horrified i what has happened. and what is striking, we will pick this up later, the british army in boston doesn't try anything for about nine months.
they have been pummeled by bunker hill. american losses at bunker hill are 115 dead and 305 wounded, ok? a second result of bunker hill is even though the americans have lost this hill, the americans are greatly encouraged by this. it shows americans will fight, americans will fight like crazy. as the british ultimately seize the hill, americans stay and fight them with rocks, they in nets, and the british, that they have never seen soldiers stand up like this. normal troops would run. angry americans don't do that. another legacy of bunker hill is tremendously heavy officer casualties. very hard to put precise numbers on anything in any war, especially the american revolution, it is estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of
about 12%, 13% of british officers killed in the american revolutionary war are killed a booker hill. americans are targeting these guys, shooting them down like crazy. what is interesting is william howe's response. not william howe, thomas gage's response. he says the americans are now spirited up by rage and enthusiasm. rage, anger. a rage and enthusiasm as great as ever people were possessed of. you must proceed in earnest or give the business up. let's look at that quote. the americans are now spirited up like a rage and and susie as -- and enthusiasm what does that -- enthusiasm as ever people were possessed of. what does that mean? what is gage literally saying here? student: [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: yeah, he says i have never in my career seen anybody so angry. the americans are unbelievably angry.
this next quote is very interesting. you must proceed in earnest or give the business up. what is happening? proceed in earnest or give the business up. student: [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: yeah, he is telling parliament, you need to send a whole army, this is full-blown war. this is not a little rebellion. if you're not going to commit the entire empire, don't even bother. this is wildly out of control. then you go back to that quote, the rage militaire has swept the continent. there is another guy, we will talk about him later, richard montgomery. he is in new york city. we have philadelphia, boston, new york city. this is what richard montgomery says about booker hill. see what the enthusiasm of liberty and in dickinson of -- and indignant sense injury is capable of doing. enthusiasm. tremendous anger.
he says, every friend of old england wishes this contest speedily concluded. if it lasts many months, she is done with us forever. what does that last part mean? every friend of old england wishes this contest speedily concluded. what does this mean? what is he saying? anybody? go ahead. student: that everyone who is a supporter of england wants this to be over fast, and if not, they are going to get [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: ok. this war is wildly violent. it's his last very long, there will never be reconciliation. there will be too much blood spilled. it shows you, some people are still hoping for reconciliation. richard montgomery is one of them. we will get back to him in a little bit. this is rage militaire. the final result of the battle of bunker hill, is parliament
releases thomas gage. they see he failed. one of the things were going to see, we talked about how the coming of the revolution, britain kept going through prime minister's. once the war breaks out, britain keeps going to commanders in america. that is a bad sign, that the war is not going well and you can't pick somebody to stay. thomas gage is relieved of command and send back to england. the new commander is william howe, the guy who fought at booker hill. what is interesting, he will show up prominently in your washington's crossing book. some historians have argued, and i don't want to give away too much of that book, that one of the problems with william howe is actually sympathetic to americans. he is a member of parliament and told his constituents he would not fight against the americans and then changes his mind when they offered him command. some historians have argued that william howe is traumatized by bunker hill. he is gun shy.
after bunker hill, he will never commit his men in a major assault. probably today you would say he has ptsd, is horribly scarred i -- by seeing so much of his command shot down. student: he is the guy who sent waves of british soldiers to die? prof. gabriel: he is. thomas gage is the guy who is messing up. howe was a senior, and is now the commander in north america. makes no sense, but that's the way it was peered that is rage -- that's the way it was happened. that is rage militaire. we have another man in this rage -- manifestation of rage militaire, and this is in the invasion of canada. we talked a little bit about canada. canada is new to the british empire, the treaty of paris. 70,000 french-canadians there. we said, parliament has just
passed the quebec act to appease the french-canadians. it extended the province of quebec to the ohio river. it allowed catholicism. it allowed for an appointed assembly for the use of french law in the province of quebec. what is interesting is the americans think the french-canadians might want to join them. and maybe the americans would be welcomed in canada. why do you suppose they might think that? any ideas? student: they are still sour because of the french indian war? prof. gabriel: maybe they have not been assimilated into the empire and would join the rebellion. any downsides to the thinking? student: they might be more interested in france taking back the area. prof. gabriel: they might want the french back.
do you suppose the french-canadians have love for americans? why? student: they helped the french in the french and indian war. student: the americans helped the english. prof. gabriel: why the americans would be welcome in canada is an open question, but congress thinks they might be. one of the things congress is thinking about, this is when the situation gets collocated, there -- complicated. there are like 70,000 french-canadians here and they are generically called the new subjects because they are new to england. after the british conquered canada, about 3000 american and english merchants settle in canada, and they were called the old subjects, traditionally
english. turns out the old subjects don't like quebec act. because they don't like there is no elected assembly and they don't like french law. they want common law and elected elected assembly. in the spring of 1775 for four lexington and concord, americans are sending spies into canada and canada is sending spies out, saying the new subjects are indifferent, but the old subjects would welcome in american invasion. progress believes there will be support for an invasion of canada. they also want canada, because if they would take canada, they would get the british author -- off their backdoor. this route down lake champlain is a traditional invasion route into the interior of new york and new england. that's why they seized ticonderoga. they're trying to stop the traditional invasion. as this also believes, is an interesting idea if they , can take canada, it was show
parliament they are serious and maybe parliament would negotiate. there was some thought that maybe you could use canada as a bargaining chip. we will give you canada back if you repeal something. once again, the americans capture ticonderoga in may. the time to invade canada would of been june, july, august. but congress doesn't. congress doesn't know what to do. congress for a while considers inventorying all of the capture cannons in ticonderoga and then moving them to a safe place of they can give them back to england after the war is over. they believe reconciliation will still happen. throughout the summer of 1775, congress believes that may be reconciliation won't happen and congress authorizes an invasion of canada, but they don't do this until the end of june.
that is late. it will take a couple of months for the army's to get ready, which means american armies are going to enter canada until september or october. why is that problematic? student: it is canada in late fall. prof. gabriel: why is that bad? student: it is cold. prof. gabriel: winter campaigning is not a good decision. that's what congress does. congress can't make up its mind. they ultimately adopt an invasion of canada. it's interesting, the actual order says if the canadian inhabitants don't mind. how are you going to know? are you going to ask them? ok, you can invade. congress authorizes an invasion of canada. there are two problems with this invasion. it is actually really smart, one from led by benedict arnold, and is going to lead an army to the main wilderness, about 1000 men.
would attacks they quebec city directly. they would emerge out of the wilderness and attack quebec city. this is benedict arnold. if you look at this painting, is quebec city in the background. and arnold's march 2 quebec proved to be a nightmare. winter sets in earlier than they planned. he has about 1100 men. the final 400 have most of the supplies and turn back, so the other 700 are trapped in the wilderness with no food. part of the problem for arnold is the americans have a map from the coast of maine to quebec. the map says this route is about 160 miles. the map is off by a factor of two to three. it is 300, 400 miles. these guys get caught in the rivers of northern maine and
southern quebec in winter and these men starve. they are like walking scarecrows. this account is heavily recorded. lots of arnold's men leave diaries. new england is have high literacy rates. you read about these guys accounts. they are eating squirrel tails, eating their cartridge box, the dogs disappear quickly because there is no food. they are like walking scarecrows, but arnold and 600 men make it to pointe la vie and they call upon the city of quebec to surrender and the british laugh at them. there are 600 scarecrows telling the walled city to surrender. they don't do it. but arnold does make it to quebec. historians of the time, writers at the time compared it to hannibal's march through the
alps with elephants against the romans. this is the famous route, this is the one everybody knows about because it is well documented and also it is benedict arnold, and americans like benedict arnold because he is an interesting figure. he is a hero and a traitor at the same time. the guy i want to focus on is the man who leads actually the main army in canada. nobody remembers him today, but his name is richard montgomery. montgomery's job was to take the city of montreal. he was supposed to proceed of lake champlain and face the main british army. the theory was, if montgomery attacked montreal, the british would put all their force against him and quebec would fall without resistance. they felt the british would not have anything left in quebec. they were going to hit the two major cities in canada simultaneously. what is interesting about
montgomery -- first, i did my doctoral dissertation on him, which makes him fascinating. i told my wife that if i had a son, i would name him richard montgomery, mercifully that never happened. he is an interesting guy. she shows us something about the coming revolution in conspiracy and rage militaire. he is 37 years old, and a former british officer. he spent 15 years in the british army. it is kind of interesting. three very high rank american general officers from the revolution are all former british soldiers. a all seemingly know each other. horatio gates, we will talk about him. charles lee, we will talk about him later. but richard montgomery enters the army when he is 18 years old. he sees extensive service in north america in the french and indian. he is at ticonderoga, he is at havana in the caribbean.
he catches malaria in the caribbean and he will later write that he loses most of his hair and the caribbean. he fights in pontiac's revolution. on the way to fight those indians, his ship runs aground on the hudson river and he needs a wealthy american family called the livingstons, meets their eldest daughter, and he remembers when the regiment comes back and he is not there. he will marry her at a future point. following service in america, montgomery goes back to england and seemingly sympathizes with the american position. he seems to be a political liberal for his time. montgomery grows disillusioned partly because he can't get , promoted. this is something to bring up a little bit. at this point in history, british officers, if you have
enough money, you can buy yourself a commission. there is a scale. a second lieutenant is like 500 pounds, a captaincy is 1500 pounds. montgomery's dad buys it a commission if you slowly earns his way up and he serves as a captain. but multiple times after the french and indian war, remember we talked about the british army is cut in size after the french and indian, and montgomery gets passed over. he gets the experience but he can't get promoted and he gets disgusted and he comes to america. he writes a very interesting letter to his cousin and he says, i cast my eyes on america, where my pride and poverty will be much more acceptable. he is pretty wealthy, but by british standards he is pretty poor. he settled near new york city, place called kingsbridge.
in 1772, he marries the eldest daughter of this wealthy american family called the livingstons. what is interesting is montgomery sees the coming of the revolution. he sees the boston tea party, doesn't seem to do anything. the thing that seems to politicize him is the coercive act. he is a member of new york's revolutionary government. in june 1775, because of his military background, congress makes him a general. congress picks him to be a general. and montgomery's comments on being made in general are interesting.
i want to read this quote to you. this into the last line and think about what we have talked about in this class. montgomery writes, "the congress having done me the honor of electing me a brigadier general in their service is an event which must put an end to, for a while, perhaps forever, the quiet scheme of life i have prescribed for myself. for though entirely unexpected and undesired by me, the will of an oppressed people compelled to choose between liberty and slavery must be obeyed." the will of an oppressed people compelled to choose between liberty and slavery must be obeyed. what is montgomery saying? what does he believe in? this was on your test. freedom? student: [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: a conspiracy. there is no doubt, britain is out to enslave the americans.
and montgomery is put in command of the invasion of canada. he is the number two officer, the number one officer gets ill and he takes over. montgomery leads the main american army into canada. just south of montreal, just north of the current date american border, there is a british fort at a place called st. john's. montgomery lays siege to st. john's for 43 days. this is a map drawn by the british commander of st. john's. look at what he calls it -- thick, swampy. not a great place to spend 43 days in october. it rained incessantly and montgomery becomes more and more depressed. he called his army drowned rats crawling through the swamp. but after 43 days, st. john's surrenders. when st. john's surrenders, montgomery catches on with all of the british army in canada.
almost the entire british army in canada has been sent against him and he has just destroyed it. montgomery perceives on and occupies montreal. montreal surrenders without firing a shot. montreal surrenders on november 13. montgomery has taken the eastern part -- the western part of canada and destroyed the british army in canada. the only thing left is quebec city and about 70 regulars, the guys holed up in quebec city facing arnold. and montgomery, throughout this entire period, writes letters to his wife and he repeatedly talks about being homesick and how he had moral qualms against fighting the british army. because he was a british officer for 15 years, and his great fear is he will have to fight his old regiment. he hears word that his old regiment is being deployed to america and he write something like, heaven save me from having
to fight my old regiment. he said, i feel more closely to those people than anybody on earth. i feel closer to the people in the 17th regiment then i do my own family, i hope it don't have to fight these guys. he is horribly homesick, increasingly disillusioned with american troops, and he advances to quebec city. he meets arnold outside of quebec and the americans lay siege to quebec. the americans have about 900 men. arnold had about 600, montgomery had about 300. montgomery left about 500 behind in montreal and works his way down to quebec city. montgomery lays siege to quebec for about a month. he tries to show the city -- quebec is a walled city. american artillery is so light, the cannonballs bounce off. montgomery sends letters into the city telling them they
should surrender. guy carleton sends the messages back unopened. montgomery faces a huge problem. on generate first, roast of arnold's army enlistment expires and will go home january 1. montgomery decides to storm the city of quebec. all while the blizzard, and the american armies demolished. -- in the midst of a roaring blizzard, a wild blizzard, the american army is demolished. montgomery is killed almost immediately. benedict arnold is seriously wounded. the american army in canada is shattered. what is interesting here, and were going to take a quick aside. montgomery becomes -- yes, go
ahead. student: did they really only go in because it was all going to expire? prof. gabriel: that's why they attacked. if wait until january 1, half the army is going home. that is a debatable question. montgomery believes he actually has a fighting shot because he thinks the blizzard is going to hide them. it didn't work. there is a wild account. montgomery is leading the attack. he is the first guy through the gate and the first guy killed. he really wants to go home. he becomes the first martyr of the revolution, at least the first major martyr. but richard montgomery is the first and highest ranking american officer killed, general officer killed in the revolution. he's the highest ranking american officer killed in the revolution, highest rank.
in kind of a man on irony, on the day that he is killed, his overall commander back in albany writes him a letter and says there is a rumor you have been killed, i hope that is not true, and congress just made you a major general, congratulations. as he is writing that letter, montgomery is being killed. what is interesting, and if any of you would take the early republic class next semester, we will talk about this a little more, montgomery becomes a major hero. as of the famous painting by a man called john trumbull in 1786. if you look, and you can put these other paintings, montgomery, if you compare it to renaissance painting, it looks like christ taken down from the cross. you can see these two battle flags and they symbolically are making across. richard montgomery is almost a deity. 17 states will name counties
after richard montgomery. the first monument congress ever approved and created and paid for is in honor of richard montgomery, in new york city at a place called st. paul's chapel. richard montgomery is buried in quebec, the british very him with honor. 43 years later, they bring him back to new york city and bury him in new york city. but this is richard montgomery. thomas paine will write an appeal for independence using montgomery's ghost to argue for independence. so he becomes a great hero. what is interesting is he doesn't want independence. we saw that one letter he wrote where he said we hope this thing ends quickly or england is through with us. before he is killed, he writes a letter to his brother-in-law, a member of congress, and he says,
how the americans approached any foreign powers and how they set a date beyond reconciliation is impossible? he never gets an answer because he is killed. but he has an interesting postscript. an add on. i hope and do a verily believe that the ministry will not reduce us to this melancholy necessity. i hope we never have to adopt a position of independence, i hope they don't force us to do this. so richard montgomery doesn't get killed dying for american independence. he gets killed for dying for neglect. the americans want their rights back into the want to be left alone. in american army persists in canada until spring, but they are finished. we'll talk about this morning three, but a horrible smallpox epidemic destroyed what was left of it. the invasion of canada fails.
it won't become the 14th colony it won't become a bargaining , chip. they try like crazy but it , doesn't happen. i asked you to read a document, a translation of a british report on who collaborated. if anybody had the time to do that. throughout the document, it is -- talks about these people called boston a? who is that? student: [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: ok. you are basically right. student: i think it said it was americans in general. prof. gabriel: the french canadians think anyone who is american is from boston. they are a new englander. all americans are boston a. she looked the way american b-o it isit is not
b-a. that accent. it talks about habitants. where you pick that up? they are the french canadians. the common people, the farmers. so those are the people we don't know if they're going to help the americans are not. that is what everything was ultimately riding on. from that document, did you see anyways the french canadians helped americans? this is question number two that i passed out. student: they protect the [indiscernible] what i read was there were three spies [indiscernible] to have them removed, and the general that was supposed to remove them told a friend of his that they needed to get them out. prof. gabriel: ok, so they ate american spies coming in and out of canada. anything else? student: [inaudible] [indiscernible]
prof. gabriel: they armed them and provide them food. anything else? some of them stand guard. some of them build signal fires for the americans, some of them fight with the americans. not that many. did anyone see any reason why americans are not welcome in canada? there are one or two things, you have to read it fairly carefully. anybody? if it looks -- repeatedly it says americans buy provisions and they don't give them cash, they give them ious. what is the matter with that? student: you can't pay them if you are dead. prof. gabriel: you can pay someone if you are dead. what else? what is implying? student: they never really get it. prof. gabriel: they don't get it. they assume the army will stay in canada and canada will become part of the united states. those ious are worthless. why don't they just give canadians gold coins?
why give them paper ious? student: they don't have hard currency. prof. gabriel: they don't have any and can barely feed themselves. as the american army stays in canada, they just begin to requisition supplies and take things, they just take stuff, and it doesn't build confidence with the french-canadians. the british keep saying, if these guys can't feed themselves and they are taking your food, how do you suppose they are going to attack you and treat -- protect you? the author they will treat you well if you become part of the united states? the americans in canada are doomed, probably always doomed, but it is over. there is a silver lining. poor richard montgomery and all of these guys who die in smallpox don't die in vain. this is a major diversion for the british. for the rest of the war, britain will be forced to send as many as 12,000 troops to canada to reconquer it.
they will have to permanently keep 4000-6000 troops to keep canada loyal or at least under control. by diverting troops to canada, there are less troops to fight in the 13 colonies. in a sense, the invasion of canada worked out ok for the americans but it is a very high loss. that is rage militaire in the north. but fighting is also spreading to the south. we talked about boston, new york, canada. virginia is a real colony. the most populous, geographically largest royal colony. the governor is a man named lord dunmore. as early as may 17 75, right after lexington and concord, lord dunmore seizes all of the gun power held at the capital, colonial williamsburg. anybody ever been there? you see the power magazine?
they seized the gun power because he didn't want the rebels to get it. throughout the summer of 1775, he fights these skirmishes with american militia, partly led by a guy named patrick henry. give me liberty or give me death, that guy. the other thing dunmore does, and we will pick this up later in this class, in november, he issues a proclamation that he tells slaves, any slave who enters british area and takes up arms will be set free. what he is doing as he is creating a force made up of a handful of british regulars, loyalists, and slaves. and by the fall of 1775, he has about 1200 of these people in the area around norfolk, virginia. dunmore flees to a british warship. we saw a british authority
collapse in new jersey in the benjamin franklin book. the british authority in new york collapses. dunmore is on a british warship. in december, he lands his combined force of about 1200 in a place called great bridge. they try to defeat an american militia force and take the city of norfolk. the americans defeat his force at great bridge. the battle of great bridge is an american victory that secures virginia for the colonist cause. december 9, 1775. at the same time montgomery is in canada, there's finding in virginia. dunmore hangs around on the coast in a small british squadron, and don j. wright first, he burns the city of norfolk to the ground. , burns the city
of norfolk to the ground. some will argue that very much alienates british sympathies in virginia, because of dunmore will burn the city, will the british burn anything? how do you win this war, how do you make civilians like you, how do you promote the loyalist population? maybe burning cities is not the answer. very soon after burning norfolk, disease breaks out on his ships. the ships scatter, dunmore goes to florida, later to staten island. what is tragic, the slaves are taken to the west indies and sold. the british did not freedom, they just move them from virginia to barbados. virginia has been secured. the same situation is happening in north carolina. there is a well governor in north carolina who has fled to a
warship, a man by the name of josiah martin. josiah martin issues a very bombastic proclamation, i want to read you part of this. martin issues this proclamation in january 1776. he says, a most daring, horrid, unnatural rebellion is exerted in this province wide base and insidious artifices of certain traitorous, wicked, and designing men. that is a lot. that is really bad. then he calls upon all loyal people to rise to the british standard. he calls on all males to join the british cause. he says, all such rebels who will not join the royal banners, rebels and traders, their lives and properties will be forfeit. if you don't join, we will kill you and take your property. dunmore -- not dunmore, martin's proclamation very much resonates
in north carolina. we talked about the regulator movement in north carolina. there are a lot of different ethnic groups and rural north carolina, scotch irish, german, highland scotch. a force of about 1500 highland scots who are very much loyalists began to march toward the coast. there is word a british naval squadron is approaching north carolina. if this british naval squadron could meet these 1500 loyalists, maybe they could subdue north carolina. on february 27, 1776, another battle is fought, this one called the battle of wars creek bridge. february 27, 1776. this is moore's creek bridge. it is a little bridge over a deep, swampy stream. what the americans did is they
took the planking's off the bridge. they greased them. americans are on this side of the bridge with guns, and there are about 1500 loyalists on the other side in kilts with bagpipes and carrying broad swords. and crying out, king george and broad swords, they try to walk across the bridge under fire. what do you suppose their odds are? bad. that is an understatement. they get slaughtered. the americans laid the planking down, counterattack, and within a couple of days, about 40 of these people have been killed and 800 captured. north carolina is now secured for the patriot cause. virginia has been secured at great bridge, north carolina is secured at moore's creek bridge. the patriots are taking over. we have a final case, this one in south carolina.
south carolina has another royal governor, william campbell. william campbell flees to a british warship, that's what all royal governors do, they flee. campbell has heard that a naval force eventually is going to come to charleston, because charleston is a major southern city, the best port south of new york and also a very rich area. lots of slaves, rice, indigo. in early june, this british naval squadron arrives off the coast of charleston. the naval squadron was supposed to go to north carolina but were delayed by storms. by the time they arrive at north carolina in march, they find out about moore's creek bridge, north carolina has been lost, so they go to south carolina. on june 28, 1776, the british navy attacks charleston in what is called the battle of sullivans island.
anybody ever been to charleston? what did you think of carlson? student: [indiscernible] prof. gabriel: very old, very historic. a pretty nice place, actually. the british navy has a disaster. the americans are firing very accurately, they shoot the heck out of two british warships. a third warship gets stuck and they burn it because they are afraid the americans will capture it, and the british are repelled at charleston. south carolina is now secured for the colonist cause. the three major southern colonies have been secured. the world governor of georgia flees. george is now secured and the -- georgia a very famous -- georgia is now secured. the americans secure the deep south.
this is a very famous painting of the battle of sullivans island. this is sergeant jasper, a very famous story. this is called fort moultrie, made out of palmetto logs and filled with sand. they absorbed british cannonballs, they would later recover some like 300 cannonballs. their flagstaff gets shot down in they are afraid that if the flight goes down people would think they surrendered, so sergeant jasper stands there and he free attaches the flagpole. very interesting story, you will find many different versions of sergeant jasper and the island. years later he tries this again , and he gets killed. should not have pressed his luck. the whole story of rage militaire in the south is the deep south is being secured to the patriot cause. virginia, north carolina, south carolina, and georgia. there will be no more fighting anywhere in the south until 1778.
that means these colonies contribute support, troops, resources to the fight in the north. it means these governments can coalesce and these people can coerce loyalists. student: is there a battle in georgia? prof. gabriel: george is very -- georgia is very new, only settled in the mid-1730's, a very small population, and with everything else falling apart in the south, the governor literally flees. they actually arrest him and he escapes and goes on a warship. georgia rolls over and doesn't even fight. that is rage militaire in the south. we have one last topic, and that is boston. let's go back to our first picture. picture. it has been under siege since booker hill. -- bunker hill. the americans can get in and this british can't get out. george washington shows up
immediately after bunker hill, and assumes command of this 20,000 man force and turns it into the main continental army. your book begins at this point. washington meets all of these guys, new englanders, he's never seen a new englander before. washington doesn't have the strength to get into the city and the british have the strength to get out. for the next nine months, boston remains under siege. there is periodic skirmishes. the british have a tough time provisioning themselves, the food has to be brought in overseas, or they have raiding parties. they have some little islands for livestock. the americans need cannons that can blast the british out of boston. the americans remember, they do have cannons at fort ticonderoga.
they have about 60 very big, heavy cannons at ticonderoga. in the winter of 1776, george washington since a man named henry knox, the chief of his artillery, to ticonderoga. they load these 60 cannon onto sleds driven by oxen and the move them about 600 miles, it takes about eight weeks. -- 200 miles, it takes about eight weeks. one of the forgotten events of the american revolution but important, because they are getting heavy artillery, powerful cannons. and knox arrives back in boston sometime in late february or early march. that gives washington and idea. idea. let's go back to our first map.
i probably should've put this in later. can't do anything with the peninsula because the british are occupying it, but you have this place called dorchester heights, it overlooks boston harbor and the city. it has high ground and looks a lot like breeds hill. in early march, 1776, george washington puts his heavy artillery on dorchester heights, making boston untenable.