December 1776

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The month of December played an important role in the American Revolution.  Tonight we go back to December 1776 to take stock of hard won victories and why we are blessed this holiday season.

Natural Law And Favor Ability Over Pedigree Every Time

We are given gifts from The Creator.  Irrevocable gifts.

Self Educated, Self Actualized Men


Washington’s father died when Washington was 11, and this prevented him from a formal education like his older brothers had in England.  Instead he was tutored and potentially attended a local school.  Most of his education consisted of reading, writing, some geometry and trigonometry to prepare for a career as a surveyor. His math skill was obtained from studying one book.
Henry Knox

Henry Knox, like Washington, had to support his family when his father died when Henry was 9 years old.  He had no formal education.  Having grown up in Boston, he had no military training, and until the Revolutionary War he made his living as a bookseller.  John Adams was a patron at Henry’s famous bookstore which had a lounge frequented by Adams and other prominent figures such as Nathaniel Greene.  Despite having no formal education, Knox loved books, yet loved military studies as well. 

Knox proved himself on the battlefield, obtaining the rank of Colonel.  Knox was ordered by Washington fetch cannon and munitions from Fort Ticonderoga and bring them via a 300 mile trek from the Adirondack Mountains to Boston.  In January.  The total weight of the “noble train of artillery” was 60 tons.

Nathaniel Greene

Greene was a Quaker, and had no formal education.  Yet he had in intense curiosity and became an avid reader of military history.  He was not only the youngest general at the age of 33, he had only 6 months service, and had never been in an actual battle until he volunteered at Bunker Hill.  His occupation as a foundryman kept him fit, yet he suffered from asthma.  Like many in the these time, he was thrust into a role that required him to act beyond his years and exhibit wisdom while honing his instincts.  He was General Washington’s Second in Command.

Britain: The Gentleman’s Army, The Gentry’s Army

Former comrades from French and Indian War (The Seven Years War) now faced each other.  At the onset of the American Revolution, many still considered themselves Englishmen.  Those who served together were about to battle one another.  Some expressed the hope that the war would be brief, and General Howe of the British forces sent several offers to Washington promising a truce on Washington’s surrender, and that the would be treated well.  This offer went awry when Howe addressed his letters to “Mr Washington”, refusing to recognize his rank or role.  Washington naturally rejected these offers.



Heroic Start

Leading up to December, heroic and amazing victory at Boston with the canon from Ticonderoga.

December 1776, The Darkest Hour

The Strategic Importance of New York and The Hudson River
Thursday, 12th December 1776

General Charles Lee, considered by many to be arrogant but more capable than Washington due to his victories, was captured at [].  His troops had suffered less casualties, Washington being the main target to pursue.  Lee wished to remain near his men, so instead of the customary accommodations in a private home, he elected to stay at a tavern.  The British, only miles away, were alerted by locals, and Lee was captured and taken from the Inn during the night.  The report was that Lee was completely surprise, put up not fight, and was escorted from the Tavern in his night gown.

General Lee was know for his ambitions, and was at odds with his compatriot generals, and was not loyal to Washington.  He made his aspirations known that his military experience made him better qualified than ALL American leadership.  Supposition exists that Lee remain isolated from Washington in order to rack up victories to make his record impressive enough to replace Washington as commander of the Continental Army.  In fact, he had more training and experience than Washington.  Having been trained in Britain he knew the tactics and the personnel of the British, and this may have made him a better tactician.

However, after his capture Lee, who was friends with British General Howe and having served in Britain together, made overtures to his captures to assist the British with defeating the Americans.  Being the second in command of the entire army, Lee was in a position to end the war quickly.

Friday, 13th December 1776, The Luckiest Day Of the Year

The British occupied New York City, and controlled Fort Lee, Fort Washing and Fort [] along the Hudson River, which meant that New England could be isolated from the remainder of the colonies if Boston were to fall once more to the British.  The Continental Congress was conducted in Philadelphia, leaving only Trenton NJ, and the Delaware River between the British and the American Congress.  Washington’s forces were down to 2,000 thread bare, cold and hungry men.  With the British in pursuit …

But on this very superstitious day the British announced that they would cease operations for the Winter.  Bitter cold, having to traverse colonial landscape and winter waters of the Delaware river and other water ways put the British troops at risk, and with far fewer causalities than the American rebels, the British thought that needless bloodshed when they had the advantage was foolish.


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Originally from the 1770s, popular during the years of the American Revolution

Aaron Copland With A Powerful Theme For Us All

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