Two thousand fishermen from Cape Cod had gone off to enlist in the Continental Army, and in their absence the British had repeatedly landed raiding parties to harass the citizens.
Every man, woman and child on the Cape hated the soldiers and sailors of King George and would do anything to work them harm. When the Somerset was wrecked off Truro in 1778 the crew were helped ashore, but they were immediately marched to prison.
It was November – the night before Thanksgiving Day in fact – and ugly weather caused a British three-decker warship to yaw wildly and drift toward land with a broken tiller. No warning signal was raised on the bluffs; not a hand was stirred to rescue. The New Englanders who saw the accident watched with sullen satisfaction.
Ezekiel and Josiah Breeze – father and son – stood at the door of their cottage and watched the warship’s peril until three lights twinkling faintly through the gray of driving snow were all that showed where the enemy lay, straining at her cables and tossing on a wrathful sea. They stood long in silence, but at last the boy Josiah said “I’m going to help the ship.” Continue reading
Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for old Silent Movies. America was D.W. Griffith’s 1924 production about the Revolutionary War. The movie is pleasant enough for the July 4th holiday season, but don’t expect a classic like The Phantom of the Opera, The Mark of Zorro or many other masterpieces of the silent era.
Batman fans may enjoy the fact that a very young Neil Hamilton – Commissioner Gordon on the much later Adam West Batman show – starred in America as Nathan Holden, a rebel Minute Man in Massachusetts. Nathan is part of a Romeo and Juliet-styled romance and is in love with Nancy Montague (Carol Dempster), who belongs to a Tory family still loyal to England.
The Holdens can’t stand the snobbish Montagues and the Montagues pompously look down on the Holdens and the rest of the rebels. Nancy’s father would rather see Nancy married off to the prominent British military officer Captain Walter Butler, played with aristocratic and sadistic flair by THE Lionel Barrymore.
The star-crossed lovers Nathan and Nancy struggle to keep their romance alive against the backdrop of historical events like the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s Ride, the Battle of Bunker Hill and many others.Various actors portray figures like John Hancock, Samuel Adams, William Pitt, King George III, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and, of course, George Washington. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog wishes a happy birthday to the USA! What happened in early July of 1776 certainly needs no rehashing so in keeping with my blog’s theme of addressing more out of the way subjects this post will examine various events that took place on other July 4th’s throughout American history.
JULY 4TH, 1778 – George Rogers Clark led his rebel forces in taking the British stronghold of Kaskaskia, near the confluence of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers. Clark and his Rangers were on a mission for then-Virginia Governor Patrick Henry.
JULY 4TH, 1783 – The Massachusetts Supreme Court is finalizing its written decision holding that slavery has been illegal in the state since adoption of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights in 1780.
JULY 4TH, 1788 – Continue reading
It may be my fondness for mythology that makes me love to watch particular movies around particular holidays. I say that because many of the well- known myths were recited on ancient holidays when their subject matter was relevant to those holidays. The stories helped accentuate the meaning of the special events and that’s the way I use various movies. At Christmas I watch countless variations of A Christmas Carol, around Labor Day I watch Eight Men Out, at Halloween The Evil Dead and the original Nightmare On Elm Street, Thanksgiving Eve I do Oliver! and for Frontierado (which is just a month away now) I do Silverado.
Since the actual 4th of July is loaded with activity I always show 1776 on the night before. It’s a great way to get in the mood for Independence Day. It’s a musical but with brilliant dialogue portions and the story involves the political maneuvering surrounding the Original Thirteen Colonies at last announcing their independence from Great Britain, more than a year after Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of neglected naval clashes of the Revolutionary War.
MAY 21st, 1777 – Off St Augustine, FL the USS Comet waged an all-night battle with the HMS Apalachicola until the British ship had lost all sails and riggings and was forced to surrender.
APRIL 27th, 1778 – THE John Paul Jones, leading a detachment from the USS Ranger, raided the British port of Whitehaven. The detachment’s commando-style raid resulted in Continue reading
The Fourth of July is rapidly approaching! Some people get puzzled about the actual Thirteen Original Colonies of America. They know for instance that Daniel Morgan’s Kentucky Rifles were one of the most storied units of the war and saw action from Canada to the American South. Yet, Kentucky is not listed as one of the original colonies.
Similarly they know that Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys were a Vermont unit and that Chillicothe in Ohio was the site of the REAL last battle of the war, yet neither Vermont nor Ohio were original colonies, either. The reason for all that is this: Continue reading
In the spirit of the 4th of July season here’s a neglected battle from the American Revolution.
BATTLE OF ELIZABETHTOWN
Date(s): January 5th-7th, 1777
Location: Elizabethtown and Springfield, NJ
American Commander: General William Maxwell
British Commander: Colonel Charles Mawhood
The Battle: On January 5th American Rebels attacked a British Cavalry patrol, killing one man and wounding another. The next day some cavalrymen and 50 infantrymen set out from the town to kill or capture any Rebels in the area. Continue reading