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 the shots fired at Lexington and Concord started the war.
The story is excellently conveyed and is moving, comical, invigorating and poignant all at once. As long as you know which parts of the tale are depicted accurately and which are complete b.s. it’s a terrific way to spend each 3rd of July. Continue reading
With the 4th of July fast approaching here’s another seasonal post from Balladeer’s Blog. This action was also called the Battle of Groton Heights.
FORT GRISWOLD – Fort Griswold was an American fortess on Groton Heights in Connecticut overlooking the Thames River. On September 6th, 1781 the American traitor General Benedict Arnold and his British troops raided Groton and burned New London while battling the massively outnumbered Rebel troops in the fort.
Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton had sent General Arnold to raid and seize ships in Connecticut and to determine if the former colony was ripe for occupation by British forces. The spirited defense of Fort Griswold permitted multiple American ships to escape the attacking Red Coats and nipped in the bud Clinton’s plans for occupying Connecticut.
Benedict Arnold led at least 1,700 British regulars in the battle. Fort Griswold was defended by a mere 150 American Militiamen under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Ledyard. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s 2017 post about Revolutionary War Privateer Captain Jonathan Haraden has proven to be a very popular item. Here’s another neglected American Privateer cut from the same cloth. And for the Haraden post click HERE
CAPTAIN SILAS TALBOT – Even if he had never gone on to a career in Privateering, Talbot would still have been a fascinating figure from Revolutionary War history. On June 28th, 1775 Silas was commissioned as a Captain in a Rhode Island regiment and served in the military operations which ended with the British surrender of Boston in March of 1776.
During the New York campaign Talbot and a picked crew sailed a Fire Ship into the 64-gun British ship Asia. Under heavy fire from the Asia and with his own craft already burning, Silas was the last man overboard, suffering severe burns which left him temporarily blinded. Talbot was promoted to Major upon recovering and rejoining his unit. Continue reading
With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching here’s a seasonal post: a look at New York’s 4 representatives at the Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence. FOR ALL THE SIGNERS CLICK HERE
NEW YORK – 1. William Floyd – Prior to being sent to the 2nd Continental Congress in 1776 Floyd was a Militia General who, earlier in the year, had led New York troops in successfully driving off British forces in the Battle of Gardiner’s Bay on Long Island.
2. Francis Lewis – During the war his home was destroyed by the British who also dragged off his wife Elizabeth and imprisoned her. George Washington managed her release by having the wives of two wealthy Philadelphia Tories arrested, then exchanging them for Mrs Lewis. Continue reading
President’s Day is coming up in 11 days so here’s yet another seasonal post. It’s one of my random takes on one of our Presidents. Or in this case just one aspect of one of our Presidents. More will be coming, some positive and some negative, including my close personal friend Barack Obama.
GEORGE WASHINGTON – My other posts about Washington have bashed him over the slavery issue, but this particular blog post is on a whole different topic. (Point being don’t leave a juvenile, snarky remark about him being a slave-owner. Everybody knows that. You won’t be retroactively freeing a single slave by indulging your ego that way.)
THE INDISPENSABLE MAN – George Washington is often called the Indispensable Man to the success of the American Revolution. I’m generally not a Washington fan but I’ve yielded on this point over the years. Here are three reasons why:
A. Odd as it may sound, reading several books about the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Turks helped convince me of Washington’s value. His name is never mentioned in any of my books about that war but there are parallels to our Revolution.
Scattered Greek guerrilla/ outlaw chiefs often let their petty feuds distract from fighting the common enemy: the Turks. Some chiefs would even refuse to let their men fight anywhere else in Greece, just in their own little fiefdom. Shades of how our various State Militias endlessly squabbled and would often refuse to cross state lines to continue fighting. Continue reading
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
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! As another seasonal post Balladeer’s Blog examines the Revolutionary War career of Captain Jonathan Haraden.
“THE SALAMANDER” – Previously I covered Haraden’s career in the Massachusetts Navy as First Lieutenant and later Captain of the legendary commerce raider Tyrannicide. After two years on board that vessel, by the summer of 1778 Captain Haraden left the Massachusetts Navy to command the privateer ship the General Pickering. Haraden’s fame would fly even higher as he earned the nickname “The Salamander,” a play on words regarding his ability to withstand fire.
Jonathan captained his new craft on voyages which saw him serving as a virtual blockade runner and smuggler on his outgoing trips, transporting American goods for his syndicate to be sold in Europe. On the return trips the General Pickering would capture a prize or two for the usual division of shares that made privateering very, very lucrative.
Always a consummate swashbuckler, Haraden would sometimes capture a British prize even while transporting a cargo across the Atlantic. Off Sandy Hook, NJ on October 13th, 1779 the good captain added to his legend by taking on THREE British privateer vessels at once. The Brits outgunned the 16-cannon General Pickering by 14, 10 and 8 cannons but the Salamander coolly emerged triumphant and towed in all three defeated craft. Continue reading