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Paul Revere’s First Ride - to Portsmouth.On this day in 1774, Paul Revere makes a furious ride to warn colonists that the “British are coming!” Okay, so it wasn’t *that* ride. 🙂 Revere’s famous midnight ride was still four months in the future. Instead, this little-known ride was made from Boston to New Hampshire—and it was made in the middle of the day.

The clashes in New Hampshire, historian David Hackett Fischer notes, “were truly the first blows of the American Revolution, four months before the battles of Lexington and Concord.”

Relations between Great Britain and her American colonies had been strained for quite a while. But in October 1774, King George III and his ministers made things even worse: They imposed a ban on the exportation of arms and ammunition to North America. They also ordered royal officials to secure the arms that were already in the colonies.

Tensions were high, and things moved quickly after that.

Patriots in Boston heard that British vessels were headed to Fort William and Mary, in New Hampshire. It was thought (erroneously) that two regiments of British regulars were headed to secure the large stash of arms and ammunition in the fort.

The timing couldn’t have been more inconvenient for Revere. He’d just become a father: His son was only 6 days old. Moreover, the weather had left the roads a frozen, slushy mess. It was a dangerous time of year for a long horseback trip over nearly 60 miles of such terrain, but Revere was determined to carry the warning. He set off for New Hampshire early on December 13.

By the end of the day, he was in New Hampshire, reporting his news to the Portsmouth Committee of Correspondence. A fife and drum paraded through the town early on December 14, calling the militia to action. By mid-day, 400 militia had gathered, prepared to attack Fort William and Mary before the British Regulars arrived.

That garrison was guarded by only 6 men. Unsurprisingly then, it fell quickly, and the colonists carried away about 100 barrels of gunpowder. “The logistics of overtaking a woefully undermanned fort were not daunting,” historian Christopher Klein says of the attack, “but the sheer brazenness of the mission, and its dire consequences, should have given the men some pause. . . . storming the fort ‘was the highest act of treason and rebellion they could possibly commit.’”

But it seems they had not yet had enough.

Word had been spreading around the New Hampshire countryside. By the morning of December 15, more than 1,000 colonists were gathered, prepared to assault the fort—again. This time, they secured the fort’s muskets and some of the cannon.

British reinforcements wouldn’t arrive until it was much too late. In the meantime, Governor Wentworth blamed the entire episode on Paul Revere. Before he’d arrived, Wentworth wrote, “all was perfectly quiet and peaceable here.”

Perhaps Longfellow should have written a poem about Paul Revere and his wintry ride to New Hampshire in the days before Christmas 1774. 😉

If you enjoy these history posts, please know that it is important to L IKE, SH ARE & COMMEN T. This site will weed these posts out of your news feed if you do not interact with them. (I don’t make the rules! Just following them.) 😉

Gentle reminder: History posts are copyright © 2013-2018 by Tara Ross. I appreciate it when you use the “s hare” feature instead of cutting/pasting.

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I am a Washington son, born and raised in Auburn, WA.
Distant cousin of John Hancock. From me, 13 generations back to a common ancestor, then 6 generations down to John.
Today, I am the one and only "PoetPatriot." One word with both "P's" Capitalized, differentiating from the various other poet patriots of today and past. - Poetry.PoetPatriot.com
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EVACUATION DAY! THE REDCOATS GO HOME! HUZZAH!On this day in 1783, the British finally evacuate New York, which had been their headquarters during the American Revolution.

Maybe you won't be surprised to hear that the British took one last stab at insulting Americans before they left? They hoisted the Union Jack up a flagpole and greased the pole. The grease would make it difficult for Americans to switch out the flag for one of their own.

A young sailor, John Van Arsdale, was undeterred. He put on some cleats and climbed that greased pole! He was bound and determined to switch out the flag before General George Washington entered the city and saw the wrong flag flying. He succeeded, and his descendants would have the honor of hoisting the American flag during “Evacuation Day” celebrations for much of the 19th century. (These Evacuation Day celebrations were a major holiday in New York until sometime after the Civil War.)

The long years of British occupation had been rough on the city. Early in the war, Sir Henry Clinton’s aide-de-camp suggested that “[we should] give free liberty to the soldiers to ravage at will, that these infatuated wretches may feel what a calamity war is.” Judging by the state of the city, his advice was taken. The city was desolate and full of burned-out buildings when Washington arrived. Nevertheless, New York residents were thrilled to see their victorious General coming, and they lined the streets as he approached with New York Governor George Clinton.

Can you imagine how fun it must have been to join the cheering crowds that day?!

Of course, there was more to the day than just that. One unnamed American woman described the Continental Army’s triumphant entry back into New York that day. Perhaps she described the rush of emotions best:

“The [British] troops just leaving us were as if equipped for show, and, with their scarlet uniforms and burnished arms, made a brilliant display; the troops that marched in, on the contrary, were ill clad and weather beaten, and made a forlorn appearance; but then they were our troops and as I looked at them, and thought upon all they had done and suffered for us, my heart and my eyes were full, and I admired and gloried in them the more . . . .

She was speaking of Washington’s re-entry into New York, but don’t her words apply to pretty much every aspect of the Revolution?

If you enjoy these history posts, please know that it is important to LIKE, SHARE & COMMENT. This site’s algorithm will weed these posts out of your newsfeed if you do not interact with them. (I don’t make the rules! Just following them.) 😉

Gentle reminder: History posts are copyright © 2013-2018 by Tara Ross. I appreciate it when you use the Facebook “share” feature instead of cutting/pasting.

Permalink: http://www.taraross.com/2018/11/tdih-evacuation-day-ny

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The American association with blue as a uniform color began in colonial times when many militia units wore blue for their uniforms instead of the red of regular army British troops. In the French & Indian War 1763-68 the British Commander made the Colonial militia wear blue uniforms, as in “not worthy to wear the red of His Majesty’s Royal Army”

Washington, a Colonel of the Virginia Militia, wearing blue, was bitter at being denied a British regular army commission, and never forgot this slight.

Blue also was likely chosen to ease logistics, since blue indigo dye was grown in the colonies, where most red dyes were imported.

At the outbreak of the Revolution, many patriot militia officers donned their old blue uniform. The American boycott of British cloth forced many units to make uniforms of other colors early on in 1776-77. But in 1778 when the French joined us they provided blue uniforms and cloth. The Continental Congress allocated funds to procure 30,000 “ready-made” uniforms.

Washington issued his “Uniform Regulations of 1779” which standardized uniform coats for the Continental Army regiments to be blue, with cuffs and facings of various colors to indicate the unit’s home state.

Blue became so associated with the U.S. Army and our new nation that The Adjutant & Inspector General's Office on March 27, 1821 stated, "Dark blue is the National colour. When a different one is not expressly prescribed, all uniform coats, whether for officers or enlisted men, will be of that colour."

As the uniforms evolved throughout the 19th Century, the enduring constant was the color blue for the uniform coat. The trousers emerged as light blue in the 1820s.

Many ask, “Why did these dark blue uniforms have lighter blue trousers?”
The wool cloth used for trousers was called kersey and was a coarser, cheaper cloth compared to the expensive wool broadcloth used for uniform coats. The cheap kersey cloth could not take a consistent deep blue dye as the better quality broadcloth could. As a result, kersey was dyed a lighter shade of blue.

This tradition in the difference in shades of blue between the coat and trousers is carried on in the modern Army blue service uniform.

There is also another reason the top is darker....When the cavalry was first being formed way back when, Soldiers riding horses would take off their jackets and place them in their saddle bags. With most soldiers only receiving one uniform a year, the cheaper grade of pants took quite the beating while the jacket was protected in the saddle bag. This would result in the fading of the color on the pants but not on the jacket.

As an honor to our Soldiers of history, this “faded” trouser idea was kept in the uniform. Thus light blue pants and a dark blue jacket.

It is interesting to note that the modern dress uniforms of ALL branches of the Armed Forces are a shade of blue in homage to General Washington’s desires for the Continental Armed Forces of 1779!
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