On 30 March 1781, two hundred thirty years ago, British sailors from armed vessels anchored in the Potomac River near Saint Clement’s [Blackistone] Island, and attempted to land at Stratford Landing as part of a mission to destroy and loot the plantation houses along both sides of the river. From his home Chantilly, which had a good view of the island, Richard Henry Lee, Lieutenant of the Westmoreland militia, watched the movements of the ships. The British launched smaller craft to approach the shoreline while the large ships fired cannons to cover the attack. Richard Henry Lee met them with a small, ill-armed group of local citizens. In the skirmish that followed, the Westmoreland militia repelled the attackers, killing one British sailor who was buried on Stratford beach.
“The Legend” — On 10 November 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved that two battalions of Marines be raised. The Continental Marines were born that day. According to legend, Captain Samuel Nicholas set up shop in Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern and began recruiting. The rest is history. On 11 July 1798, an act of Congress created The United States Marine Corps.
The Tun Tavern has been recreated at The National Museum of the Marine Corps at Triangle, Virginia.
The image, Tun Tavern – America’s First Recruiting Station, is subject to copyright by Edna Barney. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution ed” pool.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE WASHINGTON
HAPPY 278th BIRTHDAY to the Man Who Changed the World – General George Washington of Mount Vernon, Virginia, who wrote “The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”
George WASHINGTON (1732 – 1799) was born on February 22, 1732, at “Popes Creek,” a home that his father had built in the 1720s in Westmoreland County, Virginia. George Washington was raised there and in King George and Fairfax Counties, Virginia.
George Washington died in his bedroom at Mount Vernon on December 14th, 1799. His will directed that he be buried on the grounds of his beloved estate where he had selected a site for a new brick tomb to replace the original burial vault which was badly weathered and succumbing to the elements. However, the new tomb was not completed until more than thirty years later. It was in 1831, that the earthly remains of George Washington and his beloved consort Martha were removed there. Every day from April through October a wreath laying ceremony is performed by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, at 10 am and 2 pm, at the Tomb of Washington, in tribute to America’s greatest leader.
George Washington, America’s first and greatest president, is one of the four American presidents carved into the granite at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.
A grateful nation remembered its patriot warrior president, George Washington of Mount Vernon, Virginia, by erecting a great obelisk, the Washington Monument, to his memory in their nation’s capital. George Washington’s birthday once was celebrated in this land with great fanfare on February 22nd. Today George Washington’s birthday seems forgotten or remembered only as “Presidents’ Day,” whilst men of lesser importance to our nation’s birth and legacy are accorded a day unto themselves.
“A good moral character is the first essential in a man.” ~~George Washington
Today, 22 February 2010, few Americans appreciate the indispensable role played by George Washington in the formation of the United States of America. Without General George Washington, there probably would not be a United States of America today. George Washington was America’s First Great General. He was an indispensable leader of the American Revolution. Our forebears described him as “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.“
However, not everyone has forgotten the greatness of the man. Today, at his old Virginia plantation home on the Potomac River, General George Washington will be receiving birthday greetings in person, as he did so graciously in olden times. MountVernon.org
- The Most ‘Interesting’ Photographs About George Washington at “The Revolution Flickred”
- The Most ‘Relevant’ Photographs About George Washington at “The Revolution Flickred”
- 10 Things We Should Know About George Washington
The image above, from the Library of Congress, shows the signatures of three of my Albemarle County ancestors, Thomas Craig, John Jameson and Micajah Via, who were supporters of the American Revolution during its earliest and darkest days. They were calling for the English Church to be disestablished as the State Church. An image of the additional signers is here: 1 November 1776. A transcript of the entire document is available here: TRANSCRIPT. With the loss of so many historical documents during the wars fought on Virginia soil, these petitions give us a snapshot of which Virginians were in support of the Revolutionary cause by their opposition to the established Church of England.
Many historians write that the American Revolution was, to a considerable extent, a religious quarrel, between Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Quakers and other Dissenters whose religious principles and politics were in opposition to the established Church and its government. The King of England was the head of the English church. Anglican priests swore allegiance to the King and The Book of Common Prayer offered prayers for the monarch, beseeching God “to be his defender and keeper, giving him victory over all his enemies.” In 1776, those enemies of the King were American soldiers and friends and neighbors of American Anglicans. Loyalty to the Anglican church and to its head, the British monarch, was often seen as treason to the American cause, hence the need to disestablish the English Church in America. See “Religion and the American Revolution” at the Library of Congress site.
A description of these Virginia petitions and how they are tied to the Revolutionary War spirit for liberty is also at the Library of Congress web site, where is “Petitioning in Eighteenth-Century Virginia:”
Although both Anglicans and dissenters frequently petitioned the legislature to address a variety of religious concerns, the relationship of church and state did not assume great importance until the Revolutionary period. As the number of dissenters and their political needs increased, and as Enlightenment ideals gained ground among certain political leaders, complete religious freedom emerged as a common goal for a heterogeneous group of Virginians.
My three ancestors, Thomas Craig, John Jameson and Micajah Via, are amongst the signatories on this Albemarle County, Virginia petition, dated on 1 November 1776. This point in time was less than four months after the signing of the American Declaration of Independence. These Albemarle – Amherst petitioners were well aware of the threatening arrival of 30,000 British troops at New York and the enemy’s occupation of the city, that American forces had been roundly defeated at the Battle of Brooklyn, that the American ragtag army was routed at the Battle of Harlem Heights, defeated by the British at Lake Champlain, and that American troops were forced to retreat at the Battle of White Plains just three days prior.
In the face of all of that, they addressed their words to the “Delegates & Senators, Representatives of the Common Wealth of Virginia at the City of Williamsburg” stating “in consequence of our having thrown off our dependence on the Crown & Parliament of Great Britain.” They closed by ardently wishing that the new Virginia “Commonwealth may become the envy of the Nations & the Glory of the World.” I count these men as Patriots of the Revolution because, if the Rebels had lost the fight, as it indeed appeared they would, and England successfully stopped the rebellion, they would have been considered traitors and suffered consequences.
In pre-Revolutionary America, the Church of England was the staunch defender of the British monarchy. When England tried to strengthen the Church of England in the Colonies, in a ploy to turn the colonies into royal provinces, the locals became more antagonistic towards their own mother country.
In the colony of Virginia the Anglican Church was established by law; Virginia was the stronghold of the English system of church and state. The Anglican faith and worship were prescribed by law. The Anglican church was sustained by taxes imposed on all Virginians. Although Jews, Catholics, and Protestant dissenters were barely tolerated in Virginia, they slowly persisted, eventually gaining minimal acceptance. By the advent of the American Revolution, religious dissenters outnumbered adherents to the established English church.
The English Church had become powerful in the colonies because it was supported by the British government and the official ruling class sent to govern the colonials. The Anglican bishops and archbishops in England were appointed by the monarch, and church rituals and services were governed by acts of Parliament. The British government depended upon its loyal clergy to fend off or report to the authorities any rebellious spirits that might foment in America. The Church, therefore, served as a strong bulwark of the state, playing a political role in the Virginia Colony as well as in England. In the mid eighteenth-century, Revolutionary fervor was rising in Virginia, resulting in the English church redoubling its efforts to strengthen its influence in affairs of the Colony. These methods did not sit well with the larger number of dissenting Protestants, who had bitter remembrances of the religious conflicts they had experienced in Great Britain before immigrating. In addition, loyal members of the English Church in Virginia, witnessing the harsh treatment by their parish leaders against their Dissenter neighbors, became sympathetic.
When Americans of today think about the history of equality, equal protection and equal civil rights, their thoughts are dominated by the history of desegregation, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the antislavery debates of the 1830s. However, long before the slavery debate, Virginians were debating different standards of equality regarding religious diversity. In eighteenth-century Virginia, there was one church rule, and in those days, the church was the law as the head of the church was the British monarch. These discussions and petitions and desires for religious freedom by rank and file Virginians had much to do with fomenting the American Revolution.
While American patriots of New England were throwing crates of tea into Boston Harbor objecting to British taxes, Virginians were standing for religious equality for all, including dissenters. With these petitions they were demanding disestablishment of the Church of England, the outlawing of the Church’s assessments, and the banishment of the Church’s ministers, who were working for the Crown.
This petition was signed by American Revolutionary War patriots of Buckingham County, Virginia on 7 December 1780. The signatories believed that “The Exercise of any of the learned professions gives their Professors an influence which improperly apply’d may prove dangerous to the State.” They therefore petitioned the government at Williamsburg to punish “professed Enemies to the State” by passing laws to “Silence all Nonjuring Preachers of every Denomination” and deprive them of their benefits, “to prohibit men who refuse to give proof of their attachment to the present Government from the Exercise of either the professions of Law or Physic, and to Levy double taxes upon all Nonjurors.”(“Nonjurors” meant those who were loyal to England.) These petitioners signed their names, knowing that their necks would be on the chopping block if England was able to squash the rebellion. This petition is available on-line at the Collection of the Library of Congress where there is much more information as to the relationship between these Virginia petitions and the quest for freedom that birthed a new nation, the United States of America.
My fifth great grandfather, DAVID STINSON, along with his brothers, were brave enough to sign this petition. I have made a transcript of this document HERE.
This is the John Paul Jones House on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The photograph was made between 1910 and 1915, when the building was occupied by Gately’s Groceries. The old photograph is from the collection of the Library of Congress. This was the only home in America of John Paul Jones, an American Revolutionary War hero and father of the United States Navy. His most famous words were “I have not yet begun to fight!” Today, the John Paul Jones home serves as a “Seafarers Coffee House.” Fredericksblogger has a photograph of the way it is today.
The image, John Paul Jones House, Fredericksburg, Va. (LOC), is subject to copyright by The Library of Congress. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution ed” pool.
In December 1776, after significant victories over the Americans, the British army, resting upon its laurels, went into winter quarters in New York and New Jersey. The British wrongly assumed that Washington’s forces in Pennsylvania were also in winter quarters.
On December 17th, General Washington ordered 600 of his forces, mostly untrained men and boys from nearby towns augmented by two companies of Virginia soldiers, to cross the Delaware River and march via Moorestown to Mount Holly, New Jersey. At Mount Holly the rebels set up a few “3-pounder” artillery pieces on Iron Works Hill, causing the Hessian commanders at Black Horse and Bordentown to believe they were being opposed by 3,000 men. By Christmas Eve, Washington’s plan had lured 2,000 Hessians to the The Mount in Mount Holly, to engage the supposed “thousands” of rebel forces occupying Iron Works Hill. Then at nighttime, while the Hessians were making merry, indulging in the confiscated contents of a local brewery, the Americans stealthily evacuated their positions and marched to Moorestown. On December 26, Washington’s army was able to wax victorious at the Battle of Trenton, capturing 1,000 prisoners. Part of that victory by the Americans is attributed to Washington’s plan a week earlier at the Battle of Iron Works Hill.
I am sorry to report that the photograph that was here of the reenactment of the Battle of Iron Works Hill in Mount Holly, New Jersey that took place on 13 December 2008, has been removed from Flickr’s public viewing.
National Geographic Channel is launching the first annual Expedition Week starting November 16 through November 23, featuring seven straight nights of exciting programs that take you from the ancient pyramids to the depths of the ocean and from lost cities to the outer space.
If Only Walls Could Talk – what amazing tales our ears would hear inside the lovely plantation home of Berkeley. In 1619, early English settlers came ashore at Berkeley Hundred, naming it in honor of their home seats. On December 4th of that same year, the colonists observed the first official Thanksgiving in America, before the Mayflower Pilgrims had even left England. On Good Friday of 1622, while celebrating with their Indian friends, Opechancanough’s men rose up and attempted to massacre all the whites in Virginia, and they almost suceeded.
Giles Bland was an early owner of Berkeley Hundred, and after he was executed for complicity in Bacon’s Rebellion, the Harrisons assumed ownership. This hallowed ground, situated above the historic James River, is a treasure for all Americans, as it has witnessed and participated in the entire history of our nation.
The original brick mansion, which still stands, was built in 1726, of brick fired right on the plantation. Here was born Benjamin Harrison, son of the first owner and builder of Berkeley, who signed the Declaration of Independence and was a three-time Governor of Virginia. His son, William Henry Harrison, also born at Berkeley, was governor of the Indiana Territory and became the ninth President of the United States. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd President and was the husband of Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison, a founder of the Daughters of the American Revolution and its first President General.
George Washington, and the nine succeeding Presidents of the United States, all visited at Berkeley, and dined in the same dining room that still overlooks the James River today. The British troops of the traitorous Benedict Arnold plundered the plantation during the American Revolution, although no serious harm was done to the mansion. During the Civil War, Union troops of the Army of the Potomac occupied Berkeley Plantation, and President Abraham Lincoln twice traveled via water from Washington to review them. It was here that General George B. McClellan was relieved of command by Lincoln. There are ten acres of terraced boxwood gardens and lawn extending a quarter-mile from the front door to the James River. This wonderful Virginia shrine has been owned and maintained privately.
Learn More: The American Revolution