Thursday, August 13, 2020

Pandemic Audio: "The British Are Coming" by Rick Atkinson

 Pandemic Audio: The British Are Coming: the War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777: the Revolution Trilogy, Book 1 by Rick Atkinson, 2019, Wisconsin Digital Library download.

Typed notes I put in my phone as I listened.

Ben Franklin lived in London 15 years before the War.

Relations to modern life. In many ways so much is always the same. Cost of war for the gov. Hurrying to purchase, store, and ship war supplies. Sourcing raw materials. A 6 week transport across ocean and many vessels lost or the stock animals dying en route.

British were rebuilding and equipping an army after a mostly peaceful period. Something important to remember when reading about how the Colonies took on the world's greatest empire.

Prime Minister North had less then 2 voters in his parliamentary district. He also bought votes for supporters with parties on election day

General Gage served 20 years in America. An American wife and owned lots of land in America, Canada, and West Indies.

1775 had English soldiers bored. Lots of cheap booze and desertions.

Refugees from Boston during siege of. Passes to exit city w no place to go. British would refuse exit to deter bombardment by Continentals. Business shuts down.

Bunker hill attack by British was a chance to gain high ground outside Boston for some relief. And then use the high ground to attack out from the Boston area. The Brit plan soon leaked out.

Bunker Hill at 110 feet overlooking land and water

War as a financial boon. Even payoff is for support, newspapers notably.
More money. Split from Britain seen as a cash opportunity in South for land expansion into Crown lands to the west. Tobacco and slaves brought wealth and big debt. A winning war would nix debt to English banks.
Lord Dunmore in the southern campaign interfered in slave owners hierarchy by getting blacks to join up. His actions threatened a society built on slavery and caused a shitfit. "Join the crown for freedom".

Small Pox. Typhus. Scurvy. Illness issues plagued both sides. Small Pox was a major threat and even though innoculations had been practiced for years they would be forbidden in the army. Soldiers would drag needles through open sores of sick men and then stab themselves. 

Salted food and resupply trouble to renew Boston.
Resupply from England to Boston was sketchy. Live animals died during voyages. Ships were lost to weather and pirates. Food would rot and spoil en route from heat and moisture.
Many ships beaten by the weather and ended up in Antigua

British abandoned Boston after surrounded. Not enough shops to carry every one and thing and abandoned much equip. Some British ships scuttled.
A 330 day siege. Loyalists shipped to Halifax.

After the English retreat Washington saw Boston defenses and knew any attack would have failed.

Ben Franklin visited the Canada campaign?! Dude was 70-years-old and traveled overland.
Continental Army in Canada was worn out. Ultimately retreated with a long trip down Lake Champlain into New York. A lot of time spent discussing the Canadian campaign and it's failures. 

Losses of thousands of Colonials from disease, wounds and misadventure before any large battle with English.

Colonial Generals averaged 2 years experience and English Generals had 30 years

Supply and manufacturing issues including gunpowder. Supplies started to build up in 1776 but Continental Army was very, very short on powder and could not have sustained any fighting. Colonies sent ships to Europe and many powder mills built in colonies.

Odd how political and civil repression of loyalists would be addressed by 1st and 2 and amendments and due process.

Loyalties to colonies of England were across all economic classes.

So much of SC campaign was driven by slavery. Property. Insurrection. Militia originally formed to stop slave rebellion.

Disastrous UK navy artillery attack on Charleston defenses. Dead and wounded (later dying or w amputations) and ships lost.

Side war in South Carolina against the Cherokee who lost another 5 million acres of land.

Southern campaign a failure. Local loyalists stopped being a factor. Ships sent south were not available for up North for breaking problems like the Delaware blockade. Colonial gunrunners sailed unimpeded.

Winter 1777 after Trenton. Re-enlistments rare. Money needed for paying soldiers

2nd battle of Trenton also a success. One I recall reading about. Brits were attacking w Russians. January. Attack failed. Colonial troops sneaked out all 6,000 soldiers under night. No talking allowed and the 150 wagons had wheels wrapped in cloth and rope for silence.
Brit troops exhausted from battle and marching through winter mud. Temps dropped 20 degrees and the mud froze. Frozen mud allowed easier passage for colonial wagons.

FYI: A gil is 4 ounces. 

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