Interview With The Archangel

Today, we are thrilled to introduce someone whom we have been trying to speak to for quite some time, Archangel Colm Bohannon. It is an unprecedented occasion to meet an archangel here on Earth and one who fought in the American Revolution. To soothe his impatience, we have provided rum and agreed to refrain from asking him about his youngest archangel brother, Lucifer.


Me: Hello, Mr. Bohannon. Thank you for joining us today.

Colm: I don’t understand the human purpose of apologies or gratitude, so get on with it.

Me: Please, oh, I guess you don’t understand the purpose of polite requests either. What is that silver and green light surrounding you?

Colm: The green light is the color of my angelic spirit. All angels have a spiritual color through which we see one another. The silver light is our halo.

Me: Why are you possessing a human vessel?

Colm: I will tell you that story when it is time.

Me: Alright, then tell us about your celestial family.

Colm: (Drinks rum). Must I?

Me:

Colm: (Heaves a sigh). My father, God, and my archangel brothers see me as an abomination, but if you insist. I am the fifth archangel of seven. My celestial name is Sariel. My four older brothers are Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. My two younger brothers are Ezekiel and Lucifer. However, I am a brother to all angels who our father created.

Me: Why did God create the archangels?

Colm: We were created to be the most powerful beings in the universe besides our father. We each had certain divinities that changed over time as our heavenly orientations changed. When God created the children of man, we were tasked with being preceptors and beholders of those things which mankind does not understand.

(Drinks more rum) I was once the archangel of Divine Visions. That was at a time when the children of man were unaware of their creator. It was my task to make them aware. I had no idea how to conjure divine visions. It had never been done before. This was thousands and thousands of years before what the children of man consider The Calling of Abraham. I had no guidance and no example and in my attempt, my power killed many of them before I realized what was happening.

Me: But there is more isn’t there?

Colm: (Flutters his wings) Later, I was considered the angel of death, because at one time, I escorted human souls to Heaven after they died. That was before Lucifer fell, and the archangels became God’s warriors against Hell’s demons. After Lucifer fell and God created reapers, my divinity changed. I escorted souls to their egress when the body died, summoned reapers, and told them where God wanted them to take souls instead of doing it myself. God assigned a brotherhood of eight angels to me so I could teach them the same. Then, I was entrusted to shepherd the Grigori angels, the Watchers Angels, but they learned human lust, acted on that lust, and I did nothing to stop them because I didn’t know by what means, short of destroying them.

Me: Who are the angels who belong to your brotherhood?

Colm: Their human vessels’ names are Fergus Driscoll, Seamus Cullen, Brandon O’Flynn, Ian Keogh, Liam Kavanagh, Michael Bohannon, and Patrick Cullen.

Me: Why does your father and older brothers see you as an abomination?

Colm: It is a long story that began millenniums ago. Three of my brotherhood, Ian, Michael, and Seamus learned lust from the Grigori angels and created what was forbidden— the Nephilim, the children of human women and angels. The rest of us tried to stop them. We were all found guilty and banished from Heaven.

Me: You were all willing to accept punishment?

Colm: Aye. We’re a brotherhood who love each other.

Me: Where did you go after you were banished?

Colm: In his anger over what we had done, God created demons from his wrath to kill us. He also summoned the Flood of Noah to kill the Nephilim living with their mothers on Earth.

Me: Oh my. Is that when you came here?

Colm: (Flashes his eyes) No. We raced through the universe in a desperate attempt to elude our executioners. I tried to protect my brotherhood because I was the only one of us with the power to destroy not only a demon, but the demons’ leader.

Me: Did I just see silver light flash in your eyes?

Colm: Aye. It’s my way of tempering you.

Me: Was I out of line with my questioning?

Colm: Not yet. It was just a warning. All the archangels were created with the ability just as we were endowed with the ability to destroy using our golden radiance that is a part of our spirit.

Me: Thank you for…uh…I have been dually warned. May I ask about your journey to Earth?

Colm: A company of eight Irish men died fighting the Normans in Wexford, Ireland on the night of May 1, 1169. They were defending their cog, the LE ‘Eithne. They drown when it sank. We took their human vessels to confuse the demons and give us time to rest.

Me: Therefore, you don’t possess a living human.

Colm: Angels can’t possess the living. Our spiritual power and immortality is too great for them to contain.

Me: Did the ruse work?

Colm: By 1314, the demons’ leader realized what we had done. He and his army of demonic spirits went to Scotland to the scene of the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, clashed with the English king, Edward II. There were many human vessels to be had as the soldiers died on the battlefield. The demon leader possessed the body of an English knight, Sir Henry de Bohun, a man Robert the Bruce killed in the battle. Wearing their new vessels, Henry and his army continued their ruthless pursuit. By 1575, we were tiring again.

Me: I noticed that one of your angels has the same last name as you—Bohannon.

Colm: The company of dead Irish men were led by the man Colm Bohannon. Michael was Colm’s little brother. The same for Seamus Cullen. He also had a little brother among the dead, Patrick Cullen. The human link between us and them still remains. It is our palimpsests, shadows of memories that belonged to the souls of our human vessels showing through to the present. They can be frightening and impossible to control. Fergus and Ian, however, don’t possess a palimpsest.

Me: Where did you go to rest in 1575?

Colm: We took a ship from England to Virginia in America. We found sanctuary in a place over the Appalachian Mountains that was later called Burkes Garden. We were there for two hundred years before we began to suspect that the demons were in Boston, Massachusetts.

Me: May I see your wings?

Colm: (Rises slowly and unfurls his imperial silver wings that touch the floor, the ceiling, and sweep over my face and body. Silver crystals rain down from them like glittering hail and gather on the floor and against the walls.)

Me: (I feel my breath leave my body and restrain my urge to fall to my knees in reverence.)

Colm: (Furls his wings into a volute and they disappear.)

Me: (I’ve forgotten my next question.) Oh yes. How did you begin fighting for the Patriots in the American Revolution?

Colm: We suspected that the demon leader had possessed a general in the British army. We went to Boston to warn the Sons of Liberty—John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren of the possibility. We felt it our duty to protect them if that was the case especially if war broke out between the colonies and Great Britain. Our suspicions were correct. The demon was possessing General Henry Hereford who arrived in Boston from London soon after we did in January 1775. War broke out four months later in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.

Me: Tell me about some of your human friends.

Colm: We call them the children of man, by the way as we are called the sons of God. Jeremiah Killam is our closest friend who we met in Burkes Garden when he was only five years old. Dr. Joseph Warren, a leading Son of Liberty, taught me what it meant to love a child of man unconditionally. What happened to him and my failure to protect him and stop it is my greatest shame. Of course, there is also Abe Rowlinson who was among the patriots firing on the British when they were retreating from Concord to Boston.

Me: I have been told you had General George Washington’s ear. Is this true?

Colm: I don’t know if I had his ear. He and I became very close and constantly conferred during the war.

Me: Did you or some of your angels hold rank in the Continental Army?

Colm: I refused rank, but Fergus Driscoll achieved the rank of major general. Brandon O’Flynn rose to a colonel in the artillery corps under General Henry Knox, and Ian Keogh was commissioned a lieutenant, also under Knox.

Me: Were the children of man afraid of you at first?

Colm: Yes and no. They had never seen angels on Earth. Many of them mistook me for God. Later, as the war wore on and they became used to our presence, we were considered the gift of Providence to the American cause for independence.

Me: Tell us more about the angels in your brotherhood and their role in their Heavenly duties and the war itself.

Colm: They are soothers and beholders. They fulfilled that divinity throughout the war. The rest of our time with the children of man, and the hardships we endured as angels unaccustomed to the noise of human society and emotions, is written. You will have to read the narrative in the series of books called Angels and Patriots. There you will find the words that describe our time among you and the lessons we learned from you.

Me: One last question. How did you elude the demons?

Colm: You will have to read the books, but I will tell you that demons were not the only hounds God unleashed upon us.

Me: Thank you for your time today. Perhaps one day you will learn the purpose of gratitude.

Colm: I don’t think so. However, there is one last thing to consider. Human emotions can change everything. Angelic emotions can destroy the world.


Rebels, Heroes, Patriots, and Legends. The multiple award winning Angels and Patriots saga is the mutual pursuit of liberty, the meaning of loyalty, and the virtue of the ultimate sacrifice during the American Revolution.

    • Angels and Patriots Book One: Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill
    • Angels and Patriots Book Two: The Cause of 1776
    • Angels and Patriots Book Three: The Year of the Hangman
    • Angels and Patriots Book Four: The Hand of Providence and The Brotherhood’s Sword (coming late 2021 or early 2022)

*Amazon US: Series Available in paperback, Kindle eBook or Kindle Unlimited. Angels & Patriots Book Series

*Amazon UK: Series Available in paperback, Kindle eBook or Kindle Unlimited. Angels & Patriots Book Series


ANGELS & PATRIOTS BOOK ONE 2018 AWARDS
  • Independent Press Award, Historical Fiction, Winner
  • Independent Press Award, Military Fiction, Distinguished Favorite
  • Shelf UnBound Best Indie Book, Notable
  • National Indie Excellence® Awards, Military Fiction, Finalist
  • American Fiction Awards, Fantasy and Military Fiction, Finalist
  • New York City Big Book Awards, Military Fiction, Winner
  • New York City Big Book Awards, Historical Fiction, Distinguished Favorite
ANGELS AND PATRIOTS BOOK TWO AWARDS
  • 2019 New York City Big Book Awards, Military Fiction, Winner
  • 2019 Shelf Unbound, Top 100 Notable Indie Book
  • 2020 Independent Press Award, Military Fiction, Winner
ANGELS AND PATRIOTS BOOK THREE AWARDS
  • 2020 Shelf Unbound Top 100 Notable Indie
  • 2021 Independent Press Award, Military Fiction, Distinguished Favorite

The World Turned Upside Down: The Siege of Yorktown

Saratoga, New York, October 17, 1777. British General John Burgoyne capitulated to American General Horatio Gates after the armies clashed in two battles at Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights. The surrender was the tipping point of the American Revolutionary War, which led the French to sign an alliance with America in her fight for independence.

Three years later, the Comte de Rochambeau arrived in Newport, Rhode Island with a French army intent on supporting General George Washington’s Continental Army effort to defeat the British in a war that had endured many Patriot losses.

Comte de Rochambeau

When Rochambeau arrived on July 11, 1780, Washington’s sights were myopically focused on attacking New York in a move that might defeat General Sir Henry Clinton, commander of all British forces in America. Rochambeau and Washington met twice in the coming year. The last meeting was held in Wethersfield, Connecticut on May 20, 1781. Rochambeau argued that the Southern theater where British General Lord Charles Cornwallis was chasing American General Nathanael Greene through the Carolinas was a better choice; specifically Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay.

Lord Charles Cornwallis

On the same day as the conference, Cornwallis arrived at Petersburg, Virginia after suffering heavy casualties at the Battle of Guilford Court House at the hands of Nathanael Greene. Cornwallis had not received permission from Clinton to abandon the Carolinas, but he believed that Virginia would be easier to capture because General Lafayette, who Washington had sent to Virginia with 1200 light infantry to act against the corps of the enemy (specifically the traitor General Benedict Arnold which is another story) had moved north leaving the south and west of the state open.

Admiral de Grasse

Washington’s hope hinged on the arrival of French Admiral de Grasse’s fleet in New York harbor to block up any British fleet which might be in the harbor and as a sufficient means of conveyance transport for Continental and French troops. Although he agreed to rendezvous with Washington’s army in White Plains, New York to attack Clinton, Rochambeau had a secret agenda. He wrote to de Grasse:

I must not conceal from you, Monsieur that the Americans are at the end of their resources, that Washington will not have half of the troops he is reckoned to have. It is therefore of the greatest  consequence that you will take on board as many troops as possible; that 4,000 or 5,000 men will not be too many, whether you aid us to destroy the works at Portsmouth, Virginia or to force Sandy Hook in seizing New York. There, Monsieur, are the actual and sad pictures of the affairs of this country.

By July 7, the allied forces were gathered at White Plains. Together they totaled some 5,000 troops. But on August 1, 1781, Washington received a letter from Lafayette that caused him to reconsider his desire to attack New York.

Cornwallis is taking up a strong position at Yorktown and Gloucester, sealing himself off if the British fleet should not be on hand to rescue him. Yorktown is surrounded by a river and a morass. Gloucester is a neck of land projecting into the river and opposite Yorktown.

That decision was made for him when Washington received a dispatch on Tuesday August 14 that de Grasse declined to sail to New York because he did not want to risk his ships navigating the difficult waters of the harbor and the Hudson River. Instead, he proposed to sail up the Chesapeake with twenty-nine ships and 3,000 troops. Admiral de Barras anchored in Newport, Rhode Island would rendezvous with de Grasse.

The allied armies marched south to Virginia. The logistical details of moving two armies plus hundreds of camp followers along with munitions and equipment was slow when speed was of the utmost importance before the French fleet decided to sail out of the Chesapeake.

When the news arrived at British headquarters in Manhattan that de Barras had left Newport, the British fleet embarked under the command of Admiral Thomas Graves. On September 5, the fleets encountered one another near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay near Yorktown. A battle ensued, that wound down at sunset, with the British fleet drifting eastward and away from the bay. The next day, Admiral Graves determined that his fleet had suffered too much damage to engage the French again, and sailed back to New York.

Battle of the Chesapeake Bay

The snare had been sprung trapping Cornwallis’ army in Yorktown, Virginia, situated between the James and York Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The little town was on a high stony bluff that ran parallel to the York River. It occupied a strategic location controlling upstream portions of the river and its tributaries and their access to the Chesapeake Bay.

When the allied armies arrived in mid-September, they set up below the town, pinning Cornwallis against the river. Washington set up camp in forested land about a mile from the enemy’s left. Rochambeau’s tents were pitched five hundred yards to the north. Washington’s principle officers, including his second in command, General Benjamin Lincoln, as well as General Lafayette, General Baron von Steuben, and artillerist General Henry Knox were camped along the perimeter of the encampment.

Cornwallis and his staff were quartered in the governor of Virginia’s house: General Thomas Nelson. Cornwallis received a letter from Sir Clinton that assured him, “I shall endeavor to reinforce your command by all means within the compass of my power.”

Cornwallis had never contemplated the possibility of a siege. Yet here it was, the reality of it staring at him like so many horrible eyes from Hell. He declared to his officers, “Nothing but the hope of relief will induce me to attempt this defense.” Still the British quietly abandoned their advanced posts and sneaked back to the defensive lines around Yorktown.

“Their movement is not only unmilitary,” Pennsylvania General Anthony Wayne proclaimed, “but an indication of confused precipitation and I do not understand why Cornwallis has done it.”

By the night of October 5, the allies began laying out a trench called a parallel. A steady rain masked the sounds of the sappers and miners (the men digging and clearing the trench) making their way across a broad, undulant field plowed into deep furrows by the enemy’s cannonballs. Sharpshooters protected the men digging the trenches in case of an enemy sally as Cornwallis sent infantrymen to clear the trench, but the sharpshooters repulsed them.

With the British cleared from the trench, a tradition associated with a siege was the Opening of the Trenches, a ceremony in which the troops of the day marched to their appointed places with drums beating and banners flying before planting their flags in the rampart ahead of them. Colonel Alexander Hamilton, an aide to George Washington, had threatened earlier to resign from the army if he wasn’t given a field command. Washington pacified him and Hamilton led some of his new infantry unit in the ceremony. Washington had the honor of igniting the bore hole of one of General Knox’s heavy siege guns and ceremoniously discharging the first shot from the American battery.

Washington firing the first gun.

At daybreak, the Continentals commenced an uninterrupted stream of fire that produced a relentless, unnerving, and deafening roar. The French Grand Battery opened and their 18- and 24- pound siege cannon were pounding Yorktown. Residents fled to the waterfront and hid in hastily built shelters on the sand cliffs. Dozens were killed and wounded—many with arms or legs severed—while their houses were destroyed. Cannonballs plunged into the York River and sent up streams of cascading water. British boats went up in flames under the bombardment. The Nelson house where Cornwallis was quartered was partially destroyed forcing the general and his staff to find shelter in a grotto.

On the night of October 11, the allied armies’ sappers and miners began work on the second parallel, just three hundred yards from the British fortifications of redoubts 9 and 10 near the York River. Rochambeau came to inspect the trenches proclaiming “We shall see if the pear is ripe.”

Washington held a secret war council on the night of October 13. It was determined that the allied forces would take redoubts 9 and 10 the following night. General Lafayette would command the charge against redoubt 10 on the right with a second of his choosing— Colonel de Gimat. The French under General Baron De Viomenil would assault redoubt 9 on the left.  Lafayette’s choice of second infuriated Alexander Hamilton. He went to Washington to complain that he had seniority over Gimat and that he should be second. Washington pacified Hamilton. Colonel John Laurens, another young aide to Washington, would also lead a battalion.

The bayonet assault would be conducted with the sappers and miners leading the way to cut through the abatis (sharpened tree trunks) arming the enemy redoubts. The sappers and miners were told:

You will advance beyond the trenches and lay down on the ground to await the signal to advance which will be three shells fired from the battery near your position. Your watch word is ‘Rochambeau’. This signal will also deploy the French waiting to assault redoubt 9.

 They determined Rochambeau a good watch word because if it was said fast, it sounded like “rush on boys.” The sappers and miners crept into position. Then, three shells with their fiery trails mounted the air in quick succession and lit the sky over Yorktown. “Up! Up!” was reiterated through the detachment of waiting men. They sprinted across a quarter mile landscape pocked and rutted from exploding shells toward the redoubt with British musket fire raking them as they ran, but the men cried “the fort’s our own” and “rush on boys!” They reached the redoubt. Snapping off the edges of the abatis, they cleared a passage for the infantry. The miners, who were told not to enter the fort, surged past their officers declaring, “We will go!”

Behind the sappers, Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens and their infantry battalions leaped out of the trenches and ran toward redoubt 10. To their left, the French regiments under Comte Deux-Ponts were hacking at the abatis surrounding redoubt 9 while Hessian sentries shouted “Who’s there?” and opened fire. Hand to hand combat commenced, but in ten minutes it was over and the Americans and French took possession of the redoubts.

Storming of Redoubt 10

Cornwallis wrote to Clinton:

My situation now becomes very critical. We dare not show a gun to their old batteries, and I expect that their new ones will open tomorrow morning. Experience has shown that our fresh earthen works do not resist their powerful artillery, so that we shall soon be exposed to an assault in ruined works, in a bad position, and with weakened numbers. The safety of the place is, therefore, so precarious that I cannot recommend that the fleet and army should run the great risk in endeavoring to save us.

Then the British tried to retreat to Gloucester across the York River on the night of October 16 only to be deterred by a terrible thunderstorm. The following morning, a British drummer beating a parley appeared on the enemy’s parapet.  A British officer stood beside him with a white handkerchief in his hand. Cornwallis had surrendered.

Colonel John Laurens

Now, the terms of the surrender were to be negotiated. Colonel John Laurens was one of the commissioners. He was by General Benjamin Lincoln’s side when the garrison at Charleston manned with 5000 troops fell on May 12, 1780. Lincoln surrendered to General Sir Henry Clinton and Clinton had denied Lincoln’s army the honors of war.

When an army fought bravely and well before surrendering, the vanquished soldiers were accorded the honors of war, which meant that they marched from their works with flags flying, drums beating, and their band playing a tune of the conqueror.

The humiliation was reciprocated as part of the terms. When the British commissioners protested that Cornwallis wasn’t present at Charleston, Laurens stated, “It is not the individual that is here considered. It is the nation. This remains an article, or I refuse to be a commissioner.”  The terms of the surrender were accepted by both parties.

At noon on Friday, October 19, 1781, a glorious, warm autumn day, sunny and bright with the leaves on the trees just beginning to turn, a portion of the trenches and fortifications surrounding Yorktown were leveled so that the British and Hessians could march out of their works onto Hampton Roads where the allied armies were lined up two ranks deep in a line that stretched for more than a mile with the French on the left and the Americans on the right.

At two o’clock, the mournful distant sound of fifes and drums were heard coming from Yorktown. The waiting armies silenced. The British army which had been reduced from 8,000 to 5,000, with 550 killed or wounded, 2,000 sick and 200 deserters, marched out of Yorktown led not by Cornwallis but by his second in command, General Charles O’Hara, to the slow beat of the drum, their twenty-two regimental flags ignominiously furled and stored in their cases.

O’Hara gave apologies for Cornwallis’ absence and then tried to surrender his sword to Rochambeau. Rochambeau indicated Washington. Washington indicated his second in command, General Benjamin Lincoln. Lincoln accepted the sword and his humiliation had been repaid.

General Benjamin Lincoln

The American Revolutionary War lasted two more years until the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783. The surrender also had an effect on Great Britain’s other global endeavors such as the Siege of Gibraltar. And now America would face her biggest challenge of all—how to govern herself.

The Siege of Yorktown is part of my four book historical fantasy series on the American Revolution—Angels and Patriots. I used a lot of references including biographies so I could see the siege from the different points of view from those who were there.

To name a few, some of Connecticut Private Joseph Plumb Martin’s points of view as a sapper were delightful. There was the amusing story of Colonel Alexander Hamilton and General Henry Knox working in their captured redoubt and arguing over whether or not it was manly to jump behind a blind when the British fired shells into the redoubt. I suppose a shout out should go to the French. Viva la France!

This is my July 3 contribution to the Historical Writers Forum Blog Hop about American History June 28 – July 4, 2021! Catch up on the other great blogs in this series. https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Writers-Forum-Blog-Hop-Page-313883642875335

Resources:

Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton New York: Penguin Books, 2004. Print.

Ketchum, Richard. Victory At Yorktown New York: Henry Hold and Company, LLC, 2004. Print.

Lockhart, Paul. The Drillmaster of Valley Forge New York: Harper Collins, 2008. Print.

Martin, Joseph Plumb, Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier, The Narrative of Joseph Plumb Martin New York, Dover Publications, 2006, Print. Originally published 1830.

Mattern, David B. Benjamin Lincoln and the American Revolution Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1998. Print.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. In The Hurricane’s Eye New York: Penguin Books, 2018. Print.

Puls, Mark. Henry Knox Visionary General of the American Revolution New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.

Featured Image: The painting Surrender of Lord Cornwallis by John Trumbull is on display in the Rotunda of the US Capitol. General Benjamin Lincoln is in the center on the horse.

General Charles Lee: Patriot or Poltroon? (A Military Scandal of the American Revolution)

October 28, 1776. General George Washington’s Continental Army lost the battle at White Plains, New York. The army had spent the past nine months battling British General William Howe and losing every engagement including New York City. Now, the Continentals were forced to retreat again, to North Castle Heights north of White Plains.

General Charles Lee

Washington moved his army across the Hudson River to New Jersey and left his second-in-command, General Charles Lee in North Castle Heights with a brigade. A month later, two American forts on the shores of the Hudson fell to the British. With British General Charles Cornwallis following his troops, Washington requested Lee cross the Hudson and join forces with him. Lee declined the request.

On November 28, after informing the Continental Congress that he would remain to “annoy, distract, and consequently weaken [the enemy] in a desultory war”, Lee responded to Washington’s repeated requests. Then, he made a mistake. On December 12, with his bodyguards, servant, and pack of little dogs, Lee left his encampment and stopped at a tavern three miles away at Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The following morning a party of British dragoons, galloped toward the tavern. They shot out all the windows and forced Lee to surrender. Lee’s capture spread like wildfire.

A Hessian captain wrote: We have captured General Lee, the only rebel general whom we had cause to fear.

Charles Lee was born in Cheshire, England in 1731 or 1732 into a genteel family and received an excellent education. He came to North America and fought for the British army in the French and Indian War. When the war was over, he returned home and became a soldier of fortune. He moved to North America in 1773. The Patriots hailed him as a military expert. Because he was better educated and had more military experience than other officers, Lee hoped he would be named commander in chief of the Continental Army. Instead, Congress chose George Washington. Lee was selected as a major general and resigned his commission with the British army.

Lee had a dark side. He was slovenly, used foul language, sarcasm, and insults, and criticized his superiors. On the other hand, he was a composed, brilliant and courageous leader in battle.

Engraved caricature of Charles Lee with his dog, Spada

After his arrest at Basking Ridge, Lee was held in captivity in New York City. In February 1777, feeling that Congress had abandoned him and that the Americans had no chance to win the war, he submitted a secret military plan to General William Howe, commander of all British forces in America. There is no evidence that Howe read the plan. Lee also offered to mediate the return of America to the British Crown by requesting that Congress send a delegation to meet him. These acts could have been interpreted as treason.

Charles signed a parole in April 1778 preventing him from reentering American military service until a formal prisoner exchange was finalized. He rode to York, Pennsylvania, where Congress sat, to promote a new military plan. He objected to the Continental Army’s training to face British regular soldiers on the field of battle, which Lee called the “European Plan.” He claimed “only a plan of defense, harassing and impeding can alone succeed.”

When he arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Washington enthusiastically greeted him. But Lee was critical of Baron von Steuben, a Prussian officer who had arrived in America to train the troops. Furthermore, Lee was unfamiliar with many officers and out of touch with the much improved Continental Army.

On June 18, the Continental Army left Valley Forge, to follow the British army evacuating Philadelphia. General Sir William Howe had resigned and returned to England. General Sir Henry Clinton was given command of all British forces in America. His army marched across New Jersey toward New York with a twelve mile long baggage train.

George Washington

Washington sent detachments to harass Clinton’s rearguard including Generals William Maxwell, Charles Scott, and Colonel Daniel Morgan. These men formed the vanguard of the Continental Army under the young Marquis de Lafayette. Washington offered the command to Lee, but Lee thought the small size of the detachment was beneath his experience. When the detachment grew to 3,700 with the addition of General Anthony Wayne’s men, Lee changed his mind.

By June 26, Clinton’s army was halted at Monmouth Court House. At a June 27 council of war, Washington failed to give Lee clear orders. The commander in chief ordered an attack without specifying a general engagement, but said the rest of the army would come up in supporting distance of Lee. Lafayette asked Lee if he had a plan of attack. Lee replied he had none and thought it would be “better for the service to act according to circumstances.”

Lee’s troops marched on the morning of June 28 in increasingly intense heat through a landscape dotted with farms, orchards and crossed with fields and morasses. Lee received conflicting intelligence about Clinton’s movements: the army was retreating; they were threatening Lee’s flanks;  the main body of the British army that constituted Clinton’s first division was still at Monmouth. In actuality, the baggage train and Clinton’s division had marched off to the east and left General Lord Charles Cornwallis’ rear guard near Monmouth.

Lee’s attack on the British rearguard.

At 10:00 a.m., Lee’s forces crossed the Middle Morass and began to skirmish with the enemy’s rear guard. Suddenly, Clinton’s first division reversed course and turned to attack the Patriots. Clinton ordered Cornwallis to turn Lee’s right flank. At the sight of this, American Generals Charles Scott and William Maxwell and some artillery pulled back without Lee’s orders.

As Washington came up with the main army, he was informed there was “some confusion” in Lee’s ranks. A fifer walking the road was asked whether he served in the Continental Army. He responded yes and said that the Continental troops that had been advancing were now retreating. The first columns of retreating troops straggled past. When they were asked the reason for the retreat, none had an answer. An aide to Maxwell said Washington “was exceedingly alarmed, finding the advance corps falling back upon the main body, without the least notice given to him.”

Washington fumed with anger. He spotted Lee and the two rode to meet one another. Washington demanded, “I desire to know, sir, what is the reason for this disorder and confusion?”

“Washington Rebuking Lee at Monmouth” by John Ward Dunmore 1908

Lee stammered, “Sir? Sir?” expecting “congratulation and applause” for avoiding a crushing defeat. He said that he had never supported the attack on Clinton’s rear guard in the first place.

Washington eventually calmed down and returned Lee to the battle. At dusk, hostilities ceased. Clinton’s army moved away early the next morning. The most confusing battle of the American Revolution was a draw.

Lee was furious over Washington’s treatment of him. In the post-battle discussions, Washington was praised although it can be argued that his performance at Monmouth was lacking (that is another discussion for another time). Lee believed he was not being credited for his decision to retreat, which in his view saved his detachment from annihilation. He sent Washington a strong letter of complaint, with threats and insults knowing it would likely be made public. He insulted and blamed others calling them “wicked persons” and “dirty earwigs.” Washington found his language “highly improper” and declared Lee would have his forum. In a second letter, Lee demanded a court-martial so he could clear his name. Washington obliged.

The court-martial began on July 4, 1778 in New Brunswick, New Jersey presided over by General Lord Alexander Stirling. The charges pending were:

First, for disobedience of orders in not attacking the enemy on the 28th of June, agreeable to repeated instructions.

Second, for misbehavior before the enemy on the same day, by making an unnecessary, disorderly and shameful retreat.  

Third, for disrespect to the commander in chief in two letters dated the 1st of July and the 28th of June.

Lee served as his own defense council. He called thirteen witnesses. The prosecution, Judge Advocate General Colonel John Laurance called twenty-eight. The witnesses included Washington’s aide, Colonel Alexander Hamilton, Lee’s aide, Captain John Mercer, generals Scott, Maxwell, Wayne, Lafayette, and Knox. At the court-martial, Lee offered as his defense: he had been unreasonably provoked.

The court found Lee guilty on all counts except a shameful retreat. He was sentenced to one year suspension from the Continental Army. The verdict was passed to the Continental Congress for a final decision. Although Lee had supporters in Congress such as Dr. Benjamin Rush and Richard Henry Lee, the verdict was upheld. After Lee’s sentence expired, the Congress permanently dismissed him from the Continental Army.

Charles Lee died destitute on the evening of October 2, 1782 at the Sign of the Conestoga Wagon tavern in Philadelphia accompanied by his two little dogs and his faithful Italian servant, Giuseppe Minghini.

American Revolution enthusiasts usually rank General Charles Lee’s conduct near the top of the list with the despised, traitorous General Benedict Arnold. However, Lee has his apologists just as Arnold  does. Had Charles Lee been unjustly and unfairly treated? Historians and Revolutionary War lovers have and will continue to argue the question.

How do I feel about General Charles Lee? He is a character in my historical fantasy series of the American Revolution, Angels and Patriots, just as Benedict Arnold is. I see neither man as a pure villain, but both men let their vanity lead them to bad decisions, something many, many people have done since the dawn of man.


Resources:

Engraved caricature of Lee from vol. 3 of The Diaries of George Washington (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1978. p.299).

McCullough, David. 1776 New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. Print.

Lender, Mark Edward and Stone, Garry Wheeler. Fatal Sunday University of Oklahoma Press, 2016. Print.

McBurney, Christian. George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court-Martial of Major General Charles Lee in the Revolutionary War Savas Beatie, 2020. Print

Hear About Here And The Men Who Were There

Please join me on the website, HEAR about HERE, where you can hear stories about people, places and events that happened near you using the GPS in your smartphone. Their mission is to tell you all about it three minutes at time. So HEAR more about these treasures with them and their Tale Collections from their contributors.

I am one of their contributors, so listen to my tales of true stories!

Joseph Warren’s 1775 Boston Massacre Oration at Old South Meeting House

The pulpit today at Old South Meeting House

The patriots commemorated the anniversaries of the Boston Massacre, a bloody conflict that took place near the State House on March 5, 1770, between the citizens of Boston and British soldiers in which five civilians died. Hear the story of the circumstances surrounding Dr. Joseph Warren’s 1775 oration on the event.

Dr. Joseph Warren and Battle of Bunker Hill

Statue of Joseph Warren at Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on the Charlestown peninsula north of Boston on June 17, 1775. The peninsula was the original objective of both the colonial and British troops. Hear the story of Dr. Joseph Warren’s part in that pyrrhic battle.

Joseph Warren Funeral at King’s Chapel and Aftermath of Battle of Bunker Hill

King’s Chapel in Boston

After the Siege of Boston ended in March 1776 and the British withdrew, Dr. Joseph Warren’s remains were recovered from the Charlestown peninsula where he was hastily buried after the Battle of Bunker Hill. Hear the story of his honorable obsequies.

New Year’s Day raising of the Union flag on Prospect Hill

General George Washington proclaimed January 1, 1776 was the first day of “a new army, which in every point of view is entirely continental.” Hear the story of the celebration of that event.

Billopp House

The Billop House on Staten Island was the site of a peace conference between British Admiral Lord Richard Howe, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams during the Revolutionary War in September 1776. Hear the story of what transpired.

Battle of White Plains

The Battle of White Plains in New York was fought between General George Washington’s Continental Army and General William Howe’s British and Hessian armies on October 28, 1776. Hear the story of this important battle.

Hark The Angels

Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving. To honor this tradition, which is also the theme of the Historical Writers Forum Advent Blog Hop, authors are offering free and reduced ebooks and paperbacks to cuddle up with on cold and cozy holiday nights.

Angels are also a part of Christmas traditions. Those graceful tree toppers and beautifully-winged celestial beings whom carols honor with versus like “Hark the herald angels sing” and “fall on your knees, O! hear the angels’ voices”, soothers and beholders, and who, as members of the Heavenly host, are subject to the laws of their Father…and some break those laws.

Therefore, welcome to the world of Historical Fantasy–historical fiction blended with the supernatural realm–and the first book in my multiple award winning series about the American Revolution: Angels & Patriots Book One: Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill

Boston, Massachusetts, January 1775

Ten years earlier, the British government levied the Stamp Act on the American colonies, a tax on all paper goods to help pay for Britain’s global wars. The tax infuriated the colonists and spurred a man named Samuel Adams to form a rebellious street thug group called the Sons of Liberty. Soon, the group began attracting prominent men like John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Dr. Joseph Warren whose biting quill called for liberty from the tyranny of the British ministry. As British soldiers occupied Boston, and further taxes and parliamentary acts were imposed, their voices for liberty rose. Then, a small band of fallen angels led by their archangel known by his human name, Colm Bohannon, appeared in Boston to warn the Sons of Liberty of demons that may be infiltrating Loyalists and Patriots alike.

The angels knew well for they had been running from the demons since the time of the Flood of Noah. Some of the angels had created what God had forbidden—Nephilim—children of human women. Three angels copulated. Five angels tried to stop them. In God’s court, they were all found guilty and were banished from Heaven.

Thus began an allied quest for liberty that defined the meaning of loyalty and the virtue of the ultimate sacrifice.

An Excerpt

On Monday January 30, 1775, Colm and Fergus met Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Joseph Warren in the basement of the Green Dragon Tavern.

John Hancock disguised his disquiet by saying, “Get on with it, Mr. Bohannon.”

The basement door swung open. Twenty-three-year-old Dr. Samuel Prescott descended the steps. When he saw the strangers in the basement, he stopped.

John Hancock motioned for Samuel to join them. “You have arrived from Concord just in time.”

Samuel remained where he was and asked, “In time for what?”

“Shut the basement door,” Paul barked. “And get down here.”

Samuel Adams repeated what John Hancock had said. “Get on with it, Mr. Bohannon.”

The disruption caused by Samuel Prescott’s arrival gave Colm time to decide how to begin. He asked, “What are ya opinions on angels?”

“We are not here for a sermon,” Samuel Adams said. “We are here to discuss who you and your men are, and your patriotic intentions.”

“Answer me,” Colm insisted.

Paul took a step toward Colm. “Did you not understand what Samuel said?”

Fergus slid his right hand inside his coat and gripped the hilt of his dagger.

John Adams said, “I would be more than happy to discuss my opinions concerning angels if my cousin wishes to withdraw from the conversation. I can see that you have a point to this Mr. Bohannon, and I am curious enough to play your game.”

Joseph Warren saw Colm’s jaw tighten.

Ya know this isn’t a game, Colm thought.

“I no longer cling to the doctrines of my Puritan ancestors,” John Adams said. “I have turned to the more liberal views of the Unitarian Church. But that is not what you have asked Mr. Bohannon. The Puritan minister, Cotton Mather, claimed to have had an angel sighting, yet he and his father had denounced such sightings. They believed they were mischief or a transformation of Satan. Why would the Good Angels of God make themselves visible to man?”

“That, Mr. Adams, isn’t an opinion,” Colm pointed out.

Dr. Joseph Warren watched Fergus. Fergus did not look at Colm when he spoke. He listened with intensity, and constantly gauged the tension in the room. In contrast to Colm, with his long curly brown hair and pleasant thin face, Fergus was exceedingly handsome. Colm wore homespun. Fergus was dressed like a gentleman.

“No, it is not,” John Adams agreed. “Rather it is an old-fashioned opinion that angels have no function except to look over mankind while we sow our own fate with no real guidance from God. That opinion has changed in recent years. There has been a shift in the religious world view. I believe there is the miraculous intercession of a heavenly messenger as we search more actively and optimistically for our ultimate destination in the house of the Lord.”

William said, “My wife and I believe that if an angel comes to us after we have prayed, and tells us we shall be among the saved, then it will be so if we listen to the word of God.”

“What I found unbelievable about Cotton Mather’s sighting was the description of his angel,” John Adams noted.

“Well, here is my opinion,” Samuel Adams snickered. “Mather was in his cups. He claimed the angel had the features of a man. Angels do not have a gender unless they have possessed some poor hapless slob.”

“I have read Mather’s description,” Paul said with assurance. “The angel wore white and shining garments and a long robe. That seems to be the view most agree with in these times—an angel with a shining face wearing a splendid tiara with wings on his shoulders.”

“It is what our churches depict in the beauty of their stained-glass windows,” William added.

“This is absurd,” John Hancock spat.

“If they did walk among us, what do you think they would look like?” William asked Colm.

Colm had no physical form before he took his thirty-two-year-old vessel; therefore, he had no idea what he looked like. That concept was difficult for all of the angels. No matter how many times they saw their own reflection, they couldn’t connect what they saw to who they were. Colm said, “What they look like isn’t important.”

Joseph noted that neither Colm nor Fergus fidgeted. They did not appear to be hatching a lie. He detected uneasiness in their demeanor. Joseph knew what Colm was about to say was going to sound unbelievable because what Joseph suddenly saw was unbelievable. Moreover, it appeared that he was the only man in the basement who could see it. “Paul and William, may I have a private word with you outside?” Joseph asked.

Paul gave Joseph a suspicious look. “Why?”

Joseph did not bother to answer. He and William exited through the exterior basement door. Paul shot a doubtful look at Colm, and then followed the others outside.

Samuel Prescott and Samuel Adams walked to the basement window and peered through the small, blistered glass panes.

Paul’s voice rose above the others. “Do you know what you are saying, Joseph? They cannot…” The sound of his voice abruptly ceased.

Joseph, Paul, and William returned to the basement. William shut the door and threw the bolt latch. He climbed the stairs to the interior basement door and locked it.

The angels rustled their wings. It was one of several ways they comforted themselves. Most of those habits revealed their celestial being. Therefore, they were often deprived of self-comforting. A human who could hear their wings rustle was extraordinary.

Joseph heard the rustling. He looked at Colm and Fergus as if they had reinforced everything he had just said to Paul and William.

Colm made eye contact with Joseph.

John Hancock’s foreboding intensified. “I have had enough of this.” He turned to mount the steps.

“No, John…wait,” Joseph implored.

John complied.

“What Joseph told Paul and me is so fanciful, that I cannot grasp it,” William said. Yet, he felt calm, and strangely soothed.

Samuel Adams frowned and asked, “What did Joseph tell you?”

Fergus willed his eyes to stay focused on whoever was speaking.

Joseph and Colm made eye contact again.

Joseph said, “Mr. Bohannon, if what I am about to say is true, I expect you to demonstrate integrity and tell the truth.”

“I will.”

“You and your men are angels of God.”

John Hancock erupted. “That cannot be, Joseph! You have been led astray!”

Fergus tightened his hand around the hilt of the dagger inside his coat.

“Dr. Warren speaks the truth,” Colm said. “We’re banished angels. Some of us disobeyed God and created the Nephilim—children of angels and human women. God, in his fury, summoned the Flood of Noah to kill the Nephilim, and he created an army of demons to kill us. The demon who leads them will never stop chasing us until we’re dead.”

Samuel Prescott turned to flee the basement. Paul seized his arm and said, “No, Samuel!”

“You cannot believe this!” Samuel shouted. He jerked his arm away from Paul’s grasp. “War may be upon us, and now we have been cursed by the workings of Satan. This is too much!”

“We aren’t doing the work of Satan,” Fergus objected.

“What does your sin against God have to do with us?” John asked.

Colm said, “Angels can’t sin. Only the children of man can sin.”

Samuel Adams challenged Colm. “Prove your claim, sir.”

“We can’t unless ya truly believe angels are representations of God’s work; and even then, I’m not sure ya will be able to see our proof.”

“You had better find a way to prove yourselves,” John Hancock said indignantly.

“Joseph, they have bewitched you!” Samuel Prescott shouted.

Fergus allowed himself to look at Colm. They conjured memories from a time before three of their brotherhood learned to feel lust; before they were afraid of God’s demons; before they took human vessels and the names they had now. They listened to hear the beatific melody of Heaven. It was a tune so ancient that no living thing could recreate the tones and chords.

Without a sound, Colm and Fergus unfurled their divine silver wings. Silver crystals showered upon the patriots’ faces and wet their hair. The delicate crystals gathered on the floor and drifted into the corners of the basement. Colm’s imperial wings touched the ceiling, and the delicate plumes brushed Fergus’ widespread wings. Together, their wings filled the basement from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.

The patriots drew in a breath and fell to their knees.

Colm evoked his spiritual essence. The basement was washed in the light of his green aura, and something God had bestowed to the archangels—golden radiance. It was part of Colm’s primordial being, as ancient as the heavenly music he and Fergus heard. It was his destructive power. The green light and the gold radiance swirled and glided like a flock of birds coming home to roost at sunset.

The purple aura God had granted to the angels entrusted to an archangel’s second in command, shined intensely from Fergus’ angelic spirit. The angels furled their wings into obscurity. The dazzling light that constituted a celestial being’s essence faded. The silver crystals remained. “Get to ya feet,” Colm said softly. “We aren’t to be revered.”

The men rose. William ran a hand over his brown hair. He stared at the silver crystals in his palm.

“We offer ourselves to ya cause for freedom,” Colm said. “If Henry has provoked the colonies into war to draw us out of hiding, ya must know what ya are up against. It isn’t just England’s power. It’s also a demonic army. Ya have to be prepared for the horrors of war, and the horrors of God’s wrath.”

John Hancock was trembling. “We cannot prepare our fellow patriots for this. You must have proof that this demon is indeed provoking us. And even if we do have proof, we cannot convince the masses that Satan is behind this revolution.”

“Ya aren’t listening!” Colm said. “Satan has nothing to do with this! These are God’s demons!”

John Adams gathered his wits and said, “Mr. Bohannon, we shall take your council under serious advisement when you find your demon and not before.”

Fergus was astonished by the patriots’ response.

Colm warned, “We aren’t in control! Henry and his demons are. Ya must be prepared to fight them on the same ground as the British army!”

Human skepticism impregnated the basement of the Green Dragon Tavern. There was nothing else Colm could do to convince these unsuspecting men that the threat to them, their families, and their country was not only twofold, but also unknown.

My Giveaway

I’m giving away three ebooks or paperback books (US only) to winners who comment on this blog or on my social media posts on Twitter or Facebook. Please note: Due to the adult content and themes, this book is not intended for persons under the age of 18.

The Series: Available on Amazon with Book Four in Progress

Thank you for your interest in our blog hop and my series. Have a wonderful holiday! ~~ Salina

Joseph Warren and Benedict Arnold – An Alliance

What did the American Revolution’s first martyr and the American Revolution’s most infamous traitor have in common that was so important?

Dr. Joseph Warren was an influential and ubiquitous Boston physician, Son of Liberty, masonic grand master, and in the absence of John Hancock, pro tempore president (Joseph would be voted president on May 2, 1775) of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and member of its sub-committees when he and Benedict Arnold met in Cambridge, Massachusetts in late April 1775.

Joseph
Dr. Joseph Warren

Joseph, who sent Paul Revere and William Dawes on their famous midnight ride to warn the countryside that General Thomas Gage’s British regulars were on the move to seize patriot arms in Concord and possibly to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams hiding in Lexington, was holding the American rebellion and the provincial army together.

Benedict Arnold was from an influential Connecticut family. His great-grandfather was an early governor of Rhode Island. The family prospered until some poor business deals caused financial problems. Arnold’s father turned to the local taverns for solace. Prior to the Revolution, Benedict was an apothecary and a successful seagoing merchant captain. Some of his business dealings drifted into smuggling . . . in contempt of the customs laws of the Crown.

benedict arnold
Benedict Arnold

Both Joseph and Benedict were born in 1741. They were handsome, charismatic, energetic, ambitious, and both had an indifference to personal safety. Future actions by Benedict with respect to Joseph’s children suggest that the two seemed to have struck up an almost instant friendship, but no details of their personal interactions survive.

In April 1775, Captain Benedict Arnold marched his well-appointed militia unit from New Haven, Connecticut to Cambridge. Benedict approached Joseph and the Committee of Safety with a scheme to take the poorly defended British stronghold of Fort Ticonderoga at the southern end of Lake Champlain where there were “80 pieces of heavy cannon, 20 brass and 4 18-pounders and 10-12 mortars.” This is exactly what the Committee of Safety needed to hear. The provincial army had two experienced artillery officers, but it still did not have a sufficient number of cannons.

Joseph championed the project and shepherded it through the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Benedict was appointed a Massachusetts militia colonel, issued 100 pounds, 200 lbs of gunpowder (a decision that would prove portentous 6 weeks later at Bunker Hill), 200 lbs of lead musket balls, and bayonets.

Joseph proceeded in relative secrecy so British General Thomas Gage might be kept in the dark. Unknown to Joseph and Benedict, the Connecticut governor, John Trumbull, was simultaneously pursuing the same scheme with Ethan Allen.

Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys were equally eager to capture such a prize and the two groups met up with each other at Bennington. Arnold was surprised and angered because Ethan Allen did not care if Arnold had permission from the Committee of Safety and Arnold couldn’t talk Allen out of relinquishing command. Nevertheless, on May 10, 1775, they surprised the British garrison at Ticonderoga and took the fort.

seizing_fort_ticonderoga
The Taking of Fort Ticonderoga May 10, 1775

Joseph was one of the first leaders to hear of the expedition’s success. He sent news of Benedict’s success to Governor Trumbull. Joseph glossed over the murky inter-colonial jurisdictional issues and sought to calm ruffle feathers when Benedict’s querulous personality began to reveal itself. Joseph wrote:

Gentlemen, We have the happiness of presenting our congratulations to you on the reduction of that important Fortress Ticonderoga… [We] should be extremely glad if all the battering cannon, especially brass cannon, which can be spared from that place…may be forwarded this way with all possible expedition, as we have here to contend with an army furnished with as fine a train of artillery as ever seen in America; and we are of extreme want of a sufficient number of cannon to fortify those important passes without which we can neither annoy General Gage, if it should become necessary, nor defend ourselves against him…. 

History has given laurels to Henry Knox for leading the epic hauling of Ticonderoga’s artillery across the New England winter landscape of 1775-76 and delivering it to General George Washington in Cambridge, Massachusetts where it was used on Dorchester Heights to break the Siege of Boston. Ignored are Joseph Warren’s, Benedict Arnold’s, Ethan Allen’s, and Governor Trumbull’s conceptualization and early actions that initiated Knox’s campaign and well-deserved success.

With the new rank of major general, Joseph Warren was killed five weeks later at the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill) on June 17, 1775. His was a widower who left four destitute orphaned children behind. Benedict Arnold went on to become a major general in the Continental Army, led an expedition to Quebec City, commanded at Valcour Island, and fought at the Battle of Bemis Heights (the 2nd Battle of Saratoga) where on a borrowed horse named Warren, he stormed the enemy’s Breymann Redoubt and took a shot to the thigh which killed his mount.

By 1780, Benedict had become disgruntled with the Continental Army over back pay among other things. He donated $500 of his own money toward the care of Joseph’s children. It was a move that shamed the delegates of Congress, such as Samuel Adams, who had once been Joseph’s close compatriots and had refused measures to pay for the support of Joseph’s children.

In September of that same year, Benedict Arnold passed off the plans for West Point to British Major John Andre in exchange for an excess of 10,000 pounds and a general’s commission in the British army. The Americans discovered the plot. Benedict successfully escaped and turned. Andre was hanged as a spy.

Benedict Arnold became the vilest traitor of the American Revolution. Perhaps it was a mercy that Joseph Warren never knew.


Resources:

Forman, Samuel A.  Dr. Joseph Warren, The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of  American Liberty.  2012:  Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, Louisiana.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Bunker Hill A City, A Siege, A Revolution. 2013Penguin Books, New York, NY.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Valiant Ambition Penguin Books New York, 2016. Print.

https://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/arnold.html


Dr. Joseph Warren is an important character in my award-winning historical fantasy novel Angels & Patriots Book One, Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill Available on Amazon in paperback or KU or eBook.

The Mischianza

In October 1777, after two years of service in America, General Sir William Howe, the commander-in-chief of all British forces in America penned his resignation to Lord George Germain the English Secretary of State to the American Colonies.

WilliamHowe1777ColorMezzotint_(crop)
General Sir William Howe

In Philadelphia, on May 11, 1778, by acquiescence of Lord Germain, William relinquished his position to his second in command and often rival, General Sir Henry Clinton. There was no change of command ceremony. William just wanted to be gone. But William was a popular commander who frequently charmed even his critics. He was an affable man and no martinet, who socialized easily and was always decorated with his mistress, the beautiful Mrs. Elizabeth Lloyd Loring, draped on his arm. His eminent departure for London deserved recognition.

images
Captain John Andre

A group of British army officers led by the young and handsome, Captain John Andre, financed and arranged a brilliant spectacle on the banks of the Delaware River to honor William Howe. The event was called the Mischianza, Italian for “medley” or “mixture.”  It was a form of entertainment that had become popular in London that combined regattas, parades, costumes, and touches of medieval knights.

The guests received an elaborate invitation with an engraving of a shield, a view of the sea and the setting sun, and a Latin inscription on a wreath that said “I shine as I set, I shall rise up again in increased splendor.” The shield was emblazoned with cannons and cannonballs, swords, pikes, and kegs of gunpowder. General Howe’s crest was above the shield with the words Viva Vale! (Live and be strong!)

MischianzaTicket
Mischianza Invitation

At 3:30 p.m. on May 18, the entertainment began with a grand regatta at Knight’s Wharf. There were huge crowds of spectators aboard the ships and along the moorings. The 400 guests who included General Howe and his brother, Admiral Lord Richard Howe, the army’s principal officers, and a careful selection of the most beautiful women in the city including Elizabeth Loring boarded galleys and flat boats lined with green cloth. Generals Sir Henry Clinton and Wilhelm von Knyphausen with their staff officers and ladies were among the procession of galleys. Magnificently decorated British warships added to the spectacle.

220px-Admiral_of_the_Fleet_Howe_1726-99_1st_Earl_Howe_by_John_Singleton_Copley
Admiral Lord Richard Howe

The passengers disembarked at Walnut Grove, the British confiscated mansion of the Wharton family. On the arrival of Sir William Howe, a seventeen gun salute was fired from his brother’s flagship the Roebuck. The guests promenaded through an avenue formed by files of grenadiers and cavalry. Then, they passed through two triumphal Doric arches.

The first arch, in honor of Sir William, was guarded by two grenadiers and painted with military motifs. At the top was the inscription, “Go, good man, whither your virtue calls you, go with an auspicious step!” The second arch, in honor of Lord Richard, was guarded by two sailors and had naval motifs. At the top was the inscription, “He is due praise and greater thanks from me”

The company proceeded to a lawn with pavilions on both sides. There, colorful medieval-style tents stood in front of rows of risers, before which sat two groups of seven women in gauzy Turkish dress to give the flavor of the crusades.

Here history diverges. According to John Andre’s written account, seventeen-year-old Peggy Shippen, the future wife of Benedict Arnold was among the women. However, the aristocratic loyalist-leaning Shippen family said her father prohibited her from attending because he thought the costumes too scandalous.

peggy shippen drawing
Peggy Shippen

Nevertheless, in accordance with the customs of ancient chivalry, the sound of trumpets announced the beginning of a joust. The tournament was between two teams of mounted army officers: The Knights of the Blended Rose dressed in red and white silk and The Knights of the Burning Mountain clad in black and orange.

Each jouster fought in honor of one of the ladies chosen for their youth, beauty, and fashion. Clanging lances and clattering swords shattered the air through four rounds of the tournament; culminating in a match between the knights’ two leaders. Then, the Marshall of the Field appeared declaring the tournament a tie and the beauty of the ladies a draw.

The knights, ladies, and guests retired to the Wharton mansion embellished with artificial flowers that glowed in the reflected light from eighty-five tall mirrors and countless candles. A dance continued until 10 p.m. After fireworks and a supper, a ball recommenced.

In the midst of the midnight supper, the Continental Army sneered at the festivities. The British fortifications near Germantown exploded into flames. Under cover of night, the Marquis de Lafayette and his men poured kettles of whale oil onto the British barriers, ignited them, and then slipped away. The startled guards responded with a drum roll signaling an attack. When nothing else happened, the soldiers told the civilians the noise was just part of the fireworks.

The Mischianza was more like a victory celebration than a farewell to a general who was leaving under a cloud, with Washington’s army undefeated at Valley Forge, and William’s miscalculation in taking Philadelphia rather than relieving British General John Burgoyne who was forced to capitulate at Saratoga.

The sheer extravagance of the event elicited disgust in London where one of the newspapers called the spectacle “nauseous.” Even Admiral Lord Richard Howe’s secretary, Ambrose Serle, was among the critics. “Every man of sense, among ourselves, tho not unwilling to pay a due respect, was ashamed of this mode of doing it.” With or without the Mischianza, Sir William Howe must have known his hope for vindication was a long shot.


Resources:

Fleming, Thomas. Washington’s Secret War The Hidden History of Valley Forge New Word City, Inc. 2016. Print.

Stuart, Nancy Rubin. Defiant Brides  Boston: Beacon Press, 2013. Print.

O’Shaughnessy, Andrew Jackson. The Men Who Lost America New Haven & London Yale University Press, 2013. Print.

Lender, Mark Edward and Stone, Gary Wheeler. Fatal Sunday University of Oklahoma Press Norman, 2016. Print.


Rebels, Heroes, Patriots, and Legends. My multiple award winning Angels and Patriots historical fantasy saga is the mutual pursuit of liberty, the meaning of loyalty, and the virtue of the ultimate sacrifice during the American Revolution.

*Amazon US: Series Available in paperback, Kindle eBook or Kindle Unlimited. Angels & Patriots Book Series

*Amazon UK: Series Available in paperback, Kindle eBook or Kindle Unlimited. Angels & Patriots Book Series

Book Review: Caty A Biography of Catharine Littlefield Greene

The introduction begins with a scholarly look at the feminine sphere of women during the colonial period and society’s disapproval of women who were perceived to have stepped outside of it pre- and post- American Revolution. Caty Greene often defied this narrow perception of acceptable behavior. She also shouldered heavy financial burdens who her husband, General Nathanael Greene, one of George Washington’s most trusted and capable generals, shouldered as a direct result of the war until his early death in 1786.

Caty burned all her letters to Nathanael therefore their relationship is interpreted through Nathanael’s letters and responses to her.

catygreene
Caty Greene later in life, 1809

Review:

May 1761, six-year-old Caty Littlefield watched her mother’s burial on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island, an isolated place where her ancestors had lived since the 1660’s free from Massachusetts dogma. Two years later, Caty was taken in by her namesake, her mother’s sister Catharine Greene, a dark-haired violet-eyed beauty who Caty resembled. Aunt Catharine was married to William Greene, Jr. a Rhode Island politician who was distantly related to Nathanael Greene. Nathanael was a frequent visitor to the house in East Greenwich.

nathaniel_greene_large_large
General Nathanael Greene

The Caty Nathanael met there was comfortable in the society of men and her “power of fascination was absolutely irresistible.” Nathanael and Caty wed on July 20, 1774. They settled in his home in Coventry, Rhode Island, but those early days of tranquility were short lived. The events in Massachusetts on April 19, 1775 changed all that and Nathanael left with Rhode Island militia to attend the siege of Boston.

3000
Greene Homestead in Coventry, Rhode Island today.

Caty was determined to spend time with her husband at camp no matter where that was. Pregnant, she traveled to Nathanael’s headquarters west of Boston. When she returned to Coventry, her lack of domestic skills, fear for Nathanael’s safety and pregnancy led to personal anxieties. She squabbled with her female in-laws.

Caty visited her husband at his headquarters as often as possible, with or without her children. As a general’s wife, she was naturally made the center of attention. She became close friends with Martha Washington and Lucy Knox. Her vivacious behavior elicited a spontaneous response from admiring gentlemen. She listened with genuine interest to stories told by men like General Israel Putnam. Young aides became smitten with her looks and playfulness, and Nathanael was delighted by their admiration.

In late spring 1776, whispers about Caty’s behavior circulated among her family members. In the winter of 1777, jealousies and insecurities surfaced between Caty and Nathanael—his admiration for Lady Stirling and Kitty, General Alexander Stirling’s wife and daughter, his reminder to watch her spelling when writing to the scholarly Lucy Knox, and his subsequent letter after he heard about Caty’s many parties:

“In the neighborhood of my quarters there are several sweet pretty Quaker girls. If the spirit should move and love invite who can be accountable for the consequences?” 

Leaving her children with in-laws, Caty arrived in Valley Forge in 1778 where she met men like Lafayette, Steuben, and Hamilton while her jealousy simmered over the Stirling ladies. It was here she met General Anthony Wayne. An incurable ladies man, his wife never came to camp. Caty was stimulated by the company of this charming man. The whispered gossip began yet Nathanael remained unconcerned.

Anthony Wayne
General Anthony Wayne

By the summer of 1780, she was back in Coventry. Nathanael’s new post was uncertain. Then, he was sent off to the deep South. The Greene’s had no cash; only land in Rhode Island. While Nathanael bore the horrors of the Southern Campaign, forbidding Caty to join him, she was enjoying the social life in Newport among French soldiers.

After the British surrender in Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781, she traveled to South Carolina to join Nathanael at his headquarters near Charleston. She witnessed the devastation Nathanael had warned her of. After a twenty-three month separation, she found her husband much changed and worn down from the war and debt. Only land grants for his service in the Southern campaign stood between their family and utter financial ruin—Mulberry Grove plantation and holdings on Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia. Anthony Wayne was granted the plantation adjacent to Mulberry Grove.

In 1785, Caty gave birth to their sixth child, Catharine. The infant died of whooping cough. Caty lay for weeks despondent. Nathanael hired a tutor for the children, a twenty-one year old graduate of Yale, Phineas Miller. The family moved to Mulberry Grove in November. Caty was pregnant again. Tragically in April 1786, she fell and gave birth to a premature daughter who died soon after.

By then, the Mulberry Grove plantation was thriving. The Greenes had a promising new start which came to an abrupt end on June 19, 1786, when Nathanael died of sunstroke. Caty soon learned the worst. Her husband died before he had made the barest beginning toward paying off the huge debts he owed to his creditors after borrowing money to equip his Southern Army. She would have to make a claim of indemnity to the government for reimbursement.

She poured her heart out to Jeremiah Wadsworth, one of Nathanael’s creditors and a man she had been attracted to for years. Wadsworth was married and had past indiscretions. Jealousy ignited between Miller and Wadsworth for Caty’s affections and Wadworth’s support in settling her estate in Congress began to wane.

Jeremiah_Wadsworth_and_His_Son_Daniel_John_Trumbull_1784
Jeremiah Wadsworth

In 1791, she stood before Congress with her indemnity claim that Alexander Hamilton had helped her prepare. Anthony Wayne held a seat in Congress and fought furiously for her settlement. On April 27, she was awarded $47,000 and for the first time since the war, her family was solvent. Soon after, Wayne disappeared from her life. He went west to join the military there. He died of complications from gout on December 15, 1796 during a return trip to Pennsylvania from a military post in Detroit.

By this time, Caty and Phineas Miller had drawn up a legal agreement concerning their relationship and prospective marriage. All five of her children were living at Mulberry Grove, but her oldest child, George, drowned soon after coming home from France.

 

CAF20FC4-D7D0-F0C9-E879345BAF1C52B4
Eli Whitney

Enter Eli Whitney, who came south to accept a teaching position. Miller and Whitney formed a business partnership with Caty as a silent backer to finance Whitney’s cotton gin invention. However, the venture needed more capital than Caty could provide. Caty and Phineas invested in a land scheme—the Yazoo Company. The company collapsed and Caty once again faced poverty. She married Phineas later that year much to Whitney’s chagrin for he was in love with her.

In 1800, Mulberry Grove was sold and the family moved to Cumberland Island at Dungeness where Nathanael, fourteen years before, had begun construction of his family’s future home. The island yielded everything the family needed to survive, but three years later at age thirty-nine, the gentle and faithful Phineas died of blood poisoning after pricking his finger on a thorn.

Caty was faced with selling Phineas’ part of the Miller estate which was tied up in his company with Whitney. There were also the settlements against her estate for legal fees, loans, etc. For a time, she sold live oaks to a lumber company in an effort to salvage the cotton gin company.

Eli Whitney was tormented by his love for Caty, but she was now past childbearing age and he wanted a family. She made a failed attempt at matching him with her youngest daughter, Louisa. On July 5, 1814, Caty wrote her last letter to Whitney who was in New Haven, Connecticut:

“We have a party of eighteen to eat Turtle with us tomorrow. I wish you were the nineteenth. Our fruit begins to flow in upon us—to partake of which I long for you… ”

She had grown and found as Nathanael once suggested, that self-pity made a sad companion. In the last week of August, Caty was struck with a fever. The same week the capital city of Washington lay in ruins. Caty never knew. She died on September 2, 1814.

images
Greene-Miller Cemetery on Cumberland Island at Dungeness

Despite history’s proverbial finger pointing about what she may have done during her marriage to Nathanael, I highly recommend this book that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of a woman who faced the consequences of war and met them head on the rest of her life.

 

Book Review: Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier, The Narrative of Joseph Plumb Martin

“Through much fatigue and many dangers past, The Warworn soldier’s braved his way at last.” ~~ Joseph Plumb Martin

I could think of no better way to express my love for this narrative except to offer a review. I’ve read countless quotes from Joseph’s memoir in books about the Revolutionary War and have written about him in my own novels. But to read his memoir in it’s entirety plunged me into his world during his nearly eight years of service with the Continental Army.

Joseph wrote and published his memoirs in 1830 at the age of 70. The book was lost to history, rediscover in the 1950’s, and published again in 1962. Like many memoirs, he may have embellished it, but it’s rooted in the experiences endured by the common soldier instead of the heroic accounts of men like Washington, Greene, and Knox. Nevertheless, this is an eye opening tale of suffering, endurance, and patriotism.

Joseph was born in Massachusetts on November 21, 1760, therefore he was just a teenager when he joined the army in 1776. At the time, he lived with his grandparents in Connecticut and had difficulty gaining their permission to enlist. He and his company were soon sent to New York where they saw action at Long Island, Kipp’s Bay, Harlem Heights, and White Plains.

Later in the war, he was at Germantown, the siege of Fort Mifflin, and the Battle of Monmouth. His company was shipped off to the Hudson Highlands and West Point. He spoke of Benedict Arnold’s treason and John Andre’s execution. He was with the unit of sappers at Yorktown who dug the parallel entrenchments used to besiege Cornwallis’ army.

In his memoir, Joseph paints a picture of camaraderie between he and his “messmates.” Their shared struggles with constant starvation, nakedness, lack of shelter, sickness, fatigue, and hard duty is a theme throughout.

“To have to lie, as I did, almost every other night on the cold and often wet ground… without a blanket, and with nothing but thin summer clothing, was tedious.” 

“The army was now (Valley Forge) not only starved but naked; the greatest part were not only shirtless and barefoot, but destitute of all other clothing, especially blankets.”

“…I have often been so beat out with long and tedious marching, that I have fallen asleep while walking the road, and not been sensible of it till I have jostled against some one in the same situation;…”

He candidly wrote about the officers who made bad decisions, quartered in homes and ate well — “for they must have victuals, let the poor men fare as they would.” His detailed descriptions of the army’s failure to provide pay and provisions, his food foraging expeditions, and food sometimes provided to the soldiers by civilians underlies the desperation he experienced enduring starvation.

Yet amid all these descriptions of misery, Joseph demonstrates a sense of humor, compassion, courage, mischief, and admiration for “handsome ladies.” He refers to those who are killed or dies as “Poor young man!” or “Poor fellow!” When his regiment returns to White Plains, he sees that the Hessians who died at the battle there the year before are ill-buried and he feels sorry for them. “Here the Hessian sculls as thick as a bomb shells; — poor fellows! they were left unburied in a foreign land…”  

When the war ended in 1783, he wrote that the happiness he had anticipated was not realized. “….there was as much sorrow as joy transfused on the occasion. We lived together as a family of brothers for several years (setting aside some little family squabbles, like most other families,) had shared with each other the hardships, dangers and sufferings incident to a soldier’s life…”

He concludes with after the war the soldiers were never given the land they were promised nor their yearly clothing allowance. But the heart rending message was how the country vilified them — the army was idle during the war or the militia could have done the job. The soldiers’ hardships were debased and underrated.

“President Monroe was the first of all our Presidents, except President Washington, who ever uttered a syllable in the ‘old soldiers’ favor.”

Of the voices of slander, he wrote:

“It was very easy for them to build castles in the air, but they had not felt the difficulty of making them stand there.” 

“And now, kind Reader, I bid you a cordial and long farewell.” ~~ Joseph Plumb Martin