Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Battle of Yorktown


Image result for Battle of Yorktown

September 28 1781, General George Washington, commanding a force of 17,000 French and Continental troops, begins the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and a contingent of 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in the most important battle of the Revolutionary War.

Earlier, in a stroke of luck for the Patriots, the French fleet commanded by Francois, Count de Grasse, departed St. Domingue (the then-French colony that is now Haiti) for the Chesapeake Bay, just as Cornwallis chose Yorktown, at the mouth of the Chesapeake, as his base. Washington realized that it was time to act. He ordered Marquis de Lafayette and an American army of 5,000 troops to block Cornwallis’ escape from Yorktown by land while the French naval fleet blocked the British escape by sea. By September 28, Washington had completely encircled Cornwallis and Yorktown with the combined forces of Continental and French troops. After three weeks of non-stop bombardment, both day and night, from cannon and artillery, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington in the field at Yorktown on October 17, 1781, effectively ending the War for Independence.

Pleading illness, Cornwallis did not attend the formal surrender ceremony, held on October 19. Instead, his second in command, General Charles O’Hara, carried Cornwallis’ sword to the American and French commanders.

Although the war persisted on the high seas and in other theaters, the Patriot victory at Yorktown ended fighting in the American colonies. Peace negotiations began in 1782, and on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, formally recognizing the United States as a free and independent nation after eight years of war.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hero of the Revolution


Image result for Nathan Hale

In New York City on September 22, 1776, Nathan Hale, a Connecticut schoolteacher and captain in the Continental Army, is executed by the British for spying.

A graduate of Yale University, Hale joined a Connecticut regiment in 1775 and served in the successful siege of British-occupied Boston. On September 10, 1776, he volunteered to cross behind British lines on Long Island to spy on the British in preparation for the Battle of Harlem Heights.

Disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster, the Yale-educated Hale slipped behind British lines on Long Island and successfully gathered information about British troop movements for the next several weeks. While Hale was behind enemy lines, the British invaded the island of Manhattan; they took control of the city on September 15, 1776. When the city was set on fire on September 20, British soldiers were told to look out for sympathizers to the Patriot cause. The following evening, September 21, Hale was captured while sailing Long Island Sound, trying to cross back into American-controlled territory. Although rumors surfaced that Hale was betrayed by his first cousin and British Loyalist Samuel Hale, the exact circumstances of Hale’s capture have never been discovered.

Hale was interrogated by British General William Howe and, when it was discovered that he was carrying incriminating documents, General Howe ordered his execution for spying, which was set for the following morning. After being led to the gallows, legend holds that the 21-year-old Hale said, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” There is no historical record to prove that Hale actually made this statement, but, if he did, he may have been inspired by these lines in English author Joseph Addison’s 1713 play Cato: “What a pity it is/That we can die but once to serve our country.”

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Battle of Freeman’s Farm


Image result for Battle of Freeman’s Farm

In the early morning hours of  September 19, 1777, British General John Burgoyne launches a three-column attack against General Horatio Gates and his American forces in the First Battle of Saratoga, also known as the Battle of Freeman’s Farm.

Coming under heavy cannon fire from the approaching British troops, General Gates initially ordered the Northern Army to be patient and wait until the British neared before launching a counter-attack. General Gates’ second in command, American Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, strongly disagreed with Gates’ orders and did not hesitate to share his opinion with his superior. After arguing for several hours, General Arnold was finally able to convince Gates to order American troops onto the battlefield to meet the center column of the approaching British, and to dispatch a regiment of riflemen to intercept the British right flank.

Although the Americans were able to inflict severe casualties on the British, the delay in ordering a counter-attack forced the Americans to fall back. During the five-hour battle, the Americans lost approximately 280 troops killed, while the British suffered a more severe loss of more than 550 killed.

Due to the disagreement over military decisions of the battle
, Gates removed Arnold as his second in command. Arnold felt slighted by the army he served, and in 1780, he betrayed the Patriot cause by handing over the Patriot-held fort at West Point, New York, to the British. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Battle of Harlem Heights


Image result for Battle of Harlem Heights

September 16, 1776, General George Washington arrives at Harlem Heights, on the northern end of Manhattan, and takes command of a group of retreating Continental troops. The day before, 4,000 British soldiers had landed at Kip’s Bay in Manhattan (near present-day 34th Street) and taken control of the island, driving the Continentals north, where they appeared to be in disarray prior to Washington’s arrival.

In the early morning hours, General Washington ordered the Continentals to hold their line at Harlem Heights while he sent Captain Thomas Knowlton and a volunteer group of Rangers to scout British movements and possibly lure the British into combat. While Captain Knowlton and the Rangers engaged the British in a frontal assault, Washington sent a second force of Patriots to attack the British from their right flank. During the short but intense fighting that ensued, the Americans were able to force a small British retreat from their northern positions.

Despite the American failure to stop the British invasion of New York City the previous day at Kip’s Bay, the successful Battle of Harlem Heights restored public confidence in the American troops and lifted the spirits of the Continental Army. The Americans and British each lost approximately 70 troops in the fighting. One of the Americans lost was the Ranger leader, Captain Thomas Knowlton.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Battle at Eutaw Springs



Image result

After receiving reinforcements on September 8, 1781, Major General Nathanael Greene of the Continental Army resumes offensive action against Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart and the British soldiers at Eutaw Springs, located on the banks of the Santee River in South Carolina. The Patriots approached in the early morning, forcing the British soldiers to abandon their uneaten breakfasts in order to fight.

Greene commanded approximately 2,200 men compared to the less than 2,000 British soldiers commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart. Unbeknownst to most of the Patriots, however, British Major John Majoribanks had managed to secure his unit in a stone house, impervious to Patriot Lieutenant Colonel William Washington’s cavalry attack. When Patriot soldiers took over the British camp and began to devour the abandoned breakfast, Majoribanks set his men upon them. A four-hour inconclusive bloodbath in the burning sun ensued, ending in both sides retreating from the battlefield. More than 500 Americans were killed or wounded in the action. British losses were even greater and the greatest sustained by any army in a single battle during the entire Revolutionary War. By the end of the battle, 700 of their soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. Because of the high number of casualties the British sustained, Stewart subsequently ordered his men to withdraw to Charleston, South Carolina, to regroup.

The Battle of Eutaw Springs was one of the hardest fought and bloodiest battles of the Revolution and proved to be the last major engagement of the war to take place in the South. The Patriots’ partial victory cemented their near-complete control of the southern section of the country.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

For the Seamstress & Tailor

In the Draper´s Shop; by Adriaen Bloem

Burnley & Trowbridge: If you want authentic and accurate, this should be your first stop.


The Village Green Clothier: The author of Fitting & Proper also has a web store! An excellent source and someone you should know.



At the Sign of the Golden Scissors: The millinery shop of South Coast Historical Associates.  Also have a blog here.



Smoke & Fire: A huge selection and variety of items. 


Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc.: Another well-known name in the reenacting world. 

Wooded Hamlet Designs/Needle & Thread: Excellent source of sewing notions, ribbons, etc.

Fabrics-store.com: Linen, linen, and more linen!

Super Silk, Inc.: Silk, silk, and more silk!

Fabrics.net: Learn about fabrics.

Joann's: Sign up on their email list for coupons. Get tools from them (scissors, rotary cutter, ruler, etc.), buy only with a coupon.

Liberty Linens: Fine linens, also offering some wools.

Farmhouse Fabrics, LLC: Excellent source of fabrics, sewing notions, ribbons, etc.


Renaissance Fabrics: A great selection of silk taffeta.


Wm. Booth, Draper: Loads of goodies, from fabric to notions to books and patterns.