Thursday, May 5, 2016

History: The Year is 1780

I've uploaded year 1780 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Benedict Arnold's Betrayal -- He is giving away West Point for a song... and treason.

The War Goes South -- General Clinton packs up 14,000 troops and sails to South Carolina.

Items of Interest -- first circular saw

Benedict Arnold's Betrayal

Benedict Arnold has been threatened by hoodlums, but Congress has denied him a military guard force. His wife, Peggy, is frightened so she contacts the one guy who kept her safe when the British occupied Philadelphia: Major John Andre, the head of British Intelligence. Major Andre can also do her husband some good so Benedict Arnold is now selling military information to the British. When Arnold is given the command of West Point, he decides to hand over the fort to the British along with General George Washington and Colonel Alexander Hamilton for the sum of 20,000 pounds or about $3.5 million in modern dollars. Arnold meets John Andre to finalize the plans, but then he can't get back to his ship. Arnold gives him maps of West Point and arranges for him to get back to the British side by land. All seems well, but as Washington and Hamilton ride up, a message arrives for Arnold. Major Andre was caught by a random patrol. They found the maps of West Point in his boot and he seems to have misplaced his uniform. That makes him a spy caught on the battlefield! Benedict Arnold pauses to speak to Peggy. He then excuses himself. Peggy is panicking. Benedict is running. Peggy starts screaming about how Washington has come to murder her child. It is not clear if she is just buying time for her husband to escape. If she is faking, she has big brass... uh... she stalls and Benedict Arnold gets away. She convinces them that she knew nothing about the conspiracy so she avoids the hangman's noose. But she knew plenty. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I'm not sure what to say (in polite company). Benedict Arnold had promised Major Andre an official pass and a flag of truce, but I don't think that is legal. There is no truce when the purpose of a meeting is to conspire to commit treason. General Washington was justified (even under the modern Geneva Convention) to hang Major Andre immediately as a spy. Once Benedict Arnold made his escape, he sent a message back to Washington asking him to take care of his wife and to return her to him if at all possible. WHAT A JERK! Arnold lived to the age of 60 and dropped dead from the gout. Major Andre's last words before he hanged were, "I pray you to bear me witness that I meet my fate like a brave man." By all accounts, he did. Peggy met up with her husband in New York the next year and they traveled to London together.

The War Goes South

A strange darkness has fallen over New England. Could it be Judgement Day? The British forces decide to pack it in, get back on their ships and sail away... to Charleston, South Carolina. General Sir Henry Clinton has moved 14,000 troops and General Washington must decide what to do about it. Luckily, French support ships arrive at Rhode Island. Washington is listening carefully to his French advisors, but he doesn't like what he is hearing. The war is going to have to move south. Why is this such a tough decision? Well... according to historian Joseph Ellis, as the British troops are loading up to sail to South Carolina, 60 Massachusetts Militiamen have not been paid and many haven't eaten in 4 days. Their shoes are falling apart... at least the half that still have shoes. General Washington has ordered the confiscation of grain and cattle. He says it is either plunder or starve. He is writing to Congress in very plain language (for him). He tells them that he can't run a war with 13 separate war policies. Congress must find a way to impose a single policy and then fund it. He is making the case for a strong central government, but that won't come until much later. Soon Washington will lean on General Greene to head south and see what he can do. This Revolution is looking like a forlorn hope at this point. [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There actually was a day of unusual darkness that spread across New England. And yes. Many people thought that Judgement Day was at hand, but scientists look back to those days and there is evidence of an unusually large forest fire in Ontario, Canada at that time, more or less. Along with a natural cloud cover, that could explain it. [4]

Items of Interest

  • The first circular saw is invented. It is used as a rip-saw for cutting lumber. Before this time, lumber was cut using a saw pit like a reciprocating saw with one man in the pit and the other on top. [2] [5]
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences is founded in Massachusetts. The first members are Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. [6] [2]
  • In a Word: Derby: Horse racing at Epson Downs is established by the 12th Earl of Derby. The race becomes known as a "derby". The English pronounce it "DAR-bee". [7]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1780, Wikipedia.

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