Today in Ranger history

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Jim
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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The Purple Heart!
On May 3, 1783, General George Washington presents the first Army decoration, which he calls the Badge of Military Merit, to two noncommissioned officers of the Continental Army—Sergeants Elijah Churchill (2d Legionary Corps), and William Brown (5th Connecticut Regiment). A third badge is later awarded to Sergeant Daniel Bissell, Jr. (2d Connecticut Regiment). These are the only Badges of Military Merit ever given.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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From Tara Ross:

On this day in 1730, a signer of the Declaration of Independence is born. If you’ve heard a story about George Ross, it probably wasn’t about his signature, though. It was probably about the woman that his nephew married: Betsy Ross.

Legend has it that George Ross brought George Washington to the seamstress’s shop during May or June of 1776 when General Washington needed a new flag for his army.

As the story goes, Washington had a sketch in his pocket of a flag with thirteen stars and stripes. The stars in Washington’s sketch, however, had 6 points. Betsy suggested making a change. She showed the men that she could cut a 5-point star with just one snip of her scissors. Everyone agreed that a 5-point star would work for the new American flag.

The story has never been conclusively proven or disproven. And, either way, there was a lot more to George Ross than his famous connection to Betsy.

Ross was a Pennsylvania lawyer who’d been practicing for many years before tensions began to arise with Great Britain. At one point, Ross even served as a Crown Prosecutor. His position working for the King made him pretty sympathetic to the Tory position at first. In 1768, however, he was elected to the colonial legislature. He began to see the other side of some issues.

Can’t you imagine that he must have been torn for a while? Before too long, though, he’d changed his views. He was firmly on the Patriot side.

Interestingly, Ross was not a member of the Continental Congress when it approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. He wasn’t elected to Congress until 16 days later. He quickly made his way to Philadelphia, though, and he affixed his name to the Declaration when it was finally signed.

Think about that. He signed the document, knowing the King would view the move as treasonous. He wasn’t even present when independence had been voted on in early July. Was his signature really necessary? He could be signing his own death warrant!

He doesn’t seem to have questioned the move. He simply signed his name.

In the years that followed, Ross served his country in other ways. He negotiated treaties with Indian tribes. He helped form a new government for Pennsylvania. He briefly served as a judge. Unfortunately, he would not be able to help in any of these capacities for very long. Instead, chronic health problems would bring an early end to his life in 1779.

Ross had risked his life for his country. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see her gain her freedom.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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WATCH] Rare Footage of Civil War Soldiers Demonstrating the “Rebel Yell

https://www.americangrit.com/2017/03/30 ... ebel-yell/
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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From Tara Ross:

On this day in 1908, Teddy Roosevelt signs an act restoring the motto “In God We Trust” to certain U.S. coins. His decision to sign this piece of legislation came in the wake of an incident in which he’d tried to have the phrase removed from U.S. currency.

“In God We Trust” was on U.S. coins for several years after the Civil War. Then-Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase had been receiving many letters from Americans: They wanted “recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins.”

Chase agreed with the sentiment. He wrote the Director of the Mint: “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.” The Director complied and suggested several designs for Chase’s consideration. Ultimately, however, congressional legislation was needed before the U.S. Mint could make all the design changes that had been requested. In 1864, Congress gave the Mint this authority for one and two-cent coins.

The Mint produced the first two-cent coins with the inscription “In God We Trust” later that year. And, in 1865, Congress passed a law allowing the Mint to redesign more denominations of coins. At this point, the phrase was being used, but its use was still technically discretionary.

Well, at least, the phrase was being used until Teddy Roosevelt came along. Apparently, he wasn’t a big fan of this tradition!

During his administration, Roosevelt commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens to design some new coins for the Mint. These new coins did not include the “In God We Trust” motto. Importantly, it was not anti-religious sentiment that drove Roosevelt’s decision, but pro-religious sentiment. Roosevelt explained, at the time, that inclusion of the phrase on coins was “in effect irreverence which comes dangerously close to sacrilege.” He thought that use of the phrase on coins or postage stamps “cheapen[s] the motto.”

To be fair, some people think that his pro-religion claims were a bit specious, aimed at appeasing an outraged public. One alternative explanation? He simply hadn’t spent that much time thinking about the motto. Instead, he’d become a bit obsessed with an idea that he’d had to model U.S. coins on those of classical Greece. If he were to create a Greek-style coin, that meant keeping it simple and stripping the coin of extra verbiage.

The public disagreed with Roosevelt’s decision, and the outcry soon prompted Congress to pass a law. This law required use of the phrase on “certain denominations of the gold and silver coins of the United States of America . . . as heretofore.”

Despite his earlier statements, Roosevelt complied with the congressional decision. He had already indicated that “the matter of the law is absolutely in the hands of Congress, and any direction of Congress in the matter will be immediately obeyed.”

Teddy Roosevelt signed the law that he personally disagreed with on May 18, 1908.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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Tara Ross


On this day in 1792, George Washington writes to James Madison. His first term was coming to a close, and he wanted to retire from public life. He asked Madison to draft a “plain & modest” farewell address.

Apparently, Washington was pretty miserable. He had spent his entire life in public service, and he simply did not want to be President anymore.

“Nothing short of conviction,” he wrote Madison, “that my deriliction of the Chair of Government (if it should be the desire of the people to continue me in it) would involve the Country in serious disputes respecting the chief Magestrate . . . could, in any wise, induce me to relinquish the determination I have formed [of retiring].”

Madison’s recollection of that period was that Washington was pretty tired of his situation. The President, Madison wrote, “could not believe or conceive himself anywise necessary to the successful administration of the Government . . . he found himself also in the decline of life, his health becoming sensibly more infirm, & perhaps his faculties also; that the fatigues & disagreeableness of his situation were in fact scarcely tolerabl[e] to him.”

You may already have figured out that Washington’s wishes were not to be fulfilled. He wanted to retire, but the people would not let him go. Amazingly, Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton were all in agreement on this point. And it seemed they rarely agreed on anything in those days!

“North & South will hang together, if they have you to hang on,” Jefferson wrote. He told Washington that he was the “only man in the U.S. who possessed the confidence of the whole, . . . and that the longer he remained, the stronger would become the habits of the people in submitting to the government & in thinking it a thing to be maintained.”

Madison agreed that Washington’s retirement would result in a “surprize and shock to the public mind.” Hamilton believed that Washington’s retirement would be “deplored as the greatest evil, that could befall the country at the present juncture, and as critically hazardous to your own reputation.”

Washington could not have been happy to receive this advice from three of his trusted advisors! In the end, he was not able to retire. Instead, he was reelected to another four-year term.

Once again, Washington bowed to the demands of his country.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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From Tara Ross;

On this day in 1800, Brigadier General John Lamb passes away. This Revolutionary War hero literally sacrificed years of his life (and even part of his eyesight) to the cause. Unfortunately, he would end his life in poverty, burdened with massive debts created by someone else.

John Lamb’s father arrived in America in the 1720s, possibly as an indentured servant. Anthony Lamb worked for years to resurrect his reputation and to build a business. Perhaps Anthony’s son learned lessons about the value of liberty and perseverance from watching his father? The younger Lamb was among the first to join the Sons of Liberty when tensions began to rise with Great Britain.

Lamb must have been something else during those days. One historian even describes him as a bit of a “rabble-rouser”! wink emoticon;)

Indeed, when the “shot heard round the world” was fired at Lexington, Lamb sprang into action. He was at the forefront of the Patriots who marched down to New York harbor, occupied the customs house, and prevented ships from leaving the harbor. They also seized military supplies.

The war was on. And Lamb was right in the thick of it.

He was made captain of an artillery company, and he joined an early expedition to conquer Canada. Unfortunately, Lamb was among those wounded and captured at the Battle of Quebec on December 31, 1775. One of his injuries permanently robbed him of sight in one eye.

You’d think that being badly wounded and captured might dampen his enthusiasm? But it didn’t.

As soon as Lamb was paroled and released to fight, he helped raise another company of men with the assistance of Benedict Arnold (not yet a traitor). Mere months later, Lamb was wounded again. Grapeshot hit him near his spine, leaving him so badly wounded that some at first thought him dead.

He wasn’t. He recovered and went back to the Army. Again.

Lamb was later assigned to West Point, where he continued to work with Arnold. Lamb and Arnold had been friends, so you can imagine that Lamb felt doubly betrayed when Arnold’s treachery was discovered. He was furious with his former friend and reportedly averred that if Arnold “were to be hanged to-morrow, I would go barefooted to witness his execution.”

Perhaps Lamb got his revenge on Arnold at Yorktown? Lamb knew quite a lot about artillery by then and was valued in the Continental Army for that expertise. During the siege of Yorktown, he was second in command of artillery, directing much of the bombardment that convinced Lord Cornwallis to finally surrender to George Washington. Lamb’s work was commended, and he soon earned a promotion to Brigadier General.

Unfortunately for Lamb, his distinguished service in the Army was followed by a less distinguished civil career. He’d been appointed to serve as Collector of Customs for the Port of New York. Sadly, Lamb ended up getting pretty sick. He was still the official collector, but many of his responsibilities were passed on to a chief clerk.

Perhaps Lamb should have resigned instead? His clerk took advantage of the situation. It’s believed that he embezzled large sums of money, then fled the country. Lamb was considered personally responsible for these funds, since he was still officially the collector. He sold his property to cover the debt, but it wasn’t enough. He would continue to struggle to repay the debt until his death in 1800.

What a sad ending for the Brigadier General who had already given so much for his country.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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from Tara Ross:


On this day in 1971, the most decorated combat hero of World War II is tragically killed. Audie Leon Murphy wasn’t supposed to be a hero! In fact, when he first tried to join the military, the Marines rejected him because of his small size. The paratroopers rejected him, too. Disappointed, he joined the infantry.

The young Texan wasn’t one to be kept down! He soon proved himself to be a skilled marksman and a brave soldier.

Perhaps his most famous demonstration of bravery occurred on January 26, 1945. He was in the small town of Holtzwihr, France, with his unit of only 40 men. They’d been ordered to hold a particular road until reinforcements arrived. Unfortunately, the Nazis chose that moment to attack. Murphy’s men were badly outnumbered—there were up against 250 Nazis and 6 tanks!

Murphy ordered his men to fall back into the woods, even as he picked up his field phone and called for an Allied artillery attack. As Allied fire fell, he was able to take control of a burning tank. Perhaps more importantly, he took control of its machine gun! Germans were all around him, but he fired on the Nazi infantry for an hour until his ammunition ran out. He was talking on his field phone the whole time, helping to direct Allied artillery fire! When his ammunition was finally exhausted, he left the tank. Refusing medical treatment for his injuries, he organized his men into a counterattack. In the end, Murphy and his 40 men rebuffed the 250 Germans.

“I expected to see the whole damn tank destroyer blow up under him any minute,” Private Anthony Abramski later testified. “For an hour, he held off the enemy force single-handed, fighting against impossible odds. . . . The fight that Lieutenant MURPHY put up was the greatest display of guts and courage I have ever seen. There is only one in a million who would be willing to stand up on a burning vehicle, loaded up with explosives, and hold off around 250 raging KRAUTS for an hour and do all that when he was wounded.”

After the war, Murphy came home to a hero’s welcome! He’d earned 28 awards, including the Medal of Honor and some French and Belgian honors. He earned every American medal for valor. He’d done all of this, and he was only 20 years old! He was soon featured on the cover of Life magazine, which brought him to the attention of Hollywood. The soldier-turned-actor would go on to act in dozens of movies, and his memoirs would be made into a film, To Hell and Back. He also became a songwriter.

Despite these successes, everything was not rosy for Murphy in these years. He was candid about the fact that he suffered from “battle fatigue” (today known as post-traumatic stress disorder), and he struggled with insomnia. Nevertheless, he apparently didn’t know how to stay away from military service. He joined the Texas National Guard in 1950, hoping that he would be called to serve in the Korean War. It didn’t happen. He later transferred to the Army Reserve.

Murphy was killed in a private plane crash on May 28, 1971. After his death, he was buried with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery. Finally, just two years ago, his home state of Texas posthumously awarded him its greatest military honor: the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor.

The poor son of sharecroppers was not supposed to be a hero—and yet he was! Determination, perseverance, exceeding expectations . . . . How AMERICAN.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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On this date in1754: The Virginian Regiment finishes building a stockade in the Great Meadows that will be named Fort Necessity (today, Pittsburgh, PA). Lieutenant George Washington writes to Lt. Governor Robert Dinwiddie, “We have just finish’d a small palisadod Fort in which with my small Number’s I shall not fear the attack of 500 Men.” The first battle of the French and Indian War and Washington’s first military campaign will take place here.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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From Tara Ross:

On this day in 1755, an American Patriot is born. He is unfortunately best known for his death, just 21 years later. Nathan Hale’s reported final words were brave and memorable. Maybe you’ve heard them? Hale declared: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

Awesome! Brave.

Hale was attempting to help George Washington’s army, then fighting a series of battles in and around New York. Americans had lost the Battle of Long Island in August 1776, but then they'd made a miraculous middle-of-the-night escape across the East River. A few weeks later, they were driven from New York. Fortunately, they won a much-needed victory at Harlem Heights not too long after that.

Washington was desperate for information about the British. He asked Lt. Colonel Thomas Knowlton to help him recruit volunteers. He needed spies! Knowlton turned to his Rangers for help. Only one person stepped forward: a young Captain under Knowlton’s command, Nathan Hale.

Hale was a graduate from Yale who had been teaching when the American Revolution first began. He soon joined the army and obtained the rank of captain; he was a member of Knowlton’s Rangers, a special corps that acted as a special scouting arm of the army. The Rangers were to take on tasks that involved a “special, delicate, and hazardous duty.”

Interesting that, even among all those tough guys, Hale was the only one who wanted to volunteer to be a spy. Unfortunately, Hale’s experience in spying did not match his enthusiasm.

Hale was supposed to enter enemy territory, posing as a school teacher. He was to gather any information that he could on the size, strength and location of the British and their fortifications. Unfortunately, Hale did not know how to write in code. Nor did he have invisible ink. If he was caught with his notes, it would be very obvious what he was doing.

Details about Hale’s time behind enemy lines are sketchy. It appears that he did gather some information about the British troops and their arms, but stories vary about how he was actually captured. Perhaps he was betrayed by a Tory cousin. Or maybe he was simply tricked into revealing himself. Either way, he was brought before Lord William Howe on September 21. He did not deny what he was doing, and he was sentenced without a trial.

Reportedly, Hale was denied both a Bible and a minister before he was executed on September 22. He was nevertheless described as “calm.” He “bore himself with gentle dignity, in the consciousness of rectitude and high intentions…” Another British soldier gave a similar description of Hale’s final moments. Frederick Mackenzie said that Hale “behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good officer to obey any orders given him by his Commander in Chief; and desired the spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”

A British soldier was sent to report Hale’s death to Washington. American Captain William Hull was present at that meeting and remembered the report of Hale’s dying words: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

To be fair, it should be noted that Hull was a good friend of Hale’s. Some historians wonder if he could have created the famous last words on behalf of his friend, allowing “his friend the posthumous privilege of uttering” such a brave phrase.

Either way, Hale was yet another Patriot who gave his all so that we might have freedom.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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June 6 1944. Operation OVERLORD commences. According to legend, American Captain Frank J Lilleyman, a Pathfinder from the 101st Airborne was the first paratrooper to jump into Normandy at approximately 0015 hours, setting the conditions for American and British paratroopers to jump, land and form up into Little Groups Of Paratroopers (the purest form of warfare- small groups of marauders with out adult supervision moving to sound of the guns and killing any one not dressed like them that posed a threat.) and attack in every direction.

During the daylights hours, Allied forces hit the beaches of Normandy. Gold, Sword, Juno, Utah and Omaha. Of note were the Rangers of <2>, that attacked and climbed Pointe Du Hoc, which lead to the modern day motto of "Rangers Lead The Way!"

As a footnote to history, Captain Lilleyman would go on to retire from the Army after a rough and tumble career. His last assignment was working the stables at Doughboy Stadium on main post Ft Benning.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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From Tara Ross:

On this day in 1783, George Washington awards the badge of military merit to a man who remains mostly unknown today. Daniel Bissell was one of only a few men to receive the award during the American Revolution.

But official military records had him listed as a deserter! How did he find himself in such a select group of men?

Simple, really. George Washington knew that Bissell wasn’t really a deserter—not even close. Bissell had been a spy!

Like any good spy story, Bissell’s story is hard to tell. Many details are unclear, and we are left to guess at what must have occurred during some of his adventures.

During the summer of 1781, Bissell was serving as a sergeant in the Continental Army. At the time, Washington was still considering an attack on New York. (Ultimately, of course, he headed south and attacked Cornwallis at Yorktown.) Thus, in August, Bissell was dispatched on a secret mission into New York. He was to gather intelligence about the British, but he was also supposed to spread false information about the Continental Army.

Bissell posed as a deserter so he could get behind enemy lines. The plan was that he would “go to Lloyd’s Neck, thirty miles on Long Island, to cut wood for the Crown.” While there, he could gather information. His mission was supposed to be complete on “the seventh or ninth night,” when a boat would fetch him from a designated location.

Unfortunately, his mission lasted far longer than that! In the end, he was unable to get out of the city for 13 long months.

Here is where the details get murky. Bissell reached New York and was confronted with press gangs, which could impress him into service for the British Navy. He avoided the press gangs for a few days, but finally enrolled in Benedict Arnold’s regiment. At some point in the days or months that followed, Bissell fell violently ill, and he was taken to a hospital. He later reported that he was “covered with head and body lice; unable to walk” during this period of time. He was later assigned to “Quarter Master Sergeant’s duty,” where he would have helped with supplies instead of serving active combat duty.

Some versions of Bissell’s story have him babbling when he was feverish, giving away his true purpose to a doctor. (Fortunately, the doctor did not give him away.) Other versions have him burning a stash of documents when the British began searching soldiers’ personal effects.

Bissell finally escaped in September 1782. He returned to the American headquarters and gave a detailed report. By then, of course, events had rendered some of his information less important than it could have been. Yet Washington apparently still found value in something he’d done. His orders of June 8, 1783 recognized “important services, within the immediate knowledge of the Commander in chief” and “ordered that [Bissell] be honored with the badge of merit.” Bissell was to “call at Head Quarters on [June 10] for the insignia and certificate to which he is hereby entitled.”

Perhaps some of the false information that Bissell carried to New York had mattered? Bissell only reported that, before he’d left the American side in August 1781, he had been instructed on “all the probable questions that would be asked me, in the several examinations, together with their answers.”

We’ll never know Bissell’s whole story. But at least we can know that there is a story of bravery and sacrifice to tell.
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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From Tara Ross:

On this day in 1775, George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. That army had been created only one day earlier.

Washington’s appointment came at the suggestion of John Adams, who spoke before Congress of a “Gentleman from Virginia who was among Us.” This man, Adams concluded, “would command the Approbation of all America, and unite the cordial Exertions of all the Colonies better than any other Person in the Union.”

He did not mention Washington by name, but everyone understood the reference.

Two people most definitely understood what Adams meant! John Hancock had a very negative reaction. He wanted the job for himself! “Mr. Hancock,” Adams wrote, “heard me [recommend the creation of an army] with visible pleasure, but when I came to describe Washington for the Commander, I never remarked a more sudden and sinking Change of Countenance. Mortification and resentment were expressed as forcibly as his Face could exhibit them.”

For his part, Washington responded differently. Adams related that Washington, “who happened to sit near the Door, as soon as he heard me allude to him, from his Usual Modesty darted into the Library Room.”

After Washington left, a debate ensued. Some were not thrilled about the appointment of a southern General. The “Army was all from New England,” wouldn’t a northern General be better? The subject was postponed, at least for a little bit. Undeterred, Adams went to work outside of the meeting, gathering support for Washington.

Obviously, he succeeded! Washington was appointed on the 15th and accepted that nomination on the 16th. Ever humble, he told the Congress: “Tho’ I am truly sensible of the high Honour done me, in this Appointment, yet I feel great distress, from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important Trust: However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause.”

One of his few surviving letters to Martha Washington expresses similar sentiments. He wrote: “You may believe me my dear Patcy . . . I have used every endeavor in my power to avoid [the appointment], not only from my unwillingness to part with you and the Family, but from a consciousness of its being a trust too great for my Capacity and that I should enjoy more real happiness and felicity in one month with you, at home . . . . ”

His words appear to have been genuine, at least if you believe a story told by Dr. Benjamin Rush. “I saw Patrick Henry at his lodgings,” Rush wrote, “who told me that General Washington had been with him, and informed him that he was unequal to the station in which his country had placed him, and then added with tears in his eyes, ‘Remember, Mr. Henry, what I now tell you: From the day I enter upon the command of the American armies, I date my fall, and the ruin of my reputation.’”

As a postscript, Hancock apparently never quite forgave Adams for nominating Washington. “[Mr. Hancock] never loved me so well after this Event as he had done before,” Adams wrote, “and he made me feel at times the Effects of his resentment and of his Jealousy in many Ways and at diverse times, as long as he lived . . . .”

Just imagine if John Hancock had been selected as Commander-in-Chief, instead of George Washington. What do you think our world would look like today?
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Re: Today in Ranger history

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From Tara Ross:

On this day in 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill is fought. It was technically a British victory—but only technically. Instead, the battle proved to be a morale booster for Americans who discovered that they could hold their own against the renowned British army.

What a feat! It could easily have gone the other way, especially given the events of the day before.

Late on June 16, Colonel William Prescott had been dispatched with about 1,200 men to fortify Bunker Hill, just across the river from Boston. Unfortunately, Prescott ended up fortifying the wrong hill. Breed’s Hill was closer, and it was a more aggressive stance than Bunker Hill would have been. (See yesterday’s post.)

When the sun rose, American soldiers finally saw just how close they were to the British in Boston. “The danger we were in,” one soldier later wrote, “made us think there was treachery and that we were brought there to be all slain . . . .”

Their fortifications weren’t done, though, and they went back to work.

It must have been quite a scene! The British began bombarding the area with cannon. The fire was mostly ineffective, but one shot found its mark, killing an American. Prescott leapt into action. He jumped on the redoubt and strode forcefully back and forth, encouraging his men to keep working. He’d made himself a target, but he wasn’t about to let his men be intimidated, either.

By early afternoon, the British were setting fire to churches and other buildings in Charlestown, at the base of Breed’s Hill. Soldiers were also being ferried across the river from Boston. Soon, they began marching on the American position.

Remember, many of these Americans had been building fortifications all night. They were about to fight an intense battle on little to no sleep. Yet they still managed to obey their instructions: Don’t fire until the redcoats get very close. At least apocryphally, Americans were told: “Don’t one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”

Most likely that precise phrase was never uttered, although one officer may have told his soldiers to look for the whites of the half-gaiters the British soldiers would be wearing.

Either way, Americans held their fire. Finally, when the British were fairly close, the first barrage of musket fire finally came. It took down many, many British soldiers. The British attempted a second attack on the hill, with the same result. The third attack went better for the British, partly because they had reorganized and partly because the Americans were running out of powder.

The British had technically won, but it was a costly defeat. They had more than 1000 casualties, compared to 400 for the colonists. American General Nathanael Greene would write: “I wish [we] could Sell them another Hill at the same Price.” For his part, British General William Howe later said: “The success is too dearly bought.” He’d lost every member of his staff—and he’d even lost a bottle of w ine that was carried into battle alongside him.

A bottle of wine?! Was he too quick to assume that he’d end the day on a happy note?

If Americans achieved nothing else that day, perhaps they taught the British to have a little more respect for the ragged group of colonists who were fighting for their freedom.
Ranger Class 13-71
Advisor, VN 66-68 69-70
42d Vn Ranger Battalion 1969-1970
Trainer, El Salvador 86-87
Advisor, Saudi Arabian National Guard 91, 93-94
75th RRA Life Member #867

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Jim
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Re: Today in Ranger history

Post by Jim »

On this date in Ranger History: June 21, 1954 -- After valorous service in World War II, specifically in the China-Burma-India Theater, initially the 5307th known as "Merrill's Marauders," and later designated as the 475th. The 475th Infantry Regiment was finally inactivated in July 1945 in China, and remained on the inactive list of Regular Army units until 1954. It was designated the 75th Infantry Regiment on June 21, 1954.
Ranger Class 13-71
Advisor, VN 66-68 69-70
42d Vn Ranger Battalion 1969-1970
Trainer, El Salvador 86-87
Advisor, Saudi Arabian National Guard 91, 93-94
75th RRA Life Member #867

User avatar
Jim
Rest In Peace Ranger
Posts: 21935
Joined: March 8th, 2005, 10:48 am
Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Today in Ranger history

Post by Jim »

From Tara Ross:

On this day in 1776, the British prepare to attack Fort Sullivan, near Charleston. Americans would win a stunning victory the very next day. Perhaps you won’t be too surprised to hear that June 28 is still celebrated in South Carolina!

British planning for the attack began early—maybe too early. The British Army had been under siege in Boston since April 1775. British officers needed a plan. How could they restore their grip on the colonies? By the fall of 1775, they were already planning an expedition to the Carolinas. They hoped to win back territory with the help of local Loyalists.

The early start, of course, gave the Patriots plenty of time to figure out what was being planned.

Matters seemed to get worse and worse for the British as the months wore on. Major General Henry Clinton was supposed to lead a force to North Carolina. He was to rendezvous with Sir Peter Parker, who was bringing reinforcements from Britain. But when Clinton arrived in March, he learned that Parker was late. He also discovered that the Patriots had won a victory against Loyalists at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge.

Could the British rely upon Loyalists in the area to help them after all? Maybe not.

Clinton had no choice but to wait for Parker. He soon received a communication in which Charleston was identified as an “object of importance to his Majesty’s Service.” Clinton and Parker decided to switch targets and to head for South Carolina. They knew that a Patriot fort was being erected on Sullivan’s Island, at the entrance to Charleston harbor. The fort was unfinished and seemed vulnerable to attack.

Perhaps it was, but all the delays had given Americans plenty of time to get ready for a British invasion. And they were given even more time to prepare as the British spent the next several weeks reconnoitering the coast and exploring their options.

The British finally attacked on June 28. They had 10 ships carrying roughly 300 guns, along with more than 2,500 soldiers. Fort Sullivan was under the command of Colonel William Moultrie. It was defended by about 400 Americans and 31 guns. They had limited powder.

Americans held their own! Fort Sullivan was built out of palmetto logs and sand. The porous wood could absorb many shots without major damage. In the meantime, Americans were very judicious with their own resources. They shot more slowly than the British, and they were more deliberate in choosing their targets.

Parker attempted to send three ships around to a weak, unfinished side of the fort. It was a good move that could have gone badly for the Americans. Unfortunately for Parker, the ships ran aground on a shoal and could not reach their target.

At one point during the battle, a volley of British fire knocked down the American flag mast. For a few moments, the British thought the Americans were surrendering! Sergeant William Jasper did not allow that hope to last long. He retrieved the fallen flag, rigged a makeshift mast, and hoisted the flag back up. He risked his life to secure the flag.

The British retreated after sunset. Against all odds, the Americans had won a major victory.

P.S. Have you ever wondered why there is a palmetto tree on the South Carolina flag? It’s because Fort Sullivan was made out of palmetto logs.
Ranger Class 13-71
Advisor, VN 66-68 69-70
42d Vn Ranger Battalion 1969-1970
Trainer, El Salvador 86-87
Advisor, Saudi Arabian National Guard 91, 93-94
75th RRA Life Member #867

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