Episode 058: Slavery and Liberty

August 19, 2018

For most of the colonial period, slavery is surprisingly uncontroversial.  As the American Revolution begins, colonists start to question the institution of slavery 

In the north broad acceptance of slavery evaporates quickly after Patriots demand that all men are born basic rights to liberty.  Even in the north, slavery would not end for many more years though. 

In the south, where slave are much more critical to the economy, colonists prove unwilling to bend on the issue.  Many in the deep south support the Patriot movement out of concern that Parliament might someday try to emanciapte slaves in the British colonies.

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Episode 057: Regulars and Provincials

August 12, 2018

As the Siege of Boston opens in 1775, this episode takes a look at the command structure and life as a British Regular, and compares that to the Provincial army of militiamen around Boston.

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Episode 056: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

August 5, 2018

The Seige of Boston begins as soon as the regulars retreat back to Boston following the battles at Lexington and Concord.  The New England Provinicial army springs up overnight from minutemen and militia units throughout New England.  In the days that follow, Patriots and regulars record their accounts of the battles.  The Patriots rush their accounts across the continent and over to London, spreading their version of events first.  Word of the fighting encourages Patriots across the continent that it was time to take up arms and go to war.

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Episode 055: British Retreat from Lexington and Concord

July 29, 2018

By the afternoon of April 19, 1775, having completed his search and destroy mission to Concord. Lt. Col. Smith finds himself facing a twenty mile gauntlet back to Boston. Thousands of angry militia stand ready to attack.  His men are exhausted and running low on ammunition.  His column barely makes it back to Lexington, where Lord Percy's relief column saves them from surrender.  The combined force then faces its own running battle before finally returning to the safety of Charlestown.  The regulars are impressed by the colonial militia's ability to stand up to them.  Gen. Gage can no longer deploy soldiers from Boston.  His only access in or out is by sea.  The Provincial army grows into the tens of thousands as they lay siege to Boston.

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Episode 054: British Advance on Lexington and Concord

July 22, 2018
On the evening of April 18, 1775, Lt. Col. Smith leaves Boston via Charlestown. His goal is to seize and destroy munitions in Concord. Delays prevent his force from leaving Charlestown before Paul Revere and other riders alert the countryside. At around dawn on April 19, the regulars confront a group of militia on Lexington Green.
 
The regulars at Lexington are an advance company led by a young Lieutenant. They fire on the militia before the main column arrives. When Col. Smith arrives, he stops the shooting and restores order. By then, many lay dead and wounded on the Green. Smith reassembles his column which marches on to Concord.
 
In Concord, the militia get word of the attack at Lexington and pull back out of town to North bridge. The British arrive and search for munitions. Smith sends a force of light infantry across North bridge to Barrett's mill in search at munitions. While three companies hold North bridge, the militia strike, killing several regulars and retaking the bridge. The British at Barrett's mill are cut off, but manage to cross the bridge anyway, right past the militia, and rejoin the main force in Concord.
 
Smith is now faced with having to march back to Boston through a gauntlet of hostile militia bent on payback.

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Episode 053: Paul Revere Rides

July 15, 2018

As Gen. Gage prepares to deploy a brigade of regulars to Concord, the Patriots activate their warning system.  Joseph Warren deploys William Dawes and Paul Revere to alert countryside.  The riders alert the militia and reach Lexington, while avoiding British patrols.  They warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock at Lexington before continuing their ride.

On the road to Concord, a British patrol captures Revere.  Dawes gets thrown from his horse during his escape.  But a third rider, Samuel Prescott, completes the mission to warn Concord.  The British detain Revere for a while.  They release him near Lexington after hearing gunfire.  Revere returns to Lexington on foot where he helps a dawdling Hancock and Adams get out of town.  Once they are gone, Revere returns again to Lexington where he attempts to secure some of Hancock's secret papers.  While doing so, the British arrive at Lexington Green.  Revere at a distance, hears the first shots of the American Revolution.

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Episode 052: Salem Alarm & Hearts and Minds

July 8, 2018

In February 1775, Gage attempts to grab a cache of Patriot cannon in Salem. Col. Alexander Leslie leads a regiment of regulars on what is supposed to be a surprise sail up the coast and a fast dash to Salem to grab the guns.  Alert patriots run ahead of the soldiers and remove the weapons before the regulars arrive.  After a brief standoff, the regulars return to Boston empty handed.

A few weeks later, Boston commemorates the 5th anniversary of the Boston Massacre.  Interaction with soldiers leads to panic and fear of arrest.  As spring approaches, everyone awaits the beginning of the fighting season.  On the eve of war, a majority of the colonies have begun governing themselves under illegal Provincial Congresses.  The separation from Britain widens as London prepares to intervene.

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Episode 051: The Portsmouth Alarm

July 1, 2018

By the end of 1774 Britain had banned all munitions imports to the colonies.  After fearing that the British Navy might seize munitions at Fort William and Mary in New Hampshire.  Paul Revere rides from Boston to alert the local militia.  The militia attack the fort the following day.  There is an exchange of gunfire, but no one is killed. The militia quickly capture the small garrison, remove the gunpowder, and then release their prisoners to take control of the fort again.

The following day, more militia arrive and decide to take the fort a second time, this time to remove cannon.  The garrison surrenders, under an agreement to release colonial property only.  Once they take the fort, the militia take the cannon and just about anything else of military value that they can carry.  

Although the royal goverment knows the who led the attack on the King's fort, they are unable to make any arrests.  Patriots have effectively taken control of the colony.

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Episode 050: Britain Prepares for War

June 24, 2018
In late 1774, Prime Minister North calls for early elections. This results in a solid majority in favor of getting tough on the colonies. In reaction to the First Continental Congress' call for economic boycotts, Parliament bans all colonial trade with any country other the Britain. It also passes the "Conciliatory Proposition," allowing colonies to raise taxes in whatever form they like, as long as they come up with as much money as Parliament wants.
 
The Ministry informs Gen. Gage that he is not getting reinforcements. He has nearly 4000 regulars, which should be plenty to handle civilian mobs. He needs to go on the offensive and begin taking decisive action against protestors engaged in treasonous activity.
 
 

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Episode 049: The Provinicial Congress of Massachusetts

June 17, 2018
Gen. Gage retreats with his regulars into Boston in the summer of 1774. Patriots take control of all of the rest of Massachusetts. They form their own government, independent of royal authority. The Provincial Congress organizes a militia army, develops minutemen as a rapid reaction force, and names generals, led by Artemas Ward, for its independent army.
 
The Congress also organizes logistics and creates a civilian Committee of Safety to run its military. One of the Committee members, Benjamin Church turns out to be a spy for General Gage, giving Gage an open window into all the Patriot planning and preparation for war.
 

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