Disciple of Peperna
- May 20, 2004
0: Twilight's Last Gleaming
Americans and Europeans, especially British, are taught two different versions of the same tale. Oh, they agree on all the important facts: In December 1772 Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen surprised the garrison at Fort Saratoga, New York and stole their artillery. This they transported through the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts to George Washington, commander of the Continental Army at Boston. Everyone agrees this final break had been coming for a decade after the end of the Seven Years War. They even go so far as acknowledging the war started over whether the American colonies should pay taxes imposed by the British parliament.
The versions differ when it's time to assign blame. Americans argue that taxes imposed by an outside body, which the average colonist had no hope of influencing half a world away and did not vote for, weren't legal. Until the decisive battle of Bunker Hill in late December, where Washington captured General Gates and secured Massachusetts, the colonists would have happily settled for some sort of compromise.
Britons at the time argued that the need for increased taxes was due to expenses incurred during the war. Though colonists did help fight the French, it was the British army, organization and combat doctrine that won the day. The American colonies were much less likely to be attacked with no French in Canada. Further, it was only right to help support the state that ensured your liberty and safety from your enemies.
When Americans formed the "Stamp Act" or First Continental Congress to fight these taxes, Parliament backed down ... then immediately passed the Quebec Act to reassert their authority. Americans call this and a new set of taxes the "Intolerable Acts", as they felt their intent was to coerce the colonists into submission. The Quebec Act in particular effectively voided the thirteen colonies' claims to land west of the Appalachian Mountains, securing the south as Indian Territory and giving the north to Quebec.
Colonists responded with more or less open defiance, including tossing crates of tea into Boston Harbor. This led to the city being blockaded and taken over by General Thomas Gage. This was bad enough: Then a demonstration where British soldiers claimed partisans threw rocks at them turned deadly when they opened fire. These killings sparked outrage through the colonies.
The Second Continetal Congress assembled in August 1772. As aforementioned, at first they hoped to secure some form of compromise and calm down growing tensions. The Brits refused to negotiate with an illegal body, suspended the charters of all thirteen colonies, and announced their intent to install military governments.
Reluctantly they authorized George Washington of Virginia to raise a body of soldiers. His task was to reclaim Boston, hopefully sending the Brits a message they would not be bullied. On December 21, 1772 he seized the port city.
Seven days later Guy Carleton, Governor of Canada, acting on behalf of the Crown, ordered a general advance to "secure our rightful holdings from these rebels and traitors."
The war for the fate of a continent and the destiny of a people had just begun.
North American Political, 1773
North American Tactical, January 1773 (Southern colonies are clear of troops)
Setup (Who's Bradley??)
More Setup (US is at Infra 9, Trade 9 btw)
Western Europe, 1773 (the unnamed countries should be obvious)