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Showing 51–60 of 1529 results for Cost of Revolution Online Exhibit

The Davenport Letters: August 26, 1780

By August 1780, James Davenport was encamped at Hackensack, New Jersey, north of New York City. That summer, the Continental Army was engaging in regular movements, marches, and active skirmishing with British parties that ventured out of the city. As James endured these marches, he was also reflecting on the larger strategic shifts of the war. Since February 1778, the French had been in a formal alliance with the United States, but many people remained skeptical both of the French and of their long-term commitment to the cause. A second copy of this letter, on different paper and with slightly different spelling, survives in the Davenport family papers.

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Among His Troops: Pierre Charles L’Enfant

In 1782, Pierre “Peter” Charles L’Enfant, a French-born Continental Army engineer, created the panoramic watercolor views of the army’s encampments at Verplanck’s Point and West Point. The son of an artist, L’Enfant studied at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. He crossed the ocean to volunteer for America. In 1778, during the Valley Forge winter, he received a commission as captain of engineers. Unsatisfied with such a technical role, L’Enfant went south in hopes of distinguishing himself in combat. In 1779, he fought at Savannah, Georgia and was badly wounded in the leg. He rejoined the army in 1780, and fought while leaning on a crutch during the Siege of Charleston, South Carolina. Taken prisoner with the rest of the Charleston garrison in 1780, L’Enfant missed the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. When he painted these watercolors in 1782, he was still nursing hurt feelings that he had missed the chance for glory and promotion at Yorktown. After the siege of Yorktown, L’Enfant returned to the Continental Army, and wrote to Washington from Philadelphia on February 18, 1782, asking for a promotion. He then moved with the army from Philadelphia to the Hudson Highlands in the spring of 1782.
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Among His Troops: Continental Army Along the Hudson

George Washington called the Hudson River the “Key of America.” With the Mohawk River to the West and Lake George and Lake Champlain to the North, the Hudson was part of a system of waterways that reached from the Great Lakes, to Canada, and down to New York City. During the Revolutionary War, Americans clustered their Hudson River fortifications around three narrows– West Point in the North, the Popolopen Creek in the middle, and King’s Ferry to the South. These posts were between 45 and 60 miles from New York City. In 1781, French troops and a portion of the Continental Army crossed the Hudson River at King’s Ferry on their way to Yorktown, Virginia, a crossing that is now recognized as part of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. By the summer of 1782, the American Army had secured its control of this region. Along the 15-mile stretch of the Hudson River, Washington maintained a force of over 11,000 soldiers. At the same time, 13,000 British troops occupied New York City. West Point was the Continental Army’s strongest fortification. Verplanck’s Point and Stony Point, on either side of King’s Ferry, were the front line against the British to the south.


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Meet the Figures: Oneida Nation Theater: Wale

Mary Hanonwayele, also known as Wale (possibly the Oneida pronunciation of “Mary”), was a member of the Oneida Bear Clan. Her brother, Thomas Sinavis, was one of the Oneida warriors at Valley Forge and was killed at the Battle of Barren Hill on May 20, 1778. Unfortunately, Revolutionary commissioners overlooked her in distributing condolence gifts. In 1794, she finally received a small sum for this purpose as part of larger treaty negotiations between the United States and native groups. She lived until at least 1800.

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Finding Freedom: Deborah - “Muster Book of Free Black Settlement of Birchtown,” Page 40

When Deborah arrived in Nova Scotia in 1783, she was one of many newly freed people of African descent who helped settle Birchtown, a town named for British Brigadier General Samuel Birch. This page from a 1784 census, or list of residents, documents the men and women who lived in Birchtown the year after the town’s founding. Deborah’s name, recorded as Deborah Lynch, can be found near the bottom of the page on the left side. Harry, her husband listed in the 1783 “Inspection Roll of Negroes,” is not included in this census. He may have died due to the harsh conditions and bad weather that the settlers faced. Deborah likely took the last name Lynch because Harry had been owned by a Loyalist named Lynch, whom Deborah also lived with for a short time. In this document, Deborah is listed as a member of the household of a man named Neil Robinson. No other details about their relationship status are currently known.

“Muster Book of Free Black Settlement of Birchtown,” 1784, Library and Archives Canada, MG 9 B9-14, item 1292

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Cost of Revolution: Part 1 St. George’s Ireland

Richard Mansergh St. George grew up in the 1750s as a member of one of Ireland’s wealthy, Protestant, land-owning families. At the time, Ireland was part of the British Empire and under the rule of the British Crown. The Irish Parliament and the Lord Lieutenant (who represented the British monarch) governed the country, but the British Parliament could also make laws for Ireland. Members of the Protestant Church of Ireland dominated the country’s social, economic, and political power. St. George’s family belonged to this minority of the Irish population, which became known as the “Protestant Ascendancy.” His family owned thousands of acres of Irish land and accumulated money from rents paid by tenant farmers. Richard Mansergh St. George’s grandfather, General Richard St. George, was a senior officer in the British Army stationed in Ireland and increased the St. George family’s prominence. As a boy in County Galway, Richard Mansergh St. George lived in medieval stone towers, rode horses through emerald green pastures, developed artistic talents, and learned to be a gentleman. As a young adult, he inherited his family’s land and the power it represented.
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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: How Did Women Lose the Vote?: The Backlash

In November 1807, the New Jersey State Legislature stripped the vote from women, people of color, and recent immigrants. They redefined the property qualification to include all white male taxpayers. The preamble of the new act on election regulations justified the change by citing “doubts” that “have been raised, and great diversities in practices obtained throughout the state in regard to the admission of aliens, persons of color, or negroes, to vote in elections” as well as “the mode of ascertaining” voter qualifications. What did this mean? What had happened?
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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Martha Githens

At the age of 23, Martha Githens voted in 1807. She voted along with her father, older brother, and older sister. Martha Githens was the daughter of George Githens, the prosperous owner of a mineral spring resort hotel.
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The Davenport Letters: January 20, 1781

James Davenport continued to serve with the Continental Army through the fall and winter of 1780, including witnessing the execution of captured British spy Major James André. He was back in camp at West Point, New York, in January 1781. As this letter indicates, winter encampments could be long, dreary affairs for an army of young men anxious for action or to return home. In this letter, James reflects on thoughts of desertion (writing that “we Shall go out of Camp without Leave & forget to return half of the time”), meager rations, and a lack of pay. Continental soldiers, just like British and Hessian soldiers during the war, were formally entitled to food, clothing, and payment as part of their military service. But in practice, the Continental government struggled to produce the money necessary to pay soldiers. Many went months or even years without receiving any, and by January 1781 James Davenport noted that it had been thirteen months since their last pay was received.

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The Davenport Letters: James & Isaac How Davenport's Letters

Browse a selection of more than a dozen letters written by natives of Dorchester, Massachuesetts, Continental Army soldiers, and brothers James and Isaac How Davenport during the Revolutionary War from 1778-1783. These surviving letters have descended through the Davenport family for generations. In the 1850s, the letters were transcribed into a ledger — those transcribed versions are the letters seen throughout. They are currently in the possession of a descendant of James Davenport.

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