The Sept. meeting of the Tampa
Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will be on Sept. 20th at
the Piccadilly Cafeteria, located at 11810
Dale Mabry Highway North, Tampa, Florida (813-963-1660).Robbins
Denham will tell us about his Honor Flight in June and, in honor of Constitution
day, Bob Yarnell will give a brief talk about the
origins and fight for the Bill of Rights.
Pres. Dick Young will be
reporting on the Aug. Board of Governors meeting as well as giving the
membership a brief report from the National Congress held this past
summer.Additionally, we will need to
elect/appoint a nominating committee..
Battle (Massacre?) of Paoli Night of Sept. 20-21, 1777
The Battle of Paoli, also called "The Paoli
Massacre", occurred at
on September 20-21, 1777.
defeat at Brandywine on September 11, his
forces retreated toward Philadelphia
to receive new ammunition and try yet again to stop Howe.
Howe continued towards Philadelphia
with the intent of crossing the SchuykillRiver.Washington detached Gen. Anthony Wayne with
approx. 2200 men to get behind the British.He was to send any information he could gather about their forces,
movement etc, as well as try to cut off their baggage train as it crossed the
river.Wayne later sent a message to Washington telling him
all was going according to plan.Unfortunately, what Wayne did not know was that Howe was aware of
Wayne’s presence and decided to attack.(see note below).
On the night of September 20th, 1777 General Howe
dispatched Major General Grey to deal with Wayne’s division. At General Grey’s
direction the flints had been removed from his men’s muskets to ensure that no
shots gave prior warning to the Americans. The attack was to be at the point of
the bayonet. The first wave of British troops rushed through the woods and
attacked the American camp around mid night. In the face of the British charge
troops were dispersed and driven out of the camp to the West, many through a
gap in a fence along the edge of the encampment. The American casualties seem
to have totaled around 200 killed, wounded, or taken prisoner of whom around 55
were killed. The British are said to have had fewer than 20 casualties.
Follow-up:Paoli was a
severe humiliation for the Pennsylvania Continental troops but probably little
more. The fight is referred to as the Paoli Massacre. It is difficult to see
how that label can be justified in the light of the small number of American
fatalities. Claims are made that the British took no prisoners. This allegation
appears frequently in the Revolutionary War and is made against both sides.
The accusation made against Wayne
was that he allowed his camp to be surprised. At Wayne’s demand he was subject to a court
martial which exonerated him of this allegation. Whether Wayne was taken unawares or not the attack
was well executed and highly successful, enabling General Howe to take Philadelphia within a few
days with little further resistance from the main American army under George
Note:There is some
conjecture and difference of opinion as to how the British learned of Wayne’s presence in their
rear.There were many loyalists in Pa.
as well as British spies in the area and one theory is that, given the
relatively casual nature of how warfare was conducted in the 1700’s, Wayne’s
presence could have been easily detected by people living in the area,
regardless of how many precautions he took and it would have been easy for
someone to get word to the British.Theory number 2 is that a courier Wayne dispatched with an update to
Washington was captured and theory number 3 is that the courier deserted and
took the information to the British.If
you work on the assumption that Wayne
would send a courier he knew and trusted, it appears to me the probability of Wayne’s location being
relayed to the British by a loyalist in the area or a British spy is the
One of the duties of the
Chapter Chaplain is to send cards to our members that are sick. If you know of
anyone that I need to send a card to, please mention it at our next meeting.
Another duty is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has