Tampa Chapter – February 2019
Revolution History note
Operation Helping Hand
Color Guard Activities & Opportunities
Compatriots in Need of our Thoughts and Prayers
Other Dates of Interest
Chapter Facebook Page
February Meeting Announcement
The next meeting of the Tampa Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will be held on Saturday, February 16 at the Golden Corral in Temple Terrace. Please remember to pay on your way in and keep your receipt for the waitress. Social time and lunch will precede the meeting. The formal meeting will start around 12:00 Noon. The street address for the Golden Corral is:
The February meeting speaker will be ENS Jon Mitchell, Training Officer for the US Navy Sea Cadets, American Victory Division. He will tell us about the Navy Sea Cadets, what they do and how we can support the Unit. We also plan to recognize the two men who were unable to attend our November meeting with our SAR Firefighter and Law Enforcement Commendation Awards.
The January 5 meeting was our annual Officer Installation luncheon at the Rusty Pelican Restaurant. Pictured below are Tampa SAR President John Goolsby and the other 2019 officers with Florida SAR President Pat Niemann who performed the installation ceremony.
American Revolution Notes: Over the next few months we’ll explore some of the “rest of the story” – what happened after the War for Independence and what happened to some of lesser known characters after the war.
Following the surrender of Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown, Washington moved his army back to the area around New York City. While peace negotiations had started, the Americans knew they had to maintain an army in the field to keep pressure on the British and prevent a renewal of fighting in the north.
Meanwhile, Congress had ratified the Articles of Confederation and began to address post war issues. Under the Articles, Congress had no power to tax and relied on voluntary contributions from the states to meet its obligations. With the war winding down, most of the states began to address post-war issues as well and contributions to Congress dried up.
During the seventeen months following the victory at Yorktown, the army, camped in Newburgh outside of New York City, became bored and restless. Lack of pay, poor food and increasing apprehension about whether Congress would honor its obligations to the army festered. Nationalist in Congress and the Army, most notably Robert Morris, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Henry Knox hatched a plan to put pressure on Congress to amend the Articles to allow a tax on imports through vague threats of action by the Army against Congress. No one has ever suggested that these men were planning a coup, and to the best of our knowledge Washington knew nothing of the scheme.
However, at the same time, a group of officers under the leadership of Gen. Gates began plotting against Congress. This plot did constitute a serious threat.
In Feb. 1783, word reached the army from Paris that a peace treaty was imminent. Fearing the army would be disbanded and they would not get their back pay or pensions, these officers acted. A meeting of the officers was anonymously called to be held on March 11 in the camp at Newburgh. When Washington heard about it, he issued a general order prohibiting the meeting. A few days later he issued another order allowing the meeting to be held on March 15.
Horatio Gates George Washington
What followed has now assumed the status of legend in American History and has perhaps even moved into myth. As General Gates called the meeting to order, Gen. Washington quietly entered from a side door and asked if he might address his officers. Washington did his best to assure the officers that Congress cared and that friends of the army were working hard to make sure they would get their back pay and pensions. Despite this plea from Washington, the officers remained restless. Washington then pulled out a letter from a member of Congress to read to the assembly to buttress his argument. After stumbling trying to read the first part of it, Washington, reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of spectacles. Only his inner circle knew that Washington needed glasses for reading and Washington putting on glasses caused a murmur in the crowd. As he put them on, he commented, “gentlemen, you must pardon me, for I have not only grown gray, but almost blind in the service of my country.”
The effect on the officers was immediate. Some officers openly wept. Sensing a change in atmosphere and demeanor, Washington quietly left the building. Following his departure resolutions of loyalty to the country and Washington were passed. Washington had defused the nascent coup.
Many historians claim that Washington’s handling of the Newburgh Conspiracy may have been the most valuable service he performed in the war. He reinforced the idea of civilian control of the military and prevented a military coup.
While the basic facts of the event are clear - the anonymous call for a meeting, Washington’s response, and what happened inside the building - there is still disagreement among some historians on two points. Was the nationalist attempt to scare Congress in any way connected to the Gates plot or responsible for encouraging it? Was the Gates plot a serious threat of a military coup or just another, independent attempt to put pressure on Congress?
A quick jump ahead: For those of you who are already making the connections. You will recall that later, in the period 1785-1787, Hamilton, Madison, and Knox spearheaded the move to amend the Articles of Confederation. This ultimately led to the Philadelphia Convention in 1787.
Operation Helping Hand
Each month, on the third Wednesday, OHH gathers for a dinner to honor and praise poly-trauma patients, both those presently in the James A. Haley VA Hospital and those “outpatients” that are residing outside of the Hospital and still undergoing Hospital treatments. Whether they are still on active duty or are discharged or retired, if they have served OIF or OEF (meaning they have served in Iraq or Afghanistan), Operation Helping Hand will help them in any way possible.
The next dinner is Wednesday, February 21 at 6:00 PM. Let’s have a good SAR turnout to support these veterans and their families that need our support. More information will available at the meeting or you can find their website at https://operationhelpinghandtampa.com/
Color Guard Activities & Opportunities
On December 15, your Tampa Chapter again participated in the Wreaths Across America Ceremony at American Legion Post #5 USS Tampa Veterans Cemetery. The Chapter Color Guard was again invited to present the Colors at this event. Florida SAR President was asked to read the SAR President General Warren Alter’s Wreaths Across America Proclamation. Pictured below are Compatriot Niemann, members of the Color Guard and some of the Chapter members who attended the WAA Ceremony.
· March 9 – Commemoration of Last Naval Battle on Merritt Island (this is a National SAR Event)
· March 30 – Commemoration of the Battle of Thomas Creek in Jacksonville
· May 7 – Honor Fight Return
· May 27 – Memorial Day (TBD)
· June 11 – Honor Flight Return
· Independence Day (TBD)
March 16 To Be Discussed at February Meeting
April 20 Youth Programs Recognition
May 19 To Be Announced
Other Dates of Interest
Feb 22 George Washington’s Birthday
April 13 Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday
May 10-11 Florida SAR BOM & Annual Meeting (Kissimmee, FL)
July 5-10 National SAR Annual Congress (Costa Mesa, CA)
Houston Tucker fell in home about two weeks ago, breaking his ankle and leg in multiple places. He has endured surgery and some 10 days in a rehab facility. He is expected to go home (with much assistance) this week and with a long recovery period ahead of him.
Bob Denham was admitted to an ICU on Saturday January 12, suffering from encephalitis and other complications. He is now stable and has been moved to Advent Health Connerton acute care hospital in Land O'Lakes for extended therapy.
David Munson Chestnut was not a member of the Tampa Chapter; however, he has joined our Color Guard at most of its events for the past 2-3 years. You have seen his picture many times in our Newsletter. David passed away Monday night.
From the President - The new face book page for the Tampa Sons of the American Revolution is Tampa Sar. The password to add anything is American1776.
Please feel free to upload pictures or comments. Invite all your friends to look.
Chapter Website—remember you can find information about the chapter and programs on the chapter website. http://www.tampasar.org/
One of the duties of the Chapter Chaplain is to send cards to our members that are sick. Another is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has passed away. If you know of anyone that should be the recipient of these cards, please mention it to Chaplain Sessums or one of the other officers at our next meeting.
Chapter officers and committee chairmen are encouraged to send any pertinent information they wish included in the newsletter to the editor.