Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

April 2020

 

Contents

          April Meeting Cancellation Announcement

          Revolution History Notes

          New Members

          Tentative Program Schedule 

          Other Dates of Interest

          Color Guard Activities

           Misc. Reminders and Information

 

April Meeting

Due to the continuing emergency caused by the Covid-19 virus, there will be no April meeting.  This truncated version of the newsletter includes the speech Kevin Pham (one of the SPC students) would have given at the March meeting. and we are repeating the April 2013 Revolutionary War note.  Given the ongoing interest in how history is taught, reprinting how Lexington and Concord are covered in three textbooks used by area colleges will be of interest.

May Meeting

It goes without saying that we want all of you, your family, your friends and your neighbors to be safe, healthy and Corona Virus free.  Follow the guidelines put out by the CDC, stay safe and protect those around you.  We want all of us to be able to meet in May. 

 

The one event during the revolution I would most like to have witnessed. 

Henry Knox and the Noble Train of Artillery - by Kevin Pham

There are many stories and events throughout history that remain incomplete in our history books. The American Revolution is not excluded from this fact. However, that’s what makes history so compelling. Especially if the event is connected to victories or turning points. That’s why if I was given the choice to go back in time and see one event from the American Revolution, I would choose Knox’s Expedition or The Noble Train of Artillery.

Context to the Noble Train of Artillery 

In May of 1775, Continental soldiers led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen captured Ft. Ticonderoga and Ft. Crown Point. The British forts had many pieces of artillery and cannons. The capture of the bases gave the Continental army some much-needed weaponry to combat British superiority. Soon after the capture, a port town would be surrounded by rebel forces led by General George Washington. That port town was Boston. For the next 11 months, the stalemate would become known as the Siege of Boston.

Intro of Topic (Noble Train of Artillery) 

But what I want to focus on was how the siege ended. On January 24th, a young man approached General Washington with a bold plan to break through the British entrenchments. That young man was Henry Knox and his plan involved the monumental task of lugging 60 tons of cannons and artillery equipment from Ft Ticonderoga and Crown Point down to Boston. General Washington agreed to the plan, sending Henry Knox and a small contingent of men to make their way to New

York. The entire journey of this small yet crucial part of the Siege would later become known as the Noble Train of Artillery or the Knox Expedition.  The timing had to be perfect to reach optimum conditions. The snow had to be falling for the sleds to work but the rivers could not be frozen over to block the boats. And so, what started as a 6-week venture turned into a 13-week journey as Knox’s group met obstacle after obstacle. The way to the bases was easy; hardly any interruptions were met. But it would be the journey home that would spell difficulties for the group. Fortunately, all the intended weapons were able to make it to their destination. And the British forces, seeing the preparation of these artillery pieces on the hill outside of town, evacuated Boston. Without a shot being fired from Knox’s artillery pieces.

Reason for Observation

Two main reasons for wanting to witness this specific event:

To see if the images left behind that depict the men and expedition are true

And to see what happens on the days that aren't recorded or lost and why they weren't recorded

What we do know is recorded in Knox’s journal, but it is missing pages and some days nothing is recorded. It is the mystical nature of this journey that intrigues me.  Some sources say horses were used to pull the sleds, others say oxen, I’d like to find out which is true. Are the paintings even accurate? Tom Lovell's painting The Noble Train of Artillery and later paintings of the man himself.  Different descriptions; one long line or many small groups? What did Knox look like at the time? Later paintings depict him as a bit on the larger side. How did Knox command his soldiers? Did he joke around the campfire at night with them the way Daniel Morgan did with his men?  Which of his subordinates did he trust the most? Who gave him the best engineering advice when he needed it? What did the plan look like? What was the look on his face when he finally reached George Washington? How did the men under his command feel throughout the trip? Why was so much of the expedition left out of his journals?  Purposeful omissions, just sheer laziness or fatigue? Why is Knox the only account that we use? Were the men under his command illiterate? Did Knox’s attitude change when it became obvious that he would return late?  How did the men deal with cold? What did they eat?  Is the story that a runaway sled killed two men true? And, what about Knox: All these seemingly little things would help us better understand how those cannons got from Ft. Ticonderoga to Boston.

 

The importance of this event is that it led to the capture of Boston. What we do know of the Noble Train of Artillery is essentially a painting that shows the outline of the picture, but the details are filled in with invisible ink. That’s why I would like to see the Noble Train of Artillery. I would be able to see the full story of the Expedition; because even if the painting is filled in with invisible ink the paint is still there to be seen.

 

American Revolution Notes: Repeated/reprint of April 2013 Rev War Notes

The skirmishes at Lexington and Concord are a natural for our April note.  What follows are passages from several American/US History books and how they treat the events of April 19th, 1775. They are all from textbooks currently used in my classes at SPC and PHCC.   I thought the membership might find it interesting.

 

Enduring Vision—used at the Tarpon Campus of St. Petersburg College:

“The British government ordered Massachusetts Governor Gage to quell the “rude rabble” by arresting the principal patriot leaders.  On April 19, 1775, aware that most of these leaders had already fled Boston, Gage instead sent seven hundred British soldiers to seize military supplies that the colonist had stored in Concord.  Two couriers, William Dawes and Paul Revere, rode out to warn the nearby towns of the British troop movements and target.  At Lexington, about seventy minutemen confronted the soldiers.  After a confused skirmish in which eight minutemen died and a single redcoat was wounded, the British pushed on to Concord.  There they found few munitions but encountered a growing swarm of armed Yankees.  When some minutemen mistakably became convinced that the town was being burned, they exchanged fire with the British regulars and touched off a running battle that continued for most of the sixteen miles back to Boston.”

 

Give Me Liberty—used at all campuses of Pasco-Hernando Community College

 

“On April 19, a force of British soldiers marched from Boston toward the nearby town of Concord seeking to seize arms being stockpiled there.  Riders from Boston, among them Paul Revere, warned local leaders of the troops’ approach.  Militiamen took up arms and tried to resist the British advance.  Skirmishes between Americans and British soldiers took place at Lexington and again at Concord.”

 

 

 

 

Of the People---used at Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College

 

“In the spring of 1775, Gage received orders from England to take decisive action against the colonists.  He was determined to seize the colonists’ military supplies stored at Concord.  The British soldiers arrived at Lexington at daybreak and ordered the militia, which had gathered after being warned of the British advance, to surrender, which they refused to do.  Exactly what happened next remains unclear.  The colonists swore British soldiers opened fire.  The British major insisted that the first shot came from behind a tree.  British soldiers lost control and fired all about, and the colonists returned fire.  When order was restored, eight Americans were dead, most killed while trying to flee.

At the same time, the Concord militia had assembled. Fighting broke out when a fire that the British troops had set to the Concord liberty pole spread to the courthouse.  Determined to protect their town, the militia began marching on the British.  When the militia drew near, the British fired.  In the ensuing exchange, three British soldiers were killed and several more were injured.  The British were forced back across North Bridge.  The entire battle took two or three minutes.”

 

New Members

We want to welcome three new compatriots to the Tampa Chapter whose applications were recently approved.  The Chapter Secretary has their Membership Certificates which we hope to present in person at our May meeting.  Welcome to:

 

          Scott Lavone

          Charles Reynolds II

          Ashton Reynolds

 

Tentative Program Schedule

May 16         Rodney Kite-Powell (hopefully) from the Tampa Bay History Center     

Sep 19         Compatriot Charles Klug—the port of Tampa

Oct 17         Law Enforcement, Firefighter & EMS Recognition

Nov 21         Students from St Petersburg College answering either the question:

1.     The most interesting thing I learned about the American Revolution that I didn’t know before taking Mr. Yarnell’s class is…?

                          OR

2.       The one event from the revolution I would most like to have witnessed is…?

Dec 19         Wreaths Across America

 

Other Dates of Interest

June 12-14 The Florida SAR Spring Board of Management and Annual Meetings have been   rescheduled to June.  Please visit www.flssar.org for details of the Meetings.

July 9- 15  The National SAR Congress continues to be scheduled as originally planned. Please visit www.sar.org for more details.

 

 

Color Guard Activities

May 9        The Galvez Day and Battle of Pensacola Commemorations have been canceled

July 4        If permitted, I would expect there to be a number of Independence Day parades and celebrations that we could participate in.  I will see what I can work out for us.

 

Miscellaneous Reminders

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.