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News 96.5 WDBO

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The morning, we're helping you get to work on time. I'm Ed Torrence, news ninety six point five WDBO. Now, the Brian Kilmeade show, a news ninety six point five WDBO back. Everybody. We're having a great reflective show about American history and greatness, the Faneuil Philbrick does all about that. He's the best selling author of the last NBA Mayflower see of glory, and he's in the heart of see his latest book is in the hurricanes. I the genius of George Washington and the victory at Yorktown Nathaniel. Welcome back you feel comfortable in the studio by now. Right is great to be back. Well, great. How long did you work on this? This is three years. All my books are about three years. And but you know, I've written two earlier books about the revolution. I realized just yesterday that I've been now writing about the revolution for eight years, which is as long as the revolution itself. Well, fantastic. But Yorktown, we don't know a lot about that. We know the war ended there. We don't know how it ended there the role with the French and the role of the navy. Absolutely. You know, most people think Yorktown was the capstone of an inevitable victory. But it was anything, but the last year going into Yorktown everything was in the balance Washington New, and this is the real brilliance of Washington. He realized the only way he could deliver the blow that one this thing. Was if he had the assistance of the French navy he had to establish naval superiority, and so he was trying to do that desperately and finally on September fifth seventeen eighty one the French navy had sailed into the Chesapeake and met the British for the victory that made Yorktown possible. And so they fight the no American ships were there. No American ship. I mean, this is the thing it doesn't really fit in the story line. Most of us want for the American revolution. We want this to be something we won on our own. But the fact matter is we were just in terrible shape. There were five thousand French soldiers the joined Washington's army along with a number another three thousand that came up from the Caribbean and without the French navy. We wouldn't have done it. And there was not a single American ship participated, and they say without Bala Saratoga proving that we could win the French wouldn't have thought this is even worth their time. Right. Right. And you know, the French had their own agenda. They wanted to help America to to defeat Britain defeating Britain was their main priority which wasn't and so helping America was always what they were. Yeah. Because they were fighting down the Caribbean against against the British. But so it was Washington's job to try to channel them in a direction that would finally end this former so setup this H Cornwallis is down south. Yeah. Cornwallis has been down south. It's been kind of a rogue. He he's gone very aggressive in the south. And he fights Nathaniel Greene. The great fighting Quaker from Rhode Island the great American generals at the battle of Guilford courthouse. Cornwallis technically wins. But his army is is beat. And so he he retreats to Wilmington North Carolina. But said, you know, I'm not going to go back to Charleston. I'm gonna go into Virginia and stay on the offensive until he goes up there and ends up at Yorktown at the end of the peninsula between the James and York river building a naval base, which is what the British want and the Chesapeake. And he's in the midst of that when suddenly Admiral de Grasse sales up from the Caribbean with a fleet of twenty eight ships of the line, these are huge battleships and a rise in the Chesapeake and suddenly Cornwallis realizes, I'm surrounded right? And what does he have is naval force? He does he has a few scattered frigates assemblage of boats, but nothing that can do any damage to this huge fleet. He's got an army of about seven thousand soldiers British inhibitions, and what he should have done in. You know, hindsight is everything you know, what he should have done. As soon as the French navy arrived get out of there. He could have retreated into North Carolina. There would not have been the great defeat and probably we'd all be speaking with British accents. But he. His superior officer us or Henry Clinton in New York kept saying don't worry. We're gonna come down and help you. And finally, the British fleet did come down under Admiral Thomas graves and on September fifth. They had this battle in the entrance of the Chesapeake now up until this point the British almost always one but for the first and not exaggeration. But for the first basically last time, the French the French one this time, forcing graves to return to New York to repair ships and just as that happens, Washington and French general Rochambeau arrive and begin the siege. All the pieces fell into place. It's almost it's a miracle. Really Rochambeau who loaned the way they stop at mount Vernon you save your first time in six years is Washington. And he goes to I know anyway, I just went to Malvern recently. And they showed me the table that he reportedly opened up the map on the kind of devised a plan. You does your research say that. Oh, yeah. No. It's it's amazing. What an emotional moment for Washington. You know, he hasn't been home in six years four grandchildren had that he's never seen. Have been born in that in that time and he walks into mount Vernon Rochambeau with him. And they know that this huge fleet of friendships is there, and they pull out the maps and start planning it. He's only there for a few days. But it's the beginning of the great victory that will win this side note, we were just talking about this reading some excerpts from your book. And one of which is Washington's got some problems, not only is he trying to win a war that seems impossible when he writes home, he keeps finding some some disturbing news one of which was to British come down the Potomac and they start burning every plantation. They can. But they don't burn Washington's. Why why? Well, his his cousin Lund who was the caretaker of mount Vernon goes out to the British ship. The appropriately named savage and says here would you like some provisions with the suggestion? If I give you these don't burn the place, and they don't and when Washington hears this. He is infuriated. How how could this happen to the leader of the American army said I'd much rather lose all of mount Vernon than here this news. And so the enemy he basically offered a bribe and here he is trying to destroy the enemy and his caretaker has nephew nephew thinks. He did a good thing. Yeah. Yeah. No. It was. Yeah. Thanks to that. We have mount Vernon today. But it put Washington in a difficult position. And you know, this is one of the things I kept realizing in this book you'd like Washington to have that high five moment, you know, I've done this. We've won one this thing. But at every turn he's runs into issues that make it very difficult at the great victory at Yorktown, his stepson. Jackie Custos dies of cabin of of camp fever, and you know, so instead of. As the rest of America celebrates he's in morning, and you know, those kinds of things it was really tough on Washington. Right. So he would he does serenity. How does he get Cornwallis to surrender? Well, they surround this is a siege. And so what they do a series of lines in which they they moved the artillery closer and closer to the British position in Yorktown until finally they're just pounding the British two pieces at night. Lord Cornwallis tries to escape by rowing across the river. But a huge storm comes up that doesn't work and eventually they have no Cornwallis realizes I've got to surrender. And so he surrenders and Washington is very insistent that the terms of this treaty be in our favor because when at the battle of Saratoga under Horatio gates, it was just the opposite. Washington was a very tough negotiator. Finally. It's it's the the ceremony to surrender. But Cornwallis doesn't show up. He pleads illness, and that's avoids the public humiliation of having to turn his sword over to Washington Philbrick. He's our guest right now. So if you have the headquarters in New York, and that's what general Clinton has Cornwallis surrender anything, but the south in the south like how does it transfer? Right. Well, it's interesting you think Yorktown the war's over actually it would be two years before the British finally evacuated from New York. This was one part of the army, a very significant part seven thousand soldiers there about ten thousand up in New York. And so this meant there was still a significant army in America in Washington worried. Even though we won this thing the British are gonna come back and there was a naval victory. They wanted to care being all this stuff. But finally, the British parliament realizes the people no longer want war. No matter what we just have to. Get out of it in a lot of money to cost them, a huge amount of money, and the cost the French just as much, and you could argue the many have that the French revolution in less than a decade was a result of the fact that the French were bankrupted by their support of America and the revolution at about five thousand in New York, you said in particular, the French the British the British head over ten thousand ten. Yeah. So that Washington wanted to attack New York before he wanted to check tack the Chesapeake. But the French felt it was much easier to sail into the Chesapeake. So and they were right. And they were right. Hey, and they shifted Washington shifted gears. I mean, this is the thing about Washington. He would when he realized, you know, they're not gonna do it my way, okay shift gears. What can we do to make this happen? And he and he did it in a very decisive and brilliant way because he made his preference for New York make the British in New York think that that's where he was going to attack until the very last second when they realize whoa. A Washington and Rochambeau zombie are on their way. Philadelphia and ultimately Cornwallis in the chest. And they ended up just two years later just leaving on their own recognizance, right? It was the evacuation of New York in November of seventeen eighty three and a huge huge symbolic act. If nothing else and Washington rides in has. Writes in. It's it's it's now, you know, we have won this. And it's it's one of the major moments in American history. Yeah. We went down to Francis tavern where he had his final drink. The report is with his soldiers. He was so overcome with emotion. I couldn't really speak. But he said come up and touch me. And basically we would take to me shake my head. Yeah, they did. And they watched as he walked out to a barge that was waiting and took them downstream. And then you look out and you go to Francis tavern to do is make a turn you could see with a barge would be. Oh, absolutely. It's not as if it's been covered up by building. You could see the path that Washington talk. Now, it's amazing. When you go down to that Wall Street section of New York. It's a village. When you look at the historical buildings, and it was all very intimate, and when Washington left then he was on his way to Annapolis where the continental congress was to surrender his commission from Kong done. You guys can have it up a country loan and King, George when he heard that. This was Washington's plan to retire to mount Vernon he said if he does that he will be the greatest man in the world because you know for king. It was inconceivable to surrender power. I mean, you know, so many dictators had had refused to do that in the past and Napoleon and the future. But that's what Washington did. And he made it possible for Republic to then spring up from this this great victory. But I it would be no president. No. There was no president. There was a dysfunctional congress without an executive, and it would take almost five years before the continental congress would with the the constitutional convention would begin to create the. System that we have today. You can you stick around?.