Fort Cumberland Nova Scotia General Carleton, New Jersey, New York discussed on American Revolution Podcast
Hello thank you for joining the American Revolution Today. Episode One Hundred Nineteen Fort Cumberland Nova Scotia General Carleton had destroyed General Benedict Arnold's fleet on Lake champlain and opened up a path for spring invasion from the North British oh how had pushed general Washington out of New York and New Jersey and had him sitting across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania by just about any measure patriot. 'cause seemed to be in serious trouble despite being on the ropes many Patriots were still looking to take the fight to the British I'm still wanted to go on the offensive. A revolution is not controlled by a single authority and in many places locals will take the initiative that's just what happened in Nova Scotia back in March seventeen seventy six general how had to evacuate Boston any moved his forces up to how ax in Nova Scotia before he could begin the summer campaign in New York after House army left Halifax For New York there were you British soldiers left in the area recall that back at the beginning of the French and Indian War Britain had removed most of the local French acadians from the region and forced them to return to France at that time thousands of colonists from New England moved into the area to take the farmland that the French Canadians had been forced to abandon now during the French and Indian war it seemed like a good idea for Britain to populate the area with British Colonists but by seventeen seventy six those same new Englanders we're at war with Britain the new Englanders who had settled in Halifax shared the same political views as their friends and family in Massachusetts among those settlers was a man named Jonathan Eddy he had served as a new England militia officer fighting in Halifax during the French and Indian war when hostilities ended in seventeen sixty eddie took advantage of the cheap land and moved his family to Halifax there he settled into life as a farmer and an elected member of the local assembly in seventy Gene seventy-five the assembly expelled Eddie for non attendance though the real reason was probably more for his involvement in revolutionary activities. in February seventeen seventy six hetty traveled to Cambridge to convince General Washington to send a contingent to Halifax to take control of the region at that time Washington was still besieging Boston and preparing his own offense of their he did not want to deploy resources to begin campaign Eddie then traveled to Philadelphia to get the support of the Continental Congress for his campaign to take Halifax Congress also rejected his proposals finally he returned to Massachusetts to get the provincial Congress there to assist with his plans Asu sits refused to provide him with troops but did promise to provide arms and ammunition if he could raise enough men to attempt a takeover of Noah's Osha as I said by the end of March general how had moved the bulk of his army from Boston to Halifax so there was no way that anyone was going to retake the area at that time but everyone expected that that army will be leaving soon so any spent most of the summer attempt eighteen to raise a regiment despite his aggressive recruiting among small villages in northern New England any could not raise even a hundred men most men who wanted to fight for the Patriot cause had already left for Boston and were already fighting in the continental army undeterred any took his a small force back to Nova Scotia where he was able to recruit some more locals and a few Indians bringing his force to around a hundred and eighty as expected how departed for New York in late summer and there were few British soldiers left in the region Eddie's force at that point was able to target work Cumberland which fell under the command of British Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Gorham like Eddie Goram had served as an officer during the Frenchman the in war and had settled in Halifax he received an appointment as deputy agent for Indian affairs at the same time that Eddie is a tempting to recruit a Patriot core Goram was attempting to recruit loyalist corps he also toured much of New England mostly before the fighting at Lexington and concord to put together a fighting force to support the King Gorham did not have much luck with recruitment either he he ended up with a total command of about one hundred ninety men with the departure of General House forces from Halifax Gorham took command of for it cumberland this was the former French Fort Phosa jor which is probably a terrible mispronunciation of the fort name it sat on the issue Smith's between Nova Scotia and mainland Canada the fort was far from a priority for the British leaving gorms militia with little supplies or anything else to build up the fort's defenses still Gorham and his men used equipment leftover from the French and Indian war repaired the walls Eh the fort relatively defensible in early November Eddie's forces moved into the area there he recruited even more locals including several members of local tribes as well as some French speaking Acadians who remained in the area the force captured a small contingent of loyalist militia under Captain Waqar the Patriots also captured a small sloop under Gore's command the polly along with its crew these forces began to lay siege to Fort Cumberland by some accounts Eddie's forces had grown to over five hundred men although this number seems a little exaggerate raided Gorham had less than two hundred men in his garrison Eddie had already taken about sixty men prisoner however any ed no cannons to use against the fort while Gorham had three mounted cannons that he could use against any attackers on November tenth Eddie sent a letter to Gorham calling for his surrender in response Gorham suggested that eddy surrender two days later Eddie attempted a night attack against the fort hoping that the surprise and confusion would allow his men to get inside the Fort and take the garrison Goram's men however repulsed the attack following that failure the soldiers serving under Eddie began to question his leadership a counselor officers voted to remove Eddie from leadership remember these were all local civilians acting as Bolivia there were no professional officers or men around a little over a week later the new leadership council ordered another attack on November twenty second and again on November twenty third bird a few outbuildings but again failed to capture the fort itself a few days later on November twenty seventh a British relief force arrived aboard the HMS Vulture. The ship carried two hundred reinforcements mostly Royal Marines under the command of Major Thomas Bat two days later that led a counter attack on the Patriot lines outside the fort the British killed or wounded an unknown number of Patriots while taking five casualties to dead three wounded themselves the Patriot forces scattered most of the men simply left the fight and went home the British spent the next few the days trying to chase down patriots but with little luck they scoured the countryside and captured a few suspected rebels they also burn the farm of those suspected of participating in the attack on the fort or other supporters of the rebellion the locals protested this destruction of property Colonel Gorham offered a full pardon to anyone who surrendered and agreed to take an oath of allegiance with the exception of Eddie and a few other leaders this upset major bat who charged Gore with neglect of duty Gorham later received exoneration of the charges which is not a surprise I since men like General Hal and General Carleton were doing very similar things the pardon gave every appearance of returning the area to local obedience ended the Patriot movement there Eddie at a few others unwilling to submit left for Massachusetts the battle at Fort Cumberland is also sometimes called Eddie's rebellion and it ended up being a relatively minor affair involving mostly militia while some historians view that Patriot victory there might have brought Nova Scotia over to the Patriot side and made it the fourteenth state it seems unlikely that the Patriots we've been able to hold the territory against an almost certain British counterattack from Halifax in any event the British despite victory did not consider it terribly significant this relatively minor affair between militia and Halifax was happening while British under general how were pushing the continental army out of New York and across New Jersey still moving slowly toward Philadelphia which is some of the things I've talked about over the last couple of weeks as I said last week general how had joined General Cornwallis in New Jersey and was slowly pushing Washington's army into pens Vania as the victorious army chased the continentals across the state general how had left his second in command General Clinton back in New York City Eighty Clinton spent most of his days I imagine banging his head on the desk out of frustration since the first British troops landed in New York earlier that Summer Clinton had proposed one plan after another to encircle and trap and destroy the continental army his commander General Hal continually rejected his advice preferring to push the Americans back slowly and always offering them an avenue of retreat as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago during the New York campaign how in Clinton's relationship which had never been particularly good grew even more strained Clinton attempted to push beyond house orders on several occasions only to receive a reprimand from his commander during the battle of White Plains and a frustrated Clinton spoke openly of his frustration about serving under how to General Cornwallis when Cornwallis Pat I along these comments to how the commander decided to leave Clin completely out of any combat plans under his command as the British Russian's pushed the Continental Army across New Jersey Clinton once again proposed taking a fleet up the Delaware River while another army pushed Washington back towards the river again if this plan succeeded Washington's army would be trapped and forced to surrender but how once again said no and allowed Clinton subordinate Cornwallis to lead the British army attacking Washington and New Jersey still how needed to give Clinton something to do other than sitting in New York writing letters to London about how badly how was performing Hal deployed Clinton to capture Rhode Island or in particular the Schwab areas around New York might freeze up for the winter thus trapping the navy and possibly damaging the ship's the salt water port and Newport Rhode Island would be a much safer nearby location to host the Royal Navy for the Winter Newport would also once again give the British a toehold in New England and would also serve as a good post to block New England privateers from coming and going Newport was thought to have one of the largest percentages of loyalist populations in New England thus minimizing the danger from local militia General Clinton received a force of about six seven thousand regulars in Haitians and took general Lord Percy as his second in command some sources say the force was larger but I think that they've been counting the thousands of sailors aboard ships that were carrying the army to Rhode Island how had originally promised Clinton a force of ten thousand soldiers but he reduced that number shortly before he set sail a fleet of eighty three ships under the command of Commodore Peter Parker carry it Clinton and his forces from New York to Rhode Island now you may recall that Parker had carried Clinton to the Carolinas where the men raced an embarrassing loss at Fort Sullivan in Charleston Harbor for more on that see episode eighty-eight Clinton had certainly not forgotten about it he took this opportunity to bicker with Parker again over the incident he demanded Parker take the blame for all the failure at Charleston and clear the cloud over Clinton's good name Parker was actually pretty conciliatory and wanted to put the issue behind them but making a fuss about what at this point only made the situation between the two commanders worse even so the landing at Newport on December eight th seventeen seventy six turned out to be a non event there were no continental soldiers prepared to oppose the landing Washington's Army was in New Jersey fleeing toward Dalkia Charles Lee's army was in southern New York but seemed more interested in what was happening in New Jersey then attempting to oppose the British in Rhode Island before the British fleet arrived the local Patriot militia had abandoned the defensive works along the shore and had removed most of the canons most of the Patriots civilians in the area simply left town before the British arrived a prewar population L. Newport of about nine thousand had fallen to under five thousand Clinton found the much reduced population remaining behind to be loyalists or quake here's who were willing to submit to British rule the British force landed unopposed there were a few Patriot militia in the area who the British easily shirt or dispersed now as I said for the past year and even longer Clinton had constantly recommended general how that he should use forces to envelop the enemy and surround them so the British could capture the enemy instead how just pushed the enemy further back allowing them avenue of retreat now Clinton in his first independent command did exactly the same thing how had been doing he landed his forces at Newport and simply allowed the enemy militia to wchs the continental navy was still hanging around Rhode Island at this time most of it remained bottled up near Providence it did not front British or attempt to oppose landing in fact after a British ship the HMS diamond ran.