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Episode 055: British Retreat from Lexington and Concord

By the afternoon of April 19, 1775, having completed his search and destroy mission to Concord. Lt. Col. Smith finds himself facing a twenty mile gauntlet back to Boston. Thousands of angry militia stand ready to attack. His men are exausted and running low on ammunition. His column barely makes it back to Lexington, where Lord Percy’s relief column saves them from surrender. The combined force then faces its own running battle before finally returning to the safety of Charlestown. The...


Episode 054: British Advance on Lexington and Concord

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Lt. Col. Smith leaves Boston via Charlestown. His goal is to seize and destroy munitions in Concord. Delays brevent his force from leaving Charlestown before Paul Revere and the Patriots alert the countryside. As the regulars reach Lexington at around dawn on April 19, they confront a group of militia on Lexington Green. The regulars at Lexington are an advance company led by a young Lieutenant. They fire on the militia before the main column arrives....


Episode 053: Paul Revere Rides

As Gen. Gage prepares to deploy a brigade of regulars to Concord, the patriots activate their warning system. Joseph Warren deploys William Dawes and Paul Revere to alert area patriots. The riders alert the militia and reach Lexington, while avoiding British patrols. They alert Samuel Adams and John Hancock at Lexington before moving on toward Concord. A British patrol captures Revere. Dawes gets thrown from his horse during his escape. But a third rider, Samuel Prescott, completes the...


Episode 052: Salem Alarm & Hearts and Minds

In February 1775, Gage attempts to grab a cache of Patriot cannon in Salem. Col. Alexander Leslie leads a regiment of regulars on what is supposed to be a surprise sail up the coast and a fast dash to Salem to grab the guns. Alert patriots run ahead of the soldiers and remove the weapons before the regulars arrive. After a brief standoff, the regulars return to Boston empty handed. A few weeks later, Boston commemorates the 5th anniversary of the Boston Massacre. Interaction with soldiers...


Episode 051: The Portsmouth Alarm

By the end of 1774 Britain had banned all munitions imports to the colonies. After fearing that the British Navy might seize munitions at Fort William and Mary in New Hampshire. Paul Revere rides from Boston to alert the local militia. The militia attack the fort the following day. There is an exchange of gunfire, but no one is killed. The militia quickly capture the small garrison, remove the gunpowder, and then release their prisoners to take control of the fort again. The following...


Episode 050: Britain Prepares for War

In late 1774, Prime Minister North calls for early elections. This results in a solid majority in favor of getting tough on the colonies. In reaction to the First Continental Congress threats of economic boycotts, Parliament bans all colonial trade with any country other the Britain. It also passes the “Conciliatory Proposition,” allowing colonies to raise their own taxes, as long as they come up with as much money as Parliament wants. The ministry informs Gen. Gage that he is not getting...


Episode 049: The Provinicial Congress of Massachusetts

By late 1774, Patriots had taken control of all of Massachusetts outside of Boston. While leaders in Philadelphia debated policy at the First Continental Congress, Massashusetts formed its own government independent of royal authority. The Provincial Congress organized a militia army, made use of Minutemen as a rapid reaction force, and named generals, led by Artemas Ward, for its independent army. The Congress also organized logistics and created a civilian Committee of Safety to run...


Episode 048: The First Continental Congress

After London cracked down on Massachusetts with the Coercive Acts following the Boston Tea Party, colonial leaders needed to act. The agreed to meet in Philadelphia in a “Grand Congress.” Some Tories supported the Congress as a way of putting off talk of colonial boycott’s against England. The Patriots hoped to use the Congress to put in place boycotts and present a united front in opposition to Parliament’s policies. Given that over the summer of 1774, more new of London’s “get tough”...


Episode 047: The Suffolk Resolves

Gov. Gage decides he does not have a large enough army to control the Massashusetts Bay Colony after the colonists pulled out ther guns and threatened to confront the army in 1774. Gage barricades himself in Boston and sends frantic letters to London calling for reinforcements. With that, royal authority over the colony is limited to Boston itself. Patriots control everything else. The Suffolk Meeting under Joseph Warren produces a series of resolves on how to handle the current crisis....


Episode 046: The Powder Alarm

On September 1, 1774, Gen. Gage sends a regiment to secure gunpowder stored at a powder house several miles from Boston. The regulars also sieze several cannons, returning to Boston with the guns and ammunition. Rumors spread that the regulars had shot and killed several colonists during the raid. By the following day, thousands of armed militiamen have gathered outside Boston demanding answers. The militia eventually go home after learning that no one was killed. But the event reinforces...


Episode 045: Governing from Salem

Governor Gage moves the colonial government to Salem and begins enforcing his policy of firmness, ignoring colonial protests and implementing the Coercive Acts. When the colonists refuse to obey, he attempts to use regulars to shut down a town meeting Salem. He arrests several leaders who held an illegal town meeting anyway. When the militia takes up arms to release those arrested, Gage realizes his soldiers could be overwhelmed by the shear numbers of armed militia. He is shocked by the...


Episode 044: Lord Dunmore’s War

In late 1774 Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore leads militia into Western Virginia. He hopes to stop local tribes who are attacking colonists. Tribes are upset that colonists are moving into their lands in violation of the King’s Proclamation of 1763. After the Battle of Point Pleasant, Gov. Dunmore forces Chief Cornstalk to sign the Treaty of Camp Charlotte, giving up all claims to land east of the Ohio River. Visit my site, for more text, pictures, maps,...


Episode 043: Colonies React to the Coercive Acts

Gen. Gage travels to Boston to replace Hutchinson as the new Governor of Massachusetts. The tough talking Gage had assured officials in London he could use firmness to enforce colonial compliance with the Coercive Acts, most of which were still under debate when he left London. Gage soon discovers that the threat of force only goads the heavily armed colonsits to threaten force of their own. Gage soon finds himself behind barricades in Boston, having lost control of the rest of the colony....


Episode 042: The Coercive Acts

In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament gets tough by passing several acts designed to punish Massashusetts. The Boston Port Act closes Boston Harbor until the city compensates everyone for damages related to the destruction of tea. The Government Act gives power to the Crown appointed Governor to fill most government positions and bans town meetings to discuss issues. The Administration of Justice Acts takes away the colony’s right to try soldiers or other officials for murder....


Episode 041: Tea Party Aftermath

Despite the open destruction of private property, the colonies generally seem to approve of Boston’s reaction to the tea ships. When another tea ship arrives a few months later, locals dump its chests in Boston Harbor as well. Other towns up and down the coast destroy or force the removal of tea. Soon, even drinking untaxed tea becomes unacceptable. Colonists hold tea burnings and refuse to allow anyone to sell or possess tea. The immediate reaction in London is that this is completely...


Episode 040: The Boston Tea Party

Parliament tries to with the fight over tariffs by greatly reducing the cost of tea, and maintaining only a nominal three pence per pound tax on tea. It then ships the tea to the colonies with little notice. Patriots are caught off guard as the tea arrives only weeks after they learn about the terms. Officials think they have beaten the protestors because once the ships enter harbor, the tax must be paid, or the tea can be seized by the government after 20 days. On Dec. 13, 1773, the day...


Episode 039: The Politics of Tea

After several years of calm in the colonies, Parliament changes the way tea is distributed and taxed throughout the Empire. Mostly, this is an attempt to bail out the East India Company which had too much tea and not enough cash. The Tea Act of 1773 reduced or eliminated almost all taxes on tea, and also allowed the East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonies, rather than having to go through expensive middlemen. The result would be a massive drop in the price of tea. With all...


Episode 038: The Green Mountain Boys

After New Hampshire issues thousands of land grants in a disputed region, New York gets the King to declare the land part of the New York colony. New York then declares all the property owners living on land grants from New Hampshire to be illegal squatters who need to buy their land again or leave. After legal and political efforts lead nowhere, the land ownders with New Hampshire grants form a militia that comes to be called the Green Mountain Boys. Ethan Allen becomes the best known...


Episode 037: Committees of Correspondence and the Colony of Vandalia

As events quiet down after 1770, London tries to make many minor behind the scenes changes to the colonial power structure, making it harder for the colonies to resist the next confrontation. Samuel Adams works with others to set up Committees of Correspondence, so Patriots can keep track of these changes across the colonies and develop strategies to resist. Also, land speculators attempt to set up a new colony in western lands, reserved by the King for native American tribes. The...


Episode 036: Sinking the HMS Gaspee

Rhode Island colonists, like just about all other colonists, greatly resented the new tough enforcement of trade laws by British officials. It made profitable trade virtually impossible. The HMS Gaspee and its commander Lt. Dudingston developed a reputation for being one of the worst in terms of strict enforcement and poor treatment of civilians. One night in 1772, the Gaspee ran aground on a sandbar in Naragansett Bay. That night, locals rowed out to the ship, shot Dudingston, removed...