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July 4, 1776 and Adam Stephen

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Compiled, written by Jim Moyer February 2017, updated 4/27/2017, 4/29/2017, 5/9/2017, 5/10/2017, 5/14/2017, 3/16/2018. 7/4/19

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ADAM STEPHEN remembers

the 3rd and the 9th

on July 4, 1776


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Douglas Southall Freeman writes that although  where [Adam] Stephen was, trouble was. …. He had been loyal to Washington . . .

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Even some 2 decades later in the midst of a new “fire” …

George Washington appreciates

Adam Stephen’s letter of July 4, 1776.

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GW writes back to Adam Stephen on July 20, 1776:

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I did not let the Anniversary of the 3d or 9th of this Instt

pass of without a grateful remembrance of the escape

we had at the  Meadows

and on the Banks of Monongahela.2

the same Provedence that protected us

upon those occasions will, I hope, continue his Mercies,

and make us happy Instruments

in restoring Peace & liberty to this once favour’d,

but now distressed Country.

Give my Complimts to the Sev⟨eral⟩ of yr Corps

of my acquaintan⟨ces and⟩

believe me to be

Dr Sir

Yr Most Obedt ⟨Sert,⟩

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On the day we celebrate, this original day of July 4, 1776, what was Adam Stephen remembering to George Washington?

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He was remembering July 3, 1754 when they were captured at Fort Necessity by the French.

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He was also remembering July 9, 1755 when the Indians and the French decimated Braddock’s Expedition on the Monongahela.

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Click or Touch to Enlarge. Quote is from source: A View of the Narrows between Long Island and Staten Island, with Our Fleet at Anchor and Lord Howe Coming In Lieutenant Archibald Robertson This picture was drawn by one of the Royal Engineers as he watched Admiral Howe’s flagship, HMS Eagle, arriving in the distance. See source.

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What was George Washington looking at?

When he wrote back to Adam Stephen?

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An Armada.
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Death is coming.
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It looks small and quiet.

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We have a powerful Fleet under the Command of Lord Howe in full view of us—

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distant about 8 Miles from this City—

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the Troops (from the best Accts amounting to about Eight or nine thousand Men)

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are upon Staten Island,

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fortifying themselves and waiting the Re-inforcement from England,

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which every fair Wind is expected to bring. this Reinforcement from different Accts will be from Fifteen to 20,000 Men. 

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The invasion of Staten Island:

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“All of New York is like a funnel that leads into the Hudson River, and who controls the Hudson River controls a lot of the land to the north,” said Felicity Bell, director of education and programs at Historic Richmond Town. “Staten Island is like the cork in the bottle. They wanted to be sure to control that square on the chess board.”

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From June 28, 1776 to July 5, 1776, a total of 130 British ships sailed to Staten Island and occupied the coastline of the mainly loyalist borough.

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By mid-August about 32,000 troops camped all around the island, mainly occupying what is now New Dorp and Old Town, Bell said.

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Source:

Before Battle of Brooklyn, Invasion Started in Staten Island  By Nicholas Rizzi August 25, 2015 4:24pm

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https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150825/new-dorp/before-battle-of-brooklyn-invasion-started-staten-island

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Douglas Southall Freeman writes

about the 20+ year relationship

between GW and Adam Stephen


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Frontier garrison duty had not carried Stephen, as it had Peter Hog, in a gradual descent to incompetence;

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but where Stephen was, trouble was.

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His acceptance of Dagworthy’s seniority [did he have a choice without GW around?] never had been explained, though Stephen’s letters often contained sharp criticisms of the Marylander.

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It was against Stephen, however unjustly, that some of the charges of drunkenness and immorality at Fort Cumberland had been directed.  [Virginia Gazette posted these charges]

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Source of quote above is from:

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“…where Stephen was, trouble was,”

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wrote Douglas Southall Freeman

author of an extensive multi volume bio on Young George Washington, page 256, Volume II, Chapter on Rebuilding the Regiment (Summer of 1757), published 1948.

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GW NOT HAPPY


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Douglas Southall Freeman continues:

Finally, Washington found after resuming command of all his troops, that Stephen so often had given orders contrary to those he had received that ….

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See this letter Douglas Southall Freeman is referencing:

GW from Fort Loudoun writes letter below to Robert McKenzie 29 July 1757:

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Colo. Stephen has given so many strange orders, orders, so inconsistent with my Instructions and incompatible with his own—that it will be with great difficulty, if it is even possible, to extricate the Officers and myself from the dilemma and trouble they have occasioned.

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This is serious. The lack of oversight on funds allocated by Williamsburg?

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What right Colo. Stephen had to order any repairs to your fort, without giving me previous notice of his design, I know not; and why you shou’d apply to him for those orders (when I was nearly as convenient, and alone had the right to direct) is matter of surprize to me.2

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The fund established for building of forts, has long been expended; and how your demand will be answered, I am at a loss to determine. However, that you may not suffer by complying with Colo. S——n’s orders; draw out an exact accompt, and what assistance I can be towards procuring your money, shall be chearfully given.

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Source:

https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Date%3A1757-07-29&s=1111311111&r=7

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Even as early as Jan-Feb 1755,

Adam Stephen, himself, acknowledges

GW is not happy with him:

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“and for my own part it gives me the Greatest uneasiness to have Reason to believe that I do not Enjoy the same Share of your Confidence and friendship that I once was happy in: Depend on it, Sir, my Constant Endeavours Shall be to deserve it.” – Adam Stephen to George Washington.

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Notes


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posted 7/4/2019

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Happy July 4, 1776 to everyone.
And although it may have meant everyone yet didn’t include everyone, the seeds of its thought eventually propelled us to mean this for everyone. We will always be a work in progress. We will continue to confront our blind spots.
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But today has a special little story.
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Adam Stephen remembers in a letter to George Washington the 3rd and the 9th on the original 4th of July.
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That 3rd and the 9th were 20 plus years ago.
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And while the two remembered those 2 events on the original 4th of July, what was George Washington watching at that very moment?
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An Armada.
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Death is coming.
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It looks small and quiet.
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