The hidden history of the conspiracy to kill General George Washington brought to lightBreaking News
tags: American Revolution, George Washington, Colonial American history
In April 1776, General George Washington, age 44, was the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. His forces, about 25,000 in number, were made up of mostly untrained and undisciplined recruits with “a few veteran soldiers…and a lack of gunpowder.”
Washington wrote to his brother, Augustine, that his army existed mostly on paper. “Within weeks,” he continued, “the British will be here. We expect a bloody summer…We are not prepared.”
Washington had landed in Manhattan, to whip his small army into shape. There was no Navy. Washington had traveled down from Boston with a plan to fortify Manhattan prior to the invasion.
The British were headed to New York, too, but from Halifax, Canada. Their purpose was to teach the rebels a hard lesson: Rebellion against the Crown is a capital offense. And soon, if the Crown’s mighty and feared dragoons prevailed, the rebels would be paying that price.
With 400 ships and 34,000 seasoned troops, including German auxiliaries, the British had one of the largest military forces of that bygone era.
It would be the first major battle of the American Revolution. The British military leaders were the Howe brothers: William, Army; and Adm. Richard Howe, Navy, both veterans of prior British colonial wars.
New York’s then-governor, a fanatical Tory, William Tryon, had left New York City. Fearing being kidnapped or hanged, he gained refuge on a British vessel, “Duchess of Gordon,” in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. It was docked, for protection, next to a British warship, “Asia,” with her 64 guns.
Tryon’s rap sheet as a Brit thug-for-hire included his employment, by the Crown, as the colonial governor (read autocrat) of North Carolina. There in June of 1771, farmers had protested against the “oppressive taxes” imposed on their properties.
When they refused to obey Tryon’s arbitrary decrees, his army of mercenaries, attacked the farmers. Six of their gallant leaders were tried and hanged after being (gasp) drawn and quartered.
This is basically how the authors Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch set the stage for their compelling insight into a little known chapter in the saga of America’s finest son, George Washington. It’s called “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington.” Although we know the plot didn’t work, still the authors’ narrative keeps our attention.
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