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Minor American Revolution holidays

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following are minor or locally celebrated holidays related to the American Revolution.

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Transcription

This is the story of a nation, a new nation. Since the sixteen hundreds America was a land of opportunity, a destination for European exiles, adventurers, fortune hunters and freedom seekers. Thirteen distinct colonies grew and prospered, sharing only boundaries and loyalty to the British crown. But, starting in 1763, common worries over colonial rights escalated into a united protest against the British King and Parliament. Over the next 25 years, Americans became the most successful revolutionaries in world history. This exhibit presents this period through a series of questions: Who were we? What was the problem? When did it happen? Where did we go from there? Why did it take so long? and How did we do? Our story is an extraordinary saga carried out by a unique blend of people called Americans who forever changed the world. By the mid 18th century over two and a half million colonials lived along the Atlantic coast. Most benefitted from a flourishing economy. But the thirteen colonies had not worked together to accomplish this prosperity. They remained separated by regional differences, boundary disagreements, economic rivalries, and diverse nationalities. England was the most powerful nation in the world in the 1760s. After winning the French and Indian War in 1763, King George, III decided that the colonists should pay for royal troops to protect the vast American territory won from France. Across the Atlantic from King George, III were thirteen unique colonies. New England: made up of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Trademark resources of the northern colonies included the fishing industry and timber forests for ship building. Bustling seaports were crowded with square riggers and schooners that distributed trade good throughout the world. The center of business was Boston, a city that would become the birthplace of the revolution. New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware hosted a rolling landscape of grain fields and iron mines. These resources created a thriving middle class. The cities of New York and Philadelphia were crammed with a diverse population that created a unique level of tolerance of majority and minority groups as they struggled to work together. Farmers and tradesmen worked in Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. But it was a small percentage of grand plantation owners who held 75 percent of the wealth. Their vast estates were dependent upon African slaves to work the fields of tobacco and rice. Southerners were fiercely protective of their rights and their belief in the equality of all men – all white men. Since the early 1600’s slave traders sold kidnapped Africans to American colonists; primarily in the South but also in the North. By the 1760s black slaves numbered 540,000. Shackles and collars, like these, reflected a life where the words “liberty” and “freedom” were only an idea. The colonies held a very diverse population. Only 60 percent of the colonists were of English descent. The other 40 percent were Scots, Germans, Dutch, Irish, Swedish, and French who sought liberties unavailable to them in their homelands. Over two hundred thousand Native Americans lived between the east coast and the Mississippi River. Separated into eighty-five different nations and into two different language groups: Algonquin and Iroquoian. Constant inter-tribal warfare was a result of these widely varied dialects, traditions, and ancient hatreds. Native Americans were not alone in the West. Daniel Boone, a frontiersman, whose life represented a vital character in American culture, moved his family to the Kentucky territory in 1773. Retracing their route in 1775, he and other woodsmen laid out the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap. Boone spent the revolution on the Western frontier. Establishing pioneer settlements and, with this rife, fought Indians who allied with the British. In the colonies, property ownership had a leveling effect on society. But the wealthiest and most educated still created a ruling class. There was also great distance between the sexes. Men generally believed that women had smaller brains and considered education for their daughters to be a waste of time. More than half of colonial women could not read. But again, neither could approximately one fourth of the men. Whether educated or ignorant, rich or poor, all colonists faced the realities of 18th century life: poor nutrition, poor sanitation, and widespread disease. Knowledge of germs and bacteria was non-existent in the 1700s. The imbalance of bodily fluids was believed to be the cause of all disease and illness. Remedies included bleeding patients into a faint with leaches. Colonists faced epidemics of malaria, cholera, and small pox. Premature aging and death resulted from poor nutrition, and heavy drinking. An enticing array of medicines and herbal remedies such as chalk for heartburn, and willow bark for aches and pains could be purchased at the apothecary. Colonists gathered in the taverns and inns to hear recent news as well as to eat and drink. While hard cider, beer, and rum flowed freely, outbursts of violence were rarely seen. The colonists justified their heavy drinking habits with fears of polluted water, and belief in alcohol’s medicinal properties. After winning the French and Indian War in 1763, the British were deeply in debt and still had to protect their land in North America. Without the colonies consent, King George, III enacted many new taxes and ordered colonists to house royal troops at their own expense. When taxes escalated through the 1760s and early 1770s, colonial outrage rose to the boiling point. The Stamp Act of 1765 taxed all paper products: legal documents, business records; even playing cards. As a result of these and other new taxes, the colonials joined together to write a declaration of rights and grievances claiming that England did not have the right to tax the American colonists without representation in Parliament. The united colonies boycotted British goods, and, within a year forced the repeal of all taxes, except for a tax on tea. On March 5th 1770, a riot between four hundred Boston citizens and six British soldiers left five colonists dead and several wounded. The troops opened fire because they had been pelted with ice chunks and snowballs packed around rocks by the angry mob. The soldiers were tried with murder, but convicted only of lesser crimes thanks to defense attorney, John Adams, who convinced the court that the soldiers were only acting in self defense. In 1773 England allowed only Loyalist merchants to sell tea at bargain prices. In protest, patriots called “The Sons of Liberty,” loosely disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians and boarded the ships on December 16th and shoveled all the tea, worth ninety thousand dollars, into the waters of Boston Harbor. As punishment, King George, III sent the Royal Navy to close the harbor and stated, “The die is now cast, the colonists must either submit or triumph.” The other colonies not only sent food and assistance to Boston, they formed the first inter-colonial congress to organize united resistance to Britain. So who were the patriots? They ranged from a tax collector to an ambassador. Samuel Adams became such an effective political agitator that the American Revolution might never have happened without him. A tax collector in his early 40s, Adams allowed Bostonians to get away with overdue payments, organized a patriotic underground called “The Sons of Liberty,” spread propaganda against British policies, and wrote broadsides urging resistance. John Hancock inherited a fortune in his mid 20s and nearly single-handedly bankrolled the early protest in Boston. An elegant dandy and a fashionable bachelor, he was accused by Boston authorities of smuggling in the late 1760s. Although guilty, his attorney, John Adams, was able to get Hancock relieved of all charges. Later, the elegant outlaw was voted President of the Second Continental Congress. John Adams, Sam Adams’ cousin, was a brilliant attorney and a passionate defender of American rights. Only forty years old in 1775, he shrewdly realized that Massachusetts needed the support of prosperous Virginia to strengthen regional ties. Since a radical New Englander would cause dissent, Adams’ nomination of George Washington as Commander-in-Chief unified the North and South. Patrick Henry’s defiant oratory was considered essential to the early patriotic cause. He was one of the first revolutionaries to push for their separation from England. In 1775 Henry offered these famous words, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” Paul Revere was a leader of Boston’s skilled craftsmen who kept track of Redcoat activity. A talented silversmith, who crafted this urn, Revere’s rebellious view of political events appeared in newspapers, almanacs, and broadsides that spread the patriotic message throughout the colonies. Benjamin Franklin served as the colonial ambassador to London from 1757 to 1775. Earlier in life he published “Poor Richard’s Almanack” which distributed his shrewd wit and wisdom throughout the world with observations such as “God helps those who help themselves,” and “No gains without pains.” Franklin was the one man in London who might have been able to mediate the growing conflict. But, after being accused of stealing, Franklin returned home to Philadelphia bitterly disenchanted. At age 69, he joined the push for independence. In September 1774, the first Continental Congress met for the first time to officially reject England’s recent oppression, but to also honor King George III as sovereign. On July 4, 1776 independence from England was declared. The 56 brave men who signed the declaration were committing treason. Now, the united colonies faced an all out war against the world’s greatest military power. America had eight ships against Great Britain’s fleet of two hundred seventy. And munitions gathered for the Continental Army would not last one month. British troops were planning a march to Lexington to arrest John Hancock and Sam Adams. At nightfall on April 18, 1775, Paul Revere hung a two lantern signal in the steeple of the Old North Church alerting his comrades in the hills that the Redcoats were crossing the harbor. It is possible that Revere carried this pistol as he rode to Lexington warning “the Redcoats are coming out!” not “the British are coming!” as told in the famous poem by Longfellow. Why? Because most colonial considered themselves British. That same night, British general Howe ordered seven hundred troops to Lexington and Concord to seize stockpiles of colonial gunpowder. Reaching Lexington near dawn, April 19th they were surprised to face seventy-seven Minutemen – farmers and laborers trained to be ready in a minute should armed resistance become necessary. One musket went off. Historians still debate which side fired first the first shot. But within seconds a full volley of musket balls left eight colonists dead on Lexington Green. At nearby Concord, four hundred Minutemen exchanged fire with one hundred twenty Redcoats at North Bridge. With the so called “Shot heard round the world,” the war began and the colonists looked for a military leader. George Washington, at forty-two years of age was a commanding presence at six foot three inches tall and 225 pounds. He spoke little and rarely smiled. As the richest planter in the South, his primary skills in 1775 included plantation management, decorating his elegant home Mount Vernon, and entertaining the gentry. A veteran of the French and Indian War, who fought in only two minor battles, he was elected Commander-in-Chief of the new Continental Army. Washington embarked on his new command with a few generals, promises of volunteers, and thirty-six barrels of gunpowder. It was not a promising beginning. In May 1775, the Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen and Massachusetts volunteers led by Captain Benedict Arnold, captured Fort Ticonderoga in New York. Congress hoped that the French majority in nearby British Canada would join sides with America. In order to convince the French-Canadians, the fortress of Quebec must be captured. General Richard Montgomery’s army was combined with Arnold’s forces to invade Canada. During their attack in a raging snowstorm on December 31st, Arnold was shot in the leg and turned his troops over to frontiersman, Daniel Morgan. Unaware that Montgomery had been killed and his troops had fled, Morgan and his followers were quickly surrounded. Americans held their ground in northern New York, but Canada remained under British control. During the winter months of 1775 – 1776 political thought was impacted dramatically by the publication of a single pamphlet. Seen here, “Common Sense” was one of the most brilliant and inspiring pamphlets ever written. Englishman, Thomas Paine, a recent arrival to the colonies, published it in January 1776. Paine was the first to question hereditary rule and also focused on the vast resources of America saying, “there is something absurd supposing that a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.” The colonies were no longer children of the mother country, yet independence was still hotly debated in Congress. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson were selected by the Continental Congress to prepare a document declaring independence. The writing fell to Jefferson who struggled with numerous drafts. But then moved the argument to a higher level when he declared, “all men are created equal.” A trial vote on July 1st found New York abstaining, Delaware divided, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voting no. Many revisions were negotiated, but the primary dispute was over slavery. Finally, it was decided that freedom for slaves would be deleted from the document. A leaner version of Jefferson’s draft was approved late in the day of July 2nd. Two days later, on July 4th 1776, the assembly signed the Declaration of Independence. The world would never again be the same. The united colonies created the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union as the nation’s first, but ineffective, constitution. Congress had to somehow fund an army and to convince enemies of England to help America. Benjamin Franklin once again became an ambassador, this time, seeking help from France and King Louis XVI. The outcome of war would depend as much on his success as that of General Washington who struggled with inexperienced soldiers and disgruntled generals. By the end of 1777 the British had captured Philadelphia. But a stunning American victory at Saratoga, New York convinced foreign powers that America could fight. To keep America fighting, Congress was authorized to issue continental dollars to pay the bills. When the currency was retired the funds were to be returned to the central government, keeping the money from inflating in value. At least in theory. In practice however, new money was printed without retiring the old and rampant inflation was a result. Coins from Britain, France, and Spain were hoarded. And trade was nearly non-existent. Congress did not dare tax its citizens because the revolution was born out protests against taxation. So the colonists, flooded with paper money, were forced to pay astronomical prices for goods and services. Strategy early in the war centered on major engagements that positioned thousands of soldiers on huge battlefields. Troops in the 1700s stood shoulder to shoulder marching in cadence to fife and drum signals toward musket fire and bursting canon shot. It was the only effective way to use these weapons because of their inaccuracy. Having volleyed at close quarters, the armies ultimately charged with fixed bayonets. The superbly trained and equipped forces of England expected quick victories. The inexperienced continental armies suffered from lack of clothing, lack of food, ammunition, and weapons. The continentals suffered defeat throughout New York and across New Jersey for the remainder of 1776. By then, one and a half years of war had resulted in six hundred continental soldiers killed and thousands dead from disease and wounds, over 4400 captured, and thousands of deserters. The army fled in to Pennsylvania where General Washington devised a daring plan for December 25th 1776. On Christmas night in freezing sleet, soldiers quietly re-crossed the river back to New Jersey while German soldiers slept off their holiday celebration at Trenton. The surprise attack resulted in the first unqualified American victory and made a young law student a hero. James Monroe was an 18 year old Virginia law student who joined a company of riflemen. On December 25th Monroe was sent with an advance guard across the Delaware River to scout the enemy camp at Trenton. He sent a report back to George Washington about the drunken Christmas celebrations. At the battle of Trenton the next morning, Monroe and his regiment were the first to charge. But a musket ball nearly severed the main artery at the base of Monroe’s neck. Thanks to quick attention by a field surgeon, he recovered fully. Although the future president would have that musket ball in his neck for the rest of his life. After the bleak winter at Valley Forge in 1777 hopes were high that the war would end soon. In London, British ministers talked of reconciliation. In Paris, Benjamin Franklin netted the alliance with France. In America, continental troops were becoming a real army despite being threatened by desertion and starvation because a nearly bankrupt congress could not provide food, supplies, or wages. Yet the common soldier miraculously persevered. The continental navy had its share of success as well. The war dragged on for four more years as the British army in the south was slowly driven back into Virginia. Finally, in 1781, as the Redcoats waited at Yorktown for Sir Henry Clinton’s reinforcements, Washington’s army converged with the French navy to surround the coastal city where the British surrendered. The American navy was small but quick forcing the British fleet to scatter their forces and to even defend their own waters. One engagement in 1779 transformed a Scottish criminal turned captain into the father of the American navy. In this battle, one of the hardest fought in naval history, the Bonhomme Richard, captained by John Paul Jones, defeated the HMS Serapis right off the coast of England. His musket, used in that battle, was given to Benjamin Franklin. Born in Scotland, John Paul was a former seaman who added the name of Jones after killing a mutinous sailor and escaping to America. In the mid 1770s he joined the continental navy and sailed to the British Isles where his seizures of British ships won him worldwide fame. In mid August 1789, as captain of the Bonhomme Richard, Benjamin Franklin’s French nickname, Jones squared up against the British frigate HMS Serapis. After Jones’ canons exploded, he lashed the two ships together and fought for three more hours until the battle became a race between the swaying main mast of the Serapis and the leaking hull of the Bonhomme Richard. Finally, the British captain surrendered. Jones and his remaining crew abandoned their sinking ship and triumphantly sailed the battered Serapis to neutral Holland. Meanwhile, in Paris, Benjamin Franklin played French agents and English spies against each other to win a critical alliance with France. The economic impact from the loss of American trade threatened revolts in the British Isles. So England repealed all contentious legislation and taxes on America back to 1763. But it was too little too late. The fighting continued. If an 18th century soldier fell in battle, he prayed to get shot in the head because death was quicker that way. Often, the wounded lay on the fields for more than twenty-four hours after battles were over. Wounds in arms and legs, especially if bones were shattered, nearly always required amputation. Instruments, such as these, often unsterilized, compounded mortality rates since nobody knew that bacteria spread disease and infection. Many men, weakened from malnutrition, were easily susceptible to diseases including small pox, typhus, measles, and pneumonia. There was a forty percent death rate for small pox alone. But, an inoculation program ordered by Washington probably saved the lives of thousands. Still dysentery was common due to contaminated water, plus drinking and eating with dirty hands, cups, and utensils. Fortunately, a strict army rule required that latrines be dug downstream. This helped to reduce flies and according to one diary entry, “made the tea taste better.” The continental army fought three main enemies: the British, the Hessians, and turncoats. British soldiers drilled with mechanical precision and were trained to perform under heavy fire at point blank range. Early in the war, King George III also paid German princes for the use of highly disciplined Hessian soldiers. Almost thirty thousand Germans fought against Americans during the Revolution. Major General Benedict Arnold was a true American hero of Quebec, Ticonderoga, and Saratoga. Arnold also loved high society. After pledging his love to Betsy Deblois, with this ring, he married socialite Peggy Shippen in 1779. His personal debt mounted. In the summer of 1780 General Washington appointed Arnold commander of West Point, a fortress vital to the control of the Hudson River. Peggy persuaded her husband to meet with Major John André of the British army who paid him twenty thousand pounds Sterling, for the complete plans of West Point. Upon André’s return to New York City, three militiamen discovered the confidential papers in his boot, arrested him, with this musket and bayonet. An alert was sent to George Washington, as well as to Benedict Arnold. By the time Washington arrived at West Point, Arnold was gone and André swung from the gallows, paying with his life for Arnold’s treason. Arnold became a British general, but was never fully trusted by the British. In 1781 he went to London and lived with his wife and son for twenty years – despised by Americans and ignored by Englishmen. Brutal winters also proved to be a devastating opponent. One week before Christmas 1777, thousands of shoeless continental soldiers left bloody footprints in the snow as they staggered into winter headquarters at Valley Forge, twenty miles from Philadelphia. They set to work building log huts in the frigid temperatures. A few overcoats were issued to the men on guard duty, but the average soldier went without winter clothing or blankets. Hunger and disease were major problems. Days could pass without any food at all, or only a handful of rice and a tablespoon of vinegar. Two thousand men disserted. Even more died of disease or exposure. The army’s numbers sank below four thousand men. The lives of those who survived the winter were summed up in this diary entry, “I am sick, discontented, and out of humor. Poor food, hard lodgings, cold weather, fatigue, I can’t endure it.” There was one bright spot in this dismal winter, Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus, the Baron von Steuben from Prussia, volunteered his services at Valley Forge. He drilled the soldiers with military professionalism and in three months turned the continentals into a fighting army. The next winter, when confronted with bankruptcy, Congress asked the states to provision the army without compensation. Hardy any food reached the troops at Morristown, New Jersey who confronted howling winter storms and the coldest temperatures in memory. The entire army nearly starved to death. By comparison, memories of Valley Forge began to seem pleasant. Both British and French observers remarked at the resilience of the American soldier. Tough and self-reliant while enduring constant hardship with little complaint. A soldier’s knapsack held everything precious to him. Things like small knives, perhaps a bone comb, tobacco, and pipe, and possibly some small game pieces. In their free time, soldiers played cards or marbles, or shot dice. Few continentals could read or write letters, so they told stories, smoked clay pipes, and drank spirits when they were lucky enough to have them. By May 1780, British troops had surrounded Charleston, South Carolina and taken 5,500 Americans prisoner. The war in the south had been raging for a year and a half before the command of the southern army was turned over to Nathaniel Greene who built up his army by rallying both militia forces and guerilla fighters. By the middle of 1781 Greene’s armies had cleared the British out of the Carolinas. In late September 1781, the combined continental and French armies surrounded Yorktown, Virginia digging trenches and dragging heavy canon into place. British Lord Cornwallis withdrew to inner fortifications to wait for the reinforcements promised from New York. But all they could see were solid earthworks on land and a forest of French masts in the harbors. Finally, on October 19, 1781 General Washington accepted the unconditional surrender of Lord Cornwallis, his 7,100 soldiers, and 800 sailors. On the same day in New York City, Sir Henry Clinton and his British fleet set sail. It was too late. The war was over. When the final peace treaty reached America in November 1783 the British army evacuated New York. Most of the continental army had been discharged but a few remaining officers triumphantly rode into New York City for a final dinner. General Washington said goodbye to his officers saying, “With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take my leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your later days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” Soon after, Washington in uniform complete with these epilates of woven guilt lamé, yellow and white silk traveled to Annapolis, Maryland where Congress was now meeting after being chased out of Philadelphia by army veterans demanding back pay. Only twenty members representing seven states were present at the historic occasion where Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the continental army. Historians consider this action as one of the most revolutionary moments in Unites States history. The most powerful and revered man in America simply gave up his power and walked away. From victorious celebration to economic disintegration the world watched and waited as America struggled to become a nation. The call sounded throughout the country in 1787 for a convention to address the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation. Little did the delegates know that they would entirely scrap the old government to create a new republican body of laws. The stakes were high. Their vision of America had never been tried before in the history of the world. The idea of nationality was slow to catch on. But gradually the idea of being American entered the national consciousness. American resourcefulness blossomed into factories, business ventures, industry, and new trade opportunities throughout the world. Eager reformers improved agriculture, remodeled penal codes, and worked to build schools and libraries. In order to solidify the new nation, a constitutional convention began in May 1787 to debate the roll of the national government. A new plan brought by James Madison proposed a central government with a two-branched legislature, a strong executive branch, and a national judiciary more powerful than state courts. Heated debate ensued over several issues, primarily the balance of power for small versus large states. Defining the office of chief executive was also problematic. Delegates agreed to risk a novel idea: to elect a president by a direct vote of the people. A final decision allowed all white males to vote; no longer limiting votes to property owners. The constitution abolished the slave trade to be official after 1808. But it did not outlaw slavery. This concession to the southern slave owners, this sacrifice of equality, purchased a union. The constitution was signed on September 17, 1787 but took over two years to be ratified by the states. But the question remained: who would lead this new government? Only one man was regarded so highly by all Americans that he might bring unity to this grand experiment. Only one man could have possibly been our first president: George Washington. Before his inauguration, Congress debated how the head of the United States should be addressed. Proposals included: Your Highness, Protector of Liberties, or Your High Mightiness. Washington let it be known that no title other than “Mr. President” should be acceptable. After he took his oath of office, he spontaneously added the plea, “So help me God.” The founding fathers’ genius and extraordinary efforts to compromise created our United States constitution. A governing document that has been amended only twenty-six times in 215 years. And the first ten amendments were added in the first two years. This document has allowed the United States to be resilient but flexible through brutal war, peaceful growth, violent social upheaval, and horrifying tragedy. Recent events have brought great sorrow to America, along with a renewed storm of patriotism, plus a new war. Throughout our history we have survived attack from within and from without, and we’ll continue to thrive. Our strength lies within a system that is not perfect but one that posses the means to correct itself.

Contents

A Great Jubilee Day

A Great Jubilee Day, first organized May 26, 1783 in North Stratford, now Trumbull, Connecticut, celebrated end of major fighting in the American Revolutionary War.

Bennington Battle Day

Bennington Battle Day is a state holiday unique to Vermont which commemorates the American victory at the Battle of Bennington (which actually took place in New York) during the Revolutionary War in 1777. The holiday's date is fixed, and occurs on August 16 every year.[citation needed]

In Bennington, there is a battle re-enactment put on by the local history foundation.[citation needed]

This may be the only state holiday in the US which commemorates an event that did not even happen in the state.[citation needed]

The Battle of Bennington is named as such, because the battle was over weapons and munitions stored where the Bennington Battle monument now stands. This site is located in what is now referred to as Old Bennington.[1]

Carolina Day

Carolina Day is the day set aside to commemorate the first decisive victory of the American Revolutionary War in South Carolina.

History

Sgt. Jasper raising battle flag during the Battle of Sullivan's Island.
Sgt. Jasper raising battle flag during the Battle of Sullivan's Island.

On June 28, 1776, a small band of South Carolina Patriots defeated the British Royal Navy in the Battle of Sullivan's Island. Patriots stationed at an unfinished palmetto log and sand fort near what is today Fort Moultrie defeated a British naval force of nine warships as it attempted to invade Charleston. After a nine-hour battle, the ships were forced to retire. Charleston was saved from British occupation, and the fort was named in honor of its commander, General William Moultrie. The victory put off a British occupation for four years.[citation needed]

The Liberty Flag designed by Colonel William Moultrie and waved by Sergeant William Jasper to rally the troops during that battle became the basis for the Flag of South Carolina, bearing on it an image of the palmetto tree that was used to build the fortress.[citation needed]

Holiday

The anniversary of the victory was celebrated locally starting in 1777 when it was known as Palmetto Day or Sergeant Jasper's Day. (The latter name was a reference to a colonial soldier who had rushed into the fight to save the fallen battle flag during the battle).[2] The anniversary became known as Carolina Day for the first time in 1875. The anniversary remained popular until the mid-20th century but eventually began to fall out of favor. Regardless, the day continued to be marked by the tradition of playing the tune of "Three Blind Mice" at noon at St. Michael's Episcopal Church (Charleston, South Carolina). In 1995, Charleston historical groups helped reinvigorate the celebration of Carolina Day to help raise awareness of South Carolina's and Charleston's role in the Revolutionary War.[3]

While the holiday has not regained the popularity it once enjoyed, it remains an official holiday in South Carolina although not marked by office closings. According to South Carolina Code Ann. sec. 53-3-140, "June twenty-eighth of each year, the anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan's Island in 1776, is declared to be 'Carolina Day' in South Carolina."[4]

Founder's Day

Founder's Day originated from a proclamation by the United States Continental Congress on October 11, 1782, in response to Great Britain's expected military defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The war did not formally end until Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784.[5]

The purpose of the proclamation was essentially to thank God for America's good fortune in the Revolutionary War. This did not form the basis for Thanksgiving Day as it is known presently in the United States. Congressional and presidential declarations named several days of thanks each year throughout the Revolutionary War period and after. This particular day of thanks falls on November 28.[6]

Proclamation Text

By the United States in Congress assembled.

PROCLAMATION.***

IT being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his providence in their behalf: Therefore, the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these States, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war, in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their Allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them; the success of the arms of the United States, and those of their Allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States:----- Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the twenty-eight day of NOVEMBER next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.

Done in Congress, at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, in the year of our LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, and of our Sovereignty and Independence, the seventh.

John Hanson, President.

Charles Thomson, Secretary.

Halifax Day

Halifax Day occurs on April 12 in Halifax, North Carolina. It celebrates the Halifax Resolves (which was the first official call for independence from Britain by any of the colonies) when it was voted unanimously that North Carolina's delegates to the Continental Congress be empowered to concur with the other colonial delegates in declaring independence from Britain. Until the 1980s, Halifax Day was celebrated by a public holiday in North Carolina. Every year, on April 12, the Historic Halifax State Historic Site hosts Halifax Day. Interpreters in period costumes guide tours of historic buildings, and demonstrate historic crafts and other colonial activities. Occasionally, reenactors portray Revolutionary era soldiers and demonstrate use of historic weapons during the Halifax Day events.

Massacre Day

Massacre Day was a holiday in Boston, Massachusetts, from 1771 to 1783. It was held on March 5, the anniversary of the 1770 Boston Massacre.[7][8]

Powder House Day

Powder House Day in New Haven, Connecticut, is celebrated annually to commemorate the events of April 22, 1775 when the Governor's Foot Guard, under Captain Benedict Arnold, demanded the keys to the powder house in order to arm themselves and begin the march to Cambridge, Massachusetts, marking the entry of New Haven into the American Revolution.[citation needed]

When news of the Battle of Lexington reached New Haven, Connecticut on April 21, 1775, the Second Company of the Governors Foot Guard voted to assist their fellow Massachusetts patriots.[citation needed]

Although the New Haven town meeting had voted the day before not to send aid to Massachusetts, the Foot Guard decided overwhelmingly to go. With the blessing of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards they confronted the selectmen, who were meeting at a Beer's Tavern, and demanded access to the powder house.[citation needed]

"You may tell the selectmen," Arnold reportedly said, "that if the keys are not coming within five minutes, my men will break into the supply-house and help themselves. None but the Almighty God shall prevent me from marching." The keys were reluctantly handed over and supplies and arms were taken for the march to Cambridge. On July 2, 1775 members of the Foot Guard escorted General George Washington to Cambridge after his overnight stay in New Haven on his way to Boston to take command of the forces around the Greater Boston area.[citation needed]

The Governor's Foot Guard stages an annual recreation of the events on a Saturday in April. After a memorial service at New Haven's Center Church on the Green (the same church where Arnold's wife was later buried in the cellar cemetery), the re-enactors march across the Green to City Hall, where a member of the Foot Guard playing Arnold demands the keys to the powder house from the current mayor of New Haven, who plays his Revolutionary predecessor. Despite his later deeds Benedict Arnold is still considered an unnamed hero in Connecticut, though no memorial to him was ever built because of his treason.[9]

Yorktown Day

Yorktown Day is a holiday celebrated in Yorktown, Virginia, United States annually on October 19. The holiday celebrates the surrender of the British forces on that date in 1781, ending the Battle of Yorktown and bringing about the end of the American Revolutionary War.[citation needed]

Typical events during the day include a parade, speeches from groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, wreath-laying at several gravesites in the area, and reenactments of the Battle and subsequent surrender.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ Bennington's Official Website Archived 2010-08-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Conmemorating the Battle of Sullivan's Island, 1776". The South Carolina Historical Society. Archived from the original on 29 June 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  3. ^ Quick, David (2002-06-28). "Carolina Day spotlights state's role in Revolution". Charleston Post and Courier. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  4. ^ "Title 53 - Sundays, Holidays and Other Special Days". South Carolina Legislature. 2008. Archived from the original on 20 August 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Founders Day: November 28, 1782". The Massachusetts Society Sons of the American Revolution. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  6. ^ "Thanksgiving in American Memory".
  7. ^ Fowler, William M., Jr. The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980.
  8. ^ Travers, Len. Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic. University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
  9. ^ Osterweis, Rollin G., Three Centuries of New Haven (1953), New Haven: Yale University Press.
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