To stop the confusion, Colonel Prescott rallied his men by climbing on the wall of the redoubt, standing upright and walking back and forth as if no enemy was present.
British General Gage looked at Prescott through a telescope and asked a local loyalist if Prescott actually had enough to courage fight.
It was replied: “Prescott is an old soldier, he will fight for as long as a drop of blood is in his veins.”
Providentially for the Americans, the British brought the wrong size cannon balls, so they were not able to soften the resistance as they had hoped.
This resulted in General Howe having to order 2,300 British soldiers, with bayonets fixed, to march up the hill.
Twice the Americans repelled them, but the third time they ran out of gunpowder.
Over 1,000 British were killed in this first major action of the Revolutionary War.
Nearly 500 American Continental soldiers were killed, including Dr. Joseph Warren.
Amos Farnsworth, a corporal in the Massachusetts Militia, made this entry in his diary immediately after the Battle of Bunker Hill, JUNE 17, 1775:
“We within the entrenchment…having fired away all ammunition and having no reinforcements…were overpowered by numbers and obliged to leave….I did not leave the entrenchment until the enemy got in. I then retreated ten or fifteen rods.
Then I received a wound in my right arm, the ball going through a little below my elbow, breaking the little shellbone. Another ball struck my back, taking a piece of skin about as big as a penny. But I got to Cambridge that night….
Oh the goodness of God in preserving my life, although they fell on my right and on my left! O may this act of deliverance of thine, O God, lead me never to distrust thee; but may I ever trust in thee and put confidence in no arm of flesh!”
The British then burned the nearby town of Charlestown.
This same day, 300 miles away in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress drafted George Washington’s commission as commander-in-chief, for which he refused a salary.
Washington wrote to his wife, Martha:
“Dearest…It has been determined in Congress, that the whole army raised for the defense of the American Cause shall be put under my care, and that it is necessary for me to proceed immediately to Boston to take…command…
I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preserved, and been bountiful to me.”
“I…got Colonel Pendleton to Draft a Will…the Provision made for you, in case of my death, will, I hope, be agreeable.”
Less than a month after the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Continental Congress proclaimed a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, as John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, July 12, 1775:
“We have appointed a Continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring His forgiveness and blessing; His smiles on American Council and arms.”
Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull wrote to General Washington, July 13, 1775:
“The Honorable Congress have proclaimed a Fast to be observed by the inhabitants of all the English Colonies on this continent, to stand before the Lord in one day, with public humiliation, fasting, and prayer, to deplore our many sins, to offer up our joint supplications to God, for forgiveness, and for his merciful interposition for us in this day of unnatural darkness and distress.
They have, with one united voice, appointed you to the high station you possess. The Supreme Director of all events hath caused a wonderful union of hearts and counsels to subsist among us.
Now therefore, be strong and very courageous.
May the God of the armies of Israel shower down the blessings of his Divine Providence on you, give you wisdom and fortitude, cover your head in the day of battle and danger, add success, convince our enemies of their mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to deprive these Colonies of their inestimable constitutional rights and liberties are injurious and vain.”
On July 19, 1775, the Journals of the Continental Congress recorded:
“Agreed, That the Congress meet here tomorrow morning, at half after 9 o’clock, in order to attend divine service at Mr. Duche’s Church; and that in the afternoon they meet here to go from this place and attend divine service at Doctor Allison’s church.”
On July 20, 1775, General Washington issued the order:
“The General orders this day to be religiously observed by the Forces under his Command, exactly in manner directed by the Continental Congress.
It is therefore strictly enjoined on all Officers and Soldiers to attend Divine Service; And it is expected that all those who go to worship do take their Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements, and are prepared for immediate action, if called upon.”
Commander-in-Chief George Washington appointed Lafayette a Major General in the Continental Army, though Lafayette paid his own expenses.
Lafayette endured the freezing winter at Valley Forge, was wounded at Brandywine, and fought with distinction at the Battles of Gloucester, Barren Hill, Monmouth, Rhode Island and Green Spring.
Returning to France, Lafayette worked with Ben Franklin to persuade King Louis XVI to send General Rochambeau with ships and 6,000 French soldiers to America’s aid.
Lafayette then led troops against the traitor Benedict Arnold, and commanded at Yorktown, helping to pressure Cornwallis to surrender.
George Washington considered Lafayette like a son, and belatedly wrote back to him from Mount Vernon, June 25, 1785:
“My Dear Marquis…I stand before you as a culprit: but to repent and be forgiven are the precepts of Heaven: I do the former, do you practice the latter, and it will be participation of a divine attribute.
Yet I am not barren of excuses for this seeming inattention; frequent absences from home, a round of company when at it, and the pressure of many matters, might be urged as apologies for my long silence…
I now congratulate you, and my heart does it more effectually than my pen, on your safe arrival in Paris, from your voyage to this Country.”
Lafayette joined the French abolitionist Society of the Friends of the Blacks, which advocated the end of the slave trade and equal rights for blacks.
On May 10, 1786, George Washington wrote from Mount Vernon to Marquis de Lafayette:
“Your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country.”
On August 15, 1787, in a letter from Philadelphia to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote:
“I am not less ardent in my wish that you may succeed in your plan of toleration in religious matters. Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church with that road to Heaven which to them shall seem the most direct, plainest and easiest, and the least liable to exception.”
On May 28, 1788, George Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette regarding the U.S. Constitution:
“A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America…I will confess to you sincerely, my dear Marquis; it will be so much beyond any thing we had a right to imagine or expect eighteen months ago, that it will demonstrate as visibly the Finger of Providence, as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.”
When the French Revolution began, President Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette, July 28, 1791:
“I assure you I have often contemplated, with great anxiety, the danger to which you are personally exposed…
To a philanthropic mind the happiness of 24 millions of people cannot be indifferent; and by an American, whose country in the hour of distress received such liberal aid from the French, the disorders and incertitude of that Nation are to be particularly lamented.
We must, however, place a confidence in that Providence who rules great events, trusting that out of confusion He will produce order, and, notwithstanding the dark clouds which may threaten at present, that right will ultimately be established….”
Washington continued to Lafayette:
“On the 6 of this month I returned from a tour through the southern States, which had employed me for more than three months.
In the course of this journey I have been highly gratified in observing the flourishing state of the Country, and the good dispositions of the people.
Industry and economy have become very fashionable in these parts, which were formerly noted for the opposite qualities, and the labors of man are assisted by the Blessings of Providence.”
Lafayette tried to maintain order in France as the French Revolution began, but fell out of favor. He was eventually imprisoned for five years, with his wife and two daughters choosing to be imprisoned with him. Napoleon negotiated his release.
On June 10, 1792, from Philadelphia, President Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette:
“And to the Care of that Providence, whose interposition and protection we have so often experienced, do I cheerfully commit you and your nation, trusting that He will bring order out of confusion, and finally place things upon the ground on which they ought to stand.”
Jefferson asked him to be the Governor of the Louisiana Territory, but he declined.
Fifty years after the Revolution began, Marquis de Lafayette visited America. He traveled over 6,000 miles to 24 States.
On June 17, 1825, the cornerstone for the Bunker Hill Monument was laid. Daniel Webster spoke to a crowd of 20,000, which included General Marquis de Lafayette:
“God has granted you this sight of your country’s happiness ere you slumber in the grave forever. He has allowed you to behold and to partake the reward of your patriotic toils; and He has allowed to us, your sons and countrymen, to meet you here, and in the name of the present generation, in the name of your country, in the name of liberty to thank you!”
Many ships, streets, parks and cities were named after him, including Fayetteville, North Carolina.
When word came to America that Marquis de Lafayette had died, President Andrew Jackson wrote to Congress, June 21, 1834:
“The afflicting intelligence of the death of the illustrious Lafayette has been received by me this morning.
I have issued the general order inclosed to cause appropriate honors to be paid by the Army and Navy to the memory of one so highly venerated and beloved by my countrymen, and whom Providence has been pleased to remove so unexpectedly from the agitating scenes of life.”
At Peyton’s home, they decided to invite delegates from all of Virginia’s counties to a Convention.
Citizens of Fairfax County met in Alexandria’s court house July 18, 1774, where they approved George Mason’s Fairfax Resolves which identified American rights and stood against abusive British oppression.
George Washington was chosen to carry the Fairfax Resolves to the First Virginia Convention in Williamsburg, Virginia, August 1, 1774.
The Fairfax Resolves stated:
“‘People’s being governed by no laws to which they have not given their consent’…if this part of the Constitution was taken away…the Government must degenerate…into an absolute and despotic monarchy…and the freedom of the people be annihilated…”
“The British…extort from us our money without our consent…diametrically contrary to the first principles of the Constitution…totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people and the natural rights of mankind…calculated to reduce us…to slavery and misery…”
“We will use every means which Heaven hath given us to prevent our becoming its slaves…”
The Virginia Convention sent delegates to Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress, including Peyton Randolph, Patrick Henry and George Washington.
Carrying the Fairfax Resolves, they met at Carpenter’s Hall, beginning September 6, 1774.
Payton Randolph was chosen as the first President of the First Continental Congress, making him the first to have the title “Father of our Country.”
The Fairfax Resolves were revised and approved as the Continental Association of October 20th, 1774.
The next year, Peyton Randolph was President of the Second Continental Congress in Richmond, Virginia.
This is where Patrick Henry gave his speech, March 23, 1775:
“…Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston!
The war is inevitable – and let it come!…
Gentlemen may cry, ‘Peace! Peace!’ – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!..
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black was elected in 2003.
Posted on the official U.S. Senate website is:
“Chaplain’s Office – Throughout the years, the United States Senate has honored the historic separation of Church and State, but not the separation of God and State.
The first Senate, meeting in New York City on APRIL 25, 1789, elected the Right Reverend Samuel Provost, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, as its first Chaplain.
During the past two hundred and seven years, all sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer, strongly affirming the Senate’s faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation.”
This was a continuation of the practice of the Continental Congress during the Revolution, as Ben Franklin remarked in 1787:
“In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.”
The first Senate Chaplain was Bishop Samuel Provoost, who conducted George Washington’s Inaugural Service at New York’s St. Paul’s Chapel.
Bishop Samuel Provoost preached the first Episcopal ordination sermon in St. George’s Chapel, New York City, July 15, 1787:
“We are occupied in the…most important business that can possibly engage the human mind…that…in the Hands of God, we shall be made the happy instruments of turning many from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to the Knowledge and Love of the Truth…
Lay no other foundation than that which is already laid…upon the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, and him crucified…
Let us all unite our most strenuous endeavors, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may run and be glorified, till the earth be filled with the Knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
From 1789-2013, the 62 Senate Chaplains have been Christian:
Seventh-day Adventist 1.
Occasionally members of other faiths have been invited to offer prayers.
The U.S. Senate Chaplain after World War II was Peter Marshall, who prayed:
“Our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else. May our faith be not merely stamped upon our coins, but expressed in our lives.”
Peter Marshall’s son, Peter Marshall, Jr., together with David Manuel, wrote the best-selling book, The Light and the Glory, which traced the Hand of Providence in the founding of America.
On February 7, 1984, President Reagan addressed the National Association of Secondary School Principals:
“God…should never have been expelled from America’s schools.
As we struggle to teach our children…we dare not forget that our civilization was built by men and women who placed their faith in a loving God.
If Congress can begin each day with a moment of prayer…so then can our sons and daughters.”
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As General, Washington acknowledged God after victories throughout the Revolution and as President thanked God for the Constitution, October 3, 1789:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God…
I do recommend…rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for…the favorable interpositions of His Providence…we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war…for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government.”
Get the book, Prayers and Presidents
Washington was Anglican, and after the Revolution, Episcopalian.
His great-great-grandfather, Rev. Lawrence Washington, was an Anglican minister in Essex, England, who lost his position when the Puritans won the Civil War.
Washington’s great-grandfather, John Washington, immigrated to Virginia and became a planter, politician, and militia leader, who even had a local Anglican church renamed “Washington” in his honor. John Washington left to the church of a tablet with the Ten Commandments..
Washington’s grandfather, Lawrence, was
Anglican, as was his father, Augustine, who served as a vestryman at the Anglican Truro Parish.
George Washington became vestryman in Truro Parish, and was godfather in baptism to a niece and several nephews.
Washington had the Declaration of Independence read to his troops, then ordered chaplains placed in each regiment, stating July 9, 1776:
“The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.”
General Washington wrote at Valley Forge, May 2, 1778:
“To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian.”
To the Delaware Indian Chiefs who brought three youths to be trained in American schools, General Washington stated, May 12, 1779:
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.”
On October 2, 1775, General George Washington issued the order:
“Any…soldier who shall hereafter be detected playing at toss-up, pitch, and hustle, or any other games of chance…shall without delay be confined and punished…The General does not mean by the above to discourage sports of exercise or recreation, he only means to discountenance and punish gaming.”
On February 26, 1776, General Washington issued the orders:
“All…soldiers are positively forbid playing at cards and other games of chance. At this time of public distress men may find enough to do in the service of their God and their country, without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.”
On July 4, 1775, General Washington ordered:
“The General…requires…observance of those articles of war…which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkenness; And.. .requires… punctual attendance of Divine Services.”
As recorded in The Writings of George Washington (March 10, 1778, 11:83-84, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934), General Washington ordered:
“At a General Court Marshall…Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy….and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Liett. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return.”
In his Farewell Address, 1796, Washington stated:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
Frederick the Great of Prussia called these ten days “the most brilliant in the world’s history.” After winning the Battle of Trenton, Christmas night, George Washington’s small force met General Cornwallis‘ 8,000 man British army. The night before the battle, Washington left his campfires burning and silently marched his soldiers around the back of the British camp at Princeton, New Jersey. At daybreak, JANUARY 3, 1777, Washington attacked, capturing three regiments of British troops. Enthusiasm swept America. Yale President Ezra Stiles stated in an Election Address before the Governor and General Assembly of Connecticut: “In our lowest and most dangerous state, in 1776 and 1777, we sustained ourselves against the British Army of 60,000 troops, commanded by…the ablest generals Britain could procure throughout Europe, with a naval force of 22,000 seamen in above 80 men-of-war. Who but a Washington, inspired by Heaven, could have conceived the surprise move upon the enemy at Princeton-or that Christmas eve when Washington and his army crossed the Delaware?” Ezra Stiles concluded: “The United States are under peculiar obligations to become a holy people unto the Lord our God.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
JANUARY 2nd is Betsy Ross Day. Born a day earlier, January 1, 1752, into the Quaker “Griscom” family in Philadelphia, she was 8th of 17 children. Apprenticed as a seamstress, Betsy fell in love with upholsterer John Ross, son of an Episcopal rector at Christ Church and nephew of George Ross, signer of the Declaration of Independence. As Quakers forbade interdenominational marriage, John and Betsy eloped, being married by New Jersey Governor William Franklin, Ben Franklin‘s son. Attending Christ’s Church with Jefferson, Hamilton and Franklin, the Ross’ pew number 12 was near George Washington’s. During the Revolution, John Ross died when a munitions depot he was guarding blew up. Shortly after, in June 1776, General Washington reportedly asked Betsy Ross to sew the American Flag. In 1777, Betsy married sea captain Joseph Ashburn at the Old Swedes Church. That winter, the British forcibly quartered in their home. Joseph Ashburn sailed to the West Indies for war supplies but was captured and sent to Old Mill Prison, where he died in 1782. Another prisoner, John Claypoole, brought news of his death to Betsy, and in May of 1783, John Claypoole married Betsy at Christ Church and together they had 5 children.
The first six months of the Revolutionary War saw the Continental Army chased from New York, New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Ranks dwindled from 20,000 to 2,000 exhausted soldiers – most leaving at year’s end when their six-month enlistment was up. Expecting British invasion, the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia and sent the word “until Congress shall otherwise order, General Washington be possessed of full power to order and direct all things.” In an operation with the password “Victory or Death,” Washington’s troops crossed the ice-filled Delaware River at midnight Christmas Day. Trudging in a blinding blizzard, with one soldier freezing to death, they attacked the feared Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey, at daybreak DECEMBER 26, 1776, capturing nearly a thousand soldiers in just over an hour. Some Americans were shot, including James Monroe, the future 5th President. General Washington wrote August 20, 1778: “The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this – the course of the war – that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations; but it will be time enough for me to turn Preacher when my present appointment ceases.”