Monday, 17 January 2011

Richard holmes and the First american Civil War

My my own view of war, most wars is that they stem from those who wish to control money and trade and obviously the means of production and the profits made from it. in wars like the american revolt and the italian wars of independence we have a feeling that the people interested in a war were not the ordinary people but those who would make the most from independence in terms of profit . here is richard holmes and his viewpoint which i consider very precise and important. If the British were to win then a Tarleton was needed as their leader instead of the Howes of this world. steve weston
It was a war that interested the British crown very little and please remember that everything had changed since the war in canada so superbly won against the french army, if the british had defeated the french in canada why couldn't they defeat the british in america? The key to the question is to study British politics and its prime minister in the Canadian victory and then look at the conditions during the first American civil war.timpo
The first four metal below are from Garrison

The War of Independence by richard holmes
The war  plays such an important part in American popular ideology that references to it are especially prone to exaggeration and oversimplification. And two uncomfortable truths about it - the fact that it was a civil war (perhaps 100,000 loyalists fled abroad at its end), and that it was also a world war (the Americans could scarcely have won without French help) - are often forgotten.

The War of Independence plays such an important part in American popular ideology...tarleton's legion by atkm

Here, however, I have done my best to describe this long and complex war in terms that people will find readily comprehensible, but that avoid some of the Hollywood-style simplifications and inaccuracies that have gained so much currency over the years.

And although as I write this piece, the second Gulf War has only recently ended, and although the Vietnam analogy comes to mind often, I have deliberately avoided reflecting too much on recent American politics. No: what I have tried to do is to give readers the most balanced and objective view I can of a war that has done much, as my television screen reminds me as I write, to shape the world we live in.


Boston 'Tea Party', 16 December 1773  In one sense it was always a war between cousins, and the long and tangled history of the 'special relationship' between Britain and America, as well as the notion of the unbreakable connections between both, bear witness to a link that at one time was very close indeed.

sabre and sabre

In one sense it was always a war between cousins...

The war often known in Europe as the Seven Years War was known in North America as the French and Indian War. It involved several countries, with France and Britain on opposing sides, and North America was one of its many theatres of operations. It was ended by the 1763 Treaty of Paris, by which the French ceded territory to Britain in North America and elsewhere. In addition to this success, James Wolfe's victory at Quebec had helped secure Canada for the British Crown, and the 13 British colonies further south seemed safe from any threat that might once have been posed by the French and their Native American allies. Britain and her American colonies at this time seemed very close, both culturally and politically - and it is remarkable how this rosy picture changed so quickly.

In part the deterioration of relations between Britain and her American colonies - which eventually led to the War of Independence - stemmed from a logical British attempt to make the colonies contribute more to the cost of their own defence. It was also partly the result of the desire of some successful merchants in the colonies to break free of controls imposed by the pro-British elite, and from British political miscalculations that saw foreign policy oscillate between harshness and surrender. Another factor was the work of radical politicians and propagandists - such as Sam Adams and Paul Revere - who envisaged a break with Britain when many of their countrymen still hoped that it might be avoided.
unknown unknown castings of the era and that below

The descent into armed conflict between patriot (anti-British) and loyalist (pro-British) sympathisers was gradual. Events like the Boston 'Massacre' of 1770, when British troops fired on a mob that had attacked a British sentry outside Boston's State House, and the Boston 'tea-party' of 1773, when British-taxed tea was thrown into the harbour, marked the downward steps. Less obvious was the take-over of the colonial militias - which had initially been formed to provide local defence against the French and the Native Americans - by officers in sympathy the the American patrios/rebels, rather than by those in sympathy with pro-British loyalists/Tories.

As all these elements of conflict came into play, the British commander in chief in North America was Lieutenant General Thomas Gage. He had long experience of the American continent, and had a beautiful and intelligent American wife, but he was under pressure from London to lance what seemed to be a painful boil.

above are the Accurate plastic figures, the only ones that in my opinion are better than CTA(Upnaway)

The outset of war

 In April 1775 Gage sent a small force to seize patriot militia weapons and gunpowder at Concord, not far from Boston, but his soldiers became involved in a brief firefight on Lexington Green on their way there. This event was reported far and wide, and the first shot fired there has ever since been described as 'the shot heard round the world'.

There was a bigger clash at Concord, and then a fighting retreat, in which the British force was roughly handled. The militias then closed in and blockaded the British in Boston. Although newly arrived British reinforcements, under General William Howe, who was soon to replace Gage, won a costly battle at Bunker Hill, outside Boston, they could not break the siege.

Washington could also do nothing to deny the enormous advantage that command of the sea conferred on the British.
In mid-1775, patriot representatives of the 13 colonies of America, meeting in Philadelphia as the Continental Congress, appointed George Washington, a well-to-do Virginia landowner, as commander in chief of its military forces. Washington, who thought militias fundamentally unreliable, set about raising a regular force, the Continental Army, and as the initial skirmishes between the patriots on the one hand and the British and their loyalist supporters on the other turned into a full-scale war, both sides were to use a mixture of regular troops, militias and other irregulars.

Washington's early fortunes were mixed. He forced the British to evacuate Boston by sea, when heavy guns taken from Fort Ticonderoga in upper New York State were hauled by patriot forces across a winter landscape and emplaced so as to fire down onto the city. But a patriot attempt to invade Canada failed miserably.

hobby bunker

 In the summer of 1776 General Howe, his army of 30,000 men carried in ships commanded by his brother Richard, landed near New York and duly captured the city, inflicting several sharp defeats on the patriots.

this a tremendously useful figure by marx , it can be made into any period really up until the modern one
These are maybe the best plastic soldiers of the epoch made certainly better than Marx. My Dad on seeing these who was an ex-Britains man said that they were like Britains in form and style but only much better
The widening theatre of war (below Upnaway). The British infantry here by Call to Arms are maybe the best ever done in plastic, confront them with the Marx below. My Dad who worked for Britains said "They look like Britains in form and scale but much better".

Washington, fearing that his cause would inevitably collapse as short-term enlistment into the Continental Army expired, launched a risky attack on the little town of Trenton, held by a brigade of Hessians (German troops in British service) on Boxing Day 1776. He won this battle, and although the victory was small in tactical terms, it had a wider strategic impact, showing that the patriots were still in the fight.

hobby bunker

The American war was now a world war, which meant that British resources could no longer be concentrated on North America alone.

In 1777 Howe took Philadelphia for the British, and had rather the better of fighting in the central theatre of war. But an ill-judged British attempt to invade from Canada, thrusting down the Hudson Valley towards New York and cutting off the rebellious New England, went badly wrong, and Lieutenant General John Burgoyne was forced to surrender with his entire army at Saratoga in October.
burgoynes london home

Defeat at Saratoga was not necessarily a military cataclysm for the British, but it encouraged the French, anxious to obtain revenge for the humiliations of the Seven Years War, to go beyond the covert support they had offered the patriots thus far, and join the war. Spain and Holland were to follow suit, and in 1780 a wider League of Armed Neutrality was formed, to resist British attempts to stop and search merchant shipping. The American war was now a world war, which meant that British resources could no longer be concentrated on North America alone.


Saratoga did not improve Washington's position instantly, however, and his army spent a miserable winter at Valley Forge. But in the spring of 1777 Howe's replacement, General Sir Henry Clinton, withdrew from Philadelphia (American Continentals fought creditably when they took on his rearguard at Monmouth), retaining New York as his base in the central theatre, and switching his main effort elsewhere.


There had already been fighting in the south. The British had failed in an attack on Charleston, although from Savannah they had repulsed a powerful French force, sent by sea from the West Indies. In spring 1780, Clinton reopened the campaign in the south, moving by sea to take Charleston in the biggest British victory of the war. He then returned to New York and left Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis in charge.

Formidable adversaries

In August Major General Horatio Gates, patriot victor of Saratoga, was roundly defeated by Cornwallis at Camden. British regulars now had an impressive combination of discipline and tactical skill, which made them formidable adversaries even in the difficult country of the south. But their loyalist allies fared less well. That September Major Patrick Ferguson, with a well-organised loyalist force was routed at King's Mountain, and in January the following year the dashing and controversial Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton ('Bloody Ban' to his enemies) was badly beaten by the unconventional Daniel Morgan at Cowpens.

the real problem with ATS plastics are the design idea, it seems we always have these splayed legs hence long long bases that don't work if you want unison.Another thing  I wonder why someone doesn't make boxes of just firing figures
Washington was badly rattled by the Arnold affair, and he still faced unrest amongst his tired soldiers.

Cornwallis, although his army was now in tatters, was still a doughty adversary. In March 1781 he won a magnificent victory over Nathanael Greene, Gates's successor, at Guilford Courthouse. But like so many British victories it was won at disproportionate cost, and Cornwallis could not mint strategic currency from tactical success. Exhausted, he fell back towards the coast, and eventually established himself at Yorktown, to the south of the Chesapeake Bay, where he hoped to be supplied or, if the worst came to the worst, to be evacuated, by sea.

In the New York area there had been no developments of real military significance. However, the ambitious Major General Benedict Arnold, one of the patriot heroes of Saratoga, had become embittered, and entered into secret negotiations with Clinton to betray the fort at West Point on the Hudson.

the moore house where cornwallis surrended

The scheme failed at the last moment and Arnold escaped to enter British service: Major John André, Clinton's adjutant-general, was captured in civilian clothes carrying letters to Arnold, and Washington had him hanged. Washington was badly rattled by the Arnold affair, and he still faced unrest amongst his tired soldiers. And although a substantial French force under the Comte de Rochambeau had landed in Rhode Island, it was hard to see how the war could be won.

Turning point

In the spring of 1781 the picture changed at a stroke. Admiral de Grasse, commanding the French fleet in the West Indies, made a bold attempt to secure control of the sea off the Chesapeake Bay.

upnaway atkm
Immediately Washington heard what was afoot, he moved south with the bulk of his army and Rochambeau's Frenchmen. The British could not prevent de Grasse from entering the Chesapeake Bay, and when they brought him to battle in early September the result was a tactical draw but a strategic victory for the French.

Conversely, the patriots had always been likely to win, provided they struggled on and avoided outright defeat.

They still controlled the bay, and Cornwallis was still trapped in Yorktown. Another French squadron brought in heavy guns from Rhode Island, and the French and Americans mounted a formal siege against the outnumbered and ill-provisioned Cornwallis.
 Although Clinton and the admirals mounted a relief expedition, it arrived too late: Cornwallis had surrendered. When the British prime minister, Lord North, so firmly associated with Britain's war effort, heard the news, he staggered as if shot and cried out: 'Oh God! It is all over'.

Although the war was not formally ended until the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, it was clear after Yorktown that the British, with their world-wide preoccupations, no longer had any realistic chance of winning. There had, however, been some moments that might have led to victory.

Howe, probably hoping to reach a compromise settlement with Washington, showed little killer instinct in his New York campaign. But in this sort of war the British were in any case eventually likely to lose, unless they could strike the patriots such a telling blow as to win the war at a stroke, and it is hard to see how this could have been achieved.

Conversely, the patriots had always been likely to win, provided they struggled on and avoided outright defeat. It is unlikely that George Washington would much like being compared with General Vo Nguyen Giap, who commanded the North Vietnamese army in the Vietnam war. But both shared the same recognition that a militarily-superior opponent with worldwide preoccupations can be beaten by an opponent who avoids outright defeat and remains in the field. It is an old truth, and 21st-century strategists, whatever their political differences, should be well aware of it.


Listen to me and you shall hear, news hath not been this thousand year:

Since Herod, Caesar, and many more, you never heard the like before.

Holy-dayes are despis'd, new fashions are devis'd.

Old Christmas is kicked out of Tow

Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.

The wise men did rejoyce to see our Savior Christs Nativity:

The Angels did good tidings bring, the Sheepheards did rejoyce and sing.

Let all honest men, take example by them.

Why should we from good Laws be bound?

Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.

Command is given, we must obey, and quite forget old Christmas day:

Kill a thousand men, or a Town regain, we will give thanks and praise amain.

The wine pot shall clinke, we will feast and drinke.

And then strange motions will abound.

Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.

Our Lords and Knights, and Gentry too, doe mean old fashions to forgoe:

They set a porter at the gate, that none must enter in thereat.

They count it a sin, when poor people come in.

Hospitality it selfe is drown'd.

Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.

The serving men doe sit and whine, and thinke it long ere dinner time:

The Butler's still out of the way, or else my Lady keeps the key,

The poor old cook, in the larder doth look,

Where is no goodnesse to be found,

Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.

To conclude, I'le tell you news that's right, Christmas was kil'd at Naseby fight:

Charity was slain at that same time, Jack Tell troth too, a friend of mine,

Likewise then did die, rost beef and shred pie,

Pig, Goose and Capon no quarter found.

Yet let's be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn'd upside down.


old kent road londonis this the music?

Since 1881, a story has circulated among some Americans that the British played a march called “The World Turned Upside Down” (hereafter WTUD or Yorktown/WTUD) during their surrender at Yorktown in October 1781. Over the years this story has been accepted by more and more Americans (though without corroboration). After 1940 at least 33 American professional historians accepted the story and published it in their textbooks (still without corroboration). This seems to have encouraged several American novelists and one British poet, Robert Graves, to adopt the story and embroider it for their books.

What are the problems? First: The evidence that this happened is poor by any historical standard but historians haven’t bothered to look. Second: Nearly one hundred years of professional cataloging of early Anglo-American music hasn’t turned up a single eighteenth-century British tune or march called WTUD. (Writers who say there were several English WTUD tunes in the eighteenth-century are guessing from bad extrapolations). (so whats the tune above? -ed)Third: Three different twentieth-century American groups have made strong claims for three different tunes, they call the Yorktown/WTUD but not one of these claims stands up to investigation.

Let’s begin with the basic historical question. What proof is there, that the British at Yorktown played a march that anyone living in the eighteenth-century called WTUD? The Yorktown/WTUD story was first published in Major Alexander Garden’s Anecdotes of the American Revolution . . . (Charleston, S. C., 1828), forty-seven years after Yorktown. Garden quoted a letter from Major William Jackson who described the surrender negotiations as though he had been an eyewitness, but didn’t mention that he was in Europe, not Yorktown at the time.

Apparently, in that same letter, Jackson also stated that a French fleet had sailed from Brest for America early in May 1781 at the instigation of his superior officer, Lt. Col. John Laurens. That French fleet was crucial to the victory at Yorktown, but Laurens was in no way responsible for getting it to America. In fact, that French fleet had sailed late in March before Laurens and his secretary, Major Jackson, arrived at Versailles. This shows that Jackson cannot be trusted for details of past events in which he was closely involved, much less for details of something that allegedly happened at Yorktown while he was 3,000 miles away in Europe.

Lt. Col. Laurens was Washington’s representative at the Yorktown surrender negotiations so he could have written to Jackson and described the Yorktown events, but by the same reasoning Jackson could have reported how he got his information. This he did not do! As published, Jackson’s Yorktown/WTUD story is, at best, a dubious “third-hand account”—Laurens(?) to Jackson to Garden—masquerading as an eyewitness report.

This Yorktown/WTUD story had been ignored for a long time. From 1781 to 1881 not even newspapers or “pop” historians included the WTUD in their Yorktown accounts. Then in 1881, Henry P. Johnston revived the Yorktown/WTUD story from Garden’s book (with credit), for his excellent Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, after which a few Harvard-trained historians repeated the story in the 1880s and 1890s without checking it out or naming their sources. Around that time a few people began to ask about the music so that search has been going on for just over a century.

The first to write that he might have found the WTUD music was John Tasker Howard, a music historian who about 1931 wrote a booklet, The Music of George Washington’s Time for the Bicentennial of Washington’s birth. Howard was a fine scholar who knew a great deal about American classical music and a lot about Stephen Foster’s songs but not much about the other songs of ordinary people and next to nothing about fife and drum music. (This last point is important. The surrender terms specified that the surrendering troops could beat British or German airs. “Beat” applies only to drums.)

Howard’s main problem was that he did not realize that some old songs had different names for their tunes and texts (by Howard’s time, most tunes and texts had the same name). In the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries a single well-known tune might have a dozen or more different sets of words having different titles without the tune-name changing. One illustration: Since the Revolution, the “Yankee Doodle” tune has had more than a hundred different sets of words, most with their own text titles, but the “Yankee Doodle” name has stuck to the music all that time. Only occasionally does a tune title change to match a text title. “The Star Spangled Banner” tune-name changes from “Anacreon in Heaven” to “Adams and Liberty” and finally to “The Star Spangled Banner” were an exception, not the rule.

John Tasker Howard learned that a 1642 English Royalist tune, “When the King Enjoys His Own Again” had once had a song text called “The World Turned Upside Down” associated with it (in 1646). He then suggested that this “King Enjoys” tune might also be the as yet undiscovered WTUD music. Howard didn’t know that WTUD text in no way fitted Yorktown.

Unfortumately for Howard’s guesswork, there is only one known period copy of that 1646 WTUD text; no evidence that it ever was sung; and no sign of any later reprint until 1923 when it appeared in Hyder Rollins's Cavalier and Puritan: Ballads and Broadsides Illustrating the Period of the Great Rebellion, 1640–1660! Therefore that 1646 WTUD text did not circulate enough to change the tune name “King Enjoys” to WTUD over the 135 years that passed from 1646 to the 1781 surrender. Remember, the men at Yorktown were soldiers, not antiquarians. Also unfortunately, though Howard was tentative in his notes, his published music copy appeared with a bold face “The World Turned Upside Down” title in his booklet. The result is that unless you read Howard’s text carefully you can easily come away with the false notion that the “King Enjoys” music has been proved to be the WTUD music. In fact, the “King Enjoys” music was never known as WTUD until Howard published it that way in 1932!

“Ancient” Fife and Drum Corps were among the first to add this “King Enjoys”/WTUD to their repertories. Ed Olsen, Archivist of the Company of Fifers & Drummers, has told me that the Charles T. Kirk Corps of Brooklyn was using this tune under the WTUD title when he played with them in the 1940s. (There is an audio tape cassette in the Company archives on which Ed talks about this and plays the music.)

The second twentieth-century claim for a (quite different) Yorktown/WTUD tune appeared in 1942 in Frank Luther’s book Americans and Their Songs. Luther was a Country and Western singer and composer. His book offers a good sample of the songs of ordinary people for a period of several centuries but his historical notes are frequently ridiculous. Luther was the first person I know of to publish the alleged Yorktown/WTUD song I call “Buttercups” because the first line begins “If buttercups buzzed, after the bees.” A couple of historians and some folk singers (for example, Burl Ives), adopted “Buttercups” as their notion of the music the British played during their surrender, but there is no evidence in their books, or anywhere else, to support their claim.

The third twentieth-century claim to have found the words (and the music) of the Yorktown/WTUD came from three major American historians, Henry Commager, Richard Morris and Samuel Eliot Morison. Their WTUD text appeared (bowdlerized) in Commager and Morris’s The Spirit of Seventy-Six. Later, Morison printed a “Derry Down” tune under a WTUD title in his Oxford History of the American People. Their WTUD text which I call “Goody Bull” because its first line is “Goody Bull and her daughter together fell out,” was intended to be sung to “Derry Down” in 1766, but so were more than a hundred other texts by the beginning of the Revolution. No one hearing fifes and drums playing the “Derry Down” melody would have known what text/title was intended.

If the British had “beat” the “Derry Down” tune the Americans wouldn’t have called it WTUD. They would only have wondered why the British were “beating” such an unmilitary tune as “The Bishop of Canterbury” or “A Cobbler There Was,” which were two of the best known eighteenth-century song texts to the tune. And such an odd tune choice certainly would have “made” the newspapers!

Richard Holmes is professor of military and security studies at Cranfield University. His books include The Little Field Marshal: Sir John French and Riding the Retreat, and he is general editor of The Oxford Companion to Military History. He enlisted into the Territorial Army in 1965 and rose to the rank of brigadier. He was the first reservist to hold the post of Director of Reserve Forces and Cadets in the Ministry of Defence, until he retired in 2000.