Flashback Friday is a new feature that I am beginning here today and will continue every Friday. I started thinking about what has happened that is significant to me in February. There are several things, but I will save some of them for future Friday in February flashbacks.
Going all the way back to 1776 has significance to me because of the family history research I have been doing. I am writing a book about one branch of my family’s ancestors. This is a legacy to my mother, who completed three volumes of ancestral history – the ancestors of my father’s father, my mother’s mother and my mother’s father. She had just begun preliminary writing and research on the fourth volume – my father’s mother’s ancestors – when her eyesight began to fail and she could no longer write and read only with great difficulty. She abandoned the project nearly as soon as she’d begun.
So I, as the writer in the family, have taken it upon myself to research the history of my ancestors on my father’s mother’s side. My paternal grandmother’s ancestors came from a lineage of Thomases and Rogers. On the Thomas side, the farthest back we can trace is my great-great-great grandfather. As it happens, he is the first of the Thomas family to emigrate to the United States.
So this brings me back to February 1776. In the American colonies, the Revolution was heating up.
Feb. 5: Great Britain and Germany sign an agreement to provide the British with 660 German infantrymen.
Feb. 6: Congress alerts the southern colonies (North and South Carolina and Georgia) that the British general Clinton is headed in their direction.
Feb. 8: The New Hampshire Provincial Legislature asks the Continental Congress to provide a military force to defend the colony’s Atlantic coast.
Feb. 11: In Savannah, Georgia, the colonial governor escapes to a British warship anchored at the mouth of the river.
Feb. 12: Aware that an attack on their colony is imminent, Tories and Patriots continue to amass their forces in North Carolina.
Feb. 13: Patrick Henry is elected colonel of the first Virginia battalion.
Feb. 17: The eight-vessel American navy sails on its mission to protect American shipping and capture and destroy enemy warships. Their first voyage is to the Bahamas to obtain gunpowder.
Feb. 25: George Washington receives word that every American vessel in Boston harbor has been taken over by the British for government service. The city is prepared to be evacuated.
Feb. 27: The most important battle of the month takes place at Moore’s Creek Bridge, North Carolina. This battle demonstrates the rebels’ ability and willingness to fight and forces the British governor to leave the colony. Over 850 Tory forces captured. Total body count: Tories – 3o; Rebels – 2. Two months later, North Carolina became the first American colony to vote for independence from Britain.