American Revolutionary War: Chronology

Lexington, 19 April 1775. Opening hostilities of the Revolutionary War occurred at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts on 19 April 1775, when a column of British troops that had moved out of Boston to seize rebel military stores at Concord was assailed by Minute Men and militia. The Massachusetts militia immediately placed the British in Boston under siege.

Ticonderoga, 10 May 1775. Opening hostilities of the Revolutionary War occurred at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts on 19 April 1775, when a column of British troops that had moved out of Boston to seize rebel military stores at Concord was assailed by Minute Men and militia. The Massachusetts militia immediately placed the British in Boston under siege. At the same time, steps were taken to send an expedition against British-held Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, a strategic post well-supplied with artillery and military stores much needed by the American forces investing Boston. Early on 10 May a New England force of some 80 men led by Cols. Ethan Allen of Vermont and Benedict Arnold of Connecticut surprised the British garrison of about 40 men, which surrendered without a fight. Following this success, Allen seized Crown Point on 12 May and Arnold temporarily occupied St. John’s, a fort across the Canadian border, on 16 May. Subsequently, a large part of the 100 cannon and substantial military stores captured at Ticonderoga were laboriously hauled overland to Boston under the direction of Maj. Gen. Henry Knox, of Washington’s artillery, to supply the army besieging the city.

Boston, 17 June 1775 – 17 March 1776. On the night of 16 – 17 June 1775 about 1,200 men of the Colonial force besieging Boston moved on to the Charlestown isthmus overlooking the city and threw up entrenchments on Breed’s Hill. The British garrison reacted promptly to this threat. On 17 June 2,200 troops under Maj. Gen. William Howe were ferried across to the isthmus and stormed the American positions on Breed’s Hill. In the ensuing battle, incorrectly named after Bunker Hill which stands nearby, the British drove the Colonials from the isthmus after three assaults, but at a cost of about 1,000 in killed and wounded as compared with American losses of approximately 400 killed and wounded. Some 3,030 patriots took part in the fighting at one time or another. This proved to be the only major engagement of the prolonged siege of Boston. Gen. George Washington took formal command of the besieging army on 3 July 1775 and devoted the next several months to building up the American force and trying to solve its severe logistical difficulties. By March 1776 Washington had an army of 14,000 men. On 4 March he moved suddenly to install artillery on Dorchester Heights and, a short time later, on Nook’s Hill, positions that dominated Boston from the south. The British commander, Howe, now recognized the serious difficulty of his position. He evacuated the city by 17 March and on 26 March sailed with about 9,000 men for Halifax, N. S.

Quebec, 28 August 1775 – July 1776. In June 1775 the Continental Congress, influenced by reports that the British commander in Canada was recruiting a force in preparation for an invasion of New York and by hopes that Canada, largely inhabited by French, might become a fourteenth colony in support of the Revolution, authorized seizure of any vital points in Canada needed to guarantee the security of the colonies. Consequently, a two-pronged invasion of Canada was launched in the early fall of 1775. Col. Benedict Arnold, starting from Cambridge, Mass., with about 1,100 men, went by water and land through the Maine wilderness on an epic march up the Kennebec and down the Chaudiere Rivers, arriving before Quebec on 8 November with only 650 men. There he had to await the arrival of Brig. Gen. Richard Montgomery, who had taken over command of a force of about 2,000 men organized at Fort Ticonderoga by Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler for an advance up the historic Lake Champlain-St. Lawrence River route. Beginning on 17 September, Montgomery laid siege to the British fort at St. Johns, which fell on 2 November, opening up the way to American occupation of Montreal on 13 November. Finally, Montgomery joined Arnold near Quebec on 3 December, but with only 300 men, the rest of his force staying behind to garrison St. Johns and Montreal. With enlistments of most of the volunteer troops expiring at the end of the year’ the two commanders decided to undertake a desperate night attack on Quebec on 30-31 December 1775. A composite British garrison repelled the assault, killing or wounding about 100 Americans and taking over 400 prisoners. Montgomery was among those killed. In spite of these severe losses, the Americans continued to besiege the city until the spring of 1776, when the reinforced British garrison drove the Colonials, who had already begun a retreat, back to the head of Lake Champlain.

Charleston, 28-29 June 1776 and 29 March-12 May 1780. The two engagements at Charleston, South Carolina, are reflected on a single streamer. The first campaign blunted the British threat in the southern theater for three years, and the second, while a defeat for the Americans, did not result in a cessation of hostilities in the south. Guerrillas began to harry British posts and lines of communications, and the American grass roots strength began once again to assert itself and to deny the British the fruits of military victory won in the field.

Long Island, 26-29 August 1776. After the British evacuation of Boston, Washington immediately moved his army, less the militia, to New York, in anticipation of a British invasion of that strategically important city. During July and August 1776, General Howe, supported by a British fleet under his brother, Adm. Lord Richard Howe, landed an army of 32,000 British and Hessian regulars unopposed on Staten Island. But by late August Washington had assembled a force of over 20,000 virtually untrained Continentals and militia, and built a system of defenses on and around Manhattan Island. About half of these Colonial troops were disposed in fortifications on Brooklyn Heights and forward positions at the western end of Long Island under command of Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam. From 22 – 25 August General Howe landed about 20,000 men on Long Island and, in the evening of the 26th, directed a wide flanking movement around the American left, commanded by Maj. Gen. John Sullivan. On the morning of the 27th Howe fell upon the rear of Sullivan’s forces and, despite a valiant defense by the Continentals on the right under Brig. Gen. William Alexander (Lord Stirling), the whole American front crumpled. Remnants of the forward American forces fled back to entrenchments on Brooklyn Heights and two nights later were evacuated to Manhattan in a skillful withdrawal unobserved by the British. Estimates place American losses at 300-400 killed and wounded and 700-1,200 taken prisoners. General Howe listed his losses as 367.

Trenton, 26 December 1776. The British followed up their success on Long Island with a series of landings on Manhattan Island which compelled Washington to retire northward to avoid entrapment. When Forts Washington and Lee on the Hudson above Manhattan were lost in mid-November 1776, Washington retreated across New Jersey with General Howe in close pursuit, escaping finally over the Delaware into Pennsylvania with about 3,000 men. Howe then went into winter quarters in New York City, leaving garrisons at Newport, R. I., and in several New Jersey towns. In December 1776, Washington determined to make a surprise attack on the British garrison in Trenton, a 1,400-man Hessian force, in the hope that a striking victory would lift the badly flagging American morale. Reinforcements had raised Washington’s army to about 7,000 and on Christmas night (25-26 December) he ferried about 2,400 men of this force across the ice-choked Delaware. At 0800 hours they converged on Trenton in two columns, achieving complete surprise. After only an hour and a half of fighting, the Hessians surrendered. Some 400 of the garrison escaped southward to Bordentown, N. J., when two other American columns failed to get across the Delaware in time to intercept them. About 30 were killed and 918 captured. American losses were only 4 dead and a like number wounded.

Princeton, 3 January 1777. After the successful coup at Trenton, Washington recrossed the Delaware into Pennsylvania with his Hessian prisoners. But he reoccupied Trenton on 30 – 31 December 1776, and collected there a force of 5,200 men, about half militia. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Charles Cornwallis, British commander in New Jersey, who was in New York at the time of the attack on Trenton, returned gathering troops as he came. He entered Trenton with some 6,ooo British regulars on 2 January and faced Washington’s forces, which had withdrawn southward behind Assunpink Creek. The Americans were in a most precarious position with their backs to the Delaware. Fortunately, Cornwallis delayed his attack until the following morning. This gave Washington’s men an opportunity to steal off quietly by a side road during the night of 2 – 3 January, leaving their campfires burning brightly. They slipped southward and eastward undetected around the enemy’s flank and by morning of the 3rd had arrived at Princeton, where they encountered a column of British regulars led by Col. Charles Mawhood just leaving the town to join Cornwallis. In a brief engagement the Americans defeated the British, inflicting losses of 400-600 killed, wounded, and prisoners at a cost of 30 patriots killed and wounded. Mawhood’s force retired in disorder toward Trenton and New Brunswick while Washington moved on north to Morristown, where thickly wooded hills provided protection against a British attack. Here he established his winter headquarters on the flank of the British line of communications, compelling General Howe to withdraw his forces in New Jersey back to New Brunswick and points eastward.

Saratoga, 30 July – 17 October 1777. British over-a11 strategy in 1777 had two major objectives: (1) to split New England from the rest of the American states by a drive from Canada down the Hudson to Albany that would link up with another British force advancing north from New York City; and (2) to seize Philadelphia, seat of the Revolutionary government. The campaign in upper New York began in June 1777 with a two-pronged British drive from Canada. Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne’s force of about 7,500, accompanied by some 400 Indians, pushed down Lake Champlain and compelled 2,500 Continentals and militia under Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair to evacuate Ticonderoga on 27 June. Other American forces in the area under the over-all command of General Schuyler retired southward, but were able to slow the progress of the heavily laden British in the rugged terrain. The other prong of the British invading force consisted of some 700 regulars and Tories, and a band of 1,000 Indians, under command of Col. Barry St. Leger. This force moved east from Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario into the Mohawk Valley with the objective of joining with Burgoyne at Albany. Leger laid siege to Fort Stanwix guarding the head of the Mohawk Valley on 2 August, but had to give up his campaign in mid-August when a relief force of 950 Continentals under Arnold scattered his Indian allies by means of a clever ruse. Meanwhile, Burgoyne continued his advance toward Albany, although his force was further weakened by the near annihilation on 17 August of a foraging detachment dispatched to capture stores at Bennington, Vt., protected by 2,600 militia under Brig. Gen. John Stark. On 13 – 14 September Burgoyne crossed the Hudson at Saratoga (now Schuylerville, N.Y.) and faced an American force of about 7,000 under Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, who on 19 August had replaced General Schuyler as over-all commander of the northern army. On 19 September, Burgoyne, determined to reach Albany by winter, moved to attack Bemis Heights, where Gates’ force barred the route southward in strongly entrenched positions. A major engagement occurred at Freeman’s Farm, just forward of the main positions. The Americans yielded the field but inflicted twice as many casualties (600) as they suffered and held on to the Heights. For more than two weeks Burgoyne remained inactive while Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, now commanding troops in New York City, made an ineffectual effort to send relief forces up the Hudson. Finally, on 7 October, Burgoyne ventured out of his lines toward the American left with 1,650 troops and was repulsed in a sharp fight known as the Battle of Bemis Heights. On 9 October he retired to a position near Saratoga, where he was soon virtually surrounded by an American force now grown to nearly 10,000 men. Here on 17 October Burgoyne surrendered his entire army of about 5,000 men and large military stores.

Brandywine, 11 September 1777. The campaign to seize Philadelphia, the second mayor phase of British strategy in 1777, began in late July. Some 15,000 troops under Howe’s command sailed from New York on 23 July and landed at Head of Elk (now Elkton), Maryland, a month later (25 August). Washington, with about 11,000 men, took up a defensive position blocking the way to Philadelphia at Chad’s Ford on the eastern side of Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania. Howe attacked on 11 September, sending Cornwallis across the creek in a wide-sweeping flanking movement around the American right, while his Hessian troops demonstrated opposite Chad’s Ford. Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene’s troops staved off Cornwallis’ threatened envelopment of Washington’s whole force, and the Americans fell back to Chester in a hard-pressed but orderly retreat. Patriot losses in this engagement totaled about 1,000 killed, wounded, and prisoners. British casualties were less than 600.

Germantown, 4 October 1777. After their victory at Brandywine the British forces under Howe maneuvered in the vicinity of Philadelphia for two weeks, virtually annihilating a rear guard force under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne at Paoli on 21 September 1777, before moving unopposed into the city on 26 September. Howe established his main encampment in nearby Germantown, stationing some 9,000 men there. Washington promptly attempted a coordinated attack against this garrison on the night of 3 – 4 October. Columns were to move into Germantown from four different directions and begin the assault at dawn Two of the columns, both made up of militia, never appeared to take part in the attack, but in the early phases of the fighting the columns under Greene and Divan achieved considerable success. However, a dense early morning fog which resulted in some American troops firing on each other while it permitted the better disciplined British to re-form for a counterattack and a shortage of, ammunition contributed to the still not fully explained retreat of the Americans, beginning about 0900. Howe pursued the Colonials a few miles as they fell back in disorder, but he did notexploit his victory. American losses were 673 killed and wounded and about 400 taken prisoner. British losses were approximately 533 killed and wounded.

Monmouth, 28 June 1778. After conclusion of the Franco-American Alliance (6 February 1778) British forces in America had to give consideration to the new threat created by the powerful French fleet. General Clinton, who relieved Howe as British commander in America on 8 May 1778, decided to shift the main body of his troops from Philadelphia to a point nearer the coast where it would be easier to maintain close communications with the British Fleet. Consequently, he ordered evacuation of the 10,000-man garrison in Philadelphia on 18 June. As these troops set out through New Jersey toward New York, Washington broke camp at his winter headquarters in Valley Forge, and began pursuit of Clinton with an army of about 13,500 men. Advance elements under Mad. Gen. Charles Lee launched the initial attack on the British column as it marched out of Monmouth Courthouse (now Freehold), N. J., on 28 June, an extremely hot day. For reasons not entirely clear Lee did not follow up early advantages gained, and when British reinforcements arrived on the scene he ordered a retreat. This encouraged Clinton to attack with his main force. Washington relieved Lee and assumed personal direction of the battle, which continued until dark without either side retiring from the field. But, during the night, the British slipped away to Sandy Hook, N. J., from where their fleet took them to New York City. The British reported losses of 65 killed, 155 wounded, and 64 missing; the Americans listed 69 killed, 161wounded, and 130 missing. General Lee was subsequently court-martialed and suspended from service for disobedience and misbehavior. Washington’s army moved northward, crossed the Hudson, and occupied positions at White Plains, N. Y.

Savannah, 29 December 1778 and 16 September-10 October 1779. The fighting at Savannah, Georgia, on these two occasions is represented by a single streamer. In the first battle, a British expeditionary force that had landed on the Savannah River below the town overwhelmed and outmaneuvered the American defending force under General Robert Howe, and Savannah was captured. The following year D’Estaing’s French fleet returned from the West Indies to the southern coast and began to debark troops at Beaulieu, 14 miles south of Savannah, with the intention of attacking the British at Savannah. A combined force of 1,500 Americans under General Lincoln and more than 5,000 Frenchmen from D’Estaing’s fleet laid siege to Savannah, which was defended by about 3,200 British regulars. D’Estaing’s fears for the safety of the French fleet led to an early Franco-American attack on the entrenched British, which was repulsed with heavy casualties.

Cowpens, 17 January 1781. Cowpens, South Carolina, was the scene of a classic battle, which marked the beginning of the American campaign under General Greene, to drive the British from the south. In terms of duration and actual troops engaged, it was a larger battle than Princeton, and its results-the destruction of an important part of the British army in the south-were incalculable toward ending the war.

Guilford Court House, 15 March 1781. Guilford Court House, NorthCarolina, was the site of the culminating battle in General Greene’s campaign against General Cornwallis. Although Greene lost the battle, Cornwallis’ forces were so depleted that he retreated to the coast and from there moved to Virginia, where was ultimately to meet his fate at Yorktown.

Yorktown, 28 September – 19 October 1781. After 1778 the main theater of war shifted to the South as the British concentrated on trying to reestablish their control of that area.By 1781 they were convinced that this could not be accomplished while Virginia continued to serve as a base for American military operations. Hence in January 1781 Clinton sent the American turncoat, Benedict Arnold, with 1,600 British troops to raid up the James River. By late May the British had accumulated about 7,200 men in Virginia, including the remnants (1,500) of Cornwallis’ force, which had come up from Wilmington, N. C. Cornwallis was given over-all command of British forces in Virginia and in late May and early June led them on raids deep into the state. At first he was opposed only by a numerically greatly inferior force under the Marquis de Lafayette, but in mid-June the later was reinforced by troops under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne and Baron von Steuben, drillmaster and inspector general of the Continental Army. Cornwallis then turned back to the coast to establish a base at Yorktown from which he could maintain sea communications with Clinton in New York.

Meanwhile, Washington was tentatively preparing his northern army, recently reinforced by about 4,800 French troops under Lt. Gen. Jean B. de Rochambeau, for an attack on New York. However, he received confirmation on 14 August that Adm. Francois de Grasse’s fleet had departed the French West Indies with 3,000 troops aboard and would be available for operations in the Chesapeake Bay area until mid-October. Re therefore finally determined to go to Virginia with a substantial part of his army, including the French regulars under Rochambeau. He crossed the Hudson (20-26 August), made a feint in the direction of New York to hold Clinton in the city, and then struck southward across New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Maryland. In the meantime, De Grasse’s fleet arrived off Yorktown on 30 August, debarked 3,000 French regulars to reinforce Lafayette, and on 5 September fought an indecisive naval engagement off the Virginia capes with a British fleet under Adm. Thomas Graves. After several days of maneuvering at sea, Graves retired temporarily to New York for repairs, leaving the French fleet in control of Chesapeake Bay. This permitted Washington and Rochambeau to embark their forces in Maryland and sail via the Chesapeake and the James River to a point near Williamsburg (14-24 September). From there an allied army numbering about 15,000-8,845 Americans and 7,800 French moved forward on 28 September to begin siege operations against Yorktown. Finally, after a night attack on 16 October failed to recapture key defense points, Cornwallis requested an armistice (17 October). He surrendered his entire command-about 8,000 men-on 19 October. In the siege the British lost 156 killed and 326 wounded; the Americans, 20 killed and 56 wounded; and the French, 52 killed and 134 wounded. British hopes for victory in America collapsed with Cornwallis’ defeat. Lord North’s ministry fell in March 1782 and the new cabinet opened direct negotiations with the American peace commissioners in Europe that resulted ultimately in ending the war.


SOURCE: United States Army Center of Military History


Quote of the Day for Monday, October 29th

From all accounts, the world has been getting worse and worse ever since it was created. All I can say is that it must have been a remarkably delightful place when it was first opened to the public, for it is very pleasant even now.

Jerome K. Jerome

This Day in History, October 29: Sir Walter Raleigh Is Executed for Treason (1618)

Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh ( c. 1552 (or 1554) – 29 October 1618), also spelled Ralegh,[2] was an English landed gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy and explorer. He was cousin to Sir Richard Grenville and younger half-brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England.

Raleigh was born to a Protestant family in Devon, the son of Walter Raleigh and Catherine Champernowne. Little is known of his early life, though he spent some time in Ireland, in Killua Castle, Clonmellon, County Westmeath, taking part in the suppression of rebellions and participating in the Siege of Smerwick. Later, he became a landlord of property confiscated from the native Irish. He rose rapidly in the favour of Queen Elizabeth I and was knighted in 1585. Raleigh was instrumental in the English colonisation of North America and was granted a royal patent to explore Virginia, paving the way for future English settlements. In 1591, he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, without the Queen’s permission, for which he and his wife were sent to the Tower of London. After his release, they retired to his estate at Sherborne, Dorset.

In 1594, Raleigh heard of a “City of Gold” in South America and sailed to find it, publishing an exaggerated account of his experiences in a book that contributed to the legend of “El Dorado”. After Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Raleigh was again imprisoned in the Tower, this time for being involved in the Main Plot against King James I, who was not favourably disposed towards him. In 1616, he was released to lead a second expedition in search of El Dorado. During the expedition, men led by his top commander ransacked a Spanish outpost, in violation of both the terms of his pardon and the 1604 peace treaty with Spain. Raleigh returned to England and, to appease the Spanish, he was arrested and executed in 1618.

Raleigh was one of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era. In 2002, he was featured in the BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.[3]


Early Life

Little is known about Raleigh’s birth.[4] Some historians believe that he was born on 22 January 1552, although the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography currently favours a date of 1554.[5] He grew up in the house of Hayes Barton,[6] a farmhouse near the village of East Budleigh, not far from Budleigh Salterton in Devon. He was the youngest of five sons born to Walter Raleigh or Rawleigh (1510–1581) of Fardel Manor, South Hams, Devon, and Catherine Champernowne in the second of both of their marriages. His half-brothers John Gilbert, Humphrey Gilbert, and Adrian Gilbert, and his full brother Carew Raleigh were also prominent during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. Catherine Champernowne was a niece of Kat Ashley, Elizabeth’s governess, who introduced the young men at court.[7]

Raleigh’s family was highly Protestant in religious orientation and had a number of near escapes during the reign of Roman Catholic Queen Mary I of England. In the most notable of these, his father had to hide in a tower to avoid execution. As a result, Raleigh developed a hatred of Roman Catholicism during his childhood, and proved himself quick to express it after Protestant Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558. In matters of religion, Elizabeth was more moderate than her half sister Mary.[8]

In 1569, Raleigh left for France to serve with the Huguenots in the French religious civil wars.[4] In 1572, Raleigh was registered as an undergraduate at Oriel College, Oxford, but he left a year later without a degree. Raleigh proceeded to finish his education in the Inns of Court.[4] In 1575, he was registered at the Middle Temple. At his trial in 1603, he stated that he had never studied law. His life is uncertain between 1569 and 1575, but in his History of the World he claimed to have been an eyewitness at the Battle of Moncontour (3 October 1569) in France. In 1575 or 1576, Raleigh returned to England.[9]



Between 1579 and 1583, Raleigh took part in the suppression of the Desmond Rebellions. He was present at the Siege of Smerwick, where he led the party that beheaded some 600 Spanish and Italian soldiers.[11][12] Raleigh received 40,000 acres (16,000 ha)(approx. 0.2% of Ireland) upon the seizure and distribution of land following the attainders arising from the rebellion, including the coastal walled towns of Youghal and Lismore. This made him one of the principal landowners in Munster, but he had limited success inducing English tenants to settle on his estates.

Raleigh made the town of Youghal his occasional home during his 17 years as an Irish landlord, frequently being domiciled at Killua Castle, Clonmellon, County Westmeath. He was mayor there from 1588 to 1589. His town mansion of Myrtle Grove is assumed to be the setting for the story that his servant doused him with a bucket of water after seeing clouds of smoke coming from Raleigh’s pipe, in the belief that he had been set alight. But this story is also told of other places associated with Raleigh: the Virginia Ash Inn in Henstridge near Sherborne, Sherborne Castle, and South Wraxall Manor in Wiltshire, home of Raleigh’s friend Sir Walter Long.

Amongst Raleigh’s acquaintances in Munster was another Englishman who had been granted land there, poet Edmund Spenser. In the 1590s, he and Raleigh travelled together from Ireland to the court at London, where Spenser presented part of his allegorical poem The Faerie Queene to Elizabeth I.

Raleigh’s management of his Irish estates ran into difficulties which contributed to a decline in his fortunes. In 1602, he sold the lands to Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, who subsequently prospered under kings James I and Charles I.[13] Following Raleigh’s death, members of his family approached Boyle for compensation on the ground that Raleigh had struck an improvident bargain.


New World

In 1584, Queen Elizabeth granted Raleigh a royal charter authorising him to explore, colonise and rule any “remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countries and territories, not actually possessed of any Christian Prince or inhabited by Christian People,” in return for one-fifth of all the gold and silver that might be mined there.[14] This charter specified that Raleigh had seven years in which to establish a settlement, or else lose his right to do so. Raleigh and Elizabeth intended that the venture should provide riches from the New World and a base from which to send privateers on raids against the treasure fleets of Spain. Raleigh himself never visited North America, although he led expeditions in 1595 and 1617 to the Orinoco River basin in South America in search of the golden city of El Dorado. Instead, he sent others in 1585 to found the Roanoke Colony, later known as the “Lost Colony”.[15]

These expeditions were funded primarily by Raleigh and his friends but never provided the steady stream of revenue necessary to maintain a colony in America. (Subsequent colonisation attempts in the early 17th century were made under the joint-stock Virginia Company, which was able to raise the capital necessary to create successful colonies.)

In 1587, Raleigh attempted a second expedition, again establishing a settlement on Roanoke Island. This time, a more diverse group of settlers was sent, including some entire families,[16] under the governance of John White.[17] After a short while in America, White returned to England to obtain more supplies for the colony, planning to return in a year. Unfortunately for the colonists at Roanoke, one year became three. The first delay came when Queen Elizabeth I ordered all vessels to remain at port for potential use against the Spanish Armada. After England’s 1588 victory over the Spanish Armada, the ships were given permission to sail.[18]:125–126

The second delay came after White’s small fleet set sail for Roanoke and his crew insisted on sailing first towards Cuba in hopes of capturing treasure-laden Spanish merchant ships. Enormous riches described by their pilot, an experienced Portuguese navigator hired by Raleigh, outweighed White’s objections to the delay.[18]:125–126

When the supply ship arrived in Roanoke, three years later than planned, the colonists had disappeared.[18]:130–33 The only clue to their fate was the word “CROATOAN” and letters “CRO” carved into tree trunks. White had arranged with the settlers that if they should move, the name of their destination be carved into a tree or corner post. This suggested the possibilities that they had moved to Croatoan Island, but a hurricane prevented John White from investigating the island for survivors.[18]:130–33 Other speculation includes their having starved, or been swept away or lost at sea during the stormy weather of 1588. No further attempts at contact were recorded for some years. Whatever the fate of the settlers, the settlement is now remembered as the “Lost Colony of Roanoke Island”.


In December 1581, Raleigh returned to England from Ireland as his company had been disbanded. He took part in court life and became a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I because of his efforts at increasing the Protestant Church in Ireland.[19] In 1585, Raleigh was knighted and was appointed warden of the stannaries, that is of the tin mines of Cornwall and Devon, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, and vice-admiral of the two counties. He sat in parliament as member for Devonshire in 1585 and 1586.[20] He was also granted the right to colonise America.[19]

Raleigh commissioned shipbuilder R. Chapman of Deptford to build a ship for him. It was originally called Ark but became Ark Raleigh, following the convention at the time by which the ship bore the name of its owner. The Crown (in the person of Queen Elizabeth I) purchased the ship from Raleigh in January 1587 for £5,000 (£1,100,000 as of 2015).[21] This took the form of a reduction in the sum that Sir Walter owed the queen; he received Exchequer tallies but no money. As a result, the ship was renamed Ark Royal.[22]



In 1592, Raleigh was given many rewards by the Queen, including Durham House in the Strand and the estate of Sherborne, Dorset. He was appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard. However, he had not been given any of the great offices of state. In the Armada year of 1588, Raleigh had some involvement with defence against the Spanish at Devon. His ship, the Ark Raleigh, was Lord High Admiral Howard’s flagship.[23]

In 1591, Raleigh was secretly married to Elizabeth “Bess” Throckmorton (or Throgmorton). She was one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, 11 years his junior, and was pregnant at the time. She gave birth to a son, believed to be named Damerei, who was given to a wet nurse at Durham House, but he died in October 1592 of plague. Bess resumed her duties to the queen. The following year, the unauthorised marriage was discovered and the Queen ordered Raleigh to be imprisoned and Bess dismissed from court. Both were imprisoned in the Tower of London in June 1592. He was released from prison in August 1592 to manage a recently returned expedition and attack on the Spanish coast. The fleet was recalled by the Queen, but not before it captured an incredibly rich prize— a merchant ship (carrack) named Madre de Deus (Mother of God) off Flores. Raleigh was sent to organise and divide the spoils of the ship. He was sent back to the Tower, but by early 1593 had been released and become a member of Parliament.[24]

It was several years before Raleigh returned to favour, and he travelled extensively in this time. Raleigh and his wife remained devoted to each other. They had two more sons, Walter (known as Wat) and Carew.[25]

Raleigh was elected a burgess of Mitchell, Cornwall, in the parliament of 1593.[5] He retired to his estate at Sherborne, where he built a new house, completed in 1594, known then as Sherborne Lodge. Since extended, it is now known as Sherborne (new) Castle. He made friends with the local gentry, such as Sir Ralph Horsey of Clifton Maybank and Charles Thynne of Longleat. During this period at a dinner party at Horsey’s, Raleigh had a heated discussion about religion with Reverend Ralph Ironsides. The argument later gave rise to charges of atheism against Raleigh, though the charges were dismissed. He was elected to Parliament, speaking on religious and naval matters.[26]


First voyage to Guiana

Republic of Guyana, 100-dollar gold coin 1976 Commemorating the book Discovery of Guiana 1596 and 10 Years of Independence from British Rule

In 1594, he came into possession of a Spanish account of a great golden city at the headwaters of the Caroní River. A year later, he explored what is now Guyana and eastern Venezuela in search of Lake Parime and Manoa, the legendary city. Once back in England, he published The Discovery of Guiana[27] (1596), an account of his voyage which made exaggerated claims as to what had been discovered. The book can be seen as a contribution to the El Dorado legend. Venezuela has gold deposits, but no evidence indicates that Raleigh found any mines. He is sometimes said to have discovered Angel Falls, but these claims are considered far-fetched.[28]00000000000000000



In 1596, Raleigh took part in the Capture of Cadiz, where he was wounded. He also served as the rear admiral (a principal command) of the Islands Voyage to the Azores in 1597.[29] On his return from the Azores, Raleigh faced the major threat of the 3rd Spanish Armada during the autumn of 1597. The Armada was dispersed by a storm, but Lord Howard of Effingham and Raleigh were able to organise a fleet that resulted in the capture of a Spanish ship in retreat carrying vital information regarding the Spanish plans.

In 1597 Raleigh was chosen member of parliament for Dorset, and in 1601 for Cornwall.[20] He was unique in the Elizabethan period in sitting for three counties.[5]

From 1600 to 1603, as governor of the Channel Island of Jersey, Raleigh modernised its defences. This included construction of a new fort protecting the approaches to Saint Helier, Fort Isabella Bellissima, or Elizabeth Castle.


Trial and imprisonment

Royal favour with Queen Elizabeth had been restored by this time, but his good fortune did not last; the Queen died on 24 March 1603. Raleigh was arrested on 19 July 1603, charged with treason for his involvement in the Main Plot against Elizabeth’s successor, James I, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.[30]

Raleigh’s trial began on 17 November in the converted Great Hall of Winchester Castle. Raleigh conducted his own defence. The chief evidence against him was the signed and sworn confession of his friend Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham. Raleigh repeatedly requested that Cobham be called to testify. “[Let] my accuser come face to face, and be deposed. Were the case but for a small copyhold, you would have witnesses or good proof to lead the jury to a verdict; and I am here for my life!” Raleigh argued that the evidence against him was “hearsay”, but the tribunal refused to allow Cobham to testify and be cross-examined.[31][32] Raleigh was found guilty, but King James spared his life.[33]

He remained imprisoned in the Tower until 1616. While there, he wrote many treatises and the first volume of The Historie of the World (first edition published 1614)[34] about the ancient history of Greece and Rome. His son, Carew, was conceived and born (1604) while Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower.


Second voyage to Guiana

In 1617, Raleigh was pardoned by the King and granted permission to conduct a second expedition to Venezuela in search of El Dorado. During the expedition, a detachment of Raleigh’s men under the command of his long-time friend Lawrence Keymis attacked the Spanish outpost of Santo Tomé de Guayana on the Orinoco River, in violation of peace treaties with Spain, and against Raleigh’s orders. A condition of Raleigh’s pardon was avoidance of any hostility against Spanish colonies or shipping. In the initial attack on the settlement, Raleigh’s son, Walter, was fatally shot. Keymis informed Raleigh of his son’s death and begged for forgiveness, but did not receive it, and at once committed suicide. On Raleigh’s return to England, an outraged Count Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, demanded that Raleigh’s death sentence be reinstated by King James, who had little choice but to do so. Raleigh was brought to London from Plymouth by Sir Lewis Stukeley, where he passed up numerous opportunities to make an effective escape.[35][36]


Execution and aftermath

Raleigh was beheaded in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster on 29 October 1618. “Let us dispatch”, he said to his executioner. “At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear.” After he was allowed to see the axe that would be used to behead him, he mused: “This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries.” According to biographers, Raleigh’s last words (as he lay ready for the axe to fall) were: “Strike, man, strike!”[37]

Thomas Hariot may have introduced him to tobacco.[38] Having been one of the people to popularise tobacco smoking in England, he left a small tobacco pouch, found in his cell shortly after his execution. Engraved upon the pouch was a Latin inscription: Comes meus fuit in illo miserrimo tempore (“It was my companion at that most miserable time”).[39][40]

Raleigh’s head was embalmed and presented to his wife. His body was to be buried in the local church in Beddington, Surrey, the home of Lady Raleigh, but was finally laid to rest in St. Margaret’s, Westminster, where his tomb may still be visited today.[41] “The Lords”, she wrote, “have given me his dead body, though they have denied me his life. God hold me in my wits.”[42] It has been said that Lady Raleigh kept her husband’s head in a velvet bag until her death.[43] After Raleigh’s wife’s death 29 years later, his head was returned to his tomb and interred at St. Margaret’s Church.[44]

Although Raleigh’s popularity had waned considerably since his Elizabethan heyday, his execution was seen by many, both at the time and since, as unnecessary and unjust, as for many years his involvement in the Main Plot seemed to have been limited to a meeting with Lord Cobham.[45] One of the judges at his trial later said: “The justice of England has never been so degraded and injured as by the condemnation of the honourable Sir Walter Raleigh.”[46]


History book

While imprisoned in the Tower Raleigh wrote his incomplete “The Historie of the World.” Using a wide array of sources in six languages, Raleigh was fully abreast of the latest continental scholarship. He wrote not about England, but of the ancient world with a heavy emphasis on geography. Despite his intention of providing current advice to the King of England, King James I complained that it was “too sawcie in censuring Princes.”[47][48]



Raleigh’s poetry is written in the relatively straightforward, unornamented mode known as the plain style. C. S. Lewis considered Raleigh one of the era’s “silver poets”, a group of writers who resisted the Italian Renaissance influence of dense classical reference and elaborate poetic devices. His writing contains strong personal treatments of themes such as love, loss, beauty, and time. Most of his poems are short lyrics that were inspired by actual events.[4]

In poems such as What is Our Life and The Lie, Raleigh expresses a contemptus mundi (contempt of the world) attitude more characteristic of the Middle Ages than of the dawning era of humanistic optimism. But his lesser-known long poem The Ocean’s Love to Cynthia combines this vein with the more elaborate conceits associated with his contemporaries Edmund Spenser and John Donne, expressing a melancholy sense of history. The poem was written during his imprisonment in the Tower of London.[4]

Raleigh wrote a poetic response to Christopher Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love of 1592, entitled The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd. Both were written in the style of traditional pastoral poetry and follow the structure of six four-line stanzas employing a rhyme scheme of AABB, with Raleigh’s an almost line-for-line refutation of Marlowe’s sentiments.[49] Years later, the 20th-century poet William Carlos Williams would join the poetic “argument” with his Raleigh was Right.

List of poems

Among all finished, and some unfinished, poems written by, or plausibly attributed to, Raleigh: As ye came from the holy land is often attributed to Raleigh, but in the words of Gerald Bullett “it certainly existed before Ralegh arrived on the scene; Ralegh’s connexion with it is largely a matter of conjecture”.[50]

  • “The Advice”
  • “Another of the Same”
  • “Conceit begotten by the Eyes”
  • “Epitaph on Sir Philip Sidney”
  • “Epitaph on the Earl of Leicester”
  • “Even such is Time”
  • “The Excuse”
  • “False Love”
  • “Farewell to the Court”
  • “His Petition to Queen Anne of Denmark”
  • “If Cynthia be a Queen”
  • “In Commendation of George Gascoigne’s Steel Glass”
  • The Lie
  • “Like Hermit Poor”
  • “Lines from Catullus”
  • “Love and Time”
  • “My Body in the Walls captive”
  • The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd
  • “Of Spenser’s Faery Queen”
  • “On the Snuff of a Candle”
  • “The Ocean’s Love to Cynthia”
  • “A Poem entreating of Sorrow”
  • “A Poem put into my Lady Laiton’s Pocket”
  • “The Pilgrimage”
  • “A Prognistication upon Cards and Dice”
  • “The Shepherd’s Praise of Diana”
  • “Sweet Unsure”
  • “To His Mistress”
  • “To the Translator of Lucan’s Pharsalia”
  • “What is Our Life?”
  • “The Wood, the Weed, the Wag”



  1. Jump up^ “Sir Walter Raleigh”. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  2. Jump up^ Many alternative spellings of his surname exist, including RawleyRaleghRalagh, and Rawleigh. “Raleigh” appears most commonly today, though he used that spelling only once, as far as is known. His most consistent preference was for “Ralegh”. His full name is /ˈwɔːltər ˈrɔːli/, though in practice /ˈræli/RAL-ee, or even /ˈrɑːli/ RAH-lee are the usual modern pronunciations in England.
  3. Jump up^ “BBC – Great Britons – Top 100”Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2002-12-04. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
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  14. Jump up^ “Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh: 1584”The Avalon Project. Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
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  18. Jump up to:a b c d Quinn, David B. (February 1985). Set Fair for Roanoke: Voyages and Colonies, 1584–1606. UNC Press Books. ISBN 978-0-8078-4123-5. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  19. Jump up to:a b Walter Raleigh Biography. The Biography Channel website. 2014. 12 March 2014.
  20. Jump up to:a b Laughton, J. K. and Lee, Sidney (1896) Ralegh, Sir Walter (1552?–1618), military and naval commander and author
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  23. Jump up^ May, Steven W. (1989). Sir Walter Ralegh. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall & Co. p. 8. ISBN 9780805769838.
  24. Jump up^ May 1989, p. 13
  25. Jump up^ May 1989, p. 21
  26. Jump up^ May 1989, p. 14
  27. Jump up^ Sir Walter Raleigh. The Discovery of Guiana Project Gutenberg.
  28. Jump up^ “Walter Raleigh – Delusions of Guiana”The Lost World: The Gran Sabana, Canaima National Park and Angel Falls – Venezuela. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
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  30. Jump up^ May 1989, p. 19
  31. Jump up^ 1 Criminal Trials 400, 400–511, 1850.
  32. Jump up^ Note on the trial under commission of Oyer and Terminer with a jury, at a court of assizes [1]
  33. Jump up^ Rowse, A. L. Ralegh and the Throckmortons Macmillan and Co 1962 p.241
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  36. Jump up^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). “Stucley, Lewis“. Dictionary of National Biography55. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  37. Jump up^ Trevelyan, Raleigh Sir Walter Raleigh, Henry Holt & Co. (2002). ISBN 978-0-7139-9326-4. p. 552
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  43. Jump up^ Brushfield, Thomas Nadauld (1896). Raleghana8.
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  47. Jump up^ Nicholas Popper, Walter Ralegh’s “History of the World” and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance (2012) p 18.
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  49. Jump up^ “Notes for The Passionate Shepherd to His Love. Dr. Bruce Magee, Louisiana Tech University. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  50. Jump up^ Bullett, Gerald (1947). Silver Poets of the 16th CenturyEveryman’s Library1985. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. p. 280.
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  53. Jump up^ “Raleigh County history sources”. West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
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The Daily Horoscopes for Monday, October 29th


A Venus-Mars parallel aspect today can enliven your romantic or social connections, dear Aries, and can also boost your magnetism. There is a nice balance between give-and-take right now. Through helping someone, you feel stronger. Even so, early today, you can frustrate easily as things seem to be moving a little too slowly for your liking. Look for problem areas in your thinking or attitude that you can safely put behind you, as today holds transformative energy with Mercury and Chiron in aspect. It’s a good time for facing your fears, which can come as a result of pushing your thoughts a little further than usual or through your conversations. Inner demons seem just a little more manageable right now. A discussion can lead to an emotional breakthrough, and it’s not necessarily about being eloquent or choosing the perfect words. Instead, it’s because you can read the intentions behind the words.


You may be dealing with relationship challenges that weigh on your mind early today, dear Taurus, which may need resolution before you feel confident to move full steam ahead. Once beyond these issues, you’re in a particularly creative frame of mind. You are especially noticed for your dynamism and strength as Venus and Mars come together in declination today. Personal appeal is powerful now! You might also need extra stimulation, or you may want to pioneer something. You also benefit from a Mercury-Chiron connection now. You’re open to seeing a matter more honestly or rawly, particularly related to your relationships, which can help you break new ground, leading to good conversations. You can learn important things through your interactions today. Healing and supportive connections are in focus.


You’re combining grace and assertion well today, dear Gemini, which can help you out tremendously. You seem to know when to push forward and when to hold back, even if the day starts a bit choppily. Promotional or publishing activities can be in particularly good shape now. You are busy today, and enjoy it that way! Your ruler, Mercury, gains support from wise and caring Chiron as well as lucky Jupiter, enhancing both your confidence and others’ confidence in you. Problem-solving skills are through the roof. You can be especially wise right now, particularly about where you’re headed in your work or with your projects. It’s a better time for communicating with bosses or co-workers, as well.


The Moon spends the full day in your sign, dear Cancer, and emotions move to number one on your priority list. While there can be some impulsiveness to deal with, you’re learning a lot about yourself and your needs. It can also be a time for intimate excitement and perhaps some positive movement in your financial affairs. Coming to a fine balance between work and downtime seems almost easy today. Conversations with a partner, romantic interest, and children can be especially growth-oriented and possibly on some level, quite healing, too, as Mercury and Chiron connect. We’re more willing than usual to look beyond the surface of things and to make an attempt to understand the more subtle elements of life. You’re full of good ideas.


Mars in your partnership sector faces a small challenge with Saturn early today, dear Leo, pointing to possible blocks or conflicting wants that slow you down. Finding a balance between responsibilities and desires can help smooth things over. Fortunately, there is plenty of energy supporting you today. You’re excited to learn and innovate. There can be lively interactions today. On a mental level, you’re putting things together in creative ways and could get to a beautiful new level of understanding in your studies or research. You can break some ground on family, emotional, and intimate matters, too. You’re enjoying supportive, comfortable relationships and conversations or other meaningful exchanges. You could receive the backing you need for a project now.


This morning, there can be a minor setback that prevents you from pushing your plans forward, dear Virgo. However, everything seems to come together beautifully despite this. You’re in great shape for boosting your relationships and for personal appeal, in general. It’s a good day for thinking breakthroughs on work projects and methods, as well as new ideas. Your advice or comforting words can be in demand and appreciated. You may be learning new things or brushing up on skills, and thoroughly enjoying yourself as you do! As well, you’re more inclined than usual to share your findings or struggles with someone else, leading to good things. Pairing up or sharing your load is especially helpful now.


This morning, there can be a small hurdle to clear, dear Libra, likely to do with attempting to go forward too quickly. However, once you’ve digested the lesson that slowing down is best for you just for the moment, you put yourself in a fabulous place mentally. Today is strong for your practical affairs, too. Others admire you for your dynamism and straightforward approach, and you thrive on a bit of movement or excitement. You might feel compelled to talk through a problem today, and you can feel in tune with the people around you, especially family members, but with most others as well. There is a willingness to cooperate, which is always welcome in your Libra book, and a sense that you’re going somewhere in your conversations or with your own thoughts.


This morning, there can be some frustration with a project that doesn’t seem to be moving fast enough for you, dear Scorpio, but also some creative interactions with people that help pull you out of a funk. Conversations, in particular, can be uplifting — they help you rise above the smaller problems. You can come up with some creative, dynamic ideas about handling your home or personal life. This is another potentially superb day for communications-related matters and is suitable for making a presentation or pitching an idea. Your words can be magical, and they can connect you with others in pleasing ways. This is more about how you express yourself and the overall positive vibe you’re giving off than the actual words you’re choosing.


This morning, you may be stepping on the brakes, dear Sagittarius, if you feel others are pushing you too hard. However, the day is quick to turn around in your favor, due in large part to your good attitude. This can be an animated day for your social or romantic life. As well, news can come through that you’ve been waiting for, or ideas are easy to come by, and it’s easy to see solutions. You might experience a purging or healing moment as you see a previously baffling situation more clearly. Writing in a journal or privately in some way can be an urge, and quite helpful to boot! As the day advances, you benefit from a more natural flow of energy and support for your actions.


This morning’s Mars-Saturn challenge can point to an increased sensitivity to how others seem to be valuing you, dear Capricorn. While the drive to make more money or to feel more secure can be strong, try not to push yourself too hard or you’re likely to meet some resistance now. Even so, the day holds fabulous energy for taking on a great attitude that can take you where you want to go. It’s easier than usual to rise above small problems. This can be a uniquely creative day on practical levels, too. Others might notice both your wisdom and compassion now, and you’re at your best when others are counting on you and showing their respect for you, which motivates you further. There may be new insight into a friendship or long-term plan or project. Conversations can be reinforcing.


Early today, you may be feeling blocked or held back, dear Aquarius, and it would be wise to slow down to handle your responsibilities before pressing ahead. However, on a mental level especially, you’re in great shape. You have a stronger desire for pleasure and excitement, too. There may be a breakthrough in your studies or a new level of understanding reached with someone important to you. You are projecting both strength and warmth, and people are taking note! You may gain unique insight into any insecurities about your value today through your conversations or thoughts. People are more understanding than usual, and it’s quite likely that people can read your noble intentions, even if the words aren’t perfect.


This morning, there can be a block to break through as Mars and Saturn form a minor challenging aspect, dear Pisces. Patience is necessary, as pushing may only serve to increase resistance. Even so, it’s especially easy to rise above problems with Mercury in supportive relation to your sign and fabulous aspect with Jupiter and Chiron. Friendships and love relationships can be playful, and interactions are creative. Very creative energy is with you now, and you may tap into it more easily if allowed some free time and space. A compelling attraction or desire can emerge. Chiron in your sign asks you to be true to yourself, and Mercury, the planet of communication, assists you in this process today, offering up a fantastic opportunity to express yourself authentically and to connect with others, primarily through partnering, negotiating, higher beliefs, education, and the sharing of ideas. It’s a good time to consider ways you can improve your life in areas where you feel insecure or vulnerable since you see these things more clearly now.


Courtesy of Astrology Cafe