From The Pentlands Looking North And South

Around my feet the clouds are drawn
In the cold mystery of the dawn;
No breezes cheer, no guests intrude
My mossy, mist-clad solitude;
When sudden down the steeps of sky
Flames a long, lightening wind. On high
The steel-blue arch shines clear, and far,
In the low lands where cattle are,
Towns smoke. And swift, a haze, a gleam,–
The Firth lies like a frozen stream,
Reddening with morn. Tall spires of ships,
Like thorns about the harbour’s lips,
Now shake faint canvas, now, asleep,
Their salt, uneasy slumbers keep;
While golden-grey, o’er kirk and wall,
Day wakes in the ancient capital.

Before me lie the lists of strife,
The caravanserai of life,
Whence from the gates the merchants go
On the world’s highways; to and fro
Sail laiden ships; and in the street
The lone foot-traveller shakes his feet,
And in some corner by the fire
Tells the old tale of heart’s desire.
Thither from alien seas and skies
Comes the far-questioned merchandise:–
Wrought silks of Broussa, Mocha’s ware
Brown-tinted, fragrant, and the rare
Thin perfumes that the rose’s breath
Has sought, immortal in her death:
Gold, gems, and spice, and haply still
The red rough largess of the hill
Which takes the sun and bears the vines
Among the haunted Apennines.

And he who treads the cobbled street
To-day in the cold North may meet,
Come month, come year, the dusky East,
And share the Caliph’s secret feast;
Or in the toil of wind and sun
Bear pilgrim-staff, forlorn, fordone,
Till o’er the steppe, athwart the sand
Gleam the far gates of Samarkand.
The ringing quay, the weathered face
Fair skies, dusk hands, the ocean race
The palm-girt isle, the frosty shore,
Gales and hot suns the wide world o’er
Grey North, red South, and burnished West
The goals of the old tireless quest,
Leap in the smoke, immortal, free,
Where shines yon morning fringe of sea
I turn, and lo! the moorlands high
Lie still and frigid to the sky.

The film of morn is silver-grey
On the young heather, and away,
Dim, distant, set in ribs of hill,
Green glens are shining, stream and mill,
Clachan and kirk and garden-ground,
All silent in the hush profound
Which haunts alone the hills’ recess,
The antique home of quietness.
Nor to the folk can piper play
The tune of “Hills and Far Away,”
For they are with them. Morn can fire
No peaks of weary heart’s desire,
Nor the red sunset flame behind
Some ancient ridge of longing mind.

For Arcady is here, around,
In lilt of stream, in the clear sound
Of lark and moorbird, in the bold
Gay glamour of the evening gold,
And so the wheel of seasons moves
To kirk and market, to mild loves
And modest hates, and still the sight
Of brown kind faces, and when night
Draws dark around with age and fear
Theirs is the simple hope to cheer.–
A land of peace where lost romance
And ghostly shine of helm and lance
Still dwell by castled scarp and lea,
And the last homes of chivalry,
And the good fairy folk, my dear,
Who speak for cunning souls to hear,
In crook of glen and bower of hill
Sing of the Happy Ages still.

O Thou to whom man’s heart is known,
Grant me my morning orison.
Grant me the rover’s path–to see
The dawn arise, the daylight flee,
In the far wastes of sand and sun!
Grant me with venturous heart to run
On the old highway, where in pain
And ecstasy man strives amain,
Conquers his fellows, or, too weak,
Finds the great rest that wanderers seek!
Grant me the joy of wind and brine,
The zest of food, the taste of wine,
The fighter’s strength, the echoing strife
The high tumultuous lists of life–
May I ne’er lag, nor hapless fall,
Nor weary at the battle-call!…
But when the even brings surcease,
Grant me the happy moorland peace;
That in my heart’s depth ever lie
That ancient land of heath and sky,
Where the old rhymes and stories fall
In kindly, soothing pastoral.
There in the hills grave silence lies,
And Death himself wears friendly guise
There be my lot, my twilight stage,
Dear city of my pilgrimage.


SOURCE: The Moon Endureth Tales and Fancies; by John Buchan
CONTRIBUTOR: Jenny Dunnaway


This Day in History: Bridge Spans the Bosphorus to Connect Europe and Asia

Bridge Spans the Bosphorus to Connect Europe and Asia (1973)


Bosphorus Bridge

The Bosphorus Bridge, also called the First Bosphorus Bridge (Turkish: Boğaziçi Köprüsü or 1. Boğaziçi Köprüsü) is one of two suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait (Turkish: Boğaziçi) in Istanbul, Turkey; thus connecting Europe and Asia (the other one is the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, which is called the Second Bosphorus Bridge.) The bridge is located between Ortaköy (on the European side) and Beylerbeyi (on the Asian side).

It is a gravity anchored suspension bridge with steel towers and inclined hangers.[1] The aerodynamic deck hangs on zigzag steel cables. It is 1,560 m (5,118 ft)[1] long with a deck width of 33.40 m (110 ft).[1] The distance between the towers (main span) is 1,074 m (3,524 ft)[1] and the total height of the towers is 165 m (541 ft).[1] The clearance of the bridge from sea level is 64 m (210 ft).[1]

The Bosphorus Bridge had the 4th longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed in 1973, and the longest outside the United States. At present, it is the 21st longest suspension bridge span in the world.

The idea of a bridge crossing the Bosphorus dates back to antiquity. For Emperor Darius I The Great of Persia (522 BC – 485 BC), as recorded by the Greek writer Herodotus in his Histories, Mandrocles of Samos once engineered a pontoon bridge that stretched across the Bosphorus, linking Asia to Europe, so that Darius could pursue the fleeing Scythians as well as move his army into position in the Balkans to overwhelm Macedon.[3] The first project for a permanent bridge across the Bosphorus was proposed to Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II by the Bosphorus Railroad Company in 1900, which included a rail link between the continents.[4]

The decision to build a bridge across the Bosphorus was taken in 1957 by Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. For the structural engineering work, a contract was signed with the British firm Freeman Fox & Partners in 1968. The bridge was designed by the renowned British civil engineers Sir Gilbert Roberts and William Brown who also designed the Humber Bridge, Severn Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, Auckland Harbour Bridge and the Volta River Bridge. The construction started in February 1970, the ceremonies were attended by President Cevdet Sunay and Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel and was carried out by the Turkish firm Enka Construction & Industry Co. along with the co-contractors Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company. (England) and Hochtief AG (Germany). Thirty-five engineers and 400 men worked on the project.

The bridge was completed on 30 October 1973, one day after the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, and opened by President Fahri Korutürk and Prime Minister Naim Talu. The cost of the bridge amounted to USD 200 million ($1.03 billion in 2013 dollars[5]) .

At the time the bridge was opened, much was made of its being the first bridge between Europe and Asia since the pontoon bridge of Xerxes in 480 BCE. That bridge, however, spanned the Hellespont (Dardanelles), some distance away from the Bosphorus.

In June 2013, the country’s riot police were pictured securing access to the bridge.[6]

Current status

The bridge highway has a total width of six lanes (eight including the emergency lanes.)[1] Each direction has three lanes for vehicular traffic plus one emergency lane and one sidewalk.[1] On weekday mornings, commuter traffic flows mostly westbound to the European part, so four of the six lanes run westbound and only two eastbound. Conversely, on weekday evenings, four lanes are dedicated to eastbound traffic and two lanes only to westbound.

In the first four years, pedestrians could walk over the bridge, reaching it with elevators inside the towers on both sides. No pedestrians or commercial vehicles like trucks are allowed to use the bridge today.

Nowadays, around 180,000 vehicles pass daily in both directions, almost 85% being automobiles. On 29 December 1997, the one-billionth vehicle passed the bridge. Fully loaded, the bridge sags about 90 cm (35 in) in the middle of the span.

The Bosphorus Bridge is a toll bridge, and a toll plaza with 13 toll booths is situated near the bridge on the Asian side. A toll is charged for passing from Europe to Asia, but not for passing in the reverse direction. Since 1999, some of the toll booths (#9 – #13), located to the far left as motorists approach them, are unmanned and equipped only with a remote payment system (Turkish: OGS) in order to speed up traffic. In addition to OGS, another toll pay system with special contactless smart cards (Turkish: KGS) was put in service for use at specific toll booths in 2005. Since April 3, 2006, toll booths accept no cash but only OGS or KGS. OGS device or KGS card can be obtained at various stations before toll plaza of highways and bridges. In 2006 the toll was 3.00 TL or about $2.00.

Since April 2007, a fully computerized LED lighting system of changing colours and patterns, developed by Philips, illuminates the bridge at night.

Other uses

The Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon, organized annually in October, starts from the Anatolian part of Istanbul, crosses the Bosphorus on the bridge and ends in the European part during which the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic.

Visitors to Istanbul in October can sign up for the ‘fun run’ at many points round the city and take the opportunity to cross the bridge on foot. Many take picnics to enjoy the view.

The bridge was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 1000 lira banknotes of 1978-1986.[7]

On 15 May 2005 at 7.00 a.m. local time, U.S. tennis star Venus Williams played a show game with Turkish standout İpek Şenoğlu on the bridge, the first tennis match ever to be played on two continents.[8][9] The event was organized as a promotion ahead of the 2005 WTA Istanbul Cup and lasted five minutes.[8] After the exhibition, they both threw a tennis ball into the Bosphorus.[8][9]

On 17 July 2005 at 10.30 a.m. local time, British Formula One driver David Coulthard drove his Red Bull racing car on the bridge first from the European side to the Asian side, and then, after turning with a spectacular powerslide at the toll plaza, back to the European side for show.[10][11] He parked his car in the garden of Dolmabahçe Palace where his ride had started.[10][12] While crossing the bridge with his Formula 1 car, Coulthard was picked up by the automatic surveillance system and charged with a fine of 20 Euros because he passed through the toll booths without payment.[11] His team accepted to pay for him.[11]


See also

  • Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, the second bridge spanning the strait, located about 5 km north of the Bosphorus Bridge
  • Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, also called the Third Bosphorus Bridge, under construction
  • Marmaray, the Bosphorus undersea railway tunnel under construction
  • Turkish Straits

Notes and references

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m General Directorate of Highways: Project information about the Bosphorus Bridge (Turkish)
  2. ^ Erste Bosporusbrücke
  3. ^ Project Gutenberg. The History of Herodotus — Volume 2 – Retrieved on 19 March 2010.
  4. ^ 1900’deki köprü projesinde raylı sistem de vardı. Sabah. 2009-07-17 – Retrieved on 19 March 2010. (Turkish)
  5. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2013. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey. Banknote Museum: 6. Emission Group – One Thousand Turkish Lira – I. SeriesII. SeriesIII. Series. – Retrieved on 20 April 2009.
  8. a b c “Venus Williams’ match stretches two continents”. Hürriyet. 2005-05-15. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  9. a b “Venus Williams Plays Tennis on Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul”. Argus Photo Ltd. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  10. a b “Coulthard smokes ’em over Bosphorus”. Motoring. 2005-07-18. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  11. a b c “Bridge too far for Coulthard”. BBC. 2005-07-26. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  12. ^ “F1: 2005 Turkish GP”. Motorsport. 2005-07-17. Retrieved 2009-06-25.

How to Celebrate Halloween, According to Your Zodiac Sign

Let your Sun sign inspire you this Halloween

Whether you’re a Halloween fanatic planning months in advance or you wait until the last minute, you don’t want to miss out on the fun-filled holiday that now ranks second only to Christmas.

Today, more and more adults are getting in on the costumes and partying. Nostalgic for their childhoods, they welcome the chance to dress up and act crazy. Because it’s not a religious holiday, nor a big family event, Halloween is a great time to get together with friends and let loose.

Here are some suggestions for how you can draw inspiration from your Sun sign to make this a Halloween to remember.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

You’re always up for something new, but Halloween says be different — so why not get nostalgic for a change? Invite your friends to each choose a classic horror movie and dress up as one of its characters. Tell them to cue up their favorite scene and bring it over to share at your horror flick-themed costume party.


Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Indulge your sensual nature with seasonal scents, both earthly and unearthly. Believe it or not, there’s a Halloween body wash that will make you smell like a graveyard. If you prefer something a little more luscious, try pumpkin scented candles or incense. Simmering apple cider with spices also fills the air with delicious harvest aromas.


Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Halloween is the perfect time to express your Gemini playfulness — with a little gore of course! Set up a craft party where you and your friends can make your own fake blood (recipes are online) and other props. Put together mutilated zombie personas and crash a party or roam the streets together, scaring any poor souls who cross your path.


Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

No doubt your home will be decorated to the hilt, both inside and out — so why not share your creativity with your neighbors by organizing a Halloween block party? Visit each other’s houses and present an award for the best decorations. Your kids can stroll along, safely trick-or-treating, on their own street.


Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)

Because Halloween is descended from an ancient Celtic fire festival and Leo’s element is Fire, you’re in your element. Celebrate by creating a fire pit in your back yard, or use a circle of candles. Invite friends to a pumpkin carving party and display your creations around the fire. Be sure to keep a camera handy to photograph each jack-o’-lantern.


Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)

Virgo, this is the night to reveal your sexy alter ego. Virginal no more, cast an unforgettable spell with a seductive vampire outfit that gives you permission to attack any neck that appeals to you. Imagine how surprised your friends will be when they see this sexy side of their normally restrained, down-to-earth pal. Watch out!


Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)

Have you tied the knot with your soulmate yet? Here’s a Halloween test to find out if you are about to: Dunk for apples. An ancient Celtic tradition says the first one who gets an apple will be the next one married. In the meantime, have fun dressing up as a famous couple. From Bogie and Bacall to yin and yang, let your creativity flow.


Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)

Halloween is made for you lovers of the dark side. The sultry Queen of Halloween herself, Elvira, must surely be a Scorpio! This is your chance to glop on gobs of black eye make-up, long black nails, fishnets and Gothy high-heeled boots. You say that’s how you look every day? Oops … try a pinafore and pigtails instead.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)

If you live near a theme park, you may be in luck for some special thrills. Theme park hopping has become a trend for costumed partiers who like to scare themselves silly on specially decorated rides. At least one park offers a ride that goes backwards only on Halloween night. If there aren’t theme parks nearby, drop by your local haunted house.


Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)

We rely on your sophisticated and reasoned approach to life … but that doesn’t mean you need to forgo Halloween’s wild side altogether. Draw from its Pagan origins to create your own ritual celebrating the close of harvest and initiation of the winter season. And don’t forget … Pagans liked to get naked and dance around fires!


Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)

There are so many high-tech Halloween gadgets on the market now, you’ll have a ball creating a surreal environment. Choose from black lights, strobes, swirling vortex fog machines and haunted doorbell sound systems. Or keep it simple and go low tech with a dry ice witch’s cauldron.


Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)

Halloween is known as the holiday when the “veils between the worlds” are the thinnest … the perfect time to hold a playful séance. Dress up as your fantasy fortuneteller and invite your friends over to communicate with the dead. Or concentrate on the living with Tarot cards, a Ouija board, tea leaves or whatever strikes your fancy. is Part of the Daily Insight Group ©2018

The Daily Horoscopes for Tuesday, October 30


While the Moon spends much of the day in your comfortable solar fourth house, dear Aries, you may be feeling some unrest as the day progresses. With Venus heading into opposition with Uranus, you may very well be dealing with unusual impulses, and whether you battle them or give in to them, there is a need for greater self-awareness now. Feeling restrained or restricted can be at the heart of sudden desires and whims. You may want to display your independence now, but it’s not likely to go over well if you’re not wholly behind what you’re doing. Disruptions experienced now hint at the need to throw away old attitudes and habits that have been limiting your growth. You might even decide to get rid of material things or clutter in your environment to help the process along. Reducing debt can be important for you not just on the material level, but also regarding unhealthy feelings of indebtedness towards others, or dependencies that make you feel less than confident. Relationships might require special understanding or people in your life need a bit of space today.


With Venus heading towards an opposition to Uranus, dear Taurus, aim to act from your heart rather than merely react to what’s going on around you. If you’ve been feeling caged in, you’re extra sensitive to any sign of this today! Discontent with the status quo can be at the root of impulsive actions or sudden reactions. Unusual attractions to people and things can be experienced now and can be another symptom! You may feel torn between the need for another’s feedback or approval and the desire to go your own way and act independently. Whatever does happen, you see both yourself and your relationships (or a partner) in a brand new way through the events and feelings of the day. Try to discern between true, honest desires and mere whims. Find ways to seek more of what you want from your life while also taking care of the feelings of people you hold dear.


While the Moon spends much of the day in your solar second house, encouraging you to tune into your needs for predictability, dear Gemini, the day may be anything but predictable! This is due to a Venus-Uranus opposition holding sway over the day. People may be emotionally reactive under this influence, and you may be one of them! However, because this is happening in the background of your solar chart, you’re more likely to experience it as an internal conflict. You can feel on edge if anyone seems to be trying to pin you down or if you feel caged in. This may prompt you to dream up ways to handle things such that you feel free while also meet your responsibilities. The tendency for impulsive moves is strong. However, chances are that if you stop to think about it, there are elements of your life, particularly with work, health, and daily habits, that could use some refreshment or change of pace, and today’s feelings can stir you into action.


The Moon spends much of the day in your sign, dear Cancer, stimulating your emotions. As the day advances, there can be some tense or rebellious energy with us, and for you, it’s likely to occur on social and romantic levels as Venus and Uranus oppose one another in your solar fifth and eleventh house, returning to an aspect they first formed in September. Keep in mind, though, that disruptions or epiphanies arising now can lead to wonderful new opportunities. Finding a balance between pleasing someone and asserting your independence can be tricky but not impossible. Creatively speaking, this is a time for trying something new and breaking out of a rut. You may not know whether you want to be close to someone or prefer some space. If you’re feeling caged in, look for non-disruptive ways to enjoy a sense of being free and independent. Or, if you are dealing with flighty or unreliable people, consider ways to make your own fun so that you’re not as dependent on others to enjoy yourself.


The Moon spends most of the day in the sign just behind yours, dear Leo, and you’re inclined to keep a low profile. As the day advances, the Moon moves into Leo, and you seek out more interaction and feedback. As well, a Venus-Uranus opposition comes into play and acts to stir the pot! This can stimulate any latent needs for more space or leeway in a relationship or with family. Or, uncertainties about your work situation or the general direction you’re heading in life can impact your relationships. Venus is pulling you towards comfort and partnering these days, and Uranus towards independence and freedom. Avoid jumping to conclusions or making dramatic stands and sudden moves now, as these feelings are likely temporary and there is some volatility to the day’s energies that will pass quickly enough. Feelings stirred today can open your eyes to areas that need improvement or refreshment, however.


The Moon spends much of the day in your social sector, dear Virgo, and you’re looking for something fresh to do or to inspire you! As the day advances, a desire for freedom from confining situations can take hold, particularly if you’ve recently been feeling too caged in or stagnant in your studies or relationships. The need for refreshment and improvement becomes clear, and it can relate to stirrings first experienced in September, but it’s important not to go to extremes with this with today’s somewhat volatile energies. It’s best not to make commitments if you are not one-hundred percent behind them, and it’s wise to attempt to discern between reactions and real feelings. Transportation and communication mishaps or differences of opinion might also be part of the picture now. However, if you don’t take others too seriously, or yourself for that matter, it can be a good day for interesting, progressive, and off the wall information, news, and ideas.


The Moon spends much of the day in your responsible solar tenth house, dear Libra, but as the day advances, energies are far from predictable with Venus in opposition to Uranus. The desire for beautiful things or certain possessions that you’ve been considering is stronger now with Venus in your solar second house these days. Today, you might find someone opposes you or news comes in that forces you to change your goals. Alternatively, there is a sudden desire to act out, buy something new, or throw something out. However, the best way to use the energy of the day constructively is to find a new way to handle a financial matter. The trick is to think outside of the box now, as anything too ordinary or mundane will only serve to frustrate now. If others are not exceptionally reliable, it’s important to grant others space and freedom, but perhaps even more important is to build and nurture your independent spirit. You are in the mood to experiment with different styles, products, and ideas now.


With Venus and Uranus reaching an opposition, dear Scorpio, today requires some flexibility, and relationships seem to need more freedom and spontaneity. While this aspect can feel a little chaotic or disruptive, you may quickly get the sense that you’re moving forward through it. Focusing on developing your independence rather than being at the mercy of others’ moods makes the most sense now. Keep in mind that others’ expressions of freedom can be raw or extreme. Someone may be seeking closeness or increased intimacy, while another seems to be chasing excitement or adventure, and it can be difficult to find a middle ground, but it’s far from impossible. There can be an unusual attraction or desire that comes on suddenly, or you might experience a sudden awakening to a relationship issue or awareness of something important about someone close to you.


Venus and Uranus form an opposition now, dear Sagittarius, as they did in September, but now that Venus is retrograde, you may be returning to old freedom issues. People may not be exceptionally reliable in your life or changes of schedule might throw you off center. Changes may set you on a different train of thought or a new path that breaks you out of a rut, so keep your mind open. Do your best to identify areas of your life that require adjustments rather than simply succumb to sudden feelings or impulses now, and you’ll feel more in control. While there is an unpredictable feel to this energy, keep in mind that change may be in order, and disruptions might steer you towards positive things. If you can’t depend on someone, aim to work for yourself and your happiness as much as possible so that you don’t waste your time waiting for the rest of the world to deliver!


The day’s energies are a little chaotic, dear Capricorn, but can lead to meaningful stirrings. A Venus-Uranus opposition first experienced in September returns as retrograde Venus covers old ground, and you may return to past problems related to freedom. There can be a reawakening of a sense of aliveness in relationships now, but there can also be a spirit of rebellion or uncertainty. You are experimenting with your creativity perhaps with some mixed results, but the process is important. People seem to be breaking the rules today, and emotions tend to be on the fickle or uncertain side, which is not your usual cup of tea but can be stimulating in the end. Your best bet is to identify the areas of your life that have become too routine or predictable, and then consider making updates and adjustments that can genuinely benefit you.


The Moon spends much of the day in your work and health sector, dear Aquarius, and you’re inclined to want to keep a low profile so that you can get things done! As the day advances, however, a Venus-Uranus opposition comes into play, and its energies can keep you on edge. Those things in your life that have become too routine or lifeless may stand out for you now, and part of you itches for a change. Try to identify what’s making you feel restless and make a small difference or adjustment, as this can be empowering. If you’re craving new or different things or some extra personal space, it’s best to seek these things out with moderation and, if others are involved, with tact! Flexibility is important now. Instead, you may be craving some quiet time, and your personal life is keeping you on your toes, making it difficult to do so. Ideally, the energies of the day awaken you to a need for refreshment, and the feelings that emerge now can point you in the right direction.


There is an adventurous spirit to the day, dear Pisces, that sometimes borders on rebelliousness. A Venus-Uranus opposition now can pull up some unrest, and attention spans may be short as a result! Changes may bring in some fresh air and point you in the direction of new interests, even if at first they may seem abrupt or unwelcome, so don’t discount them too soon. There may be changes of mind or plans to deal with, and they can be irritating but can also set you along a new track that suits you just fine. Do your best not to invest too much into opinions or schedules today for best results. An old relationship issue that first emerged in early September may resurface for your attention now. If you’re dealing with clashes, keep in mind that even through these conflicts, we can learn a lot about ourselves, and today’s energies point to little life lessons through interactions with others.


Courtesy of Astrology Cafe

American Revolution: The Beginnings; part 1

The American Revolution came about, fundamentally, because by 1763 the English-speaking communities on the far side of the Atlantic had matured to an extent that their interests and goals were distinct from those of the ruling classes in the mother country. British statesmen failed to understand or adjust to the situation. Ironically enough, British victory in the Seven Years’ War set the stage for the revolt, for it freed the colonists from the need for British protection against a French threat on their frontiers and gave free play to the forces working for separation.

 In 1763 the British Government, reasonably from its point of view, moved to tighten the system of imperial control and to force the colonists to contribute to imperial defense, proposing to station 10,000 soldiers along the American frontiers and to have the Americans pay part of the bill. This imperial defense plan touched off the long controversy about Parliament’s right to tax that started with the Stamp and Sugar Acts and ended in December 1773, when a group of Bostonians unceremoniously dumped a cargo of British tea into the city harbor in protest against the latest reminder of the British effort to tax. In this 10-year controversy the several British ministries failed to act either firmly enough to enforce British regulations or wisely enough to develop a more viable form of imperial union, which the colonial leaders, at least until 1776, insisted that they sought. In response to the Boston Tea Party, the king and his ministers blindly pushed through Parliament a series of measures collectively known in America as the Intolerable Acts, closing the port of Boston, placing Massachusetts under the military rule of Maj. Gen. Sir Thomas Gage, and otherwise infringing on what the colonists deemed to be their rights and interests. 

Since 1763 the colonial leaders, in holding that only their own popular assemblies, not the British Parliament, had a right to levy taxes on Americans, had raised the specter of an arbitrary British Government collecting taxes in America to support red-coated Regulars who might be used not to protect the frontiers but to suppress American liberties. Placing Massachusetts under military rule gave that specter some substance and led directly to armed revolt.

The Outbreak of War

 The First Continental Congress meeting at Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, addressed respectful petitions to Parliament and king but also adopted non-importation and non-exportation agreements in an effort to coerce the British Government into repealing the offending measures. To enforce these agreements, committees were formed in almost every county, town, and city throughout the colonies, and in each colony these committees soon became the effective local authorities, the base of a pyramid of revolutionary organizations with revolutionary assemblies, congresses, or conventions, and committees of safety at the top. This loosely knit combination of de facto governments superseded the constituted authorities and established firm control over the whole country before the British were in any position to oppose them. The de facto governments took over control of the militia, and out of it began to shape forces that, if the necessity arose, might oppose the British in the field.

 In Massachusetts, the seat of the crisis, the Provincial Congress, eyeing Gage’s force in Boston, directed the officers in each town to enlist a third of their militia in minutemen organizations to be ready to act at a moment’s warning, and began to collect ammunition and other military stores. It established a major depot for these stores at Concord, about twenty miles northwest of Boston.

 General Gage learned of the collection of military stores at Concord and determined to send a force of Redcoats to destroy them. His preparations were made with the utmost secrecy. Yet so alert and ubiquitous were the patriot eyes in Boston that when the picked British force of 700 men set out on the night of April 18, 1775, two messengers, Paul Revere and William Dawes, preceded them to spread the alarm throughout the countryside. At dawn on the 18th of April when the British arrived at Lexington, the halfway point to Concord, they found a body of militia drawn up on the village green. Some nervous finger, whether of British Regular or American militiamen is unknown to this day, pressed a trigger. The impatient British Regulars, apparently without any clear orders from their commanding officer, fired a volley, then charged with the bayonet. The militiamen dispersed, leaving eight dead and ten wounded on the ground. The British column went on to Concord, destroyed such of the military stores as the Americans had been unable to remove, and set out on their return journey.

 By this time, the alarm had spread far and wide, and both ordinary militia and minutemen had assembled along the British route. From behind walls, rocks, and trees, and from houses they poured their fire into the columns of Redcoats, while the frustrated Regulars found few targets for their accustomed volleys or bayonet charges. Only the arrival of reinforcements sent by Gage enabled the British column to get back to the safety of Boston. At day’s end the British counted 273 casualties out of a total of 1,800 men engaged; American casualties numbered 95 men, including the toll at Lexington. What happened was hardly a tribute to the marksmanship of New England farmers, it has been estimated 75,000 shots poured from their muskets that day, but it did testify to a stern determination of the people of Massachusetts to resist any attempt by the British to impose their will by armed force.

 The spark lit in Massachusetts soon spread throughout the rest of the colonies. Whatever really may have happened in that misty dawn on Lexington Green, the news that speedy couriers, riding horses to exhaustion, carried through the colonies from New Hampshire to Georgia was of a savage, unprovoked British attack and of farmers rising in the night to protect their lives, their families, and their property. Lexington, like Fort Sumter and Pearl Harbor, furnished an emotional impulse that led all true patriots to gird themselves for battle. From the other New England colonies, militia poured in to join the Massachusetts men and together they soon formed a ring around Boston. Other militia forces under Ethan Allen of Vermont and Benedict Arnold of Connecticut seized the British forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, strategic positions on the route between New York and Canada. These posts yielded valuable artillery and other military stores. The Second Continental Congress, which assembled in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, found itself forced to turn from embargoes and petitions to the problems of organizing, directing, and supplying a military effort.

 Before Congress could assume control, the New England forces assembled near Boston fought another battle on their own, the bloodiest single engagement of the entire Revolution. After Lexington and Concord, at the suggestion of Massachusetts, the New England colonies moved to replace the militia gathered before Boston with volunteer forces, constituting what may be loosely called a New England army. Each state raised and administered its own force and appointed a commander for it. Discipline was lax and there was no single chain of command. Though Artemas Ward, the Massachusetts commander, exercised over-all control by informal agreement, it was only because the other commanders chose to co-operate with him, and decisions were made in council. While by mid-June most of the men gathered were volunteers, militia units continued to come and go. The volunteers in the Connecticut service were enlisted until December 10, 1775, those from the other New England states until the end of the year. The men were dressed for the most part in homespun clothes and armed with muskets of varied types; powder and ball were short and only the barest few had bayonets.

 Late in May Gage received limited reinforcements from England, bringing his total force to 6,500 rank and file. With the reinforcements came three major generals of reputation, Sir William Howe, Sir Henry Clinton, and Sir John Burgoyne, men destined to play major roles in England’s loss of its American colonies. The newcomers all considered that Gage needed more elbowroom and proposed to fortify Dorchester Heights, a dominant position south of Boston previously neglected by both sides. News of the intended move leaked to the Americans, who immediately countered by dispatching a force onto the Charlestown peninsula, where other heights, Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill, overlooked Boston from the north. The original intent was to fortify Bunker Hill, the eminence nearest the narrow neck of land connecting the peninsula with the mainland, but the working party sent out on the night of June 16, 1775, decided instead to move closer in and construct works on Breed’s Hill, a tactical blunder, for these exposed works could much more easily be cut ok by a British landing on the neck in their rear.

 The British scorned such a tactic, evidently in the mistaken assumption that the assembled “rabble in arms” would disintegrate in the face of an attack by disciplined British Regulars. On the afternoon of the 17th, Gage sent some 2,200 of his men under Sir William Howe directly against the American positions, by this time manned by perhaps an equal force. Twice the British advanced on the front and flanks of the redoubt on Breed’s Hill, and twice the Americans, holding their fire until the compact British lines were at close range, decimated the ranks of the advancing regiments and forced them to fall back and re-form. With reinforcements, Howe carried the hill on the third try but largely because the Americans had run short of ammunition and had no bayonets. The American retreat from Breed’s Hill was, for inexperienced volunteers and militia, an orderly one and Howe’s depleted regiments were unable to prevent the Americans’ escape. British casualties for the day totaled a staggering 1,054, or almost half the force engaged, as opposed to American losses of about 440.

 The Battle of Bunker Hill (for it was Bunker that gave its name to a battle actually fought on Breed’s Hill) has been aptly characterized as a “tale of great blunders heroically redeemed.” The American command structure violated the principle of unity of command from the start, and in moving onto Breed’s Hill the patriots exposed an important part of their force in an indefensible position, violating the principles of concentration of force, mass, and maneuver. Gage and Howe, for their parts, sacrificed all the advantages the American blunders gave them, violating the principles of maneuver and surprise by undertaking a suicidal attack on a fortified position. 

Bunker Hill was a Pyrrhic victory, its strategic effect practically nil since the two armies remained in virtually the same position they had held before. Its consequences, nevertheless, cannot be ignored. A force of farmers and townsmen, fresh from their fields and shops, with hardly a semblance of orthodox military organization, had met and fought on equal terms with a professional British Army. On the British this astonishing feat had a sobering effect, for it taught them that American resistance was not to be easily overcome; never again would British commanders lightly attempt such an assault on Americans in fortified positions. On the Americans, the effect was hardly sobering, and in the long run was perhaps not salutary. Bunker Hill, along with Lexington and Concord, went far to create the American tradition that the citizen soldier when aroused is more than a match for the trained professional, a tradition that was to be reflected in American military policy for generations afterward.

 Formation of the Continental Army

 The response of George III and his ministers to the events at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill was a determined effort to subdue the rebellious colonists by force. It took time to mount this effort, and after Bunker Hill the Americans enjoyed a respite lasting almost a year. During most of this period the Second Continental Congress, though forced by events in New England to take on itself the leadership of an armed revolt, proceeded hesitantly, still seeking a formula for reconciliation that would preserve American rights. Military preparations were designed for a short struggle, to endure no longer than the end of the year 1776. Nevertheless the Americans took advantage of the respite to create a national army, to consolidate their hold on the governmental machinery throughout the thirteen colonies, to invade Canada, and finally to force the British to evacuate Boston.

 The creation of a Continental Army was in the long run perhaps their most significant achievement. Sometime before Bunker Hill the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, aware of the necessity of enlisting the support of all the colonies in the struggle against the British, appealed to the Continental Congress to adopt the New England army. Although there is no formal record of the action, Congress evidently did vote to adopt it on June 14, 1775, the accepted birthday of the U.S. Army. On the same day it voted to raise ten companies of riflemen, the first soldiers to be enlisted directly in the Continental service, in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, to march north to join the army before Boston.

The next day, June 15, Congress chose George Washington, a Virginian, to be Commander in Chief. The choice was made for geographical and political as much as for military reasons. The New Englanders felt that in order to enlist the support of the southern colonies, a southerner should be chosen for the post of command. Washington’s military experience was perhaps greater than that of any other southerner, and he came from the largest and most important of the southern colonies. His impressive appearance, quiet and confident manner, and good work in the military committees of Congress had impressed all.

 The choice proved fortunate. Washington himself recognized, when he accepted the command, that he lacked the requisite experience and knowledge in handling large bodies of men. His whole military experience had been in frontier warfare during the French and Indian War. But experience as a political leader in his native Virginia and in directing the business affairs of his large plantation at Mount Vernon also stood him in good stead. He brought to the task traits of character and abilities as a leader that in the end more than compensated for his lack of professional military experience. Among these qualities were a determination and a steadfastness of purpose rooted in an unshakable conviction of the righteousness of the American cause, a scrupulous sense of honor and duty, and a dignity that inspired respect and confidence in those around him. Conscious of his own defects, he was always willing to profit by experience. From the trials and tribulations of eight years of war he was to learn the essentials of strategy, tactics, and military organization.

 Congress also appointed four major generals and eight brigadiers to serve under Washington, set up a series of staff offices closely resembling those in the British Army, prescribed a pay scale and standard ration, and adopted Articles of War to govern the military establishment. The same mixture of geographical, political, and military considerations governed the choice of Washington’s subordinates. Two-thirds of them came from New England, in recognition of the fact that the existing army was a New England army. Three others, Charles Lee, Horatio Gates, and Richard Montgomery; were chosen because of their experience in the British Army. Lee, in particular, who had come from England to the colonies in 1773, was in 1775 deemed the foremost military expert in America, and he was for a time to be Washington’s first assistant.

 The army of which Washington formally took command on July 3, 1775, he described as “a mixed multitude of people . . . under very little discipline, order or government.” Out of this “mixed multitude,” Washington set out to create an army shaped in large part in the British image. Basing his observations on his experience with British Regulars during the French and Indian War, he wrote: “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak and esteem to all.” Employing Gates, his experienced adjutant general, to prepare regulations and orders, the Commander in Chief set out to inculcate discipline. A strenuous effort was made to halt the random comings and goings of officers and men and to institute regular roll calls and strength returns. Suspicious of the “leveling” tendencies of the New Englanders, Washington made the distinction between officers and enlisted men more rigid. Various punishments were introduced, lash, pillory, wooden horse, and drumming out of camp, and courts-martial sat almost constantly. 

While establishing discipline in the existing army, Washington had at the same time to form a new one enlisted directly in the Continental service. Out of conferences with a Congressional committee that visited camp in September 1775 emerged a plan for such an army, composed of 26 regiments of infantry of 728 men each, plus one regiment of riflemen and one of artillery, 20,372 men in all, to be uniformly paid, supplied, and administered by the Continental Congress and enlisted to the end of the year 1776. Except for the short term of enlistment, it was an excellent plan on paper, but Washington soon found he could not carry it out. Both officers and men resisted a reorganization that cut across the lines of the locally organized units in which they were accustomed to serve. The men saw as their first obligation their families and farms at home, and they were reluctant to re-enlist for another year’s service. On December10, despite pressures and patriotic appeals, most of the Connecticut men went home and militia from New Hampshire and Massachusetts had to be brought in to fill their places in the line. Others, who had jeered and hooted when the Connecticut men left, also went home when their enlistment expired only three weeks later. On January 1, 1776, when the army became “Continental in every respect,” Washington found that he had only slightly more than 8,000 enlistments instead of the 20,000 planned. Returns in early March showed only a thousand or so more. “I have often thought how much happier I would have been,” wrote a sorely tried commander, “if, instead of accepting a command under such circumstances, I had taken up musket on my shoulder and entered the ranks, or, if I could have justified the measure to posterity and my own conscience, had retired to the back country and lived in a Wigwam.” 

With enlistments falling short, the only recourse was to continue to use short-term militia to fill the gaps in the lines. A Continental Army had been formed, but it fell far short of the goals Washington and Congress had set for it. This army was enlisted for but a year and the whole troublesome process would have to be repeated at the end of 1776. The short term of enlistment was, of course, a cardinal error, but in 1775 everyone, including Washington, anticipated only a short campaign.

 While organizing and disciplining his army, Washington had also to maintain the siege of Boston and overcome his deficiencies in supply. In these efforts he was more successful. Congress and the individual colonies sponsored voyages to the West Indies, where the French and Dutch had conveniently exported quantities of war materials. Washington put some of his troops on board ship and with an improvised navy succeeded in capturing numerous British supply ships. He sent Col. Henry Knox, later to be his Chief of Artillery, to Ticonderoga, and Knox in the winter of 1775-76 brought some fifty pieces of captured cannon to Cambridge over poor or nonexistent roads in icebound New York and New England. By March 1776, despite deficiencies in the number of Continentals, Washington was ready to close in on Boston.


SOURCE:American Military History; Army Historical Series; Office of The Chief Of Military History United States Army (United States Army Center of Military History)
CONTIBUTOR: Eddy Toorall