When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
August 21, 1777
General Howe enters Chesapeake and lands 16000 men
The largest armada ever assembled in America set sail off of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. It was carrying 17,000 British soldiers and sailors in over 260 ships. The armada was headed for an attack on the capital city of Philadelphia. They underwent a distressful 34-day sea-trek and eventually arrived at Head of Elk (Cecil County, Maryland). The voyage took its toll in lost time, seasick soldiers, and scores of dead horses.
Using flat-bottomed boats stored on the larger ships, the British began five disembarkations. Each wave of flatboats landed about 3,000 soldiers, in addition to ordnance and supplies. The process of debarking was slow – landing soldiers and equipment on unfamiliar terrain continued throughout the day. Soldiers spent the day constructing huts, foraging, and assisting in the unloading. Because Howe had lost so much time getting here, he was in a rush to complete the debarkation and begin his march on Philadelphia. The troops had been ordered not to unpack their “baggage or camp equipage.” Repacking would take too long, and Howe wanted to move out immediately toward Philadelphia.
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