Bees played a small role in the Revolutionary War on two notable occasions. The first is “The Battle of the Bees” that occurred Oct. 3, 1780 at McIntyre’s Farm, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Loyalists, led by Capt. John Doyle, were traveling down Beattie’s Ford Road with 60 wagons. Their mission: to plunder area farms to replenish their supplies. Their bounty included bags of corn and oats that they heaved onto their wagons. During the raid, they accidentally tipped over some of the bee hives—and bees do what bees do when they are threatened: they attacked. During the ensuing commotion and battle, the patriot militia managed to kill eight loyalists (including Capt. Doyle) and wounded 12. The militia suffered no fatalities.
Then there’s the story about a Philadelphia beekeeper named Charity Crabtree. A young Quaker girl named Charity Crabtree was alerted of the imminent attack by British Regulars. Asked by a wounded soldier to deliver the message to General George Washington, Charity jumped onto her horse and attempted to flee the Redcoats. Realizing she could not outrun them she turned over her bee skeps. The angry bees then turned on the soldiers, stinging them relentlessly. Later George Washington reportedly remarked to Beekeeper Crabtree: “Neither you nor your bees shall be forgotten when our country is at peace again. It was the cackling geese that saved Rome, but it was the bees that saved America.”
There is, of course another role bees played and that role is keeping the soldiers on both sides supplied with mead.
Battle of the Bees Mead
Batch Size (G): 5.0
Total Honey (lb): 15.000
Original Gravity (OG): 1.108 (°P)
Final Gravity (FG): 0.998 (°P)
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 14.4 %
15.000 lb Clover Honey (100%)
1.00 oz Cinnamon Bark @ 0 Days (Secondary)
1.00 oz Allspice Powder @ 0 Days (Secondary)
Fermented at 68°F with American Lager Yeast