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USS Caldwell (DD-69) in British Waters in 1918

USS Caldwell (DD-69) in British Waters in 1918



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U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann .The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.


USS Caldwell (DD-69) in British Waters in 1918 - History

Town-Class Destroyers, Part I
By Kristin Ann High
February 2021

The famous Destroyers for Bases deal remains one of the controversial events of the Second World War. The controversy primarily centers on the American destroyers: on both sides, British and American, some remain committed to proving the &ldquoother side&rdquo got the better deal.

In recent years, the revisionist idea that the American destroyers were of little military value to the Royal Navy has gained a wide hearing. Even PBS&rsquo Mystery! featured them in an episode of Foyle&rsquos War &mdash the murderous American patent-thief was permitted to return to the U.S. from Great Britain because he was essential to Lend-Lease, and had been instrumental in pushing through the deal. The American ships were said to be &ldquoof little military value,&rdquo but their exchange was symbolic of the ties between America and Great Britain, and thus an &ldquoimportant first step toward winning the war.&rdquo

In some ways this reaction was inevitable. The American destroyers were hailed at the time in prose worthy of a modern-day political campaign. They were &ldquoFifty Ships That Saved the World,&rdquo or given such astounding credit as &ldquofifty destroyers saved five-hundred ships.&rdquo The deal was a &ldquobonanza&rdquo for America, and so on.

None of these lofty claims can be substantiated even in the context of the time. Because the European understanding of the Second World War &mdash the European view of history, if you will &mdash is so very different from the American understanding, it can be difficult to clear away both wartime propaganda and modern-day revisionism to take a more rational view of the consequences of the the Destroyers for Bases deal.

The United States Navy&rsquos flush-deck family of destroyers comprised 273 ships in three major classes: six ships of the Caldwell class (DD-69 through DD-74), 111 ships of the Wickes class (DD-75 through DD-185) and 156 ships of the Clemson class (DD-186 through DD-347 ships DD-200 through DD-205 were not built). They were called &ldquoflush-deck&rdquo because, in contrast to the all of the preceding classes of American destroyers with a raised foredeck foreward of the bridge, their weather decks were all on the same level, flush with one another.

Together the flush-deckers represent the culmination of U.S.N. destroyer design, from the inception of the torpedo boat destroyer at the turn of the 20th century to the end of the Great War. Fast and well armed, displacing between 1,100 and 1,300 tons, the flush-deckers epitomize the changing role of the destroyer, from screening, defensive operations at the outset of the 20th century to the workhorses of modern war at the turn of the 21st.

By the end of the Great War, when the flush-deckers had been transformed from the Caldwell class (often erroneously called &ldquoprototypes&rdquo) to the mass-produced ships of the Wickes and Clemson classes, there was a definite change in the place held by the destroyer, signaled by a new designation for the largest of these ubiquitous craft, the fleet destroyer.

The fleet destroyer was responsible for scouting and screening the battleline, protecting it from torpedo attacks by enemy destroyers and small craft &mdash like their old nemesis, the torpedo boat &mdash and, perhaps most importantly, fighting submarines and aircraft. Fleet destroyers mounted both ASDIC and depth charges as well as the beginnings of anti-air (A/A) armament, the former two copied from the British, the latter an integral part of the American design from the beginning.

Like all United States ships built between 1890 and 1925, the flush-deck family of destroyers were progressive designs, in that each successive class drew on the experiences gained in preceding classes, as well as the gaining from the processes and technologies perfected during their building.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of the flush-deckers was that, by the end of the building program in the early 1920s, there were nearly 300 of them in commission (though not for very long 1922 saw large numbers laid up in reserve).


DD-134: Wickes-class USS Crowninshield, later the Town-class HMS Chelsea, later loaned to the R.C.N., still later the Russian destroyer Derskyi.

The Town-class destroyers exchanged for leases were 50 flush-deckers, comprising three Caldwell-class destroyers, 27 Wickes-class destroyers, and 20 Clemson-class destroyers. Of these, the British Admiralty allotted 44 ships to the Royal Navy and six to the Royal Canadian Navy. The Royal Navy received three Caldwell-class destroyers, 23 Wickes-class destroyers, and 18 Clemson-class destroyers, turned over in six groups. The Royal Canadian Navy received four Wickes-class destroyers and two Clemson-class destroyers, turned over in a single group.

The Royal Navy destroyers were given the names of towns common to both Great Britain and the United States, and were thus called the &ldquoTown&rdquo class. The Royal Canadian Navy destroyers were given the names of rivers running between Canada and the U.S., being thus the &ldquoRiver&rdquo class generally, though, the R.C.N. ships were referred to as Town-class destroyers by the Admiralty, to avoid confusion (!) with the later British River-class frigates.

Condition of the 'Town' and 'River'-Class Ships

To characterize the flush-deckers that were exchanged for basing rights as &ldquoold&rdquo is both accurate and misleading. The flush-deckers that became the British Town class and their Canadian stablemates were not uniformly drawn from the very best, nor from the very worst, of the U.S.N.&rsquos remaining flush-deckers, but were an admixture of those ships. Some were ready for sea as soon as their British and Canadian crews could handle them, some needed the usual minor refits, and some were in poor condition, reflecting their age, previous service, and the effects of having been laid-up in reserve for 10 to 20 years.


DD-70: Caldwell-class USS Craven, recommissioned Conway in 1939 and HMS Lewes in 1940. On the way to England she joined the hunt for Admiral Scheer.

Just considering the fact that the Royal Navy had been pressed into employing auxiliary cruisers as convoy escorts &mdash merchant ships with between four and six 6"/45-calibre BL Mk.XII rifles, woefully inadequate for dealing with anything other than an armed merchant raider, and utterly incapable of dealing with U-boats &mdash it is taking too broad a view to discount the flush-deckers in such an out-of-hand fashion.

The Town-class destroyers&rsquo greatest contribution to the British war effort may well have been freeing up the British V/W-class destroyers for reconstruction as long-range escorts, and to be fitted out with the most up-to-date weapons and sensors for the short-range escort role.

Unlike the American flush-deckers, the British V/W-class ships were superb sea boats, with a good hull-form compromise between speed, stability and man&oeliguverability. More importantly, they had counter-rotating propellers, where the flush-deckers did not. This meant that the British ships&rsquo man&oeliguverability was markedly superior to the American ships &mdash indeed, the flush-deckers had a &ldquotactical radius&rdquo only slightly smaller than that of a British battleship, certainly not an advantage when dealing with submarines.

The British ships also had superior electronics &mdash ASDIC and early meter-wavelength RDF on several ships &mdash and several ships had already been refitted with wide pattern-throwing depth-charge mounts employing improved depth charges. They also had a heavier anti-air fit &mdash one 12-pdr (3&rdquo/50-calibre QF HA Mk.I) and two to four 2-pdr &ldquoPom-Poms&rdquo (40mm/39-calibre QF HA Mk.II), and on some of the ships, two quadruple-mount Vickers HMGs. The American ships still mounted only two 3&rdquo/23-calibre HA Mk.4 A/A weapons, plus some Browning HMGs (both the British and the Americans soon abandoned the HMG A/A weapons as being too light and too short-ranged).

The one area in which the American ships surpassed the V/W-class ships was endurance &mdash the range, in nautical miles, to which a ship may safely operate. The British destroyers of the Great War era had been built to screen and scout for the Grand Fleet in the waters of the North Sea. They were intended to operate near home waters, with friendly ports or anchorages near to hand, and a premium was placed on speed, torpedo armament, and main battery. As a consequence, they had a rather limited endurance and thus were poor convoy escorts.

While it is certainly true that most of the Town class served only about three years of active service with the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, it is not true that they made no militarily important contribution, either in terms of what their presence in the North Atlantic made possible, or in the direct effect of their escort duties on the merchant convoys plying those waters.

There is much more detail to be had on the Town class and their service in the war, so tune in next time for a full listing of the names of all Town-class ships, their dates of service and notable actions fought, and SWWAS counters and ship data sheets.


In 1940, Little was converted to a high-speed transport, APD 4. After recommissioning in November, she spent more than a year in amphibious exercises in the Caribbean, off the California coast and along the eastern seaboard. In early 1942, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and went to the south Pacific in July.

On 7&ndash9 August 1942, Little took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the British Solomon Islands. During the following month, she remained in the area, providing valuable transport services to the Marines fighting on Guadalcanal.

On the night of 4&ndash5 September 1942, she was patrolling off Guadalcanal's Lunga Point with Gregory (APD 3) when the two old ships were surpised and overwhelmed by three modern Japanese destroyers, Yudachi, Hatsuyuki and Murakumo. Both were quickly put out of action and sank soon afterwards. Both commanding officers were among those killed.


USS Caldwell (DD-69) in British Waters in 1918 - History

The United States destroyer, USS Manley arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland in December, 1917. Queenstown was the centre for anti- submarine forces, on the Western Approaches, under the command of Admiral Lewis Bayley, Commander in Chief , Coast of Ireland. The Manley soon commenced operations

Initially there was uncertainty as to the most effective use of destroyers. At first they were given patrol areas which they would scout, singly or in pairs. Any stray incoming merchantmen seen, were to be escorted to near their destinations. This was a most ineffective use of the force, as the chances of coming across, and destroying a lone submarine in the vastness of the Western Approaches was virtually nil.

By Summer 1917, under the urging of commanders such as Admiral Sims, Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe, the convoy system was initiated. Groups of merchantmen were escorted through the war zone by flanking destroyer screens. This had the dual effect of reducing the amount of targets for German u- boats, and allowing destroyers and sloops to attack the harassing submarines. The priorities of the destroyers were to:

Protect and escort Merchantmen.

Save the crews and passengers of torpedoed ships.

Anti- submarine patrols did continue also for the duration of the war, especially in the Irish Sea and close to the coast of France, where u- boats would try to sink merchantmen as the convoys dispersed. In 1918, any destroyer in the Irish Sea, which was not actively convoying, came under the orders of The Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla, under the command of Captain Gordon Campbell VC based in Holyhead, Wales. US destroyers were also used to patrol the west coast of Ireland to hunt suspected gun- running ships, for Irish Republicans.

The destroyers , initially, were ill- equipped to fight submerged submarines. When they arrived in Europe they were armed with guns and torpedoes. The only undersea weapons supplied were single hand- launched 50lb depth charges which were particularly ineffective. It was the later fitting of dual depth charge racks on the sterns of the ships, Thornycroft depth charge throwers, and Y shaped charge throwers that turned them into a dangerous force. These were capable of dropping and firing a continuous patterned barrage of 200lb, charges around a submarine's suspected position. Most of the retro- fitting of these armaments was done at Cammel Laird in Birkenhead, England.

On March 4th, 1918, Convoy HD 26, sailed from Dakar, West Africa, for the British Isles. The convoy consisted of 16 merchant ships, escorted by HMS Motagua (Captain L.L.Dundas RN), an Armed Merchant Cruiser. By the time the coast of England was near, the convoy had reduced to 10 ships plus the Motagua.

On the morning of the 19th of March, a mixed convoy escort of United States destroyers and British sloops approached the convoy. This escort consisted of USS Beale, USS Patterson,USS Terry, USS Manley, HMS Tamarisk, and HMS Bluebell.

The order was given to change course towards the Scillies, but before this could be complied with, the Manley (Commander Robert L.Berry USN) approached the Motagua.

She approached this vessel on the starboard side with the intention of throwing a heaving line to pass despatches. The Captain of the Motagua felt that the Manley was too close and signalled the Manley to gain distance. The Manley turned to starboard, but her stern connected with the stern of the Motagua.

One of the depth charges, held in a Thornycroft thrower on Manley was dislodged and exploded. This caused devastating damage to both ships, with the addition of a petrol fire on the Manley, caused by the piercing of gasoline drums on board. Further depth charges also exploded on the Manley, causing the after end of the ship to be totally destroyed.

The ships stopped and the convoy passed them. The aft guns on both ships were blown overboard. The Manley was completely unmanageable, but the Motagua was able to make way with difficulty, having lost her steering gear.

The sloop HMS Tamarisk made repeated efforts to tow Manley, but it was the tugs Cartmel and Blazer, that borught her to Queenstown on the 20th. The Motagua, flanked by HMS Bluebell. HMS Polyanthus joined escort until relieved by HMS Oriole. HMS Bluebell proceeded to Plymouth with wounded of USS Manley. Motagua made Plymouth the same day.

As was the custom, separate courts of enquiry were held , a Royal Navy one at Devonport and a US Navy one in Queenstown. In both the blame was laid at the Commander of USS Manley.

On the 18th of April 1918, a Court Martial was held on board USS Melville, in Queenstown. The finding of the court was that Commander Berry was found guilty of ‘Culpable Inefficiency in the Performance of Duty’.

Five members of the court, however recommended clemency on the grounds that small collisions of the nature of the one between the Motagua and Manley, were commonplace at this time. It was the cataclysm of the exploding depth charges, that turned an incident into a tragedy.

The court concurred, and Commander Berry was released from arrest and restored to duty.


HMS Charlestown (I 21)

After completion USS Abbot cruised along the Atlantic coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in Cuban waters until going out of commission 5 July 1922 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Recommissioned 17 June 1940, USS Abbot patrolled along the east coast for a brief time. She was decommissioned at Hailifax, Nova Scotia, 23 September 1940, and was transferred in the destroyer-land bases exchange to the British who renamed her HMS Charlestown.

HMS Charlestown. joined the 17th Destroyer Division and took part in minelaying operations from the west coast of, Scotland. Between assignments of' minelaying duty she assisted in the escort of convoys. Damaged in collision with the steamer Florizell off Harwich, England, during December 1944, she was reduced to reserve at Grangemouth, Scotland, and paid off from 15 January 1945. She was finally sold for scrap on 4 March 1947 at Sunderland.

HMS Charlestown is not listed as active unit in the April 1945 Navy List

Commands listed for HMS Charlestown (I 21)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Thomas Johnston, RN23 Sep 19403 Mar 1942
2Lt.Cdr. Norman Robins Murch, RN3 Mar 194230 Jan 1943
3Cdr. (retired) Charles William Vane Tempest Stewart Lepper, RN30 Jan 19431 Feb 1943
4Lt. William Frank Broughton Webb, DSC, RN1 Feb 194323 Sep 1943
5Lt.Cdr. Alfred Francis Colenso Gray, RD, RNR23 Sep 1943early 1945

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
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Notable events involving Charlestown include:

17 Jun 1941
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. G. Quint, RNN(R)) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) and HNoMS Bath (Lt.Cdr. C.F.T. Melsom). ( 1 )

25 Jul 1941
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. G. Quint, RNN(R)) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, RN). ( 1 )

30 Jul 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, RN) conducted exercises to the west of Scapa Flow. During these exercises she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) and HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN). ( 2 )

30 Jul 1941
The battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. C. Coppinger, DSC, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Esperance Bay (Capt.(Retd.) G.S. Holden, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Castleton (Cdr.(Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, RN).

31 Jul 1941
HMS Malaya (Capt. C. Coppinger, DSC, RN), HMS Esperance Bay (Capt.(Retd.) G.S. Holden, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr.(Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, RN) arrived at Rosyth.

2 Aug 1941
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. G. Quint, RNN(R)) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN) and HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN). ( 1 )

13 Apr 1942
HMS P 511 (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN) and HMS Drangey (Skr. W.J. Jones, RNR). ( 3 )

14 Apr 1942
HMS P 511 (Lt. D.E.O. Watson, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Charlestown (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN) and HMS Stroma (Skr. J.S. Harper, RNR). ( 3 )

25 Feb 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Itchen (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E. Bridgman, DSO, RNR) and HMS Charlestown (Lt. W.F.B. Webb, DSC, RN). ( 4 )

26 Feb 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Itchen (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E. Bridgman, DSO, RNR) and HMS Charlestown (Lt. W.F.B. Webb, DSC, RN). ( 4 )

12 May 1943
HMS Ultimatum (Lt. W.H. Kett, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), ORP Slazak (Lt.Cdr. R. Nalecz-Tyminski, ORP), HMS Charlestown (Lt. W.F.B. Webb, DSC, RN) and HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. T.M. Dorrien-Smith, RN). ( 5 )

Media links

  1. File 2.12.03.6387 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 53/114890
  3. ADM 173/17493
  4. File 2.12.03.6381 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 173/18316

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


4"/50 (10.2 cm) Marks 7, 8, 9 and 10

These guns were first used as secondary guns on the Arkansas class monitors and then on nearly all of the "Flush-Deck" destroyers as well as on many submarines. Well-liked on the latter ships, as its light weight made it easy to handle, an important factor on a small ship.

Many individual Mark 9 guns were supplied to the British during World War II as part of Lend-Lease. In addition, these guns armed numerous ex-USN warships transferred to Britain, including destroyers, submarines, escort carriers and DEMS. In total 424 guns were transferred to the UK, mainly Mark 9. The USN also sent 60 guns for Dutch DEMS and 21 guns for Norwegian vessels. By the end of the war, most Lend-Lease destroyers were reduced to only one 4"/50 (10.2 cm) gun and four escort carriers were rearmed with British 4"/45 (10.2 cm) Mark V guns. In British service these USN guns had a poor reputation as they were prone to coppering and steel choke problems. Vickers was asked to provide special liners designed to work with USN ammunition for these guns and for the Mark XVI*, but it was found that this raised the barrel pressure of the latter gun to unacceptable levels.

Mark 7 was constructed of A tube, jacket, hoop locking ring and liner with a screw breech. Mark 8 was a simplified design consisting of a gun tube and jacket. Mark 9 was a light weight design for destroyers and submarines and was originally built with A tube and full length jacket with a muzzle swell and used a Smith-Asbury type side swing breech mechanism with a Welin block. Later mods were of monobloc construction and used chromium plating to increase life. Mark 10 had a vertically sliding breech block and was intended for anti-aircraft use, but this Mark does not appear to have been put into service.

The data that follows is specifically for the Mark 9 except where otherwise noted.


Depth Charge Projectors

Mark I and Mark II Thornycroft

Development of this thrower started in 1916 and saw general service issue by August of 1917. Nominal range of 40 yards (27 m) when using the Type D depth charge. Sometimes listed as ML 9.5 in (24.1 cm) DCLT IV.

The British experienced production difficulties with this weapon and turned to the USA for help. When examined by the USN in 1917, the conclusion was that it was over-engineered and the USN instead designed their own DCT, the famous "Y" gun.

Thornycroft DCT. Exposition of Navy Museum, Gdynia. Photograph copyrighted by Michal Kopacz. Thornycroft thrower on HMCS Sauenay on 30 October 1941. Library and Archives Canada Photograph MIKAN no. 3576681. Testing Thornycroft DCT built in New South Wales, Australia ca. 1941. Note that these are dummy DC as evidenced by the missing hydrostatic trigger mechanisms. Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria Image H98.105/3034.

Mark III

USA's "Y" gun used on various Lend-Lease and USA-refitted ships.

Mark IV

Piston-type with non-expendable arbor. Nominal Range of 67 yards (61 m) for the Mark VII DC and 51 yards (47 m) for the Mark VII Heavy. In service 1941. Like the Mark II, this is sometimes listed as ML 9.5 in (24.1 cm) DCLT IV. See photograph of HMS Dianthus.

Mark V

Replacement for the Mark IV. Piston-type with non-expendable arbor. Nominal Range of 78 yards (71 m) for the Mark VII DC and 62 yards (57 m) for the Mark VII Heavy. In service 1944. Sometimes listed as ML 6 in (15.2 cm) DCT Mark V.

USA Mark 6

The famous USA "K" gun. Used on Lend-Lease ships. Modified to handle British DCs. Fired a single Mark VII or Mark VII Heavy to ranges of 68 yards (62 m) and 55 yards (50 m) respectively.

Mark 6 K-gun Projector. Small handwheel opens breech for insertion of firing charge. The small tube on the right-hand side of the handwheel holds the percussion igniter. The chain around the depth charge holds it to the arbor. The depth charges are probably USA Mark 6. USN Photograph.

Boston History Timeline

Boston is famous for its history. The city’s geological features were carved by glaciers over 20,000 years ago and it has been occupied by humans for more than 12,000 years.

The area was once home to the Massachuset tribe before being settled by colonists in the 17 th century and becoming the birthplace of the American Revolution in the 18 th century.

Since then, Boston has grown and transformed over the centuries into the modern, yet still historic, city it is today.

The following is a timeline of the history of Boston:

  • The Laurentide Ice Sheet, which formed in Canada around 75,000 years ago, reaches New England and creates many geological features in Boston, such as Boston Harbor, known as the Boston basin, and the Boston Harbor islands, as well as numerous glacial drumlins such as Camp Hill, Parker Hill, Meeting House Hill, Monterey Hills, Beacon Hill, Mt. Vernon, Fort Hill, Pemberton Hill, Copp’s Hill, Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights
  • The climate warms and the ice sheet retreats, dropping the rock dust and clay it is carrying which is carried into the ocean by melting water and settles in Boston harbor, forming a thick layer of Boston blue clay

Between 12,200 and 11,600 years ago:

  • The ice sheet makes a short readvance and pushes some of the Boston blue clay at the bottom of Boston harbor into a low ridge, forming Boston neck, a small land bridge that once connected Boston to the mainland, creating the Shawmut peninsula. The glacier then fully retreats, leaving Boston ice free and open to nomadic paleoindians who begin to frequent the Boston basin
  • Around 29 sites are established by Archaic peoples in the Greater Boston area, including on the Boston Harbor islands
  • The number of sites established by Woodland peoples in the Greater Boston area decreases as these indigenous people begin to move to Cape Cod and other low-lying coastal areas
  • The Woodland peoples who remain in the greater Boston area eventually form the Massachuset tribe who name their village Shawmut
  • An epidemic breaks out in the Native-American villages in coastal New England. Shawmut village is hit hard by the epidemic and its population is greatly reduced
  • After the Gorges colony fails in Weymouth, colonist Reverend William Blackstone moves to Boston and settles on what is now modern-day Boston Common
  • In April, members of the Massachusetts Bay Company, led by John Winthrop, leave their homes in Boston, England and sail from Southampton towards the New World
  • On June 12, the Winthrop fleet lands in Salem, Mass but the existing colony there doesn’t have enough space for the new colonists so they continue on to Charlestown
  • Blackstone invites Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Colony to live on Shawmut peninsula, which is modern-day Boston

Trimount, or Boston as it was, illustration published in Gleason’s Pictorial, circa 1850
  • On September 7, the Massachusetts Bay colonists officially name their new settlement Boston
  • A Puritan burying ground is established on Tremont Street, now known as the King’s Chapel Burying Ground
  • On September 18, Anne Hutchinson arrives in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and settles in Boston where she and her husband build a house on the corner what is now modern-day Washington Street and State Street
  • The Massachusetts Bay Colony purchases Boston Common from William Blackstone for use as common land
  • On February 26, the first slaves imported directly from Africa to Massachusetts arrive in Boston
  • On May 10, Salem Witch Trials victim Samuel Wardwell is born in Boston
  • On June 1, Mary Dyer is hanged on Boston Common for defying a law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • The Granary Burying Ground is established on Tremont Street
  • On December 20, Sir Edmund Andros arrives in Boston and takes control of the Dominion of New England
  • A small wooden Anglican church, King’s Chapel, is built in a corner of an old Puritan burying ground on Tremont Street
  • On April 18, news of the Glorious Revolution in England sparks the Boston Revolt during which the Dominion of New England is overthrown
  • On September 25, the first newspaper in the colonies, Publick Occurrences, is published in Boston
  • The small wooden King’s Chapel on Tremont Street is replaced with the granite building that still stands there today
  • The city builds a long wharf and a dam across the North Cove, creating a pond the colonists called Mill Pond
  • On February 22, an 11-year-old boy named Christopher Seider is shot and killed by Ebenezer Richardson, a British customs official, during a protest
  • On March 5, the Boston Massacre takes place on King Street
  • On March 8, a funeral procession is held for four of the Boston Massacre victims, Crispus Attucks, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell and Samuel Gray, and they are laid to rest in Granary Burying Ground
  • On March 14, Patrick Carr, dies of his wounds sustained during the Boston Massacre
  • On March 17, Patrick Carr is laid to rest in Granary Burying Ground with the other Boston Massacre victims
  • In October and November, the trials of the soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre are held at the Queen Street Courthouse. The majority of the soldiers are acquitted but two are convicted of manslaughter

Boston and vicinity, map published in A Pictorial School History of the United States, circa 1877
  • On December 14, the two British soldiers convicted in the Boston Massacre trial are branded on the thumb with the letter M for manslaughter
  • Paul Revere purchases a house in the North End of Boston, now known as the Paul Revere House
  • On March 25, Parliament passes the Boston Port Act which orders Boston Harbor to close, effective June 1, until the colonists pay for the tea they destroyed during the Boston Tea Party
  • On April 19, the Siege of Boston begins after the battles of Lexington and Concord take place
  • On April 22, British General Thomas Gage meets with town officials to work out a deal that would allow civilians to leave or enter Boston during the siege
  • On May 21, the Battle of Grape Island takes place during the Siege of Boston
  • On June 17, the Battle of Bunker Hill takes place in Charlestown
  • On July 8, a skirmish occurs at Boston Neck
  • On July 21, the Battle of Brewster Island takes place during the Siege of Boston
  • In August, British troops cut down the Liberty Tree
  • On March 17, the Siege of Boston comes to an end
  • On August 14, a Liberty Pole is erected near the stump of the Liberty Tree to commemorate that Stamp Act Riot of 1765
  • The Massachusetts Historical Society is founded
  • On April 27, Samuel Morse is born in Boston
  • On July 4, the Masonic cornerstone ceremony takes place, with Paul Revere presiding, as construction begins on the Massachusetts State House
  • The population of Boston is 25,000
  • In the early 1800s, Mount Vernon is cut down and the soil is used to create the land where Charles street is located along the river
  • Construction workers begin cutting down Beacon Hill and Copp’s Hill and use the soil to fill in Mill Pond in what is now the modern-day Bullfinch triangle neighborhood
  • On August 18, writer Charles Francis Adams Sr is born in Boston
  • On May 10, Paul Revere dies of natural causes and is buried in Granary Burying Ground in Boston
  • St. Paul’s Church is built on Tremont Street
  • Construction begins on the Leverett Street Jail on Leverett Street
  • The Leverett Street Jail opens on Leverett Street
  • On March 19, Boston is incorporated as a city
  • The Massachusetts General Hospital opens at the Bullfinch Building on Fruit Street
  • On September 16, historian Francis Parkman is born in Boston
  • On August 21 – 24, French commander and Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette visits Boston during his tour of the United States
  • On August 26, Quincy Market opens on Market Street
  • The Union Oyster House opens under its original name Atwood’s Oyster House on Union Street
  • Removal of Copp’s Hill and Beacon Hill is completed and Mill Pond is filled in. Only Copp’s Hill Burying ground remains
  • The city begins cutting down Fort Hill to fill in the wharves on the South Cove, including Griffin’s wharf where the Boston Tea Party took place, in order to build railroads tracks there
  • Boston & Lowell Railroad company cuts down Pemberton Hill and fills in tidal flats near Causeway Street to build railroad tracks
  • On June 11, Spanish pirate Don Pedro Gibert, and four of his crew members, are executed in Boston. Pedro becomes the last pirate executed in Boston
  • Old West Church is built on Cambridge Street
  • On October 10, Robert Gould Shaw is born in Boston
  • The project to cut down Fort Hill and fill in the wharves is completed and adds 300 more acres and 60 percent more land to Boston
  • On April 16, nurse Mary Eliza Mahoney is born in Boston
  • On October 16, a Boston dentist demonstrates ether for the first time at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • On February 18, 1847, Bostonians hold a meeting at Faneuil Hall in response to the news of the Irish famine
  • Construction of the Charles Street Jail begins on Charles Street
  • The Boston Public Library is founded
  • On August 30, 1850, John Webster is publicly hanged at the Leverett Street Jail for the murder of Dr. George Parkman
  • On March 20, the Boston Public Library opens in a former school house on Mason Street
  • On March 31, serial killer Jane Toppan is born in Boston
  • On May 24, fugitive slave Anthony Burns is captured in Boston
  • The city begins filling in the Back Bay by bringing 3,500 railroad cars of gravel from Needham and other areas each day for nearly 50 years
  • On March 23, culinary expert Fannie Farmer is born in Boston
  • On April 9, John Wilkes Booth purchases property on Commonwealth Ave in Boston
  • On July 14, the Boston Draft Riots occur on Prince Street in the North End during the Civil War
  • On July 26, John Wilkes Booth meets with his fellow conspirators at the Parker House Hotel to hatch a plan to kidnap Abraham Lincoln
  • On February 2, Governor Andrew orders a 100 gun salute on Boston Common in celebration of the newly passed 13 th amendment
  • On April 5, John Wilkes Booth arrives in Boston for a short trip during which he is seen at a local firing range practicing his pistol shooting just 10 days before assassinating President Lincoln
  • On April 17, after being detained in Boston by federal marshals following Lincoln’s assassination, Edwin Booth, brother to John Wilkes Booth, is released and allowed to return to New York City
  • The West Cove is filled in, adding 203 new acres and 40 percent more land to Boston
  • On November 19, Charles Dickens arrives in Boston during a two-year reading tour of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and other stories
  • On March 4, the Boston Globe publishes its first edition
  • On November 9, the Great Boston Fire begins in a warehouse basement on Sumner Street
  • Trinity Church is rebuilt on Clarendon Street after it was destroyed during the Great Boston Fire of 1872

City of Boston, chromolithography published by Currier & Ives, circa 1873
  • On February 27, journalist Angelina Weld Grimke is born in Boston
  • On April 22, the City of Boston grants the Boston Public Library a plot of land at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Streets
  • The project to fill in the Back Bay is completed after nearly 50 years of construction. The project almost doubles the size of Boston
  • A marker is placed on the corner of State and Exchange Street to mark the exact spot where Cripus Attucks fell during the Boston Massacre
  • On April 18, workers building the Boston subway discover human remains under Boylston street
  • The Boston Public Library relocates to its new home on the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Streets
  • On March 4, a gas explosion on Tremont street kills 10 people and causes extensive damage to nearby buildings
  • On May 31, the Shaw Memorial is unveiled on Boston Common
  • On September 1, the Boston Subway opens
  • The Buckminster Hotel is built on Beacon Street
  • In March, the newly constructed Massachusetts Historical Society building opens on Boylston Street
  • Symphony Hall is built on Massachusetts Avenue
  • The Lenox Hotel is built on Boylston Street
  • On April 20, Fenway Park opens to the public and hosts its first official game
  • On December 24, one of the first public Christmas trees in America is lit on Boston Common
  • The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel is built on James Avenue on the original site of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
  • On January 15, the Great Molasses Flood takes place in Boston
  • The Black Sox Scandal takes place at the Buckminster Hotel

Downtown Boston in 1930

The War of 1812 and the burning of the White House

Almost forgotten in Britain today, the War of 1812 is perhaps one of the most important North American events of the 19th century. It marked a permanent shift in British-American relations, forged a sense of national unity in Canada, changed US politics and ended British support for native American tribes in the Mid-West. Perhaps best known for the burning of Washington DC and the White House in 1814, the war also saw the birth of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ national anthem.

So why did the War of 1812 come about in the first place?

The start of the 1800s saw the British deeply entrenched in the Napoleonic Wars. As part of the overall war strategy, the British attempted to cut off supplies to France by issuing a set of decrees stating that all neutral countries trading with France had to first go through England, thus paying British taxes and making trade with France less commercially viable. With the US being the largest neutral power of the time, these decrees hit the Americans the hardest.

The Royal Navy was also massively stretched during this time, and lacked the manpower to both fight Napoleon as well as keeping order in the colonies. As such, it was decided that anyone who previously deserted the Royal Navy and emigrated abroad were to be recaptured and brought back into active service this strategy was called ‘impressement’. With years of mass immigration to the US, it was unfortunately the Americans that were hardest hit again!

The most famous example of impressment was in 1807, when the HMS Leopard intercepted and engaged the USS Chesapeake, capturing four British Navy deserters in the process. The captain of the Chesapeake, James Barron, only managed to fire off a single shot before being overwhelmed and on his return home was publicly humiliated with a court-martial. This incident, along with many like it, was seen by the American public as an act of wanton aggression and subsequently strained Anglo-US relations even further.

The final catalyst to war came with the continued British support for the Native American tribes in the Mid-West. Ever since the end of the War of Independence in 1783, the US had been expanding westwards. The British, concerned with the effect this growing power would have over British Canada, introduced a doctrine which advocated the supply of Native American tribes with arms and supplies. This put the Native Americans in a much stronger position, and created a buffer for further US expansion in the west.

By 1812 the Americans were at the end of their tether, and on June 5th 1812 Congress voted in favour of war. This was the first time that the US had declared war on another sovereign state.

The next two years saw regular US incursions into British Canada, some successful but most short lived. Because of the war efforts in Europe, the British could not afford to send any additional troops to North America and therefore a defensive strategy was taken. To help the British it was decided that Canadian militia were to be drafted in, as well as local Native American forces.

At sea, the British had complete supremacy (with a few notable exceptions) and quickly set up blockades of American ports. In New England these blockades were much less strict, allowing trade through in return for the regions’ more favourable attitude towards the British. In fact, it was in the New England states where the Federalist party was in control, a party which favoured closer ties to Britain and were generally against the war.

By 1814 the war in Europe was over, and the British were able to send in reinforcements. The first point of call for these reinforcements would be Washington DC, an area on the eastern seaboard which was seen as relatively undefended. A total of 17 ships were dispatched from Bermuda and arrived in Maryland on August 19th. Once on the mainland the British quickly overwhelmed the local militia and continued into Washington. Once the army had reached the city, a flag of truce was sent, but this was ignored and the British were instead attacked by local American forces.

The British quickly defeated the insurgency and as punishment, set fire to both the White House and the Capitol. A Union Flag was subsequently raised over Washington. Although other government buildings were destroyed in the process (including the US Treasury and the headquarters of a newspaper seen as inciting anti-British propaganda), the British decided to leave the residential areas of the city intact.

The next morning a large thunderstorm hit Washington DC, bringing with it a tornado that tore up local buildings and killed many British and Americans alike. As a result of this storm, the British decided to retreat back to their ships only 26 hours after Washington DC had been taken.

Both sides were tiring of the war that was effectively becoming a stalemate, and as such peace talks began in the summer of 1814 to try and find a resolution. Meeting in Ghent, Belgium, it was soon discovered that many of the reasons for the war were now null and void due to the ending of the Napoleonic Wars. For example, the British were no longer engaged in impressment or carrying out trade blockades on France.

In addition, war weariness had started to take hold in America due to the financial burden that it had placed on the country. For the British, their interests were turning to the east as tensions were rising with Russia.

As neither side had made any significant gains during the conflict, it was decided that a status quo ante bellum should be the centrepiece of the treaty, effectively setting back borders to their pre-war lines. This also allowed the treaty to be agreed and signed with much less wrangling, therefore ending the war much sooner.

By December 1814 a peace had been signed, however this news was not to reach many parts of the US for another 2 months. As such, fighting continued, and on January 8th 1815 the greatest American victory of the war took place the Battle of New Orleans.

Here an American Army led by Major General Andrew Jackson (later to become the 7th President of the US) defeated an invading British force intent on taking back land that had been previously acquired with the Louisiana Purchase. For the British this was a humiliating defeat, especially considering that they outnumbered the Americans by more than 2 to 1.

Only a few days after the defeat, news reached both sides stating that peace had been reached and an immediate end of hostilities should be maintained until Washington DC had ratified the treaty. The War of 1812 was over.

In Britain, the War of 1812 is a largely forgotten war. In America, the war is remembered mainly for the burning of Washington and for The Battle of Fort McHenry in 1814 which inspired the lyrics for the US National Anthem ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.

It is – perhaps surprisingly –Canada that remembers the War of 1812 the most. For Canadians, the war was seen as a successful defensive of their country against a much stronger American force. The fact that the Canadian militia had taken such as a large role in the war spurred a sense of nationalism. Even today, in a poll by Ipsos Reid in 2012, the War of 1812 was second only to their universal health care in a list of events or items that could be used to define Canadian identity.


This Civil War nurse made a big impact on wounded soldiers

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:52:27

In section 42 of Beaufort National Cemetery is a modest private marker for Emma Morrill Fogg French. In addition to her name and years of birth and death — 1831-1898 — is the simple inscription “Hospital Nurse.”

Emma (or Emeline) M. Morrill was born in 1831 in Standstead, Canada, along the United States border in Vermont. It is likely that her family lived on both sides of the border over the next two decades. Emma was residing in Lowell, Massachusetts, when she married distiller Charles P. Fogg on March 1, 1852. There is little historical evidence of the Foggs after their marriage. Charles appears in the 1855 New York census as a boarder in Brooklyn. Emma shows up on the 1860 U.S. census without Charles, presumably having been widowed by that time. She too was living in Brooklyn.

Emma arrived in the Sea Islands of South Carolina in 1863 to serve as a nurse for the Union Army at the U.S. General Hospital in Hilton Head. While her time in service was relatively short — from March to October — she apparently made quite an impact on the soldiers under her care. A notice in the Nov. 14, 1863, edition of The New South newspaper, noted that Mrs. Fogg received “an elegant Gold Pen and Pencil” from several of the wounded soldiers.

Newspaper clipping on her departure from the hospital.

Emma returned to New York but came back to teach in South Carolina for the National Freedman’s Relief Association in April or May 1864. The Association was formed in February 1862 at the Cooper Union Institute to “relieve the sufferings of the freedmen, their women and children, as they come within our army lines.” Rev. Mansfield French, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, who had initially become interested in the education of African Americans in Ohio in the 1850s, was one of the main forces behind the organization. After the start of the Civil War, Reverend French went to Washington, D.C., and in a meeting with President Lincoln convinced him of the need to care for the enslaved African Americans who had been abandoned on the plantations of Hilton Head and Port Royal, South Carolina. The reverend was eventually commissioned as a chaplain in the U.S. Army and assigned to the U.S. hospital in Beaufort. An avid abolitionist, Reverend French continued to advocate for both the end of slavery and the recruitment of former enslaved men into the Union Army.

Cooley, Sam A, photographer. Rev. Mr. French’s residence, Beaufort, S.C. Taken between 1863 and 1865.

Emma remained in costal South Carolina after the war and continued teaching with the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen’s Bureau). In April 1868, she married the eldest son of Reverend French – Winchell Mansfield French, who had joined his father in Beaufort in 1864 and became involved in land and cotton speculation. The couple reportedly resided at the former Thomas Fuller House on Bay Street in Beaufort. The house — later referred to as the Tabby Manse — was purchased by Reverend French in January 1864 at public auction, having been abandoned by its owners.

The Frenches lived in Beaufort through at least June 1880 when the U.S. population census was taken. Winchell, who was engaged in numerous business pursuits during the Civil War and after, was by this time the editor of a local newspaper. Living with the couple were several boarders including two families and a single young man.

By 1885, Emma and Winchell had moved to Orlando, Florida, and were running a hotel. Within a decade, the couple had departed the Sunshine State for Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is where Emma filed her pension application related to her service in the Civil War. Nurses were finally granted the right to pensions when the U.S. Congress passed the act of Aug. 5, 1892.

Page from pension record of Emma M. French formerly Fogg, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

At the time of her death on July 18, 1898, Emma was receiving twelve dollars per month from the federal government — the amount allocated in the 1892 pension act. She was interred at Beaufort National Cemetery among the soldiers she served.

In addition to Emma, there are other notable Civil War nurse buried in the national cemeteries — at Annapolis National Cemetery are three nurses who died during the war: Mrs. J. Broad, Mary J. Dukeshire and Hannah Henderson and Malinda M. Moon, who died in 1926, is interred at Springfield National Cemetery.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.


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