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November 19, 2006

November 15, 2006

November 15, 2006

Greetings to all,

At long last, I have arrived home after our long “March to Yorktown.”

After the ceremonies at Yorktown I drove north to Connecticut to unload my gear from Camp Martha - stopping along the way to visit family and friends.

When I arrived in Connecticut I was told that my company, Rogers Rangers (www.rogersrangers.org) was attending a reenactment in New Hampshire so I drove up for a few days to see them. While there I received a call from a production company in NYC telling me that I was selected to portray Gen.Guy Carleton in a film about Benedict Arnold the following weekend in Rhode Island. So, after returning to Connecticut to clean out “Martha” I drove up to Newport, RI to begin filming on the ship “Providence.”

It was ironic that the last thing I was to do this year was happening back in Newport, RI, the site where we began our ‘March to Yorktown,’ on June 17.

When we began this journey, and I think I can speak for all of us, we were pretty naive about the impact it would have on not only ourselves but the thousands of people along the way. We simply thought that we would be ‘just three amigos’ walking along the road -completely incognito-as if people did this sort of thing every day.

The impact on us was not only the physical and mental demands that we faced – such as
crawling out of the tent to bandage our feet each morning and tromping along the roads in 10 inches of driving cold rain—but also from the unexpected support and enthusiasm we encountered in town after town - day after day. What a boost to one’s spirit to find ‘cheerleaders’ along the worst of roads in the worst of weather, breakfast outside our tents and a warm meal at the end of a grueling days march.

The response from the general public was both surprising and very humbling.
I imagine the support and appreciation was due for a number of reasons – pride in one’s local history, an appreciation of someone making the effort, a release from the frustrations of our current conflict, to just old fashioned patriotism. Whatever the reason, people cried on our shoulders and welcomed us into their homes. Oftentimes it was difficult not to share in those tears.

So many things just seemed to work out for this endeavor. Without the many hours of effort from all of the various state W3R members our journey would certainly have been something much less—if not impossible. With the march, the W3R gained critical, positive recognition at a time it needed it most. A year before would have been too early, a year after, too late. It was a wonderful synergy.

There are so many people and groups I wish to thank such as the various state W3R members, the DAR and SAR, Scouts, marchers who joined us here and there, individuals and towns, Richard Swartwout and the rest of the March to Yorktown support group and
most importantly my fellow marchers, Rose, David and Dave for their dedication to making this dream come true. Thank you and Huzzah!

So many people, so many miles, so many wonderful memories for all of us to share. Thank you all for welcoming us into your towns and homes. We all made this march a success. We all made history together.

I remain,
Yr most humble and obedient servant,
Capt. Michael S. Fitzgerald
America’s March to Yorktown

November 03, 2006

Surrender!! Aftermath.......

From Homestead Headquarters..

Greetings Friends and Patriots...

Tis almost a fortnight now since last I was able to write to you. We have been more busy than even I could have imagined. The work of the Peace seems almost as much as the work of the War. Oh, tis that it t'would not be so.

We have learned that Gen. Clinton did come, with the British Fleet, to try to affect a rescue of Cornwallis. Apparently the fleet left New York the same day that Lord Cornwallis had surrendered, here in York. The fleet arrived off of the Capes on or about the 24th of October, staying until the 29th when it was decided, apparently, that naught could be done to remedy the fate of Cornwallis. The French still hold the Naval line on the Chesapeake, therefore, the Brits sailed off and we can only assume that they have gone back to New York.

We have now had the time to take care of the dead and wounded and a count of those that fell, or were captured is as follows, to the best of my knowledge. These numbers seem to change almost daily, but tis the best that I can do now.......

........the number of men surrendered as prisoners amounted to some 7,073. Of that lofty number some 5,950 were Rank and File.....add to that some 2,000 Sailors,1,500 Tories and 1,800 Negroes... the total British loss is some 12,000 men. The seige cost the British some 550 men killed, wounded and missing.....the loss to the Allies (French and American) appears to 253 French and 125 Americans...

The British also of course lost considerable supplies and weaponry, as follows thusly.....some 75 Brass and 160 Iron Cannon, 7,794 Muskets, 28 Regimental Standards, (10 British, 18 German), and a large quantity of mortars, bombs, cannon and musket ball, and some $11,000 in specie...

The day after the surrender, we hear, the Lord Cornwallis paid a visit to Gen. Washington, to await his orders. How far the great had fallen. However, it seems that Cornwallis's bearing, elegant manners and frank soldierly bearing soon made him a favorite at the table of Washington. We would see the two of them about as they inspected the 'leveling of the works'. There was a Grand Dinner, in which the British and Americans sincerly toasted the efforts of the other. It is said that Cornwallis noted that this War was probably over as he did not expect the Ministry to be sending another Army to America....tis grand news indeed.

However, not the same can be said of the bastard Col. Tarelton. He was never invited to the table and was inquiring as to why he was being so dismissed. It fell upon Col. Laurens, as aide-de-camp to General Washington, to explain to the Col. that indeed, his lack of invite was not an accident, but was meant as a reproof for some certain cruelties practiced by him, and his troops, in the field... Ah hah, wish I had been there for that takedown.... It is also said that Tarelton had hired a body guard to protect his person against some slight of the Americans, but after being totally ignored, was soon seen to see that the guard be dismissed. Another time, while canting into Town on a beautiful blood-horse, the horse was claimed by a gentleman from Virginia, as his, and left the Colonol afoot to continue his journey to dinner, with the Count de Viomenil. He was relieved by a French Officer who gave his own steed to the Colonl so that he might make his dinner engagement. Tar elton... not one of the favorites here abouts, at the moment.....

After the surrender, General Washington, in his Orders of the Day, gave praise to General Knox and Col. Du Portail, of the Artillery. Thanks were also given to Governor Nelson, who had asked that the men fire upon his own house where the British Officers were garrisoned. It was also suggested that all men 'to attend Divine Services' in the Brigades.

Gen. Washington has sent Col. Tilghman to Philadelphia, with the latest despatches from Congress. We can be sure that he has spread the word of this Great Victory whilst upon the road, to that end. We have heard the Great Bells of the Churches ringing in the distance, much to our delight.

We have also learned that Gen. Washington has attempted to persuade Adm. De Grasse to co-operate in an expedition against Charleston or Wilmington. The Admiral has demurred, saying that he had different orders from his own Government. We have also learned that this extraordinary expedition against the British here in York, was the last offer from the French. Had this Campaign come to no avail, it is certain that the French would have abandoned us to perhaps a different fate. It seems that King Louis was not all that fond of the idea of aiding a Republican uprising against a sitting King (George), a fellow sitting King, I might add. Perhaps that is why we have not seen the King's Colours aloft in this Campaign. Tis the only standards we have seen among the French, are the Regimental Standards. A situation that is most curious, at best...

In this fortnight since the Surrender, the American Army has left the Town of York, except for Gen. St. Clair, who has marched southward to reinforce Gen. Greene. The rest of the Army is headed northward, we gather to New York perhaps.......We have left Gen. Rochambeau, that saviour of our effort, here in the Virginias. Within the fortnight, we have evacuated the Town of York, both us and the British. The prisoners have been, and are being, taken to Winchester, in the Virginias, some to Fort Frederick and Frederickstown in the Marylands, and some to Lancaster in Pennsylvania. When the Bonetta, sloop-of-war, went to New York, it carried a number of Tories that will be protected by Gen. Clinton, there... All the British Officers have gone by sea to New York, on parole.....

My guess is that King George III has yet to learn of the fate of his Army, or his Colonies. OH, again, t'wish that I could be there in the chamber when he finds it all lost......
Until again, soonest.....

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
Homestead Headquarters