Remembering The Price of Freedom
- Wednesday, July 03, 2002
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., saw his home used by British General Cornwallis as a headquarters. Nelson urged General Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. His wife was jailed and died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his dying wife's bedside. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were destroyed. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. Shortly thereafter he died from exhaustion.
Lewis Morris and Philip Livingston suffered similar fates.
The stories of sacrifice in the American Revolution are many:
On June 1, 1774, the British blockaded the Boston Harbor. The Colonies called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer, "...to seek divine direction and aid." George Washington's diary entry that day was, "Went to church and fasted all day."
On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry addressed the Second Virginia Convention:
"It as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery.... Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence.... The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave....Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
On June 17, 1775, three thousand British troops, under General William Howe's command, charged from Bunker Hill to attack the colonial soldiers on Breed's Hill, led by Colonel William Prescott. Amos Farnsworth, a corporal in the Massachusetts Militia, made this entry in his diary:
"We within the entrenchment...having fired away all ammunition and having no reinforcements...were overpowered by numbers and obliged to leave....I did not leave the entrenchment until the enemy got in. I then retreated ten or fifteen rods. Then I received a wound in my right arm, the ball going through a little below my elbow, breaking the little shellbone. Another ball struck my back, taking a piece of skin about as big as a penny. But I got to Cambridge that night....Oh the goodness of God in preserving my life, although they fell on my right and on my left!"
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