Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 29: Good Fortune Mixed With Bad

On June 29, 1776, President of Congress John Hancock wrote to Gen. George Washington, “The Loss of Canada is, undoubtedly, on some Accounts, to be viewed in the Light of a Misfortune…. Yet, on the other Hand, there is a Mixture of good Fortune attending it.”

Hancock reasoned, “Considering the superiour Force of the British Troops, and a Retreat as unavoidable, every Thing has been done, which, in such a Situation, could be expected. In short, Sir, I am extremely glad, our Army is likely to get safe out of Canada.”

Thomas A. Desjardin, the Historic Sites Specialist for the state of Maine, reached a similar conclusion. Desjardin reasoned that the Continental retreat in 1776 encouraged Burgoyne to invade New York State from Canada in 1777. In turn, Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga, New York prompted France to openly ally with the United States. Paul Herbert Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789: Vol. 4: May 16-August 14, 1776 (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1979), pages 335 and 336; Thomas A. Desjardin, Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold’s March to Quebec, 1775 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2006), page 197.
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