Revolution 250 Podcast

"Washington's Marines" with Maj. General Jason Q. Bohm

November 28, 2023 Jason Q. Bohm Season 4 Episode 46
Revolution 250 Podcast
"Washington's Marines" with Maj. General Jason Q. Bohm
Show Notes Transcript

Jarheads, Devil Dogs, and Leathernecks are all nicknames that have been used to describe members of the United States Marine Corps.  However, their esprit de corps and valor stand as their most iconic and reliable qualities.  Many are unaware how The Corps got their start during the American Revolution as a valuable multi-faceted and innovative fighting force equally comfortable in sea fights and land engagements. Join Professor Robert Allison (Suffolk University Department of History, Language & Global Culture) in conversation with Major General Jason Q. Bohm, a 30-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps and author of "Washington's Marines; The Origins of the Corps and the American Revolution, 1775 - 1777."

 00:01.391 --> 00:02.192
 Hello, everyone.
 00:02.372 --> 00:04.834
 Welcome to the Revolution 250 podcast.
 00:04.854 --> 00:05.755
 I'm Bob Ellison.
 00:05.815 --> 00:07.876
 I chair the Rev 250 Advisory Group.
 00:07.916 --> 00:14.742
 We are a consortium of 70 groups in Massachusetts looking at ways to commemorate the beginnings of the American Revolution.
 00:15.422 --> 00:19.486
 And our guest this week is Major General Jason Q. Baum.
 00:20.146 --> 00:22.987
 And Major General Bohm is an author.
 00:23.007 --> 00:28.069
 He has recently written From the Cold War to ISIL, One Marine's Journey.
 00:28.729 --> 00:38.652
 But the book we're going to be talking to him today about is his work of history, Washington's Marines, the Origins of the Corps and the American Revolution, 1775, 1777.
 00:39.932 --> 00:41.853
 Thank you for joining us.
 00:42.533 --> 00:43.854
 Well, thank you, Dr. Allison.
 00:43.914 --> 00:44.974
 It's my pleasure and honor.
 00:46.697 --> 00:49.159
 30 years a Marine and you took to writing.
 00:49.339 --> 00:52.122
 I know Marines do have a great history.
 00:52.482 --> 00:56.585
 I've known many Marines who like to tell it, but what got you into writing history as a Marine?
 00:57.706 --> 00:59.008
 Well, great question.
 00:59.048 --> 00:59.468
 Thank you.
 00:59.528 --> 01:03.171
 So it actually started when I was a school director for the Marine Corps.
 01:03.211 --> 01:06.694
 I commanded the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School.
 01:07.521 --> 01:13.189
 And I had the history director of the Marine Corps teaching some classes at our course.
 01:13.309 --> 01:23.202
 And he encouraged me to take on a more ambitious project than what I had been doing up to that point was writing for our professional journal, the Marine Corps Museum.
 01:24.210 --> 01:28.694
 And so I did, and I had no intention of getting it published, but he encouraged me to do that.
 01:28.714 --> 01:31.416
 And that was the first book, From the Cold War to ISIL.
 01:32.076 --> 01:44.066
 And Naval Institute Press picked that up, and it talks about the evolving national military strategy from the end of the Cold War, when I first came into Marine Corps, until the fight against ISIL.
 01:44.146 --> 01:49.650
 And I was very fortunate to lead the first conventional forces back into Iraq once ISIL invaded Iraq.
 01:50.459 --> 01:56.701
 And that experience just really got me to catch the bug of writing.
 01:57.021 --> 02:01.603
 And I, as a hobby, would always be studying Marine Corps history.
 02:01.683 --> 02:04.844
 And history and tradition is extremely important to Marines.
 02:04.944 --> 02:15.028
 It's actually a force multiplier on the battlefield for us because we refuse to let those who went before us down by not living up to the legacy they established.
 02:15.598 --> 02:21.680
 But a lot of people don't really know about the true history of early Marine Corps history.
 02:21.720 --> 02:31.743
 They know the myths behind lots of the stories, but I wanted to tell the real story and a part of our history that, quite frankly, even though Marines love history, they don't know.
 02:32.263 --> 02:34.204
 And so that was the basis of this project.
 02:35.604 --> 02:39.765
 And the book does a very good job with the military history of the time.
 02:39.785 --> 02:41.306
 And as you say, it's not the myth.
 02:41.426 --> 02:42.066
 It really is.
 02:42.782 --> 02:45.464
 what happened and told in a very compelling way.
 02:46.184 --> 02:49.066
 And I wonder if there were surprises to you in writing the book.
 02:49.147 --> 02:50.968
 Any people surprised you or events?
 02:51.768 --> 02:52.809
 Yeah, absolutely.
 02:52.889 --> 02:57.032
 So I was raised on the myths and I'll use two in particular.
 02:57.953 --> 03:08.280
 One is the fact that the first Marine that was commissioned by John Hancock, who was serving as president of the Continental Congress, was a gentleman named Samuel Nicholas.
 03:08.982 --> 03:20.566
 And many people have mistakenly referred to Samuel Nicholas as being the first Commandant of the Marine Corps because he was the first Marine officer commissioned and therefore the senior Marine officer.
 03:21.086 --> 03:32.731
 But that's in fact not true because the Congress did not bestow that title on the Commandant until 1798, well past the end of the American Revolution and during the Quasi-War with France.
 03:33.451 --> 03:36.612
 And another one was the birthplace of the Marine Corps,
 03:37.122 --> 04:02.583
 is commonly known to be ton tavern which was a bar in downtown philadelphia which marines take great pride in being in the bar but the real story behind that is it is true that the owner of ton tavern a gentleman named robert mullen was commissioned as a marine corps officer and ton tavern was used as a recruiting site but the real reason that it's the birthplace is because
 04:03.781 --> 04:22.047
 On the 2nd November, 1775, there was a committee of safety in Nova Scotia from Passamaquoddy, Nova Scotia, that contacted the Continental Congress asking to become part of the Association of the North Americans fighting for their liberties.
 04:22.687 --> 04:32.270
 Now, the Continental Congress looked at that and started salivating and think that this was a golden opportunity to take on a 14th colony in the fight against England.
 04:33.010 --> 04:59.860
 And so the Congress created a committee of three, which was originally called the Naval Committee, and that consisted of John Adams from Massachusetts, Celestine from Connecticut, and John Langdon from New Hampshire, to devise a plan to conduct a naval campaign to capture the principal naval base in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the bequest of
 05:00.393 --> 05:03.154
 the Committee of Safety of Passamaquoddy, Nova Scotia.
 05:03.814 --> 05:10.057
 Now, in order to do this, those three gentlemen met in the second story room of the Tun Tavern.
 05:10.797 --> 05:15.119
 And they devised a plan that was briefed to the Congress on the 9th of November.
 05:15.539 --> 05:21.221
 And on the 10th of November, the full Congress resolved to create two battalions of American Marines.
 05:21.782 --> 05:30.145
 And therefore, that is the birth of the Marine Corps is established from the creation and the Naval Committee in the Tun Tavern.
 05:30.658 --> 05:38.800
 And 10 November has become a Marine Corps history of the whole state of the Marine Corps celebrated by Marines throughout the world, even until today.
 05:39.901 --> 05:41.921
 That's great.
 05:42.021 --> 05:46.803
 And now, can you tell us the difference then between Marines?
 05:47.243 --> 05:52.504
 I mean, there was a Continental Army in formation, not really a Continental Navy.
 05:52.544 --> 05:57.986
 So what would the role of Marines have been as opposed to Army or Navy?
 05:58.570 --> 05:58.850
 05:59.130 --> 06:03.812
 Well, I think it's important to understand before you understand why we need Marines.
 06:04.432 --> 06:07.313
 It's because America is a maritime nation.
 06:07.913 --> 06:18.137
 We have a vast eastern seaboard with the 13 colonies at the time and countless rivers and lakes and canals to be able to move people and things very quickly.
 06:18.812 --> 06:30.462
 And so if you were going to take on the most powerful armed forces in the world, and particularly the most powerful Navy in the world, you needed men who can fight on land and sea effectively.
 06:31.043 --> 06:34.726
 And that is what the Marines were created for, to serve with the fleet.
 06:35.410 --> 06:49.084
 to conduct good order and discipline on ships, to fight from the ships, to board enemy ships or repel enemy borders, but also to conduct limited land campaigns in support of larger naval campaigns.
 06:51.226 --> 06:55.611
 Now, soldiers obviously focus on the land and sailors focus on the sea.
 06:56.121 --> 06:58.362
 but the Marines are the bridge between the two.
 06:58.542 --> 07:05.326
 And they would do that very effectively during the 10 crucial days in mid-December 76 through mid-January 77.
 07:07.087 --> 07:12.270
 Right, you tell that story very well in your book, the recounting of those 10 crucial days.
 07:13.110 --> 07:24.597
 I wonder if we can just back up a little bit, because Samuel Nicholas is a character that does loom large in this, but can tell us a bit more about who he was and how he gets involved in this.
 07:25.120 --> 07:25.420
 07:25.660 --> 07:31.604
 Well, Samuel Nicholas at the time, 1775, was a 31-year-old Quaker from Philadelphia.
 07:33.185 --> 07:41.231
 His father passed away when he was seven years old, and he was sent to the Academy of Philadelphia, which is modern-day University of Pennsylvania.
 07:41.751 --> 07:53.739
 He graduated from that school when he was 16 years old and became a merchant man and the proprietor of the Conestoga Wagon Tavern, also in downtown Philadelphia.
 07:54.420 --> 08:04.427
 So in his dealings as a merchant, as a tavern owner, he was mixing elbows and rubbing elbows with prominent figures in Philadelphia.
 08:04.507 --> 08:13.413
 So when the time came to create a Marine Corps, he was the first gentleman to receive a commission as a Marine officer.
 08:15.287 --> 08:17.728
 And then he served through much of the war.
 08:18.148 --> 08:28.672
 He actually would serve all the way throughout the entire war from 75 all the way through 1783 and would continue to serve as the senior Marine officer throughout.
 08:29.352 --> 08:39.055
 And in fact, when the first fleet was created, the campaign to capture the base at Halifax actually never did occur.
 08:39.115 --> 08:43.457
 And the reason for that is the Congress directed George Washington
 08:44.224 --> 08:51.488
 in order to cherry pick soldiers who had previous sea fear and experience to create these two battalions.
 08:51.628 --> 08:57.070
 Now, Washington at the time was holding a British under siege at Boston, and he balked at the idea.
 08:57.210 --> 08:59.992
 He told John Hancock, he's like, you got to be kidding me, John.
 09:00.512 --> 09:08.716
 I got my handful right here in Boston, and I don't have the ability or the resources to conduct a campaign to capture Halifax.
 09:09.332 --> 09:17.576
 So John Hancock acquiesced and he said, it's okay, George, you're okay, but we still understand the value of creating these Marines.
 09:17.656 --> 09:26.000
 So instead of creating two separate battalions, they created 10 separate companies of 50 Marines each.
 09:26.560 --> 09:37.105
 And the reason for that is because they would assign one company of 50 Marines to a single ship to serve with the fleet as that particular ship's Marine detachment.
 09:37.930 --> 09:52.236
 And Samuel Nicholas would take personal command of the first flagship of the Navy's first fleet called the Alfred and would serve side by side with a gentleman named John Paul Jones, who was serving as the first lieutenant at the time.
 09:54.506 --> 10:17.362
 but nicholas was in command nicholas was in command of the marine detachment attachment yeah his company of marines and john paul jones was serving as the first lieutenant and the first commodore of the fleet was a gentleman named isaac hopkins from rhode island yeah and they had an uh expedition down to um the bahamas to seize gunpowder correct
 10:18.154 --> 10:20.517
 Yeah, so really interesting story.
 10:20.577 --> 10:27.465
 So when Hopkins set sail in January of 76 with the first fleet, he has two sets of orders.
 10:27.705 --> 10:36.436
 And as he goes to sea, he tears open the first set and it talks about how the Congress expects the officers and men to behave themselves on deployments.
 10:37.113 --> 10:56.528
 The second set of orders were, quite frankly, very ambitious and unrealistic expectations of what to expect from this nascent fleet, which, by the way, consisted of merchant vessels that were converted to warships by cutting some holes in the gunnels and placing some cannons on board.
 10:57.128 --> 10:59.310
 And fairly lightweight cannons at that.
 11:00.010 --> 11:09.417
 So the second set of orders tells Hopkins he's to go directly to the Chesapeake Bay to seek out, close with and destroy the British fleet located there.
 11:10.438 --> 11:11.359
 That was not enough.
 11:11.699 --> 11:18.284
 Once that was complete, he was supposed to continue down to the Carolinas, locate, close with and destroy the British fleet there.
 11:18.864 --> 11:24.849
 And if that was not enough, he was then supposed to shoot up north to Rhode Island and do the same thing there.
 11:25.831 --> 11:38.036
 But there was a caveat in the orders that Hopkins read that basically said, and I'm paraphrasing, if in your best judgment, you're unable to do these things, use your own judgment to determine what you should do.
 11:38.716 --> 11:52.081
 So he looked at that and he said, well, I had recently received an intelligence report that there were cannons and gunpowder being held down in New Providence Island in the Bahamas.
 11:52.771 --> 12:02.042
 And George Washington, as many of you will know, did not have the siege cannons needed to successfully conclude the siege of Boston.
 12:02.863 --> 12:08.549
 So Hopkins made the decision to head a thousand miles south and conduct a naval raid on
 12:09.082 --> 12:22.092
 on New Providence Island to capture two forts, Fort Montague, which protected the eastern approaches to Nassau, New Providence, and Fort Nassau that protected the western approaches.
 12:22.612 --> 12:31.138
 And he assigned Samuel Nicholas as the senior Marine as the lead of the landing party consisting of 220 Marines and 50 sailors
 12:33.560 --> 12:40.643
 by combining the marine detachments from several ships to land and capture these two forts, which they successfully did.
 12:41.203 --> 12:48.647
 And in doing so, they would actually capture 88 cannons, 15 mortars, and hundreds of pounds of ordnance.
 12:49.387 --> 13:00.912
 And for you historians out there, kind of a piece of trivia is those were more cannons than were actually brought from Henry Knox from Fort Condoroga to Boston.
 13:01.656 --> 13:11.262
 It's just the fact that Knox arrived in Boston before the Marines and the sailors could sail 1,000 miles back up to Boston to share those cannons with General Washington.
 13:12.102 --> 13:17.965
 But then these cannons came in very handy during the- They did, and they were used very effectively by the army.
 13:18.025 --> 13:23.629
 They were distributed to the army and also to many of the port towns for use in their defensives.
 13:25.256 --> 13:35.207
 Now, you quote another historian in your book who talks about the debt we owe to the Boston bookseller, the Rhode Island ironmonger.
 13:35.247 --> 13:38.150
 But you say we also should add the Philadelphia tavern keeper.
 13:38.510 --> 13:39.131
 13:39.371 --> 13:42.114
 Samuel Nicholas.
 13:42.134 --> 13:45.037
 Do we have muster rolls for these companies of Marines?
 13:45.098 --> 13:46.339
 Do we know who any of them were?
 13:47.011 --> 13:47.932
 Yeah, we sure do.
 13:47.952 --> 13:50.915
 And actually, uh, there are several of them.
 13:50.955 --> 14:03.506
 There's a great book that I use as a principal source named, uh, Marines in the Revolution written by Charles Smith that was, uh, published during the bicentennial 17, excuse me, 1975.
 14:04.326 --> 14:11.553
 Uh, and he, uh, effectively transcribes many of those original ship rosters, but, uh,
 14:12.682 --> 14:18.905
 What I can do for you is share some insight about what a marine company consisted of back in the day.
 14:19.386 --> 14:34.254
 So I'll give you a snapshot of what Lieutenant Isaac Craig, who was the commander of the ship detachment from the Androderia, he had a 40-man company.
 14:34.975 --> 14:46.083
 And all of his Marines were immigrants from different countries across Europe to include Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Scotland, England, and Ireland.
 14:46.523 --> 14:48.785
 All but one of them enlisted from Philadelphia.
 14:49.466 --> 14:55.410
 Their average age was 25 years old, with the youngest being 18 and the oldest being 40.
 14:56.010 --> 15:03.296
 Their average height was 5 foot 6 inches, with the shortest Marine only 5 foot 3 and the tallest being 6 foot.
 15:04.105 --> 15:05.446
 Did they have a height requirement?
 15:06.326 --> 15:07.607
 There was not.
 15:07.687 --> 15:11.890
 If you were a fighter and you were willing to hook and jab with the bad guys, you're on the team.
 15:13.150 --> 15:14.971
 We could not be selective back then.
 15:15.032 --> 15:15.312
 15:15.692 --> 15:16.072
 15:16.232 --> 15:21.195
 And then they brought a litany of different skills with them.
 15:21.395 --> 15:24.277
 There were Miller's Wolf.
 15:24.821 --> 15:31.309
 There were farmers, there were artisans who were carpenters and masons and doctors.
 15:31.469 --> 15:36.936
 And there are literally about 40 different vocations that they brought with them.
 15:37.036 --> 15:41.201
 So a very diverse group that joined this one company as an example.
 15:42.082 --> 15:42.863
 That's extraordinary.
 15:43.627 --> 15:52.178
 We're talking with Major General Jason Baum, who is not only a 30-year veteran of the Marines, but also is an author.
 15:52.258 --> 15:57.145
 He's written Washington's Marines, the Origins of the Corps, and the American Revolution, 1770.
 16:02.298 --> 16:16.668
 which is a great book which tells this story and many others and not just the lore, but actually what happened and who these people were and why they were enlisting and then what happened in the course of their service.
 16:17.208 --> 16:27.955
 So I was just thinking when you're telling about Congress with a very elaborate plan for what Hopkins and the fleet should do, that it's not the first or the last time Congress would have a really
 16:33.551 --> 16:40.014
 Hopkins saw the possibility of something they actually could accomplish, which is to get these munitions from the Bahamas.
 16:43.116 --> 16:56.663
 Can we talk a little bit, Jason, about what then happens when Washington has been chased across New Jersey and he and the Marines as well as the remnants of the Continental Army are on the other side of the river?
 16:56.723 --> 16:58.804
 What's their role in these 10 crucial days?
 16:59.534 --> 17:00.894
 Yeah, great question, Bob.
 17:00.994 --> 17:19.121
 So as the Continental Marines and First Fleet were operating down in the Bahamas, George Washington was fighting the New York campaign and then, as you stated, was basically chased across eastern New Jersey until he crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania on the 8th of December.
 17:19.861 --> 17:24.482
 As this happened, Washington started the New York campaign with 19,000 troops.
 17:26.383 --> 17:31.888
 Now, they were militiamen mostly and the beginnings of the Continental Army.
 17:32.288 --> 17:45.399
 But by the time he crossed to Delaware due to desertion and disease and casualties and terminating enlistments, the 19,000 he started the New York campaign with had dwindled down to only about 2,500.
 17:47.782 --> 17:53.090
 It was dire times for the Continental Army, which meant it was dire times for the nation.
 17:53.350 --> 18:03.125
 Washington knew if he did not re-seize the initiative from the enemy that the entire revolution and therefore the nascent nation could be done.
 18:03.866 --> 18:07.449
 And so he requested reinforcements from the Congress.
 18:08.090 --> 18:21.101
 And he not only asked General Horatio Gates and General Charles Lee to send some forces from New York down south to join him, but there were two other key elements that would join his force.
 18:21.161 --> 18:25.624
 The first was a group of Philadelphia militia known as the Associators.
 18:26.285 --> 18:30.809
 Associators were originally created by Benjamin Franklin during the French and Indian War.
 18:31.619 --> 18:36.887
 and they would disband until re-established in 1775 for the American Revolution.
 18:37.448 --> 18:44.640
 Now, the Associators were commanded by a gentleman named John Colwalder, and that name will matter here in a moment.
 18:45.219 --> 18:47.961
 The second group were the Continental Marines.
 18:48.561 --> 19:05.191
 So because Samuel Nicholas, once the first raid was complete down in the Bahamas, the admiral sent him with dispatches to Philadelphia to notify the Congress of the success of the raid.
 19:05.872 --> 19:09.214
 The Congress promoted Nicholas from captain to major.
 19:09.969 --> 19:15.113
 And they kept him in Philadelphia instead of sending him back to his flagship, the Alfred.
 19:15.613 --> 19:27.483
 And the reason they were doing that was in December of 75, the Congress authorized the construction of 13 frigates that would be built in the major seaports on the eastern seaboard.
 19:28.283 --> 19:32.707
 Four of those frigates, the Delaware, the Effingham, the Randolph,
 19:33.505 --> 19:36.690
 and the Washington were being built in Philadelphia.
 19:37.211 --> 19:47.647
 So the Congress assigned Nicholas with enlisting four new companies of Marines to serve as a Marine detachments on each of those four ships.
 19:48.410 --> 20:04.830
 But when Washington found himself in dire straits and he asked for more troops, the Congress assigned Nicholas with the task of creating a battalion of Marines by bringing these Mardets together and forming that battalion of 120 to 130 Marines.
 20:07.313 --> 20:08.454
 So Nicholas did so.
 20:08.534 --> 20:15.776
 He left a detachment from the Randolph in Philadelphia because that ship was the closest to being complete in construction.
 20:16.217 --> 20:19.038
 And the Congress wanted to get it to sea before it could be captured.
 20:19.818 --> 20:29.202
 So Nicholas loads his Marines on the gondolas and they head up the Delaware River and they link up with Washington at Trenton on the 8th of December.
 20:30.000 --> 20:41.247
 Now, Washington had earlier created his own ad hoc navies, both in New York and in Boston, because the Continental Navy at first didn't exist.
 20:41.307 --> 20:43.588
 And then when it did, it was off fighting elsewhere.
 20:44.269 --> 20:49.392
 And Washington understood he needed that capability that Navy and Marines bring him.
 20:50.052 --> 20:53.994
 And he originally used soldiers to serve in the capacity of Marines.
 20:54.715 --> 20:56.736
 And they did not perform very well.
 20:56.976 --> 20:59.678
 So Washington had a low opinion of Marines.
 21:00.100 --> 21:00.860
 to begin with.
 21:01.040 --> 21:09.224
 And when they showed up outside of Trenton on the 8th of December, he wasn't really sure what to do with the Continental Marines.
 21:09.784 --> 21:20.449
 So he talked to John Colwalder in charge of the Associators and he said, hey, go talk to those Marines over there and determine whether they intend to fight on the water or on the land.
 21:21.007 --> 21:25.571
 And he came back and said, well, General, they're here to fight for you in the Continental Army.
 21:26.011 --> 21:26.932
 He said, very well.
 21:27.272 --> 21:32.116
 I'm assigning them to you in the Associated Brigade as a separate battalion.
 21:32.736 --> 21:45.306
 So over the course of the next four to five months, the Marines would be assigned to the Brigade of Associators under the command of John Colwalder, but fighting as an independent and separate battalion.
 21:46.287 --> 21:46.427
 21:48.206 --> 21:50.647
 And so they do see action.
 21:50.727 --> 21:58.009
 I mean, they do get across and then not get across on the night of the 26th when Washington is crossing.
 21:58.049 --> 21:59.429
 There's terrible weather.
 22:00.349 --> 22:02.290
 Yeah, so it's a great story.
 22:02.410 --> 22:09.572
 So there are actually three key battles that they'll participate in in the course of those next 10 days, the 10 crucial days.
 22:10.072 --> 22:13.773
 And the first one was a historic crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Day.
 22:14.434 --> 22:31.289
 Now, Washington came up with a grand plan where he would lead 2,400 regular Continental soldiers at the key crossing site of McConkie's Ferry, march nine miles south and attack Johan Rall and his Hessian Brigade at Trenton.
 22:32.049 --> 22:36.974
 But in order to be successful in that operation, he had three supporting efforts.
 22:37.816 --> 22:50.522
 which first one consisted of New Jersey and Pennsylvania militia crossing the Delaware south of Trenton and capturing a key bridge on the Austin Pink Creek, which is on the south side of Trenton.
 22:51.082 --> 22:57.565
 That was supposed to block any Hessians from escaping from Trenton as Washington attacked from the west and the north.
 22:58.325 --> 23:02.747
 The second support and effort consisted of the Associators and Continental Marines.
 23:03.359 --> 23:19.374
 They were supposed to cross over into New Jersey from the Burlington, Pennsylvania area, and they were supposed to establish a blocking position to prevent the Hessians under a gentleman named Bondanoff from moving north to reinforce Rall during the main attack.
 23:19.734 --> 23:27.642
 And then a final group sent over from General Putnam from Philadelphia was supposed to hold the Hessians in that area at bay as well.
 23:28.294 --> 23:43.267
 Now, all four groups were supposed to cross that evening, but unfortunately, due to the weather conditions and Nor'easter rolling in and the ice on the river, the only successful crossing was the one led by George Washington.
 23:43.687 --> 23:47.010
 Actually, Henry Knox was the one who led that crossing.
 23:48.551 --> 23:53.676
 Calwalder and the Continental Marines actually got two-thirds of their force across the river,
 23:54.301 --> 24:04.424
 before the Nor'easter became too dangerous and they could not land their artillery, so he aborted that mission, thinking that no one else successfully crossed either.
 24:05.004 --> 24:12.346
 And the next morning, Karl Walder is writing a note to Washington saying, hey, I recommend we consolidate our forces here on the Pennsylvania side.
 24:12.887 --> 24:17.528
 And all of a sudden, off in the distance, he hears cannons booming in the direction of Trenton.
 24:18.564 --> 24:25.707
 Holy cow, you know, the general made it across and now the blood is stirring inside the Marines and the Associators.
 24:26.267 --> 24:31.909
 They convinced Cal Walter to get across the river as quickly as possible to join Washington and join the fight.
 24:32.489 --> 24:42.713
 They successfully crossed that morning, unbeknownst to them that Washington had just recrossed into Pennsylvania with 900 Hessian prisoners.
 24:43.496 --> 25:10.895
 So now Karl Walder is at an inflection point here, and he has to make a decision, and he starts to flounder and is at the point of deciding to abort the mission and go back into Philadelphia, or excuse me, Pennsylvania, and the Marines and his Philadelphia Associators convince him not to do that because the Hessians are now in full retreat in eastern New Jersey, and they're moving up towards
 25:11.533 --> 25:14.875
 Princeton, where there's a brigade of British regulars holding out.
 25:15.635 --> 25:20.458
 So they're now on the Pennsylvania, excuse me, New Jersey side of the river.
 25:20.898 --> 25:22.919
 Washington's on the Pennsylvania side.
 25:23.400 --> 25:28.362
 And Colwalder sends a message to Washington and says, hey, the enemy's running scared here.
 25:28.463 --> 25:29.803
 Come back over, General.
 25:29.883 --> 25:30.744
 We can do more.
 25:31.344 --> 25:32.464
 Washington listens.
 25:32.824 --> 25:43.107
 Over the next four days, he recrosses the river, and he consolidates his forces south of Trenton on the south side of the Ossipan Creek.
 25:43.807 --> 25:54.830
 He establishes a key defensive position on key terrain, utilizing the creek as a natural barrier, and then he weights his defensive positions on
 25:55.370 --> 26:05.275
 along that key strategic bridge that spans the creek, and then three other ford sites in which a man could cross the creek at chest level of water.
 26:06.155 --> 26:15.940
 The Marines and the Associators are initially placed on the right flank of the main force covering one of those fjord sites.
 26:16.806 --> 26:30.698
 Now, at the time, Lord Cornwallis is directed by General Howe to accumulate 10,000 British soldiers and Hessian mercenaries and attack South to defeat Washington once and for all.
 26:31.298 --> 26:33.841
 Cornwallis had been ready to go back to England.
 26:33.921 --> 26:37.864
 He thought the rebellion was over since Washington had been chased into England.
 26:38.685 --> 26:43.749
 Then they get this news that actually Washington has taken these prisoners and retaken Trenton.
 26:43.770 --> 26:47.693
 So Cornwallis and 10,000 men are going to be on the move across New Jersey.
 26:47.994 --> 26:49.295
 Yeah, absolutely correct.
 26:49.355 --> 27:00.806
 Cornwallis was actually on board ship to go back to England to see his alien wife when Howe canceled his orders of leave and sent him to Princeton to assume overall command from Grant.
 27:01.710 --> 27:21.337
 And so Cornwallis will attack south that following day, and Washington sends a force up to Maidenhead and Princeton to conduct spoiling attacks and delaying tactics to buy him the time he needs to consolidate his forces and dig in south of the Austin Pink Creek.
 27:22.697 --> 27:31.842
 They successfully delay him until dusk, and the British and Hessians will try unsuccessfully three times to attack across the bridge.
 27:32.203 --> 27:35.244
 They take hundreds of casualties in the process.
 27:36.125 --> 27:47.531
 During the heat of the battle when Washington thinks the British are going to force the bridge, he calls for the Marines and brings them in from the flank to that key part of the battle covering the bridge.
 27:48.171 --> 27:52.674
 And then Cornwallis will pull his forces back that evening, licking his wounds.
 27:53.214 --> 27:54.875
 And he says, don't worry about it.
 27:55.015 --> 27:56.817
 We'll bag the fox in the morning.
 27:57.697 --> 28:07.003
 And General Irksine, his logistics officer, says, General, if Washington's half the general I think he is, he won't be there in the morning.
 28:07.644 --> 28:10.866
 And Cornwallis just said, don't worry about it.
 28:11.006 --> 28:14.308
 You know, we'll take care of business and end this war once and for all in the morning.
 28:15.214 --> 28:29.817
 Unbeknownst to him, Washington makes the decision in the middle of night to use deception and guise to make the British believe that they're still in their defensive positions and preparing for the next day's battle.
 28:30.317 --> 28:43.800
 But he actually pulls his forces off the line and then hikes 11 miles further north, deeper into enemy-held territory to attack the British force that is held out in Princeton.
 28:44.793 --> 28:59.019
 Unbeknownst to him that next morning, the force under a gentleman named Charles Mahood is under orders from Cornwallis to move south to reinforce Cornwallis for the final attack to defeat Washington.
 28:59.730 --> 29:09.518
 And so they have what's called a meeting engagement in which two forces unknown to each other have a chance meeting unexpectedly.
 29:10.179 --> 29:16.484
 And it becomes a race to see who can gain fire superiority, who will win that battle.
 29:17.125 --> 29:27.194
 And what happens is the Americans, unsure of the size of this British force, send Hugh Mercer and his brigade up to the high ground out of this sunken road along the Stony Brook.
 29:27.774 --> 29:36.018
 And Mercer has 100 riflemen and 100 infantrymen going up against now, unbeknownst to him, 700 British soldiers.
 29:36.778 --> 29:39.420
 So the brigade is quickly defeated.
 29:39.660 --> 29:43.162
 Hugh Mercer shot off of his horse, bayoneted several times.
 29:43.742 --> 29:53.387
 And as that's happening, Carl Walder and Samuel Nicholas hear the battle begin and move their force out of the low ground to join that fight.
 29:54.207 --> 29:58.189
 They start to form with the Associators on the left and the Marines on the right.
 29:58.649 --> 30:00.851
 They move forward to the side of the guns.
 30:01.191 --> 30:03.412
 They fire one volley at the British.
 30:03.888 --> 30:13.493
 But then at that key point in the battle, Hugh Mercer's brigade is retreating at full speed right into their face as they're taking enemy fire.
 30:14.133 --> 30:22.778
 That momentum carries the whole American force back about 150 yards before Nicholas and Carl Walker regain control of them.
 30:23.238 --> 30:27.020
 And at that decisive moment, General Washington shows up on the scene.
 30:28.185 --> 30:35.149
 The cover of the book, Washington's Marines, has a great painting painted by Charles Waterhouse that depicts this scene.
 30:35.169 --> 30:39.351
 It was Washington pointing at the British and saying, go get them, boys.
 30:40.011 --> 30:44.754
 And they counterattack, and they win the day, and the British are in a full retreat.
 30:45.434 --> 30:52.878
 And Washington is actually so caught up in the emotion of the moment, he's riding his horse at full speed saying, follow me, boys.
 30:52.978 --> 30:54.719
 It's a fine fox chase.
 30:55.322 --> 31:05.206
 They had to rein them back in and conclude the battle at Nassau Hall in downtown Princeton, where about 250 British held up.
 31:05.807 --> 31:18.452
 And a young gentleman, a captain from New York named Alexander Hamilton, comes forward with his battery and fires cannonballs into the front door of Nassau Hall to force the British to surrender.
 31:19.593 --> 31:20.934
 He was also a Columbia man.
 31:21.434 --> 31:22.694
 Yes, and a Columbia man.
 31:25.980 --> 31:26.240
 Thank you.
 31:26.260 --> 31:33.048
 We're talking with Major General Jason Baum, who is not only a veteran Marine officer, but also an historian.
 31:33.129 --> 31:40.798
 And the way you just told that story, I was going to ask what current officers and men have to learn from these
 31:41.358 --> 32:04.577
 long long ago episodes but the way you just told that we can see the contingencies and this evolving battlefield and the decisions that the commanders are having to make as situations change it's really an extraordinary way of looking at you know this battle which is familiar to historians but really looking at it with fresh eyes of someone seeing it for the first time it's really been
 32:06.690 --> 32:07.370
 A revelation.
 32:07.390 --> 32:08.371
 32:09.212 --> 32:11.733
 And I'll tell you that that's a great insight, Bob.
 32:11.813 --> 32:17.877
 And if I could, today's Marines, we have a war fighting doctrine called war fighting.
 32:18.437 --> 32:22.600
 And in it, we train our young Marines to understand the fog and friction of war.
 32:23.755 --> 32:36.781
 And with that is understanding that the enemy always gets a vote, the environment gets a vote, the weather gets a vote, and it's basically going to ruin your plans.
 32:37.281 --> 32:42.284
 We train our people to be flexible, adaptable problem solvers.
 32:42.964 --> 32:44.205
 You may have a plan.
 32:44.345 --> 32:53.168
 You may go into a fight with a concept of how you think the plan is going to play out, but it will normally never play out the way you expected.
 32:53.648 --> 32:58.390
 And you have to be able to succeed in that chaotic and uncertain environment.
 32:58.971 --> 33:02.912
 So those initial lessons all began right here in Trenton and Princeton.
 33:04.153 --> 33:04.633
 It's amazing.
 33:05.208 --> 33:20.014
 I wonder if we could talk a little bit about, you've mentioned the Associators, there were other state Marine forces and what their relationship would have been with the Continental Marines that Congress and Nicholas and Washington have created.
 33:20.875 --> 33:21.915
 Yeah, absolutely.
 33:21.995 --> 33:23.096
 Another good question.
 33:23.256 --> 33:31.379
 So when we talk about Washington's Marines, I really identify four separate and distinct groups that all held the title Marines.
 33:32.028 --> 33:54.026
 The first group is what I mentioned earlier, and that's the fact that not only General Washington, but also General Benedict Arnold, who created a freshwater fleet up on Lake Champlain to fight the Battle of Elcor Island that blocked the British attack from Canada, also used soldiers to serve in the capacity of sailors and Marines.
 33:54.754 --> 33:57.416
 He also had very negative experiences.
 33:57.976 --> 34:04.400
 There's a great quote in a book about how he says, the Marines, the refuse of the battalions.
 34:05.060 --> 34:10.943
 Basically, the soldiers didn't send their best soldiers to go serve in the Marines.
 34:11.443 --> 34:15.185
 They did not comport themselves very well, but they served a valuable service.
 34:15.786 --> 34:22.950
 As you know, although a tactical defeat at Belcor Island, it was a strategic victory by delaying the British for another year.
 34:24.310 --> 34:27.432
 So the first group was soldier Marines.
 34:27.552 --> 34:34.256
 The second group was there was a very lucrative privateer business going on at the start of the war.
 34:34.876 --> 34:52.106
 Because the Congress did not yet have a formal Navy, they used a stopgap of privateers, which are private citizens or sanctioned pirates who were basically given letters of mark to capture British merchant ships or warships if they could.
 34:52.961 --> 35:04.551
 And they would use merchant ships that they converted into warships by placing cannon on them to capture unarmed or lightly armed British ships carrying resupplies or reinforcements from England.
 35:05.412 --> 35:12.198
 And those ships also had people serving in the role of Marines as privateer Marines.
 35:12.682 --> 35:22.951
 In fact, one of them was a gentleman named William Shippen, who is a 27-year-old, originally a merchant from Philadelphia, married with four kids.
 35:23.492 --> 35:33.181
 He served as a privateer at the start of the war and then would move on to become a Pennsylvania state Marine to serve on the...
 35:33.683 --> 35:36.705
 Pennsylvania Navy's flagship called the Montgomery.
 35:37.385 --> 35:54.854
 And then once the Hessians attacked all the way to the Delaware River and came close to his home, he left the ship and then would fight ashore side by side with the Continental Marines as a state Marine and with the Associators.
 35:54.954 --> 36:02.318
 In fact, William Shippen would be the first state Marine killed because he was killed in the Battle of Princeton.
 36:04.215 --> 36:07.738
 The third group were the state Marines.
 36:08.158 --> 36:12.982
 And another gentleman named Thomas Forrest was a state Marine.
 36:13.042 --> 36:15.144
 And originally on the Delaware River,
 36:15.794 --> 36:23.822
 As part of the Pennsylvania Navy, they had two floating batteries, each armed with 12 18-pound cannons.
 36:24.303 --> 36:28.707
 And they were exclusively manned by Pennsylvania State Marines.
 36:29.228 --> 36:32.291
 One of them being Thomas Forrest, who commanded one of them.
 36:32.851 --> 36:37.696
 And he would go on to be transferred to the Pennsylvania State Artillery Corps.
 36:38.354 --> 36:42.497
 and would cross the Delaware with Washington in his main force.
 36:43.077 --> 36:52.323
 And it was his cannons with that of Alexander Hamilton that were on the top of King and Queen Street firing down during the Battle of Trenton.
 36:52.944 --> 37:05.232
 His battery was also the battery that went forward with that delaying force that delayed Cornwallis fighting south to buy Washington the time he needed to dig in his defensive positions.
 37:05.990 --> 37:12.293
 And then the final group of Washington's Marines were the formal national Marines, the Continental Marines.
 37:13.053 --> 37:17.255
 And one of them was a gentleman, as an example, named Andrew Porter.
 37:17.995 --> 37:27.299
 Andrew Porter was a former schoolmaster who is said to have recruited his current and former students to become his Marine company.
 37:28.219 --> 37:35.262
 And an interesting story about Porter is he would take over the Marine detachment on the frigate Effingham.
 37:36.229 --> 37:43.130
 And then he would serve as a company commander under Nicholas once they went to support Washington throughout those three battles.
 37:43.791 --> 37:52.472
 After the Battle of Princeton, he would resign his Marine commission and would serve as a Continental Army artillery officer.
 37:53.172 --> 37:59.314
 And one of the other officers was a gentleman named Major Eustace, who was calling Porter out.
 37:59.334 --> 38:00.574
 And he said, ah, Porter,
 38:01.058 --> 38:03.319
 You are nothing but a dance pool master.
 38:03.900 --> 38:07.862
 And Porter said, sir, I have not forgotten my vocation.
 38:07.922 --> 38:12.505
 He draws a sword out and smacks Eustace in the back of the sword.
 38:13.205 --> 38:15.407
 That was calling him out to a duel.
 38:16.107 --> 38:20.910
 The two gentlemen meet on the corner of 9th and Arch Street in Philadelphia.
 38:21.891 --> 38:29.836
 And Porter pulls out his pistol, shoots Eustace right through the heart, kills him on the spot and is court-martialed for killing a fellow officer.
 38:30.652 --> 38:32.553
 But then he is exonerated.
 38:33.253 --> 38:34.734
 He's promoted to major.
 38:35.254 --> 38:41.277
 And then they assign him the position that is now vacant because he just killed the gentleman that held him before that.
 38:41.557 --> 38:41.878
 38:42.198 --> 38:42.518
 38:43.098 --> 38:43.799
 True story.
 38:44.579 --> 38:44.839
 38:45.639 --> 38:47.000
 You really can't make that up.
 38:47.080 --> 38:48.581
 That's a great story.
 38:48.601 --> 38:49.942
 It's like something out of the movies.
 38:50.602 --> 38:51.082
 It really is.
 38:51.803 --> 38:58.646
 Now, do you know if William Shippen was any relation to the Peggy Shippen who marries Benedict Arnold?
 38:59.258 --> 39:05.663
 I have not been able to tie the two together, but I would not be surprised since they're from the same area.
 39:06.223 --> 39:06.744
 Same city.
 39:07.044 --> 39:09.826
 Shippen wasn't an uncommon name in Philadelphia.
 39:09.886 --> 39:10.126
 39:10.227 --> 39:11.768
 Perhaps distant cousins.
 39:12.631 --> 39:12.751
 39:13.311 --> 39:19.053
 I know there's a lot more we could talk about and we could go on all day talking about the Marines.
 39:19.093 --> 39:21.353
 Maybe we can have you back at some point to talk about 1798.
 39:22.693 --> 39:25.234
 Are you working on more history?
 39:25.874 --> 39:27.074
 Yeah, absolutely am.
 39:27.154 --> 39:28.535
 And thanks for that question.
 39:28.695 --> 39:34.236
 So one of my mentors who got me to write the first book asked me to do a collaborative effort with him.
 39:34.816 --> 39:38.117
 So we're basically writing the next chapter of Washington's Marines.
 39:38.877 --> 39:41.698
 Washington's Marines cover 75 through 77.
 39:43.059 --> 39:44.879
 We're now going to cover 78 and 79.
 39:46.320 --> 39:49.641
 And he's writing about Marines fighting on the Mississippi River.
 39:50.241 --> 39:53.122
 And I'm writing about the Penobscot expedition of 79.
 39:53.982 --> 39:58.344
 So, yeah, so we're near completion of that.
 39:58.404 --> 40:01.945
 And we hopefully will see that being out on the streets in the next year.
 40:02.961 --> 40:03.241
 40:03.281 --> 40:03.621
 40:03.862 --> 40:07.564
 Well, thank you so much, General Bohm, for taking the time to talk to us.
 40:08.024 --> 40:12.387
 And it's been great to hear from you and hear about these stories.
 40:12.447 --> 40:13.627
 And we look forward to more.
 40:15.328 --> 40:23.714
 And I want to also thank you not only for becoming such a fine historian, but also for your years of service to the Marines and to the nation.
 40:24.754 --> 40:26.615
 My absolute pleasure and my honor.
 40:26.996 --> 40:30.057
 And I want to thank you, Bob, for helping to keep our history alive.
 40:30.137 --> 40:32.639
 Extremely important, particularly now more than ever.
 40:33.464 --> 40:34.270
 It definitely is.
 40:35.106 --> 40:38.187
 And let me also thank Jonathan Lane, our producer.
 40:38.287 --> 40:40.987
 And every week I thank folks who are tuning in.
 40:41.007 --> 40:47.729
 You know, we initially we thought we'd have a handful of our friends listening, but we actually have listeners all over the country and actually all over the world.
 40:47.769 --> 40:49.650
 And every week I thank some of them.
 40:49.710 --> 41:00.312
 So if you're in one of these places and you want to send Jonathan Lane an email, jlane at, he'll send you some of our Revolution 250 tchotchkes.
 41:00.772 --> 41:03.353
 So this week, let me thank friends in Bangor, Maine.
 41:04.016 --> 41:16.842
 and Riverside Park, New Jersey, and in Long Beach, Pensacola, and Helena, Montana, and also in Madrid, Delhi, London, and Shakopee, Minnesota.
 41:16.882 --> 41:17.963
 Thank you all for listening.
 41:18.603 --> 41:21.764
 And, General, let me just say, too, on behalf of all of us, Semper Fi.
 41:22.365 --> 41:23.005
 Semper Fi.
 41:23.045 --> 41:24.826
 God bless you all and Semper Fidelis.
 41:25.926 --> 41:26.767
 Happy Thanksgiving.
 41:27.447 --> 41:28.588
 Happy Thanksgiving to you.
 41:28.648 --> 41:30.608
 Now we'll be piped out on the road to Boston.