Caning and Whipping

Sept. 15, 1776: General Washington is on the ropes. “An armada of flat-bottomed boats carrying British soldiers,” filling “the horizon as far as the eyes could see” is approaching the Manhattan coast. “Panicked,” Washington’s troops began to flee.

Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution, by Patrick K. O’Donnell: p. 79:

  • The panic was so acute that “a New England Captain . . . dressed in women’s apparel” had armed himself with “a wooden gun and sword.” “Normally cool and deliberate, George Washington became unhinged.” Eyewitness William Smallwood described the scene: “Wretches . . . from the Brigadier General down to the Private Sentinel, were caned and whipped by the Generals Washington, Putnam and Miflin.”

Washington and his generals caning and whipping retreating soldiers? This is something you never learn about in history class. It is savage. But this is how Washington would win the war of independence. By being savage.

Stay tuned.

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