13 December 2006

Who Says History Is Boring? (Episode 1)


1776 : General Charles Lee leaves his troops for Widow White’s tavern

On this day in 1776, American General Charles Lee leaves his army, riding in search of female sociability at Widow White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Known to be a welcoming woman, the Widow White entertained the general but the assignation ended when he was captured by British troops.

Lee enjoyed his captivity, even drafting a battle plan for his captors from plush accommodations in which his personal servant maintained his three rooms and no doubt served his food and wine in a most civilized fashion. The British did not act upon his plan, and Lee reported to Valley Forge upon his release in May 1778. After a series of arguments with Washington, Lee was suspended from the army in December 1778 and dismissed in 1780.
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In 1863 General Meade replaced General Hooker three days before the Battle of Gettysburg. Meade will only have a fort named after him, while Hooker lends his name to a whole synonym.
"With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the sleepy town of Washington was dramatically transformed as its population swelled with newcomers. Along with the soldiers came government bureaucrats, freed and escaped slaves, businessmen, salesmen, and con men, as well as the camp followers and prostitutes who sought to profit from the increased demand for their services. The Army's provost marshal, who kept a list of the city's bawdy houses during the war ostensibly to keep them under surveillance, concluded that there were 450 registered houses in Washington in 1862. By 1863, the Evening Star newspaper estimated that Washington had about 5,000 prostitutes . The area was widely referred to as Hooker's Division, a wry double entendre. Indeed many of its occupants were "hookers," a term for prostitutes used since the early nineteenth century.

2 comments:

horsedooty said...

I got in ok

yo soy Horsedooty!

EdVB said...

Hi Jamie,
Just checked it out as you requested, but I'll never get any work done this way.

EdVB