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    Setting Brushfires of Freedom by Don Jans

    Strange Events Tilted the Outcome of the American Revolutionary War


    ‘God has marvelously preserved him from harm in the midst of countless perils’


    “The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in…the course of the war – that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith.” -General George Washington, August 20, 1778.

    <span style=font family helvetica arial sans serif>Surrender of British General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown VA October 19 1781<span>

    George Washington wrote to General Nathanael Greene, February 6, 1783: 

    “It will not be believed that such a force as Great Britain has employed for eight years in this country could be baffled in their plan of subjugating it 
    by numbers infinitely less, composed of men oftentimes half starved; always in rags, without pay, and experiencing, at times, every species of distress which human nature is capable of undergoing.” 

    The British Empire was the largest empire the earth had seen, controlling at its peak 13 million square miles and a half a billion people.

    Indeed, out of the nearly 200 countries in the world, only 20 were never controlled or invaded by Britain. America wanted independence.

    Along with courage was the role of prayer.

    For example, the day the British were planning to charge 3,000 soldiers up Dorchester Heights to attack Col. Knox’s cannons, Massachusetts had declared a day of fasting, which General Washington ordered:

    “The 7th (of March 1776)…being set apart by this Province as a Day of Fasting, Prayer and Humiliation…all officers and soldiers are strictly enjoined to pay all due reverence…on that day to the sacred duties due to the Lord of hosts.”

    That same day, a violent storm caused the sea to be so turbulent that British General Howe abandoned the attack.

    Washington wrote his brother, John Augustine, March 31, 1776:

    “Upon their discovery of the works next morning, great preparations were made for attacking them; but…the weather getting very tempestuous, much blood was saved and a very important blow…prevented.

    That this most remarkable Interposition of Providence is for some wise purpose, I have not a doubt.”

    The British then headed to New York, filling the harbor with 400 ships carrying 32,000 troops.

    It was the largest invasion force assembled in world history to that date.

    The hundreds of wooden masts of the ships looked like a forest of trees.

    Washington ordered:

    “The Continental Congress having ordered…the 17th (of May 1776) to be observed as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God… the General commands all officers and soldiers to pay strict obedience to the orders of the Continental Congress; that…they may incline the Lord and Giver of victory to prosper our arms.”

    The night before the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, a British loyalist led 10,000 British troops through Jamaica Pass to attack Washington from behind on August 27, 1776.

    It was the largest battle of the Revolutionary War.

    3,000 Americans were killed or wounded – only 392 British casualties.

    The sun set with British General Howe having trapped the American Army against the sea.

    Instead of resigning to the fate of being just another British colony like India or Kenya, Washington desperately ferried his army across the East River to Manhattan Island.

    The sea was boisterous where the British ships were, but providentially calm in the East River.

    Washington’s Chief of Intelligence, Major Ben Tallmadge, wrote:

    “As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety… At this time a very dense fog began to rise off the river, and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this peculiar providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance… We tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever.”

    Washington was on the last boat that left.

    The British never again had the chance of capturing the entire American army all at once.


    “Washington crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze

    The winter of 1776 was the Battle of Trenton. Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day evening and captured a thousand German Hessians.

    Ten days later was the Battle of Princeton.

    When American soldiers were about retreat, Washington ordered them to follow him as he rode to within 30 yards of the British.

    He turned and faced his men and yelled ‘fire.’

    The British returned the volley.

    Everyone expected Washington to be dead, being in the middle of the field, but when the smoke cleared, Washington was seen waving arms and commanding ‘charge’.

    Yale President Ezra Stiles stated:

    “Independence…was…confirmed by God Almighty in the victory of General Washington at Trenton, and in the surprising movement and battle of Princeton… The United States are under peculiar obligations to become a holy people unto the Lord our God.”

    At Saratoga, Americans captured 6,000 British troops.

    The Continental Congress issued the first National Day of Thanksgiving, 1777:

    “That with…one voice the good people may…join the penitent confession of their manifold sins…that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ…to forgive and blot them out…and…secure for these United States…independence and peace.”

    When the victory of Saratoga was told to Declaration signer Roger Sherman, he exclaimed: “This is the Lord’s doing, and marvelous in our eyes!”

    During the 1778 winter at Valley Forge, Lutheran Pastor Henry Muhlenberg, whose sons Peter and Frederick later served in the first U.S. Congress, wrote in The Notebook of a Colonial Clergyman:

    “His Excellency General Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away the wickedness…and to practice the Christian virtues… God has…marvelously, preserved him from harm in the midst of countless perils.”

    When Benedict Arnold attempted to betray West Point, Washington wrote, September 26, 1780:

    “Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered! General Arnold who commanded at West Point…was about to deliver up that important post into the hands of the enemy… The Providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the Liberties of America are the object of divine Protection.”

    The Continental Congress proclaimed October 18, 1780:

    “In…rescuing…our Commander-in-Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened for execution… it is…recommended…a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer…to confess our unworthiness…and to offer fervent supplications to the God of all grace…to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.”

    After the Battle of Cowpens, 1781, three rivers rose in ten days to allow American Generals Daniel Morgan and Nathaniel Greene to escape Lord Cornwallis.

    The Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina, January 17, 1781

    British Commander Henry Clinton wrote:

    “Here the royal army was again stopped by a sudden rise of the waters, which had only just fallen (almost miraculously) to let the enemy over.”

    Chief Justice John Jay stated September 8, 1777:

    “This glorious revolution…(is) distinguished by so many marks of the Divine favor and interposition…in a manner so…miraculous, that when future ages shall read its history…will it not appear…like the emancipation of the Jews from Egyptian servitude.”

    During the War of 1812, George Washington’s portrait was taken down by Dolly Madison and she rode with it out of the Capitol while British Admiral George Cockburn, with 4,500 British troops, rode in.

    Cockburn went in the White House, ate dinner, then set it on fire.

    His soldiers sat in the seats of Congress, and Cockburn said from the Speakers chair, “who votes to burn the Capitol,” and they all said “aye.”

    They also burned the Library of Congress, the Patent office, the Treasury and the Navy Yard.

    President James Madison had previously proclaimed two days of prayer and afterwards a day of fasting.

    Suddenly dark clouds rolled in, wind and thunder grew into a “frightening roar” and lightning began striking.

    Tornadoes touched down sending debris flying, blowing off roofs, knocking down chimneys and walls on British troops.

    Two cannons were lifted off the ground and dropped yards away. Winds slammed both horse and rider to the ground.

    The book, Washington Weather, recorded British Admiral George Cockburn exclaiming to a lady:

    “Great God, Madam! Is this the kind of storm to which you are accustomed in this infernal country?”

    To which the lady replied:

    “No, Sir, this is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from our city.”

    A British historian wrote:

    “More British soldiers were killed by this stroke of nature than from all the firearms the American troops had mustered in the feeble defense of their city.”

    As British fled, torrential rains fell, extinguishing the fires.

    They marched back over downed trees to their ships only to find two blown ashore and others with damaged riggings.

    On September 1, 1814, Madison wrote:

    “The enemy by a sudden incursion has succeeded in invading the capitol of the nation…during their possession…though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices… Independence…is now to be maintained… with the strength and resources which…Heaven has blessed.”

    As America faces crises today, we need the courage of those before us, as well as their prayer.

    But back to the Revolution:

    Washington added in his Farewell Orders, November 2, 1783:

    “The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the perseverance of the Armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.”- George Washington

    WILLIAM J. FEDERER is the best-selling co-author (with Susie Federer) of “Miracles in American History-32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayer”, a nationally known speaker and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage.

    His AMERICAN MINUTE radio feature is broadcast daily across America and by the Internet. His Faith in History television airs on the TCT Network on stations across America and via DirectTV.

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    c e voigtsberger
    c e voigtsberger
    4 years ago

    It is rumored that during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII, General Patton ordered an army chaplain to write a pray, praying for clear weather so our air forces could take to the air to help in turning back the tide of Germans. The weather cleared and the air forces indeed were greatly helpful in turning back German armor and troop-hauling trucks.

    Somehow, today, I can’t see any of the joint chiefs of staff ordering a day of prayer and fasting for success in the coming battle or just for success in the overall continuing conflict that we seem endlessly engaged in.

    A day of prayer and fasting for the armed services? We are lucky that we can still offer prayers in our own individual churches.

    I wasn’t aware of the fortuitous occurrences of weather mentioned in this article. Don’t even know if they are factual or urban legend but it seems to me we could certainly use some kind of divine guidance so that those who are charged with running this country in an orderly fashion drop all the petty bickering and back-biting and get on with the job they are supposed to be doing which is running the country in manner in which a great country should be run and eschewing the pettiness that seems to be the overriding humour today.

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