Although the terms “disinformation” and “information warfare” were coined long after 1775, the American Founding Fathers fully understood their importance and the importance of controlling the narrative. was
On the fateful and bloody morning of April 19, 1775, as the smoke and chaos cleared, the politically savvy Patriot leaders immediately asked the all-important question: “Who fired first?” I noticed. Lexington Green will forever separate the aggressors and defenders of the American Revolutionary War.
British forces under General Thomas Gage refused to take silent control of the situation, and within days the Legislature formed a commission that included Elbridge Gerry, a Marblehead merchant and future MP and Vice President. set up a commission to gather testimony to be delivered to London. American version of the event in Lexington and Concord. However, creating an account is only half done. They knew they needed to cross the Atlantic to get their version of events before they could describe the Battle of Gage.
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The Patriots knew that if Gage’s story reached the British press first, they would be branded a traitor who had opened fire on the King’s army and started the Revolutionary War. Jerry approached the task with such enthusiasm and agility that he summoned John Adams to declare, “If everyone here was Jerry, America’s freedom would be safe against Earth and the Gates of Hell.” I started.
After collecting 20 affidavits from both American and British combatants that corroborated the Americans’ belief that the British had fired first, Joseph Warren decided to sway British public opinion. Drafted a letter confirming the victimhood and self-defense narrative of To corroborate the American view, Jerry has enclosed a copy of the combat record told in The War Record. Salem Gazettewhich also includes an illustration of a black coffin representing the American dead that adorned the headlines.
It was a race against time to get the luggage to London before Gage’s report. When the Patriots learned that Gage’s ship, the huge 200-ton brig, and the Sookie had left for London a few days earlier with a British version of what happened, a near panic ensued. Instead, the Patriots pinned their hopes on the dexterity of 34-year-old Salem-born “accidental captain” John Darby and his ship Cuello to slip through British blockades and outrun British forces. A warship crosses the Atlantic to avoid interception on the other side.
At midnight on 28 April, the streamlined and agile 62-ton Kero left Salem for England with no cargo, only precious sediments and ballast stones. They managed to evade the blockade of Salem and Marblehead by the British warship Lively and break through the emerald-swaying waters of the Atlantic. Her crew had no idea of her cargo, destination, or the importance of her mission. Joseph Warren swore to Captain Derby to keep the secret. “You must keep this order strictly confidential to all people on Earth.”
Derby first landed in Ireland and headed overland to England to avoid British agents and ships, before delivering the startling news to London-based Massachusetts agents Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee. There was an order to However, Darby ignored orders and 29 days later, avoiding detection, defeated the Sookie and landed on the Isle of Wight.
Darby was called the “accidental captain” because he appeared out of nowhere in London with shocking news that could change the British Empire overnight. Arriving by carriage from Southampton Harbor, the captain secretly met with Arthur Lee, a Virginian by training in medicine and law, and relayed the news to John Wilkes, the mayor of London, who was sympathetic to the Americans. Darby then slipped through the British dragnet again and returned to the colonies.
American depositions shaped the narrative well and generated British sympathy. When London newspapers reprinted them, along with American newspaper articles about the bloody battle, public opinion was favorable and sympathetic to the victimized colonists.
Gage’s report would not arrive for another 12 days. Meanwhile, King attempted to discredit the American account, but Lee countered the press attack with a broadside attack on the American side. When Gage’s ship finally arrived, a version similar to the American account was given, with the major difference being who fired first.
On the battlefield, not every engagement results in victory or defeat. The American Patriots fell into British hands at Lexington Green, but it could be heard all over the world were it not for the forgotten Essex County captain and his fast ships who gave the colonists a colossal precocious propaganda victory. The gunshots may not have been heard beyond Concord, Massachusetts, which turned the tide of the Revolutionary War.
Patrick K. O’Donnell is a bestselling and acclaimed military historian and elite force expert. He is the author of 12 of his books, including “The Indispensables,” “Washington’s Immortals,” and “The Unknowns.” Mr. O’Donnell served as a combat historian for the Marine Corps Rifle Platoon during the Battle of Fallujah and is a frequent speaker on espionage, special operations and counterinsurgency. He has provided historical consulting for the award-winning DreamWorks mini-series ‘Band of Brothers’ and for documentaries produced by the BBC, His Channel, and Discovery.Patrick Codonnell