>> previously on "legends and lies: the patriots"... >> there are two things i cannot abide -- deserters and rebels. >> our dead brethren were cruelly and villainously massacred! >> ever since lexington and concord, all of america is at war, dr. franklin. >> good god. >> i hereby propose that this congress appoint as its commander colonel george washington of virginia. >> you ask what i need,
dr. franklin. i need everything, or this war will be over before it even begins. [ gunshot ] [ gunshots ] [ gunshot ] >> colonel glover, i understand they captured one of our scouts. >> aye. the lad was trying to slip into the city to gather intelligence. now they have him trussed up for all to see.
>> how should we act here, general? >> we could fire a few shots from one of the guns, your excellency. >> that's playing into their hand. >> will his excellency have us stand by and do nothing? >> general greene, any man who attempts to approach the british lines without orders, arrest him and clap him in irons. >> ♪ my country, 'tis of thee ♪ sweet land of liberty
♪ land where my fathers died ♪ land of the pilgrims' pride ♪ from every mountainside ♪ let freedom ring >> pushed to their limits by an oppressive empire, a determined group of rebels unites under the cause of liberty. their quest for freedom will unify a people, ignite a revolution, and forge a new system of government. in time, these brave men and women will come to be known as the american patriots.
general george washington, the very embodiment of american ideals, a commander of men who will win a war, lead a nation, and claim its rightful place in the world. but behind every commander lies a man. and behind every legend lies the truth. >> attention, infantry! >> george washington may become the father of our country. but, when the revolution begins, washington is far from the man legend says is born to lead. following a disastrous performance in the french and indian war, washington is turned down for a royal appointment with the british army. the rebuke leaves him unsure of his own ability to lead. as the continental army faces the british army in boston, george washington doesn't just have a war to win. he has something to prove to his men, his new enemy, and to himself.
>> this army killed over 200 redcoats in bunker hill. when london gets word, it's only a matter of time before general gage is finished in america. >> if only dr. franklin and his congressional delegation could be convinced our own condition is any better. >> franklin had come down to boston to see the condition of the troops that george washington had taken over. they were part of a commission that were sent to boston to report back to congress. >> as an untested commander and an outsider from virginia, washington must convince his senior officers he's ready to lead. >> who does this planter think he is? >> ahem. general lee, general ward, the condition of this army is a disgrace.
you both have much to do in teaching your men proper discipline. >> yes, your excellency. >> see to it, then. general putnam, a word, if you will. >> yes, your excellency. >> tell me, general putnam, what of our provisions and supplies? >> there's not much in the way of uniforms or blankets. >> and what of our powder supply? >> less than 1/2 a pound per man. >> good god. keep your voice low. half a pound per man? this army wouldn't last five minutes if gage launches an attack. i am truly sensible of the high honor done to me in this appointment. yet i feel great distress
from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust. well, then, we shall make munitions our first priority. >> washington thinks, "i've been chosen. this is what i must do. but, on the other hand, maybe i'm not good enough." that thought terrifies him. he says, "from this moment, i date the ruin of my reputation." >> washington's inexperienced army is another source of fear, one he must eliminate quickly. >> here's to his health. king george. >> colonel glover, what is the penalty for insubordination? >> thirty-nine lashes, sir. >> have this man arrested. put the rest of these marbleheaders of yours to digging latrines.
camp reeks. >> the marbleheaders are a group of mariners named for their militia commander's hometown, marblehead, massachusetts. they're a rowdy group who aren't afraid to remind washington they're uncommitted volunteers. but this is just the beginning of a long and valuable commitment they'll make to their general, leading washington in an amazing escape from long island and in a daring christmas-night mission across the frozen delaware river. >> when washington was appointed commanding general of the continental army, he had to instill discipline. he had to instill a notion of respect within the confines of this continental army. >> sorry, lad. >> [ cries out ] [ grunts ] [ groans ] [ crying out ]
>> leadership requires discipline as well. general lee? >> dr. franklin, i think i've seen enough. >> his attempts to instill a kind of respect by asking them to refer to him as your excellency backfires. and so he resorts to corporal punishment, which does send a much firmer message. but that's not the washington we think about. >> lack of discipline is just one of washington's problems. without enough artillery or gunpowder, his army's attempt to surround boston and charlestown, starving out the british, will eventually be overwhelmed. ben franklin's congressional delegation is also watching his every move. >> gentlemen, congress is impatient about the stalemate. >> when i took command of this army, i expected to find a force
of 20,000 men. instead, we have less than 15,000, a quarter of which are sick. of that said, with the addition of morgan's riflemen, we may yet be able to launch an attack. >> and what does his excellency propose? >> a direct assault on boston, gentlemen. our men could cross the back bay in flat-bottom boats and attack the british. >> boston is simply too well defended. >> the british suffer greatly for want of provisions. their spirits are broken. and there sits boston, gentlemen. we must attack. >> just as long as we have arms and ammunition, sir. >> general washington, uh, uh, may we have a word?
>> washington has a penchant for grand plans. he wants to assault across water and take the city of boston in urban warfare. and franklin says, "n-no. do something you can handle." >> how bad is it? >> we have but 36 barrels of gunpowder, a few shots per man. >> the american colonies can't produce gunpowder. ninety percent of the gunpowder used in the revolution had to be brought in from someplace else. >> there was no army supply system. this is pre-industrial revolution. nothing in america is mass produced at that point in time. >> you must keep this to yourself and a few trusted officers. we must be wary of traitors, general. spies are everywhere. [ gunfire ] >> who, in god's name, is shooting those weapons?
>> those virginians, no doubt. [ gunfire continues ] >> about 400 yards, i'd say. >> washington's army are guys that don't necessarily see each other as one and the same. he's got dan morgan's riflemen from virginia. he's got the -- the marblehead men, uh, these fishermen from massachusetts. and they don't like each other. >> right in the frying pan! >> hold your fire! damn fools will bring on a bombardment for sure. [ men shouting ] >> yeah! >> there's no massachusetts
or virginia in this army. this is an american army. >> there was no tradition of an american army. nothing like it had existed on american soil before. why would volunteers from massachusetts heed the orders of a virginia officer? [ gunshots ] >> get down! >> he had to embody this idea of a coherent american people, a nation. >> george washington knows better than anyone how vulnerable the continental army really is. his mission is a delicate and dangerous one -- build a formidable force without drawing the british into battle before he's ready, a difficult task for an uncertain general.
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as it surrounds boston and the british military, the superior force is capturing his men and taking them prisoner. >> your excellency, it appears that general gage has thrown our soldiers in prison with common criminals. they lack proper necessities and are subjected to brutality. >> and our officers? >> our officers endure the same. >> have they no decency, no regard for the rights of humanity and claims of rank? >> gage refuses to acknowledge any rank not given by the king. >> denied a general's appointment in the british military for being american, washington knows firsthand the disrespect the british have for colonials. >> so many of the opposing officers, george washington, general gage, for instance, actually fought on the same side
in the french and indian war in major campaigns and knew each other personally. general gage, commander of the royal army in america, doesn't recognize the legitimacy of the continental army, ignoring the code of conduct afforded captured officers. >> george washington has a reputation as a brave and daring commander. but, as a newly commissioned general, he must lead an army against the world's strongest superpower. privately, washington struggles with insecurities. but publicly, he refuses to show any sign of self-doubt. >> their position on charlestown neck offers them an advantage, general. the time is nigh to see what they're about. send a detail to test their mettle. [ suspenseful music plays ]
day by day... >> it's too late, boys. he's gone. >> up against one of the most proficient armies in the history of the world. >> let's go. >> the limited missions retrieve little gunpowder from the enemy. so, back in camp, washington resorts to handing out spears. >> we are now without money in our treasury, powder in our magazines, arms in our stores. and, by and by, when we shall be called upon to take the field, shall not have a tent to lay in. >> washington doesn't know who he can trust. so he can't tell his men that there is no more gunpowder for concern that it might reach british troops. >> even dr. benjamin church, a son of liberty and surgeon general of the continental army, part of washington's inner circle, cannot know the truth.
>> your excellency, 'tis true, then, what we hear? we're running low on powder? >> not at all, dr. church. we are in good stock. >> we intercepted this, sir. >> reverend west, can you please look into this immediately? >> certainly, your excellency. right away. >> now, we have all heard the childhood story that george washington cannot tell a lie. but that is a legend. fighting for the brits in the french and indian war, washington is immersed in lies and espionage. knowing his enemy's skills of deception firsthand, he must lie to keep his secrets. in the end, george washington will prove himself one of history's great spy masters. one british officer
even blames the loss in the revolutionary war not on being outfought but on being outspied. >> any progress? >> it's full of figures about our troops and munitions. >> leave us. >> yes, sir. >> the signature, reverend. i want to know who wrote this treasonous letter. >> while this traitorous communication is caught in time, there's no telling how much more may have slipped through. if the information inside reaches the enemy, the patriot fight for freedom is doomed. >> my god. we're ruined.
>> as george washington struggles to keep the secret of his dwindling gunpowder supply from the british, a trusted officer betrays him, leaking vital information to the enemy, threatening the patriots' already small chances against the brits. >> dr. benjamin church, part of general washington's inner circle, is also the most dangerous british spy in north america. washington blames himself
for trusting church. but he's gone undetected for years. and after just two months in command, george washington manages to catch him. he's learning quickly. but this will not be the last time the commander in chief is betrayed by a trusted general. >> "i saw 1,000 riflemen and 40 horse." would you read this next bit yourself, sir? >> "this advice, it is the result of warm regards to my king, to the realm. make use of every precaution,
or i shall perish." >> this really was a wake-up call for george washington that washington's got to get a more systematized intelligence operation. >> washington had some experience with intelligence. he saw the advantage of intelligence. he also knew we had to find out what they were doing before they were doing it. for us to be successful, we had to outthink 'em and outmaneuver 'em. >> with the chance the british already know more than he wants them to, washington must act quickly, strengthening defenses and, if possible, taking up an offensive position. >> it was lucky that the americans had defeated the british at fort ticonderoga and had uncovered a huge cache of cannon. the trick is getting this cannon to boston. george washington gave this task to henry knox. >> colonel knox, a fine morning to begin an expedition, wouldn't you say?
>> most certainly is, your excellency. >> henry knox was a boston bookseller. he actually learned everything he knew about the military based on reading books in his spare time at his store. >> your mission is of the utmost importance. our victory depends on it. >> knox has a difficult challenge ahead, traveling 300 miles each way through a cruel winter, hopefully returning to boston with tons of artillery. as he waits for these vital reinforcements, washington must keep up the illusion that the continental army is ready for war. without new gunpowder or cannon, washington continues to launch small surprise attacks to pillage for supplies, but also to send a message to the smug occupiers in boston, including their new commander, general william howe. >> the british were figuring, "okay.
we have the most powerful navy in the world. we've got one of the strongest armies in the world. what does george washington have? nothing at all." most people in britain believed that britain could win this war with one hand tied behind its back. >> ah! [ laughter ] >> the british, they took over faneuil hall, right, the -- the place where the revolution really got its start. now, it becomes this theater, in which the british put on plays mocking the rebels. [ laughter ]
they'd start singin' a new song called "yankee doodle dandy," questioning the masculinity of these rebels. >> ye tar-barreled lawgivers, yankified prigs, you're tyrants by custom. you call yourselves whigs. in return for the favors you've lavished upon me, may i see you all hanged upon liberty tree? [ laughter ] >> gentlemen, gentlemen, the rebels are at it, hammer and tong, in charlestown. [ gunfire ] >> officers, turn out. turn out now! >> there was no way the british could lose to these americans. it seemed like such a mismatch. but what they underestimated -- the degree to which those dark moments
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a winning smile. and no chance of getting an athletic scholarship. and that is why you invest. the best returns aren't just measured in dollars. >> eight months into the siege of boston, the continental army is improbably keeping the british at bay. but as the americans hope for fresh gunpowder and the return of colonel knox with the cannon from ticonderoga, a british assault would mean certain defeat. [ horse whinnies ] the pressure on general washington has never been greater. the arrival of his wife, martha, is a welcome retreat. >> the siege is going on for months. and washington is not only concerned about traitors in his midst. he's concerned about retaliation against his family. and so he sends for his wife. [ horse whinnies ]
>> oh, patsy. oh, darling. i've been concerned about your safety, alone at mount vernon. [ explosion ] >> ah! >> it's okay, darling. [ horse whinnies ] you'll be safe. [ gunfire ] >> martha is incredibly wealthy. but washington also sees a quality of strength. he sees martha as a woman who is intelligent, who is a worthy partner. >> dear god, george. i had no idea this army was so threadbare. >> we want for nearly
everything, patsy -- arms, tents... >> clothing. how do these men live with so few necessities? >> it's barren here, my dear. >> sir, have you no socks? >> no, ma'am. most of us haven't any but what we had when we left home. >> i assure you, gentlemen, this winter, you will have socks. >> martha washington is much more than the wife of an amazing man. she's an accomplished woman in her own right, who plays a key role in the war. beyond providing motherly care for the soldiers, her husband is put at ease by her presence. and his men see him relax and become a better general when she's around. >> as the pivotal year 1776 begins outside boston, george washington has no cause for celebration. enlistments for thousands of his volunteers are up.
neither he nor congress can force them to stay. >> washington can only rely upon the militias and the men that are provided to him by the colonies and other volunteers, who are very prone to returning to their farms just when washington needs them. >> with thousands of soldiers deserting the army and a dwindling supply of gunpowder for those who remain, washington won't be able to maintain his siege much longer. he must find a way to hold on to his army. >> general, you'll stand by and watch these men walk out of camp? >> we can't force men to fight, general lee. >> washington knew chances were that one of three things was going to happen. he was going to die. he was going to be ruined personally, or, worst of all,
that he was going to go down in history as a failure. >> washington's greatest hope for success rests with henry knox, whose expedition is still struggling to return to cambridge with artillery. >> put your back into it, boys. >> the team is still weeks away. but the guns they've secured will make the difference for washington if they make it in time. as his army's vulnerable position sinks in, the british surprise washington with a brief truce. [ horse whinnies ] >> what are those? >> copies of a speech delivered by his majesty king george iii before parliament. good day, gentlemen. >> he's declaring us traitors. >> he's declaring war. >> this is king george iii
throwing down his gauntlet, saying, "we are going to crush this rebellion, and i'm gonna force you to be loyal." this is about legitimacy. washington doesn't want to be seen as the leader of a rebellious cause. rebellions are crushed. revolutions are won. >> king george has declared us rebels. from his pampered throne in london, he threatens us with death for what he calls our treachery. shall we submit to this coward's threats, lose our voice in government? >> not a chance in hell, general. >> yeah! >> there's no going back from this point. they can either be traitors in the british system, or they can be americans
under something new. >> you are the continental army of the united colonies of america. >> yeah! >> yeah! >> raise our flag. >> the british did the americans a favor by being this sort of anvil against which the american national character could be pounded out. and george washington is the one who gave symbolic but also physical meaning to this unification. and it took place within the confines of this continental army. >> washington is starting to find his place as the leader that history will come to know. but as the british look for their opportunity to strike, time is not on his side. unless knox and his guns arrive soon, washington's army will be left helpless against the strongest military force in the world.
>> ah! >> the only option now is to declare our independence. >> america is at war, dr. franklin. >> welcome home. >> for more revealing stories on these and other patriots featured in "legends and lies," purchase the companion book, available at billoreilly.com and bookstores nationwide. ♪ every time a pga tour professional sinks a hole-in-one, quicken loans is giving one lucky winner reason to celebrate. one shot from them. one mortgage-free year for you. it's the quicken loans hole in one sweepstakes and you could be the next winner. enter today at pgatour.com/quickenloans for your chance to win a year's worth of mortgage payments. you stay up. you listen. you laugh. you worry. you do whatever it takes to take care of your family.
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>> with no way to know when or if henry knox and his cannon will arrive, george washington must take chances to keep the british at bay. he tests the enemy's defenses, keeping them occupied while searching for access to high ground, upon which he hopes to set up artillery. >> washington is not a general who leads from behind. he leads from the front. he is out there, reconnoitering the area, moving among the men, which is good for morale. [ gunshots ] but it also leaves him vulnerable. >> the continental army is still critically low on gunpowder. a delegation from congress is once again sent to check on general washington's plan. this time, it includes bostonian john adams.
>> what of this british vessel that was captured, the nancy? >> two thousands muskets, bayonets, flints. >> and not a single barrel of gunpowder. >> the average person that was signing up to be in washington's army was coming to the fight with his musket and all the ammunition and gunpowder that he had for hunting game. but it was not enough. >> what is it, billy? >> he's here, general. >> who? >> colonel knox. >> with the guns. >> knox, to everyone's amazement, most of all his own, i think, is able not only to retrieve these cannons but to bring them back on sleds to fortify our siege positions around boston. >> well done, colonel knox. >> it's all thanks to the boys, your excellency. >> by my count, 43 heavy cannon, eight mortars, and two howitzers.
>> if the measures i take to liberate the people of boston result in great damage to that city, would any in congress object? >> the congress will support you, sir. what is your plan? >> here is dorchester heights. we can launch diversionary fire at roxbury and lechmere point. now, if we use the cover of night, we can mount cannon here. it will take some time. but i believe it to be our only hope. >> washington knows that he needs artillery on that high ground. it's a high enough elevation that the ships of the british navy can't elevate their cannon high enough to hit him. but those artillery pieces up in the high ground, dorchester heights, you can lower them. and you can rain shells down into boston.
>> washington's bold plan to place artillery on the high ground around boston is finally unfolding. but with a severe black powder shortage, the cannon are more show than threat. it's a bold gamble but one washington believes he must take to force the british to retreat from boston. >> private, fill that -- >> yes, sir. yes, sir. >> transport is coming. what's it like to be in good hands? man, it's like pure power at your finger tips. like the power to earn allstate reward points, every time i drive. ...want my number? and cash back for driving safe. and the power to automatically find your car... i see you car! and i got the power to know who's coming and when if i break down. ...you must be gerry. hey... in means getting more from your car insurance with the all-powerful drivewise app. it's good to be in, good hands.
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come on! ♪ come on. ♪ ♪ p&g. proud sponsor of moms. >> to force the british out of boston, george washington is risking the entire revolutionary war. his men must perfectly execute a dangerous plan. but with little powder to fire his guns, his show of force could backfire, drawing the british into battle. >> washington doesn't have enough material to carry out a siege. you know, i mean, he may have a few shots for each of these cannon. but he has by no means what you'd need to carry out a siege. he bluffs the regulars
into thinking that he does. >> the key to washington's bluff is misdirection. as the continental army creates a distraction with cannon fire, under the cover of darkness, it assembles its guns on dorchester heights, the best tactical position overlooking boston. >> the lord is my shepherd. i shall not want. he leadeth me to lie in green pastures beside still waters. >> for martha washington, just miles away in the cambridge camp, it's a sleepless night... >> amen. >> as she prays for her husband's success. when morning breaks, washington has proven his tactical skill. his new fort above boston is in place.
>> general howe woke up the next morning to see all of these cannons. he's reputed to have said, "these rebels have done more in one night than my army's done in three months." >> after years of insults at the hands of the british, george washington finally turns the tables. from his strategic position overlooking boston, washington has proven his leadership effective and his tactics successful. but most importantly for the future of america, he's proven that he and his continental army should never be underestimated. >> it's at that point that howe realizes, "now, we got a precarious situation here. we're all cooped up, uh, in this tinderbox." >> howe considers retaliation, but there's a storm approaching. and the british are at a strategic disadvantage.
>> this washington may be more than we bargained for. >> as a reasonable commander, howe realized that there was simply no path to victory in this. it was only going to be a matter of "how do we leave with dignity?" washington provided them with an out, which was to leave the city, 'cause neither commander wanted to see boston burned. >> washington is denoted as the father of his country. it's not because he was first president. it was because he embodied this idea of a united america during the war. and that's when people got this idea that "ah, the united states is being born." washington was the symbolic father of that movement. >> soldiers of the continental army, today is the 5th of march. remember the boston massacre. [ soldiers shout ] if they come forward to fight us,
remember your fallen brethren. >> george washington's first major victory against the british takes place 20 years to the day after his rejection by the royal army, a rewarding coincidence for a general slowly overcoming his own insecurity. as the george washington we revere today begins to emerge, the siege of boston is just the beginning of his transformation. there are difficult days ahead. but for washington and his men, each are starting to believe in his ability to answer his country's call.
>> previously on "legends and lies: the patriots"... >> the liberties of our country have been purchased at the expense of our treasure and our blood. >> life, liberty, property. i am not prepared to cede these rights to any man, no matter how noble his title! >> the british have taken bunker hill. >> sounds as though we have work to do. >> we are in want of weapons, of