One of the biggest heroes for the American Colonists in the Revolutionary War in 1776 was a fisherman from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Actually, he was more than a fisherman, he was also a cordwainer (shoemaker), rum trader, merchant and notably, the first Captain (of the Hannah) in the Continental Navy a later in the war he commanded forces at Saratoga and served with distinction there as well. But it was and as the Commander of a brigade known as the “Amphibious Regiment” that John Glover became a legend in the history of the American Revolution.
Glover’s group of fishermen and merchants saved the Continental Army twice in New York with strategic evacuations from Brooklyn and later from Manhattan. These two evacuations saved the Continental Army from certain defeat against far superior numbers. These weren’t the battle hardened troops of later in the war, these were undisciplined troops led by Generals, including George Washington, who were being outmaneuvered by the British Generals. Glover’s fleet of small boats shuttled the entire army across the Hudson River to Manhattan and then to New Jersey in the cover of darkness.
In December of 1776, Glover’s Marblehead men once again became heroes in shuttling the Continental Army across the frigid Delaware River to Trenton, and then back again with 900 Hessian POW’s. Glover’s fleet pulled off some of the most impressive amphibious maneuvers of the war, equalling the British invasion of Long Island in seamanship, and perhaps surpassing the British with their sheer audacity.
At some point I’ll update this post with pictures of John Glover’s statue in Boston and his home in Marblehead, Massachusetts. For now, I’m taking a moment to appreciate this war hero, rum trader, merchant, fisherman and yes, cordwainer. Glover is one of the legends of the American Revolution and should be more widely known today.