I am sure that people assume that I would be writing about St. Patrick’s Day today, well only kind of. March 17th is not only St. Patrick’s Day but also Evacuation Day in Boston, Massachusetts. This is the day the history records General George Washington’s first victory during the American Revolution.
In 1776 the British held Boston but were surrounded by the Continental Army commanded by Gen. Washington. A few days before the 17th of March cannons captured from Fort Ticonderoga were brought in and placed overlooking the city. With the cannons at a vantage point the British realized they had no way of winning a battle and after an agreement between Gen. Washington and Gen. Howe (commanded of the British forces) the British solders were given safe passage out of the city in return they did not burn the city down. According to one source, the fact this happened on St. Patrick’s Day was not lost on Gen. Washington and was even used in the password allowing for passage across the lines.
For many years there was a movement to make this a governmentally recognized holiday in the Boston area but did not succeed till 1901. Then it became an official holiday for Suffolk County, but even though it is only an official holiday for that county, state employees get the day off and schools are closed. I kind of wonder if they know that this is for Evacuation Day or think it is for St. Patrick’s day.
I find it quite ironic that not only two important things happen on the same day but that such an important event should take place in an area that is so heavily populated by an Irish population. I also find it very interesting that a day celebrating the fact that a city was given up by the British happens to fall on the same day as the Patron Saint of Ireland, which has had a number of run-ins with the British over the years.