July 19, 1779–> Penobscot Expedition Begins
Today all those years ago some 4,000 men embarked on a naval expedition into northern Massachusetts (what would later become Maine) to capture a 750-man British stronghold at Castine in Penobscot Bay. The expedition, headed by Brigadier General Solomon Lovell, Adjutant General Peleg Wadsworth, Commodore Dudley Saltonstall, and Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere, was comprised of 24 transport ships, 19 warships, and more than 1,000 militiamen. Despite the number of men sent, the British had ample time to send reinforcements after a series of failed land attacks, which in turn helped make the decision for Lovell, the commander of land forces, to retreat. Saltonsall, however, had different plans. The naval engagement finished in failure on August 14, when Saltonstall rattled both Patriot and British forces by fleeing upriver and setting fire to his own ships. The Patriots lost upwards of 470 men, as well as all of the Continental Navy and Massachusetts ships that were burned during the retreat. The British lost only 13 men in the process of winning.
July 19, 1799–> Rosetta Stone Discovered
During Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1799 Egyptian campaign, a member of the French Army of Engineers, Pierre-François Bouchard, discovered a black basalt rock slab etched with ancient written language near the town of Rosetta, located around 35 miles north of Alexandria. The stone had three languages inscribed on it: Ancient Greek, Egyptian demotic, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. As the Greek language had been translated, this allowed for archaeologists to easily translate the demotic and hieroglyphics, which had been a mystery up until that point and considered dead for around 2,000 years prior. The ancient Greek on the stone told archaeologists that it was most likely written by priests in the second century B.C as a testament to the king of Egypt, Ptolemy V. Three cheers for language!
July 19, 1848–> Seneca Falls Convention Begins
The first ever women’s rights convention was held today, July 19, in Seneca Falls, New York, about 45 miles east of Rochester. The gathering was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, and around 200 women were in attendance. The event was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who drafted the Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances, a document closely based on the Declaration of Independence that Stanton had drafted over the days leading up to the convention. The document outlined the constant injustices that women in the United States had to deal with on a daily basis, and called on women in the US to organize and petition for their rights. On the second day of the event men were actually invited to attend, among them author and famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The convention passed 12 motions, including one that urged that women’s right to participate in the electoral process was imperative, marking the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement. Let’s hear it for the badass women!!