The Battle of Long Island, also called the Battle of Brooklyn, was an important battle for America's independence. The largest and deadliest battle of the Revolutionary War was fought in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
A large British fighting force, commanded by brothers General Howe and Admiral Howe gathered together in Brooklyn to meet George Washington and the Continental Army in the first major battle of organized forces in the Revolutionary War on August 27th, 1776.
Both armies recognized the strategic importance of Manhattan Island (New York City) and the control of the Hudson River. Though young American army was driven to retreat and gave up Brooklyn and later Manhattan, the fact that they faced such a large and well-trained enemy, and survived only losing a fraction of their force was a victory in itself.
Despite their battle win, the British held back and this allowed Washington to take advantage of a rain-filled night to cover the sounds of moving almost his entire army across the river to safety. When the morning sun began to rise and some of the American troops were still on the island, luck was on their side as a dense fog moved in hiding their movement and enabling all of Washington's army to escape. The British plan of crushing the rebellion and quickly ending an "expensive war" was lost. It would be a harder fight than they realized.
The Americans lost over 1,000 soldiers in the battle and were badly discouraged by the loss. However, they stood together as an army defending the nation, gained valuable experience, and eventually won the war.
By the numbers, this battle was supposed to be a decisive British victory. Instead, the Battle of Long Island was the first major blow of a war that would drag on for seven more years and end in a recognized American democracy.
“The Battle for New York: the City at the Heart of the American Revolution.” The Battle for New York: the City at the Heart of the American Revolution, by
Barnet Schecter, Jonathan Cape, 2003, p. 3.
“The Battle of Brooklyn 1776.” The Battle of Brooklyn 1776, by John J. Gallagher, Heritage Books, 2004, pp. xv-50.
“Battle of Long Island.” Essential New York City Guide, www.essential-new-york-city-guide.com/battle-of-long-island.html.
This article was published in the August 11th, 1938 edition of Ken magazine. It was, until recently, available online. Efforts to find the copyright holder were unsuccessful and it is, therefore, considered an abandoned work.
It is copied here because it provides insight into the limited and unfair job prospects African Americans faced in the earliest part of the twentieth century as students read the book Bud, Not Buddy.
After the release of the Disney movie Pocahontas, many felt the true story was ignored.
The following was written by Chief Roy Crazy Horse and appeared on the www.powhatan.org website that is no longer published. It has been shortened for ease of readability by students, some vocabulary has been simplified, grammar and spelling errors have been fixed, and images added for visual appeal.
"Pocahontas" was a nickname, meaning "the naughty one" or "spoiled child." Her real name was Matoaka. The legend is that she saved a heroic John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father in 1607—she would have been about 10 or 11 at the time. The truth is that Smith's fellow colonists described him as an abrasive, ambitious, self-promoting mercenary soldier.
Of all of Powhatan's children, only "Pocahontas" is known, mostly because she became the hero of Euro-Americans as the "good Indian," one who saved the life of a white man. Not only is the "good Indian/bad Indian theme" given new life by Disney, but the history, as recorded by the English themselves, is false, written more in the name of "entertainment" than truth.
The first time John Smith told the story about this rescue was 17 years after it happened, and it was but one of three reported by Smith [who was known to brag] claiming he was saved from death by a famous woman.
Yet in an account Smith wrote after his winter stay with Powhatan's people, he never mentioned such an incident. In fact, the starving adventurer reported he had been kept comfortable and treated in a friendly fashion as an honored guest of Powhatan and Powhatan's brothers. Most scholars think the "Pocahontas incident" would have been highly unlikely, especially since it was part of a longer account used as reason to wage war on Powhatan's Nation.
Euro-Americans must ask themselves why it has been so important to raise Smith's fibbing to status as a national myth worthy of being recycled again by Disney. Disney even improves upon it by changing Pocahontas from a little girl into a young woman.
Two years later on the spring of 1616, Rolfe took her to England where the Virginia Company of London used her in their propaganda campaign to support the colony. She was wined and dined and taken to theaters. It was recorded that on one occasion when she encountered John Smith (who was also in London at the time), she was so furious with him that she turned her back to him, hid her face, and went off by herself for several hours. Later, in a second encounter, she called him a liar and showed him the door.
Rolfe, his young wife, and their son set off for Virginia in March of 1617, but "Rebecca" had to be taken off the ship at Gravesend. She died there on March 21, 1617 at the age of 21. She was buried at Gravesend, but the grave was destroyed in a reconstruction of the church. It was only after her death and her fame in London society that Smith found it convenient to invent the tall tale that she had rescued him.
History tells the rest. Chief Powhatan died the following spring of 1618. The people of Smith and Rolfe turned upon the people who had shared their resources with them and had shown them friendship. During Pocahontas' generation, Powhatan's people were killed by warfare and disease and those left were forced to leave their lands. A clear pattern had been set which would soon spread across the American continent.
Chief Roy Crazy Horse
The following is an excerpt from a webpage that is no longer published: https://web.archive.org/web/20141110085859/http://ab.mec.edu/jamestown/shiplife.html
Lack of storage space and inadequate preservation limited the types of food that could be carried on the ships. Most food was preserved by salting, drying, or pickling in vinegar. On long voyages, much food became spoiled—the biscuits moldy, the meat full of maggots, the beer watery, and water fouled. If the ship passed by land it usually would stop for fresh provisions as they did during the this voyage. The ships stopped in the Canary Islands and several islands in the Caribbean where they were able to get fish, birds, sea tortoises, wild boars, fruits, and vegetables. Food could only be cooked at sea if the weather was calm. An unbalanced diet, poor nutrition and spoiled rations often lead to much sickness.
History Channel. “2:20 / 2:55 America the Story of Us: Life in Jamestown.” YouTube, YouTube, 23 Apr. 2010, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssS6UoBoiuc.
John, Smith. “Captain John Smith Describes the Voyage of the First Jamestown Colonists - American Memory Timeline- Classroom Presentation: Teacher
Resources.” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/timeline/colonial/jamestwn
Marks, Archibald Andrew. “Jamestown Questions and Answers.” Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Warfieldian. “JamestownShips.” Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 June 2007, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JamestownShips.jpg.
By Cookie Davis
By 1854, James Birch and his partner, Frank Stevens, organized the California Stage Company by purchasing or merging 80% of all the stage lines in California. Both men became very wealthy and this enabled Birch to return to the east coast and build a mansion for his wife (whom he met while still in Providence).
Eventually, the California Stage Company also won a contract to deliver mail from San Antonio, Texas to San Diego, California. In 1857 Birch took another trip to the east coast traveling by ship to Panama, crossed the isthmus in a train, and then was aboard another paddle steamwheel on his way to New York when it was caught in a storm and sunk. He was only thirty years old when he died.
His widow, Julia, eventually married his best friend and business partner, Frank Stevens.
*The term "teamster" began as a term used to describe someone who drove a team of horses, oxen or mules pulling a wagon. These wagons were used to deliver materials and packages including everything from lumber to clothing. When engines were invented and trucks took over the job of hauling things, the truck drivers kept the name "teamster." That is why truck drivers today are known as teamsters.
Cool, Robert N. “The Swansea Stage Coach.” The Swansea Historical Society, 1976.
“James E. Birch (Entrepreneur).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki
Smith, Waddell F. “The Boom Days.” Western Publications, Inc., 1966.
James Birch photo courtesy of the Alpine Historical Society
Stage coach photo courtesy of Pixabay
This article was originally titled Honey Bees not Native to North America published November 11, 1999 on the blog On Six Legs. The author is former Purdue University Professor of Entomology, Tom Turpin. The blog and this particular post are no longer available online. Changes to this article were made to simplify vocabulary for younger students and to update newly released scientific information regarding honey bees in North America.
White man's flies
Honey bees were imported by European settlers. In fact, several early American writers, including Thomas Jefferson, reported that honey bees were called “white man's flies.” The name was recognition that the appearance of honey bees in America was associated with the arrival of the Europeans.
Though new discoveries indicate there were honey bees in North America in ancient times (Garvey, 2009), they had become extinct by the time Europeans began moving to, and taking over, the continent.
There was a close association between the westward migration of Europeans and the establishment of wild colonies of honey bees. Native Americans were said to have noticed that shortly after colonies of honey bees were discovered, white settlers would not be far behind.
When did the bees arrive?
Honey bees are among the most recognizable and helpful of the insects that live in North America, but these insects were unknown to Native People in North America.
So when did the first colonies of honey bees arrive in the New World? These bees probably came from England and arrived in Virginia in 1622. By 1639 colonies of honey bees were found throughout the woods in Massachusetts. Some of the colonists who arrived at Plymouth likely brought bees, as well as sheep, cows and chickens on the trip across the Atlantic.
Once the bees were introduced, they, like other insects, were able to increase their range (the area in which they could live) by moving into new territory. Honey bees increase colony numbers by swarming. Swarms are able to fly several miles to establish a new colony.
Such migrating swarms brought honey bees to Connecticut and Pennsylvania by the mid 1650s. Honey bees had swarmed their way into Michigan by 1776 and Missouri, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois by 1800. In the next 20 years or so, bees had made their way to Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Wisconsin.
Further westward migration of the honey bee was slow. In 1843 it was reported that there were no honey bees beyond Kansas. However, as Mormons migrated to Utah, bees came with them. The first bees were taken there on the back of a wagon in 1848. So successful was this introduction, it was reported that a large amount of honey was being made in the southern counties of Utah. By 1852 the swarms had reached Nevada.
Transporting colonies of bees either by sea or land in the 1700s and 1800s was not easy. The sea voyage from England lasted six to eight weeks, and it was not easy to keep bees alive for that length of time while they were unable to fly. There are many stories of attempts to transport bees that were unsuccessful.
For once in our history, the introduction of a foreign insect has a happy ending. Honey bees are necessary to pollinate much of the food grown on farms. They were necessary for California to become the largest agricultural producing state in America (Ricci). Honey bees are a very important part of agriculture in this country, and we really can't do without them. Even if they do sting us once in a while!
This information is taken from the site OutsideMom.com that is no longer published.
Every outdoor child should be equipped with a few basic outdoor skills along with a little "survival kit" to keep in their backpacks.
A survival kit is something that can be built upon over time. As you get older you can add more and more items (like fire starting supplies) if you how to use them safely and correctly.
Here is a sample of a minimal survival kit:
Flashlight and batteries
Water purification tablets
Small signaling mirror
Assuming you have these few basic tools, below are some good beginner skills to go over. The S.T.O.P. acronym (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan) is a great place to start, and is a helpful tool for kids when it comes time to remembering what they should do.
to do. You will probably have a meltdown when you realize you are lost. But then, understand how important it is to stay calm or become calm. It’s hard to think and plan unless you’re able to be rational. Recall everything you have been taught and go from there.
Look through your backpack. What do you have with you that can be of use? Whistle? Use it often. Food? Save it until you’re really hungry. Water? Save it until you’re really thirsty. Rope? That could be used for making a shelter. Knife? That might come in handy.
Also observe your surroundings. Does the place look at all familiar? Is there a good place for a shelter? Water nearby? A place where you can safely get up for a better view?
Now what? Take time to think about what you need to do first. Ok, You’ve blown your whistle for the last 20 minutes. Now what. It’s getting late, maybe you should think about a shelter.
Water is the most important survival item you can have; it’s also a hard one for little kids, which is why kids' packs should have plenty of water and you should understand the need to ration it if you become lost. Your body can still function with little or no food for weeks, but it can only last a few days without water.
The problem is, unless you find yourself lost next to a water source you shouldn’t exactly wander off looking for water and get even more lost. However, if it has been a day or two and you’re still lost and out of water, it’s going to be worth it to wander off and try to find some.
The easiest thing for little kids to use and carry is water purification tablets. If you're going to be hiking, make sure you have some in your pack and know how to use them. Also make sure you know when to start venturing out to find water.
If you’re lost in the wild, surviving is, of course, your first priority. Your second should be getting yourself out of there! There are several safe and easy ways you can make a signal.
By Cookie Davis
In December of 1777, George Washington had about 12,000 troops in southeastern Pennsylvania preparing their winter camp. According to an order given by General Washington, the soldiers at Valley Forge were divided into groups of twelve to build huts to house themselves during the winter of 1777-1778.
Since it was already winter when they arrived, it was critical that they construct the huts quickly. Therefore, General Washington offered a prize of twelve dollars to the group in each regiment who finished their hut first.
The dimensions of the huts were as follows: 12 feet by 16 feet for the perimeter and 6 feet high. The sides were to be made from logs and the roof of planks. The logs were chinked with mud (they filled all the spaces between the logs with mud). No requirements were given for the floors, and in fact most had none.
Chimneys also were not required, but the fireplaces were made from fieldstones and the cracks were filled with mud. There were no windows just a single door. Twelve bunks were built into the sides of the walls. When the spring finally arrived, Washington ordered the chinking in the logs removed to increase the air circulation within the huts.
Although precise recommendations had been given as to how and what to use for building materials, with 12,000 men needing housing quickly, they were forced to use whatever was the most convenient. Also, the carpentry expertise of the men in the individual regiments varied greatly. As a result, some soldiers fared better than others. The northern regiments tended to be more skilled in building huts that were more effective in keeping out the wind and the cold. The southern soldiers were not aware of what to expect from a northern winter!
Much of the information on this page was taken from the Westford Public Schools' site entitled "Valley Forge Huts" that is no longer published.
Lord, Phil. “Research and Documentation.” Valley Forge Hut Model, 12 Sept. 2015, www.living-in-the-past.com/hut.html.
Nardini, Marge, and Cheryl Pulkowski. “Valley Forge Huts.” The American Revolution, The Wayback Machine Rovi Corporation, Nov. 2000, web.archive.org/web
Valley Forge National Historical Park General Management Plan. “Overview of History and Significance.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,
This information was taken from the Fairfax County Public Schools site which is no longer published.
Field crickets are the crickets everyone sees and hears in late summer and fall. They grow up to an inch long, and are black and brown or sometimes red. They have large hind legs and two cerci (spiky things coming out of the back of their abdomens).
Female field crickets also have an ovipositor. An ovipositor is the longer spiky thing (about 3/4 inch) coming from the abdomen between the cerci.
Field crickets live mostly in fields and forest edges.
Why do they chirp?
Once field crickets are fully grown (about a month and a half after they are born) they will look for a mate. Male crickets chirp or "sing" to attract females and as a warning to other males to stay away from their territory. Female crickets can't chirp. The "song" is made by rubbing the front wings together. Since baby crickets are born in the spring, summer means they finally have fully developed wings and are able to rub them together to produce a sound. By the end of summer and beginning of fall as more and more crickets mature, they can be heard—often quite loudly—in the evenings. Females hear the song through tympanum (eardrums) on their front legs. Once a female approaches a male, he will do a move back and forth in a sort of courtship "dance."
For most species of cricket, the warmer the weather, the faster they chirp. One species of cricket, the snowy tree cricket, has been found to have such a regular chirp rate that counting the number of its chirps in 14 seconds and adding 40 will accurately tell you what temperature it is! Field crickets are most active at night. The songs of many males can be heard on summer and fall evenings. The song is usually a high trill played in threes.
After mating, female field crickets look for some damp soil to lay eggs. They inject their ovipositors, like a needle, deep into the soil. She will lay about 50 eggs at a time through her ovipositor. One female can lay over 400 eggs in her short life.
Field cricket eggs hatch in the spring, usually May. Young crickets are called nymphs. Nymphs eat a lot and grow quickly. They will molt (shed their outer skin) eight or more times as they grow up. With each molt, the nymphs look more and more like an adult. Young nymphs basically look like a cricket with no wings.
Field crickets do not survive over the winter. Any adult crickets or nymphs will die when cold weather arrives. Eggs, however, overwinter. They will survive and hatch the following spring.
Field crickets eat plant material, especially seeds, small fruits, and living and dead insects. If they are really hungry, they will even eat each other!
Predators of the field cricket include birds, frogs, toads, turtles, and other insects.
The text on this site was copied from the article What's Motion Sickness from the site kidshealth.org. This page on the site is no longer published.
If you've ever been sick to your stomach while riding in a car, train, airplane, or boat, you know exactly what motion sickness feels like. It's no fun.
To understand motion sickness, it helps to understand a few parts of your body and how they affect the way you feel movement:
The brain gets an instant report from these different parts of your body and tries to put together a total picture about what you are doing just at that moment. But if any of the pieces of this picture don't match, you can get motion sickness.
For example, if you're riding in a car and reading a book, your inner ears and skin receptors will detect that you are moving forward. However, your eyes are looking at a book that isn't moving, and your muscle receptors are telling your brain that you're sitting still. So the brain gets a little confused. Things may begin to feel a little scrambled inside your head at that point.
When this happens, you might feel really tired, dizzy, or sick to your stomach. Sometimes you might even throw up. And if you're feeling scared or anxious, your motion sickness might get even worse.
Avoiding Motion Sickness
To avoid motion sickness:
If you feel this way easily during any kind of movement, it's a good idea to go to the doctor. They will want to make sure there's nothing wrong with your inner ears or any of the other body parts that sense movement.
But for typical motion sickness, your parent may be able to give you medicine before you travel. For some kids, it may help to wear pressure bracelets that can be bought at the drugstore.
If you feel yourself getting sick while you're traveling in a car, it might help if the driver finds a safe spot where you can get out and walk around a little bit. If you can't pull over, make sure you have a plastic bag in the car — just in case!
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
I often struggle to find websites with thorough explanations in simple language to help kids understand historical events or scientific concepts, so I decided to create some of my own!