Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Let's Hear It for the Girls!
On the other hand, Mrs. Joshua Loring's contribution was inadvertent, but very possibly, critical. Betsey Loring (see picture*) was the daughter of a Loyalist family living in the Boston area, who became the mistress of General William Howe during the British occupation of that city. In return for her favors, the general placed Betsey's husband, Joshua Loring, Jr., in charge of commissary for prisoners. As long as the money kept rolling in, everyone was content with the arrangement.
Wherever Howe went, Betsey followed, including Philadelphia, where she kept the general so happy that it was suggested by his critics that he had passed up an opportunity to wipe out the Continentals then encamped nearby at Valley Forge in order to more fully enjoy Mrs. Loring's company. Their conduct merited the following doggerel:
Awake, awake, Sir Billy, There's forage in the plain.
If Howe had marched on Washington's army at Valley Forge, there is an excellent chance that the war would have ended in a devastating defeat for the Americans and could have decided the war in Britain's favor. Mrs. Loring's contribution to the cause of liberty is another one of history's "what ifs." However, as an American, I'd like to thank both ladies for their service.
*This is actually a picture of Peggy Shippen, the wife of Benedict Arnold, but it gives you an idea of what a pretty lass would have looked like in 1777 Philadelphia.
Posted by Mary Simonsen at 9:47 AM