Abigail Adams to John Adams, June 18, 1775
Shortly after the Battle of Bunker Hill, Abigail Adams wrote one of the many letters she penned to her husband, John, then in Philadelphia serving in the Second Continental Congress. On a hill near her farm with her young son, Johnny, she had watched the smoke of the battle rising above Charlestown. She wrote partly to tell her husband that their friend Dr. Joseph Warren had been killed in the fight.
Dearest Friend, The Day, perhaps the decisive Day is come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting heart must find vent at my pen. I have just heard that our dear friend Dr. Warren is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his country—saying better to die honorably in the field than ignominiously hang upon the gallows. Great is our loss. He has distinguished himself in every engagement, by his courage and fortitude, by animating the soldiers and leading them on by his own example. . . .
The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Trust in him at all times, ye people pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us—Charleston is laid in ashes. . . .
How [many ha]ve fallen we know not—the constant roar of the cannon is so [distre]ssing that we can not eat, drink, or sleep. May we be supported and sustained in the dreadful conflict. I shall tarry here till tis thought unsafe by my friends, and then I have secured myself a retreat at your brother’s, who has kindly offered me part of his house. I cannot compose myself to write any further at present. I will add more as I hear further.
American History Parade
1812 The United States declares war against Britain in the War of 1812.
1873 Suffragist Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for trying to vote in the 1872 presidential election (a fine she refuses to pay).
1928 Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, as a passenger on a flight piloted by Wilmer Stultz (she later becomes the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic).
1948 Columbia Records unveils the latest in audio technology: a long-playing, 33? rpm phonograph record.
1983 Sally Ride becomes America’s first woman in space when she blasts off aboard the space shuttle Challenger.