The Hand of God
in America's War
for Independence

 

 


The Bible tells us that stormy winds fulfill God’s Word (Ps. 148:8). God controls the weather and God knows what He is doing. God’s Hand was involved in the Revolutionary War, our country’s war for independence. The weather played a key role in at least two of the important battles.

General George Washington's first challenge of the war was to outsmart the British forces which were occupying the city of Boston. The British controlled the city of Boston; Washington made Cambridge his headquarters. The British greatly outnumbered the so-called "rebels," and had more troops, more canons, and more gun powder. The British troops were very well trained, whereas the Americans were a group of farmers and common people.  They had volunteered to fight for freedom but had little battlefield experience and little military training.

However, the Americans had a brilliant general. One night Washington pulled off a great surprise. In total silence, in the darkness of night, and with the help of favorable weather conditions (including a fog which shielded them from British eyes), he moved his army to Dorchester Heights. Being on higher ground was a huge advantage in war. At daybreak, the British commanders looking up at the Heights could scarcely believe their eyes as they saw the Americans up on higher ground. They were totally surprised. General Howe, the British general, said, "These fellows have done more work in one night than I could make my army do in three months."

General Howe then made the decision to attack even though the Americans had the advantage of higher ground, as was the case earlier at Bunker Hill. The Americans held the higher ground which is always an advantage in battle, but the British had a huge army which was well supplied.  It would have been a very bloody battle with huge losses on both sides, and it probably would have changed the course of history.

The British General Howe decided to attack at night. It was early March, 1776. His troops were all ready. But the battle never happened. God did something! God intervened. During the previous day the weather had been very pleasant; it was even abnormally warm. But by nightfall a storm raged. There was hail mixed with snow and sleet. By midnight the wind blew with almost hurricane force. Windows were smashed and fences were blown over. One American lieutenant called it the worst storm that he was ever exposed to. The next morning the wind continued to blow and the snow and sleet changed over to a driving rain.

The British general had no choice. He could not fight under those conditions. So instead, the entire British army evacuated the city of Boston without a fight. If it wasn't for that blizzard, American history could have been very different.

The next major battleground was in and around Long Island and New York City toward the end of August in 1776. General Washington was fighting the British army, and had suffered serious losses. The Americans were greatly outnumbered and the British navy controlled the waterways. He had no choice but to retreat. Washington along with 9000 men had to cross the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan. It was their only way of escape.

At first they could not proceed with their planned retreat across the East River because the wind was contrary. But God did something. God intervened. About eleven o'clock that night the northeast wind died down and then the wind shifted to the southwest. The weather was now favorable for the crossing. When morning broke God sent a rare August fog so thick that the British could not see what was happening. At about eight in the morning the fog dispersed, the Americans had landed safely in Manhattan, and the enemy was now visible on the shore that they had just left from. If they had not crossed the river, their army would have been destroyed. In a single night, 9,000 troops had escaped across the river and not a life was lost. The only men captured were three who had hung back to plunder. The British army was utterly astonished. That the rebel army had silently vanished in the night under their very noses was almost inconceivable.

The God who controls the weather played a key role in these early stages of the Revolutionary War.  This was acknowledge by George Washington himself in the nation’s first inaugural address: “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency..."

For complete documentation, see the book 1776 by David McCullough.

 


The Middletown Bible Church
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