What if a reporter was embedded with George Washington during the height of the Revolutionary War? Josiah Teasdale was hired by James Rivington to do just that. For the next two weeks @NYGazetteer will take you into the trenches, across the Delaware, and into the Battle of Trenton, in real time.
James Rivington was born in London in 1724 to a family of successful publishers. 37 years later, upon his arrival in New York City, he became a publisher himself via a newspaper called Rivington’s Gazetteer.
According to historical accounts, The Gazetteer started out as a balanced source of news (it’s slogan, printed at the top of the front page, was “Open and Uninfluenced”), but things quickly changed once hostilities got underway.
According to King’s Handbook of New York City 1892, “Rivington’s Gazetteer stigmatized the patriots as rebels, traitors, banditti, fermenters of sedition, sons of licentiousness and the like.”
That kind of talk did not go over well with the patriots.
Rivington was burned in effigy by the Sons of the Liberty and, in 1775, angry colonists forced him to flee the city and take refuge aboard a British ship. A few months later, another group attacked his press, destroying it and using its parts to make bullets. But that did not stop Rivington from finding ways to print his paper.
And that is where our story begins.
It’s now December, 1776 and the war is in full effect. Tired of what he considers to be patriot-propaganda, James Rivington has an idea that is well ahead of its time: He decides to embed a reporter with George Washington’s unit under the auspices of reporting the “truth” about what is happening.
That reporter, the intrepid Josiah Teasdale, arrives in General Washington’s camp on December 23, 1776 and spends the next thirteen days live-tweeting everything he sees and hears. While he didn’t know it then, those thirteen days—encompassing the crossing of the Delaware River, two battles of Trenton and the battle of Princeton—turn out to be some of the most decisive of the entire war.
They are the thirteen days that shook the world. And now you can relive them, live.
Follow Josiah Teasdale on Twitter at: @NYGazetteer and ask him questions via the hashtag #TweetingGW. His real-time tweets cover December 23, 1776 through January 4, 1777 and will be published live from November 28, 2011 through December 10, 2011.
What has Teasdale said so far today?