General Earl Percy’s Strange Encounter

By Samuel Phineas Upham

General Hugh Percy, dubbed the Earl of Percy or Earl Percy, was a politically conscious man with very divisive opinions for a man of his stature. A Whig party member, during the American Revolutionary War he sided with the colonists during the early stages of the conflict.

The more brash their actions became, the less he cared for their motives and eventually found himself denouncing and actively fighting against their cause.

During the Battles of Lexington and Concord, he played an important role in helping to provide an escape route for the retreating British. While the American side could claim the first battles of the War, the British executed a brilliant strategic maneuver using a road the New Englanders didn’t know they had knowledge of.

And they didn’t.

The entire move was happenstance thanks to a Harvard tutor who happened to be walking down the road at the time. Historical records indicate this man was completely oblivious to the outbreak of war and correctly identified the road into Lexington.

This road allowed Percy to reinforce Francis Smith’s brigade and gave the British a chance to retreat without losing everything. In the process, Percy strategically saved the last of his artillery shells, using only a few cannon rounds to break up American forces and make it harder to pursue the British fighters. He then directed his army to Charleston, successfully avoiding a path that would have been blocked off.

The battle left Percy with a grudging respect of the New Englanders, who he admitted “know very well what they are about”.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Samuel Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn.

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