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Words in Context - Colonial Research Associates Words in Context - Colonial Research Associates

Words in Context

Words-In-Context for The 14th Colony: George Washington’s Planned Invasions of East Florida

Chapter Two: Why St. Augustine was so important to Great Britain

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Crude Oil: Petroleum as it comes out of the ground, before it is refined into other petroleum products, such as gasoline, motor oil, kerosene, etc.

Naval Stores: During the Revolutionary War era, naval stores were a reference to supplies that were used to build and maintain warships and other vessels. It often referred to products of the pine tree – pine tar, pitch, or turpentine.

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Offensive: The word “offensive” has many meanings. In this case it would be more like the game of football, where you have a defense that defends a goal and an offensive that tries to march into the other team’s goal. A military offensive is when an army is trying to capture their enemy’s territory and move forward toward their main targets.

Shell Game: You know what a shell game is by reading the definition of Three Card Monte. In this context, we refer to the constant “swapping” of Caribbean islands after each war to resemble a real life shell game, where lives and territory are shuffled regularly in order to enrich empires and kings.

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Jewel: A jewel is something of precious value and worth. In this case, it was the value of having a great fortress like the Castillo de San Marcos to protect St. Augustine.

Insert: Invading East Florida was no easy task

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Campaign: Multiple military offensives typically taking place within a specific geographic region and with a common goal.

Funneled: To be channeled or pushed in a specific direction because of the circumstances around you.

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Slugging: In this case, to march over ground so difficult and harsh that it’s like being in a fight to stay alive.

Muscle: Similar to “Slugging”: to “muscle their way out” of something is a way of describing how much energy it took to march through this rugged terrain.

Rallying (to rally): In this case, the act of organizing for a common cause or to come together for a purpose.

Insert: Lt. Colonel Thomas Brown and the East Florida


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Brands: Red-hot irons, such as what cowboys use to brand cattle.

Suit of Tar and Feathers: A mocking reference to the covering of someone’s body in hot tar and feathers.

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Lightning-strike raids: Also known as hit-and-run raids; to catch your enemy by surprise by striking quickly and without warning, then to disappear just as quickly before they can recover to fight back properly. This was the best way for small groups of soldiers to harass larger armies.

Chapter Three: The Invasion of 1776

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Reduction (to reduce): In this case, to overrun the defenses of St. Augustine and capture it.

Formation: In this case, to remove the leaders and type of government (British) that was in place, and start new by overseeing the process of putting together a different type of government (American) with new leaders.

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Ravaged: To ravage something is like when a wild, hungry animal tears something to pieces. In this case, there were very few men who weren’t sick with fevers, so it was like a beast (disease) had torn the American army to pieces.

Chapter Four: The Invasion of 1777

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Powder: This was the common reference during this era to gunpowder.

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Inflamed: In this case, hatred and bad blood between the officers and soldiers in the Georgia militia and the Continental Army grew more and more as the two leaders continued to argue and fight publically.

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Intercepted: Just like in football or soccer when a pass is cut-off by a member of the other team, Brown’s Rangers got in front of Baker’s troops and cut them off from reaching their destination.

Scorched-earth policy: This was a brutal tactic in war during this era, where thousands of acres of land and everything on it would be burned to the ground. Often, this tactic was used by an invading army to punish those on the other side who depended on the land to live, but in this case Governor Tonyn burned his own land in order to keep the invading army from feeding themselves from his storehouses.

Quarters: Quarters is a word used to describe the buildings or homes where people were lodged by others. In this case, it was the lodgings of Governor Tonyn’s slaves.

Mills: Most often this refers to a building that houses equipment or machinery for grinding, sawing, or otherwise manufacturing one product from another. An example of this would be a lumber mill that cuts trees into usable lumber or grinds pulp to make paper. Another example would be a flour mill that grinds wheat into flour. But mills are not always the building that house these machines if the machines themselves are small. An example of this would be a coffee grinder, which was originally called a coffee mill.

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Piercing: To penetrate or march through fairly easily, just as a knife would pierce tender meat.

Plagued: In this case, to trouble, annoy, or torment. These three men would never live down the fact that they acted like cowards.

Chapter Five: The First Invasion of 1778

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Regulars: “Regulars” were professional soldiers who enlisted in the national army or navy, as opposed to state militia – civilians who fought when their states agreed to supply the national army with extra men.

Breached: To break through, such as an army breaking through the defenses of their enemy. It is also a word used by 19th-century whalers when whales would “breach” the surface of the ocean, making it easier to find and catch them.

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Achilles Heel: A trait or physical thing that is the one weak spot of an otherwise strong object. The phrase comes from Greek mythology – look it up!

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Mounted: In this case, to be on horseback.

Chapter Seven: The Invasion of 1780

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Cast: Just like someone fishing will cast their line in a certain direction that they are focusing on, Washington “cast his eye” – his focus and attention – back toward St. Augustine.

Tromping (to tromp): In this case, to march wearily and without a great deal of success. Today, it’s not unusual for this term to be used to describe a lop-sided sports’ score.