OT: War of 1812

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 28 03:36:34 UTC 2010

Vic Steinbok
> Whatever the case, it would be nice to have a few references--even if
> they are equally unreliable--that predate the two 1825 accounts.

It is reasonable to be skeptical.

I have found relevant citations in 1809 and 1810 regarding the "white
of their eyes" saying at Bunker Hill. I will post them later today or

I also found a 1826 newspaper account that says the witness Philip
Johnson gave his statement to a Magistrate on 1818 August 6. Johnson's
statement claimed that he heard General Putnam say 'Men, you know you
are all good marksmen; you, can take a squirrel from the tallest tree;
don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes.'

Here is a 1794 cite about the "Old English way of fighting":

Cite: 1794 June, The Gentleman's Magazineā€Ž, Particulars of the late
glorious Naval Victory by P. M.,  Page 494, Printed by John Nichols,

Earl Howe plainly convinced the Sans culottes that he could yet shew
them the Old English way of fighting, "not to fire before he could see
the whites of their eyes." The crews of the ships that sunk all
perished; a fine gang for Old Davy indeed!


Details when I get a chance; or someone else may find something better,

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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