Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Winner of the 2018 Harry M. Ward Book Prize

Larrie D. Ferreiro, Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016).

How important were the French and Spanish to the success of the American Revolution?  VERY, is the conclusion of 2018 Harry M. Ward Prize-winning author Larrie D. Ferreiro.  In his superb Brothers at Arms (a Pulitzer Prize finalist) Ferreiro makes an overwhelming case.  When the first shots of the War for Independence rang out, the patriots had no army, no navy, no common currency, no diplomatic standing, little manufacturing capacity, and little in the way of powder and the other sinews of war—and thus little hope against the far-superior military, political, and financial resources of the British Empire.  The Americans also lived in a world generally hostile to republics. So why did the French and Spanish help?  Ferreiro explains the complex international political scene that saw the two monarchies unite with the nascent republic in an alliance of convenience, each ally fighting Britain with its own agenda.  As Brothers at Arms shows, the alliance was decisive.  Together the French and Spanish (although during the war Spain, unlike France, never officially recognized the United States) covertly and overtly provided the modern equivalent of billions of dollars in direct financial aid, loans, arms, and matériel.  They also committed thousands of troops and ships against Britain in theaters around the globe, and they provided vital diplomatic support. “Instead of viewing the American Revolution in isolation,” as one reviewer has nicely put it, “Brothers at Arms reveals the birth of the American nation as the centerpiece of an international coalition fighting against a common enemy.”  No other historian has dealt so well with this complex and fascinating story--this an important book.

--Mark Lender

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"Recovered Memories: Spain and the Support for the American Revolution" Exhibit: Through November 18, 2018

Thanks to our Carol Beam, also a DAR member, about "Recovered Memories: Spain and the Support for the American Revolution."  Details are here. 

"Recovered Memories: Spain and the Support for the American Revolution" showcases this support from Spain for the American colonies prior to and during the Revolutionary War, and also highlights notable Spanish figures whose lives impacted the emerging new country. The exhibit takes the visitor on a chronological journey of Spanish-American relations beginning with Spain’s own Age of Enlightenment during the reign of Charles III, through the times of European and American revolutions, and ending with the technological advancements at the turn of the 20th century.

Organized by Iberdrola and SPAIN arts & culture, the temporary exhibition is on display through November 18, 2018, at the Embassy of Spain’s Cultural Office at 2801 16th Street NW. It features historical documents and works of art. Also on display are clothing of the period, musical instruments, maps of colonial America, and many other historical pieces.

Yorktown Events: October 19-21, 2018

The 237th anniversary of America’s decisive Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be marked on Yorktown Day, Friday, October 19, at Yorktown Battlefield, administered by Colonial National Historical Park, an annual event that will feature a patriotic Yorktown Day Parade and Commemorative Ceremony at the Monument to Victory and Alliance, also known as the Yorktown Victory Monument. 

The Yorktown Day events are a prelude to weekend programs on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, with artillery demonstrations, military music and hands-on interpretive programs at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open house tours at Yorktown Battlefield, and special events in Historic Yorktown. 

Yorktown Day marks the anniversary of the American-French victory in 1781 over the British. In 1781, following a nine-day bombardment, British forces in Yorktown under General Charles Cornwallis requested a cease-fire and then surrendered more than 8,000 soldiers and sailors to the combined American and French armies commanded by General George Washington. This was the last major military action of the American Revolution, effectively securing independence for the American colonies following a six-and-a-half-year military struggle.

Colonial National Historical Park Annual Commemorative Event

The modern-day observance of Yorktown Day traces its roots to 1922, when the Daughters of the American Revolution began an annual wreath-laying ceremony, which set the tradition upon which the current Yorktown Day is based. Today, Yorktown Day commemorative events are co-sponsored by the Yorktown Day Association, comprised of 13 civic, patriotic and government organizations, and the National Park Service, Colonial National Historical Park.

In addition to morning wreath-laying ceremonies, the official Yorktown Day Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. The route will follow Yorktown’s Main Street and pass in front of the Monument to Alliance and Victory, erected in 1881 to commemorate the military victory a century before. Included in the 35 parade units are representatives of all branches of the U.S. military, fifes and drums corps – including The U.S. Army Old Guard Fifes & Drums Corps – JROTC and NJROTC units, and patriotic organizations.

Patriotic exercises will commence at the Monument to Alliance and Victory at 11:15 a.m. with the annual parade of flags that includes the 3rd Infantry Color Guard and flags of the 13 Yorktown Day Association members. At the conclusion of the patriotic exercises, a wreath will be placed on the monument in memory of those who fought and died during the siege of Yorktown in 1781.  

The Old Guard Fifes & Drums Corps will perform at 1:00 p.m. at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center, and Revolutionary War guided tours by Living History Associates will be offered at 1:45 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

On October 19, admission to Yorktown Battlefield will be free as part of the Yorktown Day celebration. For more information, call (757) 898-2410 or visit


The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will offer a public lecture at 3 p.m. Friday, October 19, by historian and author Ray Raphael. In “How to Listen and Win Wars,” Raphael will explore General George Washington’s willingness to consult colleagues on military decisions. A book signing will follow the lecture.

During its annual “Yorktown Victory Celebration” event on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will present a variety of hands-on experiences, artillery firings and military music. Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold at the expansive history museum through an introductory film, exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm. Visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors, take part in interpretive demonstrations, and experience the “Siege of Yorktown” immersive theater.

Visitors can take in the ongoing “Blast from the Past: Artillery in the War of Independence” special exhibition that examines the American, French and British artillery used during the Siege of Yorktown. In conjunction with the weekend celebration, the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra will perform 12 musical compositions in salute to the military, culminating with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” accompanied by the sounds of artillery. The symphony performance will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 21.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. Special events are included with museum admission: $15.00 for adults, $7.50 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including College of William and Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. “Yorktown Victory Celebration” activities are presented in part by the York County Arts Commission. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll free or (757) 253-4838, or visit


 The Colonial National Historical Park at Yorktown Battlefield, site of the climactic 1781 siege, will offer open houses of historic Yorktown homes on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, in commemoration of the defeat of Lord Cornwallis to the combined forces of Generals Washington and Rochambeau.

The Nelson House, home of Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, will be open 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The Moore House, where surrender negotiations took place, will be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Programs begin at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center, located at 1000 Colonial Parkway at the eastern end of the Colonial Parkway, 12 miles from Williamsburg. For more information, including times for programs and demonstrations, call (757) 898-2410 or visit


 Visitors can ride the free Yorktown Trolley all weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with convenient drop-offs at several attractions throughout Yorktown, including the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Another stop on the route is The Gallery at York Hall which will be featuring the work of historian Chris Bonin the entire month of October. On October 19, from 12:30 to 3 p.m., Jenny L. Cote and Alan R. Hoffman will be doing book signings of “The Voice of Revolution & the Key” and “Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825.”

 Riverwalk Landing will be filled with exciting attractions and entertainment for this momentous local anniversary. Enjoy Yorktown’s waterfront farmers market Saturday, October 20, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Then, bundle up and set sail on the York River when you book a ticket on the Schooners Alliance or Serenity, which depart daily at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. from the Riverwalk Landing piers. Water Street Grille and Yorktown Pub will offer live music Friday and Saturday evenings, and Riverwalk Restaurant will serve its Sunday brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn more about Yorktown’s special events at or call (757) 890-3500.

ARRT-Richmond Preservation Efforts

Over the last eleven years, the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond has donated $2780.00 to a variety of historical causes. These include our yearly Preservation Partner, our annual Revolutionary War Trust membership and donations, and other worthy efforts. That’s $2780.00! This is certainly a record of which all members can be very proud. You’ve all shown your colors when it comes to saving revolutionary land, structures, and documents. Huzza to you all!  There will be more specific details at the November meeting.

2019 Meeting Dates Announced

For your planning pleasure, the dates of our 2019 meetings are listed under the Meetings tab above. Topics and speakers will be added once they are finalized.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Event: "Mid-Atlantic Campaigns, 1776-1778" Yorktown, VA, November 17-18, 2018

The American Revolution Consortium for Civic Education is presenting the above-titled symposium at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Click the link directly below to go to the brochure.

Next Meeting: November 14, 2018

"'To Bring the American Army under Strict Discipline': British Army Foraging Policy in the South," Greg Urwin

Meetings are held in the Westhampton Room, Heilman Dining Center (dining hall--building 34 on the campus map), University of Richmond, at 6:30 p.m. with dinner available for purchase beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Please plan on joining us!

University of Richmond campus map: