Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Next Meeting: September 15, 2021


At our next meeting Holly Mayer will speak about Congress's Own: A Canadian Regiment, the Continental Army, and American Union. 

This will again be a Zoom meeting. Log-in details will be in our September newsletter.

Meeting Notes: May 19, 2021

 ARRT-Richmond 5/19/21 Meeting Notes

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:

ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for 7/21/21 at 6:30 p.m.  This is a zoom meeting!  Sign in

details will be provided in the May newsletter.  Thanks again to Peggy Watson for

allowing us to utilize the Osher network.

Dr. Robert A. Selig will be our July 21st speaker, presenting virtually on “Do You Believe in Magic? Spells and Witchcraft during the American War of Independence”.

Dr. Selig is a historical consultant who received his Ph. D. in history from the Universitat Wurzburg in Germany in 1988. He has published a number of books on the American War of Independence such as Hussars in Lebanon! A Connecticut Towns and Lauzan’s Legion during the American Revolution, 1780-1781 and a translation of A Treatise on Partisan Warfare by Johann von Ewald.  Dr. Selig is a specialist on the role of French forces under Count de Rochambeau during the American Revolutionary War and serves as a project historian to the National Park Service for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail

 

Guest Speaker – Jack Kelly – “Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty”

Mr. Kelly is an award-winning author and historian.  His books include “Band of Giants:  The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence”, which received the DAR History Medal.  He is also the author of “The Edge of Anarchy”, “Heaven’s Ditch”, and “Gunpowder” and is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in Nonfiction Literature.  Kelly has appeared on The History Channel, National Public Radio, and C-Span.  He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Mr. Kelly believes “Valcour” is the most important, unknown battle of the American Revolution.

Mr. Kelly considers “Valcour” to be unknown because of the instrumental role Benedict Arnold played in the battle and that covering a battle that occurs on water is very complicated.

In the spring of 1776, the American Army after returning from Canada was suffering through a

small-pox outbreak that rendered a substantial amount of its manpower combat in-effective. 

American leaders knew that if the British regained naval superiority on Lake Champlain they could use the lake as a highway allowing them to transport men and supplies south to Fort Ticonderoga.  If the British re-took Fort Ticonderoga they could more south down the Hudson Valley to Albany and then on towards New York City.  Control of the lake might also allow British forces to move east off the lake into New Hampshire and towards Boston.

The naval threat on Lake Champlain caused an arms race as both the Americans and British hurried to build fleets.

The three American general officers leading the effort where General Philip Schuyler, General Horatio Gates, and General Benedict Arnold.  General Schuyler provided logistical expertise including moving naval stores to the lake.  General Gates provided administrative experience that allowed him to handle the small pox outbreak, improve morale, and impose stricter discipline on the army.  General Arnold brought sailing experience and was a proven combat leader who was able to inspire the men serving under him.  In addition, Arnold was familiar with the area based upon his experience traveling through the area before the war.

In 1776 Gates and Arnold got along well. General Gates was serving as the Army’s operational commander and appointed General Arnold as it’s “Fleet Commander”.  In this role General Arnold was responsible for building the fleet and leading it into battle.

“Building a Fleet in the Wilderness” required logistical feats such as moving naval stores through the woods and trails of eastern New York and enticing skilled labor to move from the Atlantic coast to the shores of Lake Champlain.

American fleet construction was centered on row galleys and gunboats while the British under General Carleton labored to construct a frigate, “Inflexible”.

In late August, Arnold moved the American Fleet north in an effort to locate Carleton’s fleet.  However on September 30th Arnold moved his fleet south to the west-side of Valcour Island.  This move offered protection from bad weather and allowed Arnold to hide his inferior force from the British.

On October 11th the British fleet passed Valcour Island to the east.  Once the British fleet was south of the island Arnold began the battle forcing the British fleet to maneuver north.  Combat lasted for hours but eventually British naval superiority began to win the day.  Near sunset, the Inflexible was finally able to join the fight and the American fleet was defeated.  During the night Arnold sailed south with what was left of his fleet.

While Arnold lost the battle on October 11th his efforts caused Carlton to stop at Crown Point for 2 weeks.  Once the first snow reached Lake Champlain at the end of October, Carleton made the decision that the campaign was over and moved his army back north to Canada.

In the eyes of Mr. Kelly if Arnold hadn’t built a fleet which he lead tenaciously at “Valcour”

Carlton would have sailed south and seized Fort Ticonderoga.  From Fort Ticonderoga, Carleton could have then moved south down the Hudson, meeting the Howe brothers in New York, and assisting in the destruction of Washington’s Army.  This would have ended the American Revolution in last months of 1776.

--Noah Rogers

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

19th Francis Marion Symposium, October 22-23, 2021

You're invited to come to the 19th Francis Marion Symposium, Oct 22-23, 2021, Manning, SC.

Explore the Revolutionary War Southern Campaign with General Francis Marion.

Immerse yourself in Francis Marion's world and the significance of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution.

"Times of Francis Marion, 1732-1795"

Presentations & evening dinner

Site: FE DuBose Campus, Central Carolina Technical College, I-95, Exit 122, Manning, SC

Plan now:   Register & participate: www.francismarionsymposium.com

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Harry M. Ward Book Prize: 2021 Nominees

Following are the books nominated for the 2021 Harry M. Ward Book Prize:

Winston Groom, The Patriots: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the Making of America (Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2020).

Donald F Johnson, Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of
Revolution (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).

Cyrus Ansary, George Washington Dealmaker-In-Chief: The Story of How the Father of Our Country Unleashed the Entrepreneurial Spirit in America (Bethesda, MD: Lambert Publications, 2019).

Mary Beth Norton, 1774: The Long Year of Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020).

Nina Sankovitch, American Rebels: How the Hancock, Adams, and Quincy Families Fanned the Flames of Revolution (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2020).

Arthur S. Lefkowitz, Colonel Hamilton and Colonel Burr: The Revolutionary War Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr (Lanham, MD: Stackpole Books, 2020).

Michael Cecere, General Peter Muhlenberg: A Virginia Officer of the Continental Line (Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2020).

T. Cole Jones, Captives of Liberty Prisoners of War and the Politics of Vengeance in the American Revolution (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).

Thursday, May 20, 2021

St. John's Church Memorial Day Weekend Tours and Reenactments

 

Memorial Day Weekend

Let's kick off summer and welcome the delegates back to Richmond
We are 
OPEN for a 4-DAY WEEKEND 
Friday May 28th thru Monday May 31
offering Church Tours AND

TWO Reenactments! 
Tickets
Sunday May 30th AND  Monday May 31st
at 1:30 PM

seats are limited / reserve your seat now
THIS WEEKEND MAY 22 - 23RD
Liberty or Death Tours

Historic Graveyard and Visitor Center

SAT 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
SUN 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Tours
We look forward to seeing you! 

Questions? Please call the Visitor Center at 804.648.5015.

Thank You For Your Support. 
Your Ticket Supports Our Educational Programming.

Our Calendar is Filling Out

In addition to Bob Selig speaking at our July 21 Zoom meeting, Holly Mayer will speak at our September 15 meeting on the topic of Congress's Own, a Canadian Regiment. This meeting will most likely also be on Zoom, but stay tuned!

[from Amazon.com:]

Colonel Moses Hazen’s 2nd Canadian Regiment was one of the first “national” regiments in the American army. Created by the Continental Congress, it drew members from Canada, eleven states, and foreign forces. “Congress’s Own” was among the most culturally, ethnically, and regionally diverse of the Continental Army’s regiments—a distinction that makes it an apt reflection of the union that was struggling to create a nation.

The 2nd Canadian, like the larger army, represented and pushed the transition from a colonial, continental alliance to a national association. The problems the regiment raised and encountered underscored the complications of managing a confederation of states and troops.

In this enterprising study of an intriguing and at times “infernal” regiment, Holly A. Mayer marshals personal and official accounts—from the letters and journals of Continentals and congressmen to the pension applications of veterans and their widows—to reveal what the personal passions, hardships, and accommodations of the 2nd Canadian can tell us about the greater military and civil dynamics of the American Revolution. Congress’s Own follows congressmen, commanders, and soldiers through the Revolutionary War as the regiment’s story shifts from tents and trenches to the halls of power and back.

Interweaving insights from borderlands and community studies with military history, Mayer tracks key battles and traces debates that raged within the Revolution’s military and political borderlands wherein subjects became rebels, soldiers, and citizens. Her book offers fresh, vivid accounts of the Revolution that disclose how “Congress’s Own” regiment embodied the dreams, diversity, and divisions within and between the Continental Army, Congress, and the emergent union of states during the War for American Independence.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Meeting Notes: March 17, 2021

ARRT-Richmond 3/17/21 Meeting Notes

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:

ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for 5/19/21 at 6:30 p.m.  This is a zoom meeting!  Sign in

details will be provided in the May newsletter.  Thanks again to Peggy Watson for allowing us to utilize the Osher network.

Jack Kelly will be our May 19 speaker, presenting virtually on his new book “Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty.”

Mr. Kelly is an award-winning author and historian.  His books include Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America’s Independence, which received the DAR History Medal.  He is also the author of The Edge of Anarchy, Heaven’s Ditch, and Gunpowder and is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in Nonfiction Literature.  Kelly has appeared on The History Channel, National Public Radio, and C-Span.  He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Guest Speaker:

Gary Ecelbarger, “Observing George Washington During the First Month of the Philadelphia Campaign: Old Challenges and New Discoveries, August 24 – September 23, 1777.”

Mr. Ecelbarger is the author of seven books on the Civil War and Lincoln.  He is an experienced tour guide of Revolutionary War and Civil War sites and is authoring a campaign biography of Washington during the struggle for Philadelphia.  He’s also an ARRT-Richmond member and a long-time friend.

Washington to the Continental Congress – September 10 from Chad’s Ford:

“The Enemy are now lying near Kennets Square and in a tolerably compact body. They have parties advanced on the Lancaster Road and on those leading over this Ford & to Wilmington.  Maneuvering  appears to be their plan; I hope, not with-standing, that we shall be able to find out their real – intended route & to defeat their purposes . . .”

Challenges in Defining the Continental Army in late August/early September 1777:

Numerical size

                Types and quality of arms

Uniforms

Number of cannons

Number of wagons


How Many Continental’s in Delaware?

Five Infantry Divisions; 11 Brigades (12th Brigade formed August 31st)

Troop Strength Returns: May 20th vs. November 3rd

13,000 Infantry present + 1,200 – 1,500 Dragoons and Artillery 

                14,500 present – 13,000 to 14,000 fit for duty

3,000 with combat experience


Washington’s Extended Military Family in Delaware & Pennsylvania:

“Washington’s Pen Men”

Colonel Robert Harrison

Colonel Timothy Pickering

Lt. Colonel Richard Meade

Lt. Colonel John Fitzgerald

Lt. Colonel Alexander Hamilton

Lt. Colonel Tench Tilghman

Lt. Colonel Peter Thornton

        Captain Caleb Gibbs

MG Marquis de Lafayette

MG Arthur St. Clair

MG of the Day (ex. Greene, Stirling)

BG Casimir Pulaski

BG Henry Knox

BG John Cadwalder

Colonel Charles Pinckney

Colonel Clement Biddle

Lt. Colonel Peter Thornton

Captain George Lewis

Dr. Benjamin Rush

Jacob Broom

Campaign Timeline:

August 25th – British land at Head of Elk

September 11th – Battle of Brandywine

September 26th – British occupy Philadelphia

October 4th – Battle of Germantown

December 19th – Americans arrive at Valley Forge