Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Monday, December 8, 2014

ARRT-Richmond 2014 Book Award

(l. to r. Chairman, Book Award Committee Mark Lender, Co-winners Andrew J. O'Shaughnessy and Mark R. Anderson, and ARRT-Richmond President Bill Welsch

At their November 16, 2014 meeting, president Bill Welsch and Book Award Committee chairman Mark Lender presented the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond's 2014 Book Award to co-winners Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy and Mark R. Anderson.

O'Shaughnessy was honored for The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire. Anderson was honored for The Battle for the Fourteenth Colony: America's War of Liberation in Canada, 1774-1776.

ARRT-Richmond Field Trip: November 16, 2014


A stalwart group of ARRT-Richmonders braved the cold and damp on November 16 to follow Lafayette's movements in central Virginia prior to Yorktown. Led by John Maass, the group visited Winston’s Bridge, Ground Squirrel Bridge, “Scotchtown,” Davenport’s Ford, Mattaponi Church, Corbin’s Bridge on the Po River, Wilderness Run, Ely’s Ford on the Rapidan River, Lower or Great Fork Church, and Raccoon Ford.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Next Meeting: January 14, 2015

"Stand to Horse! The Dragoon at War," Dennis Farmer

The meeting will be held in the Westhampton Room, Heilman Center (dining hall--building 34 on the campus map), University of Richmond, at 6:30 p.m. with dinner available for purchase in the dining hall beginning at 5:30 p.m. It is not necessary that you purchase dinner in order to attend the meeting.

Please note that this is the second Wednesday of the month and not our usual third Wednesday!

University of Richmond campus map:
http://www.richmond.edu/about/directions/campusmap.pdf

Meeting Notes: November 19, 2014

“The Battle for the Fourteenth Colony: America’s War of Liberation in Canada, 1774 – 1776,” Mark R. Anderson

During the American Revolution, several American armies crossed the border into Canada. Did the Canadians see them as liberators or as invaders, and did Canadians view the Americans as spreading democracy or anarchy between Anglo and French Canadians?

Mark R. Anderson discussed these issues at the November 19 meeting of the American Revolution Roundtable of Richmond. Anderson is the author of The Battle for the Fourteenth Colony: America’s War of Liberation in Canada, 1774-1776. His book is the co-winner of the Roundtable’s 2014 Book Award.

“When I started my research on this topic, I thought it would be cut and dry---a difference between Canada and the United States over culture and religion,” said Anderson. “However, as I did the research, I discovered a much more complex story than I first thought.”

Anderson said he found two major themes which hadn’t been addressed in previous writings on this topic. One was the American effort to spread democratic government to Canada and the other was the effort to offer Quebec an alternative to British rule.

Quebec became a part of British Canada in 1763 when France ceded the territory as part of the treaty to end the French and Indian War. Although most Quebec residents spoke French and practiced Catholicism, most of Quebec’s wealthy merchants and political leaders who ran the government spoke English and were Protestants.

For approximately 10 years many French Canadians complained about their treatment under this government, and in 1774 Quebec Governor Guy Carleton persuaded London to grant more rights. In what became known as the Quebec Act, Great Britain granted more political power to wealthy French Canadians and to the Roman Catholic Church. Naturally many Anglo Protestant Canadians disliked the Quebec Act because they lost some of their economic, political and religious power. 

“The Quebec Act created a hybrid government,” said Anderson. Up until then there was a real question as to whether Quebec would get its own legislature. In fact not even the French Canadian elite wanted a legislature where the French Canadian masses could dominate it. Instead the French elite wanted more representation within the existing government.”

Anderson also noted that the Quebec Act had an influence on Great Britain’s other North American colonies. For example when invitations were issued in 1774 to attend the First Continental Congress, Quebec received an invitation.

After Lexington and Concord triggered all-out war the Second Continental Congress gave Philip Schuyler permission to take his army across the border from New York into Canada, provided his army didn’t alienate the Canadians. Later in 1775 Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold also took their armies across the Canadian border with similar congressional instructions, and launched a two-pronged attack to capture Montreal and Quebec City.

“Initially the Canadian patriots worked with the Americans,” said Anderson. “However, the Continental Congress didn’t back the military campaign with enough money, supplies and support of political activity for Canadians to form their own government. As a result, the Americans came north as an invasion and didn’t build a good enough Canadian coalition.”

Anderson closed his remarks by calling the American war in Canada a “very complex story”. He said the Americans tried to “sell” the Canadians on the American Revolution serving as a way to end “Canadian oppression” under the British. In Anglo Protestant areas such as Montreal the people rallied to the American cause.

However thanks largely to the leadership of Quebec Governor Guy Carleton, Great Britain was very successful in neutralizing the vast population of French Canadians. As a result, Carleton was able to save Quebec City during the campaign against Montgomery and Arnold, and to re-supply Quebec City via the British Navy.

“Carleton was the key to bringing along the French Canadians,” said Anderson. “He kept working with them but he never relied on them.”

Carleton cemented his relationship with Canadians by the way he handled Canadian supporters of the Americans after the Americans were defeated at Quebec City and had retreated. Instead of killing people who supported the Americans and burning pro-American villages, Carleton simply dismissed the public officials who backed the Americans and issued no additional punishment.

During the question and answer period, Anderson was asked to name his “heroes and villains” among America’s early war efforts to win over Canada. The first “hero” whom Anderson cited and the one whom he described in greatest detail was Benedict Arnold.

“The whole attack on Quebec would have completely fallen apart after the death of Montgomery if not for Arnold,” said Anderson. “Even after getting wounded in a boot he initiates a second regiment to form a defense. During the campaign he also did a good job of showing Canadians that his troops weren’t invaders and that they respected the Catholic Church.”

As for “villains”, Anderson’s main culprit was the Second Continental Congress.

“They authorized an invasion they couldn’t support. They even adjourned their session shortly after authorizing the invasion,” laughed Anderson.

Anderson is a retired U.S. Air Force officer who currently serves as a civilian military consultant to the U.S. government. He earned his B.A. degree in history from Purdue University and his M.A. in military studies from American Military University. He currently lives in Colorado Springs, CO.

--Bill Seward

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Campaign 1776" to Save Revolutionary War Battlefields

Campaign 1776 (150x)(Princeton, N.J.) – Nearly 240 years after the "shot heard 'round the world" signaled the beginning of the journey toward American independence, historians and preservationists gathered in Princeton, N.J., to launch the first-ever national initiative to protect and interpret the battlefields of the Revolutionary War. The new effort, titled 'Campaign 1776,' is a project of the Civil War Trust, the nation's most successful battlefield preservation advocate. 

Campaign 1776 will employ the same proven strategy of harnessing public-private partnerships to permanently protect hallowed ground that has made the Civil War Trust one of the country's top charitable land conservation organizations.

"The patriots who fell during the struggle for American independence deserve to have their sacrifices remembered and honored just as much as those who took up arms 'four score and seven years' later during the Civil War," said Trust president James Lighthizer. "All of these battlefields are hallowed ground, living memorials to this nation's brave soldiers, past, present and future." 

The organization's chairman, Michael Grainger, concurred, saying, "For nearly three decades, the Civil War Trust has led the charge to protect endangered battlegrounds from this nation's bloodiest conflict, securing millions of dollars in private sector donations to preserve these tangible links to our past. Through Campaign 1776, we are lending our expertise in heritage land preservation to a fuller spectrum of American history." 
Although primarily focused on preservation of the battlefields of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Campaign 1776 will also target battlegrounds associated with the War of 1812 (1812-1814) - the conflicts that established and confirmed American independence from Great Britain. In its 2007 report on the status of these battlefields, the National Park Service found that of the 243 significant engagements of those conflicts, only 100 retained historic integrity. Those sites that have endured through more than two centuries are now facing pressure from residential and other development. 

"Many of our Revolutionary War battlefields were lost long ago - buried beneath the concrete and asphalt of Brooklyn and Trenton and consumed by the sprawl of Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Those unspoiled landscapes that remain are precious reminders of the struggle to achieve independence and create a republic dedicated to the liberty of ordinary people," said Jack Warren, executive director of the American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati. "No organization is better equipped to lead us in this work than the Civil War Trust - the most effective historic land preservation organization in the United States." 

In addition to announcing Campaign 1776, Lighthizer also revealed the first preservation project of the new national initiative: a fundraising campaign to save 4.6 historic acres on the Princeton Battlefield. The January 3, 1777, engagement was General George Washington's first victory over British Regulars in the field, and a turning point in the war. In this effort, the Trust is working in partnership with the State of New Jersey, local governments and the Princeton Battlefield Society. It will mark the first addition to Princeton Battlefield State Park since 1971. To learn more about this transaction, or to contribute, visit www.campaign1776.org/princeton2014.

"The emergence of a national battlefield preservation entity focused on the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 will serve to empower regional and local organization," said Princeton Battlefield Society president Jerry Hurwitz. "Not only will Campaign 1776 allow battlefields from those earlier eras to take advantage of the Civil War Trust's specialized professional expertise, but it will demonstrate to the American people the urgent need to protect those tangible links to our past."

Princeton Mayor Liz Mepert and Richard Boornazian, the state's assistant commissioner for natural and historic resources, representing the governmental entities integral to the project, similarly welcomed the availability of a national battlefield preservation group to help facilitate such local land preservation efforts. The existence of government matching programs, like New Jersey's Green Acres program, and the active participation of historic communities like Princeton, are critical components of battlefield preservation efforts.
Campaign 1776 had its origins when representatives of the National Park Service (NPS) approached the Civil War Trust about expanding into Revolutionary War and War of 1812 preservation, in light of pending federal legislation that would create a unified pool of government matching grant funding for the protection of battlefields from all three conflicts. After careful consideration and analysis of both the stark reality of what would likely befall these battlefields should they demure and any potential impact on the organization's primary mission, the Trust board voted unanimously to move forward with a controlled and measured extension. 

In accepting this challenge now, the Trust has the benefit of tools never before available to preservationists, even beyond the approaching availability of federal land preservation matching grants. For example, NPS and the Trust are partnering to undertake an unprecedented GPS mapping study of Revolutionary War battlefields. Moreover, the American Battlefield Protection Program's report on the status of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefields, modeled on the landmark study of the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission, provides a prioritized roadmap for preservation of these battlegrounds. 
Becoming a member of the new initiative is fully voluntary for Civil War Trust members; conversely, Trust membership is not a prerequisite for joining Campaign 1776. Working in parallel to existing efforts, Campaign 1776 will provide advocacy and public education opportunities for Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields in the same manner the Trust has done for Civil War sites. Additional details on organizational mission, structure and membership are available at www.campaign1776.org

Campaign 1776 follows in the spirit of the modern battlefield preservation movement that began in 1987, when a group of historians concerned with the destruction of suburban Virginia battlefields formed the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, today the Civil War Trust. Donors are invited to support individual projects, presented with historical context and illustrated on maps, where the availability of federal or state matching grants and major donor or foundation gifts can multiply each contributed dollar several times over. The Trust works only with willing sellers, paying fair market value for land that will be protected in perpetuity through fee simple purchases and/or conservation easements. The Trust also has a reputation for working cooperatively with developers to seek out well-planned projects that allow for community growth and vitality while respecting irreplaceable historic resources. 

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Through educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives, the Trust seeks to inform the public about the vital role these battlefields played in determining the course of our nation's history. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 40,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial. 


Campaign 1776 is a national initiative of the Civil War Trust, America's largest and most efective battlefield preservation organization. Its purpose is to protect the battlefields of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and to educate the public about the importance of these battlefields in forging the nation we are today. To learn more, visit the Campaign 1776 website at www.campaign1776.org

Monday, November 3, 2014

Richmond's Benedict Arnold

Charles F. Bryan Jr., president and CEO Emeritus of the Virginia Historical Society, wrote an article titled "Richmond's Benedict Arnold" that appeared in the October 25, 2014 "Richmond Times-Dispatch." Here's a link:

http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/charles-f-bryan-jr/richmond-s-benedict-arnold/article_d8148945-1f7b-5fb2-b879-7edecd199f72.html#facebook-comments

Thursday, October 23, 2014

November Meeting of the American Revolution Round Table of the District of Columbia

If you live in, or plan to visit, the Washington, DC, area the first week of November, you are invited to the American Revolution Round Table of the District of Columbia program for Wednesday, 5 November. 

Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 5, 2014, at 6 p.m.  The program is entitled, "The American Revolution: A Historical Guidebook " and will be presented by Ms. Frances H. Kennedy.  She will provide an overview of this recently published work (2014 by Oxford University Press) which she edited. The book guides general readers, students, and travelers to 147 historic places in twenty states. The places, are addressed in general chronological order, and are drawn from the National Park Service "Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States." 

Frances H. Kennedy is a conservationist, historic preservationist and historian. Her other books include The Civil War Battlefield Guide, American Indian Places.and
Dollars & Sense of Battlefield Preservation: The Economic Benefits of Protecting Civil War Battlefields: A Handbook for Community Leaders


See: http://xenophongroup.com/patriot/arrt/arrt_web.htm for more information.

The ARRT of DC meets at the Fort Myer (Arlington, VA) Officers Club on the first Wednesday of September, November, March and May, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. For more information on attending the program, or the ARRT of DC in general, go to our web page at http://xenophongroup.com/patriot/arrt/arrtprgm.htm ; OR, send me an e-mail off-list to gfwilliams607@verizon.net; or call: (703) 360-9712; or write: ARRT DC, PO Box 137, Mount Vernon, VA 22121.