Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

"Revolutionary Richmond" Brochure Now Available


For the past three years, Bill Welsch, Bert Dunkerly, and Woody Childs have been hard at work developing a brochure on "Revolutionary Richmond." The format is modeled after the out-of-print (we think) brochure published by the City of Petersburg in 2008, "Revolutionary Petersburg: A Driving Tour." Bill's son-in-law, Matt Rowan, did a fantastic job on the design. The map was done by Edward Alexander, a VIP at the NPS.

While we are investigating printing costs, we are not sure if the brochure will ever be printed for mass distribution. However, the link below will enable you to print one for yourself and for your friends and family. You can also access the link on your cell phone or tablet so you can carry it with you while you're investigating all things Revolutionary that Richmond has to offer!


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

2021 Dues

Due to our only having met once during 2020, the Board of Directors has decided that ALL PAID MEMBERS FOR 2020 WILL HAVE THEIR MEMBERSHIPS EXTENDED THROUGH 2021.

Since we plan on continuing our preservation efforts, however, we are asking that all members donate that $5.00 portion of their dues for preservation in 2021.

Please wait for our next in-person meeting to pay your $5.00 for preservation. We do NOT want five-spots floating around the USPS!

Next Meeting and 2021 Meeting Dates

Our next meeting will he held via Zoom on January 20, 2021. The topic and speaker will be announced later. For those of you attending any of the inaugural balls on the twentieth, we'd like a full report at the following meeting! 

For your planning pleasure, a list of all 2021 meeting dates can be found under the "Meetings" tab above. Topics and speakers will be announced when available.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Meeting Notes: September 16, 2020

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:

ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for 11/18/20 at 6:30 p.m.  This is a zoom meeting!  Sign in details will be provided in the November newsletter.  Thanks again to Peggy Watson for allowing us to utilize the Osher network.

ARRT-R’s featured speaker on 11/18/20 will be Jeff Dacus.  Jeff will be speaking on “Washington’s Family: The Aides and Secretaries that helped him through the War”.  As Jeff says, “Most people think it was just Alexander Hamilton but he had an excellent group of young men that did his staff work.”

Jeff Dacus is a retired schoolteacher who taught U.S. history for 35 years and also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Portland.  A retired Marine tanker, he volunteers with local veterans groups and is a speaker at historical events.  A member of the Company of Military Historians, he has written numerous articles in the Journal of the Company of Military Historians, Marine Corps Tanker’s Association Newsletter, as well as Leatherneck and Armor Magazines.  He is the winner of the 2020 General Roy S. Geiger Award given to the author of the best article in the field of Marine Corps Aviation.  His first book is The Fighting Corsairs: The Men of the Marine Fighting Squadron 215.


Guest Speaker: Norm Bollen  – “George Washington and the Mohawk Frontier” 

Norm is chairman of the board of the Fort Plain Museum and Historical Park.  He is the former president of the Mohawk Valley Museum Consortium and the president and founder of Mohawk Country Inc., a non-profit group which promotes historic preservation and heritage based tourism in the Mohawk Valley.

New York State was a key battleground in the War for American Independence with nearly a third of all battles being fought there. The Mohawk Valley, often described as the "Bloody Mohawk," suffered through multiple coordinated strikes by an enemy determined to split the Colonies. This book deals with a little known and little understood chapter of American history. Communications between the Commander-in-Chief and Philip Schuyler, George Clinton, James Clinton, John Sullivan, General William Stirling, Goose Van Schaick, Marinus Willett, George Reid, Benjamin Tupper, all as it related to the defense of the Mohawk frontier are covered in the research. The book follows Washington's trip into the Mohawk Frontier and his visit to Fort Rensselaer on August 2, 1783 just three years after the fort successfully repelled an enemy attack.

1776 – British and Indian forces under the command of Sir John Johnson begin conducting raids in the Valley.  General Washington struggling to keep his own army in the field is unable to devout resources to secure the Valley.

1777 – British and Indian attacks on the Valley intensify as part of the British campaign in the Northern Theater that included the movement of General Burgoyne’s forces south into eastern New York State.  British and Indian forces in the Valley where commanded by Colonel Barry St. Leger.  The Battle of Oriskany took place on August 6, 1777,

To Philip Schuyler July 2, 1777

“I fear the Indians will make ravage of our Frontier Country and the Enemies will make an entry in our State from our Quarters without great difficulty”

Nicholas Herkimer

1778 – General Washington’s fails in his attempt to organize an expedition to clear the Valley.  He blames the failure on the leadership of the Northern Department.

To the Continental Congress November 16, 1778

“These depredations of the Enemy give me the most serious concern.  I lament that we have not yet had it in our power to give them an effectual check.  I am perfectly convinced that the only way of preventing Indian ravages is to carry the war vigorously into their own country”

George Washington

1779 – General Washington takes control of the planning for what becomes the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition.  

To General Sullivan May 31, 1779

“…lay waste to all the settlements around with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the Country may not merely be overrun but destroyed?

George Washington

1780 – Once again the Mohawk was under attack.  During the summer of 1780, General Washington is focused on securing Fort Schuyler.  On August 2nd a raid on the greater Fort Plain area devastates the countryside.  General Van Resselaer is blamed for the attack.

1781 – American forces under the command of Marinus Willett fight the key battle of New Dorlach on July 10, 1781 and the Battle of Johnstown on October 25, 1781.

1782 – Washington made his 1st trip to the Valley.  His mission was to inspect the defenses on the northern & western frontiers.  On June 27th Washington received the “key to the city” while visiting Albany.  On June 30th Washington attended a banquet in Schenectady.  Seated next to him at the banquet where Frederick Fisher & Jellis Fonda of the Mohawk District Tryon County Militia.  This banquet was Washington’s first meeting with Tryon County Militia and allowed him to mend fences over the disastrous handling of the war in Tryon County.

Staff with Washington on the trip included Major General Henry Knox, AG Edward Hand, and Governor George Clinton.

“For my own part, I am more apprehensive for the safety of the Country on the 

Mowhawk River than for any other part of the frontier”

George Washington

1783 – Washington and his entourage made a 2nd trip to the Mohawk Valley in 1783.  Washington utilized Fort Rensselear as his headquarters from July 28 to August 3.

To the Marquis de Chastellux October 12, 1783

“Would to God we may have wisdom enough to improve them, I shall not rest contented, till I have explored the Western Country, and traversed those lines or a great part of them, which have given bounds to  anew Empire”

George Washington

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Next Meeting Speaker and Topic: November 18, 2020

For our final meeting (Zoom, of course!) of 2020, our speaker will be Jeff Dacus speaking on "Washington's Family: The Aides and Secretaries that Helped Him Through the War." As Jeff says, "Most people think it was just Alexander Hamilton but he had an excellent group of young men that did his staff work."

Jeff Dacus is a retired schoolteacher who taught U.S. history for 35 years and also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Portland. A retired Marine tanker, he volunteers with local veterans groups and is a speaker at historical events. A member of the Company of Military Historians, he has written numerous articles in The Journal of the Company of Military Historians, Marine Corps Tanker's Association Newsletter, as well as Leatherneck and Armor Magazines. He has written numerous articles online for the Journal of the American Revolution. He is the winner of the 2020 General Roy S. Geiger Award given to the author of the best article in the field of Marine Corps Aviation. His first book is The Fighting Corsairs: The Men of Marine Fighting Squadron 215.

Jeff has appeared on the SIRIUS radio "Dave Nemo Show," and on the Journal of the American Revolution podcast "Dispatches." He holds several advanced degrees and he was a Distinguished Graduate at American Military University. He resides in Vancouver, Washington. Website: www.jeffdacus.com 

Monday, October 5, 2020

Yorktown Day 2020 Schedule

As most of you know by now, the events for this year's Yorktown Day have been seriously reduced. Listed below are some of the events being held.


AMERICA’S DECISIVE REVOLUTIONARY WAR VICTORY AT YORKTOWN
MARKED WITH TOWNWIDE EVENTS & INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS, OCTOBER 17 & 18


YORKTOWN, Va., September 30, 2020 — The 239th anniversary of America’s decisive Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, with a variety of events and activities at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Yorktown Battlefield and throughout Historic Yorktown.

While the annual Yorktown Day parade and public commemorative ceremonies are cancelled this year in response to COVID-19, an array of programs will salute the momentous allied American-French victory over the British in 1781. Visitors can take the free Yorktown Trolley to various Yorktown attractions between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, following new safety protocols.

On October 19, 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.

AMERICAN REVOLUTION MUSEUM AT YORKTOWN – OCTOBER 17
Revolutionary War Programs, Artillery Firings and Immersive Exhibits & Films


The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will present a variety of interpretive experiences and artillery firings as part of its annual “Yorktown Victory Celebration” event on Saturday, October 17. Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold at the expansive history museum through immersive films, exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm – all following new safety protocols.

Visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors, take in the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater and view artifacts from the Betsy, one of the British ships scuttled in the York River, on loan from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Outdoors, discover aspects of military life, from enlistment, troop supplies and medical care to flintlock musket and artillery demonstrations, as well as how farming families prepared food over an open hearth, processed plant fibers into cloth and dyed fabric using natural pigments.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and Gift Shop, open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, are located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. The event is included with museum admission: $15.25 for adults, $7.75 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. Event activities are presented in part by the York County Arts Commission. For more information, call (757) 253-4838 or visit historyisfun.org.

YORKTOWN BATTLEFIELD – OCTOBER 17 & 18
Self-Guided Battlefield Tours and Outdoor Ranger Overviews


Colonial National Historical Park at Yorktown Battlefield, site of the climactic 1781 siege, is open for self-guided tours. A free tour app is available at nps.gov/york/yorktown-guide-app.htm. Park Rangers are available to provide information about Yorktown Battlefield and Colonial National Historical Park outside the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, weather permitting. Stop by the Eastern National Park Store in the Visitor Center, Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to purchase items to commemorate your visit to the park. The Visitor Center is located at 1000 Colonial Parkway at the eastern end of the Colonial Parkway, 12 miles from Williamsburg.  For more information, visit nps.gov/colo.

VISITING HISTORIC YORKTOWN
Take the Yorktown Trolley to Enjoy Weekend Events & Outdoor Activities


Throughout the weekend, Historic Yorktown visitors can enjoy several outdoor activities, such as sails aboard the Schooner Alliance at the Riverwalk Landing piers as well as bicycle, paddleboard and kayak rentals and Segway tours from Patriot Tours & Provisions. On Saturday, October 17, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., shop the inaugural First Responders Market, dedicated to all the men and women who work year-round to keep the community safe, a tribute especially fitting during the pandemic. Down the street, the Watermen’s Museum will hold its rescheduled Oyster Roast from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is in addition to their two-day Maritime Heritage Festival with re-enactors, sea shanties, vendors and boat building. Yorktown Ghost Walks will be offering ticketed evening tours that must be booked in advance.

On Main Street, enjoy local art at On the Hill Gallery and the Gallery at York Hall. Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters will have several ticketed historic walking tours October 16-19, including visits to Yorktown Battlefield Surrender Field, exploring everything from the beginning of the Yorktown campaign to the climactic final week of the siege. On Sunday, a “Victory and Alliance French Wine & History Celebration” at Mobjack Bay will include a tasting of French wines while learning about the French alliance and its invaluable contribution to the Revolution. For more information about Historic Yorktown events and programs, call (757) 890-5900 or visit visityorktown.org.  

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Media Contacts:

Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial National Historical Park
Michael Byrd, (757) 898-2422 or michael_byrd@nps.gov

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation
Tracy Perkins, (757) 253-4114 or tracy.perkins@jyf.virginia.gov

York County Public Affairs
Gail Whittaker, (757) 890-3310 or whittgl@yorkcounty.gov


Next Meeting: November 18, 2020

Our November 18 meeting will again be a Zoom session rather than an in-person gathering.  Thanks again to Peggy Watson, we will be utilizing the Osher network. 

Our industrious V.P., Bruce Venter, is currently working to line-up a speaker for this meeting. We will notify you as soon as the speaker and topic are finalized.

To participate in a Zoom session, your computer will need a camera function, standard for most lap tops and tablets.  But I would suggest reviewing the camera function before that time.  We recommend that you join in 5 - 10 minutes before the start, to be sure that your equipment is working.  All attendees will be put in a waiting room, then admitted one by one. You will be muted on admittance, but will be able to unmute as soon as you’re in.  Peggy Watson will explain the meeting protocol.

Sign in information will be provided in the November newsletter, about a week before the meeting. 

We do realize that all members might not be able to view the program, but also feel that this approach is better than entirely missing another meeting.  As with previous Zoom meetings, we won't worry about most of the other parts of the meeting.