Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Next Meeting: January 17, 2018

"Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty," John Kukla

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.

University of Richmond campus map:

Meeting Notes: November 15, 2007

"The Battle of Eutaw Springs," Bert Dunkerly

Overshadowed in American Revolution history by the Siege of Yorktown which took place only a few weeks later, the Battle of Eutaw Springs basically ended the war’s fighting in South Carolina with heavy casualties on both sides.

“Nathanael Greene was trying to re-conquer South Carolina after Cornwallis moved the main British army into Virginia,” said historian and author Robert M. Dunkerly at the November 15, 2017 meeting of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond. Dunkerly is the co-author along with Irene Boland of the recently published book entitled Eutaw Springs: The Final Battle Of The American Revolution’s Southern Campaign.

“The summer of 1781 was very frustrating for Greene,” said Dunkerly. “Earlier in the year the British attacked his army at Guilford Courthouse and Hobkirk’s Hill. At Ninety Six he was finally able to go on the offensive but he attacked a British fort, so the attack wasn’t on ground of his choosing. Eutaw Springs was the only time when Greene attacked the British on ground of his choosing.”

Eutaw Springs was also a battle where Greene’s army outnumbered the British. The Americans had approximately 2,000 soldiers, compared to approximately 1,300 for the British.

Greene’s army included a combination of Continental brigades, state militia units and cavalry. His Maryland brigade consisted of two Maryland regiments and one from Delaware who were all veterans of many battles in both the Northern and Southern Campaigns. Greene had two other Continental brigades from Virginia and North Carolina, as well as militia units from North Carolina.

He also had South Carolina militia units who were veterans of the Southern Campaign and included such famous figures as Andrew Pickens and Francis Marion, also known as “The Swamp Fox”. Greene also had two cavalry units which were led by William Washington (a cousin of George Washington’s) and Light Horse Harry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee). 

The British were led by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart in what was his only independent command during the war.

“Stewart commanded a small number of British units who were very good soldiers,” said Dunkerly. “He also commanded a large number of Loyalists who were very experienced and often as good as the British troops. His army also included light infantry units which were very good at skirmishing. Stewart had no cavalry, which was one of his biggest regrets when he wrote about the battle afterwards.”

In September 1781 Greene received news concerning a British encampment at Eutaw Springs, and ordered advance units to engage the enemy. Early on the morning of September 8, 1781 Greene’s advance unit ran into a British foraging party in a sweet potato field, and captured most of the foragers. The advance troops continued on the road toward the British encampment until they found it.

Greene brought up the rest of his army and formed it into three lines for an attack. Leading the way were his North and South Carolina militia units, followed by most of his Continental soldiers and then his reserve units.

“Greene achieved total surprise,” said Dunkerly. “The British were outnumbered but they fought tenaciously and retreated gradually. Eventually Greene’s militia units and later his North Carolina brigade ran out of steam. Then Greene sent in his best troops, his Maryland and Delaware units. They overran the British camp and sent the British back to a brick house that was located near two springs, a large one and a small one.”

At this point Greene’s army was on the verge of a major victory but a number of American officers became casualties and their troops became leaderless. Some of these troops chose to loot the British camp rather than keep fighting.

Stewart frantically tried to rally his army, and successfully formed a defensive line in the vicinity of the brick house where the British stopped the American attack. Greene reluctantly pulled back his troops, and then the British counterattacked. Greene broke off the engagement and retreated.

The battle ended with Greene sustaining approximately 550 casualties (killed, wounded and captured) while Stewart suffered approximately 700 casualties, which included approximately 250 soldiers who were captured by the Americans. Greene’s army retreated to the High Hills of Santee while Stewart’s troops retreated to Charleston where they would remain for the rest of the war. The British never again felt strong enough to leave the city.

Who won the Battle of Eutaw Springs? Both commanders claimed victory.

“Historians have debated for many years over who won,”said Dunkerly. “Actually a very good case can be made for calling the battle a draw. I think the battle was a tactical victory for the British and a strategic victory for the Americans. At the end of the day Greene left the battlefield to the British, but the British later returned to Charleston where they stayed for the rest of the war.”

Although a few acres of the Eutaw Springs battlefield are preserved today by the State of South Carolina and a national preservation organization, most of the battlefield is now a residential neighborhood that was built during the 1960s. Approximately 5% of the battlefield is underwater as part of the Lake Marion reservoir project which was built back in the 1940s.

“For many years historians thought that most of the battlefield was underwater but this is false,” said Dunkerly. “Archeologists found the ruins of the brick house and many nearby artifacts which pinpoint the location of the British camp.”

Bert Dunkerly is a historian for Richmond National Battlefield Park and has also served at other National Park Service battlefields that relate to the American Revolution or the Civil War. This winter he will serve as the acting Chief of Interpretation at Morristown National Historical Park in New Jersey, and will then return to Richmond. He has taught courses on both the American Revolution and the Civil War at the University of Richmond, the Virginia Historical Society and Central Virginia Community College.

Dunkerly currently serves as chairman of the preservation committee of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond, and is a former president of the Richmond Civil War Round Table. He has written or co-written a number of books, which include the following ones that focus on the American Revolution:   

1. Eutaw Springs: The Final Battle of the American Revolution’s Southern Campaign

2. Women of the Revolution: Bravery and Sacrifice on the Southern Battlefields

3. Kings Mountain Walking Tour Guide

4. The Battle of Kings Mountain: Eyewitness Accounts

5. More than Roman Valor: The Revolutionary War Fact Book

6. Old Ninety Six: A History & Guide

7. Redcoats on the Cape Fear: The Revolutionary War in Southeastern North Carolina

Prior to the speaker’s presentation the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond discussed the following topics:

1. President Bill Welsch reported that 85 people currently belong to ARRT-Richmond, the most in its history.

2. Vice President of Membership Woody Childs asked the audience to pay 2018 membership dues via check rather than cash at the January meeting.

3. Treasurer Art Ritter provided a financial report and a comparison between last year’s treasury balance versus this year’s.

4. Other announcements were made regarding book awards, preservation donations, history lectures and a recent ARRT-Richmond group tour of Scotchtown---one of Patrick Henry’s homes.

 --Bill Seward

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2018 Meeting Topics and Speakers

The dates, topics, and speakers for our 2018 meetings are posted under the "Meetings" tab above. Please join us for some new topics and insights!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Archeology Discoveries at Gloucester Point," October 17, 2017

David Brown & Thane Harpole will be making a presentation on the recent excavations at VIMS. 

Next Meeting: November 15, 2017

"The Battle of Eutaw Springs," Bert Dunkerly

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.

University of Richmond campus map:

Meeting Notes: September 20, 2017

"Alexander Hamilton: New York's Young Revolutionary," Randy Flood

Prior to becoming a hip-hop star on the Broadway stage, Alexander Hamilton lived a remarkable life as one of America’s greatest Founding Fathers.

“This man was probably more responsible for 13 separate states becoming a nation than anyone else,” said Randy Flood at the September 20, 2017 meeting of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond. “However we wouldn’t be talking so much about him today if not for Broadway.”

The real Alexander Hamilton was born on the island of Nevis in the Leeward Islands, which were part of the British West Indies. He claimed January 11, 1757 as his birthdate but some historians believe he was actually born in 1755.

Hamilton was born out of wedlock to Rachel Faucette, who had married Johann Michael Lavien on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. She abandoned Lavien and a son from that marriage, and moved to Nevis where she met and lived with James Hamilton. Although James Hamilton is generally regarded as the biological father of Alexander Hamilton, some historians believe that the actual biological father was Thomas Stevens, a prosperous Nevis merchant.

“Thomas Stevens had a son named Edward Stevens who became a good friend of Alexander Hamilton’s,” said Flood. “People commented on how much the two of them looked alike, and how they shared so many similar interests.”

James Hamilton abandoned Rachel Faucette and her children, and shortly thereafter Rachel died on February 19, 1768 from a severe fever. Alexander Hamilton and his brother James, Jr. briefly lived with a cousin until he committed suicide. After this tragedy Alexander went to live with Thomas Stevens who became his guardian.

“At age 11 Hamilton got his first job as a clerk in an import/export firm where he held ship captains accountable for their cargo,” said Flood. “For five months in 1771 he ran the business himself while the owner was overseas on a business trip. He was also an avid reader and a great writer.”

In appreciation for the young Hamilton’s achievements on the island of Nevis, various business and community leaders paid for his passage to New York and his tuition and living expenses in order to send Hamilton to a North American college.

Hamilton’s first choice was the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University) but the college president, John Witherspoon, turned down Hamilton’s request to seek a degree in only one year. When this attempt failed, Hamilton made the same request to Myles Cooper, president of King’s College (now known as Columbia University). Cooper approved his one-year request, and Hamilton officially matriculated at King’s College in May 1774.

Shortly after the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Hamilton and other King’s College students joined an American volunteer militia unit called the Corsicans. Hamilton became an artillery captain.

“He got to know everything about artillery pieces as part of his militia service,” said Flood.

Hamilton fought bravely throughout the New York Campaign. At the Battle of Harlem Heights his artillery unit vigorously defended its position, an action which came to the attention of senior officers in the Continental Army.

“We don’t know whether it was Nathanael Greene or Henry Knox, but one of them noticed Hamilton and invited him one night to have dinner with Washington,” said Flood.

On March 1, 1777 Hamilton joined Washington’s staff and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Two of Hamilton’s primary talents as a staff officer were his ability to read and speak French, and his ability to write very well. Hamilton assisted Washington with his correspondence to his subordinates, the Continental Congress and French officers. 

“Hamilton became Washington’s go-to guy,” said Flood. “He was indispensible.”

For approximately four years Hamilton served as Washington’s chief aide, however Hamilton grew restless and wanted a field command. Washington continued to discourage him from leaving his staff until an incident in February 1781 nearly wrecked their friendship and triggered Hamilton’s transfer. After Washington rebuked Hamilton one day for keeping him waiting, Hamilton resigned from Washington’s staff and threatened to resign his army commission if he didn’t receive a field command.  Washington sadly accepted Hamilton’s request and assigned him to command a light infantry battalion.

During the Yorktown Campaign, Hamilton persuaded his field commander, the Marquis de Lafayette, to allow Hamilton to lead a nighttime surprise attack against the British fortification called Redoubt #10. Hamilton bravely led his troops’ bayonet charge against the well-fortified position, and captured it and many British soldiers while suffering very few American casualties. The capture of this redoubt, coupled with the capture of nearby Redoubt #9 by  French troops, tightened the noose around the remainder of the British army to the point where they surrendered a few days later on October 19, 1781.

Shortly after Yorktown he resigned his commission and returned to New York where he passed the bar after a few months of self study. Hamilton set up his law practice in Albany, and in July 1782 he was appointed to the Congress of the Confederation as a New York representative for the term beginning in November 1782. He quit after one year, becoming somewhat frustrated over what he perceived as the extremely weak powers of America’s confederation government. 

After the American Revolution officially ended and the British army evacuated New York City, Hamilton moved there in 1783 to practice law. In 1784 he helped to create the Bank of New York and secured considerable financing from several wealthy investors who lived in the West Indies.

“When the American Revolution ended, America was broke, the British were broke, the French were broke and the Spanish were broke. Everyone was broke except for the Dutch, and they were the bankers of the world,” quipped Flood.

The Articles of Confederation weren’t working very well for the new American nation. Hamilton was among the nation’s leaders who called for a constitutional convention for the purpose of amending the Articles in order to create a stronger national government.

Hamilton and James Madison lured Washington out of retirement to preside over this convention in Philadelphia. The delegates worked from May until September 1787 to create what we today call the U.S. Constitution.

“These guys were adults solving problems, and didn’t leave until they can get things done. They saw the big picture and made sacrifices and compromises to make it happen,” said Flood.

To help promote the ratification of the proposed constitution Hamilton wrote 51 of the 85 essays which are now known as The Federalist Papers. Madison and John Jay wrote the other 34 essays.

The new constitution was ratified on September 17, 1788 and took effect on March 4, 1789. President Washington appointed Hamilton to the position of Secretary of the Treasury, where he served until January 31, 1795.

During that time Hamilton made numerous attempts to raise additional revenue for the new nation and to pay down the new nation’s debt. He also helped to create America’s own currency to replace the Spanish currency which America had generally adopted after gaining its independence from Great Britain. 

Hamilton succeeded in getting the new federal government to assume the debt owed by various states, and to pay down this debt via new tariffs and taxes. He founded the U.S. Coast Guard for the purpose of reducing smuggling operations which weren’t paying any import duties to the new government. Hamilton also raised federal revenue by getting Congress to authorize a federal tax on whiskey, a tax which Hamilton called a “sin tax”.

He also sought to improve diplomatic and business relations with Great Britain, the new nation’s largest trading partner. In 1795 he strongly supported the controversial Jay Treaty because he believed it was a means for America to work closer with America’s former enemy and mother country. Hamilton and other treaty supporters also saw the treaty as a means of avoiding another war with Great Britain and its conflict with France.

After leaving Washington’s administration he returned to New York and resumed his law practice. However he remained active in national politics and served as a private advisor to President Washington. In 1797 when John Adams replaced Washington as president, Adams retained many of Washington’s cabinet members and other senior advisors who seemed to have more loyalties to Hamilton than they did President Adams.

The Election of 1800 was one of the most famous and controversial presidential elections in American history. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received the same number of electoral votes but not a majority among the four candidates. This threw the election into the House of Representatives where the race remained deadlocked between Jefferson and Burr after 35 ballots.

Prior to the 36th ballot Hamilton maneuvered behind the scenes with several colleagues to persuade them to support Jefferson. Although Hamilton despised both men, he disliked Jefferson primarily for Jefferson’s political beliefs whereas he disliked Burr even more for what Hamilton perceived as Burr’s total lack of any principles.

In 1804 Burr sought the governorship of New York, and once again Hamilton stood in his path. Burr lost the election, partly due to Hamilton’s strong support for Morgan Lewis, Burr’s opponent.

Shortly after the New York gubernatorial race, an Albany newspaper published an article which quoted a letter that Hamilton earlier wrote which sharply criticized Burr’s character. When Burr learned about Hamilton’s letter, he demanded an apology from Hamilton. When Hamilton replied by saying that he couldn’t recall any attempt to insult Burr in this letter, Burr remained angry and challenged Hamilton to a duel.

After efforts failed by liaisons to settle the dispute Burr and Hamilton dueled shortly after dawn on July 11, 1804 in Weehawken, New Jersey---just across the Hudson River from New York City. Burr shot Hamilton in the lower abdomen above the right hip whereas Hamilton’s shot broke a tree branch above Burr’s head.

“The jury is still out as to who fired the first shot,” said Flood. “There’s also the question of whether Hamilton deliberately shot above Burr’s head or whether he fired high as a result of falling down wounded after getting shot by Burr. Hamilton had put on his spectacles prior to the duel so it’s very questionable as to whether he intended to waste his shot.”

Hamilton’s friends rowed the mortally wounded Hamilton across the Hudson River to a friend’s home in Greenwich Village. He died the following afternoon on July 12, 1804 in considerable pain. So ended the life of Alexander Hamilton.

“He was a rags to riches story,” said Flood. “His brilliance as a writer included Washington’s farewell address. The things he accomplished as our first Secretary of the Treasury were endless.”

Randy Flood teaches 17 different history courses at the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. As a result of the Broadway play on Hamilton, Flood’s Hamilton course is currently one of his most popular classes.

Flood is a member of the Williamsburg/Yorktown American Revolution Round Table. Earlier in his career he served as a legislative staff aide to to the late U.S. Senator Harry Byrd, Jr. of Virginia.

Prior to the speaker’s presentation the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond discussed the following topics:

1. President Bill Welsch mentioned that Vice President/Programs Bruce Venter has nearly completed the list of guest speakers for the Round Table’s 2018 schedule.

2. President Welsch said that plans for an ARRT-Richmond field trip to Scotchtown in early November are nearly complete. He will soon email details about the trip to the entire membership.

3. On behalf of the membership Vice President/Membership Woody Childs presented engraved Jefferson cups to the four founding members of ARRT-Richmond. The four founders in 2006 were Jerry Rudd, Lynn Simms, Harry Ward and Bill Welsch. Accepting the Jefferson cup on behalf of the late Harry Ward was Frances Daniels, Dr. Ward’s niece.   

 --Bill Seward

Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 Harry M. Ward Book Prize Winner and Honorable Mentions

Winner of the 2017 Harry M. Ward Book Prize:

Nathaniel Philbrick, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (New York: Viking, 2016).

Nathaniel Philbrick is one of America’s most versatile historians, an author at home in subjects ranging from the voyage of the Mayflower, seafaring adventures, the Battle of Little Big Horn, and Bunker Hill.  In this year’s prize-winning volume he has continued his interest in the American Revolution.  Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution is the story of the dramatic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold—two men who held the fate of the Revolution in their hands.  Washington, of course, developed into the leader who saved a cause that often hung on the edge of defeat, while the shocking treason of Arnold, a brilliant battlefield leader and the commander-in-chief’s once-trusted friend, almost assured that defeat.  Philbrick has brilliantly explained the different paths these two men chose and, as his title suggests, how those paths shaped “the fate of the American Revolution.”  As he has in the past, Philbrick has taken a fascinating and important subject, researched it deeply, and made it accessible to a wide audience in a superbly-written narrative.

Honorable Mentions:

Robert F. Smith, Manufacturing Independence: Industrial Innovation and the American Revolution (Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2016).

Caroline Cox, Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Stephen Howard Browne, The Ides of War: George Washington and the Newburgh Crisis (Columbia, SC: University of South Caroline Press, 2016).

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

Derek W. Beck, Igniting the American Revolution: The War before Independence, 1775-1776 (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2016).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

***Cancelled*** "The Virginia Campaign--1781": October 7-8, 2017

This symposium has been CANCELLED.

The Williamsburg-Yorktown American Revolution Round Table presents "The Virginia Campaign--1781" symposium on October 7-8, 2017 at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. A link to the symposium brochure with registration information and form is below. Sign up early as seats are limited!

Research Situation at Colonial Williamsburg

The following is from Dave Riggs concerning the current research situation at Colonial Williamsburg due to their budget situation.  Researchers take note.

I expect that many ARRT members have read about the additional cuts that became effective at Colonial Williamsburg this month. However, there's been no publicity about the effect that it had upon the research library. Several positions have not been filled during the past few years, and this month almost the entire remaining staff were released. So the Rockefeller Library is only accessible by appointment. You might wish to share this with members pursuing research, or place an announcement in the newsletter.

Access to CWF Rockefeller Library
The library building will be open to Colonial Williamsburg staff and volunteers from 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday. A current Colonial Williamsburg ID badge will be needed to access the building. The general public may access the building by calling 757.220.7249 and making an advance appointment.

Using the Collections
The reference and circulating book collections may be used by Colonial Williamsburg staff and volunteers during regular business hours and the general public by appointment only. Colonial Williamsburg staff and volunteers may check out books from the circulating collection and circulation services will continue with College of William & Mary faculty, staff, and students in support of the Rockefeller Library’s partnership with the Earl Gregg Swem Library. Colonial Williamsburg staff and the general public may use Special Collections, Corporate Archives, and Visual Resources but must make an advance appointment.

Services Provided
Reference services for inquiries related to Special Collections, the Corporate Archives, and Visual Resources collections will be provided but require an advance appointment. General library reference services such as those of a genealogical nature can no longer be supported.

Please contact the appropriate department below to schedule your visit:
Library (general):
Corporate Archives: or 757-220-7249
Special Collections: or 757-565-8520

Visual Resources: or 757-565-8542
Circulation Desk (only necessary for the general public): or 

2017 Preservation Partner

Our 2017 Preservation Partner is Campaign 1776--The Waxhaws Battlefields.

Others receiving votes were Battersea, Shockhoe Cemetery, St. John's Church, and the John Marshall House. Thanks to the generosity of Bruce Venter and America's History LLC, our contribution of at least $400 will be matched. Thank you, Bruce!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Next Meeting: September 20, 2017

"Alexander Hamilton: New York's Young Revolutionary," Randy Flood

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 note that the University of Richmond is back in regular session so we are back to our regular meeting and dinner times. Please plan on joining us!

University of Richmond campus map:

Meeting Notes: July 19, 2017

"Lord Dunmore's War: The Last Conflict in America's Colonial Era," Glenn Williams

Approximately six months before the Massachusetts Minutemen fought the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Virginia militia units fought a Shawnee-led Indian Confederacy in what is known today as Dunmore’s War.

The war, which was fought primarily in modern-day West Virginia, was named for Virginia’s royal governor John Murray, fourth Earl of Dunmore. A former lieutenant in the British army, Dunmore personally commanded the military operation to end the Shawnees’ brutal frontier raids against Virginia settlers which had steadily increased over approximately 12 months.

“At this point Dunmore is kind of a friend to America,” said historian and author Glenn F. Williams at the July 19, 2017 meeting of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond. “He had a liking for Americans, and when he served in Parliament, he seconded the motion to repeal the Townshend Acts. He didn’t become a villain until 1775 when he attempted to maintain royal authority against the independence-minded Virginians.”

Williams is the author of the recently published book entitled Dunmore’s War: The Last Conflict of America’s Colonial Era.

Tensions between Virginians and various Indian tribes over this geographic area erupted during the French and Indian War. Virginia’s frontiersmen fought the French and their Indian allies with little help from British regulars.

Shortly after Great Britain and its colonies won the war, the British government issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This proclamation attempted to prohibit colonial settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains, and reserve this land for the Indians. The proclamation was extremely unpopular with most frontiersmen who had fought for this land during the recent war, and in some cases had already established their homes in this region.

Between 1768-1772 four new treaties were negotiated with Indian tribes to expand colonial land west of the mountains into parts of modern-day West Virginia and Kentucky. However not all of the Indian tribes, especially the Shawnees, agreed to the land sale. The Shawnees regarded much of this land as their hunting grounds, and viewed colonial settlements as encroachments on their land.

“The settlers and the Indians had two very different views on land use and land concepts,” said Williams. “This resulted in violence and counter-violence between the two sides. Both were guilty of committing torture, murder and other atrocities.”

By the Summer of 1774 the increasing number of Indian raids drove many Virginia settlers into forts constructed along the frontier. Deciding that Virginia needed to switch from a defensive strategy of protecting settlers to an offensive one of attacking the Shawnee villages, Lord Dunmore called out militia units from Virginia’s western counties.

Dunmore opted to organize the militia units into two wings. He placed his southern wing under the command of Colonel Andrew Lewis. The northern wing, which Dunmore personally accompanied, was placed under the command of Colonel Adam Stephen.

“Technically Stephen was in command of the northern division but Dunmore was actually in charge,” said Williams. “This arrangement was similar to the one during the Civil War when U.S. Grant accompanied the Army of the Potomac, which was technically under the command of George Meade.”

Lewis chose a site along the Greenbrier River, eight miles from White Sulphur Springs, as the staging area for his militia units. He named his division’s campsite Camp Union. Dunmore and Stephen selected Winchester as the staging area for the northern division. Both wings would march toward the Ohio River, cross it and march into Indian territory where the militia would either destroy the Shawnee villages or force them to seek a peace treaty.

Dunmore and Stephen marched the northern division to Pittsburgh, Wheeling and down the Ohio River where they crossed it and built a fortification which they called Fort Gower. Lewis marched the southern division down the Kanawha River to where it empties into the Ohio River at Point Pleasant. The two wings of the army were approximately 70 miles apart and located on opposite sides of the Ohio River.

Meanwhile the Shawnee chief named Cornstalk learned about the two approaching wings of Virginia militia, and decided to attack the 1,100-man southern division under Lewis before it could unite with the 1,300 troops under Dunmore and Stephen. Cornstalk secretly crossed the Ohio River with 800-1,000 braves near Lewis’ campsite at Point Pleasant.

Early on the morning of October 10, 1774 when four Virginia soldiers went hunting, they stumbled upon a huge number of Indians. After briefly exchanging gunfire, three of the four were able to run back to Lewis’ camp and warn officers about the close proximity of numerous Indians.

Lewis elected to send two detachments with 150 men apiece to conduct a reconnaissance-in-force. Commanding the two detachments were Colonel William Fleming and Colonel Charles Lewis, Andrew’s brother. The two forces made contact with the Indians, who launched an aggressive attack with their much larger army against the 300 Virginians. Fleming was wounded, Charles Lewis was killed and both reconnaissance-in-force columns were forced to retreat before they would get overwhelmed.

Andrew Lewis sent reinforcements from his Point Pleasant camp to establish a defensive line. The Virginians were successful, and by late afternoon they had repelled several Indian attacks. Shortly before dark the Virginians launched a counterattack which drove the Indians back to where they were able to form a good defensive position. Darkness ended the battle. The Indians re-crossed the Ohio River during the overnight hours with their dead and wounded braves.

Meanwhile Dunmore and Stephen marched the northern division toward the Shawnee villages that were located in modern-day Ohio. Cornstalk’s battle-weary army was in no position to stop them. When Dunmore’s forces reached the Scioto River, they halted and constructed a fort which they called Camp Charlotte. Located just across the Scioto River from this new fort were the Shawnee Indian villages.

Rather than fight for their villages or retreat from them, the Shawnees capitulated. Instead of burning the Shawnee villages and/or slaughtering the tribe, Dunmore gave the Shawnees a very lenient peace treaty. 

The Treaty of Camp Charlotte called for the Shawnees to turn over all white prisoners from not only the recent conflict, but from all previous ones dating back to the French and Indian War. The Shawnees were also forced to recognize the Ohio River as the boundary between Indian land and Virginia settlers, and were prohibited from hunting on the Virginia side of the Ohio River. They were also prohibited from interfering with any Virginia boats and trade along the river.

To guarantee that the Shawnees would keep the treaty, Dunmore required the Shawnees to provide a certain number of “hostages” (who were chiefs or sons of chiefs) to live in Williamsburg until such time that the Virginians were convinced of Shawnee intentions to comply with the treaty.

When Dunmore returned to Williamsburg after this military campaign, he received a hero’s welcome. Suddenly he was one of the most popular men throughout Virginia.

However Dunmore’s popularity wore off in less than 12 months. While he and the militia were fighting the Shawnees, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and planted some of the first seeds toward American revolution and independence. Shortly after shots rang out at Lexington and Concord, Dunmore emptied the Williamsburg public magazine of all its gunpowder. This decision outraged the public and forced Dunmore to flee Williamsburg on June 8, 1775 for the safety of a British naval vessel.

Glenn F. Williams is a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. He has served as the historian of the National Museum of the U.S. Army Project, the Army Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration and the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program.

Williams also serves as the president of the American Revolution Round Table of the District of Columbia. He is the author of several American history books and articles, including the award-winning Year of the Hangman: George Washington’s Campaign against the Iroquois.

Prior to the speaker’s presentation the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond discussed the following topics:

1. President Bill Welsch asked the audience for any additional nominations regarding this year’s Preservation Partner. When no new nominations were made, President Welsch closed the nominations and said he will soon send online ballots to all dues-paying members to vote for one of the four earlier nominees.

2. Several brief announcements were made by President Welsch and members of the audience.

--Bill Seward

2018 Meeting Dates

For those of you who like to plan ahead, the dates of our 2018 meetings are listed under the "Meetings" tab above. Speakers and their topics will be added later this year.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Next Meeting: July 19, 2017

"Lord Dunmore's War: The Last Conflict in America's Colonial Era," Glenn Williams

Meetings are held in the Westhampton Room, Heilman Dining Center (dining hall--building 34 on the campus map), University of Richmond, at 6:00 p.m. with dinner available for purchase beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Due to the University of Richmond being out of regular session, we will revert to our summer schedule: The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. with dinner still available for purchase in the Dining Center beginning at 5:00 p.m. Please plan on joining us!

University of Richmond campus map:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Meeting Notes: May 17, 2017

"General Howe and Mrs. Loring: The Myth vs. Reality Behind An Infamous Revolutionary War Affair," Sean Heuvel

Immortalized by a clever poem that portrayed her as Sir William Howe’s Philadelphia mistress, the real Elizabeth Loring lived a far less glamorous life than that of the “blond bombshell” as she is often depicted.

“The poem was probably propaganda and its source is highly suspect,” said historian Sean Heuvel at the May 17, 2017 meeting of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond. “During the Winter of 1777-1778 she was in Philadelphia with Howe and something probably happened, but the story was much more complicated.”

The poem, called The Battle of the Kegs, was written by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It goes as follows:

Sir William he,
snug as a flea,
Lay all this time a snoring,
Nor dreamed of harm
as he lay warm,
In bed with Mrs. Loring.

Another critic of Elizabeth Loring’s was a loyalist judge named Thomas Jones who wrote approximately 10 years after the American Revolution about how the alleged affair between Howe and Mrs. Loring had cost Great Britain the war. He portrayed Mrs. Loring as a Cleopatra figure and wrote, “As Cleopatra of old lost Mark Antony the world, so did this illustrious courtesan lose Sir William Howe the honour, the laurels, and the glory, of putting an end to one of the most obstinate rebellions that ever existed.”

Heuvel questions Jones’ accusations.

“As a loyalist who was on the losing side of the American Revolution, he was venting lots of frustration,”said Heuvel. “It’s also believed that he loved to drink and to gamble. There aren’t enough primary sources for historians to tell what really happened between Howe and Mrs. Loring but the loyalist judge’s accusations are probably myths.”  

What do today’s historians know about Elizabeth Loring? According to Heuvel, she lived a very difficult life.

Elizabeth Lloyd Loring was from Long Island, NY and married Joshua Loring, Jr. who was from Jamaica Plain (modern-day Roxbury, MA). His father served as an admiral in the British navy during the French and Indian War, and got wounded on Lake Ontario.

Joshua Loring, Jr. served in the British army as a lieutenant on the staff of Colonel William Howe in Savannah, GA. Loring left the British army in 1769 for health reasons after getting sick from tropical diseases.

When the American Revolution began, the Loring Family remained loyal to the British Crown. During the Siege of Boston when the Americans captured Jamaica Plain, the Lorings fled to nearby Boston. In fact the Lorings had to flee without their twin children who were left with a nurse.

Wearing a disguise, Elizabeth Loring went back through enemy lines to see her children. One of her twins had died but the other one was later reunited with his parents in Boston per an agreement approved by Thomas Gage and George Washington. 

During the Lorings’ stay in Boston, Sir William Howe recognized his former staff officer and met Elizabeth Loring for the first time. After Howe’s army left Boston and captured New York City, Howe put Joshua Loring, Jr. in charge of local prisons and prison ships moored in New York Harbor.

“There are two versions as to how Loring treated American POWs,” said Heuvel. “One story is how Loring was very cruel and stole from the prisoners. The other version says that he did the best he could under the circumstances.”

In 1777 when Howe launched his controversial Philadelphia Campaign, Mrs. Loring left her husband in New York City and sailed with Howe and his troops. Historians do not know the details as to why Mrs. Loring left New York City and her husband to sail with Howe’s troops, but Heuvel believes she was attracted to the power and security which Howe could provide.

Following a series of battles near Philadelphia, the American army abandoned the city and then the British army occupied it through the Winter of 1777-78. It was during this time period when Francis Hopkinson wrote what would become his famous poem about Howe and Mrs. Loring.

During the Spring of 1778, Sir Henry Clinton replaced Howe as the British commander in Philadelphia and marched his army back to New York City. Howe returned to Great Britain and Mrs. Loring returned to New York City.

When the war ended, Great Britain became the Lorings’ new home. They, like many other loyalists, were not widely accepted by the British natives.

In 1789 Joshua Loring, Jr. died at the age of 44 after several years of declining health. He left Elizabeth with four children and virtually no money. She applied for a pension because her husband had served in the British army, and received one.

Her oldest surviving son, John Wentworth Loring, joined the British navy in order to support his mother and siblings. He worked his way up the ranks and became a ship captain who earned a large amount of prize money by capturing enemy vessels. 

“John Wentworth Loring won all sorts of British honors so apparently the British Crown didn’t seem upset with his mother and her rumored affair with Howe,” said Heuvel. “John Wentworth’s siblings also did very well.”

As for Elizabeth Loring’s life in Great Britain, not much is known about her. Today’s historians have only two letters written by her---one from when she was a child and the other which she wrote to her adult children.

“In the letter to her children she worried about keeping up with the Jones,” said Heuvel.

Sean Heuvel is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. He served as the founding president of the American Revolution Round Table of Williamsburg/Yorktown.

His interests include the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War II, military leadership and higher education history. He is the author or co-author of the following books:

1.The Revolutionary War Memoirs of Major General William Heath

2. Life After J.E.B. Stuart: The Memoirs of His Granddaughter, Marrow Stuart Smith

3. Remembering Virginia’s Confederates (Images of America)

4. The College of William and Mary in the Civil War

5. Christopher Newport University (Campus History)

Prior to the speaker’s presentation the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond discussed the nominations which members submitted to President Bill Welsch regarding this year’s ARRT-Richmond Preservation Partner. Four non-profit organizations were nominated. President Welsch said that each dues-paying member of ARRT-Richmond will get the opportunity sometime in July to vote online for one of the four nominees.

--Bill Seward

Saturday, May 6, 2017

2017 Harry M. Ward Book Prize Nominees

Robert F. Smith, Manufacturing Independence: Industrial Innovation and the American Revolution (Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2016).

Caroline Cox, Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Stephen Howard Browne, The Ides of War: George Washington and the Newburgh Crisis (Columbia, SC: University of South Caroline Press, 2016).

Nathaniel Philbrick, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (New York: Viking, 2016).

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

Derek W. Beck, Igniting the American Revolution: The War before Independence, 1775-1776 (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2016).

Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016).

Donald J. Gara, The Queen’s American Rangers (Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2015).

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Meeting Notes: March 15, 2017

"Officer Resignations in the Continental Army: General Washington's Constant Headache," Bill Ferrarro

“I quit.”

Although Continental army officers phrased their resignation requests to George Washington in much more diplomatic language, many officers submitted their resignations throughout the war for a variety of reasons.

“This was an important subject that took lots of Washington’s time, said William M. Ferrarro at the March 15, 2017 meeting of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond. “In fact of all the correspondence which we have today on Washington’s wartime writings, approximately 10% of it dealt with the subject of officers who complained about their rank and/or their wish to resign their commissions from the Continental army.”

Ferrarro is the managing editor of the Washington Papers at the University of Virginia, and has studied many of the officer resignation requests submitted to Washington. At the Round Table meeting he read quotes from various resignation letters. 

In addition to complaints about their rank and lack of promotion, Continental officers typically cited family finances and the need to take care of family affairs as reasons to resign their commissions. 

“Washington frequently implored Congress to pay more money to keep from losing good officers but Congress had no taxing authority,” said Ferrarro. “As for trying to discourage officers from going home, Washington tried to set a personal example by never taking a furlough.”

Subordinate officers also frequently cited the deaths of close family members as a reason for resigning their commissions. These deaths ranged from those of loved-ones killed in combat to those of elderly parents who died back home.  

When a Continental officer submitted his resignation, it had to be approved by Washington. Before an approval was granted, Washington’s staff checked to make sure that the resigning officer didn’t owe the Continental army any money. Each resigning officer was also expected to leave behind all military equipment owned by the army. 

Typically an officer resigning his commission would ask his superior officer to write a letter to Washington on behalf of the officer, or to write a letter accompanying the officer’s resignation letter to Washington. Usually Washington replied to routine resignation letters by writing an outline, and then giving his outline to one of his staff officers such as James McHenry to write the official army reply. 

“Washington was much more engaged in his correspondence to Congress than he was to resignation requests submitted by most officers,” said Ferrarro. “He was an incredible administrator.” 

Resignation requests typically slowed during the summer months and increased during the winter ones. Since many enlisted men served on a calendar-year basis, the loss of officers during winter months deprived the Continental army of experienced officers to train newly-enlisted recruits.

Washington was particularly concerned with the loss of officers from the states of Massachusetts and Virginia. Massachusetts furnished the most regiments in the Continental army, and of course Virginia was Washington’s home state.

Among the highest ranking officers who submitted their resignations were Generals Philip Schuyler and Artemas Ward.

“Schuyler went back and forth on whether to submit his resignation,” said Ferrarro. “Washington liked Schuyler but Congress didn’t. As for Ward, Washington wasn’t happy with him and was glad to get rid of him.”

Prior to the speaker’s presentation the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond discussed the following topics:

1. President Bill Welsch urged the membership to submit via email their nominations of organizations to serve as the 2017 ARRT-Richmond Preservation Partner. He asked to receive all nominations prior to the next ARRT-Richmond meeting on May 17, 2017. 

2. Several members announced various upcoming classes, seminars and programs that relate to the American Revolution. Please see the ARRT-Richmond website for details on these events.  

 --Bill Seward

Friday, March 24, 2017

Next Meeting: May 17, 2017

"General Howe and Mrs. Loring: The Myth vs. Reality Behind An Infamous Revolutionary War Affair," Sean Heuvel

Meetings are held in the Westhampton Room, Heilman Dining Center (dining hall--building 34 on the campus map), University of Richmond, at 6:00 p.m. with dinner available for purchase beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Due to the University of Richmond being out of session, we will revert to our summer schedule: The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. with dinner still available for purchase in the Dining Center beginning at 5:00 p.m. Please plan on joining us!

University of Richmond campus map:

Monday, January 30, 2017

Meeting Notes: January 18, 2017

"Money is the Sinews of War: George Washington, Money, and the Revolutionary War," Ed Lengel

Known as “First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen”, George Washington was also a very savvy businessman and one of America’s first great entrepreneurs.

“These are some aspects of his life and career that are not well known,” said historian Edward G. Lengel at the January 18, 2017 meeting of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond. “I got to thinking about Washington’s relationship with money and with business, and it opened up his thoughts and tactics as a military and a political leader.”

Lengel is the chief historian for the White House Historical Association and a former professor at the University of Virginia, where he also served as the director of the Washington Papers documentary editing project. He is also the author of the recently published book entitled First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His and the Nation’s Prosperity.

According to Lengel, the Washington Family had a knack for successful business practices from its earliest days in North America. John Washington, George’s great-grandfather, came to Virginia in 1656 for what he thought was a routine business trip.

“John Washington traveled to Virginia for the purpose of loading tobacco and going back to England, but a storm sank his ship in the Potomac River and he lost all of his cargo,” said Lengel. “He decided to stay and to settle down. He grew tobacco, got married and invested in land before dying at age 46”.

Lawrence Washington, John’s oldest son, inherited the bulk of his father’s estate. He died at age 38.

Augustine Washington, Lawrence’s younger son and George’s father, was a talented businessman who greatly expanded his agricultural landholdings and also invested in ironworks. His second wife and George’s mother was Mary Ball Washington.

“She often gets a bum rap by historians for being cranky and not very smart, based mainly on disagreements which she and George had later in life,” said Lengel. “However she and her husband shared the same vision. She prepared George for real life by teaching him about math, geometry, accounting and debt. George Washington always hated debt.”

Mary Ball Washington was also a good business manager according to Lengel. She managed the household staff and slaves on a daily basis, and ran her husband’s businesses whenever he traveled to England.

George Washington’s first job as a teenager was working as a surveyor. According to Lengel, it was an ideal job because he worked with prominent people such as Lord Thomas Fairfax, one of the richest people in the American Colonies.

“Not only did the Fairfax Family open all sorts of social contacts for Washington, but he gained considerable experience with land and how to reach down and look at dirt. Is it good soil or bad soil? He also learned how investing in good land could make people very prosperous,” said Lengel.

During the French & Indian War, Washington became a combat veteran---which affected his understanding of life according to Lengel.

“At the Battle of the Monongahela he leads the remaining troops in Braddock’s army off the field and past the cries of the severely wounded,” said Lengel. “It impacts him on what war does to people, to communities and to a nation. It teaches him the importance of making sure that troops get paid, get fed and get good care in general.”

On January 6, 1759 Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, the wealthiest widow in Virginia.

“It’s preposterous to say that Washington married her simply for her money,” said Lengel. “Their marriage was a partnership. She chose him as much as he chose her.” 

George and Martha Washington settled into their Mount Vernon home where he made a business decision that would have a major impact on the rest of his life. He switched from growing mainly tobacco to growing wheat.

Under the British/Colonial system of trade, tobacco farmers got paid by British merchants in the form of credits toward the purchase of British goods. They did not receive hard currency for their tobacco sales, which often increased Colonial debt. Wheat was not subject to these trade regulations. Farmers could sell their wheat by themselves domestically or sell overseas via British and/or American merchants. Wheat was also easier on the soil and much less labor-intensive, which allowed Washington’s surplus staff and slaves to make the transition into new jobs requiring higher skills than tobacco farming.

As tensions increased between the American Colonies and Great Britain, Washington strongly supported economic protest measures such as a boycott of British goods in order to free America from the British/Colonial debt and credit system. For Washington, independence from Great Britain was primarily about economic freedom rather than political freedom. He viewed economic freedom as a means to allow Americans to strive toward long-term prosperity, both in terms of agriculture and industry.

During the American Revolution, Washington favored a strong continental army over the use of militia units. But why? According to Lengel, Washington understood what war meant as a result of his own experiences during the French & Indian War.

“Civilians are full of words and fine phrases about the will to win, and about fighting for homes and families,” said Lengel. “Washington looked at war from the standpoint of a veteran. He knew that money was the sinews of war, and how war can divide people. War creates hardships and suffering, and therefore it requires innovation, production, organization and a strong government to keep people united.”

According to Lengel, Washington realized that people who felt committed to the American Cause might one day give up the Cause if their families were starving. In fact Lengel said this situation came close several times during the war. 

Washington tried to keep American civilians on the side of his army by punishing any soldiers who plundered them, and by purchasing goods from civilians at local markets rather than seizing their goods. Washington also deferred to civilian authority via the Continental Congress and did his best to keep the legislature informed on his army’s operations. He understood the importance of keeping civilians on his side as an extension of the war effort.

After the war Washington saw the weakness in the Articles of Confederation and the danger in the virtual elimination of a national army and navy. He also recognized the importance of innovation during the Industrial Revolution and how it helped the world. Since the British were generally regarded as the world’s leading innovators during this time period, Washington recognized the need for America to emulate them.

“When Washington became president, he said his first and only aim was to establish the national prosperity,” said Lengel. “He wasn’t a Hamilton puppet. Washington had an economic strategy to establish national credit, a stable currency and a level playing field to protect commerce.”

Part of Washington’s economic strategy was maintaining peace with other countries. Despite cries from prominent Americans for war with Great Britain over the issue of the impressment of American sailors, Washington’s administration negotiated the Jay Treaty in 1795 which reduced tensions between the two countries and led to increased trade between them.

“Washington had wisdom and a deep understanding of America---and what we could become,” summarized Lengel.  

Edward G. Lengel has authored several books, primarily on the American Revolution and World War I time periods. His works include the following:

1. General George Washington: A Military Life

2. Inventing George Washington: America’s Founder in Myth and Memory

3. Thunder and Flames: Americans in the Crucible of Combat, 1917-1918

4. The New Nation: The Creation of the United States in Paintings and Eyewitness Accounts (co-author)

5. To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918

6. The Irish through British Eyes: Perceptions of Ireland in the Famine Era 

Prior to the speaker’s presentation the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond discussed the following topics:

1. Treasurer Art Ritter reported that the ARRT-Richmond treasury did very well in 2016 and is growing, thanks to a record-number of members and good participation by members and guests during the ARRT raffles held at each meeting.

2. President Bill Welsch noted that the Book Award Committee and the Preservation Committee are looking for suggestions as to any books which the Book Award Committee should consider for the 2017 award, and for any organizations which the Preservation Committee should consider as the 2017 preservation partner. Suggestions can be submitted to Book Award Chairman Mark Lender, Preservation Chairman Bert Dunkerly or President Welsch.

3. Several other announcements were made by members and guests regarding upcoming classes, conferences and events that relate to the American Revolution. Please read about these activities elsewhere on the ARRT-Richmond website.