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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Meeting Notes: May 20, 2020

ARRT-Richmond 5/20/20 Meeting Notes
Pre-Guest Speaker Notes

ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for 7/15/20.  This is a zoom meeting!  Sign in details will be provided in the July newsletter.  Thanks again to Peggy Watson for allowing us to utilize the Osher network.

ARRT-R’s featured speaker on 7/15/20 will be Bert Dunkerly.  Bert’s topic will be “Four Winters at Morristown: Smallpox, Starvation, and Mutiny”.  Bert recently spent six months as the Acting Supervisory Ranger at Morristown National Park.

Guest Speaker – Mark Edward Lender – Cabal! The Plot Against General Washington
Mark Edward Lender holds a Ph.D in American History from Rutgers University.  He has written extensively on early American social and military history and is a recognized authority on the War for Independence.  Lender’s scholarship has won awards from the Society of Military History and the U.S. Army Historical Foundation and a fellowship  from Smith National Library at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  In 2017 he was a finalist for the prestigious George Washington Literary Prize. 

Lender considers that rather than the “classic cabal” of General’s Horatio Gates, Thomas Mifflin, and Thomas Conway in a plot to remove General  Washington quickly, the threat to 
Washington’s command was a gradual administrative attempt by the Board of War and political allies to take over the war effort.

General  Washington’s record in late 1777 was not impressive.  He has been whipped at 
Brandywine, surprised at Paoli, beaten at Germantown, and had been unable to hold the 
Delaware River forts.

The alternative to General Washington was seen as Major General Horatio Gates.   While 
General Washington was struggling in Pennsylvania Gates was defeating Burgoyne at Saratoga.

Two generals in particular where determined to replace General Washington with Gates.  The two generals where Thomas Mifflin and Thomas Conway.

General Conway was angered by his rank and considered General Washington incompetent.

“Heaven has been determined to save your country; or a weak general and bad councellors 
would have ruined it.” Conway to Gates (attributed) Late November 1777

General Mifflin has failed as Quartermaster General and was extremely jealous of General 
Washington’s relationship with General Nathaniel Greene.

“You have saved out Northern Hemisphere and in spite of our consummate & repeated 
blundering you have changed the constitution of the Southern Campaign on the part of the 
enemy from offensive to defensive…. In short this army will be totally lost unless you come 
down & collect the virtuous band, who wish to fight under your banner & with their aid save the southern hemisphere…  Congress must send for you.”  Mifflin to Gates, 17 November 1777

The Board of War was created in mid-1776 as a support organization to take care of routine administrative tasks for Congress: military records, routine correspondence,  equipment not in use, British POWs.  When created the Board was staffed by delegates.  The Board was reorganized in October 1777 to fulfill the same functions  but was  staffed with full time professional  instead of delegates.  General Gates was appointed President of the Board and became in essence General Washington’s superior.

In December 1777 the Board of War on Mifflin’s advice created the Office of Inspector General.  General Washington was not consulted red the creation of the Office.  The Inspector General was tasked with devising and implementing training and tactical drill regimen, conducting officer evaluation, and making extensive reports on virtually all army functions, with oversight of the Board of War.  On Mifflin’s advice Conway is appointed to the post.

Beginning in January 1778 through March 1778 the Board of War began implementing a “Commissary Plan” independent of Washington and the established army Commissary Department.  Three commissary operations – the army department, Board of War “superintendents”, and state agents created competition for the same supplies and mass confusion.

At the same time as the Board of War began implementing a “Commissary Plan” the Board also began issuing direct orders to the army. Orders issued included the movement of arms, 
munitions, and units without Washington’s approval.

Most egregiously to Washington and his supporters the Board began planning for another 
invasion of Canada.  Gates did not consult Washington and determined that the Board of War would run the invasion.  The Board began issuing orders directly to Lafayette and other senior officers and not through the C-in-C.

The Gates, Conway, and Mifflin  relationship was discovered through correspondence between the parties.  Conway was injured in a duel and Gates apologized to Washington.  By late spring 1778 the greatest threat to General Washington’s command was over.

--Noah Rogers

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Next Meeting: July 15, 2020

"Four Winters at Morristown: Smallpox, Starvation, and Mutiny," by Bert Dunkerly

Our next meeting will, once again, be held virtually via Zoom. Bert has graciously stepped-in to present the above topic. More information will be available in July.

Assuming that the University of Richmond is back in session in September, we should be able to return to our usual "in-person" format then.

"Cabal: The Plot Against George Washington" Presentation

At our May 20, 2020 Zoom meeting, Mark Lender gave a well-received presentation on the plot against George Washington. For those of you who missed the meeting or who just want to refresh the subject, following is a link to Mark's presentation.

It is in Power Point. Simply click on the link below and enjoy!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

ZOOM on May 20th!

This is just a quick update to remind everyone that we will meet via ZOOM for our meeting on May 20. Peggy Watson (thanks, Peggy!) has organized the meeting and will be running it. Mark Lender will be speaking on the Conway Cabal. We will only have the presentation by Mark--no raffle, business portion, etc.

Based on what Peggy knows and predicts, we won't be able to meet on campus in July, either. Peggy is ready to support a July Zoom session, also, assuming that May goes well. We'll deal with that later.

On the preservation partner, I would propose that we suspend the nomination and voting for 2020.  I think that it would just be too confusing and difficult to arrange and allow people to learn about any nominees, etc.  Plus, with a likely smaller 2020 membership, our gift would probably be smaller.

Background for the May meeting:

  • The link to the ZOOM conference will be included in Bill's May mailing, probably around May 15.
  • The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. It would be good for attendees to log-in up to 20 minutes before to ensure that their equipment is working.
  • Attendees will be placed in a waiting room then admitted one by one.
  • All will be muted on admittance but will be able to unmute as soon as they're in.
  • Everyone will be muted when the lecture begins, but people can be unmuted to ask questions.
  • When the lecture is finished and questions have been answered, the meeting will end.
Here is a link to a PDF Factsheet for the use of ZOOM:

See everyone on May 20!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Arnold Marker

Bert Dunkerly reports that the City of Richmond has approved acceptance of the Arnold's Raid on Richmond historical marker.  Bert and city officials are now in the design development and approval phase.  Bert is also progressing with the needed fund raising from other groups to join our $300 donation.  He's optimistic!

--Bill Welsch

Next Meeting: May 20, 2020... via ZOOM!

We hope that all are safe and well.  Obviously, the current times have required many cancellations and changes to group meetings such as ours.  First, our thanks to both Jim Christ and Ryan Cole, our March and May speakers, for their understanding of this situation.  Bruce is working to reschedule both of these gentlemen for either later this year or for 2021.

Our May meeting will take a different format utilizing Zoom, rather than an in-person gathering.  Thanks to Peggy Watson, we will be utilizing the Osher network to present our own Mark Lender speaking about the Conway Cabal.  This is the subject of Mark's newest book Cabal! The Plot Against General Washington
I highly recommend Cabal to you.  Thanks very much to Mark for filling the breech.

We will provide sign-in details in next month's newsletter, prior to 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.

Mark's lecture will be Zoomed on WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 BEGINNING AT 6:30.  We won't worry about the other parts of the meeting.  Hopefully, by July 15, things will be back to normal.

(Thanks to Bill Welsch for the above.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Genealogy Research Article

Maria Jones, from DNA Testing Guides, was doing some research and stumbled across our post from July 2012 from Brent Morgan. She suggested that the following article, "The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Genealogy" might be of interest to our members. Thank you, Maria!

Click here for the article

Friday, March 13, 2020

Meeting Notes: January 15, 2020

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:
ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for 3/18/20 at Heilman Dining Center at the University of Richmond – dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. – the speaking program begins at 6:30 p.m. NOTE: This meeting has been canceled!

ARRT-R’s featured speaker on 3/18/20 will be Jim Christ, President of the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund.  Jim is also Vice President of the Philadelphia ARRT and active in the Congress of ARRTs.  He will speak on the Battle of Paoli.

Guest Speaker – Christian McBurney – “George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court Martial of Major General Charles Lee during the American Revolution”
Mr. McBurney has written five books on the American Revolutionary War, including Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture Generals Charles Lee & Richard Prescott.  He is a member of the George Washington ARRT and works as an attorney in Washington, D.C.

According to the author, absolute objectivity is required to fully understand General Lee.  His book combines the stories of Lee’s capture and imprisonment followed by his conduct at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse.

General Lee, second in command of the Continental Army, was captured by the British Army. While in British custody, General Lee prepared and submitted to his captor’s a military plan on how to defeat Washington’s army.   During his 16 months of captivity Lee continued to communicate with British officers his willingness to help negotiate an end to the rebellion. This act of treason was not discovered until well after Lee’s death.  McBurney’s opinion is that Lee’s conduct during his captivity was clearly treasonous.

After Lee rejoined the Continental Army he served as Washington’s second-in-command at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse.  Prior to the battle, Lee was given many of the Continental Army’s best troops and was tasked with attacking the rear of the British column as it moved east through New Jersey.

Once action began on June 28th, 1778 two of Lee’s subordinates began moving their troops off the field.  According to McBurney, Lee faced with possible destruction of the rest of his force ordered a retreat while conducting a delaying action.  Once Washington arrived on the battlefield the narrative became that Lee’s force was routed and that only the skill and will of Washington prevented a disaster.

Because of his tactless and relentless efforts to defend his actions in the days after the battle, Washington had him arrested and court-martialed on charges of disobeying orders, conducting an “unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat” and disrespect towards the commander-in-chief.  During the court-martial Lee attempted to turn the proceedings into a contest between himself and Washington.  Lee was found guilty on all counts.  McBurney’s opinion is that Lee’s court-martial conviction was unjust and was the result of Lee’s insulting of Washington.

--Noah Rogers

Thursday, March 12, 2020

March 18, 2020 Meeting Canceled

As most of you have heard by now, the University of Richmond has closed their campus as a precautionary measure due to the Coronavirus. Therefore, our next meeting, scheduled for March 18, has been canceled.

We will consider rescheduling this meeting for a later date, if feasible.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The 1777 Philadelphia Campaign: April 30-May 2, 2020

This year, Chambersburg Civil War Tours is exploring one of the most important campaigns of the American Revolution, including the Battle of Brandywine. The trip will be led by Michael Harris with historian Eric Wittenberg.

The tour is April 30 - May 2, 2020 based in King of Prussia, PA. Please click here to view the itinerary.

If any of your Round Table members are interested in attending the trip, we will extend the Early Bird Discount of $30 Off to the Package Pricing. In addition, if three or more of your members sign up for the tour, we will offer a 10% discount on each of the registrations. 

Chambersburg Civil War Seminars & Tours was founded by the Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and is a nonprofit organization. To date, we have raised more than $220,000 has been donated to nonprofit organizations that support the interpretation and preservation of our American military heritage. For questions, please call Lark Kennedy at 717-264-7101 or email

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Role of African-Americans in the Regiments of the Continental Army, February 6, 2020

On February 6, 2020, the Williamsburg-Yorktown American Revolution Round Table will present John U. Rees speaking on the role of African-Americans in the regiments of the Continental Army. The talk will be held at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Click here for the meeting announcement.

Next Meeting: March 18, 2020

Please join us on March 18, 2020 as we host Jim Christ speaking on "The Battle of Paoli."

Meetings are held in the Westhampton Room, Heilman Dining Center (dining hall--building 410 on the campus map), University of Richmond, at 6:30 p.m. with dinner available for purchase beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Please plan on joining us!

University of Richmond campus map:

6th Congress of American Revolution Round Tables

The Sixth Congress of American Revolution Round Tables was held in Philadelphia on November 9, 2019. Bill Welsch and Woody Childs represented ARRT-Richmond.

Click here to read the minutes of this meeting.

The next Congress is scheduled to be held in 2021. Representatives of all American Revolution Round Tables are invited to attend.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Bell Ringing Party for the Restored Meneely Bell at Historic St. John's Church: March 23, 2020

To celebrate the restoration of the Meneely Bell, there will be a bell ringing party on Monday, March 23, 2020. This event is open to the public. Following the bell ringing, there will be a "Liberty or Death" reenactment which will be ticketed ($5.00 per ticket).

ARRT-Richmond Donation to the St. John's Church Foundation

l. to r., Bill Welsch (Pres., ARRT-R), Lee Ball, Madeline Herring

The American Revolution Round Table of Richmond presented their 2019 Preservation Partner donation to the St. John's Church Foundation on January 5, 2020, during the Arnold's Raid event. The donation will be used in support of the Meneely Bell project.

Meeting Notes: November 20, 2019

"How Did They Cross: Washington's Crossing of the Delaware River, December 25-26," Bill Welsch

Pre-Guest Speaker Notes:
ARRT-R’s next meeting is scheduled for 1/15/20 at Heilman Dining Center at the University of  Richmond – dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. – the speaking program begins at 6:30 p.m.

ARRT-R’s featured speaker on 1/15/20 will be Christian McBurney, of the George Washington ARRT at Mount Vernon, who will speak on his forthcoming book George Washington’s Nemesis: The Outrageous Treason and Unfair Court Martial of Major General Charles Lee during the American Revolution.

Guest Speaker – Bill Welsch – President – American Revolution Round Table of Richmond
Washington’s plan involved three crossings, with the main effort being an attack on Trenton. The second crossing would be led by Colonel Cadwalader and would create a diversion to the south of Trenton.  The third crossing would be led by General Ewing who was tasked with crossing at Trenton Ferry and holding the bridge at Assunpink Creek, in order to prevent the Hessian force from retreating south.

Preparations for the attack involved hiding boats behind Taylor Island at McKonkey’s Ferry. The boats collected included large ferry vessels and a large number of Durham boats.  These boats where designed to carry heavy loads for the Durham Iron Works and featured high sides and a shallow draft.  The Durham boats could be poled across the river.

The boats where crewed by both civilians and soldiers including members of Colonel John Glover’s 14th Continental Regiment.  The famous regiment was recruited from the area around Marblehead, Massachusetts.
On the evening of the 25th Washington began assembling his force at McKonkey’s Ferry. 
Weather conditions on the evening of the 25th grew progressively worse as rain turned into sleet and snow.  The weather conditions and the amount of ice in the river slowed the crossing.

Weather conditions prevented the 2 other planned crossings from taking place.

Today the Pennsylvania launch site and the New Jersey landing site are part of the Washington Crossing Historic Park.

--Noah Rogers