George Washington Passed By Here

One of my favorite places to visit are the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania. The area abounds in history, and its scenery is, in my view, unparalleled. Rugged mountains overlook beautiful valleys of hardwoods, streams and waterfalls. Rocky outcroppings emerge from the forest. Powerful rivers wind through the region

It is a center of industrial history: railroading and mining, transportation like canals, the National Road, and other scenic highways. There is even a bit of Civil War history in the region. But my favorite topic to explore is its French and Indian War history. Which brings me to the person who started it all, George Washington.

Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Emerging Revolutionary War, Personalities, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Norman MacLeod’s Campaign Journal, November 7-14, 1778

(An occasional series highlighting British Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton’s march south from Detroit to recapture Vincennes (Indiana) on its 240th anniversary through the entries in Captain Norman MacLeod’s diary.)

Lieutenant Governor Hamilton’s army continued its progress towards Vincennes, but it was slow and backbreaking work.  Building dams to raise river levels did not work everywhere and his army often had to resort to the simple and monotonous task of unloading its vessels, dragging them through the shallows, carrying supplies forward, and then reloading boats to continue making progress the next day.  MacLeod’s diary entries for November 7th and 14th highlight the sheer fatigue involved in moving supplies on the frontier.

Continue reading

Posted in British Leadership, Campaigns, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Norman MacLeod’s Campaign Journal, October 31, 1778

(An occasional series highlighting British Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton’s march south from Detroit to recapture Vincennes (Indiana) on its 240th anniversary through the entries in Captain Norman MacLeod’s diary.)

This year marked the 240th anniversary of George Rogers Clark’s “conquest of the Illinois country” in modern-day Illinois and Indiana.  During the summer, he led a small force of Virginia militia down the Ohio River and eventually captured the towns of Vincennes in modern-day Indiana as well as Cahokia and Kaskaskia in modern-day Illinois.  The British Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, Henry Hamilton, could not abide such American audacity and set out to recapture the town of Vincennes and the British fort that had ostensibly protected it, Fort Sackville.  On his march south from Detroit, he prodded, pleaded, and encouraged Native American tribes to join his force, significantly swelling his numbers for the late-fall offensive.  By October, Hamilton’s army was regularly struggling with low water and ice on the rivers it needed to move supplies while freezing rain, snow, and falling temperatures plagued men on the march.

Continue reading

Posted in British Leadership, Campaigns, Revolutionary War, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Press Release: Victory at Yorktown

ABT

Breaking on Friday, the 237th anniversary of the surrender of British Lord Charles Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, there was another victory.

The American Battlefield Trust announced the successful acquisition of 49 acres of “hallowed ground associated with the 1781 battle.”

The full press release is at the link below!

Victory at Yorktown!

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, British Leadership, Continental Leadership, Emerging Revolutionary War, Memory, Monuments, National Park Service, Revolutionary War, Southern Theater | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Elbow Room” for “Uncle Johnny”

On this date in 1777, British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates around Saratoga, New York. This victory solidified French support for the fledgling American nation and became one of the turning points in the road to independence.

800px-BurgoyneByReynolds

General John Burgoyne

Out of this momentous occasion came an anecdote about the British general officer. The short story has some truth in it, yet, whether the entire tale is accurate, well, I’ll leave that for you to decide!

Two years prior to the Battles of Saratoga and upon arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, General Burgoyne remarked “Well, let us get in, and we’ll soon find elbow-room” when he was told the numbers of militia besieging British regulars around the town.

After his capitulation, Burgoyne and his forces were marched toward Albany, New York, and multitudes of people turned out to see the vanquished British and German soldiery along the route. One resident supposedly yelled from her homestead doorway;

“Make elbow room for General Burgoyne.” 

Not what he had envisioned in 1775 upon disembarking in North America. Yet, history does not relate what “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne thought exactly about the elbow room he received in the countryside of upstate New York!*

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

*“Gentleman Johnny” was a nickname acquired by Burgoyne was stationed in London with the Horse Guards, a fashionable cavalry regiment.” 

**Information gathered from A.J. Langguth’s “Patriots” and The Patriot Resource, which can be found here.

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, British Leadership, Continental Leadership, Emerging Revolutionary War, Memory, National Park Service, Northern Theater, Revolutionary War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Washington’s Greatest Speech?

On the morning of March 15, 1783, George Washington strode into the “New Building” or “Temple” as the structure was referred as, to address the assembled officers of the Continental Army. He asked General Horatio Gates if he could have the floor to say a few words and when he unfolded his pieces of paper on the podium, the words lost their importance.

Why? Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Continental Congress, Memory, Monuments, Personalities, Revolutionary War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Norman MacLeod’s Campaign Journal, October 13, 1778

Sketch of Wabash River, 1778

Sketch of the Wabash River Made During Hamilton’s 1778 Campaign (Wikimedia Commons)

In the summer of 1778, Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark of the Virginia militia launched one of the most daring American military operations of the Revolutionary War when he invaded the “Illinois country” and captured Cahokia and Kaskaskia in modern-day Illinois and Vincennes in southern Indiana, effectively neutralizing British power on the Illinois, Wabash, and Mississippi Rivers.  Henry Hamilton, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec and Britain’s Superintendent for Indian Affairs in Detroit, could not allow such audacity to succeed, lest Britain’s influence with the western Indian nations wane.  Learning of Fort Sackville’s fall at Vincennes on the Wabash River, he set out to recapture it.

Continue reading

Posted in British Leadership, Campaigns, Militia (Loyalist) Leadership, Personalities, Revolutionary War, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment