Uncovering the Continental Army in Morristown

Approximately one month ago, I took a temporary detail assignment to Morristown National Historical Park. The national park preserves the winter cantonments of the Continental Army during the American Revolution; including the harshest winter, weather-wise, of the entire war, in 1779-1780.

For parts of multiple winters and even during the campaigning season, Washington’s forces would come to Morristown, situated behind the Watchung Mountains, which provided safety but also a perch to monitor the British in the New York City.

The town still bears witnesses to this rich legacy of housing soldiers, with historic buildings and signs dotted around the spiraling town. On a walk the other day, I came across the house below, with a small plaque situated on the front of the dwelling.

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The home saw soldiers use it for their encampments throughout the majority of the war years. On his return to the United States the Marquis de Lafayette was welcomed with a reception in the building as well, which is in the photo below.

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Morristown is filled with tidbits of history from the American Revolution and I as spend the next few months there as a park ranger, I will share what I come across. So, stay tuned as I uncover the history of the place that “Saved America” according to the park’s unofficial slogan.

 

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Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Campaigns, Common Soldier, Continental Leadership, Memory, Northern Theater, Revolutionary War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Visiting Carlyle House

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Carlyle House from the Front (Author Photo)

William Griffith’s examination of the Carlyle House Congress last month (The Carlyle House Congress and Britain’s Military Objectives for 1755) reminded me that I had been remiss in not visiting the site.   So, the family and I set off for Alexandria, VA and a visit to John Carlyle’s home.

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Posted in Civilian, Emerging Revolutionary War, French and Indian War, Monuments, Personalities, Preservation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: European Armies of the French Revolution, 1789–1802 (Campaigns and Commanders Series) Edited by Frederick C. Schneid

ERW Book Reviews (1)

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes back guest historian Bill Backus

The American Revolution ultimately set in motion a chain of events that transformed not only society in the Americas but also back in the Old World.  Six years after the United States gained independence, revolution broke out across France.  While Americans focused on building a new nation, across the Atlantic the French Revolution sparked a series of wars subsequently known as the French Revolutionary Wars.  Eventually after many years of combat and political chaos, a young army officer named Napoleon Bonaparte emerged as the new Emperor of France.  Led by the Emperor the French army and nation embarked on a series of new wars that spread from Spain to Russia.  From the beginning of the French Revolution to the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, Europe was at war for nearly 26 years, or nearly the entire lives of people born during the American Revolutionary period.

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European Armies of the French Revolution, 1789–1802 (Campaigns and Commanders Series) by Frederick C. Schneid

While Napoleon’s French Empire is widely known on both sides of the Atlantic, the wars that allowed Napoleon’s ascent to power are less prominent.  Concerned that revolution could spread to the rest of continental Europe, Revolutionary France found itself engaged fighting the European status co intent on restoring the Bourbon monarchy in France.  Over the course of years war and peace ebbed and flowed in Europe, with war sometimes sparked by the French in hopes of unifying a splintered public. In “European Armies of the French Revolution, 1789-1802”, historian Frederick Schneid has organized a study exploring the role of some of the prominent European armies in this period.  Collaborating with noted scholars in their respective fields, the essays explore the armies of the nation-states of France, Prussia, Austria, Russia, Great Britain, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire, along side the various German principalities and the armies of the Italian states. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Book Review, Campaigns, Common Soldier, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Mason’s Gunston Hall

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Gunston Hall River Entrance (Author Photo)

Gunston Hall’s River Entrance (Author Photo)

George Washington’s estate on the Potomac River is one of the most-visited places in the greater Washington, DC area, as befits the home of the Father of his Country.  Just twelve miles south (by road), however, sits an equally impressive 18th century plantation home.  Gunston Hall was the estate of George Mason IV (1725-1792).  Best known as one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention who in the end opposed the Constitution’s ratification, Mason doesn’t always get his due in the stories of America’s founding fathers.  But, he was a critical and thoughtful voice in forming the early United States government and enshrining its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights.  Fortunately, his home is open to the public and easily accessible from the metropolitan Washington area.

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Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Continental Leadership, Emerging Revolutionary War, Personalities, Revolutionary War, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Very Special Message

A special announcement in the preservation world was made public today. The Civil War Trust, which the Campaign 1776 initiative spawned from, officially changed their name to the American Battlefield Trust. You can see their video announcement of the name change and what it means, here.

logoEmerging Revolutionary War sent an email inquiry to our friends at American Battlefield Trust to elaborate a little further on what this name change means and the impact to their current and future preservation efforts. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Campaigns, Emerging Revolutionary War, Monuments, Preservation, Revolutionary War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Brush of John Trumbull

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes back guest historian Michael Aubrecht

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John Trumbull

John Trumbull’s paintings represent some of the most familiar depictions from the time of the American Revolution. Trumbull was a graduate of Harvard University and the gifted son of the Governor of Connecticut. As a child, Trumbull showed a remarkable talent for an attention to detail. This aptitude set his drawings apart from his contemporaries. Trumbull traveled to London in 1784 to study painting under the master Benjamin West. It was then that he started painting some of his most notable pieces. There he honed his expertise for realistic painting. A year later later Trumbull traveled to the City of Paris to do commissioned artworks. He later did portraits of George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. In 1816, he was selected as the president of the American Academy of the Fine Arts where he would serve for 20 years. Emphasizing classic traditions Trumbull attempted to teach the skills he had acquired while overseas. Following his death in 1843 at the age of 87, Trumbull was buried beneath the Art Gallery at Yale University which he had designed. In 1867, his collection of artworks were displayed at the Street Hall building on the same grounds. He and his wife’s remains were later re-interred and buried on the grounds of that building. Trumbull’s approach to painting has been studied by art students around the world. Today Trumbull’s paintings remain some of the most cherished ever to be painted by an American artist.  Continue reading

Posted in Campaigns, Continental Congress, Continental Leadership, Memory, Monuments, National Park Service, Northern Theater, Personalities, Preservation, Revolutionary War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE AUTHORS AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IN CONCORD

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, we share the connection of the literary icons of Concord (MA) and its American Revolution heritage. Concord historian Jayne Gordon wrote about these connections in an appendix in our recent release “A Single Blow.” Below is part of that text.

None of the eighteenth-century Concord authors lived through the American Revolution, yet reminders of that eighteenth-century war abounded in Concord in their lifetimes. Their neighbors were the grandchildren of the minutemen; veterans of the war were still among the townsfolk. Buildings, gravestones, old roads, and other landmarks evoked that part of the past, and they were surrounded by the stories of the fateful day of April 19, 1775. They each drew on their interpretations of the Revolution’s symbolic meaning, and incorporated those ideas into both their private and public writings.

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The “Old Manse” next to the North Bridge in Concord

In the case of RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), there was a direct historical link to a grandfather who had played a significant role in the beginnings of the Revolution. Sixty years after colonial militiamen confronted the British troops at the North Bridge within sight of the Old Manse, the grandson of patriot minister Reverend William Emerson would come to his ancestral home to stay, writing in his journal, “Hail to the quiet fields of my fathers! . . . Henceforth I design not to utter any speech, poem, or book that is not entirely & peculiarly my work.” Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Civilian, Memory, Personalities, Slavery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment