Author Archives: Eric Sterner

Down the Rabbit Hole with Three Captains Johnny

On the afternoon of June 4, 1782 in the grasslands of western Ohio, a Pennsylvania volunteer named Francis Dunlavy spent a portion of his time trying to shoot a Native American he later called “Big Captain Johnny.”  For his part, the … Continue reading

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Henry Clinton and “A Miracle on Sullivan’s Island”

By the Red Sea the Hebrew host detained Through aid divine the distant shore soon gained; The waters fled, the deep passage a grave; But thus God wrought a chosen race to save. Though Clinton’s troops have shared a different … Continue reading

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Review: Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution by Don Hagist

Don Hagist is one of our foremost American authorities on the common British soldier during the American Revolution. His latest book, Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution, is an institutional portrait of the British army that … Continue reading

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Bicentennial Minutes

Almost fifty years ago, the United States celebrated its Bicentennial, treating July 4, 1976 as the 200th anniversary of its founding. (The next “major” milestone will be the semi-quincentennial, which doesn’t quite roll of the tongue). For just over two … Continue reading

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Historians from the Past: C.W. Butterfield (1824-1899)

Early histories of the American Revolution in the west relied on oral tradition, local lore, legend, and even a bit of inventive myth-making as a young United States spread beyond the Appalachians and sought to develop its own, new identity.  Considerable … Continue reading

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Review: Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness made their way into the American revolutionary project most explicitly in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.  So, I hope you’ll forgive my taking of liberties in reviewing a book that starts … Continue reading

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Review: Russell Mahan, The Kentucky Kidnappings and Death March: The Revolutionary War at Ruddell’s Fort and Martin’s Station, Kindle ed. (West Haven, UT: Historical Enterprises, 2020).

In the summer of 1780, Captain Henry Bird crossed the Ohio River with some 800 Native Americans from various British-allied tribes and two companies of soldiers from Detroit (roughly 50 Canadians and Tories and a mixed group of regulars from … Continue reading

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Poet in a Patriot Prison

CONFINEMENT hail! in honour’s justest cause. True to our King, our Country, and our Laws; Opposing anarchy, sedition, strife, And every other bane of social life. These Colonies of British freedom tir’d, Are by the frenzy of distraction fir’d; Rushing … Continue reading

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Augustin Mottin De La Balme’s Disastrous Detroit Campaign, Autumn 1780

The Revolutionary War has more than its share of adventurers, rogues, soldiers-of-fortune, and risk-takers.  Augustin Mottin De La Balme combined all these characteristics in his person.  In November 1780, they brought the Frenchman and his soldiers to a horrible end outside the … Continue reading

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Review: James Monroe: A Life by Tim McGrath (New York: Dutton, 2020)

Tim McGrath has written two award-winning winning books about the early history of the United States Navy: Give Me a Fast Ship and John Barry.  For his third book, he switched gears to tackle an oft-overlooked soldier, lawyer, politician, and … Continue reading

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