Author Archives: Eric Sterner

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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Captain James Willing’s Mississippi Raid, Part 2

Willing’s next target was the town of Manchack upon which he descended “so rapidly that they reached the Settlements without being discovered.”[1]  On the 23rd, Willing’s advance parties captured the 250-ton British sloop Rebecca, with sixteen 4-pounders and six swivels.[2]  … Continue reading

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Captain James Willing’s Mississippi Raid, Part 1

  In 1778, Captain James Willing and his crew sailed and rowed the bateaux Rattletrap down the Ohio River to the Mississippi.   A “left” turn of sorts then took them down the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf of … Continue reading

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History after a Pandemic

The odds are good that you haven’t been able to visit some of your favorite Revolutionary War sites during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of these locations rely on foot traffic for their annual income and may be struggling to stay … Continue reading

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Review: John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial by Dan Abrams and David Fisher

Most people with an interest in the American Revolutionary War have heard of the Boston Massacre, in which Captain Thomas Preston of the 29th Regiment of Foot, commanding a contingent of British soldiers, fired into a crowd, or a mob … Continue reading

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