Author Archives: Eric Sterner

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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The Journal of Nicholas Cresswell, Part 6

  Skirmish in New Jersey Cresswell found cheap lodging in New York and reunited with Joseph Brewer, who had fled Philadelphia himself, leaving his wife behind.  “The persecution against the friends of Gorvernment was too violent for a man of … Continue reading

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The Journal of Nicholas Cresswell, Part 5

Escape from America Finally, in the spring of 1777, Cresswell again decided to try returning to England.  Thomson Mason, who had already intervened with two Committees of Safety to protect the Englishman, offered to help with Virginia authorities once more, … Continue reading

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Gaming Away Social Distancing. Deal or Duel: An Alexander Hamilton Card Game

Among his many aphorisms, Ben Franklin reportedly said “games lubricate the body and the mind.”  Given the large number of quotes attributed to the sage, it is suspect.  But, his generation certainly understood games, both as a way of sharpening … Continue reading

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The Journal of Nicholas Cresswell, Part 4

A Loyalist under House Arrest Having failed to reach the British Army in New York, Cresswell spent a miserable autumn and winter of 1776/1777 in northern Virginia, often arguing with his host, James Kirk, a Patriot and the only man … Continue reading

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