“Rev War Revelry” The Battle of Lake George: England’s First Triumph in the French and Indian War

To usher in the month of May, Emerging Revolutionary War returns to the French and Indian War for a discussion with author and historian Billy Griffith on his book, “The Battle of Lake George: England’s First Triumph in the French and Indian War.

On September 8, 1755, two armies clashed along the southern shore of Lake George in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The battle between William Johnson’s force of colonial provincials and Mohawk allies and Baron de Dieskau’s French and Native American army would decide who possessed the lower part of the strategic water highway system that connected New York City with Quebec.

Join ERW historian Billy Griffith for a discussion about this crucial event in the early stages of the French and Indian War that can be considered one of the first true “American” victories against professional foreign troops. We look forward to you joining us, at 7 p.m. EDT on our Facebook page for the next historian happy hour.

“Rev War Revelry” Spends an Evening on Lake George Battlefield

With the turkey eaten, Black Friday shopping completed, and a slate of American football watched, and prior to cyber Monday beginning, Emerging Revolutionary War invites you to tune in for a historian happy hour. This week “Rev War Revelry” returns to the French and Indian War and welcomes as guests Lake George Battlefield Park Alliance President John DiNuzzi and the Board of Trustee Member Lyn Hohmann.

The discussion will entail their organizations effort to preserve and interpret one of the America’s most historical places and hallowed ground.

“The Lake George Battlefield Park was the scene of major battles during the French and Indian War and American Revolutionary War, and the home of Fort George, a key anchor of first British and then American military strategies in those world-changing conflicts. Enveloped by the natural beauty of the Adirondack Mountains in the town of Lake George, the site’s history reflects its prominence as part of the crucial Hudson River-Lake George-Lake Champlain corridor in the mid-to-late 18th Century.”

The Lake George Battlefield Park Alliance’s effort to commemorate the ground is so invaluable to telling the overall story. Joining the two guest historians and preservationists will be ERW historian Billy Griffith who is an author on a book with the HistoryPress on the actions around Lake George.

Grab that last remaining beer, tune in to our Facebook page this Sunday, at 7 p.m. EDT, and hear the amazing work being done in New York. How else would you want to round out the holiday weekend?

Americana Corner

Our monthly recap of what our good friend and fellow historian Tom Hand has written on his blog, AmericanaCorner. Also, check out Emerging Revolutionary War’s YouTube page for a “Rev War Revelry” with Tom Hand done earlier this month.

September 21st:
Americans with a Shared Future Meet at the Stamp Act Congress

The Stamp Act Congress was held in New York in 1765 in response to the Stamp Act, a piece of legislation passed by Parliament. The Act itself and the events that transpired because of it would prove to be hugely impactful on the destiny of America. Read it here.

September 14th:
Fort Ticonderoga: A Key Component in America’s Quest for Independence

Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York is arguably the best-preserved fort from the 1700s in North America. It was the site of several engagements in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Its military significance is matched only by the natural beauty that surrounds the site. Read it here.

September 7th:
British Colonies Work Together During the Albany Congress of 1754

The Albany Congress was held in the summer of 1754 and represents the first time the British colonies in North America ever attempted joint action. Unlike the conventions held in later decades, which focused on pushing back against England, the goal of this conference was to help the British in their fight against the French and their Indian allies. Read it here.

“Rev War Roundtable with ERW” French and Indian Sojourn

For the past few weeks, Emerging Revolutionary War has, naturally, centered our “Rev War Revelry” on topics associated with the American Revolution. However, our blog is dedicated to the the Revolutionary era and so to live up to that name, our historian happy hour will focus on George Washington, the French and Indian War, and the frontier, especially Western Pennsylvania, and see where the conversation goes from there.

This week, ERW historians will be joined by Dr. Walter Powell, who has been the president of the Braddock Road Preservation Association for the past 30 years and has been very active in French and Indian War events.

Joining Dr. Powell as a guest is John Miller, the Operations Director for Monterey Pass Museum and Battlefield ans the Executive Director of Shippensburg (PA) Historical Soceity.

We look forward to you joining Emerging Revolutionary War on our Facebook page at 7pm EST this Sunday. Along with your favorite beverage, remember to bring with your questions and comments as we embark on this sojourn to the French and Indian War in a history happy hour!

ERW in the Hudson Valley: 4th Annual ERW Trip

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Billy Griffith, Kevin Pawlak, Rob Orrison and Mark Maloy at George Washington’s HQ in Newburgh, NY

Just over two weeks ago, ERW historians Billy Griffith, Phillip Greenwalt, Mark Maloy, Rob Orrison and Kevin Pawlak took a long weekend trip up to upstate New York. This was the fourth year that ERW authors have gotten together to take a “field trip” to see sites related to the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

The trips not only serve as chances for research, but also to make new connections with public historians working in the American Revolution era. Along the way, we posted several videos from locations to give our followers an idea of some of the great places to visit out there. Again, our goal is to not just share this history, but to get people to visit these great sites.

Sites visited on the first day included the Stony Point Battlefield, where Americans under Gen. Anthony Wayne over ran a surprised British outpost. Reading about this action almost rings empty until you stand on the ground. Looking at the steep terrain that Wayne’s men climbed after traversing through a wetland, it is hard to imagine how the Continentals were able to take the British fort with so few casualties. Later that day we made a quick stop at George Washington’s headquarters in Newburgh. Here Washington lived from April 1782 to August 1783 and where he learned of the cease fire with the British, wrote his now famous circular letter to the colonial governors on his vision for the new government. Most importantly, here Washington responded to the Newburgh Conspiracy of his officers looking to possibly over throw the civil government. This site is also important in the history of the museum field as it is the first publicly owned historic site in the United States, opened in 1850 as a museum. A worthwhile nearby site, the New Windsor Cantonment site, preserves the camp site of the Continental Army during the 1782-1783 time period. Several of the buildings are rebuilt, including the Temple of Virtue, where Washington made his impassioned speech to his officers (with the assistance of his glasses) to diffuse their discontent with Congress.

The morning of the second day of the trip was spent visiting sites around Lake George, NY, including some much over looked French and Indian War sites. That afternoon sites along the upper Hudson including the site of the murder of Jane McCrea, Fort Edward and sites in Albany.

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Park Interpreter Bob Hoar explains the terrain of the battlefield

Early Sunday morning, a quick trip to the Bennington Battlefield State Park was highlighted with a great personal tour by Bob Hoar. The battlefield is well preserved and interpreted. Bob also shared some of his research into reinterpreting the battlefield using first person accounts and the landscape. Again, understanding the landscape of these places creates such a better understanding.

The majority of the day on Sunday was spent at Saratoga National Historical Park, posting several Facebook Live videos from various points across the battlefield. Also a special visit to the surrender site in Schuylerville which was recently preserved and opened as a memorial by the Friends of Saratoga Battlefield. A great preservation victory that adds to the overall story of Saratoga.

One of the highlights of the trip took place on Monday, where we received a behind the

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Curator Matthew Keagle gave a behind the scenes tour of Fort Ticonderoga’s amazing collection storage.

scenes tour by Fort Ticonderoga staff. We started by learning about the military interpretive program by Ron Vido, Military Programs Supervisor. Anyone who has visited Fort Ticonderoga knows about their quality interpretive staff and programs. Ron also shared with us their plans to slowly restore the Carillon Battlefield (1758), which will be a great addition to the understanding of North America’s bloodiest battle before the Civil War. That afternoon we were treated to a behind the scenes tour of Fort Ticonderoga’s collections storage by Curator Matthew Keagle. The Fort has been collecting 18th century items for nearly 100 years. Their collection is one of the largest collection of 18th century military artifacts in the United States. From a Continental knapsack to an original copy of Baron von Steuben’s drill manual, the collection on display is only a small portion of what the museum owns. Matt also shared the museum’s ongoing work to digitize their collection for the purpose of research. The day was capped off by a visit to one of the best preserved battlefields in the United States, Hubbardton. Fought as part of the Saratoga Campaign, this is Vermont’s only battlefield. The landscape at the foot of the Green Mountains is amazing and the viewsheds are near pristine. A nice state park and visitor center are there to help explain the events of July 7, 1777.

Thank you to all the people that assisted us in this trip and all the sites that were nice enough to host us. We will be posting more on the blog in the future focusing on some of the stories around these amazing sites. Again, we encourage you to take the time to visit all these places. History books are great, but there is no substitute for being in the footsteps of history

To check out the Facebook Live videos and photos from the trip, please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/emergingrevwar/ .

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Bill Griffith, Kevin Pawlak, Phill Greenwalt, Mark Maloy and Rob Orrison at Saratoga, over looking the Hudson River.

 

George Washington, Daniel Morgan, and Winchester, Virginia on Memorial Day

I’ve been intermittently visiting Winchester, VA for years, usually with an eye toward understanding its place in the Civil War.  Tradition has it that no town changed hands more frequently. But, the town also has a prominent, if sometimes overlooked, role in America’s colonial and Revolutionary War history.  In particular, it enjoyed a close relationship with George Washington and Daniel Morgan, helping shape both men.

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George Washington as a Teenage Surveyor, Winchester, VA

Winchester, or Frederick Town, as it was then known, was the largest village in the lower Shenandoah Valley when Lord Thomas Fairfax decided to relocate from England to his land grant in northern Virginia and became a way-station of sorts for people traveling along the Great Wagon road that ran from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in the 18thcentury.  So, when the Fairfax family hired a teenaged George Washington to help survey its grants in the Shenandoah, Winchester was a logical place for the surveying team to make its temporary home base.  (In truth, surveying teams were constantly moving to maximize their efficient use of time: the saddle might be considered home.)  While the teenager was less than impressed with most accommodations on the frontier, he was pleased with Fredericktown.  He recorded in his diary: Continue reading “George Washington, Daniel Morgan, and Winchester, Virginia on Memorial Day”

Announcing the First Emerging Revolutionary War Symposium!

Mark your calendars for September 28, 2019!  Emerging Revolutionary War is excited toPrint announce that we are partnering with Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and The Lyceum of Alexandria, VA to bring to you a day long Symposium focusing on the American Revolution.

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Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

Alexandria is George Washington’s hometown and we feel is a great place for us to start this new endeavor. Historic “Old Town” Alexandria is home to dozens of museums and historic sites as well as great pubs, restaurants and shops. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is the premier 18th century tavern museum in the country and is host to the famous annual George Washington Birthnight Ball.  The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum will be our host location. Today The Lyceum serves as the City’s history museum and is a center of learning through lectures, demonstrations and exhibits.

This year’s theme is “Before They Were Americans”  and will highlight several topics

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The Lyceum

about the years leading up to the American Revolution. Our speakers include: Phillip Greenwalt, Katherine Gruber, William Griffith, Stephanie Seal Walters and Dr. Peter Henriques as the keynote. Registration will open on July 1, 2019 through AlexandriaVA.gov/Shop or by calling 703-746-4242. Stay tuned as we highlight each of our speakers and their topics.

 

 

John Wayne, Colonel James Smith, and the Black Boys Rebellion

AlleghenyUprisingposterAllegheny Uprising, starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor, is an overlooked Revolutionary War movie.  I first watched the 1939 film as a kid on a local UHF station, but never quite realized how closely it tracked with the memoir of a colonial and Revolutionary War soldier, Colonel James Smith.  So, I decided to take a look.

For a significant portion of the last century, no actor signified “the American Century,” more than John Wayne. But, in the 1930s, he was a former-stuntman-turned-B-grade-actor churning out movies as a contract player for RKO Pictures.  Born in Iowa as Marion Morrison, Wayne’s family made its way to California during World War I and he eventually attended the University of Southern California as a pre-law student.  When an injury sidelined his football career, he did odd jobs in Hollywood for a friend-of-a-friend, eventually taking on bit parts and extra work before getting his first starring break in The Big Trail, a 1930 epic that flopped horrendously.  Morrison needed a more impressive name for the movie—Marion Morrison apparently not being heroic enough for the character he would portray. So, Morrison, still in his 20s, suggested Anthony Wayne after the Revolutionary War general himself.  The studio passed on “Anthony,” but settled on John Wayne.  Newly named, Morrison went back to work, settling for the lead in a bunch of forgettable westerns.

Continue reading “John Wayne, Colonel James Smith, and the Black Boys Rebellion”

Book Review: Young Washington by Peter Stark

erw-book-reviews-11Peter Stark, Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father, Kindle ed., (New York: HarperCollins, 2018).

While traveling in southwestern Pennsylvania, outdoor writer Peter Stark discovered the region’s deep history and the central role it played in transforming George Washington from a callow young man on the make to the kind of leader who could forge a nation. Stark was not accustomed to thinking about Washington on those terms.  He decided to study the younger man in greater detail, retracing Washington’s steps as a surveyor and explorer, messenger for Virginia’s colonial governor, defeated commander at Fort Necessity, aide to General Braddock, commander in the Virginia militia, honorary brigadier during the Forbes Campaign, frustrated suitor of his neighbor and best friend’s wife, and prickly colonial frustrated with ill treatment at the hands of the British empire.  While Stark includes chapters that cover Washington’s early life and the circumstances that brought him to the frontier, Young Washington revolves around the period of Washington’s service just before and during the French and Indian War. Continue reading “Book Review: Young Washington by Peter Stark”

“The soul of General Abercromby’s army seemed to expire”: The Death of George Howe, July 6, 1758

They waded ashore during the morning of July 6, 1758. Full of confidence, the vanguard of Major General James Abercromby’s massive army of over 16,000 men had completed its nearly thirty-mile trek northward across the waters of Lake George. They began pushing inland – men from Thomas Gage’s 80th Regiment of Light-Armed Foot, Phineas Lyman’s 1st Connecticut Regiment, and of Robert Rogers’ famed rangers – scattering small pockets of French resistance. By early afternoon the entire army had debarked at the designated landing site and formed into four columns to begin its advance towards the primary objective: Fort Carillon. Moving forward into the thick wilderness with the rightmost column of mixed regular and provincial units was Abercromby’s second-in-command, Brigadier General George Howe. [1]

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George Augustus, Third Viscount Howe. New York Public Library

George Augustus, Third Viscount Howe, was born in Ireland in 1725. Like his younger brothers, Richard and William, George was destined for a career in His Majesty’s Forces and to serve in North America. His father, Emanuel Scrope, Second Viscount Howe, was a prominent member of parliament and served several years as the Royal Governor of Barbados before dying there of disease in 1735. Upon his father’s death, George assumed the title of Third Viscount and in 1745, at age twenty, was made an ensign in the 1st Foot Guards. Subsequently serving as an aide-de-camp to William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, Howe fervently studied the strategies and tactics employed by his own commanding officers and the enemy, and witnessed firsthand the carnage of the War of Austrian Succession. Just ten years later, when the world was set ablaze by war yet again, George was ordered to Halifax, Nova Scotia with a commission as colonel of the 60th Regiment of Foot (Royal Americans) that was set to take part in a failed operation to capture Fortress Louisbourg in 1757. He was later made colonel of the 55th Regiment of Foot, and in December, appointed Brigadier General by William Pitt. The following summer, he accompanied the largest field army ever assembled in North America up to that time as its second-in-command. Continue reading ““The soul of General Abercromby’s army seemed to expire”: The Death of George Howe, July 6, 1758”