Review: The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn, An Untold Story of the American Revolution by Robert P. Watson

ERW Book Reviews (1)

Andersonville. Bataan. Auschwitz. All conjure up images of disillusion, devastation, and death.

All are infamously known as harsh prisoner-of-war camps. When those words are read, images flash through your mind and memory of hollow faces attached to gaunt bodies staring blankly in the direction of the cameraman.GhostShip_300x456

With Robert P. Watson’s new history, The Ghost Ship of Brookly, An Untold Story of the American Revolution, one can add another word to the lexicon of prison camp vernacular.

Jersey.

Or a few more words specifically, the HMS Jersey.  Continue reading

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“I hope my visit to Boston will do good…” Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby and American Revolution

A version of this post appeared in the Emerging Civil War blog on August 17, 2018.

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John S. Mosby, photographed here as a Federal civil servant

Those who know me know of my “interest” in famous Confederate partisan, John S. Mosby. Ok, some would say “love affair,” but either way, I grew up reading about Mosby and his exploits during the Civil War. It was not until later in my life that I started to read about the most interesting part of Mosby’s life—not his time in the war, but his time AFTER the war.

Mosby had a deep interest and passion in American history and you can see that on a trip that Mosby took north in April 1906 to one of the sacred sites of America’s founding: Boston, Massachusetts. In a 1906 letter to his friend Sam Chapman (a former member of Mosby’s Rangers), Mosby describes his visit and the many ironies (as a southerner) he experienced. Continue reading

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The Battle of Groton Heights, September 6, 1781: The Fort Griswold Massacre

Part Three
Click here for parts one and two.

With British soldiers pouring into the fort, Colonel Ledyard ordered a ceasefire, and prepared to surrender Fort Griswold to the victorious British. However, the British disregarded the ceasefire and continuing pouring fire into the American garrison, killing or wounding nearly all of the fort’s defenders. “I believe there was not less than five or six hundred men of the enemy on the parade in the fort,” claimed American soldier Rufus Avery. “They killed and wounded nearly every man in the fort as quick as they could.”

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Maj. Stephen Bromfield, the ranking British officer after Montgomery fell, called out, “Who commands this fort?” Ledyard stepped forward and responded, “I did, sir, but you do now.” Another American, Jonathan Rathbun, watched Bromfield run Ledyard through the heart and lungs with Ledyard’s own sword:

     “…the wretch who murdered him [Ledyard], exclaimed, as he came near, “Who
    commands this fort?” Ledyard handsomely replied, “I did, but you do now,” at the same
moment handing him his sword, which the unfeeling villain buried in his breast! Oh, the
hellish spite and madness of a man that will murder a reasonable and noble-hearted
    officer, in the act of submitting and surrendering!”

Continue reading

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Preserve Washington’s Legacy

If you follow Campaign 1776, the initiative by our friends at Civil War Trust, you are familiar with the saga over the Princeton Battlefield. Now you have a chance to help as well.

Battle of Princeton - Death of Mercer by Trumbull (Yale)

Battle of Princeton, Death of Mercer by Trumbull (courtesy of Yale University)

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America’s Dunkirk

In 1940, during World War II, the British and French armies were completely surrounded by the Nazis at Dunkirk.  The Allies made a successful evacuation, lived on to fight another day, and gained a newfound resolve to resist the Nazi war machine.  The uncertainty and suspense of the evacuation at Dunkirk has recently been brought to life on the big screen with Christopher Nolan’s movie, “Dunkirk.”  As people pack the theaters this summer to see the film, it’s good to remember that America had its own desperate, nation-saving evacuation during the Revolutionary War.

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In one of the most daring maneuvers of the Revolutionary War, Washington led his men on a daring night time retreat across the East River. (Library of Congress)

In the summer of 1776, Great Britain dispatched the largest expeditionary force it had had ever sent anywhere in the world up to that point in history.  The British soldiers and sailors made their way into New York harbor to subdue the American rebels. Continue reading

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Review: Unshackling America How the War of 1812 Truly Ended the American Revolution by Willard Sterne Randall

ERW Book Reviews (1)The post-colonial era conflict between the United States and Great Britain, known in America as the War of 1812, has often been described as America’s second war for independence.  In UNSHACKLING AMERICA: HOW THE WAR OF 1812 TRULY ENDED THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, published by St. Martin’s Press 2017, author Willard Sterne Randall promotes the idea that this war, largely unremembered today in Great Britain, was actually a continuation of the earlier American Revolution. Cover Unshackling America

The book begins by chronicling the relationship between America and Britain from the years of the French and Indian War or Seven Years War to the end of the American Revolution and beyond. While the Treaty of Paris in 1783 basically ended the overt military conflict between the former colonies and the mother country, Randall maintains that, in the years that followed, Britain continued to deny economic independence to the United States through regulations on trade, thereby denying full independence to the young nation. Continue reading

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Reporting Success on a Monday!

With the start of the work week, some folks loath logging onto the computer to check work email, news, and updates. If you are one of those folks, keep reading, as the news we are about to share is positive and exciting.

campaign-1776-logo-220This past Thursday, July 27, 2017, Campaign 1776, the initiative of the Civil War Trust, announced the preservation of 184 acres at two sites in New York state. One tract of land was pivotal to the United States success in the Saratoga Campaign in 1777 and where a U.S. fleet was saved during the War of 1812.

The Battle of Fort Ann, fought on July 8, 1777 was a four-hour affair and was influential in the course of the larger Saratoga Campaign as it affected the British’s attempt to secure the strategically important Hudson River Valley. The delay around Fort Ann and every delay on the route of General John Burgoyne’s push south aided the Patriot cause tremendously.

Fast-forward to the War of 1812 and Sackets Harbor, New York provided as safe-haven for the United States fleet operating on the Great Lakes. Horse Island and the harbor that gained prominence during the May 29, 1813 offensive by the British, is where 24 acres were saved by Campaign 1776. The battlefield, which was one of 19 sites that benefited from $7.2 million in grants announced earlier in July and the first War of 1812 site anywhere in the country to be awarded money since the National Park Service expanded the grant opportunities in 2014.

Not just one success, but two for this Monday morning! For the full report, courtesy of our friends at Civil War Trust, click here.

 

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