“Rev War Revelry” Discusses Militia & Continentals

This Sunday, May 10th, at 7 p.m. EST, Emerging Revolutionary War returns with the “Rev War Roundtable with ERW” for another installment of “Rev War Revelry.”

This week ERW welcomes guest historian Gabe Neville, historian and founder of the blog, 8th Virginia Regiment, and ERW historians Mark Maloy, Mark Wilcox, Billy Griffith, and Travis Shaw for a chat about militia (both Patriot and Loyalist) and Continental units. Click here to see Gabe’s blog.

Join the panel of historians as they debate, discuss, and share their favorite units, the differences between militia and Continental units, regiments or companies that deserve more recognition, or all of the above. Questions and comments are welcomed and encouraged.

Just head on over to Emerging Revolutionary War’s Facebook page Sunday evening, for our weekly happy hour historical discussion. We’ll be there sharing our insight, but not our favorite brews! See you Sunday!

militia | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica
Posted in Common Soldier, Continental Leadership, Emerging Revolutionary War, Militia (Loyalist) Leadership, Militia (Patriot) Leadership, Revolutionary War | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tree as Old as the Country

Muir Woods Bicentennial Tree

The coastal redwoods of Muir Woods form as close to a natural cathedral as I’ve ever visited. Tucked in a hidden valley in the Golden Gate Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco, the national park allows visitors to escape from the metropolitan hustle and bustle and step into a primordial landscape.

Some of the trees in the forest are estimated to be more than a thousand years old. One, not near so old, still lays claim to special historical significance: the Bicentennial Tree.

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Saving 1862 Battlefield Land But Really Saving Land From the Siege of Yorktown

Emerging Revolutionary War would like to thank Drew Gruber, for bringing this connection to our attention.

During the May 5th, 1862 Battle of Williamsburg as Confederate soldiers ran down into what would be called the bloody ravine they ran headlong into men from New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. In an effort to push the Union soldiers out of the ravine and sweep them from the field brigade after brigade was sent into the fight. Among those was four Virginia regiments under AP Hill. After leaving the relative safely of the City they deployed in some form of a line and pitched down into the ravine too. 

Portion of the map of the Battle of Williamsburg, showing the land the American Battlefield Trust is currently working to purchase (map courtesy of LOC)

In the ravine hand-to-hand combat, fallen trees, driving rain, and the thick smoke made communication almost impossible and command fell on company commanders to keep the battle moving in their favor. Among the men in Hill’s brigade fighting down in the bloody ravine was Tipton Davis Jennings of the 11th Virginia Infantry. His account of the fighting here at Williamsburg will be of particular interest to your readers of the ERW blog. 

Writing in 1897 his “Incidents in the Battle of Williamsburg” appeared in the Confederate Veteran Magazine. In fact Kate and I covered this in an earlier ERW post titled, Revolutionary Memory. (click here to read that post). 

“Just then,” he wrote, “we happened upon what was apparently an ancient line of grass-grown earthworks. We learned afterward that portions of Washington’s line of entrenchment were yet discernible thereabouts. And so it is possible that we ragged ‘Rebs’ were actually defending the same works were [sic] once stood the ragged continental ‘Rebs’ fighting, the hessian of Europe, as we were now, some eighty years later. So doth history repeat itself.”

At first glance is this a cool anecdote and yet rather odd. However, when you consult french maps from the Williamsburg region created during the Yorktown Campaign you’ll find references to Mulhenburg’s “lights” camped in this very area. Moreover, almost hidden in plain sight on one of Sneden’s 1862 maps is and “Old Fort of 1781.” Civil War soldiers seemed wholly cognizant of the Revolutionary landscape around them and like Jennings used it to spur on their cause(s). 

Yesterday, on the 158th anniversary of the May 5th, 1862 battle the American Battlefield Trust launched a campaign to save the 29 acres over which Jennings charged. Perhaps it is this very same ground where the original cast of “ragged continental ‘Rebs'” also campaigned. Click here to read about that initiative and for further information on how to donate.

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Emerging Revolutionary War, Memory, Preservation, Revolutionary War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

John Adams Under FireMost 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 depending on one’s point of view, harassing/threatening a guard outside the Customs House.  Both sides in the growing dispute between Britain and its colonies rapidly turned the event, which occurred 250 years ago, to their political ends.  Several books have been written about the massacre and tried to sort fact from propaganda, at least in the context of revolutionary Boston.  In their latest book, John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial, Dan Abrams and David Fisher tackle the trials of Captain Preston and his soldiers that followed. Continue reading

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“Rev War Roundtable with ERW” Heads to South Carolina (Virtually)

Join Emerging Revolutionary War this Sunday, at 7p.m. EST on our Facebook page as we head, virtually, down to South Carolina to discuss the importance of that colony/state in the American Revolution.

Most are familiar with the larger engagements, such as Cowpens and Kings Mountain or maybe the massacre at the Waxhaws. How about the Siege of Charleston, or the battles of Ninety-Six, or the countless other engagements that made the Palmetto State (which got its nickname from this era) one of the most hotly contested areas of the entire conflict.

Joining the “Rev War Revelry” will be ERW historians Vanessa Smiley, former Chief of Interpretation and Education at the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution National Park Group, which includes Cowpens, Kings Mountain, and Ninety-Six and Bert Dunkerly, former park ranger at Kings Mountain and author of a few histories on South Carolina in the Revolutionary War topics.

We look forward to seeing you for our sojourn into the Southern Theater this Sunday. Oh, and remember to grab your favorite brew for the trip!

The Southern Theater of the American Revolution | American ...
Battle of Cowpens
(courtesy of ABT)
Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, British Leadership, Continental Leadership, Emerging Revolutionary War, Memory, Militia (Loyalist) Leadership, Militia (Patriot) Leadership, Revolutionary War, Southern Theater | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Sword is Now Drawn…” The Powder Incident, Lexington and Concord moves Virginia to Revolution

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Battle of Lexington by Amos Doolittle, December, 1775

One of the most amazing parts of the events on April 19, 1775 is just how sophisticated the colonial information network was. As soon as Lt. Col. Francis Smith’s British Regulars began to move across the Charles River, riders fanned out from Boston and to neighboring towns. Each town then had more riders that spread out and soon dozens of men were riding through the New England countryside warning of the fighting that took place. Soon information spread to the mid-Atlantic colonies and Philadelphia on April 24th. In the age of no electricity, the complexities and speed that news traveled from Boston to the other colonies was pretty amazing. Stories grew from person to person and it would take months and even years to decipher truth from exaggeration. It was imperative for both the “Patriots” and General Thomas Gage to get their version of the events of April 19th out as fast as possible. Facts or not, the importance of the public relations was of utmost importance to both sides to win the hearts and minds of the other colonies.

As the news reached Virginia, the colony was already at a crossroads with their

Sir_Joshua_Reynolds_-_John_Murray,_4th_Earl_of_Dunmore_-_Google_Art_Project_Square

Virginia Lt Governor, John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore

Governor. The last House of Burgesses that met in Williamsburg was dissolved in August 1774 over their vocal support of the people of Massachusetts after the Boston Port Act. The once popular Governor, John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (Governor Dunmore), was angered over their overt support and ordered them dissolved and returned home. The legislature defied his orders and met soon after at the nearby Raleigh Tavern, thus constituting the “First Virginia Convention.” With questionable legal authority, the Convention called for solidarity and non-importation of British goods. They also agreed to meet again in the future. The “Second Virginia Convention” met in March of 1775 in Richmond, a safe distance from the Governor’s influence in Williamsburg. It was at this Convention that Patrick Henry made his famous “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech on March 23. Though considered radical at the time, the speech energized the Convention and set the tone. When the Governor learned of the Convention and especially Henry’s speech, he made a fateful decision to remove the gunpowder stored in the magazine in Williamsburg. Continue reading

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, British Leadership, Civilian, Militia (Patriot) Leadership, Personalities, Revolutionary War, Uncategorized, Weapons | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philip van Cortlandt’s Roadside Monument

Route 15 Marker-Painted PostI’m sure the men who’d embarked on the 1779 Sullivan-Clinton Campaign weren’t traveling along New York’s Southern Tier Expressway as they moved through the lands of the Iroquois Confederation. In the “Tory-Indian Town of Painted Post,” I’m sure members of the expedition didn’t decide on a detour down U.S. Rt. 15 south toward the Pennsylvania state line.

But that’s how I came across a monument to the expedition during recent travels, located at a parking area along Rt. 15 south. Continue reading

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