Braddock’s Defeat: An Evening with David L. Preston

On July 9, 1755, British regulars and American colonial troops under the command of General Edward Braddock, commander in chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, were attacked by French and Native American warriors shortly after crossing the Monongahela River while making their way to besiege Fort Duquesne in the Ohio Valley near modern-day Pittsburgh. The long line of red-coated troops struggled to maintain cohesion and discipline as Native American warriors quickly outflanked them and used the dense cover of the woods to masterful and lethal effect. Within hours, a powerful British army was routed, its commander mortally wounded, and two-thirds of its forces casualties in one the worst disasters in British military history.

Join us this Sunday evening at 7 p.m. for our latest Rev War Revelry as we sit down with historian David L. Preston to discuss his book and this critical event in America’s colonial history.

“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.

East Florida Rangers

When thirteen North American colonies rebelled against the British crown, the future state of Florida was not part of that movement. In fact, the settled part of the future 27th state of the United States was partitioned into East and West Florida. Both colonies also declined an invitation to send delegates to the Continental Congress.

East & West Florida colonies

West Florida, spanned from slightly east of Pensacola, which was the capital, across to Louisiana and included parts of modern Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi. East Florida, spanned the rest of northern Florida from the Apalachicola River to the Atlantic seaboard and down the peninsula. The capital was located at St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by the Spanish.

During the American Revolution, both East and West Florida would play a role as the rebellion spread into a world conflict, bringing into the fighting the European nations of France and Spain. In East Florida, St. Augustine would send north British soldiers to assist in operations in Georgia and South Carolina and also house American prisoners, including three Signers of the Declaration of Independence; Arthur Middleton, Edward Rutledge, and Thomas Heyward, Jr. Other prisoners, both Americans and French were also confined to the town too.

Continue reading “East Florida Rangers”

George Washington’s Land Interest in British West Florida, 1773-1774

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes guest historian George Kotlik.

After the French & Indian War, the British Crown sought to regulate colonial westward settlement and expansion. This was done for a variety of reasons. First, British ministers believed that westward expansion would require administration over newly acquired territory.[1] British leaders also feared that unrestricted colonial expansion could lead to ungovernable colonies who would, over time, seek to split with Great Britain.[2] Most importantly, Britain had acquired Florida and almost all of the territory under New France east of the Mississippi River at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War. British ministers sought to redirect western settlement towards Canada and the Florida’s.[3] Regulation of western land settlement also protected Indian lands from white encroachments. This measure sought to prevent further Indian wars.[4] The impositions placed on westward settlement infuriated colonial land speculators who sought to gain much wealth in acquiring western lands. After the Great War for Empire, George Washington and other veteran officers of that conflict were awarded land in exchange for their services to the Crown.[5] Many eyed lands in the Ohio Country, but after the October 7 Proclamation of 1763, most acreage in that vast wilderness lay out of reach. The account of Washington’s interest in North America’s western lands is popular and well-known. However, lesser known is the former British officer’s interest in West Florida land.[6]

Continue reading “George Washington’s Land Interest in British West Florida, 1773-1774”

Following in Father’s Footsteps

On June 12, 1781, William Pitt, referred to as the “Younger” to differentiate from his father, Lord Chatham, William Pitt, and former prime minister of Great Britain during the Seven Years’ War, stood up in the House of Commons.

Like his late father, Pitt spoke on a war, this time not in favor of a conflict but in opposition. Also like his father, he spoke with a passion and eloquence that marked him for future roles of higher prominence. He also stood to correct his father’s legacy in regards to the Americans which that day was referred to by other members in Parliament. His view on the current war, the American Revolution, is quite evident.

“A Noble Lord who spoke earlier has in the warmth of his zeal called this a holy war. For my part, although the Right Honorouble gentleman who made the motion, and some other gentlemen, have been more than once in the course of the debate reprehended for calling it a wicked or accursed war, I am persuaded, and I will affirm, that it is a most accursed, wicked, barbarous, cruel, unnatural, unjust, and most diabolical

The expense of it has been enormous, far beyond any former experience, and yet what has the British nation received in return? Nothing but a series of ineffective victories or severe defeats–victories only celebrated with temporary triumph over our brethren whom we would trample down, or defeats which fill the land with mourning for the loss dear and valuable relations, slain in the impious cause of enforcing unconditional submission. Where is the Englishman who on reading the narrative of those bloody and well-fought contests can refrain from lamenting the loss of so much British blood shed in such a cause, or from weeping on whatever side Victory might be declared?”

Approximately a year and a half later, in December 1783, the 24-year old William Pitt became the prime minister of Great Britain. His tenure as prime minister, which lasted into the 19th century, would like his father’s, be marked with a war against France.

Yet, for a brief moment, in late spring, in London, William Pitt, the Younger, stood up, without preparing, as he did not intend to speak that day, and gave a passionate but reasonable response to the issue of the war with America. His closing words ring through the centuries.

Who (in Pitt’s case Englishmen but substitute whomever you’d like) “can refrain from lamenting the loss…or weeping on whatever side Victory might be declared.”

“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!

Symposium Recap

One week has passed since the first annual Emerging Revolutionary War symposium. Held in conjunction with Historic Alexandria, Virginia at the Lyceum, the theme was “Before they were Americans.”

With a day of lectures, keynoted by Dr. Peter Henriques, professor emeritus of George Mason University the topics ranged from the French and Indian War, to George Washington, to material culture, smallpox, and Boston on the Road to Revolution. The day ended with a panel of historians in a Q&A session.

Over 70 people attended and many joined members of Emerging Revolutionary War and Historic Alexandria at Gadsby’s Tavern, an 18th century tavern with a great connection to American history, including a a ballroom used by Washington to celebrate his birthdays!

Plans are already in motion for the second annual Emerging Revolutionary War symposium to be held in late September of 2020 back in Alexandria, Virginia. Stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for information as that day draws near.

In the meantime, check out some of the photos below, taken by ERW historian Rob Orrison, who along with Liz Williams of Historic Alexandria were the driving forces behind making this symposium possible. A big thank you to all who attended and we hope to see you next year!

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.

W%oQ3yOcQbOrOlCK890IDQ
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”

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”