Americana Corner

Our monthly recap of what our good friend and fellow historian Tom Hand has written on his blog, AmericanaCorner.

The Legacy of Paul Revere
November 2, 2021

Paul Revere began his famous ride from Boston to Concord, around 11:00pm on April 18, 1775, informing the residents and militiamen that the British were on the march. He arrived in Lexington, a town about 10 miles from Boston, around midnight. Read more here.

Lexington and Concord: Minutemen in Arms
November 9, 2021

The Battles of Lexington and Concord, fought on April 19, 1775, marked the start of America’s war for independence from England. The story of that fight is an inspiring account of how everyday Americans came together to resist the power of Great Britain. Read more here.

Lexington and Concord: The Shot Heard Round the World
November 16, 2021

The fight between our Minutemen and the British regulars at Lexington was over in a matter of minutes, and the British began the seven-mile march to Concord. By now, reports of the shooting had reached the minutemen in the surrounding area, and they began to assemble. A bad day for the British was about to begin. Read more here.

The Battle of Bunker Hill
November 23, 2021

The Battle of Bunker Hill, fought on June 17, 1775, is one of the most iconic and familiar events in American history. It was our first pitched battle against the British army and, although technically a defeat, the efforts of the American militiamen were inspirational. Read more here.

North Carolina’s Response to the 1775 Battle of Lexington and Concord

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes guest historian Travis Copeland

Rumors roared throughout the Colonies in the Spring of 1775. From Watertown, Massachusetts with an earnest pen, a letter was taken down at 10am on Wednesday Morning, April 19, 1775. Reports had been sent to New London, Rhode Island, and we’re beginning to extend south to the Carolinas. There were reports that, “action had happened between the King’s Troops and the inhabitants of Boston.” The shot fired in Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19 was “heard around the world,” and North Carolina would be no exception. The above, brief sentence recount of the battle was enclosed with the expanded statement,

To All Friends of American Liberty let it be known,

That this morning before break of day a [British] Brigade consisting of about one thousand or twelve hundred men landed at Phipp’s farm in Cambridge, and marched to Lexington, [Massachusetts] where they found a Company of our Colony Militia in arms upon whom they fired without any provocation and killed six men and wounded four others. By an Express from Boston we find that other Brigades are upon their march from Boston supposed to be about one thousand…I have spoken with several who have seen the dead and wounded.[1]

In the age of foot-speed news, a letter penned on April 19 could take weeks to reach the inhabitants of North Carolina. From the Massachusetts committee of safety, the letter was dispatched with earnest haste to Worcester and then beyond the Massachusetts borders. Connecticut, New York, and British Canada were given a recount of the events by April 25, although news by mouth spread as rapid as fire.[2] In the last week of April, no news had yet reached deep South. New Jersey and Maryland were informed by pen just before April became May, but the southern colonist was still much in the dark. Finally, on Friday, April 28th at 8pm colonists from Alexandria, Virginia sent the statement and letter to Fredericksburg and from there to Surry County, Chowan, and Onslow, North Carolina. A flurry of exchange between Virginia and North Carolina created a clamor. War! 

Each county repeated to the next, “disperse the material passages through all your parts.”[3] On May 3, Edenton and Chowan passed-on the news of the clash with his Majesty’s troops.[4] The delegates at Craven County received the news on May 6th. It was ordered that they, “in haste have sent to request you will pursue the enclosed papers and you will do by opening the packet herewith sent the moment it comes your house.”[5] No more important news than the coming of the Revolution, although unknown in the fullest sense, could create such an exasperated command. Yet, the Bath delegates were not done with their orders. They further demanded that Craven county, “get three or four of your Committee to write a line and send the whole enclosed to the next Southward Committee with the utmost dispatch.”[6]

The clamor of excitement came from a colony that was thought to be deeply sympathetic to the British. Regards for the crown were certainly present in the Southern colonies, but the circular letter’s earnest nature displays the patriotic fervor that ran through the colonists. Finally, the letter was directed to Abner Nash, who represented the provision rebel government in North Carolina. As the news reached the upper echelons of society, directions were given to extend the news to anyone using a horse or bearer.[7] Cornelius Harnett, prominent Patriot politician in Wilmington, directed those who would receive the letter to, “for God’s sake send the man on without the least delay and write…to forward it by night and day.”[8] Others shared Harnett’s tone, writing, “Pray don’t neglect a moment in forwarding” and “I cannot avoid writing to you to beg you to forward the Paper containing such important news and pray order the express you send to ride night and day.”[9] Finally, directions were given to move the letter to South Carolina, “to be forwarded to Charlestown.”[10]

Several weeks after the initial fury of letter exchange, another letter was written from Lieutenant Governor Bull of South Carolina to the Earl of Dartmouth. The provisional governor allied with the Crown reflected on the disposition of the Carolinas. Despite the growing desire to show British force against the rebellious colonists, Lt. Gov. Bull stated plainly that, “The account of the Skirmish or Engagement between the King’s Troops and the Provincials of Massachusetts near Lexington on the 19th of last month, seems to produce effects here [the Carolinas] very different from intimidation.”[11] The southern colonist of North and South Carolina would not be thrown back or made afraid by the acts of British commanders and their regulars in the North.

The Continental Congress would not be intimated. It’s North Carolina representatives William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and Richard Casewell issued a circular letter which shared the tone of Lt. Gov. Bull’s correspondence. They stated plain, with the April 19, 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord in mind, 

Heaven seems to have assumed the protection of the injured insulted Colonists and signally to have appeared in their Favour: when in the last Battle at Lexington six hundred raw, undisciplined Provincials defeated eighteen Hundred regular Troops and pursued them into their Camp…It becomes the duty of us in whom you have deposited the most sacred trusts to warn you of your danger and of the most effectual means to ward it off. It is the Right of every English Subject to be prepared with Weapons for his defense. We conjure you by the Ties of Religion Virtue and Love of your Country to follow the Example of your sister Colonies and to form yourselves into a Militia. The Election of the officers and the Arrangement of the men must depend upon yourselves. Study the Art of Military with the utmost attention, view it as the Science upon which your future security depends.[12]

The colony of North Carolina and its leadership was moved by the initial recount of battle and the circular letter’s news of Massachusetts. The waters of Revolution were rising and the Patriot leaders were beginning to call for more than just a uniform exchange of words. They desired for the state to take its formidable place in as rebels in the South. Further, the flurry of response to the Lexington engagement shows the prominent place of North Carolina in the revolution from the earliest days. Leaders in the South did not wait until the war moved South in 1779, 1780, and 1781 to throw their pens, support, and persons behind the cause of Gen. Washington, the Continental Congress, and the New England colonies. North Carolina was revolutionary from the start.


[1] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1234.

[2] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, Documenting the American South, vol. 9, p. 1230-31.

[3] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1236.

[4] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina,. 9, p. 1237.

[5] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1237.

[6] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1237.

[7] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1238.

[8] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1238.

[9] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1238.

[10] “Letters Concerning the News of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 20 – May 9, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, vol. 9, p. 1239.

[11] “Letter from William Bull to William Legge, Earl of Darmouth, May 15, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, Documenting the American South, vol. 9, p. 1258-1260.

[12] “Letter from William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and Richard Casewell to the Inhabitants of North Carolina, June 19, 1775,” Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, Documenting the American South, vol. 10, p. 20-23.

Travis Copeland is a North Carolina native with a love for early American history. He holds a B.A in History and Humanities and is studying for a postgraduate history degree. His research interests include North Carolina history and the early southern United States from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War with a particular interest in military conflict, political-social integration, and local history. When not researching and writing, he enjoys teaching, the outdoors, gardening, and good food and beer. Travis lives and teaches in North Carolina.

“Rev War Roundtable with ERW” Tavern Talk

When the idea was formulated, back in April, to do a Sunday evening Zoom/Facebook live type history hour, the emphasis behind this “happy hour” was to style it as a more informal chat. Our goal was to create a virtual adaptation of what would occur if the same historians met at a tavern/bar/pub to casually chat about American history.

Speed up to this Sunday, June 7th, Emerging Revolutionary War will welcome three guest historians, who all have a connection to a historic tavern to join co-founder Rob Orrison on a talk about 18th century taverns. Yes, a “tavern talk about taverns.”

Joining Orrison on the hour-long happy hour chat will be:

Liz Williams, Executive Director of Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia, part of The Office of Historic Alexandria, in which she has been employed with since 2004. She is a graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia with a degree in Historic Preservation and a graduate degree in Tourism Administration from George Washington University. She has also worked at various historic sites in the Virginia and Washington D.C. area.

An ERW favorite and returning to the “Rev War Revelry” is Stacey Fraser, the Collections and Outreach Manager with Lexington (MA) Historical Society. One of the sites she oversees the collection of is Buckman Tavern, which played a role in the April 19, 1775 engagements that rolled through Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.

The third guest historian is Sarah Kneeshaw, the Education and Public Programs Coordinator at Fraunces Tavern Museum. The tavern was built in 1719 in New York City by the De Lancey family. She joined the staff at the downtown New York City site (which is directly across from Federal Hall where George Washington was inaugurated president in April 1789) in 2016. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Fordham University and also attained a graduate degree in Museum Studies from John Hopkins University. She is a native of Staten Island.

Thus, this Sunday, set a side an hour-ish, starting at 7pm EST, to hear these four historians discuss taverns, their importance, and roles in the 18th century social, military, and political history of the burgeoning United States. With your preferred drink, be it an 18th century tavern concoction or not, in hand, we look forward to your questions, comments and insights.

Rediscovery number 27587

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

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

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

“Rev. War Roundtable with ERW” Introducing Guest Historian….

Emerging Revolutionary War invites you to attend our “Rev War Revelry” tonight at 7 p.m. EST as we discuss the beginning of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775, 245 years ago today.

Yet, not only will Emerging Revolutionary War historians be on the call but we have a special guest historian joining us as well.

Stacey Fraser

Stacey Fraser is the Collections and Outreach Coordinator for the Lexington Historical Society. She has overseen new exhibits in the town and has assisted with the annual Patriots Day events. She will be on to share her expertise in this momentous day in American history and about what is happening, both virtually, and in the future with the Lexington Historical Society.

ERW looks forward to welcoming Stacey and all of you to our inaugural Zoom history call tonight!

Announcing “Rev War Roundtable with ERW” on Zoom!

On April 19, 1775, Massachusetts militia and minutemen responded to the call of British Regulars, “redcoats” marching from Boston to the town of Concord. What ensued was the “shot heard around the world” at the North Bridge in that town. What that shot signified was the changing course from words to war, that would define the relationship between 13 British North American colonies and Great Britain.

Now, 245 years later, Emerging Revolutionary War will turn that war back into words with its inaugural Rev War Revelry Zoom series. On Sunday, 7 p.m. EST, tune in to listen and watch historians from Emerging Revolutionary War discuss in an informal setting this momentous day in American history. Other topics are welcomed that pertain to the American Revolutionary War era as well.

As the title of the Zoom series relates, this will be similar to a tavern talk, much like the talks and information sharing rendezvous that went on in the 18th century, in places like Boston, where the road to revolution gained momentum as ales and spirits flowed. Thus, grab your favorite beverage, rest assured that ERW historians will be doing the same and join us, virtually, in our tavern Sunday evening.

Review: Rick Atkinson, The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes guest historian Joshua Shepherd to the blog who reviewed the book mentioned above. Short bio of Joshua is at the bottom of this post.

In recent years, there’s been a fortunate resurgence of interest in the Revolution and founding era. To meet the mounting demand for Revolutionary history, some of the nation’s most gifted popular authors have written highly successful volumes that cover the War for Independence and the Early Republic.

Some outstanding books have consequently gone to press, but, by and large, the publications have very often been biographies; occasionally, publishing houses introduce monographs that cover a single campaign. From professional circles, much of the new scholarly research focuses on the currently-vogue academic preference for social history. At least in recent decades, the relative paucity of military history has left an appreciable gap in the historiography of the Revolution. With the release of The British Are Coming, author Rick Atkinson has met a vital need for an up-to-date and comprehensive military history of the American Revolution.

Continue reading “Review: Rick Atkinson, The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777”

The Shot Heard in Youngstown?

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes historian Dan Welch

As we commemorate the 244th anniversary of the engagements at Lexington and Concord, it is an opportunity to reflect upon this moment’s importance in American history. The results of what happened in April 1775 were truly “heard around the world.” The importance of those events are commemorated and remembered in various forms across the fabric our country. This holds true, even in Youngstown, Ohio.

The Road to Remembrance Memorial on the southside of Youngstown, Ohio. (Image courtesy of the author)

As the country grappled with the effects of the Great Depression, numerous civic organizations in the state of Ohio sought to construct a “Road of Remembrance” in honor of the servicemen from the country’s previous conflict. On June 17, 1930, the state legislature designated a portion of Route 193 from Lake Erie to 422 in Youngstown as a memorial roadway in honor of those soldiers who gave their last full measure of devotion during the Great War. Many towns planted memorial trees along the route, some erected monuments, while other organizations held ceremonies marking the occasion. This special route was to be just a small portion of remembrance that was to span from Montreal, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading “The Shot Heard in Youngstown?”

First Shots

Lexington Minuteman Statue , facing the route of the British advance (author collection)

We all have bucket list items that we want to check off in our lifetime. Some revolve around traveling, some may revolve around learning a new hobby or skill. We may have different categories of items. The last is true for me.

One of those categories was to see the first shots of the wars of the United States (okay and the French and Indian War, since that started the march toward independence, when looked at through the lens of history and distance). Continue reading “First Shots”


In honor of April being National Poetry Month, we share the connection of the literary icons of Concord (MA) and its American Revolution heritage. Concord historian Jayne Gordon wrote about these connections in an appendix in our recent release “A Single Blow.” Below is part of that text.

None of the eighteenth-century Concord authors lived through the American Revolution, yet reminders of that eighteenth-century war abounded in Concord in their lifetimes. Their neighbors were the grandchildren of the minutemen; veterans of the war were still among the townsfolk. Buildings, gravestones, old roads, and other landmarks evoked that part of the past, and they were surrounded by the stories of the fateful day of April 19, 1775. They each drew on their interpretations of the Revolution’s symbolic meaning, and incorporated those ideas into both their private and public writings.

The “Old Manse” next to the North Bridge in Concord

In the case of RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), there was a direct historical link to a grandfather who had played a significant role in the beginnings of the Revolution. Sixty years after colonial militiamen confronted the British troops at the North Bridge within sight of the Old Manse, the grandson of patriot minister Reverend William Emerson would come to his ancestral home to stay, writing in his journal, “Hail to the quiet fields of my fathers! . . . Henceforth I design not to utter any speech, poem, or book that is not entirely & peculiarly my work.” Continue reading “THE AUTHORS AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IN CONCORD”