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”

Annis Boudinot Stockton, Mythmaking, and the American Revolution (cont.)

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes back guest historian Blake McGready for part two of the series. To read part one, click here.

While her poetry avoided wartime setbacks and conjured stories of revolutionary unity, Stockton’s poems did confront the violent realities of what she called “a most cruel and eventful war”. Her choice allusions demonstrate how, in her mind, wartime violence bound the revolutionaries together. Following the death of General Joseph Warren at the battle of Bunker Hill she lamented, “That heart, which, studious of his countries good / Held up her rights and seal’d them with his blood!” In 1776 Stockton wrote of revolutionary soldiers who “fought and bled to save their native land / From bowing to a tyrant’s stern command,” and honored great men dying on battlefields “Made fertile by the blood of heroes slain.” Whereas historians have noted how the war’s violence was often deliberately excluded from the popular imagination, by contrast, Stockton’s war and violence were inseparable.[i]

Continue reading “Annis Boudinot Stockton, Mythmaking, and the American Revolution (cont.)”

Annis Boudinot Stockton, Mythmaking, and the American Revolution

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes guest historian Blake McGready. A short bio is at the end of this post.

In December 1776, Richard Stockton of Princeton, New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, disavowed the American Revolution and swore allegiance to King George III. After British forces imprisoned Stockton, he accepted his captor’s amnesty offer. Revolutionaries considered Stockton’s decision an act of cold betrayal and condemned his perfidy. And yet, following his death in 1781, most biographies avoided or ignored Stockton’s questionable political commitment; one tribute claimed his conviction inspired “the utmost confidence of his associates and the country at large.” Stockton owed much of this comeback to his wife, Annis Boudinot. As a prolific and published poet, she helped erase much of her husband’s political infidelity in her writings. At the time of his death she praised him in one tribute, “Can we forget how patiently he bore / The various conflicts of the trying hour / While meekness, faith, and piety refin’d.” She carefully forgot that her husband abandoned the revolutionaries during “the trying hour.”[i]

Annis Boudinot (Mrs. Richard) Stockton by James Sharples Senior, from life, 1796-1797. Courtesy, Independence National Historical Park.
Continue reading “Annis Boudinot Stockton, Mythmaking, and the American Revolution”

North Jersey American Revolution Round Table

Two of the most significant battles of the war happened in the state of New Jersey; Trenton and Princeton. The harshest winter of the war for the Continental Army was at Morristown, New Jersey. Maybe it is only fitting that the largest American Revolution Round Table is also located in the Garden State.

North Jersey American Revolution Round Table

The North Jersey American Revolution Round Table is now on its ninth year as an organization and according to Secretary Rich Rosenthal, they are known for their “caliber of speakers and membership participation.”

Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at the Washington’s Headquarters Museum Great Hall. All facets of the American Revolutionary War and era are discussed with, of course, “special emphasis” on New Jersey and Morristown’s role in the history of the United States.

Guests are certainly welcome. “We meet at a National Park facility [Morristown National Historical Park]–there is no admission!”

For more information, consult the following website by clicking here. An email newsletter is also available to keep up-to-date on events of the non-profit round table.


Nation’s Oldest Historcal Society and First Veterans Organization Issues Appeal to Save the Princeton Battlefield

Emerging Revolutionary War is honored to share the open letter below from the Society of Cincinnati. This open-letter has not been shared with the public. Thank you to Meg Martin, of Civil War Trust / Campaign 1776 for passing it to ERW. 

Symbol of the Society of the Cincinnati, est. 10 May 1783, by Continental officers of the American Revolution. (Courtesy of the George Washington Papers).

Members of the Society of the Cincinnati — the nation’s oldest historical society, whose members are descendants of the officers of the American and French forces that won the Revolutionary War — are calling on the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton, New Jersey, to halt the development of a critical part of the Princeton battlefield. They are appealing to the Institute to work with the Society and the Civil War Trust, which are working together to preserve the remaining battlefields of our War for Independence.

Eight hundred and fifty members of the Society have signed an Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study appealing for the Institute to halt construction that will destroy the site of the charge personally led by George Washington that won the battle. The victory was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

The signers of the Open Letter include descendants of George Washington, Nathanael Greene and other generals, colonels and other officers of the Continental Army.The signers include men whose ancestors were killed at the Battle of Princeton and others who were wounded in that turning point of the Revolutionary War.

The Institute for Advanced Study, an independent scholarly organization, owns the land over which George Washington led the charge that won the battle and saved the American cause from imminent defeat. “Defeat at Princeton would probably have spelled the end for Washington’s army and with it, our bid for independence,” says Jonathan Woods, president general of the Society of the Cincinnati. “The Declaration of Independence, which the nation will celebrate in a few weeks, would have become a footnote in the history of the British Empire.”

The Society of the Cincinnati, which has its international headquarters in Washington, DC, has allied itself with the Civil War Trust and other members of the Save Princeton Coalition in an effort to save the Princeton battlefield and the other endangered battlefields of the Revolutionary War. The Civil War Trust has made repeated overtures to the Institute for Advanced Study to discuss the purchase of the land by the Trust for a price well in excess of its appraised value. More than 20,000 concerned citizens have signed petitions and sent letters to Institute officials and Governor Chris Christie, urging that the Institute for Advanced Study find alternatives to destruction of this hallowed battlefield site. A copy of the Open Letter is attached.


CONTACT: Jack D. Warren, Jr. Executive Director, The Society of the Cincinnati Office: 202-785-1716 Cell: 202-531-9278

The Greatest Leaders of the American Revolution You Have Never Heard Of

A fisherman by trade before the war, the savior of the American Continental Army during the war on two occasions, and returned to civilian life with personal, physical, and economic hardships because of the war.

John Glover
John Glover

That one line could simply sum up John Glover of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Glover has received scant attention; a few lines here, a page in this publication, or a reference in passing when talking about the engagements around New York or the Crossing of the Delaware.

Daniel Glover is more than well deserving of the epithet, “one of the greatest leaders of the American Revolution you have never heard of.”

Born on November 5, 1732 in what is now Danvers, Massachusetts, where he lived until the death of his father when he was just four years old. His mother Tabitha Bacon Glover moved young Daniel to Marblehead, on the coast of Massachusetts where he would apprentice, when he came of age, as a shoemaker. He eventually looked toward the sea and made a living as a merchant.

Daniel became well-entrenched in Marblehead society, he joined the local militia in 1759 and entered politics, aligning himself with the Whig party in 1760. By the time of the first shots on the Green of Lexington and the North Bridge at Concord, Glover was a colonel of militia in the Marblehead Regiment.

Although his regiment made the march to Boston and took part in the siege, Glover was away on detached duty when the Battle of Bunker (Breed’s Hill) was fought. When George Washington rode into Cambridge, Massachusetts and assumed command of the American forces, Glover lost his headquarters. A product of Glover’s fine taste, the Marblehead sailor had picked the home of a loyalist as his own command post. Washington chose the mansion, which now is a national historic site, as his own. Yet, a company of Glover’s Marblehead soldiers was also chosen to be the guard of Washington’s new headquarters.

Showing his importance and marshaling his background in shipping, Glover donated one of his own ships, the Hannah, named after his spouse, to build a hodgepodge navy for use by the Americans. One of the ships that made this volunteer navy actually captured a British ship, the brig HMS Nancy in which held as its cargo, 2,000 muskets, 30,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, and one brass mortar amongst other crucial military supplies much in need by Washington’s army.

After the siege of Boston was lifted with the evacuation of the British, Glover, with the rest of the Continental Army, headed south to New York City where another campaign and another chance to show his worth to the cause awaited.

On the night of August 29 and into the early morning hours of August 30, Colonel Glover and his able Marblehead regiment sailed the majority of Washington’s forces from Brooklyn across the East River to safety. Altogether, approximately 9,000 soldiers, plus artillery and supplies escaped from under British General Sir William Howe’s command. With Marylanders under Lord William Stirling launching ferocious rear-guard suicidal charges, Glover’s men saved Washington’s army that late August night.

A month and a half later, on October 18th, Glover’s Brigade of Massachusetts soldiers held off a large contingent of British and Hessian mercenaries as Washington’s army retreated to safety. With approximately 750 men at his disposal, Glover’s rearguard action held over 4,000 enemy soldiers from threatening the retreat of the American forces.

glover rock
Glover’s Rock, commemorating the action at Pell’s Point

Showing his humility, Glover would write about seeing the enemy come ashore before the engagement at Pell’s Point, that his first inkling was to give “a thousand worlds to have General [Charles] Lee or some other experienced officer present.” Luckily for the Americans, Glover did not get his wish and led admirably.

Glover’s command stuck with Washington’s forces during their retreat across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania and eventually to the banks of the Delaware River. In the prelude to the pivotal “Crossing of the Delaware” the former Marblehead sailors and their 43-year old commander would prove crucial.

To complete the surprise, Washington had to get his men across the ice-clogged Delaware River and to Trenton, New Jersey. Washington laid his eyes on Glover and outlined his thoughts and the big issue at hand; how to ferry his men across?

The response to his commander in chief was simple; to “not be troubled about that, as his boys could manage it.” Another primary account said that Glover and his command showed “perseverance…accomplished what at first seemed impossible.”

With Washington’s daring plan and Glover’s practicality, the “impossible” happened and the Americans scored a cause rallying victory at Trenton on December 26, 1776 and another equally important victory at Princeton, New Jersey on January 3, 1777.

After these winter battles, Glover went home to care for his gravely ill wife, Hannah, but there was nothing he could do. After a year long struggle, Hannah died on November 13, 1778 leaving John with eight children, including the oldest John who was a captain in his father’s Marblehead regiment.

While at home, George Washington petitioned the Continental Congress to promote Glover to brigadier general. Congress agreed and on February 21, 1777 the former Marblehead merchant became a general in the Continental Army.

When Glover returned to active duty, he was given the task of escorting the British and Hessian prisoners captured at the Battle of Saratoga and also took part in the unsuccessful attempt to expel the British from Newport, Rhode Island in 1778.

The end of the war saw him still in service in the Hudson Highlands where most notably he was on the board of officers that sentenced British spy Major John Andre to death. At the very end of the war, on September 30, 1783, Glover received a brevet to major general.

800px-Glover-statue Boston
John Glover Statue Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

With the war over, Glover and his second wife, Francis Fosdick resided in Marblehead. However, Glover’s health and family were devastated by the war. Glover’s health was impaired by years of hard campaigning, including struggling with malaria in 1777. He lost his first wife Hannah during the war and his oldest son, John, disappeared as a prisoner-of-war while being transported over the Atlantic Ocean. Even his pre-war career, as a merchant, was greatly impacted by the seven-year conflict.

Glover rebounded as best he could and did serve in a few political positions, including in the Massachusetts State Legislature and as a Selectman for Marblehead.  One highlight of the post-war years was when President George Washington stopped over in Marblehead and was entertained by his former subordinate.

On January 30, 1797, Glover passed away from hepatitis at the age of 64 and became one of the greatest leaders of the American Revolution you have never heard of.