Americana Corner

Here is what our friend, Tom Hand was up to in August on his blog, Americana Corner. Be sure to join us on Sunday, September 5th at 7pm as we host our next ERW Happy Hour where we will talk with Tom about his passion for early American history, some of his thoughts on our Founders and learn more about his project Americana Corner.

August 24th:
George Washington Discourages Debt and Foreign Entanglements

In his Farewell Address, President Washington shared his thoughts on several topics, including our national debt and the need for our country to remain fiscally prudent. Read it here.

August 17th:
George Washington Calls for Unity in Farewell Address

After eight years in office, President Washington was ready to step down. He had planned to retire at the end of his first term but was talked out of it. During this second run at saying goodbye to public life, Washington was determined to finally retire. Read it here.

August 10th:
Washington’s Farewell Address: One of Our Nation’s Most Significant Documents

George Washington’s Farewell Address is one of the greatest documents in our nation’s history. It was a letter written by President Washington to his fellow citizens as he neared the end of his second term as President. Read it here.

August 3rd:
Pickney’s Treaty Opens Up the Mississippi, Encouraging Westward Expansion

The Treaty of San Lorenzo, also known as Pinckney’s Treaty, was an agreement signed on October 27, 1795 between the United States and Spain. It settled a dispute between the two nations over the boundary of Spanish Florida and granted navigation rights on the Mississippi River to Americans. Read it here.

Hindsight is 2020 (or 2021)

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes guest historian Liz Williams, from Historic Alexandria, the host of the second annual symposium

When we planned our 2nd Annual Revolutionary War Symposium for 2020, our theme came easily – Hindsight is 2020. Little did we know that our cheeky title would take on a different meaning as we had to navigate a global pandemic. But I am excited that we can still offer our symposium (yes 6 months later) and virtual!  In this format, we can zoom our experts to computers and smartphones across the country. And this year we have a great variety of topics – from Drunken Hessians to African American Continentals. Learn about Loyalists, battles in the Southern Theatre, and along a creek in southeastern Pennsylvania.

As we move toward the 250th anniversary of the nation, it is critical for us all to look with fresh eyes at our founding. At Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, we engage with the complexity and challenges of early America, many of which were rooted in what transpired before and during the Revolutionary War. By understanding our past, we can continue the work of creating a better United States for all.

The Symposium costs $40 per person, $20 OHA Members & Students and reservations can be made at Looking forward to seeing everyone on May 22!

“Rev War Roundatble with ERW” Discusses “The Cabinet” with Dr. Lindsay Chervinksy

George Washington’s first presidential cabinet included many luminaries of the American Revolutionary era; Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State and Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury to just name two. When studying the formation of the present United States government and the creation of cabinets that serve the president, we tend to gloss over it, as a sort of bygone conclusion, that this was a natural product out of this creation.

A closer reading of the United States Constitution, however, does not include the executive branch having a cabinet of secretaries to assist the president. George Washington, as first president, was entirely on his own in creating one, and the first cabinet meeting was not called into session until two and a half years into his first term.

The creation of this American institution is the basis of this week’s “Rev War Revelry” as Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes historian and author Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky as she discusses the history in and surrounding her publication, The Cabinet, George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution.

When discussing the importance of the cabinet, Chervinsky said:

“The best way to better understand the creation of the presidency, presidential leadership, or Washington’s legacy is through the cabinet.”

But this story isn’t just one about the early Founding Era. As Chervinsky writes in her work, “we can’t evaluate the cabinet without examining Washington’s use of councils of war from the Revolution. He developed critical management strategies in the councils that he replicated as president. The war shaped Washington as president.”

Chervinsky is an early American historian and is currently the Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College and a Senior Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies. In addition, she is teaches courses on the presidency at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

For a sneak peak into the book and its history, click here to access Chervinsky’s talk at the Virginia Historical Society.

“Rev War Roundtable with ERW” Revolutionary Movies

The majority of military history enthusiasts, besides having a rows upon rows of books and publications gracing one room (or multiple rooms) of their dwellings, also house another collection.

Movies, films, documentaries that detail on screen the history of the American Revolution and the founding era of the United States. We can all name a few off the top of our head. We all have debated, either internally, with our significant others and family members, fellow history aficionados, or online about the historical accuracy or portrayal of those events.

This Sunday, join the Emerging Revolutionary War crew of historians in discussing this very same topic. During our historian happy hour, the ERW crew will debate, provide commentary and opinion, or possibly, just remonstrate on how the movie The Patriot is the most smeared film centered on American history that was ever produced.

With the slate of historians on tap for Sunday evening, you never know what will be debated and discussed. A safe bet is the mention of George Washington and who has depicted America’s founding father the most accurately on the big screen.

This Sunday, besides the beverage or choice, one may want to attain or make their favorite movie snack as well and tune in to ERW’s Facebook page for this lively “Rev War Revelry” discussion.

Press Release: US Founding Father may have contributed to forgotten ship wreck – study

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, could have contributed to a forgotten shipwreck narrative, according to new research.

benjamin franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Based on studies of Franklin’s early life as a printer, Dr Hazel Wilkinson claims there are clues which provide information about Benjamin Franklin’s activities during his first visit to London as an 18-year-old printer.

Dr. Wilkinson – from the University of Birmingham, in the UK – suggests a previously unobserved connection between the young Franklin and Richard Castelman, an English theatre manager with an intriguing past. Continue reading “Press Release: US Founding Father may have contributed to forgotten ship wreck – study”

ERW Weekender: In the Footsteps of James Madison

Emerging Revolutionary War welcomes guest historian Kate Bitely 

In the Foot Steps of James Madison.

A view of the front yard of Montpelier
A view from the front yard of Montpelier (author collection)

Spring is finally here in Virginia and if you are looking for a place to explore that offers a great outdoor experience, get in the car and head to Montpelier, in Orange Virginia. James Madison’s plantation home offers visitors a glimpse of what life was like in colonial America.   Be sure to start your trip with the feature film in the welcome center that provides highlights of Montpelier’s lengthy history dating back to the mid 1700’s.  The preserved property has something to offer everyone including hikes, gardens, and a breath-taking view of the blue ridge mountains. The grounds are filled with opportunities to learn about our nation’s early history and the impact it still has on our country today. Continue reading “ERW Weekender: In the Footsteps of James Madison”

The Revolution’s Southwest Front

Emerging Revolutionary War is honored to welcome back historian Robert “Bert” Dunkerly. 

During a trip to Mobile, Alabama for some Civil War research, I came across a fascinating and lesser-known aspect of the American Revolution.  When I travel, I always keep my eye out for unusual finds and hidden history.  I was rewarded on my trip to Mobile with a great discovery.

Ft C
Fort Conde (author collection)

One of the main historic sites in downtown Mobile is the reconstructed Fort Conde.  This brick fort interprets the early history of Mobile and the region under the flags of France, Spain, and the United States.  Just outside the fort is a marker discussing the battle of Fort Charlotte.

Mobile was originally the capital of the French Louisiana Territory until the close of the French and Indian War.  As part of the settlement of that conflict in 1763, this French territory passed to the British.  Fort Conde, built in 1723, was renamed Fort Charlotte by its new owners.

Map of Ft. Conde superimposed over modern Mobile streets, (photo by author)

Most of us know that the French were anxiously watching the American Revolution when the conflict broke out, hoping to score revenge against their English adversaries. Also watching with interest were the Spanish.

The British garrisons along the Gulf of Mexico coast (Pensacola, Mobile, Baton Rouge) were quite small and vulnerable.  The Spanish had been providing material aid and funds to the Americans, but finally declared war on Britain in 1779.  The Spanish were ambivalent about American independence, and unlike the French, did not recognize the United States, but did agree to help militarily.

Even before Spain’s entry into the war, New Orleans was a source of aid smuggled in for the American effort.  The Crescent City, and all the land west of the Mississippi, had been awarded to Spain at the close of the French and Indian War.  From here, supplies moved up the Mississippi to Fort Pitt at Pittsburgh, PA.  And from New Orleans, Governor Bernardo de Galvez attacked British posts up the Mississippi and along the Gulf Coast.

General Bernardo de Galvez, (artist unknown)

A statue of the Spanish general who did much to wrest the Mississippi and Gulf coast areas away from the British stands near the World Trade Center in New Orleans.  A gift from Spain to the city of New Orleans, the statue is a reminder of this important but neglected aspect of the war.  A group known as Granaderos y Damas de Galvez are dedicated to preserving his memory and that of the Spanish role in the Revolution.

Oliver Pollock was a Philadelphia merchant with close ties in Cuba and New Orleans.  When the war broke out, he used his connections to aid the Revolutionary cause from the Crescent City.  In 1777 he was appointed “commercial agent of the United States at New Orleans” and used his fortune to finance American operations in the west, such as General George Rogers Clark.  When Spain entered the war he served as an aide to General Bernardo de Galvez.

Moving up from New Orleans, a force under General de Galvez, that included Spanish troops, American volunteers, Acadian settles, and free blacks, attacked and captured the British outpost of Fort Richmond at Baton Rouge on September 21, 1779.  Today a memorial with plaques and a cannon marks the site.

In February, 1780, Spanish troops and American volunteers under Governor Bernardo de  Galvez laid siege to the 300 British in Fort Charlotte at Mobile.  The siege lasted a month.  The garrison’s surrender gave the Spanish control of this important site, and removed all English military forces from the Gulf region.

This was one of the few actions of the war in which Spanish and American troops fought side by side.  Spain declared war on Britain but did not recognized the United States, their primary interest being to settle scores with the British.




For more information on these fascinating events, check the following websites: