Jim Christ

Aug 132019
 

In the summer of 1775, a Virginia gentleman-planter was given command of a New England army laying siege to British-occupied Boston. With his appointment, the Continental Army was born. Yet the cultural differences between those serving in the army and their new commander-in-chief led to conflicts from the very beginning that threatened to end the Revolution before it could start. The key challenge for General George Washington was establishing the standards by which the soldiers would be led by their officers. What kind of man deserved to be an officer? Under what conditions would soldiers agree to serve? And how far could the army and its leaders go to discipline soldiers who violated those enlistment conditions?

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Join us on Monday, April 27, 2020 as we welcome author and historian Seanegan P. Sculley who will be talking about his book Contest for Liberty: Military Leadership in the Continental Army, 1775–1783. Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

As historian Seanegan P. Sculley reveals in Contest for Liberty: Military Leadership in the Continental Army, 1775–1783, these questions could not be determined by Washington alone. His junior officers and soldiers believed that they too had a part to play in determining how and to what degree their superior officers exercised military authority and how the army would operate during the war. A cultural negotiation concerning the use of and limits to military authority was worked out between the officers and soldiers of the Continental Army; although an unknown concept at the time, it is what we call leadership today. How this army was led and how the interactions between officers and soldiers from the various states of the new nation changed their understandings of the proper exercise of military authority was finally codified in General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben’s The Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, first published in 1779. The result was a form of military leadership that recognized the autonomy of the individual soldiers, a changing concept of honor, and a new American tradition of military service.

LTC Seanegan Sculley enlisted in the US Army in January 1995 as an airborne infantryman and served in Vicenza, IT until attending Officer Candidate School in the summer of 1999. He was commissioned as an Armor officer and became a tank platoon leader in 1-12 Cavalry at Fort Hood, TX before completing his BA in History at Texas State University in December 2002. LTC Sculley then deployed to Camp Garry Owen at Munsan, Republic of Korea from 2003-2005 and then earned his MA in History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2007. From 2007-2012, he served as both an instructor and assistant professor of History at the United States Military Academy during which time he deployed to Mosul, Iraq from 2009-2010. Following his assignment to West Point, LTC Sculley attended the Command and General Staff College in 2012-2013 and then served as the Battalion Executive Officer for 4-10 Infantry Regiment and the Brigade Operations Officer for the 71st Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, SC. He earned his PhD in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in May 2015 and he currently serves as an Academy Professor and the Division Chief for the American Division in the Department of History at West Point.

Aug 122019
 

We have heard many accounts of what went on inside the Valley Forge encampment, but very little of the impact on the local community. What did the people do with Washington’s army staying the winter and spring right in their own back yard? How far out were picket posts from the main encampment area? What actions happened to locals who lived in the area?  What were some of the actions that happened in the area but are not that well known?

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Join us on Monday, May 18, 2020 as we welcome back author and historian Thomas McGuire who will be talking about Outside the Encampment: Impact of the Valley Forge Encampment on the Local Area.  Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown. Feel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

ABOUT THOMAS J. MCGUIRE

Thomas J. McGuire teaches history at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, PA. His work on the Battle of Paoli is considered the most complete documentation of the Revolutionary War battle, and was instrumental in preserving the battlefield as a historic site. In that book, as well as his other works, McGuire uses a wealth of primary material to record history from the American Revolutionary War, with a particular focus on Southeast Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.

Aug 112019
 

As the newly appointed commander of the Southern Continental Army in December 1780, Nathanael Greene quickly realized victory would not only require defeating the British Army, but also subduing the region’s brutal civil war. “The division among the people is much greater than I imagined, and the Whigs and the Tories persecute each other, with little less than savage fury,” wrote Greene.

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Join us on Monday, June 29, 2020 as we welcome author Andrew Waters who will be talking about his book The Quaker and the Gamecock. Our meeting place is at Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown. Feel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15 pm. The presentation will start at 7:30 pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle; $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  The money raised goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Part of Greene’s challenge involved managing South Carolina’s determined but unreliable Patriot militia, led by Thomas Sumter, the famed “Gamecock.” Though Sumter would go on to a long political career, it was as a defiant partisan that he first earned the respect of his fellow backcountry settlers, a command that would compete with Greene for status and stature in the Revolutionary War’s “Southern Campaign.”

Despite these challenges, Greene was undaunted. Born to a devout Quaker family, and influenced by the faith’s tenets, Greene instinctively understood the war’s Southern theater involved complex political, personal, and socioeconomic challenges, not just military ones. Though never a master of the battlefield, Greene’s mindful leadership style established his historic legacy.

The Quaker and the Gameccock tells the story of these two wildly divergent leaders against the backdrop of the American Revolution’s last gasp, the effort to extricate a British occupation force from the wild and lawless South Carolina frontier. For Greene, the campaign meant a last chance to prove his capabilities as a general, not just a talented administrator. For Sumter, it was a quest of personal revenge that showcased his innate understanding of the backcountry character. Both men needed the other to defeat the British, yet their forceful personalities, divergent leadership styles, and opposing objectives would clash again and again, a fascinating story of our nation’s bloody birth that still influences our political culture.

About Andrew Waters

Andrew Waters is an author, editor, and conservationist residing in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He is the author of The Quaker and the Gamecock: Nathanael Greene, Thomas Sumter, and the Revolutionary War for the Soul of the South. His original writing on the American Revolution frequently appears in the Journal of the American Revolution (https://allthingsliberty.com/). He is also the editor of Battle of Cowpens: Primary & Contemporary Accounts, a readers edition of first-person analysis and contemporary histories of the Battle of Cowpens.

He is also the editor of three slave narrative collections: Prayin’ To Be Set Free (Mississippi), I Was Born in Slavery (Texas), and On Jordan’s Stormy Banks (Georgia). His fiction and articles have appeared in Emrys Journal, Pembroke Magazine, the Winston-Salem Journal, Spartanburg Herald Journal, and more.

“As a native Southerner I am fascinated by the topics that still inform our Southern culture, like the American Revolution and slavery,” says Waters. “I love bringing these historical figures to life for today’s audiences in an accessible way.”

Aug 162018
 

The remarkable story of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our nation’s most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers In the summer of 1776, fifty-six men put their quills to a dangerous document they called the Declaration of Independence. Among them was a thirty-year-old doctor named Benjamin Rush. One of the youngest signatories, he was also, among stiff competition, one of the most visionary. A brilliant physician and writer, Rush was known as the “American Hippocrates” for pioneering national healthcare and revolutionizing treatment of mental illness and addiction. Yet medicine is only part of his legacy. Dr. Rush was both a progressive thorn in the side of the American political establishment—a vocal opponent of slavery, capital punishment, and prejudice by race, religion or gender—and close friends with its most prominent leaders.

Join us on Monday, September 24th was we welcome Stephen Fried to our round table to discuss his new book Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding FatherOur meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You need to write your name “legibly” on any dollar bill, and then submit that at the meeting.  We do draw multiple winners each meeting.

He was the protégé of Franklin, the editor of Common Sense, Washington’s surgeon general, and the broker of peace between Adams and Jefferson, yet his stubborn convictions more than once threatened his career and his place in the narrative of America’s founding. Drawing on a trove of previously unpublished letters and images, the voluminous correspondence between Rush and his better-known counterparts, and his candid and incisive personal writings, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Stephen Fried resurrects the most significant Founding Father we’ve never heard of and finally installs Dr. Rush in the pantheon of great American leaders.

Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism. He is the author of the highly praised books Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry—Inside the Minds of Married Men.

Aug 152018
 

Did you know that Israel Putnam commanded a force of 500 men who were shipwrecked off the coast of Cuba?  Did you know that in 1758 he barely escaped being burned alive by Mohawk Indians?  Israel Putnam was born in Salem Village, Mass., on Jan. 7, 1718. He had very little education and remained nearly illiterate all his life. In 1738 he married Hannah Pope and the following year moved to Connecticut, where he bought land and farmed successfully, soon becoming a man of substance. When the French and Indian War broke out in 1756, Putnam was commissioned a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia and served throughout the conflict, rising steadily in rank until he reached a colonelcy by the time it ended in 1763. He fought in numerous engagements, earned a reputation for bravery and resourcefulness, and gained valuable military experience.

Join us on Monday, October 29th was we welcome Robert Ernest Hubbard to our round table to discuss his new book Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  If you pay after 12/31/2018, the dues go up to $30 per person.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books. You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

With the coming of peace, Putnam returned to farming and also operated a tavern. He took part in the developing conflict between England and the Colonies, helping organize the Sons of Liberty in 1765. He participated in the political life of Connecticut as a representative to the General Assembly in 1766 and 1767. In 1774 he headed the local Committee of Correspondence and accepted appointment as lieutenant colonel of a regiment of Connecticut militia. When the fighting began in the spring of 1775, Putnam entered active service and in June was appointed by the Continental Congress one of the four major generals under George Washington’s command.  It was he who reportedly gave the command “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In his book “Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution”, author Robert Ernest Hubbard details Putnam’s close relationships with Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, and John and Abigail Adams, this first full-length biography of Putnam in more than a century re-examines the life of a revolutionary whose seniority in the Continental Army was second only to that of George Washington.

Robert Ernest Hubbard is a retired professor from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and an adjunct faculty member in the college’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program. For over 20 years, he has been webmaster of major websites on American Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam and entertainer Phil Silvers. He lives in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Aug 142018
 

The Red Tape and the Revolution topic is the result of a quest that began many years ago. Bob Sullivan has been researching Continental Army forms, especially printed ones, for many years. The show how the Army became organized, specifically tracking logistics and day-to-day mundane tasks. Paperwork, where did it start, why does it look the way it does, and who decided what to track and what not to track. I have found about 75 examples of Continental Army printed forms, and the talk is about their origin, their reason for being, and how to interpret them.

Join us on Monday, November 26th, as we proudly welcome Bob Sullivan as he presents his talk on Red Tape and the American Revolution.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  If you pay after 12/31/2018, the dues go up to $30 per person.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Much like a modern business, the Continental Army operated on a system of debits and credits. Every time equipment was given out to a particular military unit the disbursement was listed as a debit. And when equipment was received into the military stores, there was a credit.

The story of major campaigns of the Revolutionary War can be followed through account books. The vast amount of equipment the British surrendered to the Continental Army at Yorktown was, however, listed in the ledger book as simply “Credit – The United States.” Through pictures and prints, maps and account books, Bob Sullivan will give us an understanding of just what the British surrendered on October 19, 1781, and what the Americans gained.

Bob Sullivan has been interested in American History as far back as he can remember. His history-related accomplishments include three summers as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park, summer employment at Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, and an article on the Pennsylvania Mutiny published in the Journal of the Company of Military Historians.

Bob’s interest in military paperwork and books began as soon as he discovered that original paper was cheaper to buy than original uniforms and weapons. He has contributed his research skills and knowledge to authors, prop masters, and museum directors. Currently, Bob’s personal collection of 19th century paper items numbers over 250 items. His reproductions of paper have appeared in such productions as The Patriot, Master and Commander, and the AMC series Turn.

He is currently employed by Springhouse Education and Consulting Services in Exton, PA, as an instructor and consultant. Bob has used his knowledge of computer skills and historic paperwork to create his successful side business, Sullivan Press, ongoing since 1989. He also currently serves as the Treasurer of the Twin Valley School Board. Bob is married with two daughters.

Aug 132018
 

Did you know that at various times Trenton was occupied by American Continentals, Militia, British Regulars, Hessians, Continental Mutineers, and the French Army and it housed British and Hessian prisoners and Loyalist sympathizers?

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Join us on Monday, January 28th, as we proudly welcome noted author William Kidder as he presents his talk on his newest book, Crossroads of the Revolution: Trenton 1774-1783.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

The story of Trenton between 1774 and 1783 is a microcosm of the struggles faced by ordinary Americans during the Revolution, struggles intensified by Trenton’s geographic location in the State which saw more military activity than others and on a road constantly used to move and supply armies. Life in Trenton connected to just about every aspect of the Revolution. The story of the people who lived in Trenton, or who spent time there because of the Revolution, helps us better understand the hitherto untold importance of their town beyond the one well known day of battle.

For much of the war Trenton supplied a Continental army hospital and was a supply depot and transfer point employing local people to get supplies to the army at many places including Valley Forge and Morristown. Trenton was not the State capital, it was only a county seat, but its location made it the spot chosen for the new State government to sit for a great deal of time, another strain on the town’s resources. All this activity provided stress for some and opportunities for others, but everyone had to deal with it on a daily basis.

William L. “Larry” Kidder was born in California and raised in California, Indiana, New York, and New Jersey. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Larry served four years of active duty in the US Navy and was assigned to the US Navy Research and Development Unit, Vietnam and then the destroyer USS Brownson (DD868) home ported in Newport, Rhode Island. In the 1980s he was the lead researcher and writer for the creation of the Admiral Arleigh Burke National Destroyermen’s Museum aboard the destroyer museum ship USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD850) at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Larry is a retired high school history teacher who taught for forty years in both public and private schools. He considers teaching to be both his vocation and avocation. During his 32 years of teaching at The Hun School of Princeton he enjoyed designing courses that gave his students the opportunity to develop the thinking, research, and writing skills that result from “doing history” and not just learning facts for a test.

For more than twenty-five years, Larry has been a volunteer at the Howell Living History Farm, part of the Mercer County Park System, in Hopewell, New Jersey. For varying lengths of time he has volunteered as an historian, interpreter, webmaster, and draft horse teamster.

Larry is active in historical societies in Ewing, Hopewell, and Lawrence townships. He is an avid member of the Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), the Washington’s Crossing Roundtable of the American Revolution, and the New Jersey Living History Advisory Council. He is a member of the Advisory Council for Crossroads of the American Revolution and is working with Crossroads as volunteer coordinator and editor of its Meet Your Revolutionary Neighbors project.

Aug 122018
 

While many Americans know of Benjamin Franklin’s remarkable accomplishments on behalf of the United States during his years as Minister to France during the Revolution, the story of his acting as unofficial leader of the Continental Navy in Europe is rarely told. It is a rollicking combination of adventure, intrigue, victory, tragedy, and some comedy for good measure. And its players include sea captains, kings, spies, wives and mistresses – all handled by Franklin with his usual wisdom, forbearance, vision, and wit.

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Join us on Monday, February 25th, as we proudly welcome noted author Tim McGrath as he presents his talk on Benjamin Franklin’s Navy.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

The colonies indeed needed help of every description–men, money, equipment, ships, and all things to fight a successful war. The long years of enmity between France and Britain opened the way for the leadership of Franklin. And he was not only the man to exploit it, but also the reason for the acceptance of thirteen states as a recognized nation in the world of nations.

During his long career of service, we shall never know how many men sought commissions in the Revolution. But this much we do know–that Franklin was never deceived, as he never held out any hope for a commission unless the applicant had the ability in his chosen field. One of the men aided very early was John Paul Jones; and as an Admiral in the little American Navy composed of two ships under his command, he took those two ships and sailed into English waters for a fight. In a terrific battle, two proud English ships surrendered; and they were brought into French waters as American prizes.

When the United States flag, the red, white, and blue, became the official flag of the country in June, 1777, the French Navy saluted it as the first of all nations.

Tim McGrath receives the 2010 ARRTOP Book of the Year Award from John Nagy (6/20013)

Tim McGrath (BA History, Temple University ’74) is a business executive who lives outside of Philadelphia. He has served on the board of directors of Independence Seaport Museum, Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, New Courtland Elder Services, the Kearsley Retirement Community (founded by Benjamin Franklin’s physician), Philadelphia Senior Centers, and Christ Church Hospital. Tim is the author of John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail and the author of Give Me a Fast Ship. Tim’s books have received the 2016 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature, the Commodore Barry Book Award for Maritime Literature, the Marion Brewington Award for Naval Literature (sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society), the Military Order of St. Louis, and the American Revolution Round Table of New York Book of the Year Award. But most importantly the 2010 ARRTOP book award.

His many interests, including tennis, horseback riding, and sailing, are limited only by creaking knees and a fickle rotator cuff.

Aug 112018
 

The Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War was the central area of operations in North America in the second half of the American Revolutionary War. During the first three years of the conflict, the largest military encounters were in the north, focused on campaigns around the cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. After the failure of the Saratoga campaign, the British largely abandoned operations in the Middle Colonies and pursued peace through subjugation in the Southern Colonies. This presentation explores the overall Southern strategy, battles, personnel and military  tactics and innovations including use of Maham Towers.

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Join us on Monday, March 25th, as we welcome NPS Ranger David Lawrence as he presents The Southern Campaign.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

In late 1778, Germain directed the British to begin their campaign in the small, sparsely populated, and heavily divided colony of Georgia. The Southern Strategy initially achieved success there with the British capture of the colony’s major port, Savannah, and the defection of thousands of colonists to the British in December 1778. The next year witnessed continued success of the Southern Strategy when, due to a series of logistical and diplomatic blunders, a Franco-American siege failed to recapture Savannah. Perhaps the single-most devastating event for America in the entire war then occurred at Charleston, an American-held city since the start of the Revolution, in May 1780. After a six-week siege of Charleston by British land and naval forces, American General Benjamin Lincoln, outnumbered and outsmarted by British forces under generals Henry Clinton and Lord Charles Cornwallis, surrendered over five thousand troops and an ample amount of Continental supplies. American Major General William Moultrie of South Carolina, who aided the American forces defending Charleston against the British, remarked on the desperate state of the American cause, stating that “at this time, there never was a country in greater confusion and consternation.”

After Charleston’s fall, Cornwallis, whom Clinton had appointed commander of the Southern Department before returning to New York, began the task of fanning his troops into the southern back-country. The summer of 1780 was demoralizing not only for the South, but for the entire American war effort, especially after American General Horatio Gates’s humiliating defeat against Cornwallis at the Battle of Camden on August 16. As the British achieved initial success, however, their harsh practices in the South, such as the brutality of officers like Colonel Banastre Tarleton, began to incite feelings of resentment among southerners. Tarleton’s actions in allowing his cavalrymen to slaughter most of an American force at the Battle of Waxhaws in late May 1780 made him infamous for cruelty in the South. An American doctor present at Waxhaws recounted the massacre to be a “scene of indiscriminate carnage never surpassed by the ruthless atrocities of the most barbarous savages.” As a result, a fierce partisan war between an ever-growing number of American patriots and a shrinking number of loyalists ensued in the South from 1780 to 1782.

Cornwallis’s plan to subjugate the South involved turning control of one state after another to loyalists. The strategy failed, however, when patriot militiamen and even civilians attacked and gained control of loyalist strongholds left behind by Cornwallis’s main army. Guerilla bands led by back-country patriots such as Thomas Sumter also began attacking supply trains of Cornwallis and his army. Southern patriot militiamen proved their growing strength over loyalist forces at the decisive Battle of King’s Mountain in the North Carolina back-country in October 1780. The Battle of King’s Mountain produced the first major American victory in the South since Savannah’s capture, and boosted the morale of southern patriots. Continued success of Continental troops under the capable American general Nathanael Greene, who was chosen to head the Southern Department in 1780, also hastened the demise of Britain’s Southern Strategy as 1781 dawned.

George Washington’s most trusted commander, Greene pursued a successful Fabian strategy against Cornwallis’s army. By dividing his army and allowing Cornwallis to chase him through the Carolina’s and into Virginia in early 1781, Greene and one of his equally capable generals, Daniel Morgan, secured victory over the British at the Battle of Cowpens in January 1781. Two months later, Greene secured another strategic victory even while technically losing at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Cornwallis lost a quarter of his army in the battle, leading him to abandon the back-country of the Carolina’s and move his army to Wilmington on the North Carolina coast to resupply and rest his troops. Cornwallis’s unsanctioned decision to then march his army to Yorktown, Virginia, effectively hastened the end of the British Southern Strategy.

David Lawrence is a Park Guide at Valley Forge National Historical Park, a place with which he shares a long history.  Growing up in Levittown, PA, he first visited Valley Forge as a little boy at the 1976 Bicentennial.  He began working here as a tour bus driver while in college in the early 90s, working alongside his parents.  After college, he worked as a social studies teacher.  He began working in the National Park Service in 2004, with stints at Richmond National Battlefield Park, Morristown National Historical Park, and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monument.  In 2012, he found himself returning to Valley Forge, and has now become a permanent Park Guide at the site.

Aug 102018
 

A new biography of John André, head of British secret services in the Revolutionary War, who was captured in 1780 and hanged as a spy.

Join us on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019, as we welcome noted British author Douglas Ronald as he presents The Life of John Andre: The Redcoat Who Turned Benedict Arnold.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

John André was head of the British Army’s Secret Service in North America as the Revolutionary War entered its most bitter and, ultimately, decisive phase. In 1780, he masterminded the defection of a high-ranking American officer—General Benedict Arnold. Arnold—his name for ever synonymous with treason in American folklore—had recently been appointed commander of West Point and agreed, through André, to turn over to the British this strategically vital fort on the upper reaches of the Hudson River. Control of the fort would interrupt lines of communication between New England and the southern colonies, seriously impeding military operations against the British. The plan was also to simultaneously kidnap General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. By these two masterstrokes, the British believed they could end rebel resistance.

The secret negotiations between Arnold and André were protracted and fraught with danger. Arnold’s new wife, Peggy became the go-between in the negotiations. Arnold insisted that, to complete negotiations, he and André must meet face to face. At the dead of night on September 21st 1780 the two rendezvoused in no-man’s-land. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of British forces in North America and André’s immediate superior, agreed to this meeting but with three strict conditions: that André not go within the American lines; that he remain in uniform; and that he carry away from the meeting no incriminating papers. Thus, if caught, André could not be treated as a spy.

Yet, when André was captured forty-eight hours later, he was within American lines, had changed into civilian clothes and was carrying maps of West Point hidden in his boots. The Americans had no option other than to treat him as a spy, especially when he himself admitted this. He was convicted by military tribunal and hanged—his death lamented both in America and England.

While biographers agree on the facts of this tragic episode, they disagree on André’s motives and why he chose to sacrifice himself. This new biography of André puts forward a new answer to this mystery—not only why he acted as he did, but how he wished others to see his actions.

D.A.B. Ronald is a writer and historian. He studied at Edinburgh University, where he gained a Master of Arts Honours Degree in History and French, and is currently completing a PhD at Exeter University on contemporary representation of boy sailors in Britain’s Navy during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. After a 30-year career in merchant banking, during which he lived overseas for many years – in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the United States – Douglas returned to the U.K. Now a full-time writer, he is researching a companion volume to Young Nelsons on the boy soldiers who served during the Napoleonic Wars.