A Student of History

January 30, 2012

Medal of Honor for George Washington?

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 7:45 am

Check out an opinion column in the WSJ, call for GW to be awarded the Medal of Honor:

“Most Americans know Washington as the “Father of Our Country.” What many don’t know very well is that he was fearless in combat. Time after time he put himself in harm’s way to command and rally his troops. He led from the front, and his actions in combat compare favorably with the bravest of the brave in our nation’s history.”

Unfortunately the author makes a few historical mistakes. For example, there was no “Battle of Fort Wilderness in 1755.”

It should be noted that the medal didn’t exist until July, 1862, and none of the enabling legislation then or since allows for a retroactive award of it.

Washington in uniform of the Virginia Regt.

January 26, 2012

Save Cedar Creek Battlefield

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 10:40 am

The Civil War Trust announced that they will host a special presentation related to preservation efforts at Cedar Creek, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Their website tells us:

On Thursday, February 9, 2012, officials from the Civil War Trust, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the National Park Service and national and local historic preservation groups will gather to announce a $1.3 million fundraising campaign to preserve 77 acres of hallowed battlefield land on the Cedar Creek Battlefield in Frederick County, Va.

The news conference will be held at historic Belle Grove Plantation, a key battlefield landmark, beginning at 9:30 a.m. (rain or shine). James Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Trust, will serve as the emcee for the event. He will be joined by Diann Jacox, superintendent of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park; Kathleen Kilpatrick, Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources; and eminent historian and author Dr. Gary Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia.

The event will be February 9, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at Belle Grove Plantation, 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, Va.

Belle Grove

Fort Frederica National Monument

At the blog “National Parks Traveler,” there’s a cool article on Fort Frederica National Monument, near Brunswick, GA. It is a great site, especially for colonial military history.

Fort Frederica was established in 1736 by James Oglethorpeto protect the southern boundary of his new colony of Georgia from the Spanish in Florida. Colonists from England, Scotland, and the Germanic states came to Georgia to support this endeavor.

Named for Frederick Louis, the Prince of Wales (1702-1754), Frederica was a military outpost consisting of a fort and town. The entire area was fortified with a palisade wall and earthen rampart. The fort’s location on the Frederica River allowed it to control ship travel.

Oglethorpe’s foresight in establishing Frederica was rewarded in 1742 during the War of Jenkins’ Ear.  Spanish forces from Florida and Cuba landed on St. Simons Island. Oglethorpe’s attack on a Spanish reconnaisance party at Gully Hole Creek led to the battle at “Bloody Marsh“. Despite the name, casualties were light and the Spanish continued their campaign on St. Simons. Clever deception on Oglethorpe’s part convinced the Spanish to retreat from Georgia seven days later.

This British victory not only confirmed that Georgia was British territory, but also signaled the end for Frederica. When peace was declared, Frederica’s Garrison (the original 42nd Regiment of Foot) was disbanded, and eventually the town fell into decline. Today the archeological remains of colonial Frederica are protected by the National Park Service.

January 25, 2012

“The Long Struggle for the Ohio Valley, 1750-1815”

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 12:51 pm
Battle of Tippecanoe


“The Long Struggle for the Ohio Valley, 1750-1815”

October 26-27, 2012
Louisville, Kentucky

Conference Conveners:
François Furstenberg, (Université de Montréal, Department of History)
Eric Hinderaker (University of Utah, Department of History)

The Filson Institute for the Advanced Study of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South proposes a two-day academic conference to examine the long contest for the Ohio Valley between 1750 and 1815. The conference, which will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, at The Filson Historical Society, marks the two hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812.

The conference seeks to explore the multi-faceted contest among Native Americans, the French, Spanish, British, and Americans as each struggled to dominate the Ohio Valley between the Seven Years War and the War of 1812. In these years of warfare and conflict, distant polities sought to control an enticing but poorly understood region, while individuals, households, and communities engaged in complicated forms of interaction, exchange, violent confrontation, and cultural transformation. In 1750, European empires competed for a region that was home to a large and varied Indian population; by 1815, it had become the first western frontier of the United States. The contest reshaped the lives of individuals and the prospects of numerous Indian polities, transformed the landscape through new agricultural and labor practices, and redirected the trajectory of American nationhood and the shape of the Atlantic World.

The organizers of the conference welcome paper and panel proposals that adopt a variety of approaches to the study of eighteenth and early nineteenth century Ohio Valley, including political and imperial history; transatlantic perspectives; social and cultural life and exchange; trade and economics; ethnographic analysis; environmental change; gender and sexuality; women and family; race and slavery; military history and violence; religious history; and memory studies.

The organizers seek paper and panel proposals that explore a variety of questions related to this contested era of Ohio Valley history, such as:

• Imperial ambitions and objectives
• Native American life and culture
• Cultural exchange, conflict, and adaptation
• Women’s lives on the frontier
• African Americans and slavery on the frontier
• The Ohio Valley and the Atlantic World
• The American Revolution
• Evolving racial and cultural identities
• Gender and sexuality
• Environmental change
• Agriculture, commodity production, and trade flows
• Population displacement and migration
• Pan-Indian coalitions
• Diplomacy and treaty making
• U.S. federal government policy
• Warfare and violence
• Middlemen and cultural brokers
• Speculators versus settlers/squatters
• Legal regimes
• Contested memories of the frontier era

A selection of revised essays from the conference will be published as part of The Filson’s “Ohio Valley and the Nation” book series with Ohio University Press.

Please send three copies of a proposal of no more than one page clearly outlining subject, arguments, and relevance to the conference topic, along with a vita of no more than two pages, to The Filson Institute Conference, The Filson Historical Society, 1310 S. Third St., Louisville, Kentucky 40208.

Proposal deadline is April 30, 2012 (postmarked). Single papers or conference panels are welcome. For panel proposals please provide a one-page summary of the panel in addition to paper proposals and vitas from each participant. The conference will meet in consecutive plenary sessions, with three sessions each day. Papers will be placed on-line on The Filson Historical Society’s website prior to the conference. Funds will be available to help defray some travel costs for presenters. For questions concerning the conference, please contact Dr. A. Glenn Crothers at the address above or e-mail at crothers@filsonhistorical.org, or consult The Filson website at http://www.filsonhistorical.org/institute.html.

The Deerfield Raid, 1704

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 9:44 am

Exploring the 1704 Deerfield Raid

A One-Day Symposium

Sat., March 3, 2012

8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Deerfield Community Center

Deerfield, MA 

Deerfield Raid

Historic Deerfield welcomes all interested in learning more about the stories of 1704 to participate in a one-day symposium that will focus on what we know about the Deerfield Raid. Our program will bring together scholars with museum staff and interested public to investigate the context of the Raid itself and its outcomes.

Speakers will include: John Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of History Emeritus, Yale University; William M. Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University, Distinguished Professor of History; Alice Nash, Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst; R. Scott Stephenson, Director of Collections and Interpretation, American Revolution Center; Kevin Sweeney, Professor of History at Amherst College; and Philip Zea, President of Historic Deerfield.

Participants will also receive a copy of a new “1704 Raid Walking Tour,” and may view the new exhibition Furnishing the Frontier: The Material World of the Connecticut River Valley, 1680-1720. Pre-registration is required. The registration fee is $75 ($65 for members and school teachers). For information and online reservations, please visit:


For phone reservations, please contact Julie Marcinkiewicz at 413-775-7179 or email events@historic-deerfield.org.

“Marital Infidelity and Espionage in the Siege of Boston”

Filed under: Early America,Wars — John Maass @ 9:02 am

Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at 5:15 p.m.,

Massachusetts Historical Society

Mr. J.L. Bell, Boston 1775, will present:

“Marital Infidelity and Espionage in the Siege of Boston”

Comment: Robert Allison, Suffolk University


This paper will examine patterns in the popular linkage between marital and political infidelities over a range of espionage cases from the start of the Revolutionary War. Drawing on new findings about such spies as Dr. Benjamin Church, Benjamin Thompson, and the Rev. John Carnes, it will address the topic from multiple perspectives, including actual cases, the use of marital disloyalty as a metaphor for political disloyalty, and how stories of family splits were hidden, preserved, or retold.

Each side of the political conflict tried to portray the other’s leaders, up to and including Thomas Gage and George Washington, as unfaithful husbands. Betrayal in the home, such reports suggested, led to betrayal of the public. Some men involved in espionage did indeed make a habit of extramarital affairs, but others appear to have undertaken their risky ventures to support their wives and children.

Both at the time and in later generations, Americans have been selective about which family splits they recorded, and thus which side’s agents appeared most treacherous.

RSVP to seminars@masshist.org<mailto:seminars@masshist.org or call 617-646-0568. In case of inclement weather, please phone 617-536-1608 for information.

All seminars take place at the Society, 1154 Boylston St., Boston, MA, and commence at 5:15 p.m. Each seminar consists of a discussion of a pre-circulated paper provided to our subscribers. (Papers will be available at the event for those who choose not to subscribe.) Afterwards the Society will provide a light buffet supper.

All seminars are free and open to the public. As in the past, we are making the essays available to subscribers as .pdfs through the seminar’s webpage, http://www.masshist.org/2012/calendar/seminars/early-american-history.

January 24, 2012

Conference on the American Revolution and Tour of Yorktown Battlefield

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 11:20 am

New Rev. War conference announced:

Friday, March 23-Sunday, March 25, 2012

Williamsburg Hospitality House in Williamsburg, VA

Speakers include:

John Hall: “Washington’s Partisans: Early American Warfare Reconsidered”
Joshua Howard: “Into the Breach: Nathanael Greene’s 1781 South Carolina Campaign”
Mark Lender: “What Kind of Victory: Washington, the Army and Monmouth Reconsidered”
Paul Lockhart: “The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill and the First American Army”
Andrew O’Shaughnessy: “The Men Who Lost America: British Politicians and Generals”

Click here for more information.


Tomahawk and Musket: French and Indian Raids in the Ohio Valley, 1758

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 11:09 am

There’s a new title from Osprey on the French and Indian War, Tomahawk and Musket: French and Indian Raids in the Ohio Valley, 1758.  Here is the publisher’s description of the book by Rene Chartrand:

In 1758, at the height of the French and Indian War, British Brigadier General John Forbes led his army on a methodical advance against Fort Duquesene, French headquarters in the Ohio valley. As his army closed in upon the fort, he sent Major Grant of the 77th Highlanders and 850 men on a reconnaissance in force against the fort. The French, alerted to this move, launched their own counter-raid. 500 French and Canadians, backed by 500 Indian allies, ambushed the highlanders and sent them fleeing back to the main army. With the success of that operation, the French planed their own raid against the English encampment at Fort Ligonier under less than fifty miles away. With only 600 men, against an enemy strength of 4,000, he ordered a daring night attack on the heart of the enemy encampment. This book tells the complete story of these ambitious raids and counter-raids, giving in-depth detail on the forces, terrain, and tactics.


January 12, 2012

War, Demobilization and Memory: The Legacy of War in the Era of Atlantic Revolutions

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 10:34 am

I just learned of a new conference coming in 2013: War, Demobilization and Memory: The Legacy of War in the Era of Atlantic Revolutions. 

It will be held at King’s College London on May 30 to June 1, 2013.

The aim of the conference is to examine the transition from war to peace at the end of the series of conflicts at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: notably, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the Anglo-American War of 1812, and the wars of independence that shattered European rule in Haiti, and in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking empires of the western hemisphere. Whilst distinctive, these conflicts were also inter-connected at multiple levels, and not least in their transformative impact on the wider Atlantic World. I will be giving a paper on The 1780s Reconstruction and Reconciliation Efforts in North Carolina, although I have not chosen a title yet for the talk.

Bunker Hill, 1775

The American Revolution Reborn

Filed under: Early America,The Academy,Wars — John Maass @ 10:14 am

J.S. Copley, "The Death of Maj. Pierson"

“The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the 21st Century”

Philadelphia, 31 May—2 June 2013

Call for Papers

With generous support from an anonymous donor, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the David Library of the American Revolution, and the American Philosophical Society will host an international conference on the American Revolution, 31 May—2 June 2013.

The conference aims to showcase new directions and emerging trends in scholarship. The conference organizers expect that it will be the first in a series of gatherings exploring important themes on the era of the American Revolution.

Because the conference hopes to launch new interpretations of the era of the American Revolution, the organizers welcome paper proposals representing diverse disciplinary approaches and interpretative frameworks. As detailed below, four broad themes will organize the conference: Violence and the American Revolution; The American Revolution and Civil Wars; Power and Revolution; and Religion and Revolution. Paper proposals should be approximately 500 words and should be accompanied by a brief c.v. In addition to summarizing the proposed paper’s argument, proposals should directly address how the paper sheds new light on the understanding of the American Revolution. Those submitting proposals should identify which theme their paper addresses, although conference organizers reserve the right to place it in any of the groups.

Submissions and questions should be sent in Word format to mceas@ccat.sas.upenn.edu, with “Revolution Conference” in the subject line. The deadline for submission is 2 March 2012.

Tennessee and the War of 1812 Conference

Filed under: Early America,The strange place called the South,Wars — John Maass @ 9:14 am

Battle of Horseshoe Bend

Looks like a good conference in March on Tennessee and the War of 1812, to be held in Nashville. Dr. Donald Hickey will be one of the speakers.

Pre-symposium event
Friday, March 16, 2012
Exhibit Opening, “Becoming the Volunteer State: Tennessee in the War of 1812.” Tennessee State Museum

Saturday, March 17, 2012
Nashville Public Library Auditorium

9-9:45 Registration

9:45-10:00 Welcome
Dr. Carroll Van West, MTSU Center for Historic Preservation
Ann Toplovich, Tennessee Historical Society

10:00-10:45 “Indian Country in 1812: The Life and Times of the Southern Indians on the Eve of the War of 1812.”
Dr. Robbie Ethridge, University of Mississippi

10:45-11:30 “Andrew Jackson’s Bolivar: Tennesseans Embrace Latin American Independence”
Dr. Caitlin Fitz, Northwestern University

11:30-1:00 Lunch on your own

1:00-1:45 Keynote Address:
“Why Is the War of 1812 Important”
Dr. Donald Hickey, Wayne State College

1:45-2:30 “Tennessee and the War of 1812”
Dr. Kristofer Ray, Austin Peay State University

2:30-3:30 Panel Discussion

3:30 Conclusion

Dr. Don Hickey holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and is a professor of history at Wayne State College in Nebraska. A specialist in early American history and American military history, Hickey has taught at Wayne State since 1978, although he has held concurrent visiting appointments at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (1991-92) and the Naval War College (1995-96). He is the author of five books and more than fifty articles, including The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict (1989), The War of 1812: A Short History (1995), and Don’t Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812 (2006).

Dr. Robbie Ethridge is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Mississippi. In addition to writing several articles and book chapters on the ethnohistory of the Indians of the American South, she is the author of Creek Country: The Creek Country and Their World, 1796-1816, with the University of North Carolina Press (2003), and she is the co-editor, along with Charles Hudson, of the volume The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians, 1540-1760, published by the University Press of Mississippi (2002). She also co-edited with Thomas J. Pluckhahn Light on the Path: The Anthropology and History of the Southeastern Indians (2006) published by the University of Alabama Press. Her latest co-edited volume is Mapping the Mississippian Shatter Zone: The Colonial Indian Slave Trade and Regional Instability in the American South (2009) co-edited with Sherri Shuck-Hall, published by the University of Nebraska Press. Her latest monograph is entitled From Chicaza to Chickasaw: The European Invasion and the Transformation of the Mississippian World, 1540-1715 (2010) published by the University of North Carolina Press. She is currently working on a long-term project on the rise and fall of the Mississippian world.

Dr. Caitlin Fitz (Ph.D., 2010, Yale University) is an assistant professor at Northwestern University. She is a historian of early America, in a broad and hemispheric sense. Her work explores early U.S. engagement with foreign communities and cultures, as well as the relationship between ordinary people and formal politics. Her current manuscript, Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions, reveals how the early nineteenth century Latin American independence movements shaped popular understandings of race, revolution, and republicanism within the United States. Fitz has also written about U.S. citizens in insurgent Brazil (The Americas, 2008), Iroquois communities during the U.S. revolution (Journal of the Early Republic, 2008), and antislavery activists in Tennessee (Civil War History, 2006). She has conducted archival research in Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English, and she has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  She received her Ph.D. in 2010 from Yale, where her dissertation received the George Washington Egleston Prize in American History.

Dr. Kristofer Ray (Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2003) is an assistant professor of history at Austin Peay State University and serves as the Senior Editor of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly.  Dr. Ray’s research interests lie in early North American identity formation, political culture and economic development. His most recent book, Middle Tennessee, 1775-1825: Progress and Popular Democracy on the Southwestern Frontier, was published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2007.

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