A Student of History

December 19, 2012

Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850

Filed under: Early America,The Academy — John Maass @ 8:14 am
British Grenadiers, 1750s

British Grenadiers, 1750s

43rd Annual Meeting of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850
Ft Worth, TX
21-23 February 2013

The Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850 (CRE) provides a venue for the presentation of original research on not only the history of Europe during the Age of Revolution, but also the Atlantic world and beyond. This meeting will offer a platform for research into the Revolutionary Era 1750-1850 broadly defined, and especially encourage scholars in non-European fields to participate. Several years ago, the Board of Directors changed the name from the Consortium on Revolutionary Europe to the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era to mark the organization’s broader scope. Annual conferences are not theme-based, but the 2013 meeting will recognize the bicentennial of the German “Befreiungskriege 1813-1815” against Napoleon. The CRE also publishes Selected Papers for each annual meeting. For more information on the CRE, see website at: www.revolutionaryera.org.

December 13, 2012

The “Paxton Boys” and the Conestoga Massacre 1763

Filed under: Early America,Wars — John Maass @ 3:27 pm

The “Paxton Boys” and the Conestoga Massacre–250 Years Later

December 13-14, 2013, Lancaster, PA

Paper proposals are invited for a mini-conference commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Conestoga Massacre, to be held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, December 13-14, 2013. Cosponsored by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and LancasterHistory.org, the conference will provide a scholarly component for a broader program of public events at the newly renovated and expanded Lancaster Campus of History at the Lancaster County Historical Society and at related sites in the city of Lancaster.

The conference organizers seek proposals for papers of approximately 15 pages in length from scholars whose work explores the causes, immediate consequences, and long-term legacy of the events of December 1763. We are particularly interested in papers that focus on the Conestoga Indians, local Lancaster history, Native American relations with Pennsylvania, and the broader political implications of the massacre. Interdisciplinary work from historical, archaeological, and literary perspectives is particularly welcome.

Please submit proposals of approximately 500 words, along with curriculum vitae, to mceas@ccat.sas.upenn.edu no later than Friday, February 1, 2013. Accepted panelists will be notified by March 15. Papers will be due for pre-circulation no later than November 1, 2013.

Paxton Massacre

Paxton Massacre

November 16, 2012

War College of the Seven Years’ War

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 1:26 pm
Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga

May 17, 2013 to May 19, 2013

Fort Ticonderoga hosts the Eighteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War May 17-19, 2013, in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. Since 1996, the War College has become a top venue for historians on subjects relating to the French & Indian War, drawing speakers and participants from across North America. An enthusiastic audience of nearly 200 people represents all levels of interest, from general lovers of history to scholars. The War College offers a unique, informal setting that promotes interaction between speakers and attendees. Our speakers include both established and new scholars studying the French & Indian War in North America. Pre-registration is required.

Learn more about the Eighteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War.

Upcoming Lectures on War of 1812 at Univ. of MD

Filed under: Canada,Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 10:25 am

Prof. Don E. Gravesis an authority on the War of 1812 from the Canadian perspective. He has taught military history and served as a staff historian for the Canadian Directorate of History and Heritage. He has also published extensively on the major battles of the War of 1812, including Crylser’s Farm, Lundy’s Lane and Chippawa. His book on the Battle of Plattsburgh is forthcoming. Graves will offer a spirited explanation of why and how the Canadians won the War of 1812.

“Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights: The Odyssey of the Essex–Captain David Porter’s Invasion of the Pacific in the War of 1812″
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 7:30 p.m., tentatively scheduled for the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore

Prof. Paul Gilje, a George Lynn Cross Research Professor at the University of Oklahoma, has written extensively on early American history and has also served as the president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. He is currently researching the question of sailors’ rights and memory in the War of 1812, and his lecture will be based on his forthcoming book of the same title.

“The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies”
Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 7:30 p.m., Langsdale Library Auditorium

Alan Taylor
, professor of history at the University of California, Davis, where he specializes in early American history and Canadian history, will expound on the effect of the War of 1812 on common people and on families whose members lived on both sides of the Canadian-U.S. border. His latest book, which has the same title as his lecture, was published in 2010 and received rave reviews.

Further information about the series is available from the Division of Legal, Ethical & Historical Studies, at 410.837.5323.

October 19, 2012

SC’s Benedict Arnold

Filed under: Early America,The strange place called the South,Wars — John Maass @ 10:45 am

There is an article in the new JBS on The “Benedict Arnold of South Carolina” and America’s First Major Double Agent.

Here’s the link: http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ojs/index.php/jbc/

The Journal of Backcountry Studies is a refereed scholarly journal on the Internet focused on the colonial history of the Backcountry – the rural corridor that stretches from southern Pennsylvania to Augusta, Ga.

September 5, 2012

NPS Battlefield Grants for 2012

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 7:17 am

The American Battlefield Protection Program announces the awarding of 27 grants totaling $1.3 million to assist in the preservation and protection of America’s significant battlefield lands. The funds will support a variety of projects at battle sites in 17 states or territories.

St. Clair’s Defeat, 1791

Included:Ball State University

On November 4, 1791, at the Battle of Wabash, American forces suffered their worst defeat ever at the hands of American Indians. In 1773 General Anthony Wayne build Fort Recovery on the site of the battle. On June 30, 1794, 2,000 American Indians attacked the fort but were repulsed after a two day battle. Ball State University and its partners intend to hold a series of public consensus meetings in support of Fort Recovery. This project will also amend the National Register nomination to include more of the landscape.


County of Chester

The Battle of the Clouds on September 16, 1777 was fought between General George Washington and Sir William Howe as the British were marching on Philadelphia. The battle was called off prematurely due to a large storm which destroyed most of Washington’s ammunition and forced him to withdraw. This project builds upon the County of Chester’s work with both Brandywine and Paoli and is intended to identify the threatened landscape on this sparsely documented battlefield. These findings, along with those from Brandywine and Paoli, will eventually be used in a comprehensive Preservation Plan for the entire Philadelphia Campaign in the County of Chester.


The Research Foundation of State University of New York
New York
One of only two major engagements of the Revolutionary War’s Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, the Battle of Chemung was fought two weeks before the better known Battle of Newtown. This ambush on Continental forces by American Indians produced more casualties than Newtown, and the burning of New Chemung became a case study of Continental strategy and tactics for the frontier Campaign. An archeological survey will be used to help better determine the battlefields’ defining features as well as to assess their condition. This information will be entered into an existing GIS in support of a future preservation plan and National Register nomination.


Saratoga P.L.A.N.
New York
The Battles of Saratoga culminated in 1777 with the surrender of British forces under General Burgoyne. This American victory reinvigorated the war effort and is seen as a turning point in the Revolutionary War. This project will interpret the fighting at the battle of Fish Creek, one of the battles of Saratoga, with several interpretive kiosks and an interpretive trail. Working with the nearby Saratoga National Historical Park, the interpretive trail will also be integrated into other interpretive trails in the area.


University of Southern Indiana

Following the American Revolution, the former colonies were determined to demonstrate their authority over the territory known as the Old Northwest and to deter Indian attacks against American settlers. In 1791 the Charles-Scott Campaign was launched to deter the American Indians along the Wabash River. This project will use a magnetometer survey to determine subsurface deposits and the potential location of one of the Indian villages along the Wabash. This baseline data will aid future preservation efforts.

Full list: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/grants/battlefieldgrants/2012grantawards.htm

September 1, 2012

Pre-Revolutionary War Black School Researched in Williamsburg

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 2:04 pm

The details of life at the oldest known site of organized education for African American students are being unearthed by researchers scouring a 17th century foundation near the grounds of the College of William & Mary in historic Williamsburg this summer. Bray School was launched and operated from about 1760 to 1765 in what was known as the Dudley Digges House.  More is here.

July 30, 2012

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail Now Open

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Wars — John Maass @ 12:10 pm


Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

Ready for Visitors


The Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland

Baltimore, MD – Today, the National Park Service officially launched the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail with a ceremony in the Fell’s Point neighborhood of Baltimore, MD. Partners from all nine regions along the trail were recognized for their hard work to develop the trail in their local areas.


“The launch of the Star Spangled Banner Trail is a key part of our nation’s bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “It will provide Marylanders and visitors with a way to access and appreciate the sites engaged in our nation’s Second War of Independence. Highlighted by kiosks, wayside signs, and highway markers, the trail will offer a unique combination of land and water-based sites and give visitors a unique understanding of Maryland’s role in the war that helped shaped our nation.”


With help from regional partners, important sites along the trail are now ready for visitors in southern Maryland, the Upper Bay, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


“The launch of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a proud moment for all Marylanders,” said Congressman John Sarbanes, who authored legislation to create the trail. “As we commemorate the War of 1812 Bicentennial, the Trail will help bring to life historic events that unfolded in our own backyard and changed the course of our nation’s history. I hope it will help visitors, students and others to learn more about our state’s critical role in the ‘second war of independence’ and how the United States’ victory set the stage for the spread of democracy around the world.”


Over 100 partners, friends, and tourism professionals showed their support at the trail’s launch today. NPS Superintendent John Maounis said, “The hard work and dedication of our partners throughout the region results today in a trail that is open and ready to receive visitors. Families can tour the trail, visit historic places, ride their bikes or visit by boat. The NPS Chesapeake Bay Office will continue to work with our partners to offer additional opportunities for education and recreation.”


“The trail connects the multitude of sites significant to our national heritage,” said Bill Pencek, Executive Director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, and chair of the trail’s Advisory Council. “The trail is also a vital economic resource, attracting the “touring traveler” who spends more, takes longer trips, and travels with more people than typical visitors to Maryland.” 


The Maryland State Highway Administration has begun installing highway markers in the southern Maryland region of the trail. “The State Highway Administration is proud to partner in support of creating scenic and historic byways and trails throughout Maryland,” said SHA Deputy Administrator Doug Simmons. They carry residents as well as visitors along paths that highlight our history, reflect our common heritage and welcome everyone to explore Maryland again and again.”


New services and materials to help visitors explore the trail include:

  • the trail’s history and travel pocket guide
  • interpretive kiosks at 25 trail locations
  • highway markers on Maryland roads
  • the trail’s Junior Ranger program
  • new mobile application and website
  • the Virtual Resource Center for educators
  • illustrated history and travel guide In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake, a collaboration of the National Park Service, the Maryland Historical Trust, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

 # # #

About the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail:

The trail commemorates the War of 1812 and its legacy in the Chesapeake region. Over 560 miles of land and water routes in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia follow movements of British and American troops during a period of political and social turmoil that forever changed a young democratic nation. The National Park Service, in cooperation with state government, local jurisdictions and hundreds of nonprofit organizations, is working to preserve and develop sites and places along the trail to provide interpretation of the causes, events, and outcomes of the War and improve water access and recreation opportunities for visitors and residents. For more information, visit www.starspangledtrail.net.

July 27, 2012

General Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution in the South

Filed under: Early America,NC History,New books,Wars — John Maass @ 7:38 am

I am pleased to announce the publication of General Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution in the South by the Univ. of South Carolina Press, a copy of which I received yesterday.  In it is my essay, “’With humanity, justice, and moderation’: Nathanael Greene and the Reconciliation of the Disaffected in the South, 1780-1783.”

Here are 2 blurbs:

“The Revolutionary War in the South increasingly absorbs the attention of historians and of the public. Nathanael Greene was central to that war’s outcome, and with the recent completion of the publication of his papers, we have gained more and more insight into his character and his role in the ultimate victory. The essays in this volume represent a major push forward. Here we begin to learn about Greene as a manager, as a manipulator, as a thinker, and as a fighter. Highly recommended!”—Wayne E. Lee, Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chair of the Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense

“These chapters represent an insightful commentary on Nathanael Greene. It draws from a variety of authors who have studied Greene and his life. Each author brings depth to examining one aspect of Greene’s life. There is much food for thought here because the chapters examine not only Greene’s military expertise but his social and political acumen as he progresses from Northern merchant soldier to Southern general and planter. It is clear that Greene, the man, changed as the war progressed and his education received practical training in all facets of being a citizen soldier.”—Lawrence E. Babits, George Washington Distinguished Professor (ret) and author of A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens  

To order the book, click here.

June 27, 2012

NJ’s New Bridge Landing Threatened

Filed under: Early America,Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 8:05 am

In northern New Jersey a Revolutionary War site is in danger due to neglect:

The site is New Bridge Landing, and funding cuts may have a big impact on maintaining the site, including the Steuben House.

New Bridge Landing was the site of a pivotal bridge crossing the Hackensack River, where General George Washington led his troops in  retreat from British forces. The area is now a  New Jersey historic site in portions of New  Milford, River Edge and Teaneck in Bergen  County, New Jersey. In the early morning hours of November 20, 1776, Lieutenant General Charles
Cornwallis  led a British and Hessian army of about 2,500 soldiers across the Hudson River to New Dock  for an attack against Fort Lee, then defended by about 900 soldiers. Washington led his 2,000 troops from Fort Lee in a ragged retreat through present-day Englewood, New Jersey and Teaneck across the Hackensack River at New Bridge. The hasty withdrawal of the American garrison across the Hackensack River at New Bridge preserved them from entrapment on the narrow peninsula between the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers. Washington continued his retreat through early December, passing through Princeton on the way towards and across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.

See more here.

Steuben House

Steuben House, NJ

June 26, 2012

Dunmore’s War, 1774

Filed under: Early America,New books,Wars — John Maass @ 3:51 pm

New book coming in December from Westholme Publishing:

Known to history as “Dunmore’s War,” the 1774 campaign against a Shawnee-led Indian confederacy in the Ohio Country marked the final time an American colonial militia took to the field in His Majesty’s service and under royal command. Led by John Murray, the fourth Earl of Dunmore and royal governor of Virginia, a force of colonials including George Rogers Clark, Daniel Morgan, Michael Cresap, Adam Stephen, and Andrew Lewis successfully drove the Indians from the territory south of the Ohio River in parts of present-day West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Although it proved to be the last Indian conflict of America’s colonial era, it is often neglected in histories, despite its major influence on the conduct of the Revolutionary War that followed. In Dunmore’s War: The Last Conflict of America’s Colonial Era, award-winning historian Glenn F. Williams explains the course and importance of this fascinating event. Supported by primary source research, the author describes each military operation and illustrates the transition of the Virginia militia from a loyal instrument of the king to a weapon of revolution. In the process, he corrects much of the folklore concerning the war and frontier fighting in general, demonstrating that the Americans did not adopt Indian tactics for wilderness fighting as is popularly thought, but rather adapted European techniques to the woods.

As an immediate result of Dunmore’s War, the frontier remained quiet for two years, giving the colonies the critical time to debate and declare independence before Britain convinced its Indian allies to resume attacks on American backcountry settlements. Ironically, at the same time Virginia militiamen fought the biggest battle of Dunmore’s War under command of a king’s officer, delegates to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia decided on a united resistance to Parliament’s heavy-handed Coercive, or “Intolerable” Acts that threatened representative government in all the colonies. Before another nine months passed, Virginia became one of the leading colonies in the move toward American independence. Although he was hailed as a hero at the end of the Indian campaign, Lord Dunmore’s attempt to maintain royal authority put him in direct opposition to many of the subordinates who followed him on the frontier. Before being driven from Virginia in 1776, he notably organized the “Royal Ethiopian Regiment” composed of slaves who were promised freedom if they deserted their rebel masters and entered military service to the crown.

GLENN F. WILLIAMS is a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. He is author of U.S.S. Constellation: A Short History of the Last All-Sail Warship Built by the U.S. Navy and the awardwinning Year of the Hangman, about the 1778 Sullivan-Clinton campaign against the Iroquois, also available from Westholme Publishing.

June 8, 2012

Rebuilding Ft. Price George in S.C.

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 9:04 am


The Pickens County Historical Society (in S.C.) is planning to reconstruct Fort Prince George, a French and Indian War post in the far backcountry of South Carolina. The fort was originally built in the 1750s.  A description of the fort from PCHS website:

The fort took only two months to complete and, with its complement of cannons and swivel guns in range of Keowee Town across the river, it was an imposing garrison. Constructed entirely from wood cut from the area, the square fort was relatively small. The walls were made of pine logs 8 to 10 inches in diameter sunk into the ground one beside the other and sharpened on top. A bastion stood at each of the four corners with a swivel cannon in each. The fort contained several wooden buildings with dirt floors which were improved over the years. The garrison was supplied with water from a well located in the center of the fort. The entire footprint of the fort, including the dry moat surrounding it, was only 200 feet square. There were, however, problems. In 1756, Fort Prince George was almost completely rebuilt because of structural issues due in part to the loose, sandy soil on which it stood.

Today the site of Fort Prince George lies one hundred and fifty feet below the water of Lake Keowee. Below is a map of S.C. showing where the fort was located. The site was excavated in the 1960s prior to being flooded by the lake, a report of which is here.

According to a recent news article, the PCHS is exploring the possibility of reconstructing the fort near its original location. “A renewed effort to rebuild historic Fort Prince George is now underway, and the hope is that once completed, the fort will attract a lot of tourists to the area, according to Wayne Kelley, who is helping head up the project.”

The fort was garrisoned by the Independent Company of South Carolina, pictured below in a modern illustration.

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