A Student of History

October 10, 2013

The Spreading Flames of War

Filed under: Early America,NC History,New books,Wars — John Maass @ 8:24 am

My new book will have a great cover. It will be available from the History Press in mid-November.

book cover

March 20, 2013

“Light Horse Harry” Lee Symposium in April 2013–Greensboro, NC

Filed under: NC History,Wars — John Maass @ 7:06 am


The Life and Times of  Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee

April 26-28, 2013 – Greensboro, NC – Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution with the Sons of the Revolution in the State of North Carolina presents their dynamic, fun, and scholarly symposium on the Life and Times of Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee.  The importance of the cavalry and light troops in the Southern war led General Nathanael Greene to put Lee’s Legion “upon as good a footing as possible.”  Now you can walk the grounds where Lee rode, fought and sealed his reputation on the battlefield.  Hear and interact with presentations by prominent scholars and authors to include Lee’s controversial life and contributions to American Liberty as a soldier, politician and early Southern Campaigns historian, and his roles in family and business.


April 26, 2013 – Friday – our Lee sites bus tour will feature the posturing of the Southern Department armies commanded by Lord Charles Cornwallis and Gen. Nathanael Greene in early March 1781 leading up to their final clash at Guilford Courthouse.  Included are Harry Lee’s battle sites in the Burlington, NC area: the skirmishes at Clapp’s Mill, the Rocky Ford at Weitzel’s Mill, and the latest scholarship on Pyle’s Hacking Match.  Also go to the armys’ camps at the Alamance Regulators battlefield, High Rock Ford and Speedwell Iron Works on Troublesome Creek.  Local guides include historians Bob Carter, Stewart Dunaway and Jeff Bright.  Tour by preregistration only.


April 27-28, 2013 – Saturday & Sunday – “Wedded to my Sword” The Life and Times of Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee will include the latest scholarly research on the interesting and, sometimes, controversial life of Harry Lee with boots-on-the-ground tours of Lee battle sites along the 18th c. road from the New Garden Meeting House to General Nathanael Greene’s awaiting army posted at Guilford Courthouse with Greene expert Dennis Conrad, 18th c. cavalry expert Dan Murphy and others.  Dynamic presentations on Lee’s life, contributions to the Revolutionary War, as a Virginia politician, Southern Campaigns historian, and his controversies will be made by world-class scholars including Jim Piecuch, Ben Huggins, John Hutchins, Mike Cecere, Jim Mc Intyre, Ben Rubin, John Beakes, Steve Rauch, Dan Murphy, and Stewart Dunaway.  Our keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Dennis M. Conrad, editor in chief of the southern campaigns volumes of the Papers of General Nathanael Greene, Harry Lee’s boss during the Southern Campaigns.  On Sunday’s included battlefield tour, we will see the New Garden Meeting House and road to Guilford Courthouse – sites of Harry Lee’s initial battles with the British commander, the infamous “Bloody Ban” Tarleton, prior to the general engagement at Guilford Courthouse – and walk the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield.  Lee’s climatic clash at Guilford did not happen within the federal park; we will go to the site.

Call (803) 549-6710 to preregister for the Symposium or email Charles B. Baxley at cbbaxley@truvista.net or David P. Reuwer at davidreuwer3@aol.com for other event details.

February 22, 2013

237th Anniversary of Battle of Moores Creek Bridge (1776)

Filed under: Early America,NC History,Wars — John Maass @ 7:43 am

North Carolina’s first major Revolutionary War battle, fought in 1776, will be celebrating its 237 anniversary this weekend.

Moores Cr

According to the Southport Times:

Living historians will be on the battlefield during the celebration demonstrating the day-to-day life of a colonist along with musket and cannon firing demonstrations throughout the celebration. Family events, including children’s games, candlestick making, and a chance to dress up as a colonist will be available. Learn the significance of The Battle of Moores Creek and the important role North Carolinians played in the fight for freedom. This event is free to the public and promises to be fun for the whole family. BBQ and hot dogs will be provided by the Atkinson Fire Department.

Moores Creek National Battlefield will also be hosting lectures in Patriots Hall starting at 1:00 p.m. with Larry S. Earley, author of, “Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest,” speaking about longleaf pines and the naval stores industry in colonial North Carolina. Special Superior Court Judge and Pender County native Gary E. Trawick, author of, “Born in Reconstruction: The Story of Pender County, 1524-2012,” will entertain the crowd with stories about the area’s impact on colonial North Carolina. These lectures are sure to showcase the rich history this area has to offer.

Moores Creek National Battlefield is located at 40 Patriots Hall Drive Currie, NC 28435. For a schedule of events please visit our website at http://www.nps.gov/mocr/event-schedule-2009-2010.htm.

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.

March 21, 2012

Tryon Palace in NC Going Forward

Filed under: Early America,Historic Places,NC History — John Maass @ 7:06 am

From The Sun-Journal:

New Tryon Palace Commission Chairman William C. Cannon Jr. is far from new to the Palace and its mission.

A third generation supporter of Tryon Palace, his grandmother, Ruth Coltrane Cannon, was one of the women involved with New Bern’s Gertrude Carraway in the Society for the Preservation of Antiquities and the Daughters of the American Revolution that uncovered what was left of a historic artifact and helped restore and preserve it.

Cannon said that was in a time in the early 20th century when there were few opportunities for women in the workplace and those women’s avocation was a career based on solid commitment that took much of their time and heart.

That influence translated into money, by way of fundraising and personal contribution.

Kay Williams, Tryon Palace director, said one early gift from Bill Cannon’s grandmother actually bought the gates to the Palace that remain.

Williams said the group of early enthusiasts stayed focused from the late 1920s until Tryon Palace’s reconstruction and opening in 1959.



Bill Cannon has served on the Tryon Palace Commission for 10 years in various capacities including secretary and, prior to his recent appointment, as vice chairman.

Cannon and his wife, Ann Cannon, have continued that family tradition of gatekeepers, co-chairing the fundraising effort for the North Carolina History Center.

“We love New Bern, and what we’ve seen of Craven County and the people we know who share the same excitement about its history,” he said. “We love Tryon Palace, Mitchell’s Hardware, the whole town” and said he’ll probably spend “more time than I really have” in his effort to keep the complex going.

Sitting across a large 1700s dining table in the Commission House this week, Cannon recalled his most memorable early impression of Tryon Palace as a teenager.

“After I was old enough to drive, a friend and I went to the beach and we stopped here and bought a ticket and went in. I still have a picture in my mind of the black and white marble floor in the foyer from that day.”

Williams said she, staff, and commission members “are very excited about Bill Cannon’s leadership”

Commission member Alice Graham Underhill agreed. “Bill Cannon has been a strong commission member in the past and a great supporter of Tryon Palace and New Bern. I’ve very happy he’s accepted the chairmanship. He has the ability to continue the tradition of leadership we’ve had in the past.”

Cannon is a graduate of Wake Forest University in Winston Salem with degrees in business administration and economics and serves as vice chairman of Carolina HealthCare Systems.

He said that how the North Carolina state “budget will be structured is our big unknown and how that’s going to affect Tryon Palace is as yet unknown. The proposed cuts are extensive. What the Tryon Palace Commission hopes is that there will be some restructuring of the deepest cuts.”

To help accomplish that, Cannon said “I expect I’ll be spending about as much time in Raleigh as in New Bern” over the coming months.

He lives on a farm in Concord, not a long drive from Raleigh, and he is a private pilot and said it only takes about an hour to get to New Bern.

“I don’t think there is any question there will be cuts” from previous state funding, he said, but as drafted, “beginning in July 2012 with the beginning of the 2013 budget year, there are draconian cuts planned.”

“I can’t see into the future but I believe there will be some significant change in those,” Cannon said. “I know there is some support.”

 Regardless of where the money comes from, “Tryon Palace will have to operate more efficiently, leaner, and with a higher percentage of private money in the public-private mix” that is currently 30 percent private, 70 percent public funding for Tryon Palace complex including the N.C. History Center.

More private money must be secured from donations, endowments, and ticket receipts to keep Tryon Palace’s mission for historical preservation and education alive, he said. Going forward more of its operational funds will have to come from big donors and Friends of Tryon Palace, of which there are about 10,000.

“Our job is to go out and raise additional revenue from any kind of event we can hold and to maximize shop sales and visit numbers to continue to do the education that makes us an important part of North Carolina History,” Cannon said. “According to our mission, we are going to keep state, regional, and colonial history alive for the next generation. We’re going to do it — preserve and teach North Carolina history in any manner possible.”

Cannon met with New Bern and Craven County leaders this week, he said, and “with the Tryon Palace staff, “simply to tell them that I’m honored to work for them and work with them. We have such a dedicated staff here of wonderful people with wonderful talents and character.”

“The jewel that is the History Center only opened 18 months ago,” he said. “It is hard for me to think that with all the state money that just went to build it, they won’t work to keep it open, given all the positives that are in the future for Tryon Palace.”

He complimented Linda Carlisle, secretary of N.C. Cultural Resources, as “a wonderful friend of Tryon Palace. I’m not sure many people in New Bern know how hard she worked in the last budget session with the legislature.”

Cannon and Williams said Tryon Palace Commission plans to hold a town meeting near the end of March at the N.C. History Center to talk about the changes commission member and Palace staff sees coming and to answer questions with as much information about Tryon Palace future operations as they can.

Regardless of how complete the information on state funding will be by then, Cannon said: “I can promise the Tryon Palace will survive.”


May 6, 2010

“The Military History of North Carolina”

Filed under: Early America,NC History,New books,Wars — John Maass @ 12:13 pm

Battle at Guilford Courthouse, 1781

I have been asked to co-author a new book, “The Military History of North Carolina,” part of a developing series by Westholme Publishing.  Not sure the title will remain as is, but it is OK for now.   I am handling the colonial and revolutionary period, Mark Bradley will handle the mid-19th century and beyond.  Looking at 2014 to be finished.

Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene

October 7, 2009

2 New Articles

Filed under: Early America,NC History,Wars — John Maass @ 7:16 pm


I just published two new articles in the same week, last week:

“‘Too Grievous for a People to Bear’: Impressment and Conscription
in Revolutionary North Carolina,” The Journal of Military History, 73 #4, October, 2009.


“The Greatest Terror Imaginable: Cornwallis Brings his Campaign to Goochland, 1781,” Goochland County Historical Society Magazine, Vol. 47, October, 2009.

June 19, 2009


Filed under: NC History — John Maass @ 11:48 am

My article titled “TOO GRIEVOUS FOR A PEOPLE TO BEAR”: IMPRESSMENT AND CONSCRIPTION IN REVOLUTIONARY NORTH CAROLINA is scheduled to appear in the Journal of Military History later this year.

The Journal of Military History, the quarterly journal of the Society for Military History, has published scholarly articles on the military history of all eras and geographical areas since 1937. The Journal is fully refereed. It publishes articles, book reviews, a list of recent articles dealing with military history published by other journals, an annual list of doctoral dissertations in military history, and an annual index.

July 30, 2008

‘The Cure for all our Political Calamities’

Filed under: Early America,NC History,Wars — John Maass @ 8:09 am

My article, “‘The Cure for all our Political Calamities’: Archibald Maclaine and the Politics of Moderation in Revolutionary North Carolina,” is due to appear in the July issue of the North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 85, #3.  The issue will come out in 3 weeks or so.

Those interested in obtaining a copy can contact the NCHR here:

North Carolina Historical ReviewHistorical Publications Section Office of Archives and History4622 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-4622


919-733-1439 (fax)





June 18, 2008

NC Rev War Site “Endangered”

Filed under: Early America,NC History,The strange place called the South — John Maass @ 5:24 am

The Trading Ford area along the Yadkin River has been identified by the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program as a site at risk from rapid urban and suburban development.

The park service released its “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States” last week.

The Trading Ford was included in the survey along with other historic sites that comprise the “Race to the Dan River.” A linear resource, the inclusive “Race to the Dan River,” is listed in the “Roads, Trails, and Waterways Needing Further Study” section of the report. These are resources that due to their size and complexity had no equivalent survey methodology that allowed them to be represented in an equitable manner.

June 4, 2008

Inland Whale in N.C.

Filed under: NC History,The world today — John Maass @ 7:11 am

Here is an interesting recent article on archeologists and a paleontologist digging up the bones of a 1,000,000 year old whale in Lake Waccamaw, N.C., in Columbus County.

P.S.  In case you were wondering how old the earth is, check out this tedious and lengthy website which “explains” how to calculate it based on the Bible, but never comes up with a clear answer at the end!  Looks like they think it is about 13000 years old. 

February 29, 2008

N.C. Revolutionary War Battlefield Trip

Filed under: Early America,NC History — John Maass @ 5:27 pm

The next Corps of Discovery trip is to three Revolutionary War battlefields around Burlington, NC.  Please join the Corps of Discovery on Saturday, March 29, 2008 for this free guided trip to the sites of the Battles at Clapp’s and Wetzel’s Mills and Pyle’s Defeat, also called “Pyle’s Hacking Match”.  If you are interested, there will be an optional afternoon trip the another Revolutionary War battle site at Lindley’s Mill.

Please forward any questions to Bob Yankle  byankle@triad.rr.com  
Webmaster and Principal Photographer, NCSSAR and Staff Photographer,
Charles B. Baxley
Editor / Publisher
Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution

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