A Student of History

April 20, 2010

Bladensburg battle lecture

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 12:19 pm

Archaeologist Don Shomette will be presenting “New Perspectives on the Battle of Bladensburg” at Riversdale.

This will incorporate new information he has unearthed in his continuing research on the Chesapeake Flotilla in the War of 1812. The lecture begins at 7:30 pm on Tuesday May 18, and the fee is $5; reservations are not required.

Riversdale House Museum is located at 4811 Riverdale Road in Riverdale Park, Maryland. For more information call 301-864-0420 or email Riversdale@pgparks.com.

March 30, 2010

Grant Cottage

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 7:18 am

News

Group hopes to preserve Ulysses S. Grant’s last refuge
Monday, March 29, 2010

By ANN MARIE FRENCH, For The Saratogian

WILTON — Mount McGregor is well known as being home to a correctional facility but is often forgotten as being an important landmark in history. It was atop Mount McGregor that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, spent the last six weeks of his life before succumbing to throat cancer.

It was June 1885 when Grant left his New York City home for a cottage in Saratoga County. Already given his cancer diagnosis and the grim outlook of imminent death that came with it, Grant was determined to complete his memoirs as a means to provide financial security for his family. Grant had been ruined financially when a junior business partner embezzled the invested capital.

The cottage was owned by Joseph W. Drexel, who offered it to the former president as a place to spend his last days. On the good days, Grant sat on the cottage’s front porch or was wheeled to an overlook for views of the upper Hudson and lower Champlain valleys, the Green Mountains, the Berkshires and the Taghkanic Hills. On bad days, Grant would remain in bed, looking out a nearby window at the same view.

Today there is no view from the cottage — trees have grown up to block it. But visitors can walk to the overlook and see the same vista, albeit with more development than Grant could ever have imagined in his day. Drexel’s cottage still stands in good structural shape but needs a multitude of repairs. The sun, wind and weather have damaged the building’s exterior. The trim is weathered, the paint is peeling and the chimney is just beginning to separate from the side.

“Nobody has kept their eye on this,” said Lance Ingmire, the president of the Friends of Ulysses S. Grant Cottage. “We cannot let our historic sites fall apart just because of mismanagement of money at the state level.”

The inside of the cottage remains identical to when Grant took his last breath there on July 23, 1885. Family members stopped the clock then, leaving the bed, his clothing, and other personal effects just as they were when he was alive.

Ingmire said there is repair work to be done inside as well.

His own interest in Grant and the historical site is deeply personal. Ingmire said one of his ancestors served as the conductor, bringing Grant’s body from the mountain. The family has a piece of cloth that draped the casket and Ingmire possesses a photo of a healthy Grant on the steps of the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs, said to be Grant’s initial introduction to the local area. Ingmire, well-known for his organization of the fall Civil War encampments, has only been involved with the Friends of Ulysses S. Grant Cottage for about a year.

Asked to give a speech at an annual meeting, Ingmire was soon approached about taking on a more active role with the organization. He has responded with zest, embarking on a campaign of public education and fundraising to have the cottage repaired and maintained in the way it should have been all along. Additionally, he has high hopes for making some much needed and important changes to the visitor’s center associated with Grant’s cottage.

While the cottage is completely controlled by the state Department of Parks and Recreation, the visitor’s center is under complete control of the Friends organization. The building itself is an old garage donated to the Friends by the state Department of Corrections a number of years ago. Ingmire is currently working with the Department of Parks and Recreation, which also controls the surrounding property, to conduct an engineering study related to a severe drainage problem on the site.

Ingmire said drainage on the site is inadequate, resulting in water pooling on the floor of the visitor’s center. At times of heavy rain, the water reaches a height of 2 inches and flows through the center.

“This takes away from what we want to give to the visitors,” Ingmire said.

While tours are conducted at the cottage, the details of Grant’s life and death are found in the visitor’s center. Ingmire said the center is a place where visitors can take their time to view videos, read documents and see displays that will provide additional details not covered in the cottage tour.

Ingmire said there are a number of local people, himself included, who would like to offer their personal collections for public display at the visitor’s center but are prohibited from doing so because of the conditions of the center.

While the engineering study will likely be completed by the Department of Parks and Recreation, any repairs or construction to the center will be funded by the Friends organization. The organization works with an annual budget of about $40,000, most of which is paid out as salaries for the site interpreter, tour guides and gift shop staff.

To learn more about the historic site and its needs, go to http://www.grantcottage.org. The site provides a brief chronology of Grant’s life and information on how to offer donations or become a member of the organization.

URL: http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2010/03/29/news/doc4bb0071b100cb041344694.prt

© 2010 saratogian.com, a Journal Register Property

March 22, 2010

Secessions

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 12:26 pm

CALL FOR PAPERS:

“Secessions: From the American Revolution to Civil War”

October 22-23, 2010
Louisville, Kentucky

Conference Conveners:
Manisha Sinha (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Departments of Afro-
American Studies and History)
Kevin Barksdale (Marshall University, 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 calls for secession or disunion in the United States from the Revolutionary era to the Civil War. The conference, which takes place in Louisville, Kentucky, at The Filson Historical Society, marks the 150th anniversary of South Carolina’s secession.

The conference seeks to explore the moments in U.S. history between 1783 and 1865 when Americans threatened or acted upon a perceived “right” to secede from or nullify the laws of national or state authorities. Nearly hundred and fifty years ago, in December 1860, South Carolina declared its independence and seceded from the Union, helping to plunge the nation into Civil War. Secessionists believed they defended and upheld political values and traditions established during the Revolutionary era. Some claimed that the Declaration of Independence established a precedent for principled rebellion in opposition to “tyranny,” while states’ rights advocates defended secession as a constitutional right. But southern secessionists were not the first to appeal to the Revolutionary tradition of disunion and rebellion or to the Constitution: between the Revolution and the Civil War many groups and political leaders, discontented with conditions in the nation, invoked the right to leave the union or nullify federal laws.

The organizers of the conference welcome paper and panel proposals that adopt a variety of approaches to the study of secession, including the social, economic, and cultural causes of secession; the political theories Americans used to justify secession; secession and the contested meanings of the American Revolution; secession as a means to effect progressive social change or conservative counter-revolution; the sources of opposition to secession within a seceding region; the factors that led some states or regions to reject secession; the role of the media in secession debates; the role of Native Americans in secession and separatist movements; secession and state formation; secession in trans-Atlantic and transnational perspective; and the memory of secession and war.

The organizers seek paper and panel proposals that explore a variety of nullification and separatist movements, such as:

* The State of Franklin
* The Spanish Conspiracy
* The Whiskey Rebellion
* The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
* The Burr/Wilkinson/Blennerhassett Conspiracy
* The Hartford Convention
* The Nullification Crisis and States’ Rights Theory
* The Republic of Texas
* Abolitionist Disunionism
* Northern Opposition to the Fugitive Slave Laws
* Secession in South Carolina and the Deep South States
* Secession in the Ohio Valley and Upper South
* Southern Unionism
* Secession within the Confederacy (West Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, the Free State of Jones)

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 two pages clearly outlining subject, arguments, and relevance to the conference topic, and 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 5, 2010 (postmarked). Single papers or conference panels are welcomed. 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 single 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.

Dr. A. Glenn Crothers
Director of Research, The Filson Historical Society
Co-Editor, Ohio Valley History
1310 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40208
502-635-5083, ext. 235
crothers@filsonhistorical.org

Assistant Professor of History
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
502-852-6817
glenn.crothers@louisville.edu

February 26, 2010

North Carolina & Public Spirit in the American Revolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 10:19 am

I will be presenting “’To Recover the Sinking Hopes of the People’: North Carolina and Public Spirit in the American Revolution” at the 2010 SMH meeting in Lexington, Va in May.

January 6, 2010

Waxhaws Conference coming up in SC

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 9:08 am

“Blood Be Upon Your Head”
Tarleton and Buford at the Waxhaws
February 27, 2010 Lancaster,
South Carolina

Andrew Jackson State Park, Southern Campaigns of the American
Revolution, the American Revolution Association, the Friends of Andrew
Jackson State Park, and the Friends of the Medford Library invite you to
participate in “Blood Be Upon Your Head” – Tarleton and Buford at the
Waxhaws” on February 27, 2010. The conference will be held at the
University of South Carolina-Lancaster with an afternoon tour of
Buford’s battleground. Examine the research and the myths surrounding
this clash between units of British cavalry and American infantry to
understand why scholars have been debating about this battle for 230
years.

Presenters include Todd Braisted of The On-Line Institute for Advanced
Loyalist Studies, Dr. Jim Piecuch of Kennesaw State University as well
as David McKissack and Scott Miskimon who are both well-versed in the
history of the Virginia Continental Line. Lee McGee will present on the
tactics and training of Revolutionary War era cavalry and Bill Anderson
will map the daily movements of the troops involved. Archaeologist
Scott Butler will lead the battlefield tour to explain the archeology of
the battleground.

The registration fees are $50 per person and $85 per couple. The
deadline for registration is February 1, 2010. For those who do not
register before the deadline, the rates increase to $65 per person and
$120 per couple. Registration opens at 8:30 am and the conference will
begin at 9:00 am in the Bradley Building on the USC-Lancaster Campus.
Lunch will be provided. For more information and preregistration,
contact Andrew Jackson State Park (803) 285-3344 or
andrewjackson@scprt.com.

Charles B. Baxley
Publisher
Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution
http://www.southerncampaign.org
cbbaxley@truvista.net

November 13, 2009

Tip of the Spear

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 6:20 pm

I just published “Engineers at War,” in Tip of the Spear: US Army Small-Unit Action in Iraq, 2004-2007, Jon T. Hoffman, Gen. Ed. (Washington: US Army Center of Military History, 2009).  It is about Fallujah, Nov. 2004.

November 10, 2009

Legendary Lost Persian Army Found in Sahara

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 7:49 am

A pair of Italian archaeologists have uncovered bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert. Twin brothers Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni are hopeful that they’ve finally found a lost army

November 6, 2009

$500,000 IN NEW FUNDS FOR STAR-SPANGLED BANNER NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 1:15 pm

SENATOR CARDIN HAILS $500,000 IN NEW FUNDS FOR STAR-SPANGLED BANNER NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

 

Contact: Susan Sullam: 202-224-4524
Friday, October 30, 2009 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today joined Congressmen Elijah Cummings (MD-7), C.A Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2) and John Sarbanes (MD-3) in praising final congressional passage of $500,000 in funding for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.  The funding was included in the Interior-Environment Conference Report, which also includes a Continuing Resolution to fund much of the federal government through December 18.  The bill now goes to the President for his signature.

 

The National Historic Trail system commemorates major routes of historic travel and events that have shaped American history. The bill creating the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail was signed into law in 2008 and comes in time for the upcoming bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.  The $500,000 appropriation will allow for a Comprehensive Management Plan in order to plan for the upcoming bicentennial celebration, which culminated at the Battle of Baltimore and the celebrated role of the Star-Spangled Banner flying over Fort McHenry.

 

The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is part of Maryland’s rich heritage and culture,” said Senator Cardin.  “As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches, the State of Maryland needs to be prepared so that we can ensure all Americans will have the opportunity to learn and study the history of what is often referred to as the ‘Second American Revolution.’”

 

“The history of the Baltimore area is historically linked to the War of 1812, the battles that were fought here, and our noble National Anthem which emerged from the fight,” said Congressman Cummings. “I am glad that our history will be kept alive by improving this wonderful trail, so that our children will have the opportunity to experience the twin wonders of Maryland’s natural beauty and its history.” 

 

The Star-Spangled Banner Trail is a living memorial to those who gave their lives to protect our young nation.  The trail is a wonderful way to inspire people of all ages to learn more about Maryland’s rich history,” said Congressman Ruppersberger, a member of the Appropriations Committee.

 

“As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches, this funding will help make the Star Spangled Banner Trail a reality and educate generations to come about the important role Marylanders played in protecting this nation,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Many refer to the War of 1812 as the ‘Second War of Independence.’ Events in Maryland, most notably the heroic defense of Fort McHenry, helped prove that democracy could hold together through the trials of war and set the stage for the spread of democracy around the world.”

 

The Trail begins with the June 1814 battle between the British Navy and the American Chesapeake Flotilla in St. Leonard’s Creek in Calvert County, follows the British landing at Benedict on the Patuxent River, the Battle of Bladensburg, and then moves on to the British march into Washington, D.C., which was sacked and burned. From Washington, it follows the British campaign to the Battle of North Point and on to Baltimore, ending at Fort McHenry, site of the defeat of the British and where Francis Scott Key composed The Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem.

George Washington

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 9:19 am
Scholarly contributions are needed for A Companion to George Washington, part of the highly regarded Blackwell Companions to American History, to be published in 2011. This volume, edited by Professor Edward G. Lengel of the University of Virginia, will contain 35 scholarly essays on various aspects of Washington’s life and career. Each essay will be 7-8,000 words in length, and include full bibliography and citations.A superb team of scholars has already been assembled for 29 of the essays, but contributors are still needed for the following topics:1. The origins of Washington’s military career, incorporating personal elements and his reading of the masters of military art, and evaluating how this shaped his conception of warfare.
2. The Battle of Monmouth: Washington in the Monmouth Campaign of the summer of 1778.
3. Foreign Policy in the Presidential Era: Washington’s vision of foreign policy, particularly with respect to relations with Europe during the wars of the French Revolution.
4. Retirement: Washington’s retirement from the presidency and subsequent involvement—some might say meddling—in the Adams administration during the Quasi-War with France in 1798-99.
5. Revolution and Peace: a discussion of his political views and vision for the new nation at the end of the Revolutionary War.
6. Death and Mourning: How he died, and how America mourned his passing.

Contributors will receive $300 worth of books from the Blackwell catalog. Submissions are due by September 30, 2010. Submit proposals, including interest and qualifications, to Dr. Lengel by email or standard mail at the address below.

Edward G. Lengel
Professor and Senior Editor
The Papers of George Washington
504 Alderman Library
P.O. Box 400117
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4117
Email: egl2r@virginia.edu

 

October 29, 2009

Secessions: From the American Revolution to Civil War

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 11:27 am
October 22-23, 2010
Louisville, KentuckyConference Conveners:
Manisha Sinha (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Departments of Afro-American Studies and History)
Kevin Barksdale (Marshall University, 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 calls for secession or disunion in the United States from the Revolutionary era to the Civil War. The conference, which takes place in Louisville, Kentucky, at The Filson Historical Society, marks the 150th anniversary of South Carolina’s secession.

The conference seeks to explore the moments in U.S. history between 1783 and 1865 when Americans threatened or acted upon a perceived “right” to secede from or nullify the laws of national or state authorities. Nearly hundred and fifty years ago, in December 1860, South Carolina declared its independence and seceded from the Union, helping to plunge the nation into Civil War. Secessionists believed they defended and upheld political values and traditions established during the Revolutionary era. Some claimed that the Declaration of Independence established a precedent for principled rebellion in opposition to “tyranny,” while states’ rights advocates defended secession as a constitutional right. But southern secessionists were not the first to appeal to the Revolutionary tradition of disunion and rebellion or to the Constitution: between the Revolution and the Civil War many groups and political leaders, discontented with conditions in the nation, invoked the right to leave the union or nullify federal laws.

The organizers of the conference welcome paper and panel proposals that adopt a variety of approaches to the study of secession, including the social, economic, and cultural causes of secession; the political theories Americans used to justify secession; secession and the contested meanings of the American Revolution; secession as a means to effect progressive social change or conservative counter-revolution; the sources of opposition to secession within a seceding region; the factors that led some states or regions to reject secession; the role of the media in secession debates; the role of Native Americans in secession and separatist movements; secession and state formation; secession in trans-Atlantic and transnational perspective; and the memory of secession and war.

The organizers seek paper and panel proposals that explore a variety of nullification and separatist movements, such as:
• The State of Franklin
• The Spanish Conspiracy
• The Whiskey Rebellion
• The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
• The Burr/Wilkinson/Blennerhassett Conspiracy
• The Hartford Convention
• The Nullification Crisis and States’ Rights Theory
• The Republic of Texas
• Abolitionist Disunionism
• Northern Opposition to the Fugitive Slave Laws
• Secession in South Carolina and the Deep South States
• Secession in the Ohio Valley and Upper South
• Southern Unionism
• Secession within the Confederacy (West Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, the Free State of Jones)

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 two pages clearly outlining subject, arguments, and relevance to the conference topic, and 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 5, 2010 (postmarked). Single papers or conference panels are welcomed. 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 single 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.

Dr. A. Glenn Crothers
The Filson Institute Conference
The Filson Historical Society
1310 S. Third St.
Louisville, Kentucky 40208
502-635-5083

Email: crothers@filsonhistorical.org
Visit the website at http://www.filsonhistorical.org/institute.html.

October 14, 2009

Revolutionary War Film @ N.C.

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 8:49 am

Subject: Museum Produces Film About North Carolina and the American Revolution

MUSEUM PRODUCES FILM ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

The N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh announces the release of “Friends in Liberty: North Carolina in the American Revolution,” a 50-minute educational film produced by the museum and funded by the State Officers Club, N.C. Society Daughters of the American Revolution. A DVD of the film about the American Revolution in North Carolina will be distributed to all middle- and high-school public schools in North Carolina. The film and supplemental teaching materials are available on the museum’s Web site at ncmuseumofhistory.org. “Friends in Liberty” follows the experiences of 14-year-old Hugh McDonald and his friend, Anne Taylor. The film is based on the original journal of McDonald, the son of Scottish Loyalists, who joined the Sixth N.C. Regiment of the Continental Army in 1776. The fictitious character Anne Taylor gives us a girl’s view of life during the Revolutionary War as she struggles with increasing responsibilities at home after her brother Samuel joins the militia.

When members of the State Officers Club, N.C. Society Daughters of the American Revolution became concerned that students no longer seemed interested in the nation’s history, they contacted the Museum of History and offered to fund the production of a new DVD for distribution to North Carolina public schools. The museum accepted the challenge. The film became a reality through the efforts of its director, Jerry Taylor; other museum staff; and many volunteers. Museum educator Sally Bloom researched and wrote the script, and more than 200 actors, mostly students, applied to audition for the cast of 22. Film production became a community effort. A Raleigh costumer, for example, donated her services to find or sew historically accurate costumes for the entire cast. Re-enactors shared their time and expertise, and high-school students provided the music and vocals. A local professional musician scored a Bach piece for violin and cello. Other community members loaned props and assisted with the tapings at three locations. The cast and crew members filmed for eight days at different locations. They met challenges, such as taping the Valley Forge winter scene under the broiling sun – while wearing wool uniforms and standing near a campfire. Actor Sarah Catherine Carter, who played Anne Taylor as a girl, learned to cope with her costume’s five layers of clothing. “I was surprised at how many layers of clothing I had to wear and how uncomfortable the stays (similar to a corset) were,” she said. “By the end of a day of filming, my stomach hurt from the stays! It made me really appreciate what women went through during this time period regarding their clothing and how uncomfortable they must have been!” Did the experience of creating “Friends in Liberty” make an impression on the teenage actors in the film? Alex Hunt, who portrayed a Continental soldier, commented, “I was extremely surprised that teens fought in the war. Most of the kids were actually younger than me!” Spencer Bloom, who played Hugh McDonald, summed up the power the film can have for students. “When I first read the script, I thought it was remarkable that the responsibilities of the Revolution fell into the hands of young people. But in the course of shooting this film, I realized that Revolution still comes from the younger generation. That is what makes this story so powerful – it’s a story that is still being told today.”

For more information about “Friends in Liberty,” contact Sally Bloom at sally.bloom@ncdcr.gov or 919-807-7987. The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton St., across from the State Capitol. Susan Friday Lamb Public Information Officer N.C. Museum of History Office: 919-807-7943 Fax: 919-733-8655

July 14, 2008

Maps

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 6:29 am

One of the most interesting history-related sites I have come across lately is “Strange Maps“.  It is fun to look back on earlier posts and see all kinds of news on maps, demographics, charts, etc.   Good analysis too, I might add.

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