Year: 2015

The War Years (1775-1783) Posted on

4 Infamous Intelligence Failures

Battles are complicated events where conflicting or unclear information can confuse even good generals.  Here are some examples of when American intelligence systems failed, usually with terribly tragic results. Quebec In late 1775 the Continental Congress planned to neutralize threats from Canada by seizing Montreal. Gen. George Washington, commanding the Continental Army at Boston, decided […]

by Michael Schellhammer
Arts & Literature Posted on

The Impact of Jonathan Carver’s Journal and Maps

Captain Jonathan Carver’s Reconnaissance Captain Jonathan Carver was hired in August 1766 as a surveyor and draughtsman by Major Robert Rogers, the newly appointed governor-commandant of British Fort Michilimackinac. Rogers instructed Carver to familiarize himself with the northern Mississippi River basin and western Lake Superior region’s geography, prepare a map of the area and then, […]

by Merv O. Ahrens
People Posted on

10 Disabled British Pensioners

Wars were fought by soldiers, but it is the campaigns and commanders that are remembered and studied. This is a shame because the soldiers had a remarkable range of fascinating experiences, often more exciting than those of the policymakers they served. And yet, the farther back in history one goes, the fewer personal stories of […]

by Don N. Hagist
Prewar Conflict (<1775) Posted on

A Posture of Defense: Virginia’s Journey from Nonimportation to Armed Resistance

A month into the historic 1774 meeting of the 1st Continental Congress, delegates John Adams of Massachusetts and Richard Henry Lee of Virginia sparked a heated debate when they proposed that Congress urge each colony to place their militia on a more proper footing.1 Patrick Henry of Virginia forcefully supported these militia proposals, declaring that, […]

by Michael Cecere
Techniques & Tech Posted on

Invading America: The Flatboats that Landed Thousands of British Troops on American Beaches

Amphibious operations, which involve landing troops and supplies from the sea to the land, are extremely difficult and require special techniques, close coordination between the navy and army, as well as specialized equipment. The British learned the required skills during the Seven Years’ War. After a failed attack on the French port of Rochefort the […]

by Hugh T. Harrington
Politics During the War (1775-1783) Posted on

The Mecklenburg Declaration In Revolutionary War Pension Applications

In Hershel Parker’s excellent article in the October 2014 Journal of the American Revolution (“Fanning Outfoxes Marion”) he makes reference to an important research tool, namely hundreds of Revolutionary War pension applications that have recently been transcribed by Will Graves and C. Leon Harris, and are in searchable electronic format.[1] This is an important tool […]

by Scott Syfert
Reviews Posted on

Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island

Book Review: Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island by Christian M. McBurney. History Press, 2014. ISBN 978-1626197244, softcover, 158 pages, illustrated. The last few years have seen a surge of interest in Revolutionary War spying, with several new books and even television shows being produced. Much of this new literature, whether factual or fanciful, is focused […]

by Don N. Hagist
People Posted on

General Who?

When historians think of Continental generals of the Revolutionary War, many familiar names come to mind. Henry Knox, who rose from a bookseller to the commander of the Continental Army’s artillery. Benedict Arnold, the dynamic battlefield leader whose name has become a synonym for traitor. Daniel Morgan, the “Old Wagoner” that defeated Britain’s best in […]

by Jeff Dacus
News Posted on

Top 10 Articles of February 2015

There is never a dull month at Journal of the American Revolution. In February, we continued to experience impressive reader traffic and welcomed three new writers: Geoff Benton, A.K. Fielding and Jett Conner. Plus, we have been busy sorting out the details of a major announcement that will be shared in a few weeks. And then there […]

by Editors
The War Years (1775-1783) Posted on

Reaction to the 1775 Gunpowder Episode by the Independent Company of Albemarle County

The Royal Governor’s April 21, 1775 removal from Williamsburg’s Powder Magazine of gunpowder essential to Virginia’s defense caused an immediate furor among Virginians as news spread throughout the colony. The governor’s action was in response to George III’s direction to colonial governors to take control of arms and powder throughout the colonies, direction which had […]

by William W. Reynolds
Reviews Posted on

Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency

Book Review: Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency by Logan Beirne (Encounter Books, 2013) On a May morning in 1754, a young George Washington commanding a handful of Virginia militia and some barely-clothed native allies fell upon some French troops in the Pennsylvania wilderness. An inexperienced Washington, keen on bending […]

by Thomas Verenna
Reviews Posted on

William Washington, American Light Dragoon: A Continental Cavalry Leader

Book review: William Washington, American Light Dragoon: A Continental Cavalry Leader in the War of Independence by Daniel Murphy (Westholme Publishing, 2014). William Washington, the Revolutionary War cavalry commander, is relatively unknown. However, he played an important role in the War especially in the South, and should be recognized for his skills and accomplishments. Virtually […]

by Hugh T. Harrington
People Posted on

Indian Patriots from Eastern Massachusetts: Six Perspectives

Joseph Paugenit, Jonas Obscow, Anthony Jeremiah, Simon Peney, Obadiah Wicket, and Alexander Quapish. These are not household names to the average history enthusiast. But they are among the two hundred Indians from eastern Massachusetts who fought in the Revolutionary War. Few people are aware of the contributions that these and another thousand or more Native […]

by Daniel J. Tortora
News Posted on

Top 10 Articles of January 2015

Sound the alarm! Journal of the American caught fire in January with a record-setting 495,000 views by 327,000 users! The surge in traffic was primarily caused by three major events: 1) Our “Ages of Revolution” article going viral; 2) Inquiring minds wanting to discover the truth behind History Channel’s Sons of Liberty series; and 3) […]

by Editors
Reviews Posted on

Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777

Book Review: Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777 by Michael C. Harris (Savas Beatie, 2014). Author Harris was a former Brandywine Battlefield Museum educator and battlefield guide who quickly became frustrated with a lack of ready sources with which to explain this important battle. The […]

by Stephen Gilbert
Prewar Politics (<1775) Posted on

Vice-Admiralty Courts and Writs of Assistance

Vice-Admiralty jurisdiction was established in the American colonies in 1697[1]; Vice-Admiralty courts were created in Maryland (1694), New York (which included Connecticut and New Jersey) and South Carolina (1697), Pennsylvania (which included Delaware) and Virginia (1698), Massachusetts (1699), New Hampshire (1704), Rhode Island (1716), North Carolina (1729), and Georgia (1754).[2] They were not effective in […]

by Bob Ruppert
Politics During the War (1775-1783) Posted on

Franklin’s Failed Diplomatic Mission

Benjamin Franklin’s Revolutionary War diplomatic successes have been well chronicled. He was instrumental in persuading King Louis XVI to enter into a military alliance with the fledgling United States and for negotiating the Treaty of Paris with the British ending the Revolutionary War. Less remembered is Franklin’s first diplomatic mission after the onset of hostilities. […]

by Gene Procknow