We asked our contributors what history project they’re most looking forward to in 2022.
In 2022, I am most looking forward to the spring publication of my book, George Whitefield’s Ministry in New England, 1740-1770. This 600 or so page book is a detailed account full of primary sources that have mostly been ignored by history.
Bruce L. Petersen
I plan to study both supply logistics and roads in and around the Bruce’s Crossroads (Summerfield, North Carolina) area to determine if I can more accurately plot British troop movements in early 1781. Also I am trying to lead a cooperative effort between local historical associations to gain more recognition and commemoration for the Race to the Dan.
Don N. Hagist
I had the good fortune to release new books in 2020 and 2021, including Noble Volunteers and These Distinguished Corps, but the excitement of these releases was diminished by the inability to do public appearances. On-line presentations, valuable though they are, don’t have the same impact and engagement as in-person activities. The well-being of myself and others remains the top priority, but I hope that 2022 offers the opportunity to once again do public events.
I am looking forward to the publication of my translation of Guillaume Mathieu, Comte de Dumas “Draft of the diary of the campaign of June 16– October 6, 1781.” This is one of two extant diaries by a French quartermaster. The other was by Louis François Bertrand Dupont d’Aubevoye, comte de Lauberdière (published as The Road to Yorktown: The French Campaigns in the American Revolution, 1780-1783). This draft is unique because it focuses on the author’s daily business, so we get a glimpse of the day-to-day activities of an assistant quartermaster and his thoughts and impressions recorded contemporaneously and unedited. Dumas also took a different route than Lauberdière to cross the Susquehanna River. This added a day’s march (about twenty miles) to the voyage and the crossing presented many difficulties. Dumas was surprised that there were no serious accidents that occurred that would delay them from rejoining the left column at Bushtown (Harford, Maryland).
Nancy Bradeen Spannaus
I am looking forward to completing a book on Why American Slavery Persisted, with the thesis that if Alexander Hamilton’s industrialization plan had been followed, emancipation could have been achieved without a civil war. In a sense it’s a follow-up to my book Hamilton Versus Wall Street, but I also present material on how strong the anti-slavery movement was in the U.S. Recent remarks by Gordon Wood buttress with my evaluation. But to follow through, we needed an economic system that valued human labor and intelligence, and had government support for infrastructure and credit. See americansystemnow.com/to-end-slavery-you-need-industrial-progress/ for more.
I am looking forward to Mark Lender’s Fort Ticonderoga, The Last Campaigns: The War in the North, 1777-1783. I had the opportunity to perform a Fellowship at Fort Ticonderoga this past summer, where I researched and chronicled all the military units that inhabited the Ticonderoga environs from 1756 until 1783. These later years are quite sparse with scholarly information and I am eager to see what Mr. Lender delivers. I am also beginning to transcribe and annotate an orderly book from Ticonderoga that covers February until April 1777, and it will be interesting to see if that information details into Mr. Lender’s book.
I’m excited to read Friederike Baer’s Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War. German auxiliaries fighting in the Revolution has always seemed so odd from a modern perspective, and yet it was a normal part of eighteenth century warfare. Promises to be illuminating!
William H. J. Manthorpe
This may be considered a bit of self-promotion, but is an honest answer to the question out of frustration. I have written a book: American Naval Ships Named Delaware: Those Who Built Them and Sailed in Them. It was to be given to the new submarine USS Delaware by the state on her commissioning in Wilmington on April 4, 2020. Covid put an end to that. The book awaits publication until Delaware’s officials and the Navy can get together for an event. Only then will I be able to write an article on the Continental frigate Delaware for JAR.
Bettina A. Norton
Benjamin Blyth (1746-1811) of Salem, Massachusetts, drew and painted over 150 portraits of an unusually wide range of people who lived during the American Revolution—patriots, politicians, families who suffered from opposing loyalties, those who left, those who died, and those whose fortunes were greatly enriched. They include ship captains, privateers, Continental Army officers, doctors, clergymen, tavern keepers, and several portrait duos of husband with one of wife and child. Their faces, with biographies, are in the catalogue of my book, now in the final stages of publication. The main text puts it all in context. My lecture at the Boston Athenaeum, January 2020, can be accessed via Vimeo.com/showcase/6703437
I’m currently immersed in a book project that focuses on the Battle of Harlem Heights as part of Westholme’s Small Battles series but also on the Revolutionary contributions of Thomas Knowlton, who made the ultimate sacrifice on that occasion. The intent here is to raise the historical profile of both. My efforts so far have yielded a newfound appreciation for the significance of this engagement, even though it did nothing to alter the course of the war directly. If nothing else, it was the first battlefield success recorded by U.S. Army troops, however limited in its impact.
James M. Smith
There is a new book out called, After Jesus-Before Christianity. It promises to be a paradigm-changing book. It searches the two hundred year period between the death of Jesus and the formation of the church as it came into existence. Dieterich Bonhoeffer once asked, in one of his writings, do we as Christians follow the teachings of Jesus or that of the church? The authors appear to claim that through their research, they are able to trace the movement from the one to the other. I am especially looking forward to reading this book.
In 2022, the most anticipated history projectis the preservation of the Shallow Ford Historic Site on the Yadkin River in North Carolina. The site of Colonial and Civil War Era history is best known for its role in the Revolution. In October 1780, Tories and Whigs skirmished at the Ford, and General Cornwallis crossed at the same spot in January 1781 pursued by General Greene in the Race to the Dan. Preservation of this site is extremely important, and it will help to bring due attention to the geographic and military importance of the Shallow Ford on the Yadkin River.
I am looking forward to continue working on a new book for The History Press on the 1840 sinking of the steamboat Lexington in Long Island Sound, still the worst maritime disaster on that body of water. It will be published next year.
I am looking forward to have a chance to take a look at William G. Thomas’s new book A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War.
Each spring, Elsa Gilbertson of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has gathered together a group of staff, volunteers, and professional archaeologists to explore Mount Independence. Teams of three or four slowly search a selected area looking for signs of human activity (prehistoric to modern). Each find is given a number, a description noted, and the archaeologists record highly-accurate GPS coordinates. Teams have also gone back to specific locations to clear undergrowth in an attempt to expose more detail (no digging is done). The information will be used to plan more detailed archaeological exploration. Great fun!
For the past two years, I’ve been studying George Rogers Clark and the Illinois Campaign. Scheduling, COVID, and other issues have forced me to cancel a trip to the area twice. Hopefully, the third time—2022—is the charm to explore the war in the west
I will be researching the life and political career of Declaration of Independence signer Abraham Clark in the coming year. My research on Clark is part of larger effort aimed at creating fresh writing on the experience of Elizabethtown, New Jersey during the American Revolution.
Gregory G. W. Urwin
I look forward to the release of the second volume of Donald M. Londahl-Smidt’s German Troops in the American Revolution, an entry in Osprey’s Men-at-Arms Series. So many Osprey titles are produced by authors who synthesize the scholarship of others—and some do not do that well. Hence, it is a delight to purchase a title by a true scholar who has spent decades mining the archives. Anything by Londahl-Smidt on the Hessians is worth reading. For the same reason, I am counting the days to when Oxford University Press publishes Friedereke Baer’s Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War.
Rereads are on my agenda for 2022, books still on my shelves. Among them, Bernard Bailyn’s To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders and Barbara Tuchman’s The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution. Already into the latter and finding fresh insights: “It must always be an amazement how eighteenth century letter writers—even, and especially, officials—had time and capacity to produce their sculptured sentences . . . while twentieth century successors can only envy the past and leave their readers painfully to pick their way through the thickets of academic and the mud of bureaucratic jargon.”
After the recent successof our project commemorating the Battle of Iron Worksin Mount Holly, New Jersey, the Rev War Allianceof Burlington County will be undertaking an ambitious project to secure land affiliated with the engagements at Petticoat Bridge, precursors to the events in Mount Holly in December 1776; all of which played an important rolein General Washington’s victory at Trenton. As we like to remind friends and historians alike, the greater events should be more accurately cited as the “Thirteen Crucial Days,” rather than ten.
In the upcoming year I have been asked to research and write the history of the academic institution where I teach, the Heritage School in Newnan. I am looking forward to scouring the archives and helping our community understand and remember their origins.
For 2022, I’m most looking forward to spending some time at the British Library. I have a fellowship from the Eccles Centre for American Studies and will be at the British Library researching my new book about homosexuality and the American Revolution.
Patrick H. Hannum
After two years of COVID cancellations, America’s History LLC’s 9th Annual Conference of the American Revolution, scheduled for 18-20 March 2022 in Williamsburg, Virginia is back as planned. Looking forward to leading the Friday, March 18 bus tour that visits three key sites south of the James River during the Campaign of 1775-1776 to eject royal authority from Virginia. It is always great to interact with motivated historians, address these important political and military events and showcase the new museum at the Great Bridge Battlefield. See americashistoryllc.com/2021/9th-annual-conference-of-the-american-revolution-march-18-20-2022/for more details.
I am very much looking forward to Season 6 of Outlander, where the characters will find themselves in the midst of the American Revolution in the North Carolina backcountry. The book on which it is based, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, takes place from 1773 to 1776.
John L. Smith Jr.
In 2022 I’m greatly looking forward to publishing my book detailing the life and words of a great American who lived during the Revolutionary and Founding eras. The last biography on this famous person was over thirteen years ago. I’m including some intriguing new material in my book as well. The subject person “in view” will remain a mystery until released. I’m also very fortunate to have the incredible assistance for guidance and proof reading of an illustrious founding JAR editor. The identity of that person will also be made known at the time of publishing.
I’m looking forward to two speaking engagements this spring with the Sons of the American Revolution in Washington state. In one talk, I’ll describe lies and myths about our founders that have influenced public policy, including religion, guns, taxes, and inoculations. The other talk is based on my book After Yorktown, about the final months of the Revolution, when the fighting never stopped.
In Annapolis, Maryland, efforts to preserve and restore historic sites from the American Revolution and the founding era are part of the community’s lifeblood.Four Rivers Heritage Area (soon to be renamed) is the organization that oversees the design, funding, and coordination of these efforts. This year, I am particularly excited to see how Four Rivers will respond to the new challenge of assisting a much larger region around Annapolis, doubling the number of its preservation partners and adding types of supported activities. Four Rivers works hard to make history personal so that all visitors can understand how historical events affect their lives today.
This past autumn I applied for and was awarded a fellowship to conduct research in 2022 at an institute whose mission is maintaining the history and memory of the Revolution. It is a great privilege for which I am humbly grateful. I am looking forward to traveling to the site, rolling up my sleeves, and delving into the archives.
Philip D. Weaver
I am looking forward to again delve into the story of the plundering of Johnson Hall. This time, I will be working on a companion book to my well received The 3rd New Jersey in New-York: Stories from “The Jersey Greys” of 1776that will cover the details of the court-martial of the regiment’s officers responsible for the theft. Plans are to have it stand on its own, so you can read one book without having to read the other. I will also have other irons in the fire, so please be sure to monitor conconsul.com and/or facebook.com/ConConsul1 for further details.
I’m really hoping that in the coming year they’ll finally release more information on the skeletal remains they found on the 1777 Ridgefield battlefield in Connecticut. The information has been delayed for nearly three years.
I look forward to continuing research with several colleagues to find additional documents to support the statement that Reverend Richard Allen, founding Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, wrote in his autobiography—”I was after this employed in driving of wagon in time of the continental war, in drawing salt from Rehobar [Rehoboth], Sussex county, in Delaware.” These documents would, hopefully without any doubt, establish Allen as a patriot who sold salt to the Continental Army in support of the Revolutionary War.
The great frustration of Founding Era history is you never get to meet anybody face-to-face. You try to know them from their deeds and writings, but of course there is so much more. I am now taking a hiatus from the American Revolution and gathering the life story of ninety-two-year-old Bob McKee, born in 1929 on the very day as Martin Luther King. Locally, he has had the influence of a George Washington and he still has the wit of a Benjamin Franklin—a master story-teller with a plethora of tales to tell. What a joy.
John K. Robertson
I am looking forward to the publication of my second book, Revolutionary War Defenses in Rhode Island, in January 2022. The book covers American, British, and French fortifications within the state and includes almost 300 maps and plans including nine period maps in color. The book will be available from the Rhode Island Publications Society for $39.95 at their website, www.ripublications.org/.
I just finished my first two classes of my PhD in History, so in 2022 I look forward to continuing my studies and starting work on a number of writing projects I have been putting off.