April 26, 1777: Sybil Ludington’s Ride

The eldest of twelve children, Sybil Ludington grew up in a household of ardent patriots, her father being the commander of the local militia in Duchess County New York.  On April 26, 1777 she became, at age 16, a heroine of

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April 19, 1775: The Shot Heard Round the World

By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world. The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;

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James Otis: Forgotten Founding Father

  “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter – the

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April 7, 1776: Lexington Takes Edward

On March 14, 1776, that sea going Catholic son of Ireland John Barry, received his commission as a Captain in the Continental Navy from the Continental Congress.  It was signed by John Hancock, President of the Congress.  Barry wasted no time

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April 3, 1776: Continental Congress Authorizes Privateers

  Congress on April 3, 1776 formally authorized American privateers to raid British merchant ships.  In this Congress was merely recognizing what was already well under way, the patriot governments of the various colonies having issued letters of marque and

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The Old Line’s Bugle, Fife, and Drum

Something for the weekend.  Maryland, my Maryland.  Written by James Ryder Randall  in white heat in 1861 after he learned that his friend Francis X. Ward had been killed by soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts in the Baltimore riot of

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March 4, 1776: Washington Occupies Dorchester Heights

“The rebels have done more in one night than my whole army would have done in a month.” General Howe, March 5, 1776 After Colonel Henry Knox brought the artillery from Ticonderoga to the siege lines around Boston in January 1776,

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Jefferson on the History of the American Revolution

On August 10, 1815, Thomas Jefferson set pen to paper to respond to John Adams’ letter to him of July 30, 1815.  Go here to read that letter.  Jefferson was no more optimistic than Adams that a true history of

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John Adams on the History of the American Revolution

John Adams often groused that the true history of the American Revolution would never be written.  Considering this, it is somewhat surprising that he did not undertake the task himself.  He had ample time after his Presidency, and his lively

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John Adams: Washington’s Ten Talents

“The History of our Revolution will be one continued lye [sic] from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin’s electric rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. Then Franklin electrified

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Yankee Doodle and The World Turned Upside Down

Something for the weekend.  Yankee Doodle, seems appropriate in the weekend before Washington’s Birthday.  Originally sung by British officers to disparage American troops who fought beside them in the French and Indian War, it was seized upon by Patriots, given endless

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The Nation Makers

American artist Howard Pyle did a series of paintings on the American Revolution in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  Pyle had a striking style, combining both romanticism and realism in his paintings.  My favorite of the series is

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Finished Peace, Unfinished Peace Portrait

The negotiations that led to the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War, were long, contentious and complicated, involving not merely the peace treaty between Great Britain and the United States, but also separate treaties between Great Britain and France,

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Defeat at Quebec

  The year 1775 ended on a note of defeat for the Americans. Since December 6, 1776 the city had been under siege by the combined forces of General Richard Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold. Twelve hundred Americans confronted 1800

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Washington Refuses to be Beaten

    Each year, as Christmas is approaching, I think of a Christmas long ago in 1776.  The year in which we declared our independence from Great Britain was a year of military disaster for the United States.  Washington and

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November 13, 1775: Montgomery takes Montreal

Of all the former British officers who fought on the patriot side in the American Revolution, the most militarily talented was Richard Montgomery.  Born near Swords in County Dublin in 1738, he was a member of an Ulster Scots family

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Through a Howling Wilderness

American traitor Benedict Arnold, a 34 year old Connecticut merchant at the beginning of the Revolution, had considerable military ability, as he first demonstrated in his epic march through the Maine wilderness in September-November 1775 on his way to join

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Penobscot Debacle

One of the great fiascos in American military history, the Penobscot Expedition of 1779 has faded into almost complete obscurity. The British had long wished to form a new colony for displaced Loyalists.  What is now the State of Maine seemed

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October 17, 1777: Saratoga

Yonder are the Hessians! They were bought for seven pounds and ten pence a man. Are you worth more? Prove it! General John Stark to his men prior to the Battle of Bennington         Something for the

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September 22, 1776: Nathan Hale’s Only Regret

How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue! Who would not be that youth? What pity is it That we can die but once to serve our country. Joseph Addison, Cato (1712) Death at 21 is always a tragedy, but

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Fortnight For Freedom: Catholics in the American Revolution

  Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the

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Fortnight For Freedom: A Just War

  As we approach the Fourth of July we celebrate American independence and the liberties we enjoy.  Independence was won on the battlefield.  Was the American Revolution a just war is therefore a question that should be asked and answered. Based on

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Fortnight For Freedom: The Father of Our Country

  America has been blessed by God in many ways but I suspect no blessing has been greater than His granting us George Washington to lead us in our struggle for independence and to be our first President.  Catholics have perhaps more

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Fortnight For Freedom: Catholics in the American Revolution

    Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic

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John Trumbull and Bunker Hill

“These fellows say we won’t fight! By Heaven, I hope I shall die up to my knees in blood!” Major General Joseph Warren to his men prior to the battle of Bunker’s Hill   A lecture by John Walsh, emeritus

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Washington: The Greatest American Part II

Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical

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Washington: The Greatest American-Part I

George Washington by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét Sing hey! For bold George Washington, That jolly British tar, King George’s famous admiral From Hull to Zanzibar! No–wait a minute–something’s wrong– George wished to sail the foam. But, when his mother

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We’re In a Revolution

Something for the weekend.  We’re In a Revolution, a first rate riff on Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire, set in the American Revolution.  This seemed appropriate as a precursor for the extensive post on George Washington that will

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Privateer McClary

A feature of the American Revolution that has never received nearly as much coverage in histories of that conflict as it warrants is the successful privateer war waged by the Americans against British merchant shipping.  This conflict helped the Americans

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