Thursday, September 21, 2017

Invading Arkansas

"Invading" Arkansas
Crystal Bridges Museum
Bentonville, AR

Arkansas is known today for having given us Bill Clinton and Walmart.  The state is mad about their razorbacks.  The world class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (https://crystalbridges.org/) opened up in Bentonville in 2011.  It will blow your mind!

"Invading" Bentonville
But Arkansas has a rich military history for it is a state that has been invaded many times.  This is an extract from the Arkansas chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil (www.americainvaded.com)...

"Humans have inhabited the area we know today as Arkansas for a very long time.  The Mississippians built mounds around Arkansas in AD 1300 that are still visible today.
Many Native American tribes made their homes in Arkansas, including the Osage, Caddo, and Quapaw. Arkansas is, in fact, a Siouan word derived from Acansa—the name of a Quapaw village in southeastern Arkansas.

De Soto
First European in Arkansas

The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto crossed the Mississippi River on June 28, 1541, into what is today Arkansas, searching for gold. His “invasion” of Arkansas lasted about a year and was the  first visit to this area by Europeans. De Soto died on the banks of the Mississippi, near or in Arkansas, of natural causes in 1542.

In 1673, coming from the opposite direction, French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet came south on the Mississippi, getting as far as an area inhabited by Quapaw, near where the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers meet, before heading north again.

Robert de La Salle explored Arkansas for the French in 1681. In 1686, Henri de Tonti, a Neapolitan serving Louis XIV, established the Arkansas Post.  This was an important trading post on the banks of the Arkansas River. A number of forts were constructed around the post to provide security against Native Americans.  The French formed an informal alliance with the local Quapaw tribe, supplying them with arms and trading furs.

In 1738, the French, with local allies, launched a campaign against the Chickasaw.
The 1762 Treaty of Fontainebleau gave Spain control of the Louisiana Territory, including Arkansas. During the American Revolution, the British and their native allies attempted to seize Arkansas Post from the Spanish.  They were defeated on April 17, 1783, at the Battle of Arkansas Post. Spain would control Louisiana until 1800, when it ceded it to Napoleonic France in the  Third Treaty of San Ildefonso...
He sold us Arkansas

In 1803, all of Arkansas was included in the Louisiana Purchase, which consummated the sale of territory by Napoleon to the United States.

And in 1804, American explorers Dr. George Hunter and William Dunbar traveled up the Ouachita River to Hot Springs.

More American settlers would soon arrive, bringing slavery with them. Fort Smith was first established by the US military in 1817.

In 1817, the US government established a Cherokee nation in Arkansas. Many other Arkansas tribes perceived this as an “invasion” of their territory.

Eventually, the familiar process of Native Americans being dispossessed would take place. For instance, in 1824, Quapaw ceded the rest of their land south of the Arkansas River. In 1828, the Cherokees left their northwest Arkansas territory and moved westward.

Arkansas played a role in the Texas Revolution as a base for rebels and a source of volunteers.
 The Arkansas Territory joined the Union as the twenty-fifth state in 1836.

Construction of the Arsenal Barracks began in Little Rock in 1840.  The Barracks were built mainly to protect settlers and travelers from potential attacks by Native Americans.
Capital Guard
"Lest We Forget"
Little Rock, AR

On May 6, 1861, Arkansas voted to secede from the Union with other Southern states. Support for the Union remained, however, especially in the Ozark Mountains.  Thousands of Arkansans would serve in gray during the Civil War, though some would  fight in blue as well. Over 5,000 ex-slaves from Arkansas would  fight in the Union Army.
General Van Dorn
Pea Ridge National Military Park
In early 1862, Confederate hopes were high. General Van Dorn, a great-nephew of Andrew Jackson, hoped to advance through Arkansas and seize St. Louis, Missouri.

Pea Ridge: the most important Civil War battle fought in Arkansas

The Battle of Pea Ridge, fought near Bentonville from March 7–8, 1862, was likely the most important Civil War battle fought in Arkansas (www.nps.gov/peri/index.htm). An outnumbered Union force commanded by Major General Samuel Curtis repelled attacks by Confederate forces led by Major General Van Dorn. Confederate ranks were augmented by Native American cavalry that was commanded by Brigadier General Albert Pike, a Little Rock newspaperman. Van Dorn was forced to withdraw his forces across the Mississippi, leaving Arkansas largely undefended.

A second attempt by the Confederates to reestablish control of Arkansas was mounted by Major General  Thomas C. Hindman, who moved into the northwest of the state in the autumn of 1862. At the Battle of Prairie Grove on December 7, Hindman was confronted by Union troops under Brigadier General Herron. Although outnumbered three to one, Herron managed to detain Hindman by ordering immediate attacks until reinforcements under Brigadier General Blunt arrived. Hindman was thwarted. Largely due to his weak artillery and poor supply situation, he was forced to withdraw.

Confederate Soldier
Pea Ridge National Military Park
Although Prairie Grove was on balance a tactical draw, it was a strategic victory for the Union. Never again would the Confederates be able to make a serious attempt to recover control of Arkansas.
In the Battle of Arkansas Post, fought January 9–11, 1863, an overwhelming Union force of around 33,000 led by Major General John McClernand defeated a smaller Confederate force, about 5,000, led by Brigadier General Thomas Churchill. Most of the Confederates, mainly dismounted Texas cavalry, surrendered to the superior Union Army near Fort Hindman.

After the fall of Vicksburg in 1863, the Confederacy was effectively cut in two along the line of the Mississippi River.  e western portion of the Confederacy, including Arkansas, was no longer able to supply vital livestock to the South...

Soon after the Civil War ended, another war hit Arkansas. Well, sort of. The 1874 Brooks-Baxter War saw a close gubernatorial election turn into a literal battle for power as militias supporting each contender clashed. Brook’s militia initially ejected Baxter from the Arkansas Capitol building. Militia supporting Baxter counterattacked, and eventually US troops stepped in and restored Baxter to power.

Arsenal Barracks
Douglas MacArthur
Museum & Birthplace
Little Rock, AR
In 1880, Douglas MacArthur was born in the Arsenal Barracks, which had been renamed the Little Rock Barracks in 1873, to a military family.  is distinguished graduate of West Point would serve in France in World War I. MacArthur eventually became a five-star US general who famously “returned” to liberate the Philippines in World War II. As Commander of UN forces, he planned and executed the successful invasion of Inchon during the Korean War. MacArthur Park and MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History can be found in Little Rock today, near his birthplace (www.littlerock.gov/for-residents/parks-and-recreation/macarthur-museum-of-arkansas-military-history/).

MacArthur Museum
Little Rock, AR
Arkansas was not, of course, invaded during World War II. However, more than 23,000 German and Italian prisoners of war were held at bases in the state, such as Fort Smith and Camp Robinson.

Sam Walton's office
Walmart Museum
Bentonville, AR
Travel notes: Loved the 21C hotel in Bentonville (www.21cmuseumhotels.com/bentonville/)!  Usually I mistrust hotel restaurants but The Hive is a wonderful exception.  Bentonville is a happening town.  Outstanding coffee at the Onyx Coffee Lab...onyxcoffeelab.com.  Great beers at Core Brewing www.facebook.com/corebrewery/.  Oven and tap has nice pizzas...www.ovenandtap.com/.  Not to mention the incredible Crystal Bridges Museum (https://crystalbridges.org/).  All in all a very fun town.


Signed copies of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil can now be found at the Pea Ridge National Military Park (www.nps.gov/peri/index.htm) or here...www.americainvaded.com

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Invading Mississippi

Mississippi Invaded

Invaded Mississipi yesterday all too briefly.  We had this to say about the Magnolia state in America Invaded (www.americainvaded.com)...

The Mississippian culture, which extended through many southeastern states, built mounds from around AD 800 to 1600.

Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, was the  first European to arrive in Mississippi in 1540. De Soto died on the banks of the Mississippi River in either Arkansas or Louisiana in 1542.

The French, however, were the  first Europeans to begin colonization of Mississippi. Robert de La Salle claimed Mississippi for France in 1682. Pierre Iberville built the  first French fort in Mississippi at Fort de Maurepas on Biloxi Bay.  The French also introduced African slaves to Mississippi.

 The French colonists did have various conflicts with local Native Americans.

For instance, they clashed with the Natchez on a number of occasions. In 1736, after a dispute over land, the Natchez attacked and destroyed the French post at Fort Rosalie.  The French, with local Native American allies, launched a war against the Natchez that forced them from their homes and scattered them...
George III
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

French rule in Mississippi came to an end in 1763 with their defeat in the Seven Years’ War. King George III’s proclamation of 1763 banned migration to the Mississippi territory in order to maintain peace with Native Americans tribes, such as the Choctaw.

Settlers seeking good farming land made their way west regardless of George III, and this accelerated with the American Revolution.

In 1779, the Spanish, sympathetic to the American cause, declared war on Britain and captured Natchez. And in 1791, Fort Nogales was built near what is now Vicksburg to counter American expansion in the region. However, in 1795, Spain relinquished control of territory north of the 31st parallel to the United States. In 1798, Spain evacuated Natchez.

The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 secured Mississippi’s western border.  The southern coast of Mississippi, however, remained under Spanish control until 1812.

As happened elsewhere, Native Americans were bribed and pressured to yield control of their land. For instance, in 1801, the Choctaw ceded over two million acres; and in 1805, they relinquished another four million acres...

Mississippi joined the Union as the twentieth state in 1817.

In the period following, most Native Americans were removed from the state and relocated to the west.

Mississippi, a cotton-growing slave state, was among the  first to join the Confederacy in 1861. Abraham Lincoln had not even been on the ballot in Mississippi in the election of 1860. Around 80,000 Mississippians would serve in Confederate gray during the war. Over 17,000 freed slaves from Mississippi would eventually serve in Union blue.

After the Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, Grant’s Army of Tennessee advanced south into Mississippi.  The Battle of Iuka was fought in Mississippi September 19–20, 1862. An unusual “acoustic shadow” prevented Grant from hearing about the battle being fought by Rosecrans against Price. An opportunity for a decisive Union victor was thereby squandered.

On May 30, 1862, Major General Henry Halleck captured Corinth after a month-long siege. Corinth would become a major Union supply base from which the struggle for Vicksburg was launched.
On October 3–4, 1862, the Confederates struck back in Mississippi at the bloody Second Battle of Corinth. Union Major General Rosecrans fought Van Dorn with evenly matched forces, and around 5,000 men were killed, with both sides suffering similar losses.  The Confederates withdrew.

Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant identified the critical nature of the fortress city of Vicksburg in his memoirs:

"Vicksburg is important to the enemy because it occupied the first high ground coming close to the river below Memphis. From there a railroad runs east, connecting with other roads leading to all points of the Southern States. A railroad also starts from the opposite side of the river, extending west as far as Shreveport, Louisiana. Vicksburg was the only channel ... connecting the parts of the Confederacy divided by the Mississippi. So long as it was held by the enemy, the free navigation of the river was prevented."

Admiral Farragut
NY, NY
Vicksburg, therefore, became a major strategic target for Union forces. David Farragut, the Union admiral from Virginia, had been the first to attempt to storm “the Confederate Gibraltar” in June of 1862. Farragut even tried to build a canal in the river bend south of Vicksburg to avoid having Union ships shelled from the blu -top batteries. Farragut’s fleet passed by under the guns of Vicksburg on June 28 with minimal damage, but the admiral recognized that the Union could not hope to capture it without ground troops.

In the fall of 1862, Ulysses S. Grant with the Army of Tennessee and Admiral Porter of the Union Navy mounted a combined-arms siege of Vicksburg.  e city was defended by 40,000 troops of the Army of Mississippi, commanded by John Pemberton.  e Confederate Cavalry general, Nathan Bedford Forrest, would attempt to interdict Grant’s long line of supply back to Kentucky. General Sherman also skirmished with Confederate forces at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou about six miles from Vicksburg in late December of 1862. Admiral Porter’s  fleet engaged Confederate shore defenses on April 29, 1863, in the Battle of Grand Gulf.  The Union fleet ferried Grant’s Army safely across the Mississippi.

Siege of Vicksburg
Mississippi

The siege of Vicksburg intensified from the spring of 1863 into the summer. On May 16, Grant won the Battle of Champion Hill, forcing the Confederate forces back into the rapidly closing trap of Vicksburg. On July 4, Pemberton  finally surrendered a Confederate Army of nearly 30,000 men in Vicksburg.  e Confederacy has effectively been cut in two along the line of the Mississippi River.

Lincoln Statue
Spokane, WA
Lincoln exulted, “ The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea.”

Jackson, the state capital, fell to Union forces. Natchez was also occupied in 1863...

America’s bloodiest war  finally ended in April of 1865 with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Mississippi was divided. One senator voted in support of Wilson’s declaration of war while one opposed it. Desertion rates in the state ran at 12 percent, and two deserters were killed in Tippah County.

On May 12, 1942, U-507 sank the SS Virginian at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Many German submarines operated in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942 and 1943. A number of airfields were built in the state in order to enable the US Army Air Force to  fly air combat patrols in the nearby gulf.


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Friday, September 15, 2017

Invading Kentucky: Boone, Bourbon and Brown Hotel

Bourbon Cart
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Frankfort, KY
In the Kentucky chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil (www.americainvaded.comwe noted...

Louisville, KY
"Kentucky is perhaps better known for horse racing and bourbon, but it has seen its share of invasions and fighting over the years.

The first humans in Kentucky arrived many thousands of years ago.

The Mississippian culture built mounds at numerous Kentucky locations, including Wickliffe Mounds.

Kentucky’s rugged Appalachian Mountains and the absence of a coastline made it more difficult for Europeans to reach initially.  The Shawnee and Cherokee were significant tribal units in the area, which was known to them as Kantucqui.

Robert de La Salle, the French explorer, seems to have been the  first European to visit Kentucky. His expeditions in 1669 and 1670 passed through Kentucky territory, claiming the area on behalf of Louis XIV.  The Joliet-Marquette expedition seems to have voyaged through Kentucky in 1673.
Other explorers would follow. For instance, in 1693, the governor of New York sent Arnout Viele, a Dutchman, to explore the Kentucky frontier and engage with the Indian tribes...

Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone, a founding hero of Kentucky, was born in 1734 in Pennsylvania. Boone  first explored Kentucky in 1769, and he founded Boonesborough in 1775.  The frontiersman was captured by Shawnee, but managed to escape. Boone served in the Kentucky militia during the American Revolution, leading the Patriot forces at the Siege of Boonesborough in September of 1778. Squire Boone Jr., Daniel’s brother, was wounded in the shoulder during the siege.  The British-supported Shawnees assaulted Boonesborough on September 17, but were repelled after suffering heavy losses (thirty-seven were killed during the siege). Boone would later move to Missouri, where he died in 1820.

British Captain Henry Bird led an invading force into Kentucky that was composed of about a thousand Native American warriors and around 150 English regulars and Loyalist militia, in June of 1780. Bird’s force captured around three hundred American settlers at engagements such as Ruddle’s station before withdrawing back over the Ohio River...

Even after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781, resistance to the Patriot cause continued in Kentucky. On August 19, 1782, the Shawnees managed to ambush a Patriot force at the Battle of Blue Licks. Daniel Boone had tried to sound a warning, but was disregarded. Seventy-two Kentucky militiamen were killed in one of the final British victories in the American Revolution.

Kentucky became the fifteenth state to join the Union in 1792...

Alamo Memorial
San Antonio, TX
In 1836, many sharpshooting Kentuckians would fight and die at the Alamo in the Texas Revolution. James L. Allen of Kentucky fought at the Alamo, but lived. He was the last courier to flee the Alamo on March 5, 1836—one day prior to Santa Anna’s final assault.

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky
In 1808, Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederate States, was born in Fairview, Kentucky. In 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
Bloody Monday occurred in 1855, as supporters of the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party attacked immigrant neighborhoods.

Kentucky was a border state in the US Civil War, with many sympathizers for both the North and South. Initially, Kentucky declared its neutrality in the coming war. Though it was a slave state, it did not secede from the Union. Ultimately, though, Kentuckians fought on both sides.  The First Kentucky, or Orphan, Brigade fought on the Confederate side at the Battle of Shiloh and elsewhere.  The Union’s 10th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, on the other hand, skirmished near Florence, Kentucky, and helped defend Cincinnati from rebel raiders.

Ulysses S. Grant
Confederate Major General Leonidas Polk violated Kentucky’s neutrality by ordering the occupation of Columbus in September 1861. Ulysses S. Grant responded by launching a Union invasion of Kentucky, seizing Paducah in one of his first actions of the war. In his memoirs he wrote, “I never after saw such consternation depicted on the faces of the people. Men, women and children came out of their doors looking pale and frightened at the presence of the invader.  They were expecting rebel troops that day.”

The  first major Union victory of the war was fought and won in Kentucky at the Battle of Mill Springs on January 19, 1862.

In the summer of 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg launched a full-scale invasion of Kentucky. Don Carlos Buell, a cautious Ohioan, led the Army of Ohio against Bragg’s Army of Mississippi.  They met for the decisive battle of the Kentucky campaign on October 8, 1862, at Perryville in Boyle County. Bragg inflicted more casualties (about 4,200 versus around 3,400), but he withdrew from the  eld and the state. Buell, slow to pursue, would be relieved of his command after scoring his victory.  e Union controlled Kentucky for the war’s duration, but further clashes would follow. Morgan’s thousand-mile raid passed through Kentucky on its way from Tennessee to Ohio in the summer of 1863. In September 1863, the Battle of Cumberland Gap was a bloodless victory for Union forces. And a number of other Confederate raids targeted Kentucky in 1864.


Goldfinger plots an "Invasion" of Fort Knox

Fortifications were constructed near the present site of Fort Knox beginning in 1861, during the Civil War. Fort Knox continues to be an active duty Army base and the United States Bullion Depository, storing much of America’s gold reserve. Auric Goldfinger and Pussy Galore would attempt to launch a fictional invasion of Fort Knox in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.

In 1917, Camp Taylor was opened as a training facility in Kentucky during World War I. Over 80,000 Kentuckians would serve in the military during the Great War.
US Army Jeep
Patton Museum, Fort Knox, KY
Admiral Husband Kimmel of Kentucky was commander in chief of the US Navy in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Over 300,000 Kentuckians served in the Second World War, and more than 100,000 jeeps were built at the Ford plant in Louisville.

Axis forces did not, of course, invade Kentucky during World War II, but thousands of Axis prisoners were held as POWs in the state at Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, and other locations. In February of 1945, a German paratrooper escaped from Fort Knox and made it all the way to Nashville via bus before turning himself in to authorities.

Currahee Military Museum
Tocoa, GA
Fort Campbell, built in 1941, is the home of the 101st Airborne Division, known as the Screaming Eagles."

Source: America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil, Kelly / Laycock, 2017 www.americainvaded.com
Hot Brown Invaded!
Travel Notes: On my recent "Invasion" of Kentucky we visited the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort (http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/) and the Patton Museum in Fort Knox (http://www.generalpatton.org/).  We had a delightful dinner at Vincenzo's in Louisville (www.vincenzositalianrestaurant.com) and stayed at the incomparable Brown Hotel where the "Hot Brown" was invented (http://www.brownhotel.com/).



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Monday, September 11, 2017

Invading Virginia

America Invaded Van
Norfolk VA
At the open of the Virginia chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil we noted...

"Virginia is a state with a proud military tradition and an enduring military presence. From its founding, the Commonwealth was pretty much baptized in the blood of multiple invasions."

We also discussed the leadership of Virginia's George Washington in the American Revolution...

George Washington
Boston Common
"On February 22, 1732, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County. He was an excellent horseman who surveyed land throughout the colony and on the western frontier. During the Seven Year’s War, he would rise to become a colonel of the Virginia Regiment, fighting in numerous engagements, although he was disappointed not to receive a commission in the British Army. In 1754, he inherited Mount Vernon from his older half-brother Lawrence, who had served under Admiral Edward Vernon at the 1741 assault on Cartagena during the War of Jenkins’ Ear.  e Second Continental Congress selected Washington to be commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775.
George Washington bust
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, PA

Washington was an imperfect military commander—he lost more battles than he won. He was, however, a tremendous motivator of men, who endured their hardships while on campaign at Valley Forge and elsewhere. He was a paragon of integrity. Moreover, he won the really important battles of the war. Washington became the “indispensable man” of the American Revolution.

The colony of Virginia was by far the richest and most populous of any of the thirteen colonies at the start of the American Revolution."  This made Virginia a key target for the British during the American Revolution.

St. Paul's Church
Norfolk, VA

On January 1, 1776 the Royal Navy bombarded the town of Norfolk.  A cannonball, perhaps fired by the HMS Liverpool, struck a church.

British Cannonball
Fired by Lord Dunmore
Jan 1, 1776

A visitor to Norfolk today will find this same cannonball embedded in a corner of St' Paul's Episcopal church in downtown Norfolk.   One does not have to venture far for proof that Virginia was fought over many times.

Virginia would see fighting in the War of 1812 as well...

"The War of 1812 was initiated by Virginian James Madison. During this war, the British imposed a naval blockade on Virginia ports and attacked many American vessels.  The Chesapeake Bay was a vital strategic area. British landing parties also launched a large number of raids on Virginia territory. Some of these resulted in serious fighting. In June 1813, thousands of British troops attacked Craney Island with the intention of seizing Norfolk, but they were repulsed. A few days later, they seized Hampton and sacked it, but eventually withdrew, having suffered significant casualties. In April 1814, they seized and occupied Tangier Island. And then in August, a British fleet captured and plundered Alexandria."

During the US Civil War Virginia again became a major battleground.  Two battles were fought at Bull Run or Manassas.  The bloodiest war in American history was concluded at Appomatox Courthouse.

Douglas MacArthur
Norfolk, VA
Douglas MacArthur is buried in him mother's home town of Norfolk, Virginia.  His Memorial rotunda is a short distance from St. Paul's church.


Finally, the USS Wisconsin (BB-64), an Iowa class battleship, is a popular tourist attraction in Norfolk (https://nauticus.org/battleship-wisconsin/).  She is a sister ship to the USS Missouri on which MacArthur signed the documents ending World War II in Tokyo harbor on September 2, 1945.



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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Battle of Brandywine



9/11 is overwhelmingly remembered by Americans for that tragic day in 2001 when Al Qaeda hijackers transformed commercial airliners into weapons and attacked the Twin Towers and Washington DC.

Brandywine Battlefield
Chadd's Ford, PA 

But 9/11 was a fateful day in American history long before the 21st Century.  On September 11, 1777 the Battle of Brandywine Creek near Philadelphia was fought.   11,000 soldiers of the Continental Army led by George Washington were defeated by about 18,000 Redcoats and German troops led by Lord Howe.
Continental & Redcoat
Brandywine Battlefield Museum
In the Pennsylvania chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil (www.americainvaded.comwe noted...

"Pennsylvania was, of course, to play a central role in the American Revolution, including hosting the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, in 1776. Later that
year, it saw Washington launch his famous Crossing of the Delaware to surprise Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey. It was also the site of the hugely significant Philadelphia Campaign. A British landing in Chesapeake Bay led to Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Brandywine Creek on September 11, 1777, and the British capture of Philadelphia, seat of the Continental Congress and capital of the Revolution. Another British victory at the Battle of Germantown in October left Philadelphia in British hands and Washington’s forces wintering at Valley Forge. In 1778, though, as the French more determinedly entered the war, the British forces in Philadelphia were forced to withdraw to defend New York City."

Today a visitor to the beautiful rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania will find the Brandywine Battlefield Historic site (http://brandywinebattlefield.org/) just off of old highway 1.

Washington's HQ
Benjamin Ring House
In the 18th Century this part of Pennsylvania was home to many Quaker families.  The battle was principally fought on the land belonging to the Gilpin and Ring families.  Benjamin Ring was a fighting Quaker who supported the patriot cause and lent his own farmhouse out to George Washington who used it as his headquarters.

Gilpin Farm and Brandywine Sycamore
Gideon Gilpin was a Quaker farmer and a pacifist who opposed the war.  He lost 10 "milch" cows, 48 sheep and 28 pigs on account of the fighting and looting that took place on his property.  As a result of the damage done to his farm he was unable to continue farming and turned his Home into a Tavern which operated until 1789.

Many of the Pennsylvania residents of the area were Quakers with Tory sympathies.  Some still blame these Quaker locals for having betrayed Washington's army at the Battle of Brandywine by supplying local intelligence to the British.
Marquis de Lafayette
1757 - 1834
Washington's French aide de camp, the Marquis de Lafayette, was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Brandywine.  His leg was attended to by surgeons under the Sycamore tree (now over 400 years old) which still stands by the Gilpin farm.  This ancient Sycamore has been painted by Andrew Wyeth among many others.   Lafayette, on his 1825 return to the United States, re-visited the Gilpin farm.

George Washington
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia
As a direct result of the Battle of Brandywine (and another British victory at Germantown on October 4), the Continental capital was occupied by the British. Washington and his men were compelled to spend the winter of 1777 in the frigid camp at Valley Forge.

In the Virginia chapter of America Invaded (www.americainvaded.com) we noted...

"Washington was an imperfect military commander—he lost more battles than he won. He was, however, a tremendous motivator of men, who endured their hardships while on campaign at Valley Forge and elsewhere. He was a paragon of integrity. Moreover, he won the really important battles of the war. Washington became the “indispensable man” of the American Revolution."

Revolutionary Ales
Yards Brewing Co, Philadelphia, PA
The Battle of Brandywine reminds us that the goal of American Independence was not achieved easily or without cost (See also...www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4122629330054677829#editor/target=post;postID=2772337472807857904;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=link).

The author as Redcoat
Brandywine Battelfield Museum
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The author as Patriot
Brandywine Battlefield Museum
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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Museum of the American Revolution



The brand new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia (www.amrevmuseum.org) is a treasure for Americans and all those with an interest in exploring American history.  This incredible Museum opened in April of 2017 after having been built for around $150 million.

George Washington's tent
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, PA
The centerpiece of the museum is George Washington's tent.  The "indispensable man" of the American Revolution used this tent on the long campaigns that stretched from 1776 to 1783.  Washington deliberated inside this tent with Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette.  For a while the tent belonged to Robert E. Lee of Virginia and his descendants.

Dorchester Heights
Boston, MA
The museum is filled with multi-media and interactive displays.  Visitors are invited to touch an 18th century cannon and to imagine the difficulty faced by Henry Knox and his men who dragged over 100 cannon from Fort Ticonderoga to Dorchester Heights in 1776 forcing the British from Boston.

George III
Museum of the American Revolution
In America Invaded (www.americainvaded.com) we noted...

 "In one of the most remarkable feats of the American Revolution, these cannon had been dragged by men and oxen about three hundred and fifty miles from Fort Ticonderoga in New York under the leadership of Henry Knox, a Boston bookseller. Dorchester Heights then and now has a commanding view of Boston Harbor, and the Patriot guns directly threatened ships of the Royal Navy.  This was a hugely significant early victory for the revolutionary forces, and Evacuation Day is celebrated every March 17 in Suffolk County."

William Burke, Redcoat
Museum of the American Revolution
The museum attempts to be even-handed in its treatment of Patriots,  Tories and Native Americans.  We often tend to forget that those who remained Loyal to the crown (such as William Franklin, Ben's son and the Tory Governor of New Jersey) were every bit as American as those who rebelled against King George III.  We forget that much of the American Revolution was a bloody civil war.

Patriot Soldier
Museum of the American Revolution
This museum also takes note of the complex role played by native Americans and African Americans. In America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil  (www.americainvaded.com) we wrote...

Site of the Boston Massacre
"Crispus Attucks, of African and Wampanoag heritage, is widely acknowledged as the  first casualty of the American Revolution when he was killed in the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. Nearly 5 percent of Patriot soldiers who served during the American Revolution were of African heritage. While numerous tribes fought for the Loyalist cause, many Native Americans, and notably those of the Stockbridge, Oneida, and Tuscarora tribes, joined the Patriot ranks."

Paul Revere print of the Boston Massacre
Museum of the American Revolution
The museum also highlights the propaganda that was employed by both sides in the American Revolution.  A famous Paul Revere print depicting the Boston Massacre has numerous historical inaccuracies in its portrayal of the British soldiers that fired on a crowd in 1770.

George Washington Bust
Museum of the American Revolution

Most importantly this museum reminds us that the American Revolution stands apart from other all other revolutions in world history.  The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution were violent convulsions whose significance is now purely historical.  They would lead directly to the even bloodier convulsions of the Napoleonic Wars, Stalin's purges and the Soviet invasions of Poland (1939), Finland (1940) and Afghanistan (1979).  The Reign of Terror and the depradations of Lenin and Stalin belong now, we sincerely hope, to the dustbin of history.  The violence of the American Revolution ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. But the legacy of the American Revolution is directly relevant to the future and germane for ALL countries.  All Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, are heirs to this revolution which promises a path for all individuals to pursue their happiness with utmost liberty unfettered by a tyrannical central government.  There is a direct causal link between Captain Parker of Lexington and Todd Beamer of Flight 93 (http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2017/09/flight-93-memorial.html).

"Join or Die"
Washington Tavern Porter by Yards Brewing, Philadelphia, PA
We Americans are all Revolutionaries!





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