Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Taste of America Invaded

Thanks very much to Military History Now for offering a taste of our new book -- America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil...

In America Invades (2014, Kelly and Laycock wrote about American military involvement around the globe devoting a chapter to every country in the world.  The one country they left out was the United States of America.  With their new sequel, America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil ( they turned this approach on its head.  Their new book features conflicts with indigenous people, the American Revolution, the Civil War, Axis submarines off the American coastline in World War II and even the terrorist attacks of the 21st Century.  America Invaded explains how invasions and fighting in all fifty states helped shape them with repercussions that are with us today.

Soldier Fort Ticonderoga, NY

I) New York
New York was, of course, invaded by the Dutch.  Their invasion had a more commercial character as Manhattan was purchased for 60 guilders from the Canarsee tribe – though it was mainly inhabited by the Weckquaesgeeks.   In 1777 “Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne” led one of the most dangerous invasions of New York form Canada.  He seized Fort Ticonderoga but was defeated in the Battles of Saratoga.  The surrender of his army led directly to French intervention on the Patriot side in the American Revolution.  Nazi U-boats used the brightly illuminated skyline of Manhattan to sink many ships in the early days of World War II.

Robert E. Lee
Invaded Pennsylvania
II) Pennsylvania
The Keystone state has been subject to many invasions.  The Swedish set up a colony (new Sweden) establishing a Fort on Tinicum Island in 1643.  The British arrived not long after.  The French launched invading expeditions into Pennsylvania in the Seven Years War .  The British seized Philadelphia during the American Revolution.  Robert E. Lee led an invasion of Pennsylvania with 75,000 Confederate soldiers that culminated with the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.  The airspace over Pennsylvania was, in a sense, “invaded” by Al Qaeda terrorists on 9/11 when United Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, PA.

Andrew Jackson
Jackson Square, New Orleans
III) Louisiana
Many waves of invasion have swept across Louisiana.  Hernando de Soto, the Spanish Conquistador, explored the Mississippi River in 1541 and died, possibly in Louisiana in 1542.  The Spanish were followed by the French who named the area Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV – the Sun King.  Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803.  During the War of 1812 the British launched a determined invasion of Louisiana that sought to capture the commercial entrepĂ´t of New Orleans.  Andrew Jackson won a decisive victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815 with a force that included Baratarian pirates and Jean Laffite.  In April of 1862 David Farragut captured New Orleans with Union Naval forces during the US Civil War.

IV) Indiana
The Hoosier state derives its name from being a Land of Indians.  French explorer Robert de La Salle arrived in the area now known as South Bend in 1679.  American settlers clashed with native Americans repeatedly in the frontier area of Indiana.  Governor William Henry Harrison led American forces in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 near an area that is now known as Battleground.  Morgan’s Raid swept through Indiana in 1863 during the US Civil War.

Mitchell Monument
6 Americans died here near Bly, Oregon
Killed by a Japanese Fu-Go Bomb
V) Oregon
Spanish ships were the first Europeans to explore the Oregon coast in the 16th century. Captain Robert Gray of Rhode Island and the US Navy arrived off the Columbia River in 1792.  Captains Lewis and Clark constructed Fort Clatsop near the Oregon coast in 1805.  During the War of 1812 the HMS Racoon cruised along the Oregon coast and Fort Astoria was briefly re-christened Fort George.  But it was the American invasion of the Oregon territory that would endure.  Various conflicts between American settlers and native Americans flared up in Oregon in conflicts such as the Rogue River War of 1855-56.  Fort Stevens was built in 1863 to prevent an “invasion” by Confederate raiders.  On June 21, 1942 Fort Stevens was shelled by the deck gun of a Japanese submarine.  No one was killed or injured.  A Japanese seaplane bombed the forests of  Oregon near Brookings that same year.  In 1945 a Japanese Fu-Go balloon bomb detonated in a forest near Bly Oregon killing a woman and five children – the only fatalities caused by the thousands of bombs that were launched.

VI) Alaska
Between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago humans first crossed the Bering Sea into the area now known as Alaska.  Captain Cook explored Alaskan waters in 1778.  The Russians invaded and colonized Alaska before selling the territory to the United States in 1867.  In June of 1942 Japanese planes bombed Dutch Harbor  and Japanese troops invaded Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.  In May of 1943 American forces invaded and liberated Attu.  Kiska was booby-trapped and abandoned by its Japanese occupiers in 1943.

Plaque marking the site of
Captain Cook's home in London
VII) Hawaii
Polynesian people first arrived in Hawaii around 1,500 years ago.  Captain Cook of the Royal Navy was killed by Native Hawaiians on his second visit to the islands in 1779.  The French, British and Russians sent warships to Hawaii.  American missionaries began arriving in the islands in 1819.  In 1893 an American coup made the islands American.  On December 7, 1941 warplanes of the Imperial Japanese navy attacked ships of the US Navy at Pearl Harbor forcing America into World War II.

Signed copies of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil are available

Regular copies may be purchased from

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