Jul 182016
 

Since our last update in February a number of important actions have taken place which have expanded our documentation and research and moved us closer to achieving our goals.  These steps highlight cooperation between PBPF and government historic preservation agencies on the County, State and Federal levels.    And they all hinge on the research that has been developed since the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park was established.  Please check our site regularly as we will keep this page updated on our latest status.

Update 6 – July 2016

In March we submitted a 27 page draft Statement of Significance to the NHL staff in Washington providing voluminous documentation and analysis supporting the unique importance of the Paoli Massacre.  To achieve NHL status a site has to have a national level of significance of “exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.”  We have received verbal notification that our documentation supports being considered for NHL status and we need not to submit further documentation.

Our next task is to edit our draft statement into a very focused statement of significance for consideration by upcoming NHL review boards comprised of outside experts (noted historians and other subject matter experts).  The NHL process calls for two separate Outside Expert review boards.  This is a time-consuming process and our 2-year American Battlefields Protection Program (ABPP) grant officially ends on August 1, 2016.  We therefore requested that our grant period be extended for one year.  ABPP approved the time extension but it does not include any increase in the dollar amount of the grant.  We will continue to wisely manage our expenditures.

What is the exceptional national significance of the Paoli Battlefield Site and Parade Grounds?  British atrocities outraged our young nation’s soldiers and citizens, resulting in the battle being called the Paoli Massacre and creating America’s first battle cry, Remember Paoli.  It started as a call for revenge (acted on during the Battle of Germantown).  But it gained an additional dimension as the Continental Army became a trained fighting force at Valley Forge and Washington successfully attacked the British at Monmouth NJ as they withdrew from Philadelphia.  Remember Paoli became a rallying cry stating that Americans might suffer setbacks but they would persevere and overcome.  The fledgling nation was trying to understand what made it different from their colonial masters.  Our nation was forged in the crucible of war and Remember Paoli served as a catalyst to describe the American warrior, touching deep-seated ideals, shared values and patterns that had defined our national identity along military traditions since the arrival of the earliest settlers. Remember Paoli became a symbol of British barbarity and American resilience.

But one more battle would thrust the Paoli Massacre and its battle cry into our emerging national identity.  A year after the Battle of Monmouth, America’s own Light Infantry unit, under its commander General Anthony Wayne, attacked a strongly defended artillery fort high above the Hudson River at Stony Point.  It was a surprise midnight raid fought with bayonets and no flints in their muskets.  They captured the fort, its cannons and nearly 600 British officers and troops.  Remember Paoli played a passionate role as both a password and an incentive.  There was one major difference from British Major General Charles “No flint” Grey’s attack: no atrocities were committed.  Wayne, though wounded himself in the attack, had given orders to ensure all captured British were treated humanely as lawful prisoners of war.  Wayne had shown foresight and mercy when he could have let his men pursue the enemy to death.  As Benjamin Rush (Founding Father, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Surgeon General of the Continental Army) said to Anthony Wayne:

You have established the national character of our country.  You have taught our enemies that bravery, humanity and magnanimity are the virtues of the Americans.

Remember Paoli became part of our national memory both during the Revolutionary War and far after it ended.  It revealed our character as having the values of Perseverance, Resilience, and Righteousness.  In the 150 years following the battle, the Paoli Massacre and Remember Paoli were as well-known in the U.S. as Remember the Alamo is now.  They became part of the national lexicon and often cited by politicians, newspapers, veterans and patriotic groups throughout the years and all across the continental United States.  It faded from memory in the last century but also became the uniquely American template for future battle cries from the War of 1812 (Remember the Raison), Texas Independence (Remember the Alamo), the Spanish-American War (Remember the Maine), World War One (Remember the Lusitania), World War Two (Remember Pearl Harbor) and the War on Terror (Remember 9-11).

Amending the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)  in our in-depth research and documentation on the Battle of Paoli and Memorial Grounds, we verified that both the military battle and it’s commemorative aftermath had many more unique features and factors than were recorded in the initial application approved in 1997.  That application was also approved at only a local level of significance and not a state or national level.  This was done for expediency as the 40 acres was up for sale and delay over the level of significance would have been counterproductive.  Now we also realized that if we establish national significance in these other areas it would enhance our chances to become an NHL.  Therefore, we decided to amend the current National Register of Historic Places information.  The National Register is official record of the any historic site in the nation.  Documentation submitted through the ABPP or the NHL augments but does not update the official record.

One other thing we realized (in conjunction with our Chester County Planning Commission partner and the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission’s Historic Preservation Office: PHMC-HPO) is that the entire Philadelphia Campaign of 1777-1778 had not been identified as a nationally significant event, even though many places involved in that Campaign (Brandywine, Germantown, Valley Forges, etc.) are NHL’s.  There is a specific process in the National Park Service to create a geographically large historical area, called a thematic or historical context area.  It would be advantageous for our research and amendment to our NRHP record to establish the Philadelphia Campaign’s national significance.  This task would normally be the subject of a separate and time-consuming grant request but funding is limited.  We went back to the ABPP and got their enthusiastic approval to expand our research and reporting.  All NRHP applications and amendments must first gain state approval so PHMC assigned one of its 3 reviewers to help expedite our amendment request including our Philadelphia Campaign segment.

Our current timeline should allow PHMC review and recommendation in time for the next NHL Review Board.  This would finally remove the “local significance” stigma as well as confirm the national level of significance in several categories.  We are on-track with our NRHP documentation and, using the same editorial techniques being used to perfect our NHL submission, we should have professional level submissions within our projected time frames.

 

Donations and Sponsorships for Matching Funds ARE NEEDED!

Help us in this once in a lifetime opportunity!!

We are a registered 501C(3) and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. To make a donation, click on the link on the top right part of the screen under Please Donate.

PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit are being set up to develop extra-curriculum programs in K-12 schools to participate in living history, field visits and participation in preservation and research activities related to the Battle of Paoli, the Revolutionary War, Veterans and our national heritage.

Businesses are encouraged to contact PBPF – Contributions to this program can be used as tax credits rather than just charitable donations.

 

archives

Update 1 – March 2015

Update 2 – May 2015

Update 3 – August 2015

Update 4 – December 2015

Update 5 – February 2016

 Posted by at 10:12 am
Aug 192015
 

header5-nosidebar

 

We have made progress since announcing that we had received a grant from the ABPP (American Battlefield Protection Program) in 2014 with the goal of become one of only 2500 sites nationally that bear the destination of National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.   Please check our site regularly as we will keep this page updated on our latest status.

Update 3 – August 2015

The National Historic Landmark department responded to our Letter of Inquiry in July.  The reply was positive and very helpful.  A NHL Historian has been assigned to us as our reviewer and, through our discussions with her we are able to narrow the focus of our application to primarily one of NHL criterion (you only need to establish unique national significance in one of the six criterion’s that are used to select an NHL).  In addition, NHL provided some very interesting suggestions on how to enrich our application utilizing aspects of American folklore and national memory.  This works well with our current research which has uncovered references to the Battle of Paoli and the battle cry “Remember Paoli” throughout the next 150 years, especially during times of conflict such as the War of 1812, the Mexican American War, the Civil War, WWI & II.

We also found out that the NHL must necessarily start with information that is currently in the official Department of the Interior records on the Battle of Paoli which is from the Battle of Paoli application to the National Register of Historic Places (NHR) approved in 1996.  This application was submitted when 43 acres of land was threatened by development and securing federal recognition was extremely important to try to preserve the site.  The application took the path of least resistance and fastest approval from both the Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission (PHMC) review staff as well as the National Park Service.  It established the site as a Revolutionary War battlefield and did not pursue the documentation to raise the level of importance from local significance to either state-wide or national significance.  Over the years, the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund and the County of Chester have developed documentation through historical research and archaeological studies that support the higher level of significance.  However despite the research, some of it published in recognized historical texts, nothing was submitted to the NHR through its process.Paoli Battlefield Photos

Therefore, PBPF plans to utilize the documentation (developed and being researched) to update both the NHL submission and to amend the current NHR official information.  While we have given NHL verbal and written summaries of our findings, in order to adhere to the timeline under our American Battlefields Protection Program grant, we will be providing an in-depth report to them in September.  This report will include a clearer thematic context in which the Battle has uniquely impacted the American consciousness as well as its strategic significance in the Revolutionary War.  It will also provide the historical and archaeological references that support that context.  This information will also be provided to PHMC reviewers in a format to amend to the current NHR listing.

NHL will review our submission starting in October.  At the same time, we will be identifying further historical and perhaps archaeological evidence to strengthen our submission as it continues through this rigorous review process.  PBPF would like to thank the National Park Service for their assistance and guidance so we can present the strongest case possible in our application.

We will be providing our supporters with more specific details, historic references and information on the contexts and themes we are developing through this website and our social media.

 

Donations and Sponsorships for Matching Funds ARE NEEDED!

Help us in this once in a lifetime opportunity!!

We are a registered 501C(3) and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. To make a donation, click on the link on the top right part of the screen under Please Donate.

PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit are being set up to develop extra-curriculum programs in K-12 schools to participate in living history, field visits and participation in preservation and research activities related to the Battle of Paoli, the Revolutionary War, Veterans and our national heritage.

Businesses are encouraged to contact PBPF – Contributions to this program can be used as tax credits rather than just charitable donations.

 

 

archives

 

Update 1 – March 2015

 

Update 2 – May 2015

 

 Posted by at 1:52 pm
May 182015
 

header5-nosidebar

We have made progress since announcing that we had received a grant from the ABPP (American Battlefield Protection Program) in 2014 with the goal of become one of only 2500 sites nationally that bear the destination of National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.   Please check our site regularly as we will keep this page updated on our latest status.

Update 2 – May 2015 

We have completed and sent to the National Park Service our Letter of Inquiry notifying them of all of criteria we believe would make the Paoli Battlefield a National Historic Landmark.  We now await an answer from the National Park Service as to whether we can continue with our goal of becoming one of the few National Historic Landmarks in this country, or, if we don’t met their threshold, of updating our data on our National List of Historic Places registry.  We expect to hear back from them sometime this summer.

We also held our first public meeting about National Historic Landmark status at Malvern Borough building on Wednesday, April 28th, 2015.  and answered a lot of questions from the public.  We were very encouraged by the show of support from the public of our efforts so far and of the overall process from our distinguished project team. (see photo)

NHL meeting

Pictured Left to Right – Sean Moir, Dr. Robert Selig, Karen Marshall, Thomas McGuire, Wade Catts, and Bruce Knapp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now doing some additional research so we can get the ball rolling once we get an answer back from the National Park Service.  As always, we need volunteers like you to help our organization, The Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund.  Please click on the Volunteer button on the right hand side of the screen to volunteer your time to help us.

Please remember that we still need your help to fund supporting activities that will make are nomination more successful to the Interior Department.

Donations and Sponsorships for Matching Funds ARE NEEDED!

Help us in this once in a lifetime opportunity!!

We are a registered 501C(3) and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. To make a donation, click on the link on the top right part of the screen under Please Donate.

PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit are being set up to develop extra-curriculum programs in K-12 schools to participate in living history, field visits and participation in preservation and research activities related to the Battle of Paoli, the Revolutionary War, Veterans and our national heritage.

Businesses are encouraged to contact PBPF – Contributions to this program can be used as tax credits rather than just charitable donations.

archives

Update 1 – March  2015

Jan 042015
 

We have made progress since announcing that we had received a grant from the ABPP (American Battlefield Protection Program) in 2014 with the goal of become one of only 2500 sites nationally that bear the destination of National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.   Please check our site regularly as we will keep this page updated on our latest status.

Update 5 – February 2016

In its quest to become a National Historic Landmark, the Revolutionary War’s Paoli Battlefield has reached a significant milestone – why it has an exceptional and unique significance to America.  For the National Park Service, just being a battle fought for our independence is not enough to receive the highest recognition that can be conveyed by the United States.

There are six potential Criteria and meeting more than one doesn’t automatically mean a higher chance of success.  The NHL program prefers to focus on a single Criteria to demonstrate the unique and time-proven characteristic that makes a site nationally significant.  This is a practical consideration as the process involves many reviews by Park Service professionals and two separate panels of noted historians.

This hasn’t been an easy task and, in fact, it took a while to understand that there were some hidden barriers to our efforts.

The first is that when the Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund and Chester County nominated the battlefield to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was put forward at the lowest level of significance – local significance.  Why was that done in 1996?  The 43 acre property was under a direct threat of being sold to developers and historian Tom McGuire had not yet published his ground-breaking book correcting years of myth and incomplete historical reporting.  The local level of significance was the quickest and easiest case to defend in the process.  It successfully placed it in the National Register.

The other barrier was the fact that the story of the battle and its importance in the development of American values had faded in the 20th Century.  Both passage of time and changing social studies interpretations has reduced public education and awareness of the Revolutionary War.

Bottom Line: we had to decide which aspect of the Battle of Paoli and its aftermath in the American experience most clearly represents its importance to the nation as a whole…and we had to provide detailed supporting documentation.  In other words, prove that its significance has jumped from a local to a national level and locate proof of its impact over the years following the actual battle.

We are fortunate that the research team we selected is more than qualified to take on this challenge.  John Milner Associates (a Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group company) Archaeologist/Military Historian Wade Catts and Robert A. Selig, PhD lead the team.  Wade has worked on a number of Philadelphia Campaign battlefield sites and brings a wealth of experience interpreting historical records and scientific data.  Dr. Selig is an incredible, multi-lingual  researcher and scholar.  Bob was the project director of the famed Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (W3R-NHT) that runs from Rhode Island to Yorktown.

So here is our focus for the National Historic Landmark nomination:

The Battle of Paoli was where British atrocities against captured and wounded American soldiers enraged both the Continental Army and citizens across the newly formed nation.  Remember Paoli! perhaps the nation’s first battle cry (research still in progress), rallied American soldiers in future battles.  And it was the password for Washington and Wayne’s mirror-image midnight, bayonets-only surprise raid that captured the British fort at Stony Point, high atop the palisades, and called the Gibralter of the Hudson River in 1779.

The “Paoli Massacre” marked a turning point in how Americans viewed the British forces.  It captured America’s growing hatred against their former colonial masters who now plundered and rampaged across three states, treating civilians as traitorous rebels. It galvanized American resistance to British rule.

The success of the storming of Stony Point energized American opinion and optimism in the same manner as Washington’s earlier successful crossing of the Delaware River and capturing Trenton.  It made Anthony Wayne and his newly formed Light Infantry (Special Forces) famous and the military operation was praised throughout the western world.

But most importantly this battle, using the same tactics of the Redcoats at Paoli, had one major difference: no atrocities were committed.  Despite suffering from a head wound that required him to be carried forward with his attacking men, Wayne ordered that all the captured soldiers and officers be treated with dignity and respect.

Congress saluted Anthony Wayne for his courage and his compassion, awarding him and his commanders with special congressional awards.  Americans and Europeans alike praised his actions and the beginning of an American ideal was formed: Americans can complete any mission – and do it righteously!

Bob Selig’s research covering the years 1777 to the 1920’s uncovered hundreds and hundreds of addresses in Congress, state assemblies, newspaper & magazine articles, speeches and prayers referring to the Battle of Paoli and Remember Paoli! These citations came from locations across the United States.  The broad usage and references undeniably shows that for well over 150 years, at any place in America, when someone said the name “Paoli” everyone knew what it meant.  They remembered the citizen-soldiers who died there, and knew that America will revenge wrongful actions while maintaining its own high ideals.

We will be refining our “statement of significance” for the National Historic Landmark and we are also preparing updates to the National Register including raising the level of significance in other Criteria, adding newly uncovered information and participating in some very exciting programs with the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission and fellow Rev War sites.  But more about that in future issues!

Look for more information on this in future issues and on our website.

Donations and Sponsorships for Matching Funds ARE NEEDED!

Help us in this once in a lifetime opportunity!!

We are a registered 501C(3) and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. To make a donation, click on the link on the top right part of the screen under Please Donate.

PA Educational Improvement Tax Credit are being set up to develop extra-curriculum programs in K-12 schools to participate in living history, field visits and participation in preservation and research activities related to the Battle of Paoli, the Revolutionary War, Veterans and our national heritage.

Businesses are encouraged to contact PBPF – Contributions to this program can be used as tax credits rather than just charitable donations.

archives

 

 

Update 1 – March 2015

Update 2 – May 2015

Update 3 – August 2015

Update 4 – December 2015