Jun 272016
 

What did the soldiers write about at Valley Forge?  Would you be surprised by a letter stating the huts were comfortable, or another that said that they have Milk and Sugar in plenty?  Soldiers shared their views through letters they wrote at this encampment and it shows Come and join us on Monday, May 8th as noted author and researcher Dr. Nancy K. Loane shares Soldiers Stories: Letters from the Valley Forge Encampment.

 

Our lectures have proved to be very popular and we strongly recommend that you book your seat now. 

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The all inclusive admission price is $49 per person which includes the 18th century American Fare Buffet, all soft beverages and coffee, family style sweets during the question and answer session, all tax and gratuities, the lecture, and a donation to help support the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park.

Your admission also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win a night’s stay at the General Warren Inne. There will be one winner drawn at each lecture.

Washington_and_Lafayette_at_Valley_Forge

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge

Letters written by the soldiers tell the story of Valley Forge like this one from Johann de Kalb to Comte de Broglie, Valley Forge, Christmas Day 1777 which says …it is very certain that half the army is almost naked, in a great measure bare-footed.” The army trudged into winter quarters at the “Forge in the Valley” less than a week before Christmas. The situation was grim: On 23 December Washington reported to Congress that his soldiers had to “…occupy a cold bleak hill and sleep under frost and Snow without Cloaths or Blankets…” The Continental Army struggled to get adequate clothing, shoes, blankets, food and supplies to the soldiers for the entire encampment period. Although the Connecticut troops were well supplied, the other states did not or could not send sufficient clothing for their men. Furthermore, the supply roads were treacherous, horses and wagons scarce, wagon drivers few. Clothing supplies were lost or stolen in transit. With inadequate clothing and shoes, the soldiers were unable to leave their huts to stand guard duty, go on foraging duty, or drill under Steuben. The clothing crisis ebbed in the spring with warmer weather, better roads, and a new quartermaster. But the “great deficiency of Blankets” continued through May.

 Dr. Nancy K. Loane, a former seasonal park ranger at Valley Forge National Historical Park, is a recognized authority on the women at the 1777-78 Valley Forge encampment. She is the author of several articles about the women at camp as well as the critically acclaimed book, Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment (Potomac Books, 2009). Described as “truly one of the great books on the Valley Forge encampment,” “not to be missed,” and “thoroughly researched and a compelling read,” Following the Drum received the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia’s “Best Book of the Year Award.”

An outstanding speaker, Nancy has presented more than 150 talks in eight states (including at the Library of Congress) on the women at the Valley Forge encampment, Martha Washington, and the Valley Forge encampment itself. Her fascinating, fun, fact-filled talks—all thoroughly grounded in primary research— bring history to life.

nancy k loane

Dr. Nancy K. Loane

Nancy Loane, who has participated in four archaeological digs at Valley Forge National Historical Park, is a board member of The Friends of Valley Forge Park, an honorary life-time member of the Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, and a founding member of the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia. A former Pennsylvania Commonwealth Speaker, she has appeared on several radio shows and on cable network shows, including C-Span and Pennsylvania Cable Network. Recently Nancy was featured on C-Span’s series on the first ladies, where she discussed Martha Washington’s role at Valley Forge.  Dr. Loane’s website is www.womenatvalleyforge.com.

Jul 232015
 

Did you know that there were numerous mutinies among the troops throughout the Revolutionary War.  Disaffection and lack of morale in an army was a greater danger than an armed enemy. You think you know all there is about the Pennsylvania Line mutiny? Did you know George Washington tried men in the French and Indian war for mutiny?

Join us on Monday, January 11th, 2016 as we welcome back John Nagy to talk about his book Rebellion in the Ranks Mutinies of the American Revolution.  This book won The American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia’s Book Award for the best book on the American Revolution Era published in 2007

Through incredible research, John Nagy reveals tragic but engrossing events of the frequent mutinies that threatened the cause for Independence during the entire war, actions that have been overlooked in the commonly related accounts of those critical years. In his book, he corrects many of the inaccuracies of these sad events and identifies insurrections that were previously unknown. His accounts of incredible courage, hardship and defeat are often drawn from the participants themselves, their daily suffering and the perspectives of the mutineers. This work is historically important and will open your eyes to the truth about the War as you have never heard it related.”

Our lectures have proved to be very popular and we strongly recommend that you book your seat now

Click here to go to the booking page.

The all inclusive admission price is $49 per person which includes the 18th century American Fare Buffet, all soft beverages and coffee, family style sweets during the question and answer session, all tax and gratuities, the lecture, and a donation to help support the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park.

Your admission also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win a night’s stay at the General Warren Inne. There will be one winner drawn at each lecture.

“It gives me great pain to be obliged to solicit the attention of the honorable Congress to the state of the army…the greater part of the army is in a state not far from mutiny…I know not to whom to impute this failure, but I am of the opinion, if the evil is not immediately remedied and more punctuality observed in future, the army must absolutely break up.”—George Washington, September 1775Nagy-150x150

Mutiny has always been a threat to the integrity of armies, particularly under trying circumstances, and since Concord and Lexington, mutiny had been the Continental Army’s constant traveling companion. It was not because the soldiers lacked resolve to overturn British rule or had a lack of faith in their commanders. It was the scarcity of food—during winter months it was not uncommon for soldiers to subsist on a soup of melted snow, a few peas, and a scrap of fat—money, clothing, and proper shelter, that forced soldiers to desert or organize resistance.

Mining previously ignored British and American primary source documents and reexamining other period writings, Nagy has corrected misconceptions about known events, such as the Pennsylvania Line Mutiny, while identifying for the first time previously unknown mutinies. Covering both the Army and the Navy, Nagy relates American officers’ constant struggle to keep up the morale of their troops, while highlighting British efforts to exploit this potentially fatal flaw.

John A. Nagy is a Scholar in Residence at Saint Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania, a consultant for Colonial Williamsburg and the William L. Clements Library of the University of Michigan on espionage, and an expert in antique documents. He is a founder and past President of the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia. He graduated from Saint Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania (BA) in 1968 and Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey (MMS) in 1979.  John is also a fellow at Colonial Williamsburg, and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

He was the source of information used in the very popular webpage “Spy Letters of the American Revolution from the Collections of the Clements Library” at the University of Michigan.

Brad Meltzer, author and host of History Channel’s Brad Meltzer’s Decoded said “John A. Nagy knows more about spies in the American Revolution than anyone in history.”

John was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and he now resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.  He has published Rebellion in the Ranks Mutinies of the American Revolution (2007), Invisible Ink Spycraft of the American Revolution (2010), Spies in the Continental Capital: Espionage Across Pennsylvania During the American Revolution (2011), Dr. Benjamin Church, Spy: A Case of Espionage on the Eve of the American Revolution (2013)

For more information on John A Nagy, please visit his website:  http://www.johnanagy.com/

ppbf lecture series

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Apr 052015
 

With enlistments declining, what could be done to boost the ranks of the Continental Army?   General James Mitchell Varnum had an intriguing idea, why not enlist African Americans into the fight for independence.

Join us on Monday, September 21st as we welcome back our friend Joe Becton as he talks about the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and the struggles of the African American soldiers during the American Revolutionary War.

Joe Becton is a teacher, philosopher, counselor, historian, musician, interpreter, husband, father, and grandfather.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in History Education from the University of West Florida.  Joe has been a Marine, Park Ranger Supervisor at Independence Hall, counselor, teacher, and Director of Visitor Services at Fort Mifflin.  Joe is also the leader of the Cobalt Blues Band and can be seen at many festivals in the area whether playing music or giving lectures.  Please visit his site at http://www.jobecton.com/index.htm

Our lectures have proved to be very popular and we strongly recommend that you book your seat now. 
Register NOW

Click here to register for this event

 

The all inclusive admission price is $49 per person which includes the 18th century American Fare Buffet, all soft beverages and coffee, family style sweets during the question and answer session, all tax and gratuities, the lecture, and a donation to help support the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park.

Your admission also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win a night’s stay at the General Warren Inne. There will be one winner drawn at each lecture.

George Washington neither approved or disapproved of the idea of enlisting slaves and sent it to the Rhode Island Assembly to approve which they did on February 14th, 1778.  Learn about America’s first regiment that had several companies of African American soldiers, The 1st Rhode Island Regiment

Soldiers_at_the_siege_of_Yorktown_(1781),_by_Jean-Baptiste-Antoine_DeVerger

American soldiers at the siege of Yorktown, by Jean-Baptiste-Antoine DeVerger, watercolor, 1781

The 1st Rhode Island Regiment was a Continental Army regiment from Rhode Island.  Like most regiments of the Continental Army, the unit went through several incarnations and name changes. It became well known as the “Black Regiment” because, for a time, it had several companies of African American soldiers. It is regarded as the first African-American military regiment, despite the fact that its ranks were not exclusively African-American.

A total of 88 slaves enlisted in the regiment over the next four months, as well as some free African American men. The regiment eventually totaled about 225 men; probably fewer than 140 of these were African Americans. The 1st Rhode Island Regiment became the only regiment of the Continental Army to have segregated companies of black soldiers. (Other regiments that allowed black men to enlist were integrated.) The enlistment of slaves had been controversial, and after June 1778, no more non-white men were enlisted. The unit continued to be known as the “Black Regiment” even though only white men were thereafter recruited into the regiment to replace losses, a process which eventually made the regiment an integrated unit.

Under Colonel Greene, the regiment fought in the Battle of Rhode Island in August 1778. The regiment played a fairly minor—but praised—role in the battle, suffering three killed, nine wounded, and eleven missing.

Like most of the Main Army, the regiment saw little action over the next few years, since the focus of the war had shifted to the south. In 1781, Greene and several of his black soldiers were killed in a skirmish with Loyalists. Greene’s body was mutilated by the Loyalists, apparently as punishment for having led black soldiers against them.

 

ppbf lecture series

Click here to view all of our July 2015-July 2016 Lecture Series