Jun 302016
 
Did you know that without a ship during the winter of 1776-77, the ever resourceful John Barry lead a battery of naval artillery at the battle of Princeton?  Join us on Monday, February 13th as we find out more about the man regarded as “the Father of the American Navy” and proudly welcome noted author Tim McGrath as he presents his talk on his award winning book John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail.
The Naval Order of the United States has announced that Give Me a Fast Ship has won the 2016 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature. Give Me a Fast Ship has won the Commodore Barry Book Award for Maritime Literature, presented by the Navy League of the United States, New York Council. McGrath is the first author to win this honor twice.  Give Me a Fast Ship won the Marion Brewington Award for Naval Literature (sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society), the Military Order of St. Louis,.  It has also won the American Revolution Round Table of New York Book of the Year Award, and the 2010 Book of the Year at the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia.

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

Register NOW

Click here to go to the booking page for this lecture

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.

 The man regarded as “the Father of the American Navy” returns to the quarterdeck in John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail, the first comprehensive biography of this legendary officer in generations. Son of a hardscrabble Irish farmer from County Wexford, Barry was sent to sea as a child, arriving in Philadelphia during the restless decade before the American Revolution. Brave and ambitious, he ascended the ratlines to become a successful merchant captain at a young age, commanding the most prestigious ship in the colonies and recording the fastest known day of sail in the century.

John Barry by Tim McGrathVolunteering to fight for the Continental cause, Barry saw his star rise during the War for Independence. As captain of the Lexington, Raleigh, and Alliance, Barry faced down broadsides, mutinies, and even a fleet of icebergs. He captured the first enemy warship taken by a Continental vessel and fought the last battle of the American Revolution. His hard-won victory over two British warships simultaneously garnered him international notoriety, while his skill as a seafarer and cool temper established Barry as a worthy foe among British captains. Without a ship during the winter of 1776-77, the ever resourceful Barry lead a battery of naval artillery at the battle of Princeton. With peace came a historic voyage to China, where Barry helped open trade with that reclusive empire. In 1794, President Washington named Barry as the first commissioned officer in the new United States Navy. Given the title of commodore, Barry ended his career during America’s naval war with France, teaching the ropes to a new generation of officers, most notably Stephen Decatur.

Drawn from primary source documents from around the world, John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail by Tim McGrath brings the story of this self-made American back to life in a major new biography.

Tim McGrath (BA History, Temple University ’74) is a business executive who lives outside of Philadelphia. He has served on the board of directors of Independence Seaport Museum, Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, New Courtland Elder Services, the Kearsley Retirement Community (founded by Benjamin Franklin’s physician), Philadelphia Senior Centers, and Christ Church Hospital. His many interests, including tennis, horseback riding, and sailing, are limited only by creaking knees and a fickle rotator cuff.

Over the years he has written articles on management, U.S. history, and healthcare issues for various newspapers and magazines. With his son, Ted (an award-winning freelance illustrator), he wrote Travels with the Commodore, a children’s book published for the Philadelphia Port Authority’s community reading program. Despite his terrible typing, he’s at work on a new biography on James Monroe for NAL/Penguin Books.

Jun 282016
 

Did you know that during the 6 day siege at Fort Mifflin the 400 American’s inside the fort had only 10 cannon to defend against the British with 2000 troops, a fleet of ships, and 228 cannon?  It was a cold and wet November in 1777 at Fort Mifflin (Named after General Thomas Mifflin), a wood and stone structure located nine miles from center city Philadelphia, on a muddy island in the Delaware River. What happened here may well have changed American history. But few people are aware of it.

Join us on Monday, April 10th as we welcome Elizabeth Beatty, executive director of the National Historic Landmark Fort Mifflin.

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 lecture

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.

ftmifflin

Ariel View of Fort Mifflin

In 1777 (from November 10th to the 15th), British troops bombarded the 22-acre fort with more than 10,000 cannon balls, eventually destroying the structure.

Inside the fort, a cold, wet and hungry garrison of 400 men suffered 240 casualties in the effort. So short were the Americans on ammunition that anyone retrieving a cannonball that could be fired back was promised a gill of rum — about four ounces.

The weather hurt the Continental soldiers in another critical way. With unusually heavy rains flooding the back channel, two British ships were able to sail up the channel and bombard the fort’s only unfinished walls at point-blank range. British Marines even climbed up to the crow’s nest of the HMS Vigilant and threw hand grenades at soldiers inside the fort.

With the fort walls collapsing around them from the incredible shelling, most of the Americans evacuated after nightfall on November 15th, rowing with muffled oars across the river to nearby Fort Mercer (now part of Redbank Battlefield Park, Gloucester, New Jersey).

The 40 men remaining at Fort Mifflin set fire to what was left of the structure, and then joined their comrades. But they left the fort’s flag flying, and they never surrendered.

Sinking of the HMS Agusta

Sinking of the HMS Agusta

Biggest Boom: The explosion of the 64-gun HMS Augusta in the Delaware River in October 1777 after running aground and being fired on by Americans at Fort Mifflin and Fort Mercer. Author Tom Paine, of “Common Sense” fame, who was on the road between Germantown and Whitemarsh, wrote to Ben Franklin that the sound was “like the peal of a hundred cannon at once.” The Augusta was the largest ship ever lost by the British to the Americans in two wars.

What they accomplished: The troops at Fort Mifflin bottled up 250 British ships in the Delaware River for about six weeks, destroying several — and preventing food, clothing, gunpowder and munitions from reaching the British army in Philadelphia.

By holding “to the last extremity,” as General George Washington had ordered, the men at Fort Mifflin gave Washington time to move his exhausted troops to Valley Forge for the winter — and very possibly saved the country.

After the war, Fort Mifflin was rebuilt. It served as a prison during the Civil War, and a naval munitions depot during World War I and II. Beth Beatty, who became executive director in 2010, views the fort as a veteran who has served and sacrificed for the country over an extended period of time.

 

For donations to Fort Mifflin, or to volunteer, go to: www.FortMifflin.us, or call 215-685-4167.