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Talking About Revolutionary Massachusetts This Week

From midnight to 1:00 A.M. on Wednesday, 26 July, I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Bradley Jay on his radio show, Jay Talking. That will be on WBZ, 1030 AM.(Assuming, that is, that the U.S. Constitution is still operative and we haven’t stumbled into any wars that will preempt regular programming. Show More Summary

“Last Argument” Symposium at Fort Ti, 5-6 Aug.

Fort Ticonderoga will host a symposium on 5-6 August titled “New Perspectives on the Last Argument of Kings: A Ticonderoga Seminar on 18th-Century Artillery.” This event complements the exhibit “The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-Century Artillery,” which runs at the site through October 29. Show More Summary

Colonial Newspaper Subscription Prices

Last month I posted twice about the cost of advertising in colonial American newspapers.One source of those articles, the 1884 U.S. Census Office report “The Newspaper and Periodical Press” by S. N. D. North, also discussed what pre-Revolutionary...Show More Summary

An Aged Veteran and “The Young Provincial”

I’ve been discussing the Rev. W. B. O. Peabody’s sketch “The Young Provincial,” published in 1829, and Jacob Frost’s 1832 claim for a pension as a Revolutionary War veteran. Together they raise interesting questions.First, looking just...Show More Summary

HBO’s Game of Thrones to Become a Confederate Victory

First, let me get this out of the way. I have never seen an episode of “Game of Thrones” and I can’t tell you much about what it is even […]

The True Author of “The Young Provincial”

The idea that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote “The Young Provincial,” the sketch I quoted yesterday from The Token, for 1830, wasn’t a bad guess. In 1830 Hawthorne wrote to the editor of that volume, Samuel G. Goodrich, proposing a collection titled Provincial Tales. Show More Summary

Turning Confederate Monuments Into Ruins

The current issue of Civil War Times magazine includes some brief thoughts from a group of scholars, plus the current commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, about what they […]

“The Young Provincial” on Bunker Hill

At the end of 1829 the writer and editor Samuel G. Goodrich published an anthology of short stories and literary sketches by various authors titled The Token, for 1830. One of those pieces was titled “The Young Provincial,” and it began:...Show More Summary

Did Confederate Camp Slaves Kill Their Own?

This is one of the most unusual accounts that I have ever come across about Confederate camp slaves. It is also one that I am struggling with how – if […]

“There Were NO Racial Problems in the South”

This is part of my ongoing research on the origins and evolution of the myth of the black Confederate soldier. It can be incredibly draining having to read these posts […]

Jacob Frost’s Revolutionary War

On 13 Sept 1832, an eighty-year-old man from Norway, Maine, named Jacob Frost signed an affidavit describing his experiences during the Revolutionary War.Frost’s statement, part of his plea for a federal government pension, said:on the...Show More Summary

“The Road to Concord” Ends in Stow, 20 July

On Thursday, 20 July, I’ll speak about The Road to Concord at the Randall Library in Stow, Massachusetts. For this talk I plan to stress the end of the story, as Gen. Thomas Gage strove to find the cannon that the Massachusetts Provincial...Show More Summary

Col. Putnam and the Cannon Balls

As shown by postings like this one, I keep my eyes peeled for stories of Continental soldiers during the siege of Bostonpicking up British cannon balls for reuse.Here’s one variation that appeared in the Pennsylvania Evening Post on 14 Sept 1775 in a section on news from London. Show More Summary

EXTRA: A Projectile from the Plains of Abraham Pops Up

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported:A cannonball fired by the British during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 has been unearthed at a building site in Old Quebec.The rusted, 90-kilogram projectile was unearthedShow More Summary

When Jefferson Investigated the Storming of the Bastille

Since this is Bastille Day, I’m linking to Sara Georgini’s article on for the Smithsonian magazine, “How the Key to the Bastille Ended Up in George Washington’s Possession.”Here’s a taste:On July 14, 1789, a surge of protesters stormed the medieval fortress-turned-prison known as the Bastille. Show More Summary

History Communication in Action

Last week I responded to an op-ed written by Jason Steinhauer, who in recent years has been a passionate advocate for encouraging academic historians and others to embrace the role […]

John Pigeon’s Petulance and Property

I was tracing the political career of John Pigeon, a Boston merchant who retired to Newton a few years before the Revolution. In the early months of 1775 he went from clerk of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress’s committee of safety...Show More Summary

Who is Colonel Robert Gould Shaw?

The news coming out of the Massachusetts Historical Society here in Boston could not be more exciting. Yesterday the MHS announced that they are in possession of the sword that […]

Summer fly-by visit

On the return leg of an excursion north to visit family and friends, we made a stop at the Battlefield. It was a glorious day, as is so often the case there, and perfect for catching up on some of the changes at the Park.

The First Continental Death Under Gen. Washington

Back in February, the Journal of the American Revolution ran Patrick H. Hannum’s article “America’s First Continental Army Combat Casualty.” Hannum confined his search to the riflemen from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland, categorizing the New England troops already at the siege of Boston as militia. Show More Summary

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