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Second Kernstown battle commemorated this week

Two years after Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson lost the First Battle of Kernstown, near Winchester, Va., the Confederates were able to score a victory on the same grounds. On July 24, 1864, the Pritchard family once again hid in the...Show More Summary

“By such a mere accident as this”

Yesterday we left Benjamin Hichborn on the Royal Navy ship Swan, commanded by Capt. James Ayscough, on the way to Rhode Island. Hichborn had taken it upon himself to carry letters to Massachusetts for two Continental Congress delegates,...Show More Summary

Burying the Lede

The Senate is paralyzed, Paul Kane of the Washington Post points out. Why? Personalities: Senators say that they increasingly feel like pawns caught between Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose deep personal and political antagonisms have almost immobilized the Senate. Show More Summary

Benjamin Hichborn’s Delivery Service

In late July 1775, twenty-nine-year-old lawyer Benjamin Hichborn set off from Philadelphia for his home province of Massachusetts, proudly carrying three letters from Continental Congress delegates. Those letters would, he’d insisted, show that he had the confidence of Patriot leaders. Show More Summary

“It would give him the Appearance of having my Confidence”

When John Adams wrote those cranky letters from Philadelphia that I quoted yesterday, he had someone looking over his shoulder: a young lawyer named Benjamin Hichborn (1746-1817).Hichborn was a cousin of Paul Revere, but he came from a branch of the family that was already upwardly mobile. Show More Summary

Son of Putin Redux

I’d like to revise and extend my previous post, because handing over serious surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to a bunch of incompetent amateurs is not the work of a smart man. Bringing down a civilian airliner (and adding nearly 300 more deaths to the ongoing tragedy in the Ukraine) is such a monumentally stupid thing to do that it boggles the mind. Show More Summary

John Adams and “the Oddity of a great Man”

Abigail Adams wasn’t the only person reporting to her husband John about public reaction in Massachusetts to the arrival of Gen. George Washington and Gen. Charles Lee in early July 1775.Legislative leader James Warren was another Adams confidant. Show More Summary

Dissecting a battlefield: on the Sesquicentenial of the Battle of Cool Spring

I attended the first half of the Sesqui commemorative tour at Cool Spring yesterday… and a well-attended event it was (see Craig’s post about it, here). While I enjoyed hearing about the battle that unfolded along the Shenandoah River, I have to say… the infatuation I have with the cultural (pre-war and wartime) settings of […]

A Request to John Adams

In the same long letter from Abigail Adams that I quoted yesterday, she included these personal messages from the children to their father:Our little ones send Duty to pappa. You would smile to see them all gather round mamma upon the reception of a letter to hear from pappa, and Charls with open mouth, What does par say—did not he write no more. Show More Summary

$12 million donated to restore Arlington House

Arlington House, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s last home before the Civil War began, will be restored to its 1860 appearance thanks to a donation of $12.35 million by businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, according to an announcement by the National Park Service. Read full article >>

The 48th/150th: Main Gallery Completed; Work On Lateral Galleries Commences

Side and Top Profiles of the 48th's Mine... 150 years ago, on July 17, 1864, working with improvised tools, under severe hardships, and with no support from the army, the dirty, mud-and-clay-covered soldiers of the 48th Pennsylvania completed their mine's main gallery. Show More Summary

Gen. Washington in Cambridge, 19 July

This Saturday, 19 July, Gen. George Washington will return to his Cambridge headquarters, at least in the form of reenactor John Koopman. He’s scheduled to be at Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site from noon to 4:00 P.M., and that federal site is free to all visitors. Show More Summary

Ebenezer Fox on the Sea Serpent?

We have one more detailed memoir of life aboard the Protector, the Massachusetts navy vessel that, three of its officers later reported, encountered a sea serpent in May 1780. That memoir was written by Ebenezer Fox of Roxbury, shown here. Show More Summary

Which Founding Father Are You?

With 55 men compromising, debating, agreeing and disagreeing and finally creating one document, you can imagine the number of personalities at hand... and many reputations at stake. Which founding father are you? Take the Consitution Center's Founders Quiz to find out: http://constitutioncenter.org/foundersquiz/And if it means anything... Show More Summary

Midshipman Preble Chases a Sea Serpent

Yesterday I quoted the memories of George and Luther Little of the day in May 1780 when their Massachusetts frigate chased a sea serpent off the coast of Maine. But did anyone besides the Little lieutenants leave a record of that giant...Show More Summary

Lieutenant Little Chases a Sea Serpent

George and Luther Little were two brothers from Marshfield who both served as officers aboard the Massachusetts navy vessel Protector under Capt. John Foster Williams from 1779 to 1781. Luther, the younger by two years, was badly wounded during a sea battle. Show More Summary

Consequential Questions

The Journal of the American Revolution (AllThingsLiberty.com) has once again asked its contributors, including me, some questions and run the answers over the course of a week. These were the questions last week—“Greatest consequence...Show More Summary

“O Burr, O Burr, what hast thou done?”

This is the 210th anniversary of the death of Alexander Hamilton, one day after his duel with Aaron Burr. In his biography of Burr, James Parton described the winner of that duel reminiscing this way:He conversed with equal freedom of the duel with Hamilton. Show More Summary

It's Caturday!

Ariadne, enjoying a warm summer's eve.

"I know no method to secure the repeal of bad . . . laws so effective as their stringent execution"

I've been reading H.W. Brands's excellent biography of Ulysses S. Grant, The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, and ran across a brief description of Grant's first inaugural address. I've long admired Grant, and...Show More Summary

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