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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: 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 ( 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!

2 months agoHistory / US History : Electratig

Ariadne, enjoying a warm summer's eve.

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

2 months agoHistory / US History : Electratig

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

The Committee’s Work

This is the first image of inside Lee Chapel that I’ve seen since the Confederate flags were removed.

Newport’s “Revolution House” Coming in 2015

The Newport Historical Society reports it will reinterpret its Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House as “Revolution House.” Rather than continue to present that building as a standard house museum, it will use it to tell the history of Newport in the American Revolution. Show More Summary

One narrow vision, and a more remarkable set of 19th century observations by Brantz Mayer

I read, somewhere recently, about how someone holds such low regard for Harper’s Ferry… because… as this person sees things… the site interprets John Brown as a hero. It’s actually odd, but John Brown only crosses my mind a couple of times when I visit (which, as regular readers know, is often) Harper’s Ferry, and when he […]

Gaines’ Mill Battlefield in Va. to quadruple in size

The Gaines’ Mill Battlefield, part of the Richmond National Battlefield Park, is scheduled to grow from 65 acres to 285 at 11 a.m. Thursday morning, when the Civil War Trust officially transfers the property to the National Park Service. The battlefield is part of the national park that includes parts of Richmond and several adjacent counties. Read full article >>

Reenactment by the Shore in Marblehead, 12-13 July

This weekend Glover’s Marblehead Regiment will have its annual summer encampment at Fort Sewall in Marblehead. The camp opens to the public for tours and demonstrations at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, 12 July. The last morning tour will be at 11:00 A.M. Show More Summary

Another Defeat For the Virginia Flaggers

With each perceived heritage violation the Virginia Flaggers somehow manage to place themselves further from the mainstream when it comes to the display of the Confederate flag. Their assumed stance that they alone ought to dictate what it means to commemorate and remember the Confederate past has won them very few, if any, allies in […]

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