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Posts by Roger T Kennedy

Close Call at Monmouth, 1778

This was probably one of the largest engagements fought in the American Revolution. No larger battles occured in the United States until the Civil War. Yet, there is a surprising paucity of books concerning this pivotal event. Why is this so? Monmouth certainly gets mentioned in every history of the Rev War, but in-depth studies are scarce. William Stryker wrote a full length history many years ago, and while its comprehensive, the author's bias is decidedly slanted toward the patriot cause. Stryker does provide a more detailed description of the battle, but with some 

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The Drillmaster: Biography of Baron de Steuben

Von Steuben has been a figure of pop Revolutionary War mythology for too long. This excellent 2008 bio places him firmly within the context of the 1700s. With family connections close to the Hohenzollern Monarchy, Steuben should have been placed to rise pretty high in the Prussian officer hierarchy. He saw active service in the beginning of the Seven Years War and witnessed the bloodshed of the first heavy battles of the war at Prague in 1756. He saw further 

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Review of Fusiliers: The Saga of a British Redcoat Regiment in the American Revolution

Fusiliers: The Saga of a British Redcoat Regiment in the American Revolution by Mark Urban should be required reading for all aspiring historians on the American Revolutionary War. Many older historians should also take note of this fine book. Mark Urban purports to tell the story of one British regiment, the 23rd, or Royal Welch Fusiliers, but it is really about the whole British expereince in the war that the book concerns itself. While focusing on this one illustrious corps the author provides us a means to evaluate 

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The Battle For Brooklyn, 1776.

The main American line was on Brooklyn Heights, with a series of entrenchments and fortifications. In front of this was the heavily wooded area of the Heights of Guan, corresponding roughly to Prospect Park area today. Here the Americans had placed an outer line of defenses under the loose command of Maj-Gen John Sullivan. Sullivan Street is today named after him in New York’s Greenwich Village. He was assisted by Israel Putnam, brave, but over his head in commanding anything more than a regiment or two. Alexander Stirling, self styled as Lord Stirling because the British crown had Read More ›

What Was Washington's Secret War?

Fleming is unabashed in his worship of Washington. He never ceases in admiration of his patience, long suffering and ability to sustain personal and political injury, in addition to military defeats. In a sense the author praises him with the same admiration that scared many of the general's contemporaries. Some in Congress felt that Washington was being hailed as a Demigod, and were fearful of the powers they had given him to run the army. As Fleming carefully points out, the General never misused these powers, but in a new state struggling to remove any kind of central authority, such Read More ›

Washington Crosses The Delaware (Again)

Many people in the New York and New Jersey areas today probably don’t realize how much history there is about the American Revolution right at their doorstep. The key early parts of the war were enacted right here. The battles of Trenton and Princeton have to be the most popular and covered aspects of the Rev War. So any recent book on these well worn topics should offer something new. For the most part, Washington's Crossing, by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004), does, but the author still allows himself to get 

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