Another Guest Post
Things are progressing well as I prepare for next weekend’s big screening in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie-Carnegie Music Hall. Today I showed the film to a capacity-filled room at Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church. My partner Clint Ross has confirmed a very special screening with some of the cast in Columbia South Carolina for the first week of December (details to come). This coming week will be a busy one for me filled with newspaper and blog interviews and of course celebrating the holiday with the family. Upon my return to the blogosphere I will have much to share including a special behind-the-scenes video that shows how much work goes into one interview question. As promised, here is the second guest post by an outstanding historian named Chris Russell who has penned some highly original pieces in PAR. I asked Chris to introduce himself and hope to share reprints of his articles in the future.
Past in the Present
by Chris Russell
Initially, I would like to begin by extending my thanks to Michael for inviting me to post on his website, and for the opportunity to correspond with him over the last few months. As I’ve told him before, I admire his extensive work in various histories, but what has been most striking to me has been his drive to share his work with others in so many ways. In reading his works, sharing on his blog site and viewing his films, it is apparent he has a deep seated love and enjoyment for his work. These feelings and devotion to our history is also what drives me to write and share my interests in history with others.
In truth, history has fascinated me for some time. I remember my grandfather telling me stories of his service in World War II, especially fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. When he passed away, I tried as hard as could to remember all he had told me as a youth. I wanted his stories to be retold and searched for records, and gathered oral history from my family. His mementos from the war were eventually left to me, and I enjoyed the research and understandings of the past that these objects offered to me. I found that the more I understood the stronger the connection I felt to my grandfather, especially as I discovered a young version of him that I could not have known otherwise…and just like that , history became a part of my life. I began reading and doing research, and absolutely fell in love with 18th century history and the romanticism and triumphs of the American Revolution and concepts of the Enlightenment movement.
I decided I would try my introduction with an article about the history and events of Kip’s Bay. I had been reading about Kip’s Bay and noticed large disparities in the accounts for what had happened, and was also bothered by the willingness to judge so harshly those who had retreated in that calamity. I argued my stance with first hand accounts and solid research. Unfortunately, it took some time for me to gather the courage and confidence to finally submit the article to a publisher, but I finally did so to Timothy Jacobs and Benjamin Smith at Patriots of the American Revolution (PAR) magazine. They were very receptive to the article and it was published in Volume 3, Issue 1. Once I had seen my article and my ideas in print, being shared with other people…I was hooked. Since then, I have written about the Catawba Indians during the Revolution and about Dr. Edward Bancroft’s spying on Dr. Benjamin Franklin. I have articles pending publication for The Prayers of Patriots, which highlights some of the actual prayers, beliefs, and use of prayer by Founders and Patriots, which is scheduled to appear in the Jan/Feb edition of PAR. In the Mar/Apr edition of PAR I have an article about Elizabeth Maxwell Steele, which was very fun to research and discover here in North Carolina.
Currently, I am working to finish an interesting article about the John Peter Zenger Trial of 1735 (see image above). The purpose of this article is to showcase the beginnings of the rift between England and the colonies when they tried to suppress freedoms of speech and freedoms of the press. At the same time I am researching the explorations of Captain James Cook and his role during the Revolutionary time period…which hopefully should be interesting, since he was a British Captain. Lastly, aside from these articles, I am doing in-depth research into applications of modern psychology and its relevance to the Revolutionary period. If well received, I am hoping to start a string of articles that should be very interesting and carry a unique perspective of the American Revolution. Wish me luck!
BIO: Christopher Russell is currently a Parole/Probation Officer in Rowan County, North Carolina. He has served as a Police Officer, a Federal Security Officer, and as a Petty Officer in the United States Navy where he served in the Persian Gulf. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of my favorite aspects of hosting this blog is the opportunity it gives me to showcase the work of talented historians who do not have blogs of their own. Over the last few months I have been corresponding with several writers who all share a common interest in the Colonial/Revolutionary Period. All of them have submitted articles to Patriots of the American Revolution and are conducting some highly original studies into our Nation's fight for independence. I have invited each of them to appear on ‘Blog or Die’ as guest posters and today I would like to share the first of these. Our inaugural guest blogger is Michael J. Kahn, a NY Police Officer, Board Trustee for the Yorktown Historical Society and leader for the Pines Bridge Monument.
A Monumental Effort: The 1st RI at Pines Bridge
by Michael J. Kahn
I would like to share a project that I am working on in my hometown that would honor a unique Continental regiment and their commander who were “massacred” at the hands of Tories. It is my goal to have a monument to erect three statues commemorating those soldiers and officers of the First Rhode Island Regiment.
Colonel Christopher Greene and several soldiers under his command died in an ambush attack on May 14, 1781 just north of the Croton River (in modern-day Yorktown Heights, NY). His regiment was an integrated unit, comprised of whites, African Americans, and Native Americans. This skirmish (known locally as the Battle of Pines Bridge) involved Loyalist troops under the command of Colonel James DeLancey, the unit known as the DeLancey's Refugees (or Cowboys). The African Americans that were captured alive were sold into slavery in the British West Indies.
These men and their assigned duties have not been totally lost to history, but they have yet to receive, in my opinion, their due respect and admiration. The Pines Bridge was a vital strategic crossing point of the Croton River, a river that links New England directly with the Hudson River. We all know the significance of the Hudson during the war, but the Croton River almost never gets the appropriate mention. Washington knew that control of the Croton River mean three things: a natural barrier, it allowed for a defense from incursions from southern Westchester County and New York City; the river also established a staging point for a potential re-conquest of Manhattan Island; and the Croton allowed for trade and communication to flow between New England and the Middle Colonies.
The theme of the monument is to reflect the diversity of the regiment and how different people came together to fight for a common glorious cause. Each statue would represent the three cultures involved, and would ideally be placed near the current Pines Bridge.
This project has received a lot of local political support, as well as interest of Congressman Jim Langevin's office (2nd Congressional District, RI). The local media as well as the Rhode Island media have contacted me to follow the project's progression. We have also partnered with our town planning department as well as our local chamber of commerce. (Pic: Artist Paul Gioacchini’s rendering of the monument.)
Additionally, NY State Senator-Elect Greg Ball and Congresswoman-Elect Dr. Nan Hayworth have pledged their assistance and shown interest, respectively, to seeing this undertaking through to completion. The President of the Putnam County/Westchester County Sons of the American Revolution, Ken Stevens, is also attached to this project. Furthermore, I will be speaking about this project to local chapters of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution this month.
I’m hoping that many more people will come out to support this project, both politically and financially. The committee charged with the task of bringing this project to fruition is working diligently on getting it done by May 14, 2012. We just finished a site plan and are applying for the necessary permits to place the statue at the chosen location.
Anyone wishing to make donations towards the funding of the monument may send a check made out to the Yorktown Historical Society with “monument fund” written on the memo section of the check. They can be mailed to the Yorktown Historical Society, PO Box 355, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598. The Yorktown Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.
BIO: Michael J. Kahn is a police officer for the Town of Yorktown, New York and a Board Trustee for the Yorktown Historical Society. He is the project leader for the Pines Bridge Monument and can be reached at Monument1781@yahoo.com.
Posted by ny5/pinstripepress
at 1:03 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 17 November 2010 1:32 PM EST
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Upcoming film screenings
November 20 and 21: Spotsy Presbyterian Church: Get details and directions here.
November 27: Andrew Carnegie Music Hall: UPDATE: Our friends at the Carnegie-Carnegie are anticipating a sell-out for the Nov 27th screening of The Angel of Marye's Heights in Pittsburgh. They recommend that you purchase tickets online. There is no additional cost. They will be held under your name at the 'Will Call Window.' There are 400 seats for this showing and they are going fast. Buy $10 tickets online here.
A perfect day in the Old Dominion
This weekend’s Civil War Author’s Day at Gray Ghost Vineyards could not have gone better. I sold every copy of all 5 titles in my inventory and gave a talk on camp life of the Confederate soldier. I also got to indulge in some wonderful Victorian White and had the privilege of sharing a table with Mr. Kim B. Holien, Charles V. Mauro, Edward C. Trexler, Jr. and Clint Johnson. I want to thank the good folks at the Gray Ghost winery for their wonderful hospitality.
No rest for me as I have 2 film screenings coming up at SPC, an interview for This Mighty Scourge blog, and the BIG Thanksgiving weekend premiere in Pittsburgh to prepare for. Stay tuned for a special guest post in my absence.
Just in time for the holidays
Click here for a special flyer from The History Press: 20% off my last two books!
PS. Over the next few weeks I will be featuring some special guest posts by several Colonial-era historians. These gentlemen are working on some outstanding projects and they also contribute to Patriots of the American Revolution magazine. I was so impressed with their work, I invited them to discuss it here. Stay tuned.