A Conference on the American Revolution and Tour of Yorktown Battlefield

Friday, March 23-Sunday, March 25, 2012
 Williamsburg Hospitality House in Williamsburg, VA
Registration and sign-in starts at 6pm on Friday

Our first presentation will be at 7:45 PM on Friday, March 23 with: 

Edward G. Lengel, Head of Faculty: “General George Washington”

Saturday’s program (includes lunch) will start at 8:30 AM with presentations by:

John Hall: “Washington’s Partisans: Early American Warfare Reconsidered”
Joshua Howard: “Into the Breach: Nathanael Greene’s 1781 South Carolina Campaign”
Mark Lender: “What Kind of Victory: Washington, the Army and Monmouth Reconsidered”
Paul Lockhart: “The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill and the First American Army”
Andrew O’Shaughnessy: “The Men Who Lost America: British Politicians and Generals”

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Forts, Fights and Frigates: The War of 1812 in Maryland

Thursday, April 19 (8:00am-5:00pm)
Leaving from the Baltimore Tremont Hotel
Led by Dr. John V. Quarstein
Tour Registration Fee: $155 

The War of 1812 in MarylandAmerica’s History’s third annual tour for the Company of Military Historians will focus on the theme of this year’s conference: the War of 1812. We have enlisted the award-winning and very popular speaker and historian, Dr. John V. Quarstein as our tour leader. A life-long resident of the Eastern shore, John is steeped in the history of the Chesapeake area. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Virginia Bicentennial of the War of 1812 Commission.

We have designed this tour so it will not duplicate other 1812 sites you may be visiting during the conference with the Company.

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Cavaliers in Gray: Stuart’s Ride Around McClellan, Hampton’s Beefsteak Raid, Haws Shop and Trevilian Station

Thursday, May 31 (5:30PM) to Sunday, June 3, 2012  (4:00pm)
Led by Horace Mewborn, Scott Mauger, Rick Britton and Bruce Venter
Based in Richmond, VA
Tour Registration Fee: $475.00


In the Eastern theatre, the names Jeb Stuart and Wade Hampton evoke images of fabled Confederate cavalry successes against their Union opponents. Our tour will highlight some of these classic operations with the chance to walk a number of private property sites, not accessible to the general public.

In Stuart’s Ride around McClellan’s Army of the Potomac in 1862 we will visit Hickory Hill, the Wickham family home (private property) where Stuart stopped the night of June 12 to visit Williams Wickham who was recuperating from a battlefield wound. Then it’s on to historic Hanover Court House where the Gray Cavalier ran into a detachment of Federal cavalry. As we follow Stuart’s plume, we’ll have a chance to stop at the site of the 1864 cavalry battle of Haws Shop. Returning to Stuart’s ride we will see many sites associated with it like Linney’s Corner, Old Church, Tunstall’s Station, Garlick’s Landing, Talleysville, Forge Bridge, Charles City Court House and Rowland’s Mill where Stuart stopped for a cup of coffee. As we return to the hotel we’ll come past Yellow Tavern, the battle site where Stuart was mortally wounded in 1864.

We’ll begin Hampton’s 1864 Beefsteak Raid at Violet Bank, Robert E. Lee’s headquarters during the Petersburg siege where he and the South Carolinian discussed the raid. From there, we’ll see Wilkinson’s Bridge where Hampton crossed Rowanty Creek, then stop at Belsches’ Mill where he picked up his guide for the raid. We’ll also see Cook’s Bridge, Laurel Springs, Sycamore Church where Tom Rosser attacked the 1st D. C. Cavalry and the Harrison Farm site where the cattle were corralled. We will stop at Edmund Ruffin’s Farm (private property) where his old house still stands. We’ll see Cocke’s Mill, the site of James Dearing’s defensive position against a Federal effort to retrieve the herd and the Donnan House site where Hampton’s aide gave a captured cow to 12 year old Margaret Donnan. We’ll go to Hawkinsville where cattle crossed the Jerusalem Plank Road while Tom Rosser blocked the road at Ebenezer Church, Freeman’s Ford where the cattle crossed the Nottoway River and the intersection of the Boydton Plank and White Oak roads where the herd was penned after reaching Confederate lines.

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Bombs Bursting in Air: The War of 1812 in Virginia and Maryland

Wednesday, June 13 (7:30PM) to Saturday, June 16, 2012  (5:00pm)
Led by John Quarstein
Tour Registration Fee 
(Single Occupancy): $795
Tour Registration Fee (Double Occupancy): $775

The War of 1812’s Bicentennial starts this year and America’s History is offering a tour led one of the foremost historian’s of the Chesapeake Bay, a significant theater of that war. A life-long resident of the Eastern shore, John Quarstein is steeped in the history of the Chesapeake area. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Virginia Bicentennial of the War of 1812 Commission.

Virginia and Maryland saw notable actions that rival those in Canada and New York. A collateral benefit of this tour is that we’ll be in the Hampton Roads area during Operation Sail as the tall ships cruise nearby. Opt-Sail will give you a visual image of Age of Sail, so important to understanding the naval actions of the war.

On our first day we’ll visit Fort Norfolk on the Elizabeth River, one of the best preserved examples of pre-1812 fortifications to survive largely unchanged since the War of 1812. After leaving Norfolk, we’ll see Craney island, the site of a British attack on June 22, 1813. Craney Island was an important American position because it defended Norfolk, Portsmouth, Gosport Navy Yard and the U.S.S. Constellation. We’ll also stop in the city of Hampton on the Roads, where 2,000 British troops attacked 450 Americans on June 25, 1813. Civil War and pirate tales will also be included while were near the famous site of the fight between the Monitor vs. the Virginia and Blackbeard’s Point. Our last stop of the day will be at Fort Monroe. Although the fort was built after the war to beef up American coastal defenses, there are plenty of War of 1812 stories that are associated with the area.

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Defending the Southern Frontier: The Cherokee War of 1759-61

Wednesday, June 27 (7:30PM) to Saturday, June 30, 2012  (5:00pm)
Led by Dan Tortora
Based in Cherokee, NC
Tour Registration Fee: $425.00

The French and Indian War in the South had taken a back seat to more well-known events that occurred in New York and Pennsylvania. Our Defending the Southern Frontier: The Cherokee War of 1759-61 will remedy that shortcoming.

By 1760 the fate of the British colonies in North America was determined by the capture of Quebec. But in the South, the Cherokee Indians continued a war against South Carolina and British troops. The war was the result of a corrupt deerskin trade and other longstanding Cherokee grievances, a collapse in the Cherokee-British military alliance, and bungled diplomacy by South Carolina’s colonial governor. The “peace,” if you could call it that, left festering tensions on all sides which would influence the coming American Revolution. Focusing on the Middle and Overhill Cherokee villages, we will discuss the scope of the southern theater in the French and Indian War by visiting a number famous and some lesser known sites.

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Jeb Stuart in the Gettysburg Campaign: The Ride, the Battle, the Retreat, the Controversy

Wednesday, August 1 (7:30PM) to Saturday, August 4, 2012  (5:00pm)
Led by Ed Bearss, Horace Mewborn and Bob O’Neill
Based in Leesburg, VA
Tour Registration Fee: $495.00

Ever since the Gettysburg campaign ended, participants, historians and Civil War enthusiasts have debated the results of Jeb Stuart’s ride to Gettysburg, placing blame, on one hand, or exonerating the “Bold Dragoon” on the other hand, for his decisions. Some have said Stuart’s delay in reaching the Confederate army in Pennsylvania may have cost General Robert E. Lee the battle. Others contend Stuart’s absence made little difference in the military scheme of things. Our “Jeb Stuart in the Gettysburg Campaign” tour will try to sort out these issues by retracing the steps the Gray Cavalier took once he left his commander on June 24, 1863. We will cover Stuart’s ride, his contribution to the battle itself, his part in Lee’s retreat and the ongoing controversy surrounding his performance. Our analysis will include the facts, the geography, the myths and the unanswered questions about Stuart’s decisions.

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Howe vs. Washington: The Philadelphia Campaign of 1777

Wednesday, August 22 (7:30pm) to Saturday, August 24, 2012 (5:00pm
Led by Edward Lengel and William Welsch

“Naked and starving as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery.”

These words of Washington on the National Memorial Arch describe the suffering the Continental Army endured at Valley Forge. Our Howe vs. Washington tour will trace the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777 from Washington’s defeat at Brandywine through the army’s march out of Valley Forge heading to its success at Monmouth in June, 1778.

In the summer of 1777, British General William Howe launched what he believed would be the decisive campaign of the war. His goal was to capture Philadelphia, capital of the new nation. On our first day we will begin with a visit to Brandywine battlefield, where the British decisively defeated Washington’s army on September 11, 1777. We will start with the beginning action at Kennett Meeting House, tracing the diversionary attack on Washington’s position at Chad’s Ford. Next we’ll visit the British flanking position at Osborne’s Hill; then it’s on to Birmingham Meeting House, where the battle culminated. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the site of Fort Billings, a fortification in New Jersey used to prevent the British navy from communicating with Philadelphia. We’ll also visit Fort Mercer, an excellent site where American troops defeated a Hessian force under Colonel Carl von Donop on October 22.

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Nathan Bedford Forrest in Middle Tennessee

Wednesday, September 5 (7:30PM) to Saturday, September 8, 2012  (5:00pm)
Led by Thomas Cartwright
Based in Franklin, TN
Tour Registration Fee: $475.00

Admirers of Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest are legion. Many Civil War enthusiasts would say he belongs in any pantheon of great Southern military leaders. This skilled battlefield tactician, cavalry leader and raider evoked controversy during the war and in the aftermath of reconstruction. He was a truly larger than life individual.

Our tour will explore Forrest’s exploits in middle Tennessee where you’ll see some familiar battlefields and many little-known sites thru the eyes of one of the most knowledgeable and zealous historians of the “Wizard of the Saddle,” the incomparable Thomas Y. Cartwright.

On our first day we will travel to Fort Donelson, the site where Forrest first distinguished himself. The Gray cavalryman not only captured a Union artillery battery, but broke Grant’s siege by leading nearly 4,000 men out of Confederate lines, across the Cumberland River, before the fort was surrendered, trapping another 15,000 soldiers. This daring deed made Forrest an instant hero in the South. We will have adequate time to explore the Fort Donelson battlefield.

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Great Commanders Series: Greene vs. Cornwallis in the Carolinas – October 31-November 3, 2012

Wednesday, October 31 (7:30PM) to Saturday, November 3, 2012  (5:00pm)
Led by Joshua Howard
Based in Charlotte, NC
Tour Cost: $475.00

When we started our American history tour company in 2009, our partner Dave Hinze had the idea for a “Great Commanders Series” which would pit two notable military commanders against each other during a campaign or series of battles. These commanders could be either army leaders or subordinate commanders like our highly successful George H. Thomas and Patrick Cleburne tour of Chickamauga and Chattanooga in 2010.

We have decided to honor Dave’s idea by continuing the “Great Commanders Series” this year with our Greene vs. Cornwallis in the Carolinas tour. Our tour will focus on the strategy and tactics associated with famous battles of Cowpens, Kings Mountain and Guilford Courthouse, along with some minor sites which always make our tours unique. This tour will cover the major engagements in depth and you can expect some walking of the battlefields.

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The Vicksburg Campaign:Beyond the Park Boundaries – October 24 -27, 2012

Wednesday, October 24 (7:30PM) to Saturday, October 27, 2012  (5:00pm)
Led by A. Wilson “Will” Greene and Terry Winschel
Based in Vicksburg, MS
Tour Cost: $475.00

Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign to capture Vicksburg on the east bank of the Mississippi River was a wide-ranging military and logistical operation. It was also a major component in the North’s strategic plan to defeat the Confederacy. Our tour of the Vicksburg campaign will live up to this analysis by ranging far beyond the National Military Park’s boundaries as we look at Grant’s masterpiece in depth. Our lead historian, Will Greene did an exemplary job last year at Shiloh, so we are fortunate to benefit from his expert services again here at Vicksburg.

An important site in the early Federal attempt to get at Vicksburg will be our stop at Chickasaw Bayou, where Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops suffered a setback in December 1862 delivered by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton’s Confederates. From this battlefield, we’ll cross the Mississippi to explore the area around “Grant’s Canal” where Union forces attempted to cut a waterway that would essentially bypass the city, rendering the heavily gunned fortress powerless. Then it’s on to Grand Gulf to see the strongly fortified Confederate position which proved too much for Union Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboats, despite a heavy bombardment. After the setback at Grand Gulf, Grant decided to cross the river near Port Gibson. We will stop at Bruinsburg where Union infantrymen forced the bluffs to start the final effort to capture Vicksburg. We will tour the battle sites around Port Gibson where Grant was finally able to dent the Confederate lines, but only after dogged fighting on both sides. We’ll also see the ruins of Windsor Plantation, made famous by Hollywood as well as the Civil War.

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