Victory at Yorktown – May 28, 2015 – PAST TOUR

Thursday, May 28, 8am to 5pm

Leaving from the Omni Hotel – Richmond, Virginia

Our Tour Leaders: Edward G. Lengel, William Welsch and Bruce Venter

Registration Fee: $145

American Revolution Conference 2America’s History’s fifth tour for the Company of Military Historians will focus on Virginia’s major Revolutionary War campaign: General George Washington’s victory over Lt. Gen. Charles Lord Cornwallis’s British army at Yorktown in October 1781. We have enlisted an award-winning author and historian as part of our tour team. Edward G. Lengel is editor-in-chief of the Papers of George Washington Project at the University of Virginia and author of three books on Washington, including the highly acclaimed General George Washington: A Military Biography. He will be joined by Bill Welsch, an author and popular Revolutionary War tour leader; some members will remember Bill as the leader our Trenton tour in 2011. Bruce Venter, president of America’s History, LLC, a Company member and author of The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America (2015) will provide the British side of the story.

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Patriot & Traitor: Benedict Arnold in Connecticut – July 22 to 25, 2015 – PAST TOUR

Wednesday, July 22 (7:30pm) – Saturday, July 25 (5 pm)

Led by James Kirby Martin and Bruce Venter

HQ: Meriden, CT

Reserve a room at the Holiday Inn Express by June 22 for special rates

Conference Package: $495

Patriot-and-TraitorPerhaps no American historical figure evokes more controversy than Benedict Arnold. He was the hero of the Revolutionary War’s greatest battle, Saratoga and three years later America’s first and most famous traitor. Indeed, he was an intricate character.

We have designed this unique America’s History tour to be able to show you two sides of this enigmatic personality. By focusing on Connecticut, we will be able to reveal Benedict Arnold as a merchant and budding military leader, a patriot who fought the British during the Danbury raid and, finally, as a traitor who in a red-coated uniform led Crown forces in a mean-spirited raid on New London. We are fortunate to have the country’s foremost Arnold biographer leading our tour.

Our first day will focus on Benedict Arnold as a patriot home on leave visiting his family in New Haven, who joined forces with Brig. Gen. David Wooster and local Connecticut militia men to fight a British raiding party bent on destroying rebel stockpiles in Danbury in April 1777. We will follow the British landing at Compo Beach in Westport to the first engagement between Williams Tryon’s 1,800 Crown troops and patriot militia. We will pass Christ Church along the British route, then make a stop at Putnam Memorial Park, a 1778 American winter encampment named for Connecticut’s other famous Revolutionary War general. We will stop at three sites of engagement near Ridgefield where patriot forces confronted Tryon’s men making their way back to the coast from Danbury. During these fights, Wooster was mortally wounded and Arnold had a horse shot from under him. Arnold tried to block the British retreat at Ridgefield, but Tryon managed to sidestep the American position and escape back to their waiting ships.

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Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley – September 9 to 12, 2015

Wednesday, September 9 (7pm) to Saturday, September 12 (5pm)

Headquarters – Harrisonburg, Virginia

Our Tour Leader:  A. Wilson “Will Greene

Registration Fee: $495

Stonewall_Jackson_Shenandoah_ValleyFor over 150 years, military leaders and historians have studied the strategy and tactics practiced by Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson in his classic 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign. Civil War enthusiasts have been intrigued with Jackson’s movements for many years, making the battle sites of the spring months of 1862 legendary. Our tour will examine the battlefields associated with Jackson’s Valley campaign in-depth for three full days.

On our first day we will start at Kernstown, the site of Jackson’s defeat at the hands of Union forces. This reversal steeled Jackson’s determination to redeem his reputation as well as Confederate fortunes in the Shenandoah. We will follow up Kernstown with visits to Front Royal and First Winchester where Jackson won back to back victories over Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks in a matter of days.On our second day, we will visit Staunton, West View, Shenandoah Mountain and McDowell

On our second day, we will visit Staunton, West View, Shenandoah Mountain and McDowell

On our final day we will visit the site of two other Jackson battlefields at Cross Keys and Port Republic in June 1862. These twin victories prevented Federal forces from combining, compelling them to withdraw from the Valley.

Registration Fee: $495.00

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The Battle of Valcour Island: Benedict Arnold Defends Lake Champlain – September 25, 2015 – PAST TOUR

Friday, September 25, 8am to 5pm

Leaving from Fort Ticonderoga, NY

Our Tour Leaders: James Kirby Martin and Bruce Venter

Registration Fee: $145

The Battle of Valcour IslandFort Ticonderoga and America’s History will partner again this year to offer a one-day Revolutionary War tour in connection with the Fort’s Twelfth Annual American Revolution Seminar. Led by James Kirby Martin and Bruce Venter, the tour departs from Fort Ticonderoga’s parking lot at 8 a.m. and includes the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, a boat ride thru the Narrows of Lake Champlain, Valcour Island, and a ferry ride across Lake Champlain.

This tour takes place on the Friday of Fort Ticonderoga’s American Revolution Seminar. Please see for the seminar program and details. You may take the Valcour Island tour without attending the seminar.

This tour will demonstrate Benedict Arnold’s skill as a naval commander and hero of the Patriot cause as we visit land and “on the water” sites. We will see Valcour Island from the New York shore, take a ferry ride across Lake Champlain near the site of the battle, visit the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum which has special exhibits related to Valcour Island, board the reconstructed gunboat, Philadelphia II and take a boat ride thru the Lake Champlain Narrows where Arnold fought a delaying battle with the British. We will also have the additional benefit of a marine archeologist/historian during our time at the Maritime Museum and on the boat ride. [Read more…]

The Revolutionary War in Georgia: Savannah, Augusta, Kettle Creek, Briar Creek and more – October 28 to 31, 2015

Wednesday, Ocbober 28 (7pm) to Saturday, October 31 (5pm), 2015

Headquarters – Augusta, Georgia

Our Tour Leader: Steve Rauch

Registration Fee: $475

Revolutionary_War_in_GeorgiaThe battles of Kettle Creek, Briar Creek, Augusta, Vann’s Ford, Carr’s Fort and other Georgia backcountry sites are far from household names in the lexicon of Revolutionary War battle sites. Far less famous than Saratoga, Trenton, Princeton, or Yorktown, these Georgia battles and skirmishes, nevertheless, tell a great story about how the war was fought and won in the hilly country and pine forests of this southern state. The heroes may be unsung, but experiencing the ground over which these events occurred is well worth the time.

On our first day we will travel to Kettle Creek battlefield, the site of one of the most important battles fought in Georgia during the Revolutionary War. On the way to Kettle Creek we will discuss the campaign of 1779, including the actions at Vann Creek and Carr’s Fort. Kettle Creek was fought on February 14, 1779, when a force of 400 Patriots led by Andrew Pickens, surprised and defeated a force of Loyalists twice their number. The battle disrupted the British “southern strategy” aimed at pacifying the South by separating it from the Middle and Northern colonies. The battle demonstrated the determination of the Patriots; it was a reminder to the Loyalist forces that they were not safe in the open country, away from bases controlled by the British army. We will extensively walk this pristine battlefield. Our afternoon stop will be at the Elijah Clark State Park to discuss the 1780 Wilkes County punitive expedition after Clarke’s attack on Augusta.

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3rd Annual Conference on the American Revolution – March 21-23, 2014 – PAST TOUR

 Friday, March 21 (7pm) – Sunday, March 23 (Noon)

Colonial Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel
Williamsburg, Virginia

Conference Package: $225

American Revolution Conference

Edward G. Lengel, Head of Faculty: “Philadelphia is the Object in View”: George Washington at the Battle of Brandywine, 1777

James Kirby Martin: Forgotten Allies: The Oneida Indians’ Contribution to the American Revolution

Andrew O’Shaughnessy: First in War or First in Peace: Sir William Howe as Commander-in-Chief

Glenn Williams: Revenge and Reprisals: Irregular Warfare and the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign against the Iroquois

Todd Andrlik: Reporting the Revolutionary War: Colonial Newspapers as a Historical Record

Don Hagist: 60 Men at Yorktown: A British Light Infantry Company

David Mattern: Major General Benjamin Lincoln and the American Revolution

James L. Nelson: The Best General on Either Side: Benedict Arnold’s Naval Operations on Lake Champlain and the Chesapeake Bay

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Kill Jeff Davis: The Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond in 1864 – April 10-12, 2014 – PAST TOUR

Thursday, April 10 (7:30pm) – Saturday, April 12 (5:00pm)

Glen Allen, Virginia

Tour Leader: Bruce Venter

Registration Fee: $295

Kill_Jeff_Davis_The_Kilpatrick_Dahlgren_Radi_on_Richmond_in_1864On paper, Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s plan, approved directly by Lincoln, to release some 13,000 Federal prisoners, “burn the hateful city” of Richmond and capture or kill Confederate President Jefferson Davis, had all the earmarks of success. As one Michigan officer recalled, “The rationale of the raid was a hurried ride, timely arrival, great daring, a surprise, a sudden charge without a moment’s hesitation – success.” Even Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton felt “the enemy could have taken Richmond” except for some rebel luck. But in execution the Kilpatrick–Dahlgren Raid was a dismal failure; and a major embarrassment to Lincoln when controversial orders were found on the dead body of the expedition’s subordinate commander, the dashing and well-connected Col. Ulric Dahlgren.

On this Sesquicentennial year of the raid, our tour will consider all aspects of the raid’s plan, its execution, the routes taken by Kilpatrick and Dahlgren and the credibility of the infamous “Dahlgren Papers.” We will retrace the raid’s original routes and discuss the decisions, mistakes and happen-stances that affected both the intrepid Federal raiders and the dogged defenders of the Confederate capital. We will focus on the tactical movements of the troops and the decisions made by the commanders on both sides. During most of the tour we will follow the same routes the troopers did in 1864.

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Washington Turns the Tide: Trenton and Princeton – April 24-26, 2014 – PAST TOUR

 Thursday, April 24, 7:30pm – Saturday, April 26, 5pm

Trenton, New Jersey

Our Tour Leaders: William M. Welsch and Jay Jorgensen

Registration Fee: $295

Washington_turns_the_Tide_Trenton_and_Princeton“Tell General Sullivan to use the bayonet. I am resolved to take Trenton,” declared General George Washington on Christmas evening 1776. Washington’s stunning victory over the British army’s garrison of feared Hessians at Trenton fulfilled his order. It was here that a ragged, sleet-soaked Continental army crossed the ice-packed Delaware River to attack German hirelings under Colonel Johann Rall. A week later, the Continental Army stopped the British at Second Trenton, slipping around their flank to rout their rear guard at Princeton. Washington’s complete victories at Trenton and Princeton are considered by some historians to be a more significant turning point in the Revolutionary War than even Saratoga. The Patriot commander’s steadfast determination to lead his troops to victory stabilized sagging morale at a time when the American cause was at its nadir.

The first day of our tour will cover the battles of Trenton in-depth, beginning with a visit to Washington Crossing State Park in Pennsylvania, the site of the famous Christmas night crossing. The new Visitors Center offers a reproduction of Leutze’s famous painting of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and the boat barn houses replicas of the Durham boats used in the crossing. We’ll cross the river (by bridge, not boat) to the New Jersey landing site and visit the Johnson Ferry House. Our next stop is the Visitors Center to see the nationally recognized Swan Historical Foundation Collection of nearly 900 Revolutionary War era items, including muskets, side arms, swords, clothing, maps, etc.

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Nat Turner’s Virginia Slave Revolt – June 6-8, 2014 – PAST TOUR

 Friday, June 6 (7:30pm) – Sunday, June 8 (4:00pm)

Suffolk, Virginia

Our Tour Leader: John V. Quarstein

Registration Fee: $175

Nat_Turners_Virginia_Slave_RevoltIn 1831 the bloodiest slave rebellion in the American South occurred in the commonwealth of Virginia’s Southampton County. Upwards of 60 white men, women and children were murdered in a few days. The revolt’s leader, Nat Turner survived a manhunt of several months, but 65 slaves suspected of being part of the Turner’s rebellion were executed. Another 200 blacks were killed by frenzied mobs and white militias. On November 11, 1831, after a six day trial on charges of “conspiring to rebel and making insurrection,” Turner was convicted, sentenced to death and hanged in Jerusalem (present-day Courtland), Virginia. Turner’s body was flayed, quartered and beheaded. White reaction was swift and decisive. In the aftermath of Turner’s revolt, Southern states enacted laws prohibiting the education of slaves and free blacks, curtailed the assembly of free blacks and required white clergymen to be present at African worship services.

Our tour leader, John Quarstein is well versed in 19th century Tidewater history. He has a special interest in Nat Turner’s Rebellion since becoming a consultant to Southampton County’s proposed museum dedicated to the legacy of Nat Turner.

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Rogers’ Rangers and the French and Indian War – June 11-14, 2014 – PAST TOUR

Rogers’ Rangers and the French and Indian War

Wednesday, June 11 (7:30 PM) through Saturday, June 14 (5 PM)

Our Tour Leaders: John Grenier and Bruce Venter

Registration Fee: $475

Rogers_Rangers_and_the_French_and_Indian_WarThe story of Major Robert Rogers and his Rangers is familiar to those who’ve read Kenneth Roberts’ fast-paced novel Northwest Passage or saw it brought to the silver screen in 1940, starring Spencer Tracy. The riveting tale of Fort William Henry’s siege and massacre after Monro’s surrender to Montcalm is integral to James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel Last of the Mohicans which made for several movie adaptations. But the real history of Rogers, his Rangers and the forts built along the Lake George/Lake Champlain/Upper Hudson River water corridor is even more fascinating, when all the facts are told. The Adirondack area itself provides a truly majestic backdrop for one of the bloodiest periods of America’s history. It was a crucial time as two European superpowers struggled for supremacy over territory, trade and the natural riches of North America.

Robert Rogers is a truly enigmatic figure whose “Rules of Ranging” is still studied today by elite units of our armed forces. In addition, other characters emerge from the fighting around Lake George; men such as John Stark, Israel Putnam, Paul Revere and Thomas Gage who, like Rogers, all will play supporting roles in the American Revolution twenty years later.

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