Men Of The Revolution: 3. Nathanael Greene

The American who emerged from the Revolution with a military reputation second only to that of George Washington was a Quaker with a physical affliction that had caused him to be rejected as an officer by the men in his militia company. Nathanael Greene’s career was a curious interplay of such contradictions, with the result that his fortunes seemed always at the flood or the ebb, never fully resolved.Read more »

This Hollowed-out Ground

A site for a proposed hydroelectric project also was the site of a grim Revolutionary War battle.

An opaque fog lay close to the surface of the Hudson River on the morning of October 5, 1777. The awakening bugles of General Israel Putnam’s Continentals at Peekskill on the eastern shore of the river seemed muted by the white and misty blanket. The slow-rising sun burned irregular holes in it, however, and through these the General’s sentinels, who had been posted south of his encampment during most of the summer, saw something that banished their accustomed boredom.

Harold Murdock’s “The Nineteenth Of April 1775”

Forty years ago a Boston banker suggested that the Battle of Lexington had become a myth, and later evidence proves him right

Few episodes in American history lend themselves more easily to romanticizing than the stand of the embattled patriots on Lexington Common. It has all the necessary ingredients: good American farmers shot down, virtually on their doorsteps, by bloodthirsty British troops outnumbering them fourteen to one; farrnhouses burned; a civilian population involved. For six generations our desire to think well of ourselves worked on the episode, softening the hard outlines of fact with the haze of romance.

“We Shall Eat Apples Of Paradise…"

When Benjamin Franklin came home from France in diplomatic triumph, he left behind a lovely, highborn lady mourning the miles between them.

You combine with the best heart, when you wish, the soundest moral teaching, a lively imagination, and that droll roguishness which shows that the wisest of men allows his wisdom to be perpetually broken against the rocks of femininity.” It is not Ben Franklin the essayist or philomath or pamphleteer that Madame d’Hardancourt Brillon de Jouy is here praising, though in these areas his accomplishment had been substantial, but Franklin the letter writer.

Myth On The Map

Scores of towns and counties all over the nation honor some heroics largely invented by Parson Weems

Wherever there’s a Newton, there’s a Jasper.”

When my father said that to me three years ago, he inaugurated a search that reveals what I believe to be a heretofore unrelated bit of American history. Casually spoken, his remark had been casually received. Soon afterward, however, my husband and I attended a fox hunt in Jasper County, Texas, and discovered that Newton County was next to it and that the towns of Jasper and Newton were their county seats. Coining home, we drove through Jasper, Arkansas, which proved to be the seat of Newton County, and from then on it seemed that no matter where we went Newton and Jasper were on the way. Sometimes they were associated as counties, sometimes as county and county seat; often a town or county of Marion was nearby. Maps showed more than sixty Newtons and Jaspers in all, half of them juxtaposed in an almost conjugal relationship. They were about as much a part of the American scene as Lincoln Avenue, Washington Street, and Courthouse Square. But why?

The Sergeant Major’s Strange Mission

General Washington wanted Benedict Arnold taken alive, right in the heart of British-held New York.

On the night of October 20, 1780, the weathered tents of the Continental Army were pitched in the rolling cattle country around Totowa above the Great Falls of the Passaic in New Jersey. Rain was making, and the night was moonless and black.