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Monday, June 30, 2008

The Stamp Act

So I have received some great feedback on where I could start to look for more information on The Stamp Act. The first website I checked out was suggested to me by Rick from the Stow Minutemen Company. He suggested I check out this blog post:

It was there that I discovered a picture of one of the few examples of what a stamp looked like. This stamp was supposed to appear on any papers of any kind, and of course you had to pay for the stamp, so every time you used a piece of paper, you were paying money to the English crown.

This picture is from an exhibit at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum. The stamp was on loan from Massachusetts Historical Society. Here is the write-up that went with the photo:

The Stamp Act of 1765 taxed all paper products - legal documents, business records, even playing cards - and specified that taxes be paid in "hard money." This Act threatened every single American and would drain all coinage from the colonies.

Love the picture!!

Rick also suggested another site that my lovely husband had already suggested to me.

This is a quick write-up on The Stamp Act from the Colonial Williamsburg website. This write-up explains the result of The Stamp Act, which we saw from the link above, but it also gave me some insight as to why the British had decided to pass it. It seems that there were going to be 10,000 troops placed near the Appalachian Mountains to help protect that area. The money that was raised from the sale of these stamps would help fund this.

Again this little article iterates that the cost of the stamps was not the issue whatsoever for the colonists, it was the fact that the British felt they could raise funds in America without any approval by the legislatures set up here. The colonists didn’t mind paying taxes, they were already doing that for some time, what they minded was paying taxes for things they didn’t necessarily approve of. And if the colonists just rolled over and accepted this particular tax, they were afraid that it would set precedence for future taxation from England.

Patrick Henry had his Stamp Act resolves, which he tried to get passed through the House of Burgess in Virginia. They stated that Virginians should not pay any taxes unless the House of Burgess passed them. That Americans should have the same rights as the English, which meant they had the right to be taxed only by their representatives. Most of these resolves were turned down, but four of them did pass. However, the Governor did not approve and he dissolved the House of Burgesses as a response to the passing of the four Stamp Act resolves.

This is some great information and really gives me a little more insight into what The Stamp Act was and why the colonists met it with such disdain. I feel like I have only hit the tip of the iceberg here though. I have a few more suggestions for websites and books that I will be sharing in some future posts. I will also be trying to do some more research into more specific aspects of all of this.

Back to Timeline

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Restoration in New Jersey

Another great article was shared in the RevWar Yahoo group I am a part of. It is an editorial from regarding the restoration of an historical area that was affected by floods in early 2007. Here is a link directly to the article, and below I have put the text. I found it to be very interesting, and I always love to see another historical site saved!

Troubled bridge over water
Saturday, June 28, 2008

CALAMITOUS it was, but the April 2007 nor'easter that wreaked havoc on one of North Jersey's most historic sites may have provided the spark that will transform Historic New Bridge Landing into a long-envisioned educational and tourist destination.

The storm brought floodwaters 28 inches deep from the swollen Hackensack River into the site of the former Colonial mill hamlet off Main Street in River Edge, north of The Shops at Riverside. Particularly hard hit was the Steuben House, an early-18th-century Dutch Colonial brownstone that held about 600 historic documents and artifacts attesting to the area's pivotal role in forging this nation.

That story is simple but compelling: After the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the British invaded New York and drove Gen. George Washington and his bedraggled Continental Army north to Harlem and White Plains and ultimately west across the Hudson River to Fort Lee. With British troops in hot pursuit up the Palisades, Washington continued his retreat through what is now Englewood to the narrows of the Hackensack, where today the borders of Teaneck, New Milford and River Edge meet. They crossed a simple wooden bridge, then burned it, stalling the British chase.

By December, Washington had crossed New Jersey into Pennsylvania, only to famously cross the Delaware and retake British-occupied Trenton, providing Americans their first victory of the Revolutionary War and proving that the scruffy Colonials could outwit the greatest army in the world.

Memorializing that critical juncture is a relatively obscure state park containing a bucolic riverside village of historic cottages and an unusual iron truss swing bridge built in 1888. It's fronted by a jughandle and a barren lot contaminated by lead and petroleum from a former auto parts junkyard. But that would change if new efforts prompted by last year's devastation – to preserve, restore and interpret the site - succeed.

Already, the state Department of Environmental Protection is committed to removing 20,000 cubic yards of tainted soil, which could lead to construction of an appropriate gateway to the area from downtown River Edge. In a show of bipartisan cooperation, state Sens. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, and Gerald Cardinale, R-Cresskill, have introduced a bill that would boost local control of the site by transferring financial and administrative responsibilities from the state to the Historic New Bridge Landing Park Commission, composed mostly of local residents.

But perhaps most significant, the commission and the Bergen County Historical Society have joined forces to dramatically transform the area with construction of a new museum, a visitors center and restoration of the Steuben House. Especially appealing are historically sensitive plans to design the museum to resemble the Veldran Mill that once stood in nearby Oradell – raised on stilts to stand above river floods, as Colonial mills often were – and model the visitors center on the original Hackensack courthouse, built in 1819.

With an estimated cost of $1.25 million, the goal of an upcoming fund-raising drive is realistic and attainable. The historical society hopes to involve schoolchildren – who often visit the site on field trips for a firsthand look at American history – in the preservation effort through penny drives and other projects. And certainly local residents and businesses should support this attempt to finally give the site the attention it deserves.

After all, it's the bridge that saved a nation.

Believe me yours faithfully,

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Stamp Act 1765

Okay so my first research project will be from the more General Timeline I am using, and that will be “The Stamp Act.” According to the timeline, this occurred in 1765:

Parliament passes The Stamp Act as a means to pay for British troops on the American frontier. Colonists violently protest the measure.

In the time line there is a link to more information about the Stamp Act:

The question was never the immediate amount of taxation that the British were asking of the colonists. The question was whether the British had the right to do it at all. We're talking about people [the American colonists] with enormous sensitivity to the dangers of power. If you conceded the right to Parliament to tax and if there was no check on it, no limit, it could go on indefinitely. You could be bled white. The power to tax was the power to destroy."
—Pauline Maier, Scholar

Contrary to popular impression, taxes in America existed throughout the colonial period prior to the American Revolution. Colonial governments relied on a variety of taxes to support themselves including poll, property and excise taxes. The great Boston patriot, Samuel Adams, was himself a tax collector, though not a very good one. His accounts were [sterling]8,000 in arrears at the time The Stamp Act was implemented.

What outraged colonists was not so much the tax as the fact that it was being imposed from England. Reaction to the Stamp Act in the colonies was swift and, on occasion, riotous.

In Virginia, Patrick Henry made a reputation for himself in a bold speech before the House of Burgesses. "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles I his Cromwell," he said. "May George III profit from their example."

In Massachusetts, rioters ransacked the home of the newly appointed stamp commissioner, Andrew Oliver. He resigned the position the next day.

Threatening or attacking the Crown-appointed office-holders became a popular tactic against the act throughout the colonies. Though no stamp commissioner was actually tarred and feathered, this Medieval brutality was a popular form of 18th century mob violence in Great Britain, particularly against tax collectors.

Tarring and feathering dated back to the days of the Crusades and King Richard the Lionhearted. It began to appear in New England seaports in the 1760s and was most often used by patriot mobs against loyalists. Tar was readily available in shipyards and feathers came from any handy pillow. Though the cruelty invariably stopped short of murder, the tar needed to be burning hot for application.

By November 1, 1765, the day the Stamp Act was to officially go into effect, there was not a single stamp commissioner left in the colonies to collect the tax.

This is just the start, I will do some more research on The Stamp Act and present it in a future post, but if anyone has anything to add or places to look before I do so, please feel free to leave me a comment.

Back to the Timeline

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Upcoming Event! Hubbardton, VT - July 4, 2008

We will be having a few events on July 4th this year. One event will be a parade through downtown Amherst, NH. It’s usually a very nice parade, and it helps the regiment earn a little money to be able to continue going to the larger, unpaid, weekend events.

Some of our regiment will also be at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth, NH. We did this last year, and it was a lot of fun. They have reenactors from all different time periods, games and shows for the kiddies, and demonstrations from all the reenactors. If you are in that area I highly suggest it. Here's a little information right from their site:

Friday, July 4
12:00 noon–5:00 pm
An American Celebration!
A real old-fashioned fabulous 4th of July! Complete with children’s parade, traditional games and crafts, historic garden tours, music, living history, food and fun for all.
Members FREE. Active military and their families FREE. Kids FREE. Adults: $8:50. Purchase tickets at any event entrance. For more information, call 603-433-1100. Additionally, members joining us for this event will receive a voucher good for a free coupon book at Kittery Premium Outlets.

Another event we will be attending on July 4th weekend is a battle reenactment at Hubbardton, VT. Here is a little information about the event itself. It will be held on July 5th and 6th, though we will be arriving to set up camp on July 4th.

Battle of Hubbardton Revolutionary War Encampment
231st Anniversary
Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site Hubbardton, Vermont
July 5 and 6, 2008, Program

DETAILS SUBJECT TO CHANGE –Please call for details (802-273-2282)
Concession stand and colonial sutler’s shopping row open both days

TICKETS: $5.00 for adults each day and free for children under 15

Saturday, July 5, 2008

9:30 a.m. Historic Site opens to the public
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Camps open to the public; ongoing demonstrations of camp life, engineering, cooking, colonial crafts, medicine, education, and more
History Scavenger Hunt is on (pick up at gate or Visitor Center)
10:30 a.m. American court martial
11:00 a.m. Learning how to drill the American and British ways—for children of all ages (repeated at 1:00 p.m.)
11:30 a.m. Unit drills in camps
1:00 p.m. Guided tours of American and British camps; meet at entrances to either camp
1:30 p.m. Learning how to drill the American and British ways—for children of all ages
2:00 p.m. Mistress Davenport’s 18th century schoolhouse and storytelling
3:00 p.m. Music from the Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife & Drum Corps
3:30 p.m. Narrated tactical demonstration on Monument Hill
4:30 p.m. Guided battlefield tour; meet outside Visitor Center
5:30 p.m. Visitor Center closes
8:00 p.m. Memorial Service at the monument

Sunday, July 6, 2008

8:00 a.m. Narrated Battle of Hubbardton Reenactment on Monument Hill
History Scavenger Hunt is on (pick up at gate or Visitor Center)
9:00 a.m. Revolutionary Trek across Vermont; start of relay to send the battle news to the delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Windsor, VT, at the Old Constitution House
Camps open to public; ongoing demonstrations of camp life, engineering, cooking, colonial crafts, medicine, education, and more
9:30 a.m. Guided battlefield tour, meet at Visitor Center
10:30 a.m. Artillery demonstration; Guided tours of American and British camps; meet at entrances to either camp; Mistress Davenport’s 18th century schoolhouse & storytelling
11:30 a.m. British Court martial
1:00 p.m. Narrated tactical demonstration on Monument Hill
2:00 p.m. Guided battlefield tour; meet outside Visitor Center
Camps close
5:30 p.m. Visitor Center closes

We actually attended this event last year, and as I recall it was a lot of fun. The website has some pictures from last year’s event that includes a few of the regiment:

Kris & Kolby

Kris in Battle

First New Hampshire Boys

Kolby 1
Kolby 2
Kolby 3

Kolby and Jeffrey 1
Kolby and Jeffrey 2
Kolby and Jeffrey 3

Believe me yours faithfully,

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Timeline Project

So this is a project I have wanted to do since I started the blog. I want to take a timeline of the Revolutionary War and explore each event a little more. I really enjoy getting to know the people themselves, and researching that, which I will continue to do, but I also want to have some more knowledge about the events and politics of the time. Right now I know next to nothing. The Revolutionary War was not a time period I was particularly interested in until we fell into this hobby. So if anyone has anything to add to any of my posts in order to point me in the direction of where I can do more research, or if you just have some good info to share, I would love to hear it!

I have decided to use two timelines. One is more general, the other more detailed for the individual battles themselves. However, I am willing to take suggestions for a better timeline if someone has one.

More General Timeline
More Detailed Time Line

I will do my research mostly on the web, though I may venture out to some books as well. But I am a child of the information age, so I prefer the ease of researching on the Internet. Also I am by no means a historian, so I cannot go to the root of all of this and do some hard-core research, I will be using research from other people and, of course, I will cite my source for you. Again if you have suggestions of where I can look for more info, I would appreciate it oh so much!

This will be a work in progress. I will do my best to keep things in date order, but if I find new and interesting information about an older post, I will share it. I want my blog to be a holding ground for all the information I learn about this time period, therefore I am not going to leave anything out for the sake of keeping the blog clean. Not all my sources will be 100% accurate I am sure, but really is anything? If I need to correct something I put in here, I will.

My Timeline as it Stands:


What was the Stamp Act?
Why were the Colonists so mad about the Stamp Act?
What did the Stamp Act really say? Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

Who was Andrew Oliver?
What were Patrick Henry's Resolves?
What is Tar and Feathering?

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Even more on Canes!

I got a great comment today on my canes post. This all started with this post, where I questioned a cane in a picture as to whether it would only be the wealthy that carried one of these. Well the gentleman (Ed St. Germain) that originally posted the pictures on his site, emailed me back about it all, which I posted here. Then just today I got a great comment on that post from Rick Randall, and I wanted to pull it out of the comments and share it with all of you, cause you know I'm all about sharing here. And I want to encourage more of you to leave me comments teaching me something new, cause I have a deep need and willingness to learn. Anyway, here is his great comment:

The reason that a cane became a mark of a physician is simple.


Not only are the smells associated with untreated (by 21st Century standards) disease quite repulsive, but it was believed that disease was passed along via miasmas (bad smells -- in fact, malaria means "bad air").

The cane has a perforated hollow head which is filled with strong smelling herbs and such -- think potpouri on steroids. The idea was that, by overwhelming the bad odors, not only did one avoid the revolting smells, but one protected himself from the disease vector. Both silver and gold were used extensively by physicians.

Note that in engravings and such where the artist is trying to identify a character as a physician, he will invariably be holding his cane head to his nose.

Women of stature or who anticipated working in an area where strong foul odors would be encountered would often do the same thing, except using a locket (or, if poorer, a small linen wrapped packet) on a ribbon instead of a cane. Unfortunately, I cannot go into detail on women's fashions, as my knowledge of them is limited to what I have picked up by osmosis.

Rick Randall
Surgeon and Dentist
British Detatched Hospital

Very interesting and it makes perfect sense! I have heard somewhere in the past (8th grade history? Was I fully awake in that class?), that disease was thought to be spread by bad odors (which I would guess there were a lot of them back then) and they carried these good smelling things to help ward off disease. I never realized they put it right in their canes! Very interesting.

Here are 2 websites that Rick left. I want to point you to them for him, since he was kind enough to share his information with me, I’ll share his with you. Thanks Rick!

Believe me yours faithfully,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

HMS Ontario found!

Recently a Revolutionary War Era British warship was found in Lake Ontario. It is out of diving range for everyone except the most specialized divers with extra special equipment, which may be why it is still fully intact. That along with that fact that it’s in fresh water, not salt water. They say they do not plan on raising the ship, but I hope they do take the time to explore it, could be extremely interesting. Here are a few articles recounting the findings:§ionid=3510212

And here is some text direct from a shorter article published by

ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 13 (UPI) --
The wreck of a British warship that sank in a gale on Lake Ontario in 1780 has been located off the New York shoreline, its finders announced Friday.

Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville said the HMS Ontario is 500 feet below the surface, sitting upright on the bottom with both its masts still in place, the Los Angeles Times reported. The discovery team said they found the vessel between Niagara and Rochester, N.Y., this month after three years of searching.

The Ontario, an 80-foot brig-sloop, was launched in the spring of 1780 on Carleton Island in the St. Lawrence River. The vessel was used as a transport around Lake Ontario until Oct. 31 of that year.

There were 120 people, including women and children -- and possibly 30 American prisoners -- on board when the vessel went down in a sudden, violent gale, the Times said.

The two men located the Ontario with a side-scan sonar invented by Kennard and explored it with a remote-control vehicle designed by Scoville. They said they did not remove anything from the Ontario because they consider it a war grave.

And here is a video that was posted on YouTube:

Believe me yours faithfully,

West Boylston - June 2008 - Sunday

On Sunday there was no battle. The plan was to have some friendly games with the boys and their guns. But the heat was so intense, that all events were tentatively canceled. Even by early morning the boys looked like they were ready to melt.

We started the morning with a lovely breakfast prepared by Debbie. Starting with sausages …

and pancakes …

and finally some melons cut by Kitty …

After breakfast the men went behind the tent and cleaned their guns from the day before.

A lot of people left early in the morning, and I can’t say I blame them. Some of them had a ways to drive, and the heat was just horrid. We decided to wait it out for a bit because we didn’t have as far to drive (comparatively speaking) and we figured it would be easier to pack up after some of the other regiments were gone. I made sandwiches and pasta salad for lunch, and someone decided that they would have one of the competitions that had originally been cancelled. It was a “Last Man Standing” competition. The instructions, as relayed in an email, are as follows:

The final event is known as "The Last Man Standing". All registered participants, including members not part of a team, are encouraged to participate. This event will determine who is the fastest individual within the BB or CL. Time will begin at 35 seconds and count down by 5 seconds until 25 seconds. Time will count down by one second thereafter until there is a last man standing. Time starts from the firing position and ends when the musket is at the shoulder. If time is called -usually through a whistle blow - before the musket is at the shoulder, that individual is disqualified. When the musket is fired, if there is a mis-fire, that individual is disqualified. An individual moves to the next round only when the musket has got to the shoulder within the allotted time and has discharged. If the top three individuals are part of a participating competitive unit, then points will be awarded to each unit that the individual is part of.

I didn’t quite understand how it would work, but it ended up being a lot of fun to watch. Basically the men that were participating lined up and someone would start a timer. Each guy then had to do a dry fire and reload their gun and have the gun to their shoulder ready to fire once time was called. If they made any mistakes they were disqualified. Then they went down the line and each person fired their gun, if it mis-fired they were disqualified. If it fired they continued on to the next round.

It was a quick, but fun, event. I hope they do it again at another event. I think it really engages the crowd. No one from the 1st NH participated, but I think they would if it was done at another event.

Sunday was a fun day and it was so nice to only have an hour drive home. I don’t think we have any other weekend events that are that close. I hope West Boylston makes this a yearly event, though it was small in size, it was big in fun.

If you want to see all the pictures from Sunday check out my gallery here.

Believe me yours faithfully,

Friday, June 13, 2008

West Boylston - June 2008 - News from the Front

There's nothing better then sitting around an open campfire, in the early morning drinking coffee and preparing for the day ahead.

Except when a beautiful lady fetches you a glass of water of course, since it was scorching hot out, Rachel wanted to make sure I was completely hydrated.

While I concentrated on the battle and Rachel concentrated on the water, Kolby concentrated on what was most important, at least to him anyway, filling his tummy.

After the necessities were taken care of we lined up to prepare for battle.

I was exceptionally happy about going into battle.

As we marched into battle Kolby and Jeffery said that they would meet us there.

We waited around for them to show up …

but they must have gotten lost …

or just have gotten a better offer …

Whatever the reason, we waited for them as long as we could, until finally our O.M.V. (official military vehicle) showed up.

Although Dan was still deep in thought about what had happened to the boys.

Upon arrival to the field we took care of the necessities ... our mid morning snack.

In the past my musket didn't work, in fact due to a soft frizzen, it didn't work once in Pennsylvania. In West Boylston (after I had sent it to the shop to get the frizzen hardened), the musket completely redeemed itself. It turned into the little musket that could. That, however, is the reason I don’t have more pictures of the skirmish itself. Since I was fighting in the skirmish, and not trying to fix my musket, I wasn't able to get many pictures, though I did manage a few.

Bruce and myself volunteered for a detachment of six to go into the battle separately from the rest of the group. At first the rest of the group was hesitant to accept me since I'm still sort of new to the hobby ...

but after I got my hands or face a little dirty, they warmed right up.

I do want to take the time to thank them all for allowing me to fight with them and taking the time to teach me so much.

Finally after a morning of combat, sweating it in the woods, we were able to surface stack our muskets …

and mingle amongst our allies and the British. It was the “99 Degree Heat Truce”.

However, a small group did not take part in the truce.

Nana Janie didn't mind the truce she was just disappointed that there were no Indians.

Soon, however, we all had to prepare for another battle …

We did post lookouts …

and while no one was looking we kept the truce going for as long as we could.

Finally though, as nice as the truce was, our friends became our targets …

after the French fired the first shot …

and so then the little musket that could decided that it didn't want to play anymore. So I was left holding the camera. The battle was excellent.

Both sides fought well, even if those that died did so conveniently in the shade.

The red coats fought hard …

but were no match for the mightiness of the continentals …

well some of them anyway.

In the end, the heat got to everyone and since most of them were laying in the shade anyway, or their muskets stopped firing. There was no clear winner in the battle, except maybe the sun ... or Kolby and Jeffery, who were really the smart ones.

And I want to thank the town of West Boylston for having us it was truly a wonderful time.

Very respectful,