Stay tuned for additional information about future Dining Series. Below is a recap of our 2018 – 2019 season. Thank you to everyone who made it great!
Recent Research and Findings Surrounding the Battle of Brandywine
Tuesday October 22nd, 2019
Over the last several years, new research has been conducted over several key areas of the Battlefield as part of a 2013 project called “The Brandywine Battlefield Preservation Plan.” With this project, completed by the Chester County Planning Comission, and through several grant studies funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program, a better understanding of what took place and where in the events leading up to and on September 11, 1777 has arisen. Please join us as we welcome archaeologist Wade Catts, RPA, who has been on the forefront of these studies since their beginnings and who will be presenting some of the most recent results of these studies surrounding the battle.
2018 - 2019 Revolutionary Dining Schedule
October 22, 2019
Recent Research and Findings Surrounding the Battle of Brandywine
by Wade Catts, RPA
The Battle of Brandywine was the largest single-day land engagement of the American Revolution where thirty thousand soldiers between the Continental Army and Crown forces fought on what is today a 35,000-acre battlefield landscape. Over the last several years, new research has been conducted over several key areas of this vast landscape as part of a 2013 project called “The Brandywine Battlefield Preservation Plan.” With this project, completed by the Chester County Planning Comission, and through several grant studies funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program, a better understanding of what took place and where in the events leading up to and on September 11, 1777 has arisen. Please join us as we welcome archaeologist Wade Catts, RPA, who has been on the forefront of these studies since their beginnings and who will be presenting some of the most recent results of these studies surrounding the battle.
Wade P. Catts, MA, RPA is the President of South River Heritage Consulting, LLC. He is an historical archaeologist specializing in history, archaeology, and historic preservation. He has more than 35 years of experience in the field of cultural resource management. Formerly a Director and Principal Archaeologist with John Milner Associates (1993-2014) and Regional Director with Commonwealth Heritage Group (2014-2017), his work experience also includes cultural resource management with academic and government agencies. He holds a graduate degree in American History from the University of Delaware (1988). A Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA), Wade is a member of Society for Historical Archaeology, the Council for Northeast Historical Archeology, the Company of Military Historians, and the Society of Military History.
His research interests include the history of farmsteads and agricultural landscapes, military history and archaeology, environmental history, African-American studies, and Middle Atlantic regional history and historic preservation. His Revolutionary War site experience includes multiple projects in New Jersey (Raritan Landing, Beverwyck, Short Hills, Princeton, Fort Mercer), Pennsylvania (Brandywine, Paoli, Valley Forge, Camp Security, French Creek Powder Works), Delaware (Cooch’s Bridge), New York (Schuylerville, Bennington), and Vermont (Hubbardton). Currently he is working on ABPP funded projects The Battle of the Hook (Gloucester Co, Virginia Oct 1781 – part of the Yorktown Siege), and Stone Arabia-Klock’s Field (Mohawk Valley, NY October 1780).
He has extensive experience with Princeton Battlefield, co-authored of several ABPP-funded studies of the engagement, and has worked with the Civil War Trust in its preservation efforts at Princeton and Brandywine battlefields. He has authored or co-authored articles in Historical Archaeology, North American Archaeologist, Northeast Historical Archaeology, Delaware History, Advances in Archaeological Practice, and The Bulletin of the Archeological Society of Delaware.
September 24, 2019
Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier
The Museum of the American Revolution
Gather around an Irish hearthside in 1798 and meet British Army veteran of the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, Richard St. George. Trouble is brewing in Ireland, and St. George – an artist, wounded veteran, and wealthy landlord – is in the midst of confronting the second violent revolution of his life. Join him as he reflects on his youthful adventures, personal loss, and what his life can tell us about an era of revolutions.
This program is in conjunction with the opening of the Museum of the American Revolution’s special exhibition “Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier”, that will run from September 28, 2019 through March 17, 2020. The special exhibition follows the untold story of Richard St. George, whose personal trauma and untimely death provides a window into the entangled histories of the American Revolution and the ensuing Irish Revolution of 1798.
April 23, 2019
Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren the American Revolution's Last Hero
by Christian Di Spigna, Author
Had he not died at Bunker Hill, Dr. Joseph Warren might have led the country as Washington or Jefferson did. Yet after his death, his life and legend faded, leaving his contemporaries to rise to fame in his place and obscuring his essential role in bringing America to independence. Until now, little has been known of this architect
of the colonial rebellion, whose protests and writings helped unite the colonies against Britain and inspired the Declaration of Independence. Williamsburg author Christian Di Spigna’s definitive new biography of Warren is the product of two decades of research and scores of newly unearthed primary-source documents. Following Warren from his farming childhood and years at Harvard through his role in sparking the rebellion, Di Spigna’s thoughtful, judicious retelling not only restores Warren to his rightful place in the pantheon of Revolutionary greats, it deepens our understanding of the nation’s dramatic beginnings.
Christian Di Spigna is a writer based in New York City and Williamsburg, Virginia. A regular speaker and volunteer at Colonial Williamsburg, Di Spigna is an expert on the history of the era and educates a wide array of audiences.
March 19, 2019
Beneath the Snow: Myths and Realities of the Valley Forge Encampment
by Nancy K. Loane Ed.D.
Many think of the Valley Forge encampment as a place covered by snow and ice, where poorly–clad soldiers huddled around sparse campfires, and rations were scarce, but there’s more to the story. Come and learn about the real weather conditions at the 1777-78 Valley Forge encampment, and of the true clothing and food situation at camp. Discover the heroes who made Valley Forge the “Birthplace of the American Army,” remade the quartermaster department, and nudged France into America’s Revolutionary War. Women and ladies came to camp, too, and what they did at Valley Forge may surprise you. You’ll also hear of a General who was called “the friend and father of us all,” and of General Steuben, who trained Washington’s army to become a unified fighting force, and of Steuben’s faithful four-legged friend. In fact, in your journey beneath the snows of the 1777-78 encampment you may discover a Valley Forge that you never knew even existed.
Dr. Nancy K. Loane, a former seasonal park ranger at Valley Forge National Historical Park, is the author of Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment. This critically acclaimed book, noted as being both “easy to read” and “well documented” received The American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia’s “Book of the Year Award.” Nancy has also published several articles about Valley Forge and writes for the Journal of the American Revolution and other publications.
A captivating speaker, Nancy has given over 200 presentations throughout the country, including at the Library of Congress, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Museum of the American Revolution, The David Library of the American Revolution, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and the University of Texas. Her presentations include those on Martha Washington, the Valley Forge encampment, the soldiers at Valley Forge and their letters, the women who came to Valley Forge, and Baron Von Steuben. Nancy’s fascinating, fact-filled talks bring those who wintered at Valley Forge to life and bring a new perspective to the famous Valley Forge encampment itself.
Nancy, who was a board member of the Valley Forge Park Alliance for more than fifteen years, is an honorary life-time member of the Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She has participated in four archaeological digs at Valley Forge National Historical Park and currently volunteers at the park. A former Pennsylvania Commonwealth Speaker, Dr. Loane has also appeared on several radio shows, the Pennsylvania Cable Network, and C-Span, where she was featured in the “Martha Washington” segment in a series about our nation’s First Ladies.
February 19, 2019
The Siege of Yorktown: The Decisive Engagement of the American War for Independence
by Glenn Williams, Ph.D.
Although no one doubts the importance of the engagement, few histories of the Yorktown campaign of 1781 give more than casual mention of the actual conduct of the siege, while spending far more ink in describing the fights for Redoubts 9 and 10, or Lord Cornwallis’ troops grounding their arms at the surrender field to the accompaniment of the British tune “World Turned Upside Down.” The military operation which culminated in the British surrender, however, was a classic example of the successful application of a well-established and formal tactical doctrine. This presentation explores the intricacies and the technical expertise required to carry out an effective and successful siege operation, illustrated by the events at Yorktown. The explanation includes descriptions of 18th-century field fortification design and construction, as well as the methods for successfully reducing them. Specific topics, such as the purpose and rationale for building parallel and approach trenches, as well as the employment of various classes of artillery, are also covered. At the conclusion, participants will better understand how the Franco-American forces were able to destroy the combat power of a major British field army defending a well-fortified position without resorting to a bloody frontal assault. Although it did not mark the end of hostilities, the siege of Yorktown proved to be the decisive battle of our War for Independence.
Dr. Glenn F. Williams is a retired Army officer who entered public history as a second career. He is currently a Senior Historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Fort McNair, DC, where his previous positions included Historian of the National Museum of the U.S. Army Project and Historian of the Army Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration. He has also served as Historian of the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service, Curator/ Historian of the USS Constellation Museum, and Assistant Curator of the Baltimore Civil War Museum – President Street Station. He is the author of several books, including Year of the Hangman: George Washington’s Campaign Against the Iroquois (Westholme), recipient of the Thomas J. Fleming Award for the Outstanding Revolutionary War Book of 2005, and named one of “The 100 Best American Revolution Books of All Time” by the Journal of the American Revolution in the spring 2017 issue. His newest book, “Dunmore’s War: The Last Conflict of America’s Colonial Era,” was released in May 2017. In 2018 he was recognized for contributions to the study of 18 th Century American military history with the Shelby Cullom Davis Award of the Society of Colonial Wars and the Judge Robert K. Woltz Award of the French and Indian War Foundation. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Maryland, College Park.
January 22, 2019
The Facts Remain the Same, Only the Meaning Changes
by Adrian Martinez, Artist
Internationally known Artist, Adrian Martinez, will present and discuss his latest series of oil paintings, oil sketches, and drawings which serve as the groundwork for his current project depicting the largest land engagement of the American Revolution, the Battle of Brandywine, and its immediate aftermath.
Beginning with the recently completed “Cornwallis at Dawn” and “Trimble’s Ford: 10:00am,” Martinez plans to depict twelve evocative moments inspired by the day long Battle of Brandywine of September 11, 1777. His presentations will focus on each stage of his process- the inspiration he draws from the rich history of early America, especially in Chester County, the sources for his historical research, and his use of photographs, reenactors, and his own imagination when creating each painting. Martinez will particularly focus on his most recent painting, “Looting of the Gilpin Home.” The Gilpin home is located within Brandywine Battlefield Park and was the scene of English and German military confronting the Quaker, Gideon Gilpin, with the consequences of his support for the American cause.
Adrian Martinez is an internationally known professional artist whose work combines a rigorously classical technique with an intensely emotional vision. He was born in Philadelphia, PA, but grew up in Washington, D.C. He studied painting and printmaking and received degrees from the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, Maryland (BFA), St. Martin’s School of Art in London, England (CS) and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana (MA). Adrian is also an art instructor and lecturer who speaks on subjects which include art history, old master techniques, art appreciation, and early Pennsylvania History.
President George W. and Mrs. Laura Bush commissioned him to paint two large landscapes commemorating the National Park’s theme for the White House holiday season in 2007 and these two works are now installed in the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Adrian also designed the White House Holiday Card for President and Mrs. Bush in 2001.
October 23, 2018
Of Skulls, Severed Limbs, and Skeletons
by Robert A. Selig, Ph.D.
Following the Battle of Brandywine, the British forces remained in the area for several days to not only replenish their supplies, but to collect their dead and wounded from the field of battle. Battlefield clean-up is a topic rarely covered by modern historians yet following almost any military engagement, there are corpses to dispose of. Who does that? When? Where? How? Dr. Robert A. Selig, a renowned military historian and lecturer, will address these and related questions in regards to this often overlooked topic.
Dr. Robert Selig is a historical consultant who received his Ph.D. in history from the Universität Würzburg in Germany in 1988. He is a specialist on the role of French forces under the comte de Rochambeau during the American Revolutionary War and currently serves as project historian to the National Park Service for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Project (W3R). In 2011, the French government honored his research and publications on the contributions to France and her role in the American War of Independence by making him a Chevalier de l’ordre des palmes académiques.
September 18, 2018
How King George III Learned about the Battle of Brandywine
by Thomas J. McGuire, Author
The Archibald Robertson Map of the Battle of Brandywine was re-discovered in the King’s Map Collection at Windsor Castle in 2000 by Thomas McGuire. This amazing document was created in the three days after the battle by Captain Archibald Robertson, a competent artist and talented army engineer. His collection of over 70 wash drawings, now in the New York Public Library together with his journal, are perhaps the greatest eyewitness images we have of the war. Together with a four-page key, McGuire takes us through the course of the main parts of the battle, namely Cornwallis’s flank attack and Knyphausen’s push across Chads’s Ford. This map is critical for understanding what actually happened at Brandywine and clarifies many of the primary written account of the battle.
Thomas J. McGuire is a renowned Rev War era Author; some of his works include The Philadelphia Campaign series and Stop the Revolution.