tv Patrick O Donnell The Indispensables CSPAN August 6, 2021 1:31pm-2:32pm EDT
senators will continue work on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. it funds roads, bridges, public transit, railways, water projects, airports, broadband internet and electric vehicle charging stations. when the senate is back in station at 11:00 a.m. eastern on saturday, you can see coverage on c-span2. next, military historian and author patrick o'donnell on his book the indispensable spirit it chronicles the marvel regimen of the continental army during the american revolution which he says played a crucial role in both battle and as protectors of george washington. >> good evening. i am kevin butterfield. the executive director at washington mount vernon. i am coming to you from that library for exciting book talk with patrick o'donnell. i want to thank the motor
company for sponsoring not just a stock many talks over the years. a great series where we have authors come and talk about their newest works. this is the book release for this exciting book. i dois want to mention one upcoming program. in just two nights we have our third lecture. richard earned stream. seeing the education of john adams. tickets are still available. please consider joining us on wednesday night.t we film live from the reading room here and mount vernon. the official book launch of patrick o'donnell's new book the indefensible with the subject title to shape the country, for in the navy and rode washington o across delaware. officially released by the press today. i want to let you know that we have a number of autographed cough that are going out to people who submitted questions for this event. we have some exciting questions
lined up. during tonight talk, let us know what youns want to know from patrick. we can answer those questions here tonight. this is a great book. i could not put it down. they called it a novel like account of this fascinating story you are about to hear about from patrick. it really moves very, very quickly. it is an exciting story. there is a lot to care from this great account from the indefensible spirit i will tell you little bit more about patrick o'donnell. he has a best-selling critically acclaimed military historian. this is actually his second book on the revolutionary war. the first one, washington a more
about misinformation. it is about a lot of things in this book that really resonate with people. let me just sort of take you back right now into one of the most crucial periods. the battlee of brooklyn had just been waged and the battle had been lost. washington's army was defeated. wrote a book called washington's immortal. more precious in history than any other. washington was a desperate rearguard action. washington's army was able to retreat in brooklyn heights. the british army which had surrounded the american army there, they were about to come around, come up the east river and also these lines were creeping forward. it was a time in our history where all could be lost.
washington had a decision to make. retreat or fight. washington widely decided to retreat. this is a time when all could be lost. the entire army could be surrounded and destroyed. everything really rested upon the soldiers of the men in the book i have written about. washington decided to retreat. he had to cross a mile-long river, the east river. let me sort of take you back in time to august 29, august 30. a massive nor'easter that tilted both armies for two days straight after the battle of brooklyn. creeping forward to the american positions at brooklyn heights. the army was closer and closer to annihilating the american army. washington decides to escape. john glover, they basically
gather all the boats and they man those boats and they ferried the army across the east river. this is not an easy task. the eastt river at the time is swarming. the wind is not cooperating. on top of that, a loyalist sees what isnd happening and sends an enslaved individual to try to inform how the americans are escaping. this individual wanders upon some soldiers that speak german and they are not able to understand what he is trying to say. the americans are evacuating. glover does not even know it until a couple hours before the evacuation, the greatest retreat in americanth history and world history. they man the boat and as they man the boat, the wind does not
cooperate in the tides are horrendous. there is something very special about these men. they have worked together for years. fishing the grand banks. the most treacherous water in the world what makes them unique as they are also arguably the first diversemy regimen in the united states army. here it is african-american, native americans, hispanic americans all working together. they work together. a situation where race did not matter and life-and-death situations, literally, the weather could tilt people. they had to rely upon one another. they were relying upon one another that night to pull off one of the greatest retreat in history. they rode across the river. the wind was not working. the entire evacuation was about to be called off.
the person delivering the message to washington could not find washingtont that night. they still went and glover's men pushed them across. against all odds, they conducted their retreat. at that time, the wind changed in the favor of americans. glover's men were able to transport the army across the east river. in one case, almost one dozen times against all odds. as don was coming, a miraculous fog. continued to stream the movements of the army as it was crossing. john glover and the men from massachusetts delivered the army to safety. 10,000 men were delivered to safety. this is one reason which makes
them indispensable. they saved the army that time. one of many situations. literally, two weeks later, the british land again at kips bay. the marvel headers that make a stand while the rest of the army retreats. it appears washington is even catatonic as the british are attacking. they are frozen practically in time. sosomeone has to literally come and bring them out of the battle as a british are advancing towards them literally hundreds of miles away. they make the stand as the army melts away. the army melts away. they make this desperate rearguard stand. they are able to reform at the bottom of harlem heights. there is a small victory. the marvel headers that are involved, some really t interesting operations duringn this time where they conduct
raids against the british line. in many ways, they are precursor to special operations units that weur know today. they are doing things that are really special and extraordinary. they launch fighter ship against the british prior to the battle against brooklyn where they nearly take out what is equivalent to a british battleship had they also have what is known as the guard. the commander-in-chief's guard or the lifeguard. an extraordinary unit. a precursor many ways to the secret service. washington's hand picked men that guard him. it is not a small group of men. it mushrooms up to 200 men. these men are involved in operations and battles, but they also guard papers. they actct as aid to camp in may ways. a marvel header that leads this
unit and shapes it and forms it. it is quite an extraordinary story in and of itself. not only do they save and protect the unit, but there is a little bit of mystery involved it prior to the battle of brooklyn, there were several members of the guard that had been leaning towards the british royalties, if you will. they are lured into a plot to assassinate washing in the and that untold relatively unknown story is told in the indispensable's as well. they uncover the plot, luckily. the guard actually protects washington and they take out their own. the first american to be executed is to be a member of the guard. that is a great, fascinating story. as the book moves forward, it is
the indispensable's that are washington's elite force. in many of the battles in new york. the british, once again land up in the northern part of manhattan in a place called throngs point. it is here that the marvel headers along with other unit basicallyho rappel and amphibios invasion from the greatest navy of the world at the time. the royal navy which is an extraordinary feat in and of itself. they land a little bit further up the coast that pelham bay or palace point. it is here that glover's army, i'm sorry, the brigade which includes the marblehead regimen once again stayed the army. they fight, initially, close to
the landing point, but they fall back and it is a collapsible defense. kind of an emerging part of the american way of war which is unique and ever-changing. it is still ever-changing to this day. we were not using conventional tactics of european armies. crawling back from a fixed position. in this case, falling back behind stone walls and allowing the british to advance, but still taking down many many of their numbers. it is here that the indispensable helped really save washington's army once again. and, you know, from this point on, we enter fort washington where many many americans are captured , nearly 3000 americans. including some marvel headers that were captured early on
during the -- they were basically wounded, but are recovering in fort washington and are captured by the british. you know, so much of this book consists of application files that are, in many ways, the unknown oral histories of the american revolution. if you were lucky enough to survive the american revolution, you could apply for a pension application in 1820. and you would go down to the local courthouse and swear under oath what you saw and did. here are some of the great oral history accounts of what happened during the war that are untapped and it is in their own words. the indispensable's is filled with these unknown stories from unknown americans. a boots on the ground sort of
band of governors. a telling of the war. now velasquez what the wall street journal said today in their review. it also has over 1000 and notes. all of the words in the book from these americans are true statements from their accounts. not something that i made. it is very compelling in many cases. as we enter november and december, this is some of the darkest days of america. things arere politically collapsing. the military victories of the british army that they have obtained fromoo brooklyn, from fort washington, from the other victories has caused a swing within the united states where people arere abandoning the cau.
new jersey people are signing oath of allegiance to the crown. congressman, people that have signed theti declaration of independence are now jumping sides. things are now changing. the enlistments within the regiments are all set to expire and they are expiring. washington's army is literally melting away within his eyes. he decides that he must do something. it is a very desperate situation he decides to attack the hessian out post in trenton. it is here that the marvel headers have perhaps their finest hour. it is a situation where everything changes. everything is on the line. everything is about to collapse. it is on the shoulders of the
marvel headers once again. washington has an elaborate plan. he always has often elaborate plans. they will attack trenton. the marvel headers are basically taking the army across the delaware river. the other three prongs are also going forward. all of them fail except for the marvel headers. only the marvel headers had the skill to cross the delaware river which is filled with i.c.e. fast flowing. there is a nor'easter that night. nothing is going according to plan. all of the other prongs that lead to washington defense has failed. the marvel headers are able to get the army across, intact. at least one portion of it. the other three failed.
that night, they are behind schedule. about 12 miles above trenton. they have to march through sleet and snow into trenton much of the army at this time is barefoot. they are literally, their tracks are filled with blood in the snow. but they push forward. the marvel headers are leading part of the element. they push down towards the southern portion of trenton. this is a very, very important point. without borders, they attack a key bridge. they capture the bridge along with the guard. and then they set up a series of canons on the high ground. the rest of washington's army is attacking. during those eight teen century engagements, both armies or both
sides battle it out. one side is not doing well and they retreat. johan had no avenue of retreat thanks to john glover in the indispensable. they captured thehe bridge. they sealed the retreat and they sealed the fate of the entire imregiment. it changed the course of history. and from there, the army sailed back across the delaware thanks to the marblehead men and it is unfortunately a little bit worse than the trip over because the men had captured the rough supply and it was a drunk cruise feback over and they fell over. they captured a large band of arms and many cannons. and then it sets up a week
later, roughly a week later the second battle of trenton. washington does not necessarily want to fight, but his hand is sort of forest by a militia group which go over a little bit early without order and washington decides to reinforce them and they hold a bridge against all odds. half of the marblehead regimen, may be less or a little bit e more, really hard to tell, sts with washington. the other group is exhausted and they go ahead. it could have something, theyba fight at the battle of princeton and they change the course of history. the 10 crucial days, they change the course of history and three battles. it is the marvel headers, they make a difference, but the story
does not end there. what i mean by that is that the marvel header saved the army. i will get to that story in a minute. first, i want to go through several of the characters of the book so that you get a feel for what this book is a bout. the first character, if you will, or individual that i like to highlight is john glover. the central character of the indispensable. john glover is a self made man. fights during the french and indian war. he is a cobbler. he is also a bartender. with the money he makes from bartending and cobbling shoes, he is able to buy a ship. and then he is able to buy more ships. he builds a fleet of ships and becomes a s very wealthy man
himself. through trading. marblehead's, fortunes are made on fish. cod is the commodity. it is one third of the economy sein massachusetts in 1774. they fish the grand banks. the grand banks are some of the most treacherous waters in the world at that time. miles away from boston, but they sale up there and they fish. they gather fish and they, you know, it is a life-and-death situation many times. these giant waves against storms. they work together. it is a diverse community. it has native americans. itaf has hispanic americans, the individuals are ahead of their time. in many ways.
it is a progressive talent for this time. .many of the men in the indispensable are hardened abolitionists. they are at the forefront of american civil rights before there were several rights. they were pushing for the abolition of slavery including john glover. it is these crews that are diverse, that are working together, but it is also a situation where the crown is interfering with their lives interfering with their lives constantly. john glover cruise is impressed by the british navy. coming along side of a ship come aboard the ship then say, you are going to be a member of the royal navy. you are respectively a slave for life. that individual is taken aboard the royal navy ship and made a member of the royal navy for
life. there is no freeing that individual unless they escape someday. this is a factor that causes a break from great britain. it is one of the factors. regulation, glover's enterprises were regulated by the crown 300. inin 1775, something called the fisheries act would be something established where a crown would literally not allow the marvel headers to fish that space. effectively putting out of work the entire town which caused a great deal of resentment. the judges were taken away from them and installed with royal officials. their government was changed. all of these issues had a political change within the colonies. they would become the spearhead along the revolution.
it would also be an idea of the revolution. it was the marvel headers that would play a critical role in this. in 1773 and 74, the ships also brought home with it a virus that changed america and changed the town. the town would be divided politically. the virus of smallpox. people within the town were being infected. the patriots within the town came up they novel plan. to try to publicly deal with the virus itself which was causing these political fissures and causing massive deaths. if you are familiar with smallpox, it would scar people and kill you in many cases it was highly contagious. they set up test houses to contain the virus. the inoculation hospital which was cutting-edge for the time
was set up by john glover, daniel bond and many of the other main characters in this book. a lot of us were not on board, though. as the hospital started to produce results, it also produced and s revised some infections . which, the loyalists used it to their advantagee incite the mo. dozens of men rode on boats to the island where the inoculation hospital was in place and they burned it to the ground with people inside. remarkably, nobody was killed. the loss of the hospital caused john glover and the other patriots of the town over 2000 pounds in damages. so they put out for the sheriff to get the men that had done that. they seized those individuals
and they were brought to jail for trial. the loyalists in the town used the situation of the virus to incite the mob and they attacked the jail with hundreds of individuals.rs they broke into the doors of the jail with axes and crowbars and freed the two men. at that point, at the main of the book, their houses are surrounded by the angry mob which are hell-bent on potentially killing them all. john glover came up with a very novel solution to deal with the problem. his version of self-defense was to wheel a canon inside the foyer of his house. i recall finding the original papers for his family. the mob circled the house, hundreds ofe men ready to kill them, he ordered the doors
thrust open in the canon was there in the foyer facing the mob. he had a torch in his hand and he told them to disperse. and they did. he made a stand. it was emblematic of what, you know, how john glover would conduct himself for the rest of the war. it is here that, you know, it is john glover bringing in the main supplies of gun power through their context with spain. part of the revolutionary war and as the war moves forward, john glover is involved in lexington and concorde. he is involved in many of the other battles. and, he also has the job of guarding general washington prior to b the battle of bunker hill. it is here that john glover forges a very special relationship with ther-
commander-in-chief. he forms a level of trust and his trust, general washington looks upon john glover to solve a problem for him. gunpowder is a crucial necessary as john adams says the colonists had plenty of guns, they had no gunpowder in the british knew it. they try to disarm us through gun power. it would be the contacts at the marvel headers had with spain that brought in that crucial gunpowder that would also be a novel way that washington would try to capture more gunpowder by attacking the british stores at halifax. he needed a ship or ships to do that operation. he turned to john glover to create a navy. and the navy, which is really kind of preposterous is to take basically a fishing boat that
john glover had come out that hannah, which was about 74 tons and somehow take on the greatest navy of the world. that is exactly what they did. they attacked british ships. and the story of the navy is extraordinary. it is's some of the most colorfl and american history. the red dragon that had the giant cloak,gi the red cloak tht has an incredible sense of humor. martindale who decides to out finished sit guns. spend a lavish amount of money. he is immediately captured by the s british. martindale sells out his crew to the british. he has a really amazing story. they put his crew in iron. .... i ....
within thelf navy itself, they attack canada without authorization. there's a mutiny, one of the first in the united states history. but they also capture critical powder ships at the right time at the right place. another individual that i'd like to talk about is dr. nathaniel bond. the harvard-trained resurrectionist, the resurrectionist is a body
snatcher. dr. bond was -- there was a critical shortage of cadavers at the time, and people would literally -- doctors would raid graveyards to snatch bodies to work on them to find out their anatomy. but dr. bond is really an extraordinary hero. he's on cat island, you know, working on the inoculation, and it's here that he saves many. he's at the forefront of smallpox. it's his specialty, his expertise. dr. bond is also a member of the regiment and trains with them, drills with them. he participated in the battle of lexington and concord. but according to his hippocratic oath which he follows very seriously, he treats the british soldiers that are wounded at lexington and concord. for it he's cancelled.
the patriots in the town believe that he is now a loyalist, and his house is surrounded. he writes an extraordinary letter, which i have here in my hand, the original, where he begs for his life saying that there are thousands of people that will kill him at any moment. please send a detail of men to bring me to a court-martial so i can reveal the truth acts of what happened. he confides in his true friend joseph warren as well as albert sherry. they have the court-martial. the facts are revealed. dr. bond is exonerated from fake crimes. he didn't do anything wrong. he just helped people, which is what he's supposed to do. but instead of melting away, and being -- not being happy with the situation, he decided to
fight. he joined the regiment as their surgeon. dr. bond then goes on to be a company commander. he fights through all of the major battles of the american revolution, which is really i mean extraordinary in and of itself. that's the battle of trenton, when about half the regiment goes back and they have a reason for going back. at the time, it is economically devastated. many of their wives are starving. they go back to protect their wives and loved ones and families. dr. bond stays on along with many of the other men. they continue to stay on, and it's washington himself that asks dr. bond to inoculate the army. at the time the virus was killing nearly 20% of the army. it was being devastated by it.
dr. bond sets up all the inoculation facilities. he supervises and manages the entire process and inoculates the army. one historian claims it's washington's greatest strategic decision to inoculate the army because then they were able to fight and continue the battle, but for it, a man that was initially cancelled, the man that was initially labelled a loyalist dies, perishes from his own -- from basically inoculating the army. those are some of the characters in the book, along with a forgotten founder. my favorite word for him is grumbletarian, kind of an ornery guy that was bird like.
he was the intellectual main spring in many ways of the early revolution. it's el drich gary that leads in service of the country over self. he takes abstract concepts and really makes them reality. but he also takes one of the largest trading fleets in the colonies, which he and his family own and converts them into supply lines. as i mentioned earlier, the [inaudible] was gunpowder. all the major operations that the british were conducting at the early part of the war were to take and disarm americans and take our vital supply of gunpowder. without gun powder, no revolution could be fought. but it's gary that comes up with a concept, and he's one of the first in writing to talk about foreign alliances, and he and
others forge the alliance with spain. it's through his contacts that lasts 30 to 40 -- that have gone on for 20 or 30 years that he forges a vital relationship and they bring in the powder to the colonies. he's also a future vice president. he's the future congressman. gerrymandering is named after him, bill of rights, the electoral college, all of these things are part of eldrich gary. the last thing i'm going to talk about very quickly is the diverse members of this unit. in many cases we only know them by their first name, in some cases a roman name or greek name, cato. these are extraordinary individuals. they are unsung and forgotten. the importance of the regiment is not necessarily -- the
strength is their diversity, but their greatest strength was their unity and these men working together as a team, and there are incredible members of this regiment, such as caesar glover, manuel soto, cato prince, that i looked at their pension files, and these men died penpenniless, but they fou through the entire war in the most epic and great operations of the war, bringing the marblehead regiment, bringing the army to safety multiple times. these are the forgotten members of the revolution. they are all extraordinary in what they did, and it's -- you know, a diversity and model that we wouldn't see tragically for over 170 years in america's
armed forces. but these are the men that were in -- men and women, the book covers some incredible women in this book as well that did extraordinary things. they were at the right place at the right time. in many cases, the sacrifice that they made is epic. marblehead alone had over 600 widows at the end of the american revolution. it's that story, it is that sacrifice. it is the reason why i wrote the indispensables, for what they -- i think most americans don't necessarily appreciate. our founding story is our greatest story. and the marbleheaders changed the course of history. thank you very much. i'm happy to take questions.
>> this has been a great introduction for this book. i'm excited for people to have a chance to read it which they can now do. we have questions coming in. there's a question i really like from michelle about the cohesiveness of this unit. she asked, how did a diverse group, a cohesive unit, which is something you covered. we think of modern soldiers acting as one. did that happen here? how were they successful, and how did they make that happen? >> i think a lot of it has to do with what happened prior to the revolution. in many cases, many of these men were on fishing boats, where life and death decisions had to be made within seconds. and the color of your skin or your race was irrelevant. it was about trust. trust and teamwork was forged over years of time. many of them had forged those
bonds. they forged bonds of friendship. there were bonds of family too, where they literally -- many of the men in this unit were very interconnected through familial ties and they were best friends. there was -- i researched this unit extensively. there was no desertion. i found a couple examples which is unheard of for the 18th century american units, where desertion was often rife, but it was those close connections with family and community that tied them together. >> another question that's come in from elizabeth, i like this one as well. what happens next; right? after the trenton princeton campaign, did colonel glover and marbleheaders return home? what do we know about text? you mentioned eldrich gary. that's one example. can you tell us more about the
after life? >> it's a complicated story. half the unit -- maybe less than half the unit stays with washington. this is an extraordinary moment. right before the battle at the creek, washington uses his great speaking abilities to beg and plead the army to stay. many step forward and serve, and many of them are marbleheaders, and many of them die as a result of that service, including dr. bond. john glover along with other members of the marblehead regiment return home to marblehead, and they form a new -- glover is made a general. they form a new -- he's part of -- he commands a new brigade. they form a new regiment. but many of the men take to the
sea, and they take to the sea in many cases, many of these captains, the great captains, marblehead captains have become part of the continental navy, such as john manley and tucker, and they are some of the greatest fighting captains of the revolutionary war. the book is filled with incredible scenes of ship to ship fighting, but also ships that are like, i mean, in some cases rotting -- and these men literally have to make repairs on the fly or they have to make their way to a small cove that there's hardly anybody there, and then they have to drag logs out of there to make [inaudible] and everything else. it is really quite extraordinary story of american ingenuity. many of them become privateers, unlike washington's navy where they were members of the army that were literally at sea. these are individuals that are private that are also earning a commission, slightly different, but they're working in the
employ of the massachusetts government in many cases. many of them die, including glover's son that dies at sea. and many of them are never seen again. >> another question that's come in that's a little specific, but i bet there's a great story here. justin, another fellow at the washington library, asked about the average age of the members of the marblehead regiment. what can you tell us about that? are they young? are they old? is there a wide range? >> i've been able to -- i was able to take the roles that existed, and it's fragmentary. the average age was around 24 for many of the men. but it varied. there were some obviously older men and younger men. some -- the book also captures a story of boy soldiers, and in many cases, they were drummer
boys. music was a very important part of being able to communicate on an 18th century battle. you needed drums to relay orders. and many of the younger members were musicians, drums or pipers, and they went to war with their fathers. we have some really extraordinary stories of father and son teams in the book. >> another question that's coming in. this is from tammy. she asked a good question about the recognition -- obviously your book is a great example of how centuries later, we can still discover and recognize the service. what kind of recognition did these people receive during their lifetime? >> most of these men and women b received zero recognition. in fact, most of them were bankrupt after the war. and what you see in the pension file applications after the war,
if they were lucky enough to even make it this long, they are penniless. this is especially true for the soldier mariners of color. they're extremely impoverished. and glover himself is racked with ptsd. we can kind of divine that through his letters to washington, where he's not able to sleep, most of the time, and he -- you know, marblehead was a source of great wealth in massachusetts prior to the war. it was the second largest city, and it's really reduced to a shell after the war. and individual families are greatly impoverished. in the book itself in 1777, late 76, i bring out the women of the town, the town of beverly and marblehead. beverly is also an important part of this book as well.
one of the companies led by captain brown is from beverly and they have their base there. they literally riot. the women of the town take up muskets and raid the food stores in the town because they are starving. i mean, this is a gritty gritty war. it is a civil war, where americans are pitted against americans. they are impoverished. it is a different war than most people have read in their grade school history books. >> another question from the audience. i'm excited to hear your thoughts on this one. how did glover manage to bring together so many different people in this regiment? can you talk a little bit about the efforts to integrate? are there thoughtful and deliberate things that someone like glover needs to do in order to make this happen, or did it come out of the community from which he came? >> i think it comes out of the community. there was no overt effort to
coerce people to serve. i think that's an important element of this book. they willingly served. and in many case, it is the poorest members of the community, as well as the elite members of the community. they are all serving together, side by side. and i mean, you've got literally, like glover and eldrich gary and jeremiah lee, for instance, these are exceptionally -- jeremiah lee, in particular, was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. he's initially their colonel, serving with the other members of the community, which are not well off at all, and they are not doing it under coercion. they're doing it because they feel it's their duty, and what i find really extraordinary is the amount of sacrifice as the war progresses, and the community
itself is bankrupt, there's a tremendous amount of pressure to return home, to give up the war, but most of these men or many of these men continue their service, against all odds, which i find extraordinary. >> one -- obviously we are here at mount vernon. a great opportunity to ask a george washington question. what was the connection like between glover and washington? did they share an intimacy? did they have a candid and frank relationship with one another? what do you know about that? this question is coming from someone that mount vernon inside irs know well. -- insiders know well. >> that relationship is an important one. it is why these marbleheaders are the indispensables. that relationship is forged in early 1775, at a giant mansion
in cambridge, that washington takes over as his headquarters, and he -- it's the marbleheaders that are in some ways the first to guard the headquarters. he requests them as time goes on because he forms a very intimate relationship of trust with john glover and with the adjutant of that unit. at the time caleb gibbs who later becomes in charge of the life guard or the commander-in-chief guard, and this relationship is incredibly important. washington can trust these men at the most crucial inflection points of the war. it is at the american dunkirk that he places his entire trust on the shoulders of the marblehead men. it's at the bay.
it's later at trenton where john glover -- where washington asks glover can you bring us across the river? he says don't worry about that. my boys have got it. glover had the confidence in his men, and washington had confidence in the marbleheaders. as i said earlier, washington is the indispensable man of the revolution, it is the marbleheaders who were the indisens bl men of the revolution -- indispensable men of the revolution. >> margo has a great question about the training, what comes into the shaping of the ability of this wonderful regiment? was it life experience? was it the experience they had coming in long before the war broke out? how were they taught, if there was more to it, to effectively be the regiment they became?
>> the men were -- had undergone training as a militia unit, prior to the war, where they would train, in the grounds, in and around marblehead. you know, it was, you know, not necessarily very -- taken very seriously because they would go right to the tavern afterwards and drink punch and grog after the training, but it was really forged these men as what's been said is arguably the greatest fighting unit ever to take arms for the united states is their experience prior to the war, fishing in the grand banks and, you know, as merchants, where they had to battle not only the royal navy from [inaudible] but also mother nature in some of the greatest seas at the time, you know. i mean, the grand banks were unforgiving, were literally -- i
mean, every year hundreds of men would die from the sea. this bred hard men that were very very tough americans and also some pretty hard drinkers too, but that's another story. but they were very tough individuals. >> there's another question that i like coming in. this is from frank who asked about the marbleheaders involved elsewhere. we talked about water crossings. we see one on the cover of your book. were any marbleheaders involved in other campaigns, including in the south? >> not directly. after the trenton campaign, glover would operate in the north primarily. i mean there's a handful of individuals that may have effectively served in the south and other units, because they had traveled that way one way or another.
but for the most part they did not operate in the south, but the story of the marblehead men is unique, in the operations they had conducted. for instance, they had conducted raids against the british, and they had even launched a series of fire ships against the british in, you know, a couple weeks before the battle of brooklyn where several men had died or perished as they drove their ships, flaming ships directly into what effectively were british battleships. one of the marbleheaders perished -- several perished in the process. it is extraordinary heroism. >> another question i'm curious to ask, this might be my last opportunity because we're running out of time together. but justin posted a question early on that i'm excited to
hear your thoughts about, about leadership. he asked about leadership qualities that washington had that we might learn from. let me ask you to expand that a bit. not just washington, but also other key figures including glover. is there a leadership trait that you see is key to the success of this regiment? >> absolutely. it's -- this book is filled with leadership examples of individuals that were willing to sacrifice their very lives and their fortunes for their cause, for their country, which i can't even -- it's mind boggling in many ways to try to describe this, where at the end of the war, many of these individuals were penniless, and they were broken men, physically as well as emotionally. scars of war would continue with them. but one of the leadership traits that they had was they were
willing to -- they would never ask somebody else to do something that they wouldn't be willing to do. in many cases, they led from the very front and were willing to sacrifice their lives. that leadership is really essential. it's something that is a lesson that we can understand and learn from today. >> this has been a remarkable opportunity, patrick. my camera is gone. let me talk to you from here, from where i'm standing at my podium. thank you very much. any closing words you want to say about your research project here, but also what comes next? >> well, i do want to say thank you to everybody that has stayed this evening and sacrificed their time for my presentation. i really want to thank the
ladies of mount vernon for sponsoring me and allowing me to really conduct research in i think one of the finest facilities in america, and it's one of the greatest -- i've never found a better place to write books here at the house. it's a special place, and i'm just extremely grateful for the opportunity to be here and to have conducted the research and to write this book. >> the book everyone is "the indispensables, the diverse soldier mariners who shaped the country, formed the navy and rode washington across the delaware". this is the official book release. so thrilled to have patrick here to talk about this book. pick it up now. buy it now. we have it available at the mount vernon shop, and thank you very much for being here with us tonight. patrick and everyone. >> thank you. it was an honor kevin, thank you. tonight on book tv, on c-span 2, a look at some of this year's best-selling books,
starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the book "chronicling the secret service from the kennedy assassination to the insurrection at the capitol on january 6th". then an interview with the author of "breaking the news" which argues that the mainstream media reports fake news. later, michael lewis on his book "the premonition" which tells the story of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and the scientists who worked to convince the u.s. government to take the virus seriously.
the u.s. senate is not in session today to allow senators to attend the funeral of former senator mike enzi in wyoming. they are back in session at 11:00 a.m. eastern on saturday. senators will continue work on the 1.2 trillion dollars bipartisan infrastructure bill. it funds roads, bridges, public transit, railways, water projects, airports, broad band internet, and electric vehicle charging stations. when the senate is back in session at 11:00 a.m. eastern saturday, you can see live coverage on c-span 2. next on book tv, malcolm gladwell on his book "the bomber mafia" which examines the development of precision bombing during world war ii. he spoke at a virtual event
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