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tv   [untitled]    November 6, 2022 1:00am-2:00am EST

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at bronner farm, we are also stationing full time employees and seasonal employees over there, so we are able to keep it open monday through friday, seven days a week during at least the summer season. right now we're only opening the house on the weekends, much like the stone house. but in any case, hopefully you'll get a chance to go over there sometime this weekend to check out the bronner farm. however, still only receives 10% of our total visitation. it's a little awkward to get to. it's less accessible than the center we had on stewart's hill because of financial problems as as a desire to keep parking lots and restrooms away from
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sensitive battlefield ground. the powers would be decided to place the access route to the bronner farm off of page lane lane and it's still a good 300 yards of our walk between the parking lot and the house, which is not very conducive to high visitation. it does tend in fact, to discourage visitation to the running farm, the frogner farm can be a very lonely place at times because it is in such an isolated location. and some of our volunteers can certainly attest to that. well, their case, uh, it was a step. forward, maybe two steps forward. one step backwards with the inaccessibility issue. i also need to talk about the new at henry hill now. again, in 1999, the exhibits at the main visitor center were all
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refurbished and they all related to first manassas. we could not put any museum objects over at the bronner farm because the house there did not have the security or environmental facilities to maintain a stable museum environment. so we couldn't put any artifacts on a farm. all our second manassas artifacts basically stayed in storage for over ten years and wasn't until 2010 we were able finally create a new exhibit case in our museum where we place some of our second manassas artifacts. we a case in the center of our main museum gallery has four sides and we have four exhibits in there. we have right now an exhibit focusing on william beiler, who commanded the stonewall at circle manassas and of course,
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was killed on august 30th, leading the stonewall brigade forward near the deep cut. another side, we have an exhibit focusing on fitz john porter. another side of this case, we have a temporary exhibit featuring some rifles belonging to some of the sharpshooters, birds and sharpshooters that are on loan to us at least until early next year. and then on the final side of this exhibit case, we have a special exhibit that we just created. this year in honor of the 160th anniversary of second manassas. it's an exhibit called terrible swift sword, and it features four swords carried at sacrament ashes by various officers. we have the field officers sword carried by colonel duke, one whose brigade, of course, was cut to pieces over grove town on 30th. we have cavalry saber medal,
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1840. cavalry saber carried by colonel cantwell. james cantwell of the 82nd ohio, who was killed leading his regiment in an attack on stonewall jackson's line. on august 29th. we have a officer's sword carried by lieutenant david potts, who was in the 26th pennsylvania, killed, also along the unfinished railroad as part of grover's bayonet charge on the afternoon of august 29th. and finally, we have a confetti foot officer's sword carried lieutenant samuel smith, who was in the 22nd georgia regiment company b, who was killed late in the day on 30th, leading his company and in fact, along the suddenly road against us regulars posted there from colonel sykes division.
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so if you have not been to our museum the recent past, you should try to stop by and take a look at some of these new exhibits. we also have another exhibit on temporary exhibit just until the end of the year. and that is a flag that was carried union troops in the attack on the deep cut on august 30th. this a 26 star flag that was evidently saved from capture by a private, private william riker. he was presented this flag after the war. general, butterfish world and ultimately is a private riker's descendants who ultimately donated to park. and this is the first time it's ever been on exhibit. and because textiles very light sensitive to light damage we're only going to have it up on exhibit about six months. so by the end of the year it's going to come off exhibit. so you want to check it out for,
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goes back into storage storage. now, we've done a lot scene restoration work on the battlefield during my tenure back. in 2010, we out about 140 acres of non historic trees between the brunner and the deep cut to open up the vista and try to restore that area to the way it looked much like it did. and 1862, it's been very difficult to maintain that area as open ground because the area is very rocky and it can't be mowed. we actually experimented with goats one summer, but that proved inadequate. so unless of years we have resorted to prescribed burns controlled burns to try to keep the heavy vegetation down to a
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manageable level and hopefully encourage the development of grasslands. of course, at the time of the war, this was all part of the lucinda dogan farm and they were using that part of their farm for pasture, their livestock, of course, aside from the goats that we tried, we have not been able to put any livestock there. if we do, we have to fence them off and try to protect them from the coyotes and think it's a little difficult. so we're going to probably continue to do the prescribed burns from period, maybe every one or two years, but we've also done some additional tree cutting just this summer, just opposite henry hill on the west side of suddenly road, opening up some of the area on the chicken farm area where henry benning's, georgia brigade would be attacking john reynolds. pennsylvania reserves along suddenly road late in the day
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on, august 30th. and so i'm hoping that the storm this does not create too much erosion those trees are all gone eventually, all be seated and hopefully it'll all be grass and hopefully we'll be able to keep that area mowed because it's not nearly as rocky as the area over by the deep cut and hopefully in the near future we're going to be opening up another vista between battery heights, which is step two on our driving tour, and the deep cut opening up the vista from where william chapman, dixie artillery began firing on the and rear of fitz john porter troops as they were attacking unfinished railroad and chapman's battery gets a lot of credit for helping to break up this attack. although these union troops are also under a very heavy flanking fire from some 36 pieces of our artillery over on the brawner farm that afternoon as staley's
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and a battalion under lindsay shoemaker are over there shelling these union troops as they crossed some 500 yards of open ground. and on lucinda duggan's meadow and of course, they all suffered very heavy losses as a result and the confederate artillery that's credited with helping to break up this massive union attack was the largest union attack at the battle and hopefully you'll be able to see all that ground on sunday. but bring your hip waders. we do have a long road ahead. there's a lot more non historic trees there on the battlefield than there were in 1862. and now we need to open a vista from the bronner farm over to grove. still a lot of trees in the way. we need to open up a vista between groves and shin ridge, and then we still need to do a lot more cutting. on june, there was a lot of cutting done there this year we still have not yet completed the
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vista between chin ridge and henry hill. so a lot still needs to be done. of course, every time we start cutting down trees, we get a lot of complaints from some people who, like the shade. but we can't really fully. the second battle of manassas very effectively with all those trees in the way. and so we are making some progress. it's gonna take a while for really people to fully interpret such manassas we have done a lot more. second manassas tours when the bronner farm is open to the public, we're we're doing tours there on a daily basis. usually three tours are scheduled each day at 1115, 115 and 315. we do tours the deep cut on a daily basis during the summer months and occasionally on the weekends when have the volunteers to help us at. and we also have tours on the chicken farm on chin ridge.
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so you're welcome to come out and take any of those tours and when you can and hopefully you'll get a better appreciation for what happened out. now i also want to talk about some of the artist, larry, that we've moved over the years. back in 1979, before i was full time at manassas dennis kelly, i did a research report to document the various battery and tried to distribute the 40 pieces of artillery. we had in our collection to those various battery positions to better represent the positions at first and second manassas, where all those 40 pieces of artillery. only nine cannon occupied for
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second manassas. and again, most of our emphasis was on first manassas. well, we've acquired a few extra gun tubes over the last 42 years. i've been there. we now have 46 pieces of artillery and we have now been able to distribute those a little bit more on the second manassas battlefield. we currently have 18 cannon of the. 46 representing second manassas positions and hoping to get two more out there as soon as we get funding to purchase a new cannon cartridges. we just recently got two brand new well, not new but new to us original 12 pounder napoleon tubes that are currently sitting in our maintenance yard for lack of carriages and. so as soon as we can find some funds, purchase carriages, we'll try to get those out in the field. so we'll have 48 tubes and
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hopefully 20 of them representing second manassas positions before bronner farm became part of the park in 1985, we had joseph campbell's battery be fourth u.s. artillery represented at battery heights by battery b of the fourth. u.s. artillery accompanied john gibbons brigade on the evening of august 28th, they were deployed over there, what we call battery heights, near grove in, to provide support, general gibbons brigade and counter battery fire against the confederate batteries were situated to the north. but then when we were when we required a little i'm sorry, when we acquired the bronner farm in 1985, we also acquired artillery positions that were occupied by confederate artillery on august 30th, which we considered to be far more
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important than campbell's position at battery heights. so we broke up campbell's battery, the 612 pounder napoleons that were there some of them were sent off to represent lindsey shoemaker's battalion up on the northern portion of the bronner farm. and those guns are seldom seen by the public as. you do have to hike to find them. and right now they're, uh, amongst some tall grass in there. they can't even be seen because of all the tall grass. so you have to really make an effort, find those guns. but there's 412 pounder napoleons out there with an excellent field of fire towards the deep. but again, you probably won't see them unless know where to look. we also took two of those cannons from battery heights and moved them over to the chicken to represent the fifth battery
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mean light artillery, which was under the command of captain george lipian. it was olympian's that became the center of attention. on august 30th, john hennessy you had a very good quote in his book, return to run. let me see if i can find it. yeah, he writes with their arrival on chin ridge, the cannon of the fifth main battery became the coveted piece of machinery. the field, indeed the focal point of the battle. and it was dennis kelly who initially put cannons out there to mark position. he only had one spare ten pounder paratrooper rifle to put out there initially. and that pair of rifles sat there for many, many years all by itself. but then. in the.
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last 20 years or so, we discovered some additional research and that lipian did not have a pair of rifle there. he had 512 pounder napoleon's so we took two napoleons from campbell's battery at battery heights and put them over there on chin rouge to better represent lesbians battery. and then just the recent past, we acquired a reproduction. two place out there. so right now there's three napoleons marking libyan's position on chin ridge. and again, if we can get more carriages, we'll have more guns to fully represent the five guns that lipian had there. four of those five guns would ultimately be captured on cheyne ridge after the fighting ended on august 30th, right around 6 p.m.. and indeed they were the center of attention there. so the battery certainly to be marked marked. all right. i also want to talk a little bit about a another recent discovery
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that happened in 2014. we were digging a utility line near the site of a known union army field hospital at sacrament manassas. and we had an archeologist monitoring the digging. and during the course of that digging some bone fragments appeared. the archeologists stopped all the construction work. the bone fragments were ultimately sent to the smithsonian institution for the inspection of two of the most noted forensic anthropologists in the country, dr. doug owsley and. kari buell i'd have trouble with that name. and they were ultimately able to. they were human bone fragments and that spurred some additional archeology. and when all is said and they had uncovered a pit which contained two complete or nearly
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complete human bodies as well as a lot of amputated limbs. and this proved to be a rather startling and unexpected discovery. course we've known all along that after the battles of manassas, attempts were made to recover the dead, northern dead were gathered up and taken back to arlington cemetery. in 1867, a ladies memorial association formed in grove ten and established the grove and confederate cemetery and hired benson pridmore, a local man to try to gather up confederate remains and reason in this small plot, pridmore may have gathered up as many as 500 confederate remains. still, that's not even half of the known confederate casualties at. second, manassas. so we know there are hundreds of
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unmarked graves still scattered throughout the park to this. and again, in 2014, we came upon of them. the bones were all analyzed. there were very diligent attempts made to try to identify the remains and try to find out who these men were. we had every reason to believe from the artifacts found with the remains, that they were soldiers and they were able to come down with some a short list of prosper says who they might be. the researchers the researchers at the smithsonian were also able to determine men through their research and analysis of the sawn bone fragments who the likely surgeon was to do all the work. and indeed, it proved to be assistant surgeon benjamin
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howard likely did all the work there at that particular hospital site. so this was indeed a very unusual discovery was the first time as civil war field hospitals of burial pit had ever been fully investigated. and ultimately the. two remains of soldiers were buried with full military honors at arlington cemetery on september sixth, 2018. now, i did notice or noted earlier, you know, because of the remoteness of the brawner farm, it has tended to discourage some sicker manassas interpretation of we sometimes are our own worst enemy. sometimes we are known to shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot. giving sacrament is more attention, snapping all for
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forward progress. unfortunately, we've been guilting again of shooting ourselves in the proverbial. scott patchen it will be talking later on conference again. certainly a test, the importance of the fighting over on chin ridge, on 30th the desperate standby union forces they're probably saved. john pope's army of virginia from total destruction jen is also a vital part of the first manassas battlefield but aside from some living history demonstrations that damage kelly did and i did as well after kelly's departure over on jane ridge to try to draw more people over to jen ridge, the area still somewhat remote, and it began to draw an undesirable element and that undesirable elements started. the visitors that did venture over there, our park lawn
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forcément seemed either unable or unwilling to deal with the problem. and so ultimately park management decided to rectify the problem by closing off vehicle traffic on shin ridge in the 1930s, the wpa work projects administration working to build a bull run recreational demonstration project before the national park was formally established, they had built a road all along the crest of chin ridge to allow visitor access so you could actually drive just about up to the fletcher webster boulder and park there to check it out. you could drive further down to the end of the ridge where a picnic area was back in the 1940s. that picnic area had since been moved over to mathews hill. by the time i got to the park. but any case change was readily.
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back in the 1940s, fifties, sixties into the seventies, into the 1990s. but in the early 1990s, the superintend had decided to close the road and basically reduce the road to a narrow path. so people could walk along to enrich. of course, a lot of our visitors really don't have the time or the energy to walk the nearly one mile round trip down in back along chin ridge. so what was done back in the early 1990s was counterproductive if it basically denied access, a good majority of our visitors and such as such the only way you're going to get any interpretation out of that is take of our guided tours. when we do the guided tours over on sharon ridge. but it still involves a of walking. i really hope at some time in the future the park will restore that road so you can have better
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access to that very important part of the battlefield. and around 2014, i think it was. or excuse me, unless my notes. pages, pages are sticking together. here you go. now, there's 2012 actually the park under a lot of political pressure to allow the state of, texas, to put a monument in the park to commemorate, to pay homage, to hood's texas brigade. well, our superintendent at the time found a clever way to get around the park service policy that said that, you know, the park should not put up any other new monuments. the fletcher webster monument
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sits on a half acre of land and that acreage is not actually owned by the park. it was owned by the veterans of the 12th massachusetts regiment who put the monument to fletcher webster there in 1914. of course, those veterans are now gone and that, hey packard the ownership is somewhat in limbo. so the state of texas was allowed to place their monument within a stone's throw of the fletcher webster monument, which marks the spot where fletcher webster fell leading the 12th massachusetts on august 30th. and, of course. the texas troops never occupied that. one half acre. and so the monument itself tends to corrupt history. the monument could well have been placed closer to where
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hood, texas brigade, did fight. but that area currentl heavily wooded. and of course, the texans want their monument buried in the woods. so it's out there again within a stone's throw where fletcher webster fell. and it can be quite misleading if you're not aware of the fact that woods, texas troops do not actually fight there. well, i want to finish up and provide some closing remarks. i tend to believe that the second battle of manassas is one of general lee's victories. you know, some people might claim chancellorsville might be lee's greatest victory, but what lee did at second manassas, he did on a much grander scale than what he did at chancellorsville. so i tend to believe that second manassas certainly deserves a lot more credit for lee's and, for his abilities. i certainly applaud all of you today for realizing the significance and importance of
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circumstances. and again, i thank everyone who has invited me here this evening to join you. and i thank you for your attention. if you have any questions, i'll try to answer them. but we're a morning i've been shooting competitively for nearly 50 years and my ears don't work as well. so you have to sometimes yell it out. questions you want to weigh in on my data? oh gosh. uh, i could go on for another half hour on that. i would like to make a quick comment. yes, sir. first visit to the battlefield in 1972, and i applaud all your efforts in making battlefield
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more representative. i had a friend business associate who, when he was a young boy, i could see all the monumental arts that were in the different places, all the way to the deep cut from henry. yeah, actually, i was first time i visited manassas was in 1972 while i was still in the army, never thinking i'd actually be spending 42 years here. but yeah, the data centers, it's quite evident that it's development interests and the residents who plan to profit from all this development that are pushing thing and it will have a tremendous impact on the park. but actually i tend to think of a bigger impact on the environment as a whole, the whole area, it's basically a rape of prince william county.
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and it's unfortunate that it looks like it'll probably pass through. i also sit on the county historical commission and we're going to be discussing this in some depth on monday night. and of course, planning office has done their best to try to mitigate some of the impacts, but there's no guarantee that those impacts will be adhered to by the developers once they have a green light to go forward and rezone the properties. and if i have my way, i'm certainly try to encourage the commission to totally vote against this concept. it said there's nothing good about it, as the proponents are saying, it'll generate all kinds of revenue for the county. no development has gone on in prince william county to date
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has ever benefited the county's taxes as already always gone up and they'll probably continue to go up developers or always try to get the taxpayers to pay for all the infrastructure here. so, yeah, it's a big battle and. it's hard to say how it's going to end, but i'm not very hopeful. well, thank could you. okay, thank you. and it's my pleasure to introduce dr. arthur scott stephenson, the president and ceo of the museum of the american american revolution, who will be speaking tonight. his talk is entitled among his troops george washington's war tent and a mystic chords of
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memory. a native of pittsburgh, pennsylvania, scott scott's broad public history experience spans nearly three decades and has been marked by public and professional acclaim for his creative and innovative approaches to engaging audiences. he has developed and collaborated on exhibits, films and interpretive programs for numerous historical sites and organizations, including colonial williamsburg, the smithson in the canadian war museum, the national park service, george washington's mount vernon, the heinz history center, and the museum of the other of the cherokee indian. from 2007 to 2018, scott led the development of the museum of the american revolution's award winning exhibitions, multimedia experience as an educational programing, as well as overseeing the care and expansion of its rich collection of art and artifacts. he has served as president and ceo of the museum of the american revolution since 2018.
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tonight, you will hear from scott about the history and significance of general george washington's mobile field headquarters, a linen sleeping and office tent that sheltered our first commander in chief during the revolutionary war. and again, if you haven't seen it yet, please go tomorrow up by the old mill to see to see the replica and the educational programs taking place. the original tent now housed in displayed in philadelphia's museum of the american revolution, had a rich and dramatic life following the death of george and martha washington and with a remarkable cast of characters from lafayette to robert e lee to an episcopal priest with a crazy idea. and with that tantalizing line, i'm going to turn it over to scott so you can hear the rest of the story. thanks again to the museum and to your staff and board for making this happen. welcome to nantucket island and thanks to all of you for coming tonight. scott. fantastic. and you're a yeah. they put this wire over my ear, which i've never spoken with before, so that if i speak like
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this. can you hear me? no problem. so love to start with a show of hands. how many of you have visited the museum of the american revolution already? right. the rest of you will definitely be dying to go before the end of the evening. how many of you saw the tent today, by the way, up on the by the mill? i know a few of you walked by and i told you to come, so i hope you came. excellent. so i am going to go on what may seem like a rambling journey this evening, but i promise i will bring all the threads back together at the end. so i want to start by introducing you to historic philadelphia independence national historical park. if you think of it as a big l, this is really the university campus of a america's founding. it was an incredible place to visit. you have, of course, independence hall right in the center. you have the liberty bell right across the street. you have benjamin franklin's home. he has a connection to nip and tuck it. as many of you know, mother was
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a nantucket her. is that what you called or an islander. so nantucket works all right. christ church on second street national constitution center on the sort of north axis. the first bank of the united states. you'll see a better picture of that building in just a moment. and then sort of anchoring the eastern flank of independence historic park,he newest cultural institution in philadelphia, the museum of the american revolution. we have just celebrated our fifth anniversary. so we are really just a toddler and couple those years have been a little bit more challenging. you all have been through this ongoing pandemic, but we still have managed to have a million visitors through the museum's since opening in april of 2017. so there's great, great momentum. here's our robert stern and robert stern designed building, as we like to call it, cannon corner at third and chestnut streets, just two blocks from independence hall.
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and if you climb up to that terrace that you can see with the windows up on the right and you walk out onto that terrace, you get this beautiful view of the first bank of the united states other than fords. this is the first federal police funded building of our new federa government under the constitution, completed in 1797, it's undergoing an extensive renovation right now. this is owd by the national park service. they're an external well, um, shoring up of the building new roof. d then it'll have an exhibition inside talking about the origins of america's financstem and of course, the role that our more famous secretary of the treasury, alexander hamilton, not nearly as important as his predecessor, michael hill, goes. there's a descendant here in the front audience. so you'll excuse me if you stand up on that terrace and you kind of look down third street and your transport started about a century and a quarterback, this
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is the view th you would have seen. and can you see the facade of the first bank kind of peeking out there and the building just on our side, just close to you as the viewer, that tall building was this was really the heart of the publishing industry in philadelphia. so the saturday evening post, you know, a lot of the 19th century roots of america's mass publishing industry was founded right in this neighborhood, as was before new york took off after the erie canal. this was really the center of finance and banking in the early american republic. um, some of you, as a philadelphia connection, may remember the old evening bulletin bill, i don't know if you remember t evening bulletin that was published there. well, in 1906, it's in early august. there was an article published in the phidelphia evening bulletin. it was an interview with mary custis lee, the daughter of confederate general robert e lee. and the ne was general aubrey lee's daughter will sell two tents used by washington to
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aid confederate home wants to raise $10,000, so i'm going to take you back now. we're going to come back to this moment. but this is really, in a sense, the moment of the founding of what became the museum of the american revolution in the early 20th century. but we're going to zoom all the way back to 1775 for those of you locals of the great commonwealth of massachusetts, you'll know that the depending upon whether you live in lexington or concord, the shot fired the heard round the world was either on the green at lexington or if you're from concord, of course you believe it happened at the old north bridge, both on april 19th of 1775. two months later, the fighting at bunker hill that takes place on this hill overlooking boston. and about 20,000 new england troops march in and bottle up the british in boston and the rest of the colonies who had come together in philadel phia,
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just across the street from where the museum is for the first continental congress in the fall of 1774. and they'd sent a protest to to england protesting the coercive acts, the closing of boston's port. they come back together by previous appointment in may of 1775 in philadelphia and the yankees have started a shooting war. so it was not clear what was going to happen. you know, would these middle and southern states, what future states colonies would sort of decide that this was their common cause, or would they disown what these hotheaded yankees had done by shooting at the british? but of course, we all know the decision that they made in the first two weeks of june that this was the common cause of america. they had to appoint a commander in chief to take command of what would become known as the continental army, with the addition of ten companies of expert riflemen from pennsylvania, maryland and virginia, they appointed a
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virginian. so this is the virginian you all know, george washington. he's given his commission as commander in chief in philadelphia btheontinental congress. amazingly, that document still survives in the national archives it's presented to him. he carries it in his pocket and he heads north to take command of this new england army that is encircling boston. now, there were concerns, of course, because these were keen students of history, something we wish all of our countrymen today were as keen students of history. right. and they're reading of history. they told them that these kinds of colonial rebellions, these armed insurrections, often led to the creation of dictatorship. you know, generals would refuse to disband. armies would refuse to disband. generals would actually take power for themselves. and so as washington is marching north, he's approaching new york and the new york provincial council sends him a congrats flattery letter, but also one
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that sort of asked the question. they said, basically, we've placed this great power in authority in your hands as a commander in chief. but when we make up these differences with the british parliament and again, this is not a fight for independence. yeah, this is a fight to restore english liberties. they basically say you will go back to virginia, won't you? and washington writes an incredible letter back with the line where he says, when we took up the soldier, we did not lay aside. the citizen really, the founder of this citizen soldier tradition that we hold so, so dear to us as americans. and this was the cause of course, that he had to teach to all of these men who were serving under him. and this is a theme i'm going to kind of come back to numerous times through the talk. so here's the map of british occupied boston, and you can see the lines and a little parallel of graham's and outlines of the entrenchment and the forts that
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had built ring ringing bars. then he arrives on july third of 1775 to take command of the army. e's the center commanded b general washington themselves, used as they're essentially occupying the build bui of harvard square and establishes this area as his as headquarters. but one of the thing happens is, you know, as the case in the beginning of every war, we assume that it's going to be over quickly. we all know the story at the beginning of the civil war. all the all the civil gains in washington, d.c., who rode their carriages out to watch the battle and then were, of course, first of all, horrified by the carnage and then really had to confront the reality this was going to be a long and protracted convoy. but now washington had ridden to philadelphia, not knowing about lexington and concord. so he'd packed his bags at mount vernon and arrived in philadelphia. he did, however, bring a uniform along, which people noted and this was to indicate his
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willingness, if necessary, to to take up a leadership position. maybe he was advocates using his his availability should should the job come up. but he did not pack his camping equipment. and he actually went to one of the only, i think, three letters that have survived between washington and martha washington, because in the period when a spouse died, it was customary for the widow or the widower to burn the correspondence that was considered private. and martha destroyed all of the letters from george washington, but several of them survived, one of them in a little desk that belonged to her. that's a tudor place in georgetown outside of washington, d.c. now. and it's the letter washington wrote to her, basically telling martha he was not going to be coming home from philadelphia, but rather going to to take command of the army. and what i love about it, because many of us in the audience have done this, we have to sort of send an apology gift as well. and so the postscript was about how he had he had found a beautiful piece of figured silk
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that he had purchased in a shop in philadelphia. and he was sending that to mt. vernon to martha, hoping that that would assuage her disappointment a little bit. so washington's ben's, of course, the summer of 1775, trying to organize the defenses through the winter. they're trying to sort of figure out how they're going to eject the british from boston. and he realizes that they're going to have to take the field the next season. and so, again, here he is in that uniform that he wore. he he decides to send his aide de camp. this is a philadelphia named joseph reed back to philadelphia because this was really the best you know, it was the largest city in british north america. it was the place that had manufactured showers, that could produce goods. it was a place where what imported goods had not been prevented from being imported by the british navy, could be could be purchased. and a fabulous quote. this is kind of the theme of the
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evening. he writes, he sends them enacted robber of 1775 back to philadelphia. and so they need you to get together. all my camp equipage. so these are all the things is going to need to take the field as commander in chief the following year. then he writes the beginning of march to ask how it's going. and this is a quote from that letter. he says, i cannot take the field without equipage. and after i have once got into a tent, i shall not soon quit. it. now, he did not know that this was going to be an eight year conflict. and with the exception of just two visits in 1781 after yorktown to mount vernon, he remained out in the tented field for that entire period of time. so what we know because of the surviving records is that washington had a set of tents made just two blocks from where the museum.
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is located, right on chestnut street. there was a man by the name of plunkett fleece in who had a shop there at fourth and chestnut, the original receipt has survived. we know he purchased two main tents. one of these was a sleeping and office tent. that's the original tent that's on display in the museum. and the replica that you've seen up by the old mill there was also a slightly larger tent. it looked more like the top image here. it was a long oval shaped tent. it was a big open room on the inside for dinners, for meetings. you know, a larger meeting tent and those tents went into the field. they met washington and new york during the 1776 campaign. and this, along with a baggage tent and the tents of his his commander in chief's guard, the soldiers who were essentially the predecessors of the secret service, that were a security detail that was washington's mobile field headquarters during the revolutionary war. and that sleeping an office tent acted as his only private space. now, think about the images you've seen of other commander in chief, the image that always pops to mind.
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and you all know the photograph of john f kennedy during the cuban missile crisis, where he's standing in profile at the resolute desk with his head hung low. another picture of george w bush after 911. again, sitting at that resolute desk thinking about what that oval office means to a commander in chief. and i think it's not too much of a stretch that stretch to think about this sleeping in office. that is the first oval office that was the place where washington's highest and certainly lowest moments of the war took place. now, it mattered not just to him as the commander to have a place like that more importantly, it mattered to the man that he was leading. and so this is an image done by the great illustrator, howard pyle. so obviously a commemorative, but showing washington in his tent. and once you start to see very early on, is washington consciously trying to create a model for what the general of in
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a republic would be like? because this is not a monarchy anymore. he does not owe his commission to a sovereign, but rather the people through congress have given him this authority. and so what does it mean to be a republic in general and people begin to note the significance of him remaining in the tented field even during the winter, during inclement weather times when you wouldn't see a general anywhere near the army for months and months and months. so here's a quote from a fellow virginian, george weedon. he's writing from middlebrook in new jersey. this is in the spring of 1777. his excellency, our good old general, has also spread his tent and lives amongst us. you're going to hear this often here, those tents that washington received in 1776, he uses all the way through the year. they remain in the field late, late, late into the fall. the following year, 1777, the
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british come south to take philadelphia. so the philadelphia campaign and that campaign stretches far into the fall. it was the practice to go into winter quarters in the fall, partly because the grass that your animals eat, which are your transports and of course die. so it's hard to stay in the field and continue fighting into the, you know, beyond the late, late fall. but in 1777, washington's army doesn't march into valley forge until december 19th. and this, of course, image that it's impossible to find a bookk about the revolutionary war that doesn't have an image. this is a painting that's collection. it wased in 1883 by a philadelphian, william betty drago. it's called the march to valley forge. the are washington's orders to his army. two days before they marched into valley forge. and he says that he hielwill share in the hardships and partake of every inconvenience. so he'ising his army.
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i'm not going and staying in a cushy hotel. i'g to stay under canvas. washington stays in that tent till january of 1777, waiting until his men are built. those log hudson valley forge and that they're under undercover before he goes in and takes a house himself. and so this is something that, again, starts to now catch the attention of people overseas, because no one is more fascinated by what's going on in america. and what's going to go on than the french. and this is really important. remember, we write that declaration of independence not so much for the second paragraph. and those the the idea of equality. that's the charter about the principles that will be founded on. but it's primarily a diplomatic document. by declaring independence, we're hoping to bring foreign allies and most importantly, the french in well, they are paying attention. and i love this image here. this is the first engraved image done in france. this is in 1780.
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it's it's inspired by a portrait by charles wilson peale. but the french artist has expanded and look at how much symbolism is dripping in there. just from what i've talked about already, he's in his tent in the field. there's an encampment off in the distance. he's got all of his camp equipment around him. he's holding in his hand a sheaf of papers that include the declaration of independence and the treaty between france and the united states. and he's standing on shredded papers that are all conciliate tory bills from parliament, offers of pardon from the king. so this is this is absolutely a propaganda piece as much as anything but the title of this is a translate basically as general washington he does not present a a threat to the republic because again everyone in france is fascinated. what is this guy going to do if they actually win independence?
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is he going to become the new king george of america or something else? john trumbull, who from connecticut, who had briefly served as anidde camp to washington, painted is portrait othe right about the same time. 1780 is actually traveled to enand during the war and is studying with benjamin west. but one of the important things to note, if you see in the background of these two images and they're certainly in dialog with one another, is ty inclusion of a figure who represents william lee, who was wainon's enslaved valet? washington had purchased william and his younger brother frank in 1768, and they sved in the household at mount vernon. william lee served as waington's valet through the entire revolutionary war, actually lived in that tent with shgton. and so the other inhabitants of of washington's tent and was so worn outy s service, he had several bad falls from horses
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duringisuring his military service that he was basically crippled by the by the end of the revolutionary war. now, i want to talk a little bit about symbols of a republic in general. so on the left, you see rolled up the actual original ribbon. you see that over washington, shoulder under his coat. when washington goes to new england in 1775, one of the first frustrate actions he has is that nobody knows who he is and that they're supposed to pay some kind of deference to him. in other words, that he's in charge. the new englanders very democratic. many of these new england officers owe their positions to being voted in by their man. and so that's one of the things that in aristocratic southerner, who immediately sees, as you'll see, you know, the colonel of a new england regiment shaving his own man or, you know, playing cards with them, etc., in washington wants to impose more of a traditional military discipline on a on a european scale, thinking that the professionalism is going to be
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really important. so he had he adopts a system of colored ribbons. these are literally just wide woven moray silk ribbons. they have a beautiful design. you can see it on the left hand side there. it's almost like a watermark that's made by crushing or pressing these between engraved steel plates. and it's a, you know, a form that's very recognizable in european armies at the time. and washington adopts this blue ribbon. so this original ribbon has survived because he later gives it to charles wilson peale, the painter who we sat for, for this portrait. and peale probably had more life sittings for washington than than any other painter in the period. here he is in another you know, full length painting from 1779 washington at the battle of princeton and another george here on the left. king george also painted the same year in 1775 or 1779 with a full array of military might behind him. so this is sort of like two georges really trying to be
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peacocks here and show themselves off. right. but you can immediately see how somebody who's really looking close at what this george from virginia is thinking about the future. isn't he kind of dressing like a king with that ribbon? and so french officers actually note that by about 1779, washington had laid that ribbon aside and there were actually some portraits that have survived that peale did, because he becomes basically has a shop producing these paintings because everyone wants a portrait of george washington. you can actually see that in originally had the ribbon on it and they've painted over it. one of them descended in the current direction. hbo's family and you can actually see over the centuries as the paint sort of started to bleed a little bit, the shadow of that ribbon. so he's very consciously going to an even plainer dress. this is a wonderful portrait. um, it's dl in present at harvard university, when it was donated, it had the provisio that it could never be loaned
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outside of the i think it's at the ford musm. and so we'll never be able to get it to philadelphia unless any of you know anybody at harvard. but there is like all the things i've been talking about, there is washington, the republic in general. he'inhe tented field in front of a marquee tent. for those of you who came up to se the replica tent today and where some of you were asking about the furnishings, you can see the little folding table there behind him. and that's what we based t t design of that replica table up there. and again, that very plain uniform. he is not cered in lace. he does not have that ribbon on there. this is the republican general, georgeasngton, in the tented field with his army. now washington's perhaps greatest moment as a as a commander. there were two moments that people felt were in washington as a great general. one was crossing the delaware in 1776 and attacking the hessian garrison at trenton. the other one, of course, was
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the victory at yorktown, which was really a partnership up with the confederacy. and here he is, surprisingly wearing his aristocratic, in this case, red ribbon painted a little bit later in the 19th century. but the contribution that led the french forces that had come as a result of that alliance and were partnered with washington in the siege of yorktown. and there you are, one of my favorite little details inhi this philadelphia map of the yorktown campaign in by an eyewitness, american officer. you see washington's quarters in russia in those quarters. but the icon is of those tents and it's during this this long siege at yorktown that lots of people are commenting again about washington placing himself in harm's way, living among his trps in his town. in fact, 50 years later, we've got a great quote. this is from a virginian. get to it in a second here.
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i got a painting of washington and rochambeau at yorktown. that's in the museum. so this is 1832, 15 years later. and a virginian, francis cole, as he's applying to get a pension as a revolutionary war soldier, recalls that he had the gratification of seeing general washington every day in his marquee meeting, his tent that was very near his tent into clarence tent, another carry trailer. this is an 1850, is still recalling that he conversed with general washington in his tent. so imagine the significance for these soldiers in making such an impression that they saw washington living with them. now, that's the backdrop for like the second part of this talk, which was about explaining this new york times story. so all the images that i've showed you so far are none of those are eyewitness images of george washington's tent. and the field. probably the closest one would be that charles wilson peale
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painting, because peale certainly saw washington out in the field. but we never had an image when we open the museum on april 19th of 2017, that was like somebody sat down and sketched and there's george washington's tent. and then as often happens. something pops out of the unexpected either. so two weeks after we open the museum, we get an email from an online auction house out in texas alerting us that there were some revolutionary war objects that we might be interested in coming out, coming up to auction. now, i was so exhausted from opening the museum that i have to confess i did not click on that link. but fortunately, our chief historian, fort meade, is obsessive about looking at all those auctions. and so he sends me in about 11:00 at night. he sends me a link and said, did you see this exclamation point? so what he found when he looked in there and this is the description of this lot and it's
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a little as you'll see in a minute, it's fortunately for us, it was not cataloged accurately. so it threw most people off the scent, but it described a panoramic watercolor, says it' a group of six watercolors on lead paper are about seven feet long. at purported to show the battle of stony point. although, curiously, there was a label that described a planck's point. and i'm going to show you where those are in a minute and said that it was the site of a of a battle there. and then describe a little bit about the provenance of these pieces. so if you clicked on that link, this is what would show up on your computer screen. and frankly, all of you are thinking that does not look very interesting. right. you had to really dig into the scene and the first i started looking. closely, you could click and you
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could bring up the details. and when i clicked on the left hand side of the watercolor, this popped up and my heart just about stopped. because what you're seeing is a little hilltop right? there's a tent on the very top and then a little group of tents slightly down the hill. now, most of tents, if you remember that image i showed you right at the beginning of the two different, the engraving with the two different kinds of tents, and one of them had the end entrance and one of them had the side entrance. 90% of the tents you'll see in the in the period have that end entrance. george washington's tent has that side entrance. and you can see in that detail, there's like a little bower and it's like a little shade in front of it. looks like a jungle gym. but you can see indicated that this thing looked an awful lot like george washington, this tent. and then i remembered a quote, because i've been researching this tent forever by a french officer who was present at this spot at the end of the revolutionary war. this is a journal that he writes about noticing a little hill which looked over the camp and an assemblage of tents which i recognized


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