September 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm #8753
My name is Josh Provan. In 2012 I started my blog Adventures in Historyland http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/ through which I can share my discoveries. I’m interested in all periods of history, I know some better than others and I’m pleased to say I’ve been interested in the American Revolution for a long time.
Like my countryman Mark Simner (Whose forums I am also a member of) I started out by finding out the British side of the conflict. What happened, how it happened why they lost etc, but my interest has grown to encompass the entire conflict. As a kid I always thought that George Washington was extremely interesting, and as such I have always had a great admiration for his accomplishments against the odds.
I hope I will be able to add something good to this forum, there aren’t many like it, and learn as I go too.
All the best.
Josh.September 15, 2014 at 3:07 am #8754
Welcome to the site, very excited to have you! Mark is great too, we have talked a bit.
I have read some of the posts on your blog, very insightful. One I liked was: http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/burying-the-hatchet/ about the Iroquois and joining of the 5 nations. It was a very complex factor how the native americans in general played a role in the American Revolution. While they might not have had as major an impact as say the French involvement, the political and very real physical dynamics of their participation on both sides of the fighting were real factors. Also, they would play a large part in the story of American expansion west and well into the 1800’s.
I am always excited to talk with folks with different perspectives, especially a British perspective on the American Revolution. Is there anything you have learned that might seem surprising to one educated from the American perspective? Or some interesting bits of related British history?
I found it interesting that Thomas Jefferson wrote his book in France, Notes on the State of Virginia, and first published in French (a small printing of around 200 copies were made for friends and acquaintances), only later to be printed in English.
Also, many prominent American officers fought for Britain in the 7 Years War. I am learning more about that as it is a powerful dynamic that those whom fought together then, would fight against each other in the American Revolution, knowing some of the personalities and fighting styles of those whom they were up against. Lots os stories there.
Welcome! I hope you enjoy your time here, we’ll surely appreciate your perspectives.
-DanSeptember 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm #8755
Thanks for the welcome Dan, great to be here. I’m really glad you enjoyed my site and my post about the Iroqouis. I am close to posting a follow up which will be about Joseph Brant and the fall Iroqouis during the Revolution, the effects of the Sullivan Expedition, which I think you’ll like. I’ll let you know when I put it up and put a link to it here.
Offhand I can only think of a few things that I think are singular from a British perspective.
The biggest is probably how poorly prepared the regular garrison of the 13 colonies were to deal with such a large scale insurrection, hence the poor show at Lexington and Concord. And also the clash of cultures that occurred whenever the issue of crowd control came into the question. In Britain it was understood that the army were essentially the police and that they would be called in whenever popular unrest occurred, in America the use of regular troops to control, mobs and demonstrations backfired badly.
I always find it interesting how both sides underestimated and overestimated one another. In the beginning the British underestimated the Americans and suffered and L&C. They still underestimated them at Breed’s Hill, yet here buoyed by their previous success the Americans thought that they could hold a fortified position indefinitely without sea or artillery support, and indeed best regular troops in open battle. Then Boston fell and a huge morale and ego boost seemed to strike the new Continental Army, again they felt more than a match for whatever the British could throw at them. This overconfidence evaporated in the New York Campaign, which gave the British the upper hand until British hubris once again came back to bite them at Saratoga. Etc etc. You get the idea!
Perhaps the best British view is the challenge to the traditional legend of American sharpshooter vs British redcoat. In reality the British didn’t always just stand and take it, light infantry batallions were formed and effective skirmishers deployed to combat the Americans, rangers and “Legions” also decry the traditional, old boys own image of the Yankee volunteer and Thomas Lobster.
The War is also interesting from the point of view that it divided so many loyalties. In Britain the country was split in opinion though the opposing parties didn’t end up shooting each other as the Loyalist and Patriot’s did. I’ve always wondered what effect the experiences of American officers that had served in the British army had. European influence on the American army was decisive after all.
All in all were gonna have some fun here.
Josh.September 16, 2014 at 8:11 am #8759
Sounds great, please do let me know about the Sullivan Expedition post.
Great thoughts on the sharpshooter perspective. I always found it odd to believe fully that British traditionalism (fighting in tight, well-organized lines) would surpass human-life common sense in battle (to not stay in tight, well-organized lines while being shot at from a dispersed and enemy 🙂 ). That seems to be one of a few sensationalized characterizations of the American woodsman and fighting styles.
I’ve also never really thought much about the assumptions each side made about the other. As I consider it now, in the colonies, early victories were important to help convince the Continental Congress to take on more debts and provide for a larger army. And further into the war, to convince France (and via France, Spain) to openly support the cause (thanks in part as well to Ben Franklin’s diplomatic savoir faire). The losses, at times, tripped them up. I sometimes wonder how things might have turned out differently had the Americans lost more battles early on and George Washington been replaced. There was talk of Horatio Gates being the new General and political maneuvering to sell the idea. Washington was able to maintain his position though and go on to be legendary.
The european influence was so key – Marquis de Lafayette, Baron von Steuben. I am always impressed by the deep interest others had in contributing to the cause, coming from far away and risking their financial and physical lives to fight with some seemingly outnumbered and outclassed “rebels”. Equally impressive is how significant the contributions of just a few had such a big impact. In hindsight the war seems like such a well-scripted tale, yet at the time I could only imaging how tenuous things likely seemed to be.
Getting some good ideas flowing, thanks for the inspiration!
-DanSeptember 16, 2014 at 5:52 pm #8760
Same here! There are some great thread ideas here that we should start. The great thing about the Rev is the rich amount of material to discuss.
British Light infantry, and the adaptability of the British war effort.
The division of opinions in Britain and America.
The effect of the early victories, & Washington’s continual battle within a battle to retain command.
Saratoga and the French intervention, Ben Franklin’s influence.
One thing leads to another on and on and on. Glad I signed up.
Josh.September 17, 2014 at 6:34 am #8770
Great idea, I’ve created a few new individual topics. Hopefully others will get excited too and we can get some great conversation swirling around!
-DanJune 6, 2015 at 3:57 am #9005P GwiazdowskiParticipant
Hello Josh, Captain Pete here. I was impressed with your rev war knowledge. When did your interest in history begin? I myself have always had an interest in all history in general. Although the rev war and civil war are my favorites. the RevWar because living in Bayonne NJ, much action happened around here especially Manhatten and Staten Island NY. the Civil War because one of my sons was a reenactor and my other son developed a serious interest in it. I read with interest your explanation of the British light Infantry. Thanks for your information and that of RevWar1776. I will look forward to more. thanks PeteJune 24, 2015 at 1:24 am #9012
That’s so kind of you to say, I often end up feeling like I’m teetering on the edge of ignorance myself, yet everyone is always so kind.
I pinpoint my interest in history back to when I played toy soldiers with my dad, and coloured in the pictures he used to draw for me. He would tell me about famous generals and battles, and the informs I saw on TV just sort of got hold of me and never let go.
I’m a fan of the ACW too, though I can’t hold forth about much concrete. Look forward to hearing from you on here.
JoshJune 30, 2015 at 4:55 pm #9014P GwiazdowskiParticipant
Hello Josh. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. your reply was very informative and true. Having two sons myself, I am still impressed by what they remember as children. obviously your dad had a positive influence on you. On the revwar topic, I am very thankful of the personal sacrifice all of the people involved in our freedom as Americans. I would like to learn more about these sacrifices, especially from the soldiers and the civilians who supported them. Personal history makes history real.
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