A monthly publication of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association
September 2022 On the Web: www.w3r-us.org Vol. 2, No. 9
Busy Yorktown Agenda Includes Meeting, Marker, Medal, Parade
A Board meeting whose agenda overflows with the latest accomplishments of W3R-US and its state units will launch two event-filled days in Yorktown, Virginia, celebrating the 241st anniversary of the French-U.S. victory over the British in 1781.
The fall W3R-US Board meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by a working box lunch, in person Tuesday, Oct. 18, in the East Room in York Hall, 301 Main St., Yorktown, with an online hookup for Board members who are unable to attend in person or are uncomfortable doing so. The online component will also facilitate a shift to an all-virtual session if necessary. Please watch your email for the link and agenda.
In addition to the usual fare of state and committee updates, the agenda includes presentations on several new initiatives:
- A cooperative effort with the AMerican Volkssport Association, a nationwide outdoors organiation interested in partnering with W3R-US and its state groups to co-host noncompetitive Trail-based events including walking, hiking and cycling.
- Endeavors to attract substantial grants from foundations and other sources that might be interested in supporting the expanding work of W3R-US.
- Plans for the 250th anniversaries of the Declaration of Independence and events of the Revolutionary War.
Other scheduled highlights, subject to change will include:
Tuesday, October 18th
- 5 p.m.- Dedication of a historical marker emphasizing the essential role of the French navy at Yorktown. The marker, honoring Admiral de Grasse and the French navy and sponsored by the American Society of Le Souvenir Français, will stand on the Riverwalk. W3R-US and W3R-VA will participate in the ceremony.
- 6 p.m.- Dinner American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, $75 per person. Speaker: Julien Icher, administrator of the Lafayette Trail (the Marquis’ Farewell Tour of the United States in 1824/25).
Wednesday, October 19th
- 8:45 a.m.- Wreath-laying ceremony at the French Cemetery. Motorcade forms at 8:15 a.m. at the entrance to Surrender Field (off Surrender Road), leaves for the cemetery at 8:30 a.m.
- 9:10 a.m.- Wreath-laying and commemorative ceremony at the French Memorial on the Yorktown Battlefield. Following the ceremony, W3R-US Historian Dr. Robert Selig will be awarded the French National Order of Merit, one of France’s highest honors, recognizing his eminent work on the crucial French contribution to American independence and in the development of the Washington-Rochambeau Trail.
- 11 a.m.- Parade along Main Street.
- 11:45 a.m.- Patriotic exercises and ceremony at the Monument to Alliance and Victory. Speaker: Dr. Selig.
- A reception will follow at the Customs House on Main Street, $35 per person.
As always, I will be happy to help you with your plans to attend. Please let me know if you wish to march in the parade, which is about one mile. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Nicole Yancey, Franco-American Committee Chair
From the Executive Committee
Travel App: After review by National Chair Larry Abell and Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan, the draft scripts will be forwarded to state chairs and other reviewers for their input. Voice narration needs have been identified and music is being selected by historians Dr. Iris de Rode and Dr. Robert Selig.
2022 Platinum Seal of Transparency: W3R-US has received this distinction from GuideStar for the third consecutive year. GuideStar provides detailed profiles of organizations, such as W3R-US, to enable prospective donors to find trusted organizations.
Web site upgrade: Funding from the private sector is being sought in an effort to complete an urgently needed $30,000 upgrade sooner than waiting for completion of time-consuming paperwork necessary to obtain federal funds. The Web site is a key factor in sustaining W3RUS’ GuideStar platinum rating.
Values Committee: Larry has recruited some members of various national, ethnic and other communities for this Committee as part of the efforts of W3R-US to be more inclusive and tell the fuller story of the Trail, including the roles of women and children. While gaps remain, he hopes the Committee will hold its initial meeting soon after the Oct. 18 Board meeting. He described this work as an important way for W3R-US to reach more people.
Economic impact study: Michele Archie of The Harbinger Consultancy held online meetings with W3R-US officers and directors Sept. 9 and 19 to provide an overview of the study she is conducting of the Trail. Michele indicated that she is marketing-oriented and inclined to take a relatively broad view of the entire Trail corridor.
Semiquincentennial (the 250th): Larry is asking all members and friends of W3R-US to submit suggestions for signature events the Association can sponsor for the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026 and the Revolutionary War. One early proposal: A bus tour or tours of all or parts of the Trail. The Long-Range Interpretive Plan of October 2017 is expected to yield additional ideas.
An Invitation: Visit Our Online Store
Director Sam Meredith, Chair of the Earned Income Committee, invites shoppers to visit the
W3R-US online store. The newest merchandise includes logo shirts and pens. Suggestions for merchandise should be sent to Sam at email@example.com
To visit the online store: https://w3rus.qbstores.com/a/login
In another online shopping matter, you can support W3R-US when you shop at Amazon. Here’s how. Instead of going to amazon.com:
- Enter smile.amazon.com in your browser address bar.
- Shop and place your order.
- Amazon will donate a percentage of your order to W3R-US
Tracking Volunteer Service
Director Sam Meredith, who compiles the volunteer hours worked by W3R-US members, encourages state and committee chairs, as well as individuals, to report at least an estimate of their hours monthly, if possible, even if they have not been reporting regularly. Hours include meetings, phone calls, advocacy, research, planning, events, travel and reading emails and documents from the national office, among other items, both national and state/local, and the totals affect efforts to obtain grants and other external support for W3R-US. Sam’s template includes space for donations in kind (such as office space and computer use). Please email your monthly reports to Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org by the fifth of the following month.
From the Editor
I hope you continue to enjoy The Bulletin and find it helpful in keeping abreast of the activities of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association on numerous fronts. Thank you for your input, assistance, suggestions, comments and other kind words. To keep up with all news of our Association, please check our Web site regularly: www.w3r-us.org.
As you may have noticed, I am still behind in publishing. To keep the monthly schedule intact (rather than do a double edition) and try to get back on track, I published a short edition for August and an equally short edition for September before turning almost all my attention to the Oct. 18 Board meeting. The October edition will carry a full report on that meeting and other Yorktown Day activities.
State leaders are invited to provide information (by the end of each month for the following month’s edition) about their activities, which are presented in a separate section of The Bulletin. (Please see the reports beginning on Page 8.) Fliers, preferably in JPG format, about upcoming Trail events are invited for that section, which begins this month on Page 5.
Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. Please email me at email@example.com.
– Jeff Canning, National Recording Secretary
Help Share the News
The Bulletin is currently emailed to nearly 300 recipients each month but there is always room for more. Do you know or work with somebody who might be interested in reading about the many activities of W3R-US and its state groups? If so, please send me their names and emails (sorry, The Bulletin is online only) and I will add them to the mailing list. Please see my email address above. Thanks for helping share the good news about W3R-US.
Upcoming Trail Events
For more information about Trail events, please visit http://w3r-us.org/events/
Rhode Island: Fort Assessment, Battlefield Walk
Assessment of fort completed: A pro bono archaeological assessment of Butts Hill Fort has been completed by Joseph “Jay” Waller, an archaeologist with the Public Archaeology Laboratory, one of the leading firms in New England. In Technical Memorandum, Butts Hill Fort Restoration Master Plan, Portsmouth, Rhode Island – Archaeological Reconnaissance and Assessment August 2022, Mr. Waller reviews the history of the fort and all previous archeological surveys in the vicinity of the Trail site.
Much of the fort is vegetated. Large trees and secondary vegetative growth to be removed should be cut flush to the ground to prevent inadvertent disturbances to, and compromising the underlying integrity of, the fort, Mr. Waller suggested.
“It’s a thorough overview of the site and should be a very valuable aid to ongoing planning. Jay’s recommendations are on point, and we concur with them all,” Charlotte Taylor, archeologist for the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, wrote in a letter. “RIHPHC continues to commend your committee for your stewardship of this important site.”
The Waller report and RIHPHC letter are available at www.battleofrhodeisland.org under the “News” tab. This report will be part of an informational “Concept Master Plan” for the fort to be released in early 2023.
Walking the Battlefield: More than 120 people attended Walking the Battlefield – An Event at Heritage Park, which was designed to give visitors a better understanding of the complex events that made up the Battle of Rhode Island Aug. 29, 1778, on Aquidneck Island. The event, with the Battle of Rhode Island Association (BoRIA) partnering with the Portsmouth Conservation Commission, was held at the site (Turkey Hill) of fierce combat during the battle. The park’s upper half-acre became a scaled-down version of the clash, which occurred over 3,500 acres – from Union Street to Butts Hill (Portsmouth High School) and between East and Main Roads.
The event was the brainchild of Gloria and Richard Schmidt, members of the Butts Hill Fort Restoration Committee under BoRIA and both of whom served as tour guides and presenters with other volunteers. “We had a beautiful day and an enthusiastic audience,” Gloria said. “Most of all, we had the opportunity to tell the story of the battle in the sacred space of Turkey Hill, This LIDAR image “sees” through vegetation to show the fort. 9 where part of the story took place. Heritage Park in Portsmouth is a historical landscape where you can go and get a sense of ‘Walking the Battlefield.’”
Members of the Henry Knox Color Guard from the Massachusetts Society of Sons of the American Revolution presented a musket firing exhibit; they are direct descendants of veterans of the war. J. Whitney Halloran of the Knox unit was present to honor his fifth great-grandfather Samuel Stearns, who fought in the battle under Capt. Nathaniel Wade. Also on hand were members of the British 54th Regiment of Foot, which saw action on East Main Road.
The word is getting out about the Battle of Rhode Island but we continue to encounter lifelong and longtime residents of the Island who say, “Never heard of the fort,” “Never heard of the battle” and “It happened here?!!”
Burning of Gaspee revisited: Dr. Steven Park discussed several aspects of the fabled burning of the HMS Gaspee in Narragansett Bay June 10, 1772, during a Sept. 27 talk hosted at Innovate Newport by the BoRIA and the Middletown Historical Society. Dr. Steven Park is the author of The Burning of His Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee: An Attack on Crown Rule Before the American Revolution. Dr. Park signed copies of his book after his talk. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Connecticut, where he taught U.S. and maritime history. He currently is the director of academic and scholarly technology at Wheaton College in Illinois.
The night began with BoRIA Director Burt Quist welcoming everyone to Innovate Newport, which hosted the Association’s second talk of the year. Middletown Historical Society President Mary Dennis shared some of Dr. Park’s accomplishments and informed everyone about the new historical sign at the Witherbee School in Middletown. The sign commemorates the Siege of Newport, an often-overlooked piece of the Rhode Island Campaign of 1778.
October 19 lecture on naval activities: Dr. Kathy Abbass of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) will lecture about Naval Activities in Rhode Island during the Revolutionary War at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Rogers Free Library, 525 Hope St., Bristol. Her talk is sponsored by the BoRIA and the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society. Admission is free.
More than 200 vessels are known to have been lost in Rhode Island waters during the Revolutionary War. These include Royal Navy ships run ashore around Aquidneck Island and burned to avoid capture, British-owned transports, victualers scuttled in Newport harbor to prevent the threatening French fleet from entering the harbor, and Colonial craft destroyed by British and German auxiliaries during raids in Warren, RI.
Dr. Abass will discuss the ships involved in the naval events of the Battle of Rhode Island. She received her Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University with post-doctoral studies at Harvard and Berkeley. She taught 10 years at Norfolk State University, apprenticed four years at SurveyYacht in Newport, and two years as the director of Newport’s Museum of Yachting. She founded RIMAP in 1993 and has served as its executive director and principal investigator.
To join by Zoom, please click: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lecture-naval-activities-in-rhodeisland-during-the-revolutionary-war-tickets-420763062647
Grant to help restore fort: The BoRIA has received a $10,000 grant from the National Trust
for Historic Preservation for restoration of Butts Hill Fort.
– Burt Quist, Temporary W3R-RI State Chair, and Jim Stearns, Advisor/Public Relations, BoRIA
New Jersey: Young Patriots Day
W3R-NJ continued to collaborate with Trail-related organizations when Julie Diddell, Mary Swarbrick, Kevin Sullivan and Diane Mcvey participated Sept. 18 in Young Patriots Day, sponsored by the Princeton Battlefield Society, the officially recognized Friends Organization for the Princeton Battlefield State Park. To learn more, please visit: PrincetonBattlefieldStatePark.
An informational table with New Jersey Trail maps was explained to adults. Kids colored pages with cartoon French and Continental soldiers and the pages were then stamped with a WARO seal. The kids also had the chance to try on a French general’s hat and have their photo taken in front of a WARO banner.
“The activities we have for the kids are popular and W3R-NJ will add more activities for future events,” said Julie Diddell, Chair of W3R-NJ.
Other organizations had engaging activities such as the Boy Scouts demonstrating the Colonial kitchen garden unit they are building at the historic site, a militia practicing drills with the children and Ben Franklin sharing stories about his escapades during the Revolutionary War. An estimated 300 attendees participated in the event.
The Princeton Battlefield Society participated in the W3R-NJ Rochambeau Birthday Party July 1 and in the Aug. 28 event in Westfield. Our two organizations have found the benefits of a mutually supportive partnership. To learn more about the PBS, please check out its Web site: PBS1777.
Planning under way: Identifying W3R-NJ’s 2023 goals and initial planning for events, including for the Trail anniversary days, began this month during our meetings with partner organizations and stakeholders.
– Julie Diddell, State Chair
Connecticut: State Co-Chair Named
Jonathan Kinney, state Historic Preservation Officer and Director of Operations, Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, Department of Economic and Community Development, has agreed to serve as W3R-CT Co-Chair; another Co-Chair is being sought.
“A great committee” is coming together in the state and, once mobilized, will serve as a template for other states, said Ellen von Karajan, W3R-US Executive Director. The committee is trying to determine how best to engage with the state commission on the Sesquicentennial.
Bruce Donald, W3R-US National Vice Chair and a Connecticut resident, said there was “a sense of synergy” in the state that needs to be harnessed to engage other groups; some groups have liaisons to each other, a model that could benefit W3R-US and W3R-CT, he said.
In another development, the state society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) has asked Bruce to be its liaison with W3R-US. Connecticut will host the SAR national congress in 2025 at the Mohegan Resort. Initial preparations have included contact with the Mohegan Tribe, some of whose members fought in the Revolutionary War and are buried in the tribal cemetery. The Trail goes through the tribal area.
Delaware: Busy on Many Fronts
W3R-DE has focused on the following during the past six months:
- W3R-US, the National Park Service (NPS) and Wilmington Councilwoman Zanthia Oliver sponsored a W3RDE field trip Aug. 10 for 40 youngsters from the East Side’s New Sweden Historic Center and Teen Warehouse to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. For a full report on this highly successful adventure, please see the August 2022 edition of The Bulletin.
- Old Swedes Church in Wilmington has agreed to oversee our newly created Colonial Soldier Youth Color Guard. Six students will attend W3R-DE ceremonies dressed in the Revolutionary War-era uniforms. Special thanks to Leone Cahill Krout, site director of the church.
- Vice President Peg Tigue again successfully hosted a summerlong weekly Brandywine Village Market, whose goal is to enhance Village pride and community awareness.
- W3R-DE continued to assist local Hispanic leaders in identifying unsung heroes from their community. Local schools are included in the research.
- Our new marker about Lafayette’s 1824 visit has been erected in Brandywine Mills Plaza in Wilmington with the help of City Parks and Recreation. Special thanks to the sign’s sponsor, Julien Icher, administrator of the Lafayette Trail (the Marquis’ Farewell Tour of the United States in 1824/25). A dedication ceremony is planned for June.
- State Chair Bill Conley made presentations to American Legion Post 10 and the Delaware Korean War veterans.
- W3R-DE participated in a Sept. 3 ceremony at the Cooch’s Bridge Battlefield, the 245th anniversary of the1777 battle. The event, attended by about 100 people, was sponsored by the Pencader Heritage Area Association, of which Bill is a board member. He read the known names of soldiers killed during the battle.
- Planning sessions continued with St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church for our Nov. 13 ceremony honoring Wilmington veterans. Medal of Honor recipients will be highlighted.
- George Widger, a historian of the Revolutionary War in Delaware, will speak Nov. 1 in Brandywine Village in Wilmington.
- W3R-DE is researching a new Family Walking Trail through downtown Wilmington from Brandywine Village to the waterfront.
Note: The full name of an East Side facility in Wilmington is the New Sweden Historic Center. The name was inadvertently shortened in the August edition.
– Bill Conley, State Chair █