April 25, 7 pm: J. L Bell, “The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War”

road-to-concordIn the early spring of 1775, on a farm in Concord, Massachusetts, British army spies located four brass cannon belonging to Boston’s colonial militia that had gone missing months before. British general Thomas Gage had been searching for them, both to stymie New England’s growing rebellion and to erase the embarrassment of having let cannon disappear from armories under redcoat guard. Anxious to regain those weapons, he drew up plans for his troops to march nineteen miles into unfriendly territory. The Massachusetts Patriots, meanwhile, prepared to thwart the general’s mission. There was one goal Gage and his enemies shared: for different reasons, they all wanted to keep the stolen cannon as secret as possible. Both sides succeeded well enough that the full story has never appeared until now.
The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War by historian J. L. Bell reveals a new dimension to the start of America’s War for Independence by tracing the spark of its first battle back to little-known events beginning in September 1774. The author relates how radical Patriots secured those four cannon and smuggled them out of Boston, and how Gage sent out spies and search parties to track them down. Drawing on archives in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, the book creates a lively, original, and deeply documented picture of a society perched on the brink of war.
RocklandTrust logoOur April lectures are sponsored by Rockland Trust

Tuesday, May 13, 7:00 pm: Lecture: Nathaniel Philbrick, “Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution”

  • Tuesday, May 13: Lecture, 7 pm: Author Nathaniel Philbrick discusses his book “Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution

NOTE: THIS LECTURE WILL BE HELD AT ST. BARNABAS EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 91 MAIN STREET, FALMOUTH

Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord.  In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.
Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.
With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.

May 21: Janet Uhlar: “Freedom’s Cost: The Story of Gen. Nathanael Greene”

  • Wednesday, May 21: Lecture, 7 pm: Author Janet Uhlar discusses her book “Freedom’s Cost: The Story of General Nathanael Greene”

Nathanael Greene was the strategist of the American Revolution. His role in the War for Independence was second only to General George Washington. Born and reared a Quaker, with no military experience, he was promoted from private to brigadier general overnight. Greene quickly became Washington’s confidant and close friend. He was chosen by the Commander to lead the Continental Army should Washington be killed, injured, or taken captive. It was General Greene who pulled the Continental Army from the throes of death at Valley Forge, who petitioned Congress for a Declaration of Independence, who was given the desperate task of commanding the Southern Department of the Continental Army after other commanders had failed, and who drove British General Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown. Unable to participate or witness the victorious battle, he was forced to immediately return South with his troops, and subdue the remaining British forces. Greene led his troops in battle and laid siege for a year after the victory at Yorktown. His persistence finally forced the British to evacuate the South.Greene led his men in more battles than any other general officer, including Washington. Moreover, it was Greene who was constantly harassed by Congress, and ultimately forsaken by them. Three years after the official end of the war, Nathanael Greene was dead. His premature death was not only a result of the intense hardships of war, but the hardships and cruelty inflicted on him by the United States Congress.