History Articles

Featured both in print and online, Robert's history articles are read and enjoyed by captivated enthusiasts interested in exploring the past.

Revolutionary War Tech: The Ferguson Rifle

Within the context of the use of small arms in linear warfare, the American Revolutionary War was a conflict dominated by the musket. Smoothbore muzzleloaders were the predominate long guns of the period. The British employed the Long Land Pattern “Brown Bess,” one of the most prolific muskets of the eighteenth-century. The Continental Army, meanwhile, relied upon French firepower in the form of the Charleville flintlock—although many colonists managed to get their hands on the Brown Bess as we

Slavic Siegecraft in the South: Col. Tadeusz Kościuszko at Saratoga and Ninety-Six

In all, over a dozen sieges took place during the Revolutionary War, with a majority of the action occurring in North America. Belligerents on both sides of the conflict either conducted or attempted to resist these siege actions. A vast majority of the operations were led by British or American commanders who possessed varying amounts of relative experience in siegecraft. One figure, however, stands out from the rest for a unique reason. That man was Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish combat engineer who fought alongside American Patriots during the Revolutionary War and was commissioned as a colonel in the Continental Army.

Sowing the Seeds of Secession: The Southern Theater of the Revolutionary War

Mainstream history and conventional accounts of the Revolutionary War recall America’s battle for independence as a conflict predicated upon a popular uprising in North America. The founding fathers, unhappy with a faraway and oppressive power that unfairly repressed and taxed their fellow colonists, banded the North American colonies together against Great Britain. The war lasted for several years, from 1775 to 1783, concluding with America formally breaking ties with the Crown. In broad strokes, the above account is generally an accurate description of the Revolutionary War. Parliament, after all, did levy several tax and land acts against its colonies that many Americans found particularly punitive and oppressive. Thousands of colonists, from New England to Georgia, grouped together to face what they collectively viewed as a threat to their autonomy and sovereignty. Patriot resistance and colonial sentiment, however, were not as consistent as sometimes described in textbooks; particularly in the South, where a fair number of colonists remained divided over the conflict.

This Month in Revolutionary War History: Moribund May & the Decline of British Power in the North America

The overall intention of this series is to provide readers a thematic representation of the past by recalling events conveniently collated into accessible snippets tied to months of the year. Some stories will be familiar. Others might be new. Either way, I hope to entertain and inform those interested in the harsh reality and true history of the Revolutionary War.

Unsheathing the Past: The Role of the Sword

In the abstract, the lineage of the sword influenced many gentlemen officers of the Enlightenment, even if in the most intangible terms. As students of the past, many of these men were undoubtedly familiar with implements such as the Roman gladius, a short stabbing weapon that, in addition to winning the Ceasers of antiquity countless battles, served as a ceremonial award (frequently presented by Emperor Tiberius to the distinguished officers of his legions). Progressing forward, one of the most coveted weapons of the Early Middle Ages was the European longsword. Saxon blades were considered...

Revolution Revisited: 10 Reasons Why Great Britain Lost the War for Independence

Next month will mark the 236th anniversary of an event which heralded the end of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). On October 19, 1781, a besieged Charles Cornwallis—Marquess, Earl, Lord, General and favorite son of Great Britain—was forced to surrender at Yorktown. So embarrassed was his lordship, he lacked the strength to face the victorious Continentals and French forces in person. Instead, the deflated commander sent a fellow general, with sword in hand, to meet Washington...

Life on the Edge: 8 Harrowing Tales from the American Frontier

The founding and development of the United States of America certainly didn’t happen overnight, nor did it occur without bloodshed and sacrifice. From the earliest settlers struggling in virgin forests, to the audacious pioneers that relentlessly marched westward across the Great Plains, dangers lurked around every corner. As time went on, most Americans increasingly settled for the relative safety of eastern towns and cities. For a bold few, however, the call of the unknown was irresistible...

The Tools of War: 10 Deadly Infantry Weapons of WWII

World War II still holds the ominous distinction of being the deadliest conflict in human history, with official estimates placing the overall death toll anywhere from 60-80 million losses worldwide. Most of these fatalities stemmed from technological advancements in the tools that men used to wage war. Mid-century small arms could deliver sustained and accurate fire over great distances, explosives were portable and lethal, and new twists on old ideas gave rise to...

A Veteran of Two World Wars: 7 Fascinating Facts about the USS Texas

In the history of the United States Navy, few ships can match the remarkable reputation and achievements of the USS Texas (BB-35). Commissioned in 1914, she is one of a few surviving battleships to surpass the century mark. Only a handful of naval vessels can boast similar claims, including Japan’s Mikasa and England’s HMS Victory. Unlike that pair of vessels, however, the USS Texas remained on active service through the Second World War. What follows is...
Robert Ranstadler, M.A., M.Ed.

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