tv American Revolution 1760 to 1778 CSPAN July 7, 2017 6:07am-7:08am EDT
reproduced towards the end of the gallery. and we take that story all the way through the end. then you're actually see the original war tent, the field headquarters of general washington that is displayed here in the gallery of the museum of american revolution. tonight we're featuring the new museum of the american revolution in philadelphia located just two blocks from independence hall. next scott stevenson vice president of collections takes us through a tour of the museum's core explosion. and in about an hour we'll reair the live program that just concluded. >> i'm scott stevenson. i'm the vice president of clecks
exhibititions and program. we're standing on the second floor of the museum. this is where our core excision, 16,000 square feet of exhibition space kind of wraps around this court i'm standing in. so we enter here on my left and we wraparound 16 galleries and theaters, past behind the big painting you see, all the way around, and you actually exit just opposite of where we're standing here. you enter a subject of king george the iii. when you leave you're a citizen of the american republic. so we tell a story. the core narrative is about 1760 to 1790, but then we carry you through the present day to explore the legacies of the american revolution. first we have to step back to 1776, and we actually start with
the re-creation of the moment july 9, 1776, when a group of sailors and soldiers in new york city first heard the declaration of independence and gathered at a landmark familiar to many viewers and tore down an equestrian statue of king george iii, really marking the beginning of the war of independence, the beginning of the american revolution. and so this is really our first gallery displaying objects from the period. we call this gallery rural brutannia. so this then after you've been in that moment of 1776, we take you back 15 years really to the end of what was known as the
seven years war or the french and indian war, the essention of the new king george iii, the first british monarch. this is the period in which britain wins this incredible victory of which winston churchill called the first world war. this kpans of territories from britain, africa, west africa and doubled the territories that britain laid claim over in north america. so in the case behind us we have a collection of objects owned and used by colonial americans that speak to the presence of the king in every day life. one of the great objects here, this is a cast iron fire back made in an oxford furnace in new jersey in 1776. this was essentially a cast iron
plate placed in the back of a fireplace that would radiate heat out into the room. as you can see, it includes the royal arms of the king of the england. we also have objects that introduce you to british heroes. so in the upper right, a tavern side, and this is on loan to us from the connecticut historical society, a wonderful, old historic society with amazing collections. you see general wolf. this was was a british general who died after being mortally wounded helping to capture french canada for the british empire. and he was celebrated by americans. this tavern sign hung in front of the tavern kept by israel putnam who would be famous in the revolutionary war in the battle of bunker hill.
so the second gallery we title the voice of victory. so after the british victory in the seven years war with this vastly expanded empire, particularly in north america, britain faces this challenge. because of course everyone's excited about having this larger empire. but there are now tens of thousands of new subjects that look to king george iii, of course, desiring him to act as their sovereign or in the case of people who do not recognize him as a sovereign like native-americans, at least seeing him as a person who they can ask for assistance with their problems. and so you have tens of thousands of native-americans. you have more than 70,000 french catholic and some former spanish colonists who now britain claims
as its subjects. in addition, you've got 2 1/2 million british colonists, people like george washington, people like jechgman franklin and others who have fought a war and they believe to enjoy the fruits of that victory in the west. so the king has to face that challenge of how do i balance the subjects. how do i keep american indians happy and don't rise up and cause wars on the frontier and at the same time honor people like george washington who think they fought this war in order to enjoy those lands? what do i do about those franch catholic citizens who want to continue to practice their faith, their used to use french ecclesiastic law, et cetera. so the king has to kind of act as an arbiter. so in gallery two it really sets up that problem for the crown,
how does it try to balance all these different interests? what is the view from the interior, what is the view from the colonies? what is the view from britain about this problem for the empire? so the objects in here and the media piece really pull that story apart. for native people, for instance, in 1863,er they're the first people to sort of rise up and push back of increased british control of their lives in a rebellion known sometimes at pawniacs rebellion. and they pushed back to guarantee their sovereignty of their lands in the west. the british conclude the best way to get their arms around this new empire is to build forts and stags more than 10,000 british regular troops in north america. not necessarily to oppress colonists but to keep these
various -- separated from each other. so in parliament of course no one is thinking, well, we should just continue to tax british, taxpayers pay for this. american colonists have enjoyed this victory. we should ask them to contribute. so this idea comes up, and this eventually passes through parliament of what becomes known as the stamp act. and this is actually a depiction on the wall here of the design of that stamp. so this is not a stamp that you put on a letter, of course. this is a very old method of taxation, very, very familiar to british people because it was essentially a stamp that was placed on paper. and you can see an original example here, actually. this is london newspaper. and in the lower rynd corner you see that design that's been stamped on that paper. and that was a design that meant that a tax had been paid on that
paper. and then a newspaper would be printed on it. this would also apply to parchment that you would use for legal documents. it was an plain cards. and so this was the design for the stamps that would have been use said in america to help pay for those british troops that were supposed to police the empire. now, of course, this was a challenge to colonial americans view because they view themselves, of course, as transplapted englishman. they may not have had any british ancestry whatsoever. whether you were swedish, dutch, german, came from any number of european backgrounds, once you became a naturalized citizen, you believed you had these fundamental rights as englishman. and one of those fundamental rights is the right not to be taxed without your own consent. and that would be given through
elected representatives. ando in britain, of course, that's parliament. in the colonies of course this through those colonial assemblies. so if you come to philadelphia and you visit independence hall, we know that's independence hall because of something that happened in 1776. to people in the period that was the pennsylvania statehouse. that was the place where the colonial legislature met. if you go to colonial williamsburg, virginia, you'll see the colonial houses, the statehouse. these were legislative assemblies that met, that were elected. and those were the people in the view of colonists that could impose taxes on them. so you have two views that collide in this room. are colonists going to tax themselves and provide the man power and make the decisions about defense or is that going to come from above, in this case, from parliament?
and that's what's represented by the tax stamp behind me here. of course, very famously benjamin franklin who's in london at the time who's serving as the colonial agent for pennsylvania, recognizes nobody likes taxes but does not anticipate the absolutely virulent reaction in the colonies. he even recommends some friends of his to become tax collecturs and then really has to sort of react and recover his reputation a little bit after the stamp act is passed. and so the next room, which we call resistance is about the decade stretching from the stamp act in 1765 to the outbreak of the revolutionary war in 1775. so this is a room that also introduces one of the exhibition techniques we use, which is to create these immersive spaces,
to sort of trance port you back in time. so we re-created the tree in boston, that kind of became known as the libertiy tree. and this was a phenomenon that spread through other towns in the period. but it was a place where sons and daughters of libertiy gathered enopen air, political meetings to talk about how they would react to theseerts by the british it impose taxes through parliament on them. we actually embedded in the trunk of this tree a piece of wood from the last standing libertiy tree. it was standing until 1999 on grounds of st. marries college. some of the wood was salvaged. and it's just wonderful to have kids in particular feel like they're touching a piece of history here. so this also was a gallery of
which we explore some of the symbols of the resistance movement, forms of resistance. so nonimportation, the impulse to boycott goodies that were manufactured in britain and replace them with locally made goodies. and we think nowadays this kind of bi-american movement was something we invented, but this has roots going all the way back to the 1760s. save your money, save your country, that's actually a slogan from a newspaper in the period. we've also got a display of some of these wonderful objects that were used to express political sentiments in the period. ironically, these were all items made by british manufacturers that, of course, most manufacturers their politics follow their wallets. so in this case these were made by english or in this case a chinese porcelain bowl here with arms of libertiy printed on it.
this mug in the lower left is an item from the collection here at the museum of new york and revolution. it says success to the city of boston, liberty forever. but again made in england for the american market. now, this is also a gallery in which you talk about the evolving language of liberty. you see writing and articilation of these ideas of not just liberty being restored but something perhaps american liberty that's distinct from britains. so as all of this lofty sort of language is rising, we also want to confront that with the reality that this idea of liberty did not apply to everyone. so on this panel here which we intitle liberty for all, we explore the experience of slavery for people of african
descent. so this object here is an ornl writing of this poet. she had beenen into cavativity as a child during the french and indian war from africa and eventually learned to read and write and published this book of poems in 1773 but actually has signed here. so we actually see the signature of phil s wheatley. and this is an incredible privilege to be able to display this and share this to our visitors. on the left this is actually an image re-created to give us an idea of what she may have looked like. so this gallery concludes with a kind of time line of events from the boston tea party in december of 1773 through the opening
shots of the levlutionary war in 1775. and we, of course, explore some of the symbols of the melding american resistance here and one of the favorites of mine we've reproduced from the written inscription this flag that stood on top of this flagpole in ponton, massachusetts. and you can see what was known as a red -- so it flew over british ships and british forts. it's a good reminder that these were not yet people who were fighting for independence. they were not trying to found an independent republic. they were trying to restore their rights within the british empire. and the president of that union on their flags of protests, it says liberty and union on there
so it's expressing the sentiments of people of what they consider british tyranny. but they're still appealing to king george iii. it's not yet with the king. and that flag is going to continue to evolve over the next couple of years. it will eventually turn into what we know as the stars and stripes. so there's several steps in that evolution. in this next gallery that we step into, we basically take you out of that decade of resistance, as americans are gradually finding themselves more and more alienated from britain, both sides are hardening in their attitudes toward one another. by the fall of 1774, king george feels they've crossed the rubicon and it's really going oo be a matter of military showdown to determine americans, he feels, are actually trying to found an independent nation will be able to succeed or not. so it's likely they're living on a powder keg and the spark comes
in the spring of 1775. on the night of april 18, 1775, when a secret expedition of british troops marches out of boston. they're marching towards conquered, massachusetts, spies have revealed that americans have been gathering arms for this military confrontation. and the british troops, of course the alarm goes oud. this was the famous ride of paul revere. he was one of many dozens of riders, and he didn't even get as far as others did, but he alarmed the countryside. that's the scene you see playing out behind us here. we've actually animated a period engraving of that fighting at conquered bridge. and that's a place of concord, massachusetts, that every american should visit at some
point. you can see this house today. these are all objects which are witness objects to that fighting, whether it's a piece of wood, that literally is one of the diagonal braces from the bridge that stood over the river on april 19, 1775. that actually came out-of-the river in the 1950s. there was only one bridge made of oak that ever stood on that site. the river kind of changed coarse, and they moved the bridge to a different location. and so it matches perfectly the location description of the bridge. and objects through the generosity of the concord moouz in concord, maz which has placed a number of items on display, you're actually able to see a number of items that were
actually there at the witness of the fighting. so the mirrors are really fascinating. and again this is from the collection of the concord museum. this mirror was in the home, actually visible on the far left of the scene here in the background of the fighting. and that house belonged to captain david brown. this is actually the musket piece he carried there in the fighting of april 19th. but this mirror was on the wall of the house. and british soldiers hamarched across that bridge and went into the house and took that mirror and threw it out the door, smashing it on the yard outside. only one shard of glass was left in it, and it was kept as a memento until it was donated to the museum. so it's incredible to actually bring together the mirror and
the filing piece which probably had been separated. so we're having a bit of family reunion here for the summer of 2017. so that fighting then brings soldiers from up and down the east coast together. you think about that gallery that centered on the liberty tree, for about a decade colonial americans had been forming kind of imagined. they started to feel empathy for one another such that when the coercive acts are passed and britain bottles up the boston and shuts the port down, humble farmers in places like pennsylvania and new jersey will put flour on a wagon and send to the subjects who were living in boston. they started to imagine themselves as americans and have this kind of empathy for one another. but what happens because the
fighting sparks and men from all of those colonies stream together, they find they have a ways to go before they see themselves as fellow americans. so this gallery is about the beginning of that quest for unity, you know, fleing over the scene is kind of the next evolution of that flag, right? you recognize the british canton. this is still a fight to restore our rights as englishman but now the alternating 13 red and white stripe representing the 13 colonies who have joined the union here. this scene are actually life cast figures. we've pulled molds off of faces and hands and bodies and very carefully researched and cloned the clothing to kind of make up for photographs.
in 1775 he was this 10-year-old boy in the red coat whose father had brought him to war. he was a mass boy, these were yankee fisherman who were in the regiment in the north shore. they encountered a group of rifleman who come in there, trying to appear like american indians. they come together around the college buildings and harvard college at the time now harvard university, and a fight breaks out among these men from two different regions. remember that george washington road into the scene, broke up these soldiers fight. this is just at the moment washington is riding home with his brother taking about the challenges he was facing. trying to get money from their colony to think of themselves as
americans. so this is wonderful sort of story telling device to point out how long that journey would be. perhaps that journey that's still not finished today to see all of ourselves as americans despite our diversity. each of these galleries explores one of the big three participants in this tablao. the red coat in the back, which on loan to us from a private collector is one of the few surviving garments from an american participateabout in the american revolutionary war. that was worn by a man who fought at the battle of bunker hill. and of course some people say a red coat, isn't that british? well, remember we're all british at this point. this is not yet a fight for
american fps. right beside him is a bible that was carried by another soldier in this case from ipswitch, massachusetts who had that in his pocket during the battle of bunker hill. and that night when they were treated, he sat down and wrote a short account of the fighting at bunker hill. he thanked god for preserving his life, dedicating his life to the glory of god of having saved his life in this terrible battle at bunker hill. so it's amazing stuff. so what about the rifleman from the south? this is great group of objects that reflect the sort of southern military tradition, men from pennsylvania, maryland, and virginia, from the back counttry. this is one of only a handful of fringed rifle shirts that have survived. there's only three or four of these that have survived from the revolutionary era.
the rifle is the earliest signed and dated american rifle from colonial america, made in redding, pennsylvania, which is very distinctive arms rifle to try to use the accuracy of these firearms to compensate for not having as many men as maybe the british army had. and finally atume stone that stood near the trinity church yard near ground zero in new york settee in memory of michael cresp, atop on who died in new york in 1775 having matched to boston and then contracted fever. that's a great object that remembers him. and then finally george washington himself, again, through the courtesy of two
institutions very jenner sly lending these objects we've brought together, we think for the first time since 1776, a portrait of george washington painted here in philadelphia in the summer of 1776. this was commissioned by john hancock, pointed by john wilson peel. and if you see over the shoulder of george washington, that wide blue ribbon, this is a mark that washington purchased in boston in 177 a to distinguish himself. of course, this is primarily a new england army. no one knows who's in charge, so the first thing is he does is to purchase this ribbon to mark he's the commander in chief. and this actually is the original ribbon which washington gave to the painter later during the revolutionary war and then descended and now in the collection of harvard's peabody
museum. and this gallery sort of takes you through the end of 1775, and it's now january of 1776. and our next gallery which we intitle revolution, every thing in 1776. it really focuses on then on the independence movement and the big change now from appealing to the king to try and resolve these differences and deciding the king was the enemy and that the only solution was to declare independence. so one of the things we try to do in this gallery is sort of invert the narrative that many of us were taught in school, which is viewing the declaration of independence as this document that sprung from the mind of thomas jefferson, shared with members of congress, passed, and then announced to all of us, the citizens of america. we're trying to point out that as jefferson himself said, the
declaration of independence was an expression of the american mind. and so in the early part of the gallery here we try to look at all the other declarations of independence that proceeded the declaration of independence of july 1776. we do that through this touch screen interactive where you can scroll through the months from january through to july. and as you can see as i do that, the colonies are populated with these little blue circles. and what those are showing you is in each one of the colonies, local declarations of independence, in this case representatives from charlotte county voting to support independence april 23, 1776. in south carolina, for instance, a grand jury voting to support independence. these are often actions by courts, grand jury voting to support independence in april. if you go to pennsylvania, for
instance, military organization like a militia group crawford battalion of associaters, which is voting to support independence in june. massachusettss itself which really puts the question of independence to all the towns, these are all towns that voted to support independence and sent administrations to their delegates. so it's really extraordinary. you can also explore the opinions of colonial americans. so here's flora macdonald who was actually a loyaltiest. so again, not everyone was in support of independence. there's some that felt this was a leap in the dark. and why on earth would you declare independence from the greatest empire in the world? they were behind the resistance movement, but there was those who said they could not go and actually imagine declaring independence, that that was an act of treason.
that was too horrible to imagine. so we explore this story also through original objects. these are some works on paper and actual original printing of the proclamation by king george iii for repressing rebellion. this was in august of 1775. the news of this and king george's news to parliament which declared the colonists in rebellion all arrived in philadelphia in january of 1776, the same week as a famphlet is published just a block of where we're standing here from the museum of american revolution by thomas paine, who's a failed english corset maker. he see tried to be a tax collector. reel ay did not find his way until he realized he can make an amazing career for himself writing. and he wrote a pamphlet called
"common sense." and this an english replinting of that philadelphia pampplate, and it calls for an independent nation to be created, that all the states should become republics. he rejects monarchy as a system of government. and now the king is being cast as an enemy rather than a protector of the people. and so this is when this becomes an american revolution. so in this gallery then we kind of unpack the story of the declaration of independence. we have a small theater which explores the actual process of drafting and passing the declaration of independence. we rotate on display printings of the declaration. of course we're all familiar with the engrossed copy on marchment that you can see in washington, d.c. at the national
archives. but other than members of congress, very few people ever saw that document certainly in the 18th century. most people encountered text of the declaration either from newspaper, broadside printings or having it readout loud in their various communities. so we rotate on display different printings of the declaration. right now we have one of the rarest, actually. it's a german language printing here in the center. there are only two copies of this july 17, 1776 printing in german that have survived. and this has been shared with us by gettysburg college in pennsylvania. and then it's side by side with a salem, massachusetts printing of the declaration. we also explored the promise of equality, so this notion that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with
certain unalienable rights, that's language each person has to decide does that apply to me. and actually some people like john adams that probably did realize when you declare all men are created equal, some people might say what about women, enslaved people, laboring men. so we try to explore this symbol where we look at laboring men, enslaved people including abigail adams. we also explore the relations of religious freedoms of objects representing communities of faith in colonies. so these on the left these were very highly decorated fennials to cover the end of a torah that were used by a jewish community
here. it still is an active community in philadelphia. we have a rutheren vane. we even represent the presence of islam. very difficult to document, the culture. but this is a little charm with an inscription from the quaren that was perhaps owned by an enslaved african who was muslim. so it's really tremendous to be able to have this tradition represented through an object in the museum. so when you get to this point in the galleries, you then encounter the statue of king george iii. we bring you back to that moment when we started when the declaration of independence was
being read in new york. we have a sailor up there who's offering you a rope he's throwing down to try to invite you to consider well, where would you have stood at this point in the story? you have heard what the loyaltiest trueke end, seen people who are trying to remain neutral. we actually have on display these large lumps here in the case on loan to us from the new york historical society are fragments of the original statue that stood there. it was composed of the guilt leads. there's about 4,000 pounds of lead in large pieces. that was broken apart into pieces and melted down into 42,000 musket balls, which were turned into ammunition from the continental army. those musket balls were referred to in one newspaper as melted
madgy. they were to be issued out and fired back at the ministerial troops as they called them. so at this point we ask visitors in that very first gallery four big questions to kind of frame their journey through the galleries. and the first of those questions is how did people become revolutionaries? and when they come back to the statue of king george iii, they should be able to answer that question of how people become revolutionaries. the second question we ask is how did the revolution survive its darkest hour? because, of course, while all this lofty language about liberty and rights and creating constitutions and remember the ladies is going on, the largest overseas expedition in european history is headed toward new york. and so the mural that you see
beside me here is an eyewitness depiction, which we've blown up as a mural showing five british warships and about 6,000 british and hessian troops in landing boats about to land on manhattan island. it's 1776. at the time one of the soldiers saw these ships gathering in new york harbor and said later i thought all of london was afloat. so it was one thing to declare independence, to teardown the king, to declare you were now living an american revolution, but to actually achieve independence was actually going to be an effort of many, many more years of struggle. and the first thing americans had to do was just survive the onslaught that was coming in the form of the british army. then we go through the galleries
which take you through a chronological march through the eras of revolutionary war, exploring the different people affected or participate in that fighting. the first of course the british army. we bring back one representing an irish recruit in the british army who served in the new york campaign. he had enlisted just shortly before being sent to north america. and then objects and weapons that reflect those forces that participated in the fighting and the campaign of 1776. and then we move on. we introduce another character. this is joseph plumb martin, properly one of the most famous american common soldiers of the american revolutionary war. he wrote a nartive of his life when he was an old man.
it's cnn to people today when it was published as private yankee doodle. so he enlisted as a young teenager in connecticut. he was tun of these new england soldiers onshore when those ships were anchored off kips bay. they really did not stand and put up much of a resistance and were driven across manhattan. and that was really the story of 1776, that campaign that was documented so well in david mccollough's book that were just fighting and really a dozen actions from manhattan, being driven and washington's army is in full reteat by december of 1776.
and these are some we pulled together that illustrate the american forces that were fighting in 1776. so this portrait is by relatively unknown at the time or very famous today is charles wilson peel. and peele has been born in maryland and was part of a large family. he was orphaned relatively young, apprenticed as a saddle maker but showed promise as a participator and received patronage of some wealthier, more influential people in maryland. and eventually in the 1770s had painted george washington and was starting to get a good reputation of a very good painter. so this is a portrait of philadelphia flower, and he's depicted in his uniform as an officer of the continental army.
he was one of the volunteers of the militia that lived in philadelphia and really marched to washington's assistance as his army was starting to fall apart after that new york campaign. they'd been driven through new jersey and by the first week of december, 1776 they're crossing the delaware from trenton into pennsylvania. so you're used seeing in the painting the metropolitan museum, but crossing east to west. and this was really one of the lowest moments of the revolutionary war. congress is fleeing philadelphia. there's a sense that this revolutionary effort is over and that basely the men that signed that document were all going to end up being hauled off to the tower of london. so charl wilson peele is part of the philadelphia soldiers that march up. one of the men that's been with washington through that whole summer is his brother, james
peele, who is serving with the maryland forces. they had fought very hard at the battle of long island in 1776. they lost many men, all of their baggage. they were really starving, many naked and barefoot as they crossed into pennsylvania. and on the night of december 8, 1776, a man came staggering out of a crowd of soldiers, came up to charles wilson peele, and he didn't recognize his own brother, james. and that's the scene we created here. it's based on his charles wilson peele's own diary at the time. he actually did a painting he called the crossing of the delaware. it has not survived, bullet he described it in a series of letters to thomas jefferson in 1818. and he noted for him this was the lowest moment of the
revolution. he wanted to do a painting that captured the suffering of the soldiers as they come up out-of-the river and included the presence of women and children and wanted to acknowledge their presence as camp followers and the fact they were along and in the army and sharing the suffering and sacrifice of those who helped the women independents. and as you pass the peele brothers, of course, that scene is taking place as the author of common sense is with the army, and he's penning an essay which he publishes just a peek or two later called the american crisis. and that is when he writes those immortal words these are the times that try men's souls. but he that stands now will deserve the love and thanksgivings of man and woman.
and so that's the scene he's really seeing in front of him as he's writing reportedly on the head of a drum. so as we move from that gallery, then, we come to a low moment, and things are looking bad. we look to the hessian soldiers, those german soldiers who had been hired to supplement the british army in america by king george iii. another teenager here, johannes handberg was captured. christmas night when washington crosses the delaware in a desperate attempt to try to deliver some kind of blow against the british to keep them from marching on and capturing philadelphia. we've digitized here. we've blown up a period map that shows the location of all of
this fighting and what became known as the ten crucial days. and so the first action, the crossing of the delaware, the battle of trenton, and you can see washington crossing. washington's army then dividing, marching down from the west, attacking these green dots representing the hessians at trenton, and that fighting taking place. then in a series of actions over the next ten days, crossing and recrossing the delaware culminating in the january 3, 1776 battle of pripsten. and this is when washington who's been attack bide a much larger superior british force during a little remembered battle called the second battle of trenton in the middle of the night manages to slip off leaving the british here, marching cross country, and attack the rear of the british line in precipitateten. and this was at the site of
where princeton university stands today. and that fighting takes place, again, obon january 3, 1776. it was in that action that a scottish immigrant named hugh mercer had been persuaded. he knew washington very well in the early revolutionary period. he became a british commander, was a commander commanding the lead elements. when the british counter attacked, mercer was knocked from his horse and apparently these british troops thought they'd actually captured general washington and demanded that he surrender. but mercer defended himself with a sword. and this is actually the
original hilted sword that mercer had in his hand with a bayonet from the 17th regiment of foot. this is from the british regiment that attacked mercer at princeton. these blades may have crossed one another as mercer laid on the ground fighting off a circle of soldiers. he was repeated stabbed, mortally wounded. he lingered for nine days afterwards and became a kind of was -- his body was brought here to philadelphia, was placed on public exhibition so that americans could see these horrible wounds he had suffered, then he was buried at christchurch here in philadelphia. fast forward to 1784. charles wilson peele, our painter back there, is commissioned by princeton university to do a full-length portrait of general washington to hang in nassau hall, which still stands today at princeton.
and behind you right here, this is a reproduction of that painting which you can actually see in the princeton university art gallery. you'll notice here is nassau hall, very recognizable to anyone who's been to princeton before with the fighting going on in the background. of course charles and james were participants in this battle. so they knew well and actually charles went and sketched the battlefield, got all the details right. here at general washington's feet you see the dying general mercer. and then in probably the first photobomb in american history, you'll see charles and james peele has been painted into the background of the scene. so it's a nice way to kind of bring their story full circle here from seeing them in that horrible condition on the banks of the delaware to that victorious moment at the battle of princeton. chronologically we're now in early 1777. and this is where our story moves to consider another group of people who had to make a
choice about what they would do in the midst of this anglo american civil war that's going on, the american revolution. and that's native people. and here we focus on the experience of the oneida indian nation located now in what's central new york. they were part of that iroquois confederacy of six nations that stretch from the mohawk valley to the area around niagara falls. they were part of the iroquois. through an immersive media experience we are actually in the middle of a group of men and women in the nation as they debate how can they preserve their sovereignty and independence when the british and the continental congress are saying you have to make a choice and fight for one side or the other. so they reflect on what are the consequences of choosing one side or the other or trying to remain neutral. for most of the six nations, they felt the best choice was to
side with the british. they felt that expanding the american colonies were much more of a threat to their sovereignty than the british would be. for the oneida, they felt that siding with the continental congress was the best way forward for them. so that ancient confederacy of the nations was pulled apart, a civil war within their confederacy that echos the larger civil war between the colonies and the british. >> the oneida are allies of the united states. we will share with them, buried in the same graves. >> and so later in 1777 the campaign and series of battles known as saratoga take place in upstate new york. and we tried to use the saratoga campaign as a way to explore the
experience of war for noncombatants. so we used the baroness here. this was a german woman married to the commander of the german troops fighting with the british. these were brunswickers. her memoir, based on her diary that she kept through the campaign is remarkable and is a great reminder of the deep psychological trauma that can come from experiencing war. now we often, because we look at those wonderful dramatic paintings, we think of the 18th century as a kind of glorious era, you know, with heroic soldiers, with flags flying. it's not the same kind of gritty view of conflict like we have for the american civil war, for instance, because of those tremendous photographs. and so the baroness and her
diary give us an opportunity to explore the experience of war through a noncombatant who was there marching along with the army. she cared for wounded. at one point she spent several days in the basement of a house being bombarded by the americans who didn't realize that they were wounded there. they thought this was a command post. so using her diary, using objects associated with people that she encountered, even archaeological items from one of the prisoner of war camps that she lived in later in the war. because of course she and the soldiers from the army were captured and treated as prisoners of war. we're able to tell her story. this is an english port pistol that belonged to major henry harnage who served in the 62nd regiment, one of the british regiments.
he was badly wounded in the battle of freeman's farm, which took place during this series of actions around saratoga. and after the battle the baroness chaired for harnage and called him by name. a witness object. and he did recover from his wounds and became a prisoner of war along with the baroness through the rest of the conflict. we have also in this gallery a display that we call arms of independence. and this is a tremendous collection of nearly 50 weapons that were carried by american forces during the revolutionary war and a depiction in the center. this is a painting of the battle of princeton. so you can see general washington brandishing his sword on the left. in the distance, in the middle you see a fallen white horse and a soldier who is helping general
mercer. what's remarkable about this painting, the original after which this is a copy, the original was by james peel. but this is a copy that was done by general mercer's son william who was orphaned by the death of his father at the battle of princeton who was apprenticed to the peel brothers to learn a trade, to become a painter and actually executed this copy in the early 1780s that included a depiction of the death of his father. so again a reminder of the, you know, human dimension of the revolutionary war which is often missing from most museum displays about this period. out behind us here, this is an area when the museum is open and operating, we line soldiers up here, visitors as soldiers, the doors open and you're able to march in and actually experience
a 4-d immersive battlefield experience being at the battle of brandywine. and we tell the story of that largest land battle of the american revolution. which is ultimately an american defeat. and it's followed up about an week and a half later by the british army marching into philadelphia and capturing the revolutionary capital. this is a year following the declaration of independence when philadelphia falls and will be occupied by the british for nine months. and so british troops who, on september 26, 1777, marched down chestnut street, march up to what we now know as independence hall and they turn that building where the declaration of independence was adopted and signed into a prison for american soldiers. and that's the scene that we depict here. american, wounded american officer being brought into independence hall, we've
recreated the interior, very exact in here. we know about this particular scene through the diary of a quaker woman. and we depict two quaker women who was part of a delegation that came to see these prisoners being brought in to offer assistance in caring for the wounded. this allows us to talk about another community of people, those who are passivists. who is their experience of living in an occupied city here, in this case philadelphia. while all of this is taking place here in the neighborhood, washington's army has marched into a desolate piece of ground called valley forge and this becomes the scene of a six-month winter encampment of the continental army and probably the most famous image of the march into valley forge is this
collection from the museum of the american revolution. this is the march to valley forge, depicting soldiers on the 19th of december 1777 marching into this desolate area where they have to build their own log city by cutting down trees, building log huts and getting themselves undercover in the harshest of weather. so a case with objects that have been arch logically recovered from some of the soldier's huts, personal items. some of the ax that were probably used to build those huts. they were really undersupplied with tools and shoveling and spades. you know, all part of the gear that they were using. we've also recreated the view, because of course most people think of snow when they think of valley forge. but the army did not march out of their encampment until june 19th of 1778. they spent six full months in camp. we tried to show the appearance
of the grand parade in the center of the encampment. all of the different kinds of people you would have encountered, troops in the background undergoing the drill of the inspector general, the oppression officer who becomes very important, inspector general of the continental army, forming training tactics and maneuvers. the troops are encamped at valley forge when the news comes that france has finally signed a treaty of alliance with the united states. and this really is the end of that question of how the revolution survived its darkest hour. because having declare independence in 1776 and then really gone it alone through 1777 into 1778, finally there's the prospect of foreign
assistance, foreign aid. and there's a real rise in american confidence that they're going to be able to achieve their independence. and they go into that year with a lot more confidence than they had up until this point. philadelphia's newest museum is in the heart of the city just two blocks from independence t hall. and it tells the story of the country's road to independence.e the museum of the american revolution opened in april. tonight we take you inside.. it was a decade before that shot heard around the world in concord and lexington that america's battle for freedom really begins.al and joining us inside the museue is its president and ceo michael quinn. thanks for being with us and for allowing c-span inside the museum.