In light of Memorial Day next week, Marion Slack, Wonder Woman of Reference Librarians, suggested that I blog about one of the new history resources that we just added to the Reference Collection. I am pleased to introduce you to The Guide to the American Revolutionary War In Canada and New England: Battles Raids and Skirmishes, by Norman Desmarais, a historical reenactor and librarian at Providence College. This book was published in 2009 by Busca, Inc. in Ithaca, New York.
The unique and stimulating subject matter of this book covers the lesser known battles that were fought during the Revolutionary War. Each chapter is dedicated to a particular New England state, or Canada. These chapters are then subdivided by town or region. As an example of what the reader could find in this book, page 111 offers the first-hand account of a 19 year old Connecticut Governor’s son who witnessed events in Boston during June 1775, just before George Washington took command of the Continental Army. The young man stated, “The entire army, if it deserved the name, was but an assemblage of brave, enthusiastic, undisciplined country lads; the officers in general, quite as ignorant of military life as the troops, excepting a few elderly men, who had seen some irregular service among the provincials…”. I found this to be a surprising portrait of the army that eventually won the war! In the chapter dedicated to New Hampshire, on pages 68-69, the reader will find a description of the residents of Portsmouth, who were hassled for months by the crew of the British HMS Scarborough. The fed up townspeople decided to drag the boat out of the water, carry it through the streets and threatened to set it on fire. One tidbit of information that I found particularly interesting in the Preface is the fact that a soldier’s weekly ration of food generally consisted of 7 pounds of beef or 4 pounds of pork, 7 pounds of bread or 7 pounds of flour to make bread, 3 pints of beans or peas, ½ pound rice and ¼ pound butter. The soldiers rarely received this amount of food, and therefore civilians often hid their cattle from being stolen from hungry soldiers (xvi). Aside from interesting, unfamiliar facts and stories from the Revolutionary War, this book also features a concise, yet informative introduction to the events that led to the start of the war. There are also several maps and photographs that show locations, buildings, monuments, boats and other objects that played a role in the war. The author also included recommendations for several websites, museums, historical societies, as well as an extensive bibliography that the reader may use to find further information on a particular area or event.
This book can be found in the Reference Room, Room 118 of the Library. The call number for this book is Ref E 230.5 N3 .D47 2009. It is shelved in the “New Reference Books” section. If you have any questions about this or any other resource, contact a Reference Librarian in person, by phone at 508-626-4654, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or IM at fscrefdesk. If you would like to suggest a treasure in the library’s Reference Room, please email me at email@example.com