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America at War

Marc Blackburn

Explore the rich history of our past through the lens of our military institutions. From the settlement of North America to the present, this podcast encompasses traditional military history and goes the extra step to address the evolution of ideas a...Show More

25:17 | May 10th

One of the key developments of the nineteenth century was the rise of the professional soldier. While the United States ha d a tradition of using citizen soldiers, the first decades of the nineteen century saw the rise of officers who could be recogn...Show More

21:49 | Apr 18th

Of the many developments that occurred in the post-1812 Army was the growth of a domestic arms industry. With the founding of the Republic in 1787, government arsenals in Springfield, MA and Harper's Ferry, VA, were established, providing the Army wi...Show More

21:14 | Apr 2nd

John C. Calhoun wanted change. He not only advocated for an expansable army, but made initiated significant reforms in how the Army would be commanded in the field as well as its supply and administration. The office of the commanding general was cre...Show More

19:30 | Feb 25th

One of the key missions of the U.S. Army in the nineteenth century was garrisoning the coastal defenses along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. John C. Calhoun initiated what today we know as the Third System of fortifications. This brief episo...Show More

22:24 | Feb 20th

In the aftermath of the War of 1812, John C. Calhoun was appointed Secretary of War. He took a close look at the performance of the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 and absorbed its lessons. He reorganized the staff in his office to make the administ...Show More

19:28 | Feb 7th

The War of 1812 is done. In this episode we summarize the war and its legacy.  In a sense, it solved nothing. The end of the war in Europe had a greater effect than American arms in persuading the British to end their onerous policies. It also marks ...Show More

22:42 | Feb 1st

The last year of the war, 1815, saw some success and failures for both the British and the Americans. The Americans had some success on the northern border, fighting some of the bloodiest battles of the entire war. While they fought the British to a ...Show More

22:12 | Jan 14th

1814 would prove to be the last full year of the war. In spite of the British being able to devote more resources to North America with the defeat (albeit temporary) of Napoleon, the war continued to drag on. On the northern front, Americans saw succ...Show More

09:44 | Jan 1st

Happy New Year dear listeners! A short summary of what happened in 2018 and what to expect in 2019! Have a question, comment, or compliment, contact us at americawarpodcast@gmail.com. You can also leave comments and your questions on Facebook at http...Show More

19:49 | Dec 29th, 2018

1813 started out well for the United States. With a resounding victory on Lake Erie, the campaigns on Lake Ontario, while starting well, ended in disaster. Due to poor planning and incompetent leadership, the initial gains on the Canadian side of the...Show More

21:50 | Dec 8th, 2018

If 1812 was characterized as a year of American disappointments, 1813 was a year of victories and opportunities. The Americans were able to defeat Tecumseh and his British allies at the Battle of the River Thames and Oliver H. Perry decisively defeat...Show More

25:27 | Nov 18th, 2018

1812 was not a kind year for the United States. All of the campaigns in the border regions between the United States and British Canada had failed. The only bright spot was the war at sea. Britannia may have ruled the waves, but the frigates of the U...Show More

21:46 | Oct 30th, 2018

After war was declared, Canada beckoned. The Americans, decided for a multi-pronged approach to the campaign of 1812. Henry Dearborn decided that an attack against Montreal, British fortifications across from Detroit and the Niagara River would compe...Show More

21:12 | Oct 11th, 2018

Congress declared war on Great Britain in June, 1812. The United States was ill-prepared to initiate a campaign against British Canada but was optimistic nevertheless. President Madison wanted to bring the British back to the bargaining table by usin...Show More

20:12 | Sep 26th, 2018

The War of 1812 was symptomatic of the ongoing struggle between Britain and France in central and western Europe. The United States of America endeavored to stay above the fray, but saw its rights as a neutral carrier attacked by both the French and ...Show More

19:24 | Sep 8th, 2018

Thomas Jefferson easily won a second term at President of the United States. Unfortunately, as the war between Napoleonic France and Great Britain flared up, the United States was caught in the middle. The British impressed American sailors in the Ro...Show More

08:53 | Aug 9th, 2018

Well, we've reached 50 episodes! This is a short podcast thanking you dear listeners and touching on where we've been and where we are going for the next 50 episodes. Thanks for listening!

23:13 | Jul 25th, 2018

Thomas Jefferson was upset. Rather than pay tribute and ransom for American sailors held by the Barbary States of North Africa, Jefferson went to war. Taking advantage of the navy, he blockaded the port of Tripoli, hoping to extract some concessions....Show More

22:14 | Jul 4th, 2018

Zebulon Pike's explorations of the upper reaches of the Mississippi River, the Rocky Mountains, and the southwest are not as well know as his peers, Lewis and Clark. Pike's career was tied to James Wilkinson, the highest ranking officer in the Louisi...Show More

27:40 | Jun 10th, 2018

One of the most memorable events of Thomas Jefferson's administration was the expedition to the Pacific Ocean led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Jefferson took advantage of a unique opportunity and purchased from France what today we know as ...Show More

20:06 | May 14th, 2018

With the election of Thomas Jefferson, the era of the Federalists was over. Jefferson immediately began to distance himself from federalist policies. This is the first of several episodes that will explore Jefferson's relationship with the military. ...Show More

24:07 | Apr 18th, 2018

In less than a generation, France went from an ally to an enemy. Tired of the violations of American neutrality, John Adams mobilized the navy to stop French commerce raiding. The new navy was very successful and created a fleet that was here to stay...Show More

18:29 | Apr 5th, 2018

In our last episode we began our conversation about the founding of the United States Navy. We continue this story in this episode. With a temporary cessation of the depredations of the Barbary States and British commerce raiding, there was a push to...Show More

20:03 | Mar 13th, 2018

In this episode we continue to explore the Federalist's military legacy by turning our attention to the creation of the first coastal fortifications and the establishment of the United States Navy. With Napoleon on the offensive in Europe and the Bar...Show More

19:28 | Feb 27th, 2018

In our last episode we spoke of the creation of the American Legion under the command of Anthony Wayne. We continue that story in this episode. Wayne was ready to meet the British and Indians in the Ohio Valley. Today, the 'battle' of Fallen Timbers ...Show More

18:46 | Feb 2nd, 2018

George Washington needed good news. After the failure of the Harmar and St. Clair expeditions, Anthony Wayne was convinced to return to the Army. A veteran of the American Revolution, for two years Wayne recruited and drilled a unique formation - the...Show More

19:31 | Jan 17th, 2018

One of the most pressing issues that George Washington had to solve was the security of the new frontier. The western borders stretched from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River. British outposts, still staffed with soldiers in violation of the ...Show More

19:14 | Jan 1st, 2018

In this episode we explore the origins of the Constitution through the lens of national security. The Challenges facing the newly independent United States were many. Faced with a weak central government and, for some, a dangerous level of internal u...Show More

22:48 | Dec 16th, 2017

The Revolution was over. The newly minted United States had to face their future. The key questions facing the new government revolved around the character of their new institutions. Living up to the legacy revolution, the central government was left...Show More

21:15 | Nov 28th, 2017

In the fall of 1781, the Continental Army and their French Allies had succeeded in trapping the British Army in Virginia in Yorktown. Unable to break the siege, General Cornwallis surrendered his force to Washington. Little did the General know, this...Show More

18:58 | Nov 14th, 2017

After General Cornwallis reestablished his base of operations from the Carolinas to Virginia, little did he know that he was setting up the conditions that would be lead to the end of the American Revolution. Ordered to hold a small port in Virginia,...Show More

21:45 | Oct 25th, 2017

With General Cornwallis' departure to Virginia opened the door for the wholesale liberation of South Carolina. Rather than defend everything, the British and Greene clashed several times in 1781. While Greene technically came out as a loser, the Brit...Show More

19:12 | Sep 28th, 2017

As the southern campaign continues, Nathanael Greene entices British General Cornwallis deep into North Carolina. Cut of from a reliable supply line, it was Greene's hope to defeat a desperate and starving British column. Cornwallis indulges Greene a...Show More

18:40 | Sep 12th, 2017

The war in the south continues......Nathanael Greene took over the reigns of command in the south at the end of 1780. With the assistance of Daniel Morgan, he began pursuing British General Cornwallis. While Morgan secured a victory over the British ...Show More

20:42 | Aug 18th, 2017

Bonus episode! In late July and early August I visited the United Kingdom with my family. I thought I would share my thoughts about some of the attractions that we were drawn to. I am a firm believer that to understand history, we have to experience ...Show More

18:28 | Aug 14th, 2017

The fall of Charleston, South Carolina emboldened the British. Recruiting Loyalists and insisting on loyalty oaths, divided the colony and triggered a bitter internal conflict, if you will, a Civil War. In spite of the relative success of partisan le...Show More

19:14 | Jul 4th, 2017

In this episode we turn our attention south. When Henry Clinton assumed command of British forces in North America, he turned his attention to the southern states. Governed by the assumption that British troops could break the revolution by appealing...Show More

17:50 | Jun 7th, 2017

In the aftermath of France's entry into the war, Great Britain's resources were stretched thin. General Howe's replacement, Henry Clinton, could not be everywhere at once, so he evacuated Philadelphia to consolidate his forces in New York City. As th...Show More

20:59 | May 17th, 2017

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania is remembered as a patriotic sacrifice for the revolution. In fact, the iconography, as compelling as it, blurs the facts. The encampment was not the coldest that the Army ever endured, but it does allow us to examine three...Show More

19:09 | Apr 24th, 2017

In our last episode we spoke of the John Burgoyne's advance down the Hudson River Valley. After being repulsed at the Battle of Bennington and the failure of the siege of Fort Stanwix, Burgoyne was in trouble. Electing to continue his advance, he met...Show More

16:05 | Apr 9th, 2017

One of the pivotal battles of 1777 took place in the Hudson River valley near the small town of Saratoga where John Burgoyne's forces met their match in the early fall of 1777. While not predestined for failure, by the last summer of 1777, Burgoyne's...Show More

17:56 | Mar 14th, 2017

In the mind of General Howe and his subordinates, 1777 offered another opportunity to end the rebellion in the thirteen colonies. In spite of a sound plan to cut off New England with a pincer movement from Canada and New York City, Howe's plans were ...Show More

11:09 | Mar 8th, 2017

In our last episode, we spoke of the trials and tribulations of the Continental Navy. We continue the war at sea in this episode with a brief exploration of the Continental Marines. The United States Marine Corps traces their roots back to the Americ...Show More

26:31 | Feb 13th, 2017

We are going to take a break from the war on land and see what the Continental Congress was up to as it attempted to create an American navy. Naval actions occurred on the inland waterways of the northeast, American frigates and converted civilian ve...Show More

23:26 | Feb 3rd, 2017

The Continental Army was defeated and running out of steam in December, 1776. With the British on their tail, Washington put the Delaware River between himself and the British. Thinking that the Continental Army was done, the British went into winter...Show More

16:43 | Jan 18th, 2017

In this episode we conclude with a British victory. Howe was able to maneuver George Washington's forces out of Manhattan Island and then across the Hudson River into New Jersey. While failing to destroy the Continentals, Howe was certain the rebels ...Show More

15:20 | Jan 3rd, 2017

After the evacuation of Boston, the British set their eyes on New York City. In the summer of 1776, the Howe brothers attacked George Washington's troops through the western end of Long Island. Washington was forced out of his position and had to eva...Show More

19:07 | Dec 8th, 2016

As we continue telling the story of the beginning of the American Revolution, we take our narrative up to the pivotal events that broke  the British occupation of Boston. As George Washington was managing the siege, several of his subordinates went n...Show More

23:08 | Dec 7th, 2016

December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of Japan's surprise attack on the United States' Pacific fleet, at anchor in their chief anchorage in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This is the audio broadcast of news coverage of the President's speech. President Roo...Show More

21:32 | Nov 20th, 2016

We begin where we left off with the previous episode - the British march to Lexington and Concord. After defeating the militia on the village green of Lexington, the British continued their march to Concord. Failing to find a great deal of munitions,...Show More

15:41 | Nov 5th, 2016

In the spring of 1775, tensions between the British and Colonists had risen to a fever pitch. As the inhabitants of Boston grew restive over British restrictions, General Thomas Gage was left with few choices. While not wanting to spark an insurrecti...Show More

20:14 | Oct 24th, 2016

We have finally arrived at the American Revolution. The origins are complicated, but seem to come down to one question - who had the right to rule? The British wanted to govern the Empire with clarity and efficiency. The colonists wanted to continue ...Show More

21:08 | Oct 10th, 2016

1763 was a pivotal year, the end of one period of our history and the beginning of another. The capture of Montreal and the subsequent Treaty of Paris in 1763, brought the bloodiest war in colonial history to an end. Subsequent clashes with native pe...Show More

19:50 | Sep 27th, 2016

1758 and 1759, relatively speaking, was the height of British success. Fort Duquense had finally fallen to the British, freeing the Ohio Valley from the French. With the fall of Fortress Louisbourg, the British continued had an open pathway to the he...Show More

23:18 | Sep 12th, 2016

1758 was a special year. After nearly three years of misfortune and less than spectacular results, the British marked the year with a victory and a defeat. The great French fortress at Louisbourg fell to the British, but their assault of Fort Carillo...Show More

16:34 | Aug 11th, 2016

Episode number thirteen is up! Time didn't stand still for mourning the losses incurred by Edward Braddock in the Ohio. Campaigning continued as new leaders and more troops came from Great Britain. In spite of the grand plans of British Generals and ...Show More

20:41 | Aug 1st, 2016

In this episode we follow the trials and tribulations of General Edward Braddock. After George Washington's debacle at Fort Necessity, King George II and his cabinet sent two regiments of British soldiers to North America to boot the French out of th...Show More

23:05 | Jul 3rd, 2016

George Washington had a mission - convince the French to stay out of the Ohio River Valley. Unfortunately, after clashing with a French patrol, he was blamed for the killing of a French officer. The French struck back, trapping Washington's command i...Show More

15:30 | Jun 18th, 2016

We have made it to the most pivotal event of the eighteenth century in the North American colonies of France and Great Britain: The Seven Years War or The French and Indian War. What would start as a localized conflict, would shatter the tenuous peac...Show More

18:59 | May 29th, 2016

As we reach the middle of the eighteenth century, France and Great Britain are at it again! Militia and volunteers from New England, in one of their greatest feats of arms, captured the great French fortress at Louisbourg. While the victory was abrog...Show More

16:46 | May 5th, 2016

Our story continues with another chapter in the imperial wars of the eighteenth century. This episode takes our story south to the Florida Peninsula. British forces attempt to take the center of Spanish power in Florida, St. Augustine, and are rebuff...Show More

18:15 | Apr 25th, 2016

As English colonies spread south, pressures over land and exploiting local Indian peoples as slaves, built up resentments and the desire to strike back. Hoping to put a stop to settlement, war broke out in the Carolinas. The destructive conflict upse...Show More

22:11 | Apr 10th, 2016

We move deeper into the eighteenth century with the next major conflict between France, England, and Spain. Known as Queen Anne's War in North America, the roots of the conflict deal with issues on the continent related to who would occupy the Spanis...Show More

17:53 | Mar 26th, 2016

As we move into the seventeenth century, North America became a battleground for the Empire. England and France battled for hegemony in North America using militia and, for the first time, professional forces from the continent. Join us!

17:18 | Mar 13th, 2016

One of the enduring traditions of our military past is the importance of militia. Without the benefit of professional soldiers, the first settlers depended on themselves to meet the security needs of the settlements in Virginia and Massachusetts. The...Show More

18:59 | Mar 6th, 2016

In this episode we shift our story north to Massachusetts Bay and New England. Settled ten years after Jamestown, the establishment of Plymouth and other settlements in New England triggered some of the bloodiest conflicts in the colonial era.

19:35 | Feb 28th, 2016

Establishing the English colony at Jamestown is where our story begins. Largely unprepared to build a sustainable colony and fearful of Spanish retaliation against the colony, the first decades of the settlement was beset with challenges. The Spanish...Show More

20:01 | Feb 20th, 2016

Welcome to the first episode of America at War. This episode provides a very broad overview of the importance of understanding the roots of our military institutions and some of the themes that we will encounter on our journey.

02:15 | Feb 10th, 2016

Join us for a new podcast. Explore the currents of American military history from the very beginning to the present. Future episodes will cover more than battles and leaders but the ideas that govern our collective past.