Familiar ground

I recently finished Chapter 6 of A Nest of Hornets. It is amazing to research and write about events that took place in and among the stomping grounds of my youth. In the forthcoming Times That Try Men’s Souls I wrote about great events which happened in my home state of New Jersey. But I always kind of knew that there were battles in Trenton and Princeton, and it was part of the lore of my alma mater, Rutgers University, that Alexander Hamilton’s battery had covered the retreat across the Raritan from campus grounds. But in researching the Forage War of 1777 I have finally gained an appreciation for the scale of the fighting that took place in New Jersey. Many of the actions were small–skirmishes at best. But they were constant and wide-ranging. The opposing armies criss-crossed the state in a constant duel, and men and women lost their lives every day.

My own experience of combat never involved a major battle. In Iraq and Afghanistan I experienced war with a lower case “w.” But when I felt the shock wave of an IED or lay face down on the ground waiting for a rocket impact, it was very intense and very personal.

None of my combat actions will be in any history book, just as most of the actions of the Forage War never made it into the books. But for the participants in 1777, as well as my characters, those events were very intense and very personal. I hope I do them justice.

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