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Assault_on_Redoubt_10_at_YorktownDo you like getting FREE BOOKS?

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Gideon’s Vanguard is a group of readers who get advanced copies of Gideon Hawke Books for free. In exchange, I ask that they give HONEST feedback, and post HONEST reviews.

This helps me in two ways. First of all, Gideon’s Vanguard may catch, and help me fix, typos or plot problems that escaped the scrutiny of my editor and me. Second. Their reviews will help me put out the good word about the Gideon Hawke Series.

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Saratoga Prelude: Stanwix and Oriskany

My new novel A Constant Thunder takes the reader to the Hudson Valley in the lead up to the Battles near Saratoga. By the nature of the plot it glosses over a set of dramatic events that were part of the Hudson Valley Campaign, but took place well west of Albany: the Siege of Fort Stanwix and the Battle of Oriskany.

General John Burgoyne’s Plan for the 1777 Campaign was to divide the United States by seizing the Hudson Valley. An important component of his plan was a diversionary attack from Lake Ontario. Lieutenant Colonel Barrimore Matthew “Barry” St. Leger would command force of up to 1,000, including a few hundred British and German regular troops, augmented by several hundred Loyalists and Native American warriors. St. Leger’s command would move by boat up the Saint Lawrence River into Lake Ontario, through Oswego, NY, up Lake Oneida, over the Oneida Carrying Place, and descend the Mohawk River Valley to threaten Albany. The purpose of this drive was to draw American forces away from opposing Burgoyne’s attack down Hudson River Valley, and to raise a force of Loyalist militia, hopefully over a thousand men, from the Oswego-Albany area. In St. Leger’s way stood Fort Stanwix.

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Grand Union Flag

Fort Stanwix was constructed during the French and Indian War, and fell into disrepair afterwards. American troops reoccupied it in 1776 and began repairs, renaming it Fort Schuyler, but it continued to be referred to as “Stanwix.” In May, 1777 Colonel Peter Gansevoort assumed command of the fort and its 750-man garrison, consisting of the 3rd New York Regiment and some Massachusetts troops.

St. Leger’s force arrived at Stanwix on August 2nd, 1777. On August 3rd Gansevoort rejected a demand for surrender, and a siege commenced. One legend has it that the Stars and Stripes flew in battle for the first time over Fort Stanwix, but the Stanwix battle flag was more likely the Grand Union Flag, first flown at Washington’s Headquarters on January 1st, 1776.

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Herkimer at Oriskany

On August 6th, relief force of about 800 militia troops, plus a group of Oneida warriors, under the command of Nicholas Herkimer was ambushed by a 450-man Native American and Loyalist force near Oriskany. The savage battle that ensued cost the Americans over 50% casualties (including Herkimer, who was mortally wounded), with their ambushers suffering over 30% casualties; at the end of the day the relief force retreated. A sortie from the fort during the battle caused significant loss of equipment and personal property to the besiegers, somewhat offsetting the defeat of the relief force. Significantly, Oriskany was the first time members of the Iroquois Confederacy fought against each other: it marked the beginning of an Iroquois civil war, and the downfall of the great Confederacy.

 

After Oriskany the Siege of Fort Stanwix continued with an ongoing British bombardment and the digging of trenches progressively closer to the fort’s walls.

On August 22nd, word reached the Iroquois in St. Leger’s force that another relief force was approaching: this time it was commanded by American Major General Benedict Arnold. Arnold has sent ahead a captured loyalist, who in exchange for his life greatly exaggerated the size of Arnold’s force. Already demoralized by the casualties at Oriskany and lost goods due to the sortie, the Iroquois abandoned St. Leger. Now hopelessly outnumbered, St. Leger launched a precipitous retreat, leaving much of his equipment to fall into the hands of the Americans.

St. Leger’s defeat secured the American flank near Albany, and allowed American General Horatio Gates to focus all of his available forces, to include Arnold and his relief force, against Burgoyne’s troops. Arnold himself would play a key role in the upcoming battles near Saratoga.

To learn more about the Saratoga Campaign from a participant’s standpoint, pre-order A Constant Thunder HERE!

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Fort Stanwix national Monument: https://www.nps.gov/fost/index.htm

Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site: https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/21/details.aspx

Pre-Order Now!!!

A Constant Thunder front cover SMALLA Constant Thunder is now available for Pre-Order on Kindle!

The fourth installment in the Gideon Hawke Series sees Gideon and Ruth travel up the Hudson Valley to confront General John Burgoyne’s “Canadian Army,” to include a contingent of Native American warriors. In some of the most savage fighting of the American War for Independence the Continental Army will try to prevent Burgoyne from cutting the fledgling United States in two.

Pre-order your copy HERE!

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Historical Research for Writers

An interesting discussion of the importance of research in writing historical fiction.

A Writer's Path

by Sheree Crawford

Researching is, believe it or not, a skill that not everyone has. If you do have it you should definitely put it on your C.V.; good research is often the thing you do not see, but the want of it is blindingly obvious, especially when you write historic fiction, or you’re writing about cultures and people you don’t know anything about.

Research isn’t about consuming every piece of information you can find on your topic; it’s about knowing what is and isn’t important. You can learn this by taking a degree of some sort (History in particular will smack you in the face with research skill requirements before you’ve even finished the first year… whoo-boy that was a learning curve, I can tell you), or you can piggyback my History degree; go on, I don’t mind. I’ll share some of the pearls I’ve discovered while cracking…

View original post 1,154 more words

Introducing my Author Newsletter!

Quill Pen Retro Ink Vintage Antique History Pen

I have initiated an Author newsletter and would love to get more readers signed up!

This is where you can find the latest news about the Gideon Hawke Series, along with some interesting tidbits I have dug up during my research. There will occasionally be giveaways as well!

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Summer Indie Book Award Nomination!

ANH Awards cover 2Great news! A Nest of Hornets was nominated for Metamorph Publishing’s Summer Indie Book Award!

The winner is decided by reader vote, and all are welcome! Voting begins on September 1st and ends on September 11th.

I will push the voting link out when it is available. Subscribe to my newsletter for the latest news!

 

Summer Indie Book Awards: Indie Books Award post

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A Natural Wonder!

Occasionally you have to take the road less travelled by.

This weekend my family and I spent a lot of time in planes and automobiles to attend  a sports competition. On the return trip, we took a detour off of Interstate I-15 to enter the northwest corner of Zion National Park.

Zion NP

For just a short while we left the buzz of the interstate and soaked in one of our Nation’s “Ordinary Miracles.”

Photos don’t really do the place justice. Suffice it to say, it was well worth the detour.

A Constant Thunder: One Giant Leap!

Writing is fun. Editing is not.

A critical part of my writing process is reading through the manuscript several times and making edits. I go through it once on the computer making corrections. Then I print it and read it through, marking it up as I go—then I plug in those corrections. It is amazing how much more I catch in print!

The next, and probably biggest step, is sending it off to my editor. I am pleased to report that A Constant Thunder is on its way! Ashlee will be repeating the phenomenal work she did on Times That Try Men’s Souls and A Nest of Hornets.

Ashlee has accepted a position with a publisher, so she will no longer be doing independent editing work. I am delighted for her, but I quail at the thought of finding another editor, especially since I have already written a few snippets of Gideon Hawke #5!

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The Breymann Redoubt at the Saratoga Battlefield; scene of the climax in A Constant Thunder.

That, however, is in the future. For now, A Constant Thunder just took a giant leap forward toward publication, and my excitement is growing!

 

A Constant Thunder page: https://robertkrenzel.com/gideon-hawke-4/

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Endangered History: The Sutfin Farm

I have visited a lot of old battlefields. My career as a soldier, and my frequent personal travel, took me to many places where history was made.

In Germany I walked in the footsteps of both Roman legionaries and Napoleon’s Grande Armee. I have gazed across the field at Waterloo, down from Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, and into the Crater at Petersburg. I have seen century-old shell craters at Verdun and felt the sand on Omaha Beach. With my fellow officers I even stood in awe on the spot where our regimental forebears of the Greatest Generation broke through the German lines at Bastogne.

In some cases these locations were well-preserved, as though time stood still; Antietam is such a place. Sometimes monuments and natural activity have altered the landscape, as at Gettysburg. But almost always there a sense of reverence: a subconscious nod to great events of long ago. Rarely have I been appalled by what I saw in one of these places: until the Sutfin House.

The Sutfin farmhouse was built in the early 1700s; the Sutfins were apparently peaceful people, just trying to extract a living from the fertile New Jersey soil. Until, that is, the British Army marched past in June, 1778. The family wisely hid their valuables and fled. The next day, on June 28th,  the Continental Army marched by the Sutfin Farm and attacked the British rear guard at Monmouth Courthouse, just down the road. In the seesaw fighting that followed, the Sutfin home was at the epicenter of the biggest artillery duel of the American Revolution. It was an anchor for the British right flank at the climax of the battle, and it bore mute witness to the Continental counterattack at the close of the battle. Today it remains a key point of reference in understanding the flow of the battle.

Sadly, the years have not been kind. The Sutfin house today is a dilapidated, graffiti-covered abomination. It broke my heart to see what has become of what should be a historic landmark.

Sutfin Farmhouse

The Sutfin House on the Monmouth Battlefield. Photo taken on May 29th, 2017: Memorial Day.

I do not accept the status quo. I am hereby resolved that in some way Gideon Hawke and his series will work to protect and restore both the Sutfin House and the Monmouth Battlefield. It is not much, but is the least I can do to honor the memory of those who were there, and perhaps restore some of that missing sense of reverence.

 

Friends of Monmouth Battlefield: http://www.friendsofmonmouth.org/

Monmouth Battlefield State Park: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/monbat.html

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