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About Don N. Hagist
Don N. Hagist is an avid historical researcher and has spent much of his life studying and researching the history of the American Revolution, focusing on the British soldiers who served in America during that war. Besides several books, he has published numerous articles on the subject. He gives lectures in America and Great Britain, and is available for speaking engagements.
Don is an engineering consultant, and also writes humor material for cartoonists whose work appears in national magazines and newspapers. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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In Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution, Don N. Hagist brings life to these soldiers, describing the training, experiences, and outcomes of British soldiers who fought during the Revolution. Drawing on thousands of military records and other primary sources in British, American, and Canadian archives, and the writings of dozens of officers and soldiers, Noble Volunteers shows how a peacetime army responded to the onset of war, how professional soldiers adapted quickly and effectively to become tactically dominant, and what became of the thousands of career soldiers once the war was over.
In this historical tour de force, introduced by Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson, Hagist dispels long-held myths, revealing how remarkably diverse British soldiers were. They represented a variety of ages, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and many had joined the army as a peacetime career, only to find themselves fighting a war on another continent in often brutal conditions. Against the sweeping backdrop of the war, Hagist directs his focus on the small picture, illuminating the moments in an individual soldier’s life—those hours spent nursing a fever while standing sentry in the bitter cold, or writing a letter to a wife back home. What emerges from these vignettes is the understanding that while these were “common” soldiers, each soldier was completely unique, for, as Hagist writes, “There was no ‘typical’ British soldier.”
During the Civil War that threatened to tear the United States apart came the realization that only a handful of veterans of the American Revolution still survived—men who had fought the war that created the nation. Six of these men were photographed and interviewed for a book by Reverend E. B. Hillard that appeared late in 1864. Their images have captivated generations since then; but—through a combination of faded memories and the interviewer’s patriotic agenda—the biographies accompanying these amazing photographs were garbled and distorted, containing information that ranged from inaccurate to implausible. Now for the first time the military careers of these men have been researched in detail using a wide range of primary sources. The result is a new perspective on the actual service of these soldiers, from enlistment to discharge, along with new details of their relatively quiet postwar lives. The Revolution’s Last Men presents the original biographical interviews published in 1864, pension depositions and other first-hand accounts given by each man later in life, and an up-to-date biography examining each soldier’s service and discussing the inaccuracies and uncertainties of the previously published accounts. To complement the photographs taken in 1864, original drawings depict the men as they may have appeared when they were soldiers, using current research on military artifacts and material culture. Also included are additional photographs of some of the men that were not part of the 1864 collection but taken when their status as the last known survivors of the American Revolution made them celebrities. While the photographs of these aged veterans continue to inspire, this book puts their service into perspective and allows these men to be appreciated for who they really were and for their great and unique service to their country.
Much has been written about the colonists who took up arms during the American Revolution and the army they created. Far less literature, however, has been devoted to their adversaries. The professional soldiers that composed the British army are seldom considered on a personal level, instead being either overlooked or inaccurately characterized as conscripts and criminals. Most of the British Redcoats sent to America in defense of their government’s policies were career soldiers who enlisted voluntarily in their late teens or early twenties. They came from all walks of British life, including those with nowhere else to turn, those aspiring to improve their social standing, and all others in between. Statistics show that most were simply hardworking men with various amounts of education who had chosen the military in preference to other occupations. Very few of these soldiers left writings from which we can learn their private motives and experiences.
British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution is the first collection of personal narratives by British common soldiers ever assembled and published. Author Don N. Hagist has located first-hand accounts of nine soldiers who served in America in the 1770s and 1780s. In their own words we learn of the diverse population—among them a former weaver, a boy who quarelled with his family, and a man with wanderlust—who joined the army and served tirelessly and dutifully, sometimes faithfully and sometimes irresolutely, in the uniform of their nation. To accompany each narrative, the author provides a contextualizing essay based on archival research giving background on the soldier and his military service. Taken as a whole these true stories reveal much about the individuals who composed what was, at the time, the most formidable fighting force in the world.
In an age when individuals could be owned by others, people were lost and found just like other property. Indentured servants and slaves absconded from the custody of their masters, and their value prompted the masters to seek their return. Wives ran from abusive husbands or into the arms of another. Newspapers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries carried large numbers of advertisements offering rewards for the return of runaways or announcing the detention of fugitives. Each ad provided a description of the individual and often included some circumstances of their elopement. The overall effectiveness of these advertisements cannot be measured, but the sheer number of ads suggests they were perceived as useful tools by those who placed them. What could not have been known at the time was the substantial contribution to history that these ads make. The descriptive advertisements provide textual snapshots of thousands of individuals who would otherwise be lost to history, people whose names might not otherwise be recorded. In Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls: Advertisements for Female Runaways in American Newspapers, 1770–1783, historian Don N. Hagist focuses on the American Revolutionary period to provide a striking portrait of a substantial but largely forgotten segment of the population. Comprised of four hundred advertisements presented chronologically, the volume provides invaluable descriptions of women’s clothes, footwear, jewelry, physical appearances, education, nationalities, occupations, and other details.
The Journal of the American Revolution, Annual Volume 2021, presents the journal’s best historical research and writing over the past calendar year. The volume is designed for institutions, scholars, and enthusiasts to provide a convenient overview of the latest research and scholarship in American Revolution and Founding Era studies. The thirty-four articles in the 2021 edition include:
Alexander Hamilton’s Missing Years: New Discoveries and Insights into the Little Lion’s Caribbean Childhood by Ruud Stelten and Alexandre Hinton
The Lenape Origins of an Independent America: The Catalyst of Pontiac’s War, 1763–1765 by Kevin A. Conn
Impeachment: The Framers Debate and Discuss by Ray Raphael
The First Efforts to Limit the African Slave Trade by Christian M. McBurney
What Killed Prisoners of War?—A Medical Investigation by Brian Patrick O'Malley
The Mysterious March of Horatio Gates by Andrew Waters
Minorcans, New Smyrna, and the American Revolution in East Florida by George Kotlik
Stony Point: The Second Occupation, July–October 1779 by Michael J. F. Sheehan
A Demographic View of North Carolina Militia and State Troops, 1775–1783 by Douglas R. Dorney, Jr.
The Revolutionary War Origin of the Whistleblower Law by Louis Arthur Norton
Mapping the Battle of Eutaw Springs: Modern GIS Solves a Historic Mystery by Stephen John Katzberg
The Journal of the American Revolution, Annual Volume 2020, presents the journal’s best historical research and writing over the past calendar year. The volume is designed for institutions, scholars, and enthusiasts to provide a convenient overview of the latest research and scholarship in American Revolution and Founding Era studies. The thirty-six articles in the 2020 edition include:
Bernard E. Griffiths: Trumpeter Barney of the Queen’s Rangers, Chelsea Pensioner—and Freed Slave by Todd W. Braisted
The Declaration of Independence: Did John Hancock Really Say that about his Signature?—and Other Signing Stories by J. L. Bell
Les Habitants: Collaboration and Pro-American Violence in Canada, 1774–1776 by Sebastian van Bastelaer
Misadventures in the Countryside: Escape from a British Prison Ship by Katie Turner Getty
The Revolutionary Memories of New York Loyalists: Thomas Jones and William Smith, Jr. by Cho-Chien Feng
The East India Company and Parliament’s “Fateful Decision” of 1767 by Steven Neill
Massachusetts Privateers During the Siege of Boston by Alexander Cain
The Constitution Counted Free Women and Children—And It Mattered by Andrew M. Schocket, with Kinzey M. McLaren-Czerr and Colin J. Spicer
How Magna Carta Influenced the American Revolution by Jason Yonce
Putting a Price on Loyalty: Mary Loring’s List of Losses by John Knight
The Journal of the American Revolution, Annual Volume 2015, presents the journal’s best historical research and writing over the past calendar year. The volume is designed for institutions, scholars, and enthusiasts to provide a convenient overview of the latest research and scholarship in American Revolution studies. The sixty articles in the 2015 edition include:
How Samuel Adams Recruited Sons of Liberty by J. L. Bell
A Patriot–Loyalist: Playing Both Sides by Todd W. Braisted
How Old Were Redcoats? Age and Experience of British Soldiers in America by Don N. Hagist
The Great West Point Chain by Hugh T. Harrington
Raid Across the Ice: The British Operation to Capture Washington by Benjamin Huggins
So Heavy a Trial: The Burning of New York’s First Capital by Jack Kelly
An Elegant Dinner with General Washington at Valley Forge Headquarters by Nancy K. Loane
Mount Vernon: A Landscape for the New Cincinnatus by Joseph Manca
The British Spy Plot to Capture Fort Ticonderoga by John A. Nagy
The Top Ten British Losers by Andrew O’Shaughnessy
Honorable Lords and Pretend Barons: Sorting Out the Noblemen of the American Revolution by Jim Piecuch
Paul Revere’s Other Riders and Rides by Ray Raphael
William Lee and Oney Judge: A Look at George Washington and Slavery by Mary V. Thompson.
The forty-six articles in the 2017 edition include:
Why the British Lost the Battle of Sullivan’s Island by C. L. Bragg
The Tiger Aids the Eaglet: How India Secured America’s Independence by Richard Sambasivam
How Yorktown Almost Couldn’t Afford to Happen by John Smith
Was Richard Stockton a Hero? by Christian M. McBurney
The Southern Expedition of 1776: The American Revolution’s Best Kept Secret by Roger Smith
Religious Liberty and Its Virginia Roots by Alex Colvin
Mount Vernon During the American Revolution by Mary V. Thompson
Why God is in the Declaration but not the Constitution by Anthony J. Minna
Colonel Tench Tilghman: George Washington’s Eyes and Ears by Jeff Dacus
The Stockbridge-Mohican Community, 1775–1783 by Bryan Rindfleisch
Two Years Aboard the Welcome: The American Revolution on Lake Huron by Tyler Rudd Putman
The Journal of the American Revolution, Annual Volume 2018, presents the journal’s best historical research and writing over the past calendar year. The volume is designed for institutions, scholars, and enthusiasts to provide a convenient overview of the latest research and scholarship in American Revolution studies.
The forty-one articles in the 2018 edition include:
Anti-Indian Radicalization in the Early American West, 1774–1795 by Darren R. Reid
The Setauket Raid, December 1777 by Phillip R. Giffin The 3rd New Jersey Regiment's Plundering of Johnson Hall by Philip D. Weaver
A Proposed Alliance of the Knights of Malta and the United States of America by Bruce Ware Allen
Country Crowds in Revolutionary Massachusetts: Mobs and Militia by Ray Raphael
Lafayette: An Acerbic Tongue or an Incisive Judge of Character? by Gene Procknow
Admiral Rodney Ousts the Jews from St. Eustatius by Louis Arthur Norton
Preventing Slave Insurrection in South Carolina & Georgia, 1775–1776 by Jim Piecuch
The “P” is for Profit: Revolutionary War Privateers and the Slave Trade by Michael Thomin
The Remarkable Spanish Pilgrimage of John Adams by John L. Smith, Jr.
Thomas Paine, Deism, and the Masonic Fraternity by Shai Afsai
A Fresh Look at Major Patrick Ferguson by Wayne Lynch Displaced: The Donation People of 1775 by Katie Turner Getty
The Journal of the American Revolution, Annual Volume 2019, presents the journal’s best historical research and writing over the past calendar year. The volume is designed for institutions, scholars, and enthusiasts to provide a convenient overview of the latest research and scholarship in American Revolution and Founding Era studies. The thirty-eight articles in the 2019 edition include:
Join, or Die: Political and Religious Controversy Over Franklin’s Snake Cartoon by Daniel P. Stone
The Connecticut Captivity of William Franklin, Loyalist by Louis Arthur Norton
Revisiting the Prayer at Valley Forge by Blake McGready
John the Painter: Terrorist for America by Lars Hedbor
Who Picked the Committees at the Constitutional Convention? by David O. Stewart
Norfolk, Virginia, Sacked by North Carolina and Virginia Troops by Patrick H. Hannum
Elias Hasket Derby: The Privateer Who Pioneered the Russian Trade by Nick Deluca
Benedict Arnold’s Master Plan (for British) Victory by John Knight
China and the American Revolution by Simon Hill
Moravians in the Middle: The Gnadenhutten Massacre by Eric Sterner
Slavery Through the Eyes of Revolutionary Generals by Gene Procknow
Our Man in Minorca: Lewis Littlepage, American Volunteer with the Spanish Armed Forces by Larrie D. Ferreiro
Patrick Tonyn: Britain’s Most Effective Revolutionary-Era Royal Governor by Jim Piecuch
Jefferson’s Reckoning: The Sage of Monticello’s Haunting Final Years by Geoff Smock