We Must Decide What We Want and Go for It!

This Day in the American Revolution

The Fall of Fort Vincennes (also known as Fort Sackville)

The Fall of Fort Vincennes (also known as Fort Sackville)

George Rogers Clark captured Fort Vincennes (Vincennes, Indiana) from British on February 24, 1779 from British Governor Henry Hamilton. On February twenty-third, the Americans surrounded the fort manned by 90 British soldiers. The patriots were outnumbered, but tricked the British and their Indian allies by dividing their own army into groups of ten so that it appeared that they had more than a thousand surrounding the fort. The Indians, in fear of capture, deserted the British to defend the fort themselves. Clark’s army took the fort without a single casualty. With the capture of the fort, the British army was removed from the Illinois territory, and the Native American tribes stopped attacking settlements in nearby Kentucky.

It is amazing what can happen in one short year. Just twelve months earlier, the main American force had trudged into Valley Forge a ragged, downtrodden lot. By the following April, the American’s were given a shot in the arm when the French sided with the Americans in the war and this turned things around. The following winter, Americans were back on track and this time had the British on the run.

Determining What We Really Want

Just as most of the Americans prior to the army’s winter at Valley Forge were waffling between whether they really wanted to remain independent from Great Britain or whether they wanted to give up and return to colonialism. I think we all have those moments. Sometimes we give up on the dreams that we had because they seemed too hard. Sometimes we press through. That was what happened for the Americans during 1778. They solidified their stance and when George Rogers Clark and his men surrounded Fort Vincennes, they were determined to raise the American flag above that fort. They had determined what they wanted and they were going after it.

As I read this, I think about the fact that I too have been waffling about what I want and what I want to do in certain areas of my life. For instance, in a few months I will be finishing my liberal arts degree, and I will need to begin working full time. In addition, I have been waffling about creating more healthful habits. During past few weeks I have been beginning to change a few of my habits, but as far as I can tell, I am still like the men who were training at Valley Forge. This past weekend I came to my own crossroads. Like the Americans who limped into Valley Forge, I have faced defeat after defeat. I felt as though nothing seems to have gone my way. The problem with me was that it is time that I determine what path that I will take. Will I be defeated, or will I become successful.

I have been waffling about what I want to do with this blog, and I think that I have finally figured out what I want to do with it. I am going to continue the history lessons, but I am going to develop other topics on this blog as well. . I’m going to focus more creating a healthy life style. I am going to talk about developing not only a healthier lifestyle, but a more sustainable lifestyle as well. I’ll explain more about my plans on Wednesday.

Over this past weekend, I wrote a short booklet called: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade. I will to be starting a newsletter called: The Cygnet Brown Newsletter. Please feel free to sign up and get Vegetable Gardening in the Shade and join the newsletter.

Springfield Writers Guild, Aux Arcs, and Benjamin Franklin in Paris

I Attended my First Springfield Writer’s Guild meeting on

Saturday, January 25,2014

This past week I joined the Springfield Writer’s Guild at the Heritage Cafeteria here in Springfield, MO. I probably should have gone to the mentor hour that they had, but instead I just went to listen to this month’s speaker and to get a feel for the organization. I met one woman who doesn’t live very far from where I do. I hope to see her again next month. This month’s speaker was Joyce Ragland, Ed.D., her latest book Dread the FRED. She talked about how she used creative nonfiction to write this book and how she gathered the information that she needed to write the book.

After the speaker, they conducted the business meeting and then there was a drawing where various authors gave books as door prizes. I was one of the winners and I received a book Aux Arc Black and White of Photography of the Ozarks by Carl James. Beautiful photo book that I will cherish for many years to come. Though the photos are black and white, I can see how I will be able to use many of the pictures as writing prompts.

I was surprised how organized the guild is and how many people attended the meeting. I look forward to coming back next month and continuing to network with others who have like passions. I look forward to next month’s meeting.

This Day In History as it Relates to the American Revolution

While George Washington and his men were held up at Valley Forge, it is possible that 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin attended the premiere of Piccinni’s opera “Roland” in Paris on this date in 1778.

piccinni roland operaBut Franklin had not gone to Paris as a social outing. He had gone on a life or death mission. His own life and the life of the other patriots hinged on convincing the French to side with the Americans against the British. The French greeted him, the American celebrity with open arms and wondered what had brought this world famous scientist to their shores. What had brought him was the fact that the newly declared citizens of America had little ammunition, no money, no credit, and no common cause and that he knew that because the French were enemies with Great Britain, perhaps they would be happy to recognize and become friends with the newly self-proclaimed independent county.

Fortunately for Franklin, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been waiting for such an opportunity. They had been poised for an American revolt longer than the colonies had even considered one. If the American could convince them that the Americans were worthy English foes, they were willing to give the fledgling country a chance.

Franklin danced around the facts as well as with  French debutantes. He was able to convince the French that the British would need a 200 thousand man army to subdue the Americans. He made it sound as though the American Continental Army was not the rag tag army that it was. That it had repositioned itself to fight on indefinitely and by spring would become a strong force of 89 thousand expertly trained men. He alluded that as the British pushed into the continent, the more the countryside would push back.

The truth was, gunpowder had to be severely rationed and Washington commanded only 14 thousand barely clad, poorly fed men. If Franklin did not succeed on his mission, British would have won and the Patriot cause would have been dead along with its leadership. The diplomatic expertise that Franklin demonstrated went beyond the desperation of the circumstances, it was sheer brilliance.