Behind the Strokes of Historical Paintings: Breaking Down Xavier della Gatta's Battle of Germantown Painting
For the past 60 years, the image shown below has puzzled historians. Created by Italian artist Xavier della Gatta in 1782, the painting vividly and accurately depicts the 1777 Battle of Germantown, part of the Philadelphia Campaign of the American Revolutionary War. Della Gatta, however, never set foot in America. Why did Xavier della Gatta choose to paint this battle and how was he able to depict it so accurately? Careful detective work has revealed answers in the life of Richard St. George, who fought with the British Army at the battle. St. George also provided the eyewitness details for della Gatta's Battle of Paoli painting.
Richard St. George worked with Italian artist Xavier della Gatta to create the painting of the Battle of Germantown. The painting, which is part of the Museum's collection and was on display in the Museum's special exhibition Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier, merges different actions into one scene, including the moment Richard St. George was carried off the battlefield after he suffered a devastating head wound.
When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County, New Jersey Poll Lists, December 1803
Upper Penns Neck Township
Salem County, New Jersey
December 13 & 14, 1803
Ink on Paper
This poll list is from a December 1803 congressional election that was held at the houses of Andrew Alston and George Clark, innkeepers at Alston and the Cove in Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County. The election determined congressional officeholders for the United States House of Representatives. The town officers presiding over the election included Judge Andrew Vanneman, Assessor Charles Jones, Clerk Isaac Ward, and Collector Joseph Borden.
The poll list includes the names of 115 total voters. At least three of these voters are women, accounting for just under three percent of the voters on the list.
There were no Federalists on the ticket in Salem County for the 1803 congressional election. This may explain why voter turnout for this election was so low, since all Democratic-Republican candidates ran unopposed. Voters supported six Democratic Republicans — James Mott, Henry Southard, William Helms, Ebenezer Elmer, Adam Boyd, and James Sloan — for the United States House of Representatives.
Note: The names recorded on this poll list were written by an election official, not by the voters themselves. The spelling of each voter’s name on the poll list may be different compared to how that same person’s name is spelled in other historical records and by the Museum of the American Revolution.
Images: Salem County Historical Society
When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Nancy Oppie
Finding Freedom: London - Birch Pass
In the terms of the surrender to the Americans, the British were to return all captured property—including human property. The British did not adhere to this stipulation, and instead evacuated thousands of free and formerly enslaved men and women to Canada. Birch Passes, named for British Brigadier General Samuel Birch, were given to those who could prove they sought the protection of the British forces during the war. The passes, such as this example, guaranteed a place on a departing ship. London may have received one. Cato Rammsay, an enslaved man who escaped from Norfolk, Virginia, received this Birch Pass that allowed him to go to Nova Scotia as a free person.
Passport for Cato Ramsay to emigrate to Nova Scotia, 21 April 1783; NSA, Gideon White fonds, MG 1 vol. 948 no. 196
Finding Freedom: Eve - Elizabeth Randolph’s Will and Codicil
According to her 1780 will, Elizabeth Randolph requested that Eve and her son George were to be inherited by her niece Ann Coupland. The other enslaved people owned by Elizabeth Randolph were to be inherited by her other nieces and nephews. Two years later, Randolph wrote a codicil (additional directions) for her will that changed her decision about Eve’s future. Randolph described that she sold Eve due to “bad behavior,” likely referring to Eve’s decision to runaway from Williamsburg. The money from the sale of Eve was to be used to purchase an enslaved boy for her nephew and an enslaved girl for her niece.
This historical record is dedicated to the Museum of the American Revolution by the York County-Poquoson Circuit Court, Authorized by the Honorable Kristen N. Nelson, Clerk
Finding Freedom: Andrew - Additional Revolutionary War Pension Deposition
One year after he initially applied for a Revolutionary War pension from the United States Government, Andrew Ferguson returned to the courthouse in Monroe County, Indiana, to share more details about his military service during the war. This document records his additional testimony. Ferguson declared that he had hoped to apply for a pension 17 years earlier in response to Congress’s 1818 law that allowed impoverished Revolutionary War veterans to apply for financial support from the United States Government. However, at the time, Ferguson was told that “a Colored man could not get a pension.” Many veterans of African descent applied for and received pensions according to the 1818 legislation, but they encountered racial discrimination and intimidation during the application process.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Fold3.com
When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Exploring New Jersey Voters, 1800 - 1807
As of 2020, the Museum of the American Revolution has identified 163 women voters named on nine poll lists dated between 1800 - 1807 from across New Jersey. Of these voters, we have compiled biographies of nearly 30 women and free people of color who voted in these elections. These biographies provide a glimpse into the voters’ lives — their families, religions, homes, ownership of property, and roles in their communities. More biographies will be added as our research continues!