As dawn broke on the chilly, dank morning of December 13, 1776, General Charles Lee sat writing letters in his sleeping gown in his room at White’s Tavern, three miles from where his shivering American army was camped in New Jersey. The quiet mists outside the inn broke around twenty-four horsemen slipping slowly off the road to surround General George Washington’s most trusted subordinate. Leading the raiding party, “Bloody” Banastre Tarleton motioned his green-coated Loyalist troopers to take the building, trapping the rebel general and kidnapping him for the British. General Lee’s sudden abduction was not a unique event during the American Revolution. At 2:00 PM, Mr. Christian McBurney will lead a roundtable lecture event outlining the tactical and strategic implications of the wide-spread efforts to capture both American and British leaders. His formal presentation will be followed by a discussion with two other Revolutionary War scholars, bringing the conversation full-circle by connecting kidnapping as a military option to other wars in U.S. Army history, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Christian McBurney is an independent scholar from Kingston, Rhode Island, and a graduate of Brown University in 1981. He earned his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from New York University in 1985, and now serves as an attorney in Washington, DC. Throughout his legal career, Mr. McBurney has continued his research and study into American military history. He is an accomplished speaker, appearing at the National Archives, the Naval War College Museum, the Society of Cincinnati, and numerous American Revolution historical organizations on the east coast. Mr. McBurney is also a widely published author on the topic of special operations and Revolutionary War era spies His books include Kidnapping the Enemy: The Special Operations to Capture General Charles Lee & Richard Prescott (Westholme, 2014), The Rhode Island Campaign: The First French and American Operation in the Revolutionary War (Westholme, 2011), Spies in the Revolutionary Rhoade Island (History Press, 2014), and most recently, Abductions in the American Revolution: Attempts to Kidnap George Washington, Benedict Arnold and Other Military and Civilian Leaders.
This roundtable event is held in the multipurpose rooms of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The building opens at 10:00am, the talk begins at 2:00pm, and the open discussion period concludes around 5:00pm. All are welcome, and the event is free! For further information, please call 717-245-3972.