Rebels at Sea presents an entirely new pantheon of Revolutionary heroes whose exploits and sacrifices were at the very center of the conflict. Abounding in tales of daring maneuvers and deadly encounters, this exciting new book depicts this nation’s first war as we have rarely seen it before.

A book signing and reception with complimentary beer, wine, and hors-d'oeuvres will take place after the lecture. 

This event is part of the 2023 Michelle Smith Lecture Series. Tickets are available only as a three-lecture package.

Member Tickets

In PersonVirtual

General Public Tickets

In PersonVirtual

The Michelle Smith Lecture Series is supported by an endowment established by a generous grant from the late Robert H. and Clarice Smith.
Add to Calendar 05/24/2023 19:00:00 05/24/2023 20:00:00 America/New_York Rebels at Sea: Author Lecture with Eric Jay Dolin

Rebels at Sea presents an entirely new pantheon of Revolutionary heroes whose exploits and sacrifices were at the very center of the conflict. Abounding in tales of daring maneuvers and deadly encounters, this exciting new book depicts this nation’s first war as we have rarely seen it before.

A book signing and reception with complimentary beer, wine, and hors-d'oeuvres will take place after the lecture. 

This event is part of the 2023 Michelle Smith Lecture Series. Tickets are available only as a three-lecture package.

Member Tickets

In PersonVirtual

General Public Tickets

In PersonVirtual

The Michelle Smith Lecture Series is supported by an endowment established by a generous grant from the late Robert H. and Clarice Smith.
George Washington's Mount Vernon George Washington's Mount Vernon tickets@mountvernon.org MM/DD/YYYY 15

Special Event Showing On

Cost

3-Lecture Series:
In-person: $150 for members, $175 for non-members (subscribers will receive the virtual link)
Virtual: $40 for members, $55 for non-members

Location

In-person Attendees:
Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium located in the Mount Vernon Inn complex

Virtual Attendees:
Tune in to our online broadcast

Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution

The heroic story of the founding of the U.S. Navy during the Revolution has been told many times, yet largely missing from maritime histories of America’s first war is the ragtag fleet of private vessels that truly revealed the new nation’s character—above all, its ambition and entrepreneurial ethos.

In Rebels at Sea, best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin corrects that significant omission, and contends that privateers, as they were called, were in fact critical to the American victory. Privateers were privately owned vessels, mostly refitted merchant ships, that were granted permission by the new government to seize British merchantmen and men of war. As Dolin stirringly demonstrates, at a time when the young Continental Navy numbered no more than about sixty vessels all told, privateers rushed to fill the gaps. Nearly 2,000 set sail over the course of the war, with tens of thousands of Americans serving on them and capturing some 1,800 British ships. Privateers came in all shapes and sizes, from twenty-five foot long whaleboats to full-rigged ships more than 100 feet long. Bristling with cannons, swivel guns, muskets, and pikes, they tormented their foes on the broad Atlantic and in bays and harbors on both sides of the ocean.

The men who owned the ships, as well as their captains and crew, would divide the profits of a successful cruise—and suffer all the more if their ship was captured or sunk, with privateersmen facing hellish conditions on British prison hulks, where they were treated not as enemy combatants but as pirates. Some Americans viewed them similarly, as cynical opportunists whose only aim was loot. Yet Dolin shows that privateersmen were as patriotic as their fellow Americans, and moreover that they greatly contributed to the war’s success: diverting critical British resources to protecting their shipping, playing a key role in bringing France into the war on the side of the United States, providing much-needed supplies at home, and bolstering the new nation’s confidence that it might actually defeat the most powerful military force in the world.

Creating an entirely new pantheon of Revolutionary heroes, Dolin reclaims such forgotten privateersmen as Captain Jonathan Haraden and Offin Boardman, putting their exploits, and sacrifices, at the very center of the conflict. Abounding in tales of daring maneuvers and deadly encounters, Rebels at Sea presents this nation’s first war as we have rarely seen it before.

Eric Jay Dolin

Eric Jay Dolin is the best-selling author of A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America's Hurricanes, which chosen by the Washington Post as one of 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2020. He is also the author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, which was chosen as one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2007 by the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy.

Contact

Stephen A. McLeod

Director, Library Programs

703.799.8686

smcleod@mountvernon.org

Share this event

#

Login
Buy Tickets Activities Calendar Shop Restaurant Give Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save