Saratoga National Historical Park Fall Lecture Series

Dr. Myra Young Armstead, Ph.D. presents “The Loango Connection: Slavery and Slaveholding at Saratoga House and Its Environs”

October 25th at 6:30pm
Saratoga National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater

Taking the perspective of enslaved Africans and their descendants attached to General
Philip Schuyler’s country estate, we will explore their work, family, and leisure
experiences with a primary focus on the early eighteenth century to the early nineteenth
century.

Myra Young Armstead is a tenured, senior faculty member in the History Department at
Bard College where she has taught for 38 years and she holds an endowed chair. She
received her doctorate in History from the University of Chicago and has published
widely on topics relating to African-American social and cultural life.

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A Tale of Two Generals: The Later History of the Benedict Arnold Monument at Saratoga Battlefield

Thursday, November 9, 6:30 pm
Saratoga National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater

Benedict Arnold is a figure well-known to Americans and aficionados of the Battles of
Saratoga. Less well known is General John Watts de Peyster, a resident of Dutchess
County, New York, who paid for a special inscription to be added to the Arnold
Monument on the battlefield. Join us to hear the colorful tale of this eccentric and scandalous nineteenth-century New York personality, who, like Arnold, found himself at
the receiving end of nearly everyone’s ire.

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“Perticulars that I have Been eye & ear witness to”: How Nathaniel Bacheller Changed History

Thursday, November 30, 6:30 pm
Saratoga National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater

Almost all media covering the 1777 Battles of Saratoga tell a story of American
Generals Benedict Arnold and Horatio Gates embroiled in a nasty conflict of
personalities which peaked when Gates stripped Arnold from command. Nevertheless,
Arnold famously defied Gates and participated in the decisive October 7 Battle of
Bemus Heights anyway. But, come to find out, it’s a lie and we’ve all been tricked! Join
Park Ranger Eric Schnitzer as he forensically reviews the evidence which proves how
most of the story is false and he reveals who it was that deceived us in the first place.

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Retracing Our Steps: the French-American Joint Reconnaissance Tour in the Winter of 1780-1781

Thursday, December 7, 6:30 pm
Saratoga National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater

Studying the terrain to analyze how the action unfolded on Revolutionary War
battlefields isn’t just a modern pursuit. It was the first order of business when the French
Army arrived on American soil, seeking to understand the war they had just joined.
Contrary to popular belief, French and American officers did not sit idle over the winter
of 1780–81. Rather, the French organized a joint reconnaissance mission to previous
battlefields of the American Revolution under the initiative of François-Jean de
Chastellux, an overlooked figure who played a crucial role as a liaison officer between
the French and Americans, and in the logistical and strategic planning of the allied
army. Dr de Rode’s discovery of his unpublished private papers, in the ancestral
château of the Chastellux family in Burgundy, reveals numerous details about his role,
especially on this forgotten reconnaissance mission, including an in depth study of the
battlefield of Saratoga.

Dr de Rode, who is originally from the Netherlands, received her doctorate from the
Université de Paris in November 2019. Her dissertation was based on her discovery of
the private papers of François-Jean de Chastellux, one of the French generals who
served at Yorktown. She published a biography on Chastellux in 2022 for which she
won the 2023 Prix Guizot of the Académie Française for “best history book of the year”.
Iris is currently working on a new English book titled En route for Revolution that will be
published by the University of Virginia Press next year. She has received 20 fellowships
for her work, including from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s
Monticello, the Society of the Cincinnati and the American Philosophical Society.

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