Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Paoli Battlefield: May 30, 2012

"One of Howe's commanders, Major General Lord Charles Grey--a distant cousin of Grey's--attacked the Americans at Paoli at night, with orders to his troops to remove the flints from their muskets.  This prevented discovery from the accidental discharge of a weapon, but also obliged the men to use bayonets.  A number of Americans wire bayoneted in their beds, their tents burned, a hundred or so made captive--and Howe marched into the city of Philadelphia, triumphant, on September 21."  ~Diana Gabaldon,  "An Echo In The Bone"

Yesterday I "went home" and visited the Paoli Battlefield in Malvern, Pennsylvania with my children and my very dear friend, Anne.  Anne and I have been friends since we met in the first grade at St. Norbert School in Paoli where Tracey and I went to grade school.  Tracey, Anne, and I have discussed the fact that we don't remember ever being taught about this pivotal battle in the Revolutionary so important that the American military's battle cry "Remember Paoli!"  could be heard at battle well into the 1800s.

I wish you could see this up close; it was truly magical.
Check out the authentic Revolutionary War fencing.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed visiting this beautiful, peaceful field.  You will all think me nuts when I say it reminded me of one of my favorite places in Scotland; a "drovers pass" in the lower Highlands where there is a massive valley sunken into the mountains from years of cattle driving.  I have always said there is "music in the silence" there...and I felt the same way about this quiet battlefield in PA. 

My sincere thanks to Diana Gabaldon for Remembering Paoli. 

And my very heartfelt thanks to Karen Henry of Outlandish Observations for reminding me how much I love having grown up in an area so rich in Revolutionary War history. 
Major General Grey.  I hope Hal spat in his tea. 
My kiddies who were surprisingly quiet and reverent throughout
our entire visit...without constant reminders from me.
Kids can "feel" the past even better than we can. 
The original Paoli Massacre monument from 1817, which stands inside
the gravesite.  The battlefield can be seen in the distance. 

Fresh from Memorial Day

My son photographing the original monument with what else?
His Nintendo 3DS.
Hey, I'll instill a love of history into them any way I can. :)

I was iffy on this shot because I didn't want to be disrespectful...
but if letting her quietly sit on a canon for 20 seconds makes the stories stick, then I'm OK.
They both took photos to school today to show their teachers.  Not too shabby.  :)

The current monument, erected in September 1877  
My wonderful friend, Anne (a Paoli local) who puts up with me dragging her
 to battlefields on any random Wednesday when I'm only in town for 6 hours.

Remember Paoli


  1. Wonderful pictures - thanks so much for posting this! :-)


    1. No, Karen...thank YOU. If you hadn't mentioned us last week, I wouldn't have thought to go there this week. :)

  2. 1. I can't BELIEVE you went without me.

    2. I can't BELIEVE we never went there in all our years of living there. Where exactly in Malvern is it? (For the folks playing at home, this is seriously like the next town over from where we grew up.) The only historical marker I can even remember is the one at the intersection of Rt. 30 and Rt. 252, which talks about the battle.

    3. I will be in Delaware this weekend at a college reunion....wonder if I can drag DH to a side trip there?

    4. Could Anne look any more chic??? :-)

    1. 1) I hated to do it but it was my annual trip to the Devon Horse Show with Anne and the kids. How could I not make a detour??

      2) Don't get me started. Anne and I were floored that no one ever told us about the Battle of Paoli, let alone took us there. It's mind boggling.

      3) Yes - it's a quick jaunt and it's truly lovely. I think he'll appreciate it.

      4) I know, right?? She is a style maven!

  3. Great post and wonderful photos!! Your kids are adorable!

  4. Very nice post! I've never been there either. It's shameful that there's so much history around the Philly area that I don't often explore. There was a battle in my neighborhood, too. It was called "The Battle of Edge Hill" or "The Battle of White Marsh." In fact, I discovered that there is a small grave and monument on the block above mine for an unknown Revolutionary War soldier. It's literally on someone's front lawn. I take the family to visit the grave on Memorial Day.

    1. Erin, you're not kidding. There is SO much history in the Philadelphia area. I am going to google the monument you're talking about; wonder if it's online. If not - feel free to send me a photo and I'll post it! (Not sure how interested everyone else is...but us Philly chicks are ON it. LOL)

  5. Great post, Carol. I hope to get up there myself someday. There is so much rich history in this part of the country, and I want to experience all of it.

    1. LOL Cari. I am cracking up that I'm answering this almost two years to the day after you posted it. We've discussed more than once...AND you've gone to Philly and Valley Forge since then! :)

  6. On a recent visit to the Philadelphia area...we were driving by and I saw the sign: Paoli Massacre...found it...saw the General Grey reference....since I'd read and reread the first 7 big books ...guess it was in my subconscious since I didn't remember that it was mentioned in Echo. Also saw Brandywine ...definitely recommend visiting these sites. Talked to a docent at Brandywine...all staffed by government funding...when asked why ...his answer was we didn't win...not a valid excuse!


    War is ugly but it needs to be remembered by any means available. Thanks for this. ;)