Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monocacy Battlefield-November 26, 2010 Pin Hole Photographs

View Monocacy Battlefield-November 26 2010 in a larger map
 Use the Google map to view the locations where the pin hole pictures were taken. 

View of Thomas Farm from the intersection of Araby Church Rd & Baker Valley Rd. Next to the Vermont marker.

View through the tree line on Araby Church rd.

View of Thomas Hill

I got to explore the Monocacy Battlefield outside of Frederick Maryland during the recent Thanksgiving holiday. I have been to this battlefield numerous times and it’s a fun place to explore, with a variety of landscapes. It is also close to where my mother is currently living in Gaithersburg Maryland. Growing up in Maryland I remember visiting the battlefield when I was a teenager. At that time there were only a couple of monuments & not much else. During school break my family would drive to Columbus Ohio to visit my grandmother. As we would pass by the battlefield my brother Richard or my Dad would always point out the marker visible from Interstate 270.

During this time it was also hard to find out much information about the battle. Little was accessible at the local library level. Maybe because the battle was minor in scale, and that it was seen at the time as a Southern victory, there was not much interest in it. Recently there has been a turnaround in thinking as historians are now realizing the importance of this battle. It is now referred to as the “Battle that saved Washington”.

To date the National Park Serves has done a tremendous job buying property, adding a fantastic new visitors center, building walking trails, and installing interpreter markers on the field.

 This is the first time I was photographing with black & white film. I used the Holga 120N & the Holga wide-angle pinhole camera. I made a quick trip around the field as I had to drive back to New York. The weather was cool with high clouds. This blog entry is my first attempt to explore the graphic potential of Google Maps by combining it with a photographic tour. It has been a creative goal of mine to integrate my photos with the landscape. I believe that this format is an interesting medium. It can create a different style of story telling.
Thomas Farm view from Baker Valley Rd.
Thomas's Barn with Brooks Hill to the Left.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Battle of Pell's Point or Pelham October 18,1776

Glover's Rock. Pelham Park New York City. November 11, 2010 shot with a Holga 120N

During my research in documenting the battlefields of Brooklyn;  I became aware of the larger dramatic scope of events that took place in the greater New York City region in 1776. The battles of August 27 in Brooklyn were just the start of the English campaign to smash the rebel army of General Washington.  In doing this research I discovered battles that I never heard of before. One of these was the Battle of Pell’s Point.  I was looking through “New York 1776” the Osprey series by David Smith. Accompanying an illustration by Graham Turner I saw a short description of the Battle at Pelham. That in turn led to Wikipedia.
“The Battle of Pell's Point (October 18, 1776), also known as the Battle of Pelham, was a skirmish fought between British and American troops during the New York and New Jersey campaign of the American Revolutionary War. The conflict took place in what is now part of Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, New York City.

View of Eastchester Bay. The English army landed on the left side of the image. Shot with a Holga 120N.
On October 12, British forces landed at Throgs Neck in order to execute a flanking maneuver that would trap Gen. George Washington, commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces, and the main body of the Continental Army on the island of Manhattan. The landing was thwarted by the Americans, and British commander Gen. Sir William Howe, commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, looked for another location along Long Island Sound to disembark his troops. On October 18, he landed 4,000 men at Pelham, 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Throgs Neck. Inland were 750 men of a brigade under the command of Col. John Glover. Glover positioned his troops behind a series of stonewalls, and attacked the British advance units. As the British overran each position, the American troops fell back and reorganized behind the next wall. After several such attacks, the British broke off and the Americans retreated.

The battle delayed British movements long enough for Washington to move the main army to White Plains, avoiding being surrounded on Manhattan. After losing to the British in a battle at White Plains, and losing Fort Washington, Washington retreated across New Jersey to Pennsylvania.”

Holga 120N shot of marsh land
After doing some more research I found a cool on line book by William Abbatt entitled “The battle of Pell’s Point (or Pelham) October 18, 1776” it’s a self-published book from 1901. This book has some great location photographs from 1900. It goes into great detail about the landscape of the area both at the time of the battle & time the book was published. I cross referenced this information with current maps & discovered that as opposes to most revolutionary war sites in New York this one has remained relatively undeveloped and is now part of Pelham Bay Park. The parks location also is close by my workplace!

Holga 120N with sun on marsh grass
These images are from my first visit. The timing of my first visit also fell on November 11th. I brought along some color film for my Holga pin-hole camera & B&W for the Holga 120N. I was hopping to catch the last of the fall leaves with the color film. The weather was cool but sunny with high clouds. I was already familiar with the roadways through the park but I need to reconcile them with sites from the battle. I knew that Glover’s Rock was marked so that was my first thing that photographed. Parking is limited in this area so a great deal of walking is necessary to get to the various locations. The battle it’s self took place over a distance of three miles or so as the British army tried to move inland. The action took place along various stone walls that are no longer there. Most the field is now part of a golf course! There are several trails that allow you to reach undeveloped areas in the park.

Color PinHole capture of the terrain around the Pelham Battlefield.
I messed up the Holga 120N roll by switching the view window to 16 & not switching the interior film mask to the smaller frame. This meant the all the photos overlapped on the sides. I was still able to salvage some cool shot’s though.

Eastchester Bay invasion route.

View Battle of Pelham in a larger map

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bedford Corners- Brooklyn

First color pin hole image. Corner of Halsy and Bedford.

“Bedford, in pre-American Revolutionary War times, was the first major settlement to the east of the then-Village of Brooklyn on the Brooklyn & Jamaica Turnpike to Jamaica, Queens and the rest of Long Island. It formed a major crossroads with roads to Williamsburg to the north and Bedford Road to Flatbush to the south.” 
Thanks Wikipedia. 
These images are from my on-going documentation of Brooklyn, New York City sites that were involved in the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. This is the site of the town of Bedford. It figured prominently in Howe’s strategy of out flanking the American defenses. Not much remains from the revolutionary war times, except maybe the location of the roadways. I used my Holga wide angle pin hole camera. For the first time I shot some color Kodak Porta 160. Exposure time was about ten seconds. The shoot took place just after sun up on a quiet, but bright, Sunday morning in early November.

This image is of the intersection of Bedford and Fulton or the Jamaica Turnpike of yesteryear. To the center right of the frame (east on Fulton Street) is the direction that Howe’s English redcoats advanced from Jamaica Pass. According to Henry Whittemore in his 1897 book “The Heroes of the American Revolution- Battle of Long Island” “The whole force was about ten thousand strong!” Looking up the road today it's hard to imagine ten thousand men coming down that road.
Captain Francis Rawdon, Lord Hasting, was a member of the British flanking maneuver. 

“(We)…. marched with the greatest silence towards a pass some miles to the right of Flatbush, (Jamaica Pass) which being little known we thought would be but weakly guarded…. We got through the pass a daybreak without any opposition, and then turned to the left towards Bedford. When we were within a mile of that town, we heard firing… where General Grant was expected. We fired two pieces of cannon to let him know we were at hand”
Brevoort Place a nice sounding Dutch name. This is a cropped image. Unfortunately the negative was damaged during developing.
John Gallagher-by gaining the town of Bedford unopposed "The British plan had worked. Diverisons by Grant and de Heister had drawn the bulk of the American front-line forces to the west, leaving the way clear for an envelopment"
"The Battle of Brooklyn 1776"