Monday, September 26, 2016

Unmerited: Movie Review


Official Description: “Two brothers estranged after a tragic accident, meet unexpectedly years later.”

The concept for this movie is taken from Ezekiel 16:64 "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD."

My Review: (beware, spoilers ahead)

The American Revolution has broken out and Charles Rosse is serving as a Continental private. When his unit engages in battle against the British, Charles’ comrade is shot and killed. This stirs painful memories for Charles, as he remembers that his younger brother Henry fell from a ship’s rigging and died.

With the end of the American Revolution, Charles Rosse returns to his home town. He stops at the harbor, looking at a merchant ship being unloaded. A gentleman sits nearby, tallying the stores. The gentleman looks at Charles, and Charles moves away. Despite his service in the war, no one greets him kindly. Townsfolk pass on their way, and the landlady refuses to rent him a room because he can only pay in worthless Continental paper dollars. Disconsolately, Charles walks down the street until he is accosted by a young girl about 9 years old. She cheerfully informs Charles that her father would like to see him. After some hesitation, Charles decides to follow her.

Much to his surprise, the girl’s father is familiar—in fact, he is none other than Charles’ long-dead brother Henry! The accident was not fatal, even though Henry was crippled in one leg. For 15 years Charles had not seen Henry, because he fled from his family. Charles is certain that his father despises him, until Henry informs him that their father died, wishing for Charles’ return.

Reluctantly, Charles informs his brother that the accident on the rigging was deliberate. Charles felt slighted because of his younger brother, so he deliberately caused Henry to fall from the rigging, breaking his leg. Yet even with this news, Henry states that he forgives his brother. But Charles does not believe him and prepares to wander away to another town. As Charles makes ready to exit the graveyard, Henry calls after him “I still forgive you.” This finally convinces Charles that Henry still loves him. He turns back and the two brothers are reunited.  Henry owns a merchant ship (he was the gentleman tallying stores) and he offers Charles a position as skipper.
(Spoiler warning ends.)

My Thoughts

This is a little gem of a movie. Less than 10 minutes long, it packs both an important message and impressive visual shots. Its message of forgiveness and love in the face of suffering is one that we should never tire of (see also my Lessons Learned from the Noah Conference at

As well as an important message, this movie also contains lavish visuals. From the colonial town that Charles wanders through, to the battle between companies of Continentals and Redcoats, this movie’s sets and costumes are top-notch.

My conclusion: Impressive scenery, sets, and a ship combined with a powerful story of love and forgiveness make this movie worth watching. 5/5 stars.

See it here!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lessons Learned From the Noah Conference

My booth with Through All Ages LLC
[Author’s note: This is an extremely different piece from any I have ever written. This is a true account of events that happened to me. I put it here in the hope that it will bless or encourage someone. JCJ]

When first hearing of Generations’ Noah Conference in the late spring/early summer, I was not interested. We had been to two of their previous “Family Economics” conferences and I saw no reason to be interested in a third. But then an irresistible bait was presented before me: an opportunity to sell my paper soldiers at the conference. (For more information about my paper soldiers, please visit my business site at A chance to sell my wares in a part of the country that was not previously aware of Through All Ages LLC! Leaving nothing to chance, I even prepared a new book of ACW Confederates since I was headed south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The first day, I set up my booth and did a somewhat brisk trade in paper soldiers, posters, and postcards. When business slowed in the late morning, a lady came to my table. She was interested in my historical products and explained that she was here, helping some friends run their table. What did they sell? They were an informational booth for a WWII event in south-central Tennessee called Remembering WWII (

Even though I am an American Revolution buff, I had heard of this event before through several Facebook friends. They had attended in various capacities and their photos looked impressive. After all, how many towns in the USA turn themselves into a provincial village in 1940s France? But, despite an interest in WWII, I had little desire to find out more about this event—not just because south-central Tennessee is far, far away. The truth is, I avoided this event as a means of protecting myself from hurt.

Remembering WWII Promotional Postcard

At one point in my life, I had been hurt by a few members of a group of people I thought I belonged to. Even though only a few had actually hurt me, I bitterly regarded the entire group for what I considered their betrayal of me. And now this friendly WWII lady was a part of the same group (though she had never hurt me, or even previously known of my existence). Could I regard her bitterly, or at least put on a coldly formal mask to protect myself?

In the Bible, the prophet Ezekiel (under God’s direction) addressed this very issue: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20) This was exactly what I was failing to do: I was blaming the righteous for the wickedness of the wicked. This was the lesson God was going to teach me at this conference, and this friendly reenactor had given me the first piece of it.

Before leaving my table, she invited me to check out her table down the hall. It would have been easy to coldly dismiss her invitation, but she had been very friendly to me—and also had begun to dismantle the misconceptions I had sheltered behind. I wanted to learn a little more about this reenactment (and see the photographs), and God had the second piece of His lesson for me waiting at their table.

My love of history (and lack of customers) drew me through the vendor hall and to Remembering WWII’s table, where I leafed through a scrapbook of pictures. Veterans and reenactors, tanks and motorcycles, singers and civilians were all displayed in photographs. But one page made a deep impression on me. When asked what important lesson he wanted to leave with the attendees, one of the WWII veterans stated: “Forgive everyone.” The text informed me that this man had survived a concentration camp and was left for dead in the Bavarian Alps. Yet with all he had suffered, he advised his listeners to forgive everyone.

Ouch. Here was a man who had been treated brutally, yet knew the power of forgiveness. I had never been treated like this, yet I was refusing to forgive. I needed to forgive and this lesson was becoming more apparent to me as the day had gone on. God had given me two pieces of the lesson and the third piece was on its way.

In the afternoon, customers were elsewhere, and I was left with little to do. Wandering up and down the vendor hall proved uneventful and I drifted back to my booth, only to notice a young lady studying my products. A customer! I hurried over and we got to talking. Our talk quickly diverged from paper soldiers and postcards into Christianity and ethics—specifically how Christianity should impact the actions we perform and the positions we hold to.

This is not unfamiliar territory for me, as I strongly believe that my faith should influence my actions. But I had been scarred because of the use of this concept as a club against myself. In one way, this was ultimately beneficial to me, as I saw that I had done the same thing to others (see my short story “With Truth and Grace” at Unfortunately, I had also shied away from the concept—yet another wall to protect myself.

The conversation tailed off and she went on her way. I am certain that she did not realize the impact this one conversation would have on her listener. After she had walked away, God opened my eyes to a truth that I had been avoiding for too long: I had been building walls to keep others out and protect myself from hurt again. But I could not do this. I had to begin to break down these walls and reach out to others.

I could never have guessed that at this conference, I would learn the importance of forgiveness from three who were not advertised on my conference program. But God knew, and He had planned all this out. I am grateful to those three people for their lessons, and more than that, for the politeness and friendliness of the two whom I met. They could not have known that their friendliness would be used by God to show me the error of my ways and allow me to forgive others. But most of all, I am grateful to God, who kindly—gently—taught me what I needed to learn.

As Paul put it in his Epistle to the Philippians: “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:20)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Remembering Montcalm and Wolfe

On this day in 1759, British General James Wolfe and French General the Marquis de Montcalm met outside Quebec City in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.  Both commanders died in the ensuing battle; Wolfe before the battle had even ended, Montcalm early the next morning.  These two pictures (with quotes) are a tribute to them.

On Wolfe's picture, his men are ascending to the plains of Abraham.  The quote "The Paths of glory lead but to the grave" is from Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard.  Wolfe reportedly claimed he would rather have written those lines than capture Quebec.  Wolfe's last words were "Now, God be praised, I will die in peace."

Montcalm's picture shows the wounded general replying to the concerned inquiries of Quebec's citizens: "The Marquis is killed!"  "It is nothing, do not weep for me, my good friends."  Montcalm spent his last hours writing to Brigadier-General Townshend asking him to treat the Canadians kindly, and praying.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Flags of Yorktown (with thanks to James Peale)

Click on the picture to expand it
and view the details

Paintings by eyewitness artists give us a priceless view into the world of the American Revolution. The painting shown here is a portrait of George Washington at Yorktown, painted by James Peale. James Peale was an artist just like his older brother Charles Willson Peale.
The painting under analysis right now is obviously based on Charles Willson Peale’s portrait entitled “George Washington at Princeton.” But this painting depicts Washington’s greater triumph at Yorktown.
Its details are extremely valuable. No fewer than 7 flags are visible in this painting. Working from bottom left to top right:
1. The King’s Color of the 76th Highlanders, crumpled in the bottom left of the painting. Each regiment carried a King’s color which was a Union Jack with the regiment’s number in the center. Under magnification (click the picture to enlarge) the script “Reg 76” can be clearly seen. This flag also offers a magnificent view of the gold-and-crimson mixed cords which were tied around the top of British regimental flagpoles.

2. The Regimental Color of the 76th Highlanders, which is green and draped across the cannon. A regimental color was the same color as a regiment’s cuffs and lapels. It contained a small Union Jack in the upper left canton and the number of the regiment in the center. As the 76th Highlanders were the only British regiment at Yorktown with green cuffs and lapels, this flag belongs to them.
3. This flag is an Ansbach-Bayreuth regimental color, draped across the cannon, next to the 76th regimental color. There were two Ansbach-Bayreuth regiments at Yorktown, and they surrendered ten very similar flags. This position shows the reverse of the flag, with a red eagle on it. For a thorough discussion of these flags, visit
A photograph of a surviving Ansbach-Bayreuth flag
4. This flag is another Ansbach-Bayreuth regimental color, folded on the ground. This is the obverse of the Ansbach-Bayreuth flag, with the Margrave’s initials surmounted by a crown. Also see entry 3, above.
5. Hiding behind the Ansbach-Bayreuth color draped on the cannon is a King’s color of an unknown regiment. No regimental distinctions are visible.
6. Above the 3rd Continental Light Dragoon (holding Washington's horse) is an American flag with thirteen white stars in a circle on a blue canton. Mysteriously, this flag appears to have no red stripes, but only a field of white. Why is this? My conjecture is that it is a regimental standard for a Continental regiment with white facings, and that the unit’s motto/distinction would be in the center. This flag also appears to have a blue cord wrapped just below the spear point.

Each flag annotated with its identification (if known)

7. The last flag, next to the American flag, is obviously a French flag. The three fleurs-de-lys proclaim its nationality. It is decorated with a golden cord, but oddly is lacking the white cravate which was normally placed on the flag as well. A minor mystery encircles this flag as well, for it is unlike any French flag known to have been at Yorktown. It most closely resembles a “colonel’s” flag, which was white with a white cross of Saint-Denis (+ shape) overall, but the arrangement of the fleur-de-lys suggests that it bears the white cross of Saint Andrew (x shape). Since it matches none of the French flags currently known, could it be a colonel’s color of Lauzun’s Legion. Lauzun’s Legion sailed to America accompanied by its colonel, the Duc de Lauzun, so perhaps this identification is possible. An alternate theory is that it is a “national” flag of France.

This concludes our look at the flags of James Peale’s portrait of Washington at Yorktown. Of the seven flags visible, the details of four (two of the 76th Highlanders and two of the Ansbach-Bayreuth regiments) can be substantiated with other evidence. Since this is the case, there seems to be no reason to deny the authenticity or accuracy of the other three flags in this painting.  I eagerly await more analysis of the other three flags.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Uniforms of "Kidnapped" from Contemporary Pictures

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped is an interesting look at Scotland in the aftermath of the last great Jacobite rising. What sets this novel (and its sequel, Catriona) apart from others set in the same era is the thorough research that Stevenson put into them.

Early in the book, David Balfour comes into Edinburgh, where he sees a regiment on parade, where the grenadiers described as wearing “pope-hats.” This is perfectly correct, as British grenadiers wore tall pointed miter caps, much like bishops’ hats. Painter David Morier painted this group of three grenadiers in c. 1751, giving us excellent detail on the appearance of their miter caps. This painting depicts the 46th, 47th, and 48th Regiments of Foot, and while none of these may be the regiment Balfour saw, their general appearance would be the same. The major differences between most regiments were the different colors of their lapels and cuffs, and differently-colored decorations in their white lace trim.

After several adventures, David meets a Highland Jacobite named Alan Breck Stewart. Based on a real character from history, Stewart was a former British soldier who switched sides after the battle of Prestonpans. After fighting through the ’45, Stewart escaped to France, where he enlisted with the French Army under Louis XV.

In the historical “Wanted” advertisement after the Appin Murder, it is stated that Stewart came from Ogilvy’s Regiment. This was one of two units of Scots in the service of Louis XV of France. Ogilvy’s Regiment is illustrated by an important manuscript entitled “Troupes du Roi” and this manuscript was drawn in 1757. For more details about Ogilvy’s Regiment, visit I am greatly indebted to Ian Nimmo for his short biography, The Man with the Belt of Gold, where he reproduces the original advertisement for Alan Breck Stewart. (which can be read at,

While David and Alan are talking aboard ship, Alan mentions that his father Duncan Stewart was a gentleman-soldier in the Black Watch when it was raised. Originally numbered the 43rd Regiment, it received the number 42 after the disbanding of Oglethorpe’s 42nd Regiment. The Black Watch was a unit of Highlanders, dressed in traditional Highland clothing with short red jackets. The tartan pattern known today as “Black Watch” is the same as that which was worn by the 42nd Regiment in the 1740s. This illustration is taken from the 1742 Cloathing Book. 

When Alan Breck Stewart and David Balfour flee through the heather, they are pursued by redcoated line infantry companies and dragoons. The line infantry dressed similarly to the grenadiers (above), wearing a tricorne hat instead of a miter and with no “wings” on the shoulders. Dragoons were mounted infantry who would (in theory) ride to a battlefield and then dismount to serve as infantry. In practice, however, they were more often treated like cavalry, charging on horseback at enemy infantry. The illustration is of a trooper from the 13th Regiment of Dragoons, as depicted in the 1742 Cloathing Book.

I hope that you enjoyed this look at the uniforms of the time. Stay tuned for a post on the uniforms of Stevenson’s sequel—Catriona!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Alone Yet Not Alone Movie Review: Part 2

Alone Yet Not Alone
Released 2013
1 hour 43 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

In my previous review (which can be read at, I dealt with the first half of Alone Yet Not Alone, with Natalie Raccosin in the leading role. The second half begins when Kelly Greyson takes the role of Barbara.

A title announces “Many years later” as the camera pans across the Indian village of Moschingo. But the “many years” they refer to is only 3 years later, in 1759. The movie itself gives multiple clues to confirm this date. In council, the chief mentions that Fort Duquesne has been captured by the English. The Indians decide to form a war party and join the French to retake Fort Duquesne. This points to some time later than 1758, for the British captured Fort Duquesne in November of that year. Yet it cannot be much beyond 1760, as all French troops surrendered in September of 1760. This fixes the date between 1758 and 1760.

Barbara is informed that the warrior Galasko wants to marry her. She determines (after some prodding by her friend and fellow-captive Marie) to escape. Her escape is facilitated by the fact that all of the Indian warriors (except the formidable Hannawoa) have gone to Fort Duquesne to aid the French in defeating the English. 

Again, this is another clue as to an early 1759 setting. The French evacuated Duquesne in November of 1758, so it is no surprise that this distant village of Delaware Indians has not yet learned of its abandonment.

Four English captives—Barbara, Marie, Owen, and David—steal a canoe and paddle away. But Hannawoa remains at the village, realizes that they have escaped, and embarks in pursuit of them. Through forest and stream, waterfall and rock, pursuer and pursued run. At last the foursome are within sight of Fort Pitt, a British outpost on the site of Fort Duquesne (which had been destroyed by the retreating French).  

In his travels, Hannawoa had come across his brother Galasko’s warband. Galasko follows Hannawoa in his pursuit, which irritates Hannawoa so much that he tomahawks his brother in the back. Coldly stealing his weapons (a musket and tomahawk), Hannawoa continues his pursuit of Barbara.

As the captives signal and shout at the fort for assistance, the British and colonists prepare to shoot them down. Fortunately for them, a British officer orders a halt while he asks permission to reconnoiter in a boat.  Several British regulars under Captain Thomas row across to determine whether these escapees are attempting to lure the garrison of Fort Pitt into an ambush. Barbara’s fluency with both English and German persuades them, and they quickly disembark—only to be challenged by Hannawoa.

Hannawoa’s first shot drops a Brit, while the British return volley succeeds in missing him entirely. The British then foolishly run at Hannawoa one by one (without bayonets!), and are hit by his tomahawks. Owen and David attempt to fight back, but one is quickly eliminated.  Captain Thomas, draws a pistol with historically accurate sangfroid and shoots Hannawoa in the shoulder. Yet again the Britisher is sent sprawling on the turf.

Moments from death, Barbara fumbles in Captain Thomas’s belt, draws another pistol and shoots Hannawoa, who is then skewered by a conveniently arriving Redcoat. This scene is undoubtedly the worst in the entire movie. Its historicity is not accurate; in fact, I wrote an entire blog post analyzing this one scene (read it at

The four captives are escorted into Fort Pitt, where they have supper and receive lodging for the night. Next morning, Captain Thomas (whose pistol Barbara borrowed) suggests that Barbara and Marie would like a warm bath and a soldier’s wife is quick to oblige. The soap used at Fort Pitt must be extremely strong, as it quickly strips the black dye from Barbara’s hair, returning it to blonde again. A dress worn by Colonel Mercer’s daughter conveniently fits Barbara to a T.

Escorted by the obliging Captain Thomas, Barbara and her friends enter Philadelphia, where she is reunited with her mother and brother. In the 5 years that follow (from 1759 to the end of 1763), the Leininger family raises good crops and becomes quite well-off. Barbara accepts a man named Fritz in marriage and on Christmas Eve of 1763, the entire family gathers together—with the poignant exception of Regina.

A knock pounds on their door, and rather than look out the large glass windows to identify the unexpected visitor, Fritz cocks a musket and points it at the door. When it is opened, it discloses the terrified face of the local Pastor Muhlenberg. Pastor Muhlenberg brings exciting if inaccurate news: “Colonel Armstrong and the Royal Americans have defeated the Ohio Indians!”

The battle that the Reverend refers to is the Battle of Bushy Run on July 3, 1763. There, a force of British and colonial troops defeated an Indian force in a two-day battle. Colonel Henri Bouquet commanded the British, and outfought the Indians with a cunning ambush and feigned retreat. Colonel Armstrong was not a part of the victory and only 16 men of the Royal Americans were part of Bouquet’s force! Actually, the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and Montgomery’s 77th Highlanders comprised 390 men of Bouquet’s force, while the 60th Royal American Regiment (referred to by Pastor Muhlenberg) furnished only 16 men. (1)

Pastor Muhlenberg tells the Leininger family that Colonel Armstrong (it should be Colonel Bouquet) has insisted on the return of all English captives still left in the Indians’ towns as part of the peace treaty. They will be gathered at Fort Carlisle, and Mother and Barbara decide to journey there to find Regina.

They search through endless lines of captives and ask Colonel Armstrong for help. He inquires if Regina had any birthmarks, nicknames, or scars—anything that could identify her. This gives Mother Leininger an idea. Through the lines of captives she walks, singing a German hymn “Alone yet not Alone.” When Regina hears it, she recognizes the song and her mother and is reunited with them. The movie ends with a stirring performance of the song by Joni Eareckson Tada.

The second half of the movie is much weaker than the first. While the first half had good acting, many of the actors in the second half are flat, including Barbara, Owen, and David. However, some actors are good, such as Mother Leininger and Colonel Armstrong.

My score for the second half is 1/5 stars. The ending fight sequence and flat acting make this half much weaker than the first. The best part of the second half is Joni Eareckson Tada’s rendition of the hymn Alone Yet Not Alone.

My overall rating of Alone Yet Not Alone is 2/5 stars. I would recommend this movie for the scenery, some French & Indian War action, and some good performances by some of the actors. Perhaps the best commendation I can give it is to say that when I had finished watching it for the first time, I was eager to paint some French & Indian War figures and recreate this pivotal era for myself. (2)

Would you like to hear the song Alone Yet Not Alone? This video shows Joni Eareckson Tada's performance, as well as some of the best scenes of the movie.


(1) pg. 90, Through So Many Dangers: The Memoirs and Adventures of Robert Kirk by Robert Kirk, Ian McCullough, and Timothy Todish

(2) To see some of my painted soldiers, visit my other blog Red Coats and Ruffles at

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alone Yet Not Alone Movie Review: Part 1

Alone Yet Not Alone
Released 2013
Length: 1 hour 43 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

When this movie was first announced, I was excited. It was a movie set in one of my favorite eras—the French and Indian War! Perhaps it would include the indomitable James Wolfe, the courtly Marquis de Montcalm, or the daring Robert Rogers. Hopefully redcoated British regulars, blue-clad provincials and green-jacketed Rangers would clash with French regulars and painted Indians in epic battles! My sister disagreed with my hopes for the movie. She believed it would be a heart-stirring drama of two sisters who attempt to rebuild their lives in the midst of a war that turns their world upside down.
We were both wrong. Alone Yet Not Alone turned out to be neither what my sister nor I expected. This review will go through the movie’s story as well as a little of the history behind it. Because the movie naturally divides itself into two parts, I will divide my review the same way.

The year is 1755 and the Leininger family has immigrated into the colony of Pennsylvania. There they purchase land and begin a new life for themselves in the wilderness. They quickly plant crops and erect a house.

But trouble is brewing not far away. The pompous British General Edward Braddock dismisses his Indian allies, (against the advice of his superior aide named George Washington) claiming that the British will drive away the French without them. Understandably disturbed, the Indians switch alliances from the British to the French. The history portrayed here is simply absurd. Braddock did not drive away the Indians with his arrogance (for more on this subject, see my series called “The Trial of Edward Braddock” at  The Indians did not join the French because they were rebuffed by Braddock; instead the French had built relationships among the Indians, mainly through the fur trade.

The Delaware warrior Galasko examines the grotto where
Barbara and her sister are hiding
In council, the Delaware Indians decide to take up the hatchet against the British settlements. Two brother warriors named Galasko and Hannewoa descend on the Leiningers’ home when the mother and two brothers are away at town. In a brief fight (the most convincing in the entire movie), the Indians kill the father and the last brother before burning the house and crops to the ground. The Leinginers’ two daughters, Barbara and Regina, flee down the creek into a rocky grotto, but the Indians follow in a canoe and succeed in capturing the two sisters.

Barbara and Regina are marched through Pennsylvania to Fort Du Quesne, but they are separated when the war party they are travelling in breaks up. Regina is sent with one group of Indians while Barbara remains with another group. Barbara is heartbroken, so when an opportunity to rejoin Regina appears (in the shape of a horse), she takes it. Headlong she plunges through thickets in a vain attempt to find her sister. But she is quickly recaptured and sentenced to death. Help arrives from an unexpected source when Galascow intervenes, praising her courage.

Alone Yet Not Alone's portrayal of Fort Duquesne

The Delaware Indians make a journey to a French fortress called Fort Du Quesne. The scenes in Fort Du Quesne are some of the most visually beautiful in the entire movie. Compagnies Franches de la Marine and French militia garrison the fort as war parties of Indians pass through its gates. The year is 1756, a year of success for the French and Indians in their war against the British. Eventually Galasko and his band leave Fort Du Quesne and settle into the village of Kittanning.

Unbeknownst to Barbara and the Delawares, the Pennsylvania Assembly has finally voted to raise money to fight the French and Indians. The Quakers had not wanted to raise money for the military, so a band of irate Scotch-Irish and German settlers marched on Philadelphia. A circumlocution is introduced into the militia bill, agreeing to appropriate money “for the King’s use”. Because the Quakers are not voting to raise money for war, they reluctantly agree, and the bill is passed.

This account is true, but Pennsylvania also suffered from taxation issues: the Assembly wanted to tax the lands of the Penn family, while the Governor (who was their representative) could not agree to it. Eventually the situation was ironed out with a “gift” from the Penn family of 5,000 pounds to help pay for the militia. (1)

John Armstrong is appointed to command the militia of Pennsylvania (at least those west of the Susquehanna River) (2). Their first target is the Indian settlement of Kittanning Village.

Colonel Armstrong (center) prepares to advance
Colonel Armstrong (not Captain; he was promoted in March of 1756) and his raid on Kittanning are true pieces of history; however, they are poorly portrayed in this movie. First of all, Kittanning Village was a collection of about 30 log cabins, rather than the birch-bark wigwams shown in the movie. The raid actually began shortly after dawn, rather than in the afternoon. The Pennsylvania militia is shown as suffering most of their casualties from hand-to-hand fighting. Actually, the Indians positioned themselves in their cabins and engaged in a firefight with the militia. In his report, Captain Armstrong observes that "they seldom missed of killing or wounding some of our people." (3) The tables finally turn for the Pennsylvanians when they light the cabins on fire, causing them to explode because of the large amounts of gunpowder stored within. That would have made an interesting scene for the movie!

As Kittanning Village burns, one of the captives named Lydia attempts to escape with two captive children. She is caught (but the children are found by the Pennsylvanians) and sentenced to die by being burnt at the stake. Some time afterward, a French officer and his men arrive on the scene. This officer is attempting to conduct this war honorably, and torturing a prisoner is dishonorable. 

French lieutenant of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine
He is an important character in the movie, for he provides a counterpoint to the official in Fort Duquesne who is buying scalps. One conducted the war savagely, the other honorably. Yet the character of both were represented in the French military during the French & Indian War. To cite merely one example, Governor-General Vaudreuil meticulously counted the number of scalps brought in by Indians and sent that information to the Minister of Marine in France, while General Montcalm risked his life to save the English (his enemies) from the Indians (his allies) during the Fort William-Henry massacre.

Galasko, Hannawoa, Barbara and the rest of their Indian band return to Galasko’s village of Moschkingo. There Barbara and her friend and fellow-captive Marie settle into the ways of life there.  

Some characters that I believed did an excellent job in their roles include Lydia the English captive. She is an excellent motherly presence to this group of captured children. Barbara’s scene where she attempts to escape on a horse is another well-acted scene. The French lieutenant is devout and honorable, while Galasko and Hannowoa provide an interesting contrast to each other.

Lydia attempts to escape from Kittanning Village

The movie makes a natural break here, as young Barbara (Natalie Raccosin) becomes Barbara (Kelly Greyson). I would rate the first half of the movie 3/5 stars. Lydia and Fort Du Quesne are some of my favorite parts, but the erroneous portrayal of Braddock and the Kittanning raid bring the score down to 3/5. 

My next post will tackle the second half of the movie, with Kelly Greyson in the lead role.

(1) A fuller account of the financial wrangling in Pennsylvania can be found in Francis Parkman's classic Montcalm and Wolfe. Read it for free at (search for Chapter 13)

(2) pg. 18, Military Uniforms in America: The Era of the American Revolution 1755-1795 (San Rafael, CA: Presidio, 1975)

(3) pg. 258, Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. This source contains Colonel Armstrong's report to the Governor of Pennsylvania on the success of his raid. Available at: