Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lunch with General “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne

Author and historian Dr. Bruce Venter portrays the British commander whose surrender at Saratoga marked a turning point in the American Revolution

On July 6, 1777, American forces evacuated Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, leaving it to British General John Burgoyne. The loss of the fort – and its supplies, desperately needed by General George Washington's forces – was a tremendous blow to American morale.

In October of that year, however, Burgoyne surrendered after the Battles of Saratoga and the course of history was changed forever.

Two hundred thirty-four years to the day after Fort Ticonderoga was lost, the public is invited to hear General John "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne's side of the story of the summer of 1777, in a talk titled The Murder of Jane McCrea or How I Lost the War in America.

Jane McCrea was a young woman living near Fort Edward (Washington County) who was slain by Native Americans associated with the Burgoyne's army on July 27, 1777. According to some accounts, her death led to an increase in Patriot military recruiting.

Dr. Bruce M. Venter, author and historical consultant, will portray "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne at a luncheon at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street. The buffet lunch will begin on Wednesday, July 6 at 12:00 noon, with the presentation commencing at 12:30 p.m. followed by a question and answer period until 1:30 p.m. The University Club of Albany Foundation, Inc. is presenting this event, and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend.

The cost for the luncheon and lecture is $25. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the University Club at 518-463-1151.

Dr. Venter is CEO of America's History, LLC and has written for Blue & Gray, Civil War and the Washington Times. His article, “Behind Enemy Lines: Americans Attack Burgoyne's Supply Line” appears in the May/June 2011 issue of Patriots of the American Revolution magazine. In addition to his published work, he is an experienced tour guide, having previously led tours entitled From Ticonderoga to Saratoga: the Turning Point of the American Revolution and Defending the Highlands: The Revolutionary War in the Hudson River Valley.

Dr. Venter is in Albany for an America's History, LLC tour titled Leatherstocking Tales. From Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. thru Saturday, July 9 at 5 p.m. – returning to Albany each night – participants will experience the real historic and geographic sites portrayed in several of James Fenimore Cooper's novels and explore the author's insight into America's frontier legacy.

The tour will be led by Dr. Venter and Dr. Wayne Franklin, an Albany native, professor and head of the English department and former director of the American Studies Program at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Franklin is the author of the award-winning biography James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years and The New World of James Fenimore Cooper. Dr. Franklin is a frequent lecturer on Cooper and is on the board of directors of the James Fenimore Cooper Society.

The cost of the three-day tour is $399 per person, and includes motor coach transportation, three lunches, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of two experienced tour guides.

Dr. Venter has generously agreed to donate $25 to the University Club Foundation for every member of the University Club who signs up for the tour. Please provide your membership number when you register. The University Club Foundation, a 501c3 corporation, was formed to recognize and maintain the unique historic and architectural significance of the University Club building and property, its historic neighborhood and the city of Albany, where it has been located since its inception in 1901.

For more information on the tour, visit, or call 1-855-OUR-HISTORY (687-4478).

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