PHS Newsletter Readers: for my complete article titled “The Accidental Killing of Simeon Tucker During the Revolutionary War,” please click on the button seen below. 

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My Background

Independent Historian

My focus, now and in the foreseeable future, is the American Revolutionary War. One of my current projects is a book tentatively titled, The Treason and Court Martial of Major General Charles Lee.Learn More

Established Author

I take pride in writing well-documented books that engage the reader while exploring long-neglected aspects of the Revolutionary War. I currently have four books available for purchase.Learn More

Experienced Speaker

I am available to speak about my Revolutionary War books. I try to inject some humor in my talks—responses range from hand-over-mouth tittering to knee-slapping guffaws.Learn More

My History Books

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Kidnapping the Enemy

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The Rhode Island Campaign

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Jailed for Preaching

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A History of Kingston, R.I. 1700-1900

My Credo as an Author

  • I want to write about neglected topics and preserve the memory of long-lost stories.
  • I want to broaden and deepen our understanding of the Revolutionary War by focusing on these neglected topics.
  • I want to write about not only the decisions of leaders (which is important), but also to describe the experiences of ordinary soldiers, using their diaries and letters, as well as and other original documents.
  • I want to be fair and balanced to all sides.
  • I want to write a fast-paced narrative that engages the reader, while still documenting my work with detailed footnotes for readers who want to delve into matters in greater detail.

What Others Have Said

“McBurney has written an important book.  Using sources that have been heretofore overlooked, he provides a fresh, nuanced, and compelling interpretation of the United States’s first joint operation.  Moreover, he does it with readable style.  This work will be the standard for years to come.”
Dennis Conrad, co-editor, Naval Documents of the American Revolution and Papers of General Nathanael Greene.
“[McBurney] gives us a sophisticated maritime history that cannot be detached from events on land…  [He] does a deft and thorough job of examining this significant theater of the revolutionary war, and of making his case that it was significant.”
Patricia Behre, professor, Fairfield University
“The book’s success hinges on the personalities, events and local color that marked this particular conflict, which featured warfare on land and sea, and participation from prominent patriots such as John Hancock, Paul Revere and Rhode Island’s Nathanael Greene, among others.  Colorful descriptions and disagreements and outright insubordination abound, woven into in-depth accounts of military strategy and action, including vivid mentions of dummy soldiers on Butts Hill and fire ships lurking in the bay.”
Doug Norris, South County Independent
“This book proves that special operations, then as well as now, are filled with nail-biting suspense, reckless heroism, and hair-breadth escapes.”
Dennis Conrad, co-editor, Naval Documents of the American Revolution and Papers of General Nathanael Greene.
“This book is the first to present a detailed study of the Revolutionary War’s two most famous captures, giving a detailed account of the planning, execution and impact of these events that were widely celebrated when they occurred. In both cases, a combination of careful planning, opportunism and martial luck came into play making these small-unit operations as exciting as the war’s major battles.”
Don N. Hagist, author, British Soldiers, American War, Voices of the American Revolution
“In ten tightly-written chapters, McBurney argues that despite the failure of this campaign—at least in its ostensible goal—it nonetheless developed important skills in the young republican army and its French allies that led to the later and better-known battles which won them the war….  He is at his best when quoting from a voluminous collection of personal letters, diaries, dispatches and official reports, to show the early missteps in the French-American alliance, but also early advantages for the allies. “
Patricia Behre, professor, Fairfield University