BGES Members Launch Final Assault to “Carry the Position”

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis by John Trumbull. This painting depicts the forces of British major general Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (1738–1805) (who was not himself present at the surrender), surrendering to French and American forces after the Siege of Yorktown (September 28–October 19, 1781) during the American Revolutionary War. The central figures depicted are Generals Charles O’Hara and Benjamin Lincoln. The United States government commissioned Trumbull to paint patriotic paintings, including this piece, for them in 1817. | public domain


BGES members have never failed in a challenge, and, like Yorktown, we have systematically besieged our objective, and carefully advanced our parallels in a deliberate fashion, until we have reached the point in which we can breech the British lines in one final rush. The outcome will not be in doubt, provided we carry two advanced eastern redoubts, #9 and #10, near the York River, which enfilade the final parallel. Carrying those positions seals the British in their works and ensures that the final assault will result in victory. The French will take Redoubt #9, but #10 is assigned to the Americans under young George Washington’s protégé Alexander Hamilton. It will take resolution and certainty of purpose, but the outcome is not in doubt.

In modern parlance, I am calling on BGES’s members and friends to push themselves a little further and help us breech that “final line” needed to achieve complete success in our funding effort for An Explorer’s Guide to America’s Revolutionary War. We have raised 88% of our budget for the guidebook. The $160,000 goal allowed us to hire staff, pay for usage rights, design, edit, map, proof, index, print, and ship a first print run of 7,000 shrink-wrapped books. We expect to pay a final bill of approximately $35,000 and reserve approximately $10,000 for promotion and building a retail network. These expenses will be incurred over the next 4 months.

We need to raise $20,000, and we need to do it by October 1 so we can bank it and focus on the rollout of individual sales for the holiday season. With the delivery of books expected by early October, we need to turn our attention to that fulfillment effort. You may be aware that we raised $140,000 to date. This came on the shoulders of two independent $50,000 Challenge Grant donations. Through a network of match options, we raised money at $2 for every $1 raised and, in some instances, $3 for every $1 raised. A little over 60 donors responded, leaving us just $10,000 short of full redemption. Confident we would raise the final $10,000, the Challenge donors provided the full pledge upfront. We adjusted our budget once actual expenses were known, and find we need the $10,000 we shorted on the initial challenge, and $10,000 beyond that. I would like to tell you that we prudently managed our efforts and, while we thought our original budget would be $165,000, we actually came in at $151,000. We used the savings to buy 2,000 more books, which lowered the incremental cost of each. The new budget then came down to $160,000.

It is too late to recognize individual donors in the book—it is at the press. Those who gave in the Challenge grant will be recognized. I am looking for this project to bring in 80 new donors at an average gift of $250, for a total of $20,000. Gifts of all amounts are very gratefully accepted—but if you can do some heavy lifting, please do. THIS IS THE LARGEST INDIVIDUAL PROJECT IN BGES’s 28-PLUS-YEAR HISTORY. Why a $250 ask? 250 Years of American Independence!

Click here to help us cross the ditch, climb the palisades, and Carry the Position!

Thank you.