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Local descendant of Revolutionary War patriots writes new book on American Revolution

Do you know the real meaning of the terms “spider catchers,” “barrel fever,” and “Mushroom Gentlemen”?

What’s behind these terms and more than 200 others can be found in a new book by a Haymarket man, who claims direct lineage from American Revolution patriots and who is very involved with the history group known as Sons of the Revolution (SAR).

Using his personal collection of books on the American Revolutionary War,  Lt. Col. Paul A. Chase (USAF Retired),  a direct descendant of Revolutionary War patriots from New Hampshire and Connecticut, recently authored and had published a new book on underreported war topics.

Chase’s The American Revolution: A Compendium of Terms and Topics is a compilation of bits and pieces of information which appear as 40 factual narratives. Thease cover such topics as alcohol abuse, venereal disease, methods of disciplining soldiers, rape and medical care for wounded soldiers.

Also included, according to the author, are new topics on how the Colonies’ lack of gold and silver deposits with which to make their own specie and the British weaponized paper money almost caused the Revolution to fail.

In addition, the book contains a discourse on how the unique geography of the Colonies made it almost impossible for the British to defeat the Americans.
Chase explained that the 3,000-mile American coastline was too long for the British Navy to patrol adequately, and the thousands of rivers flowing to the sea created hundreds of coves and harbors in which American privateers could hide and then strike at supply ships arriving from Europe.

The terrain of New England was unlike any the British Army had previously experienced, according to the retired soldier.

Gen. Washington, he explained, used the many rivers in the Colonies as defensive works by destroying the bridges and boats to prohibit the British from consolidating their overwhelming forces to achieve a decisive victory.

In addition, Chase says his work can be used as reference for the hundreds of terms used during the Revolution.

Among the example he gave were Mushroom Gentlemen (war profiteers), spider catchers (small privateer raiders who attacked British shipping along the New Jersey coast), barrel fever (a hangover so severe as to render the soldier unfit for duty) and fireships (the name given by vengeful British soldiers for diseased prostitutes they set afire).

“Every one of the more than 200 such terms can be found in the Index of this 441-page book” according to the author.

Chase is Commander of the Color Guard of the Colonel William Grayson Chapter of the Prince William County area Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).

The chapter, 200 members strong, was recently designated as the Best Very Large SAR chapter in Virginia, according to Chase.

The author served overseas tours in Vietnam and Turkey. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history.
He is also a 30-year Life Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7589 of Manassas and is serving the Post as Adjutant. 

Chase is also secretary of the Inter-Service Club Council (ISCC) of Manassas which coordinates area services to those in need of assistance.

He said he will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds from The American Revolution: A Compendium of Terms and Topics to SAR youth programs.
The book can be ordered on-line or from Chase at the VFW Post Hall in Manassas where he volunteers every Wednesday morning.

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