Sunday, June 2, 2019

Print and Ebook Editions Now on Sale!


Refiner’s Fire is now available in print and ebook editions at the following retailers. It’s only $1.99 on Kindle and Nook through the month of June before going to our standard ebook price of $2.99. Daughter of Liberty and Native Son will continue at $.99 until June 15, so if you haven’t caught up with the series yet, now’s the time to dive in with books 1 and 2!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Refiner's Fire Editions Available for Preorder

Refiner’s Fire Kindle Edition is now available for preorder on Kindle, releasing May 31 and on sale for only $1.99 until July 1, when it goes to the regular price of $2.99. The print edition will be stocked and available for purchase by the same date at $12.00. 

The Nook edition is also on sale for only $1.99 during that period. 

For those who are eager to get their hands on the print edition, Christianbook.com is already shipping, and they’ll release both Kindle and Nook editions on May 31. 

I think you’re going to enjoy the very happy turn Elizabeth and Jonathan’s story takes in this installment!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Sale on Daughter of Liberty and Native Son!

A beautiful and daring patriot spy determined to gain the intelligence the Sons of Liberty desperately need. A handsome, dangerously charming British officer with secrets of his own and a mission to learn her true loyalties. A passion that could lead them both to the gallows. Set amid the tumult of the American Revolution, the American Patriot Series will leave you breathless …


In celebration of Refiner's Fire release, both Daughter of Liberty and Native Son are on sale for only $.99 on Kindle, Nook, and Christianbook.com through mid June, and the rest of the volumes are only $2.99. Now is the perfect time to get caught up with this series if you haven’t read it yet!

Here are several terrific endorsements for Refiner's Fire!

“Refiner's Fire is not simply a story but an experience. Within its pages are all the upheaval, suspense, heartache, and romance that make the American Patriot Series unforgettable. The author’s breadth and scope of our founding history is truly remarkable and each finely tuned character seems lifted from the actual historical record. Extraordinary!” —Laura Frantz, Christy-award winning author of The Lacemaker

“Painstaking attention to research and detail, vivid setting, peeks into some of the most obscure corners of an otherwise familiar history, all overlaid with a grand, sweeping love story that will break your heart before it takes your breath away . . . this book (and series!) has it all. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and romance and haven’t yet discovered this author, don’t wait another minute to do so!” —Shannon McNear, 2014 RITA® finalist and author of The Cumberland Bride,
#5 of Daughters of the Mayflower

Refiner's Fire is an absolutely thrilling read! J.M. Hochstetler once again takes readers deep into the turbulent days of the American Revolution, bringing to life the battles, the spies, and the intrigue that belong solely to our forefathers and their struggle for our burgeoning country. Hochstetler's rich description, strong and unique characters, and impeccable attention to historical detail leaves readers wonderfully satisfied yet longing for more. Fans of historical fiction will adore this newest installment in the American Patriot Series. —Michelle Shocklee, author of The Widow of Rose Hill

“J. M. Hochstetler’s in-depth research and masterful writing combine for an exceptional novel, filled with history, intrigue, and romance. Refiner’s Fire is an engaging and most satisfying read. As Book 6 in the American Patriot series, Refiner’s Fire can be read as a standalone, yet the preceding novels fill in much detail, making Refiner’s Fire even more enjoyable. It is rare to read a series with the intensity of historical understanding that you will find within the pages of the American Patriot Series. From every vantage point—the Native Americans, to the British, to the Colonial Americans—the complexity of the political and cultural ramifications brings a greater depth of understanding to the bigger picture than you will find in most historical novels. A series well worth mentally devouring.” —Elaine Marie Cooper, author of Love's Kindling

Monday, December 3, 2018

Colonel Tye, Black Loyalist Guerrilla in the American Revolution

At the beginning of the American Revolution, the British offered freedom to any black slaves who joined them to fight the Americans. Of the many slaves who managed to escape and ended up as soldiers, sailors, or workers in the British army, one became the most feared and respected guerrilla commander of the Revolution. Born in 1753, Titus was the slave of a cruel, quick-tempered Quaker named John Corlies of Shrewsbury in eastern Monmouth County, New Jersey. When the Quakers in that region began to free their slaves, Corlies refused to do so and by 1775 was one of the few remaining Quaker slaveholders in the county.

Ethiopian Regiment.soldier
by Bantarleton
Things changed when on November 7, 1775, after being forced to flee onto a British warship off Norfolk by the patriot militia, Virginia’s royal governor, Lord Dunmore, issued a proclamation offering emancipation to any slaves belonging to rebels who were willing and able to bear arms for the crown. Twenty-two-year old Titus escaped the following day, joining a flood of blacks from Monmouth County who made their way to Norfolk to enlist in Dunmore’s newly formed Ethiopian Regiment. In spite of warnings by outraged slaveholders that runaway slaves would be executed and that any who joined the British would be sold to sugar cane plantations in the West Indies if caught, within a month about 800 slaves had escaped, many bringing their families with them.

The Ethiopian Regiment served in 1775 and 1776, and with its uniform emblazoned with “Liberty to Slaves” became a symbol of hope for black Americans. Although the men were most often used for foraging, constructing fortifications, and other work, they also saw battle. They fought effectively alongside the Regulars to defeat patriot militia forces at the Battle of Kemp’s Landing. After Dunmore’s defeat at the Battle of Great Bridge, he loaded his black troops onto ships of the British fleet headed for New York, where he hoped to give them better training. The cramped conditions led to the spread of smallpox, however, and with only 300 of the original 800 soldiers surviving, Dunmore disbanded the regiment in 1776.

Death of Major Peirson by John Singleton Copley
January 6, 1781
Nothing further is known of Tye until the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778, the first military action he’s known to have fought in and during which he captured an American militia captain. As the leader of the Black Brigade, an elite guerrilla unit of 24 men that served in New Jersey alongside the Loyalist Queen’s Rangers, he became known as Colonel Tye, an informal rank given out of respect since the British Army didn’t formally commission black officers in the 18th and 19th centuries. He and his band raided and plundered Shrewsbury the next month, capturing two of the town’s inhabitants. During the severe winter of 1779 they and the Queen’s Rangers provided protection for the British in their stronghold at New York City and launched raids to obtain food and fuel for the garrison.

Thomas Peters, Nigerian-born slave and black Loyalist
in British Black Company of Pioneers
By 1780 the Black Brigade had become a significant military force and the most feared Loyalists in New Jersey with a reputation as fierce and canny fighters. Tye’s familiarity with the area’s swamps, rivers, and inlets enabled his Black Brigade to strike swiftly and unexpectedly, and then disappear before the Americans could respond. In one week in June he led three raids in Monmouth County. On June 9, he and his men killed Joseph Murray, hated by Loyalists for executing captured Tories under a local vigilante law. On June 12, while Washington’s hard-pressed army fought the Regulars, he and his band made a daring raid on the home of militia leader Barnes Smock, captured him and twelve of his men without taking casualties, plundered their homes, destroyed their cannon, then took their captives to New York without being detected, thus depriving Washington of badly needed reinforcements and terrorizing local patriots. The British paid Tye and his men well for their efforts, sometimes as much as five gold guineas, and as a result of their exploits the number of slaves escaping to the British kept growing.

That September Tye and his Black Brigade attacked the home of Captain Josiah Huddy, an officer who had been wanted by the Loyalists for several years. Huddy and a friend, Lucretia Emmons, managed to hold off their attackers for two hours, until the Loyalists torched the house. Tye was shot in the wrist during the battle, a minor wound that became infected, and he died from gangrene within weeks.

With Colonel Stephen Blucke of the Black Pioneers in command, Tye’s raiders continued fighting long after the British defeat at Yorktown. And Tye left behind a reputation that lived on among his comrades as well as among the patriots who fought against him.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Black Heroes of the Revolution

George Washington by John Trumbull, 1780
with Will Lee in background
Black Americans served in the Revolution, as they have in every war this country has been involved in. By the beginning of the war black men already had a long history of serving in colonial militias, though they were often assigned to support duties like digging ditches. And in the spring of 1775, as opposition to Britain turned into a shooting war, a number of both slave and free black men fought bravely at Lexington and Concord. A couple of months later at the Battle of Bunker Hill, the actions of a former slave named Salem Poor were so heroic that 14 officers wrote to the Massachusetts legislature to commend him as a “brave and gallant Soldier” and recommending that he be rewarded.

General George Washington, however, like other slaveholders, opposed recruiting blacks into the newly formed Continental Army, whether slave or free, fearing a slave uprising. Not long after his appointment as commander in chief, he signed an order forbidding their recruitment in spite of the valor of black soldiers like Poor. Hoping to divide the colonies on this issue, Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, promptly offered freedom to any escaped slave who joined the British forces, and thousands of slaves grasped the opportunity. As a result Washington compromised by allowing blacks already in the army to stay but prohibiting new enlistments. But as the war continued and the need for more soldiers grew, he turned a blind eye to new enlistments, while still refusing to approve them. By the end of the war the army was actively recruiting black soldiers, and some in the New England regiments rose to the rank of colonel. Watching a review of the army at Yorktown, a French officer estimated that about a quarter of Washington’s troops were black, though today most historians believe that 10 to 15 percent is more likely.

General John Glover
When John Glover, a prosperous businessman in the Atlantic fishing trade, became the commander of the 21st Massachusetts Regiment, he recruited experienced seamen and fishermen, many of whom had been his shipmates. Among them were many of the Indians and Blacks who lived in the New England seaport villages. Thus when the regiment became the 14th Continental Regiment, dubbed the “amphibious regiment” for these soldiers’ naval skills, it was the first fully integrated unit in the Continental Army. Washington came to depend heavily on Glover’s well-armed and disciplined Marbleheaders. Among other noteworthy accomplishments, they made possible the army’s miraculous escape from Long Island after a disastrous defeat as well as the crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Day 1776, that led to the victory at Trenton.

Washington Crossing the Delaware
by Emanuel Leutze
Speaking of which, the famous 1851 painting by Emanuel Leutze depicts a black soldier at the far side of the boat’s bow that some historians believe might represent Prince Whipple, a former slave of General William Whipple, who served in exchange for his freedom. After the battle of Princeton a week later, a free black soldier named Primus Hall reportedly tracked down and captured several British soldiers single-handedly. And Washington’s personal servant, Will Lee, a mulatto slave whose equestrian skills were equal to his master’s, accompanied Washington wherever he went, even in the thick of battle. He was the only one of Washington’s slaves freed outright in his will.

Battle of Cowpens, William Ranney 1781

During the terrible winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, with soldiers dying of starvation and exposure and deserting in droves, Congress turned to the states to supply more troops. Faced with the reality that their required quota was higher than the number of available white men in the state, the Rhode Island legislature not only promised to free all black, mulatto, and Indian slaves who enlisted, but also offered to compensate their owners for freeing them. By now Washington was so desperate for men that he agreed to the proposal. More than 140 black men signed up for the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, better known as the “Black Regiment,” which served until British Gen. Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. During the battle of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1778, the regiment repelled three fierce Hessian assaults, fighting so fearlessly and inflicting so many casualties on the Hessian mercenaries that one of their officers resigned his commission rather than lead his men to certain slaughter against them.

1781 watercolor showing a black infantryman
of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment at Yorktown at left
Units from Connecticut and New Jersey also had high rates of black enlistment. Black soldiers served in almost every unit and every battle from Concord to Yorktown. During the Revolution the United States Army was the most integrated it would be until the Korean War. The 1st Rhode Island was the Continental Army’s only segregated unit, commanded by white officers, with white and black soldiers assigned to separate companies. Throughout the rest of the army, however, black soldiers fought, drilled, marched, ate, and slept with their white comrades and shared hardships equally.

When the war ended, some black soldiers like those in the 1st Rhode Island returned to new lives as freemen. Others, however, returned to slavery. While a few were eventually freed, many who served as substitutes for their masters ended up fighting for freedom they would never receive. But all of these black heroes were forgotten over time. The new Congress passed laws forbidding blacks to serve in the military, and by the time it got around to offering pensions to the veterans of the Revolution, most of the black men who served had died.

Today the heroism of black soldiers in the Revolution is finally being remembered and celebrated. These men stepped up at a time when our country desperately needed all the fighting men it could get, and they performed with heroism and honor equal to that of any white soldier for little, if any, reward. That’s why I included black soldiers in my American Patriot Series—to bring this history to the fore, along with the involvement of women and Native Americans in the Revolution.

How much did you know about black soldiers in the Revolution before reading this article? Do you recall learning anything about black Revolutionary War heroes when you were in school?