Natural History Journal

Paul Fischer

Professor Alicia Daniels

Natural History Journal

Spring 2017



Table of Contents

Glacial History of Vermont……………………….….…………………………………………..3

Tools and Historical Vermont Communities…….……………………………………………4-5

Naturally Curious Reading Response………….….…………………………….……………6-14

Wetland Activity…………………………….……………………..……………………….15-16

Lending Library Activities…………………….……………………………………………17-22

Field Notes…………………………………………………….……………………………23-38

Walking in Nature……………………………………………….………………………….39-46



Paul Fischer


Professor Alicia Daniels

Lake Vermont to Lake Champlain: A Truncated History

Lake Champlain is surrounded by the Lake Champlain Basin. This extends into Canada and New York as well as Vermont. While it today contributes to a vibrant ecology and superior forest cover in the region, it’s origins are a bit more frosty in nature. A massive glacier filled the modern Champlain Valley and for a short time pools surrounding it are now known as Lake Vermont, a temporally constrictive point (Wright, 5). The Laurentide Ice Sheet carved the depression in topology which lends the region a gradually changing elevation. This occurred nearly 23,000 years ago (2). The modern waterways and lake formed closer to 14,000 or 15,000 years ago (6).

The opposite event to global warming occurred, which is a fascinating geological phenomenon known as isostatic depression (8). In this process, rather than the seas rising, they were in fact much lower than we are experiencing currently, the land actually drops. Consequently, the modern Champlain Valley was actually the Champlain Sea! The history of the Sea is almost half as long, though undoubtedly much more biologically exciting, than that of lake Vermont, or about two thousand years.


Wright, Stephen F. “Glacial Geology of the Burlington and Colchester 7.5’ Quadrangles, Northern Vermont.” University of Vermont, Department of Geology. Burlington, Vermont 5405 (2003).

Paul Fischer


Professor Alicia Daniels

Tools and Historical Vermont Communities

Human presence dates back to the archaic period and the site has returned some of Vermont’s only evidence of early fishing communities. Contemporary values in regard to the nature of the wetland were overthrown with the discovery of two dugout canoes in Shelburne Pond in the 1970s. By the 1980s these had been carbon dated to 500 and several thousand years old, respectively (figure 1). A discrepancy remains between these findings and the water working tools that have been discovered at other sites in the state.

A visit to the site at Shelburne Pond where the canoe was found returned the hatchet in figure 2. Due to rain, erosion, and previous archaeological digs in the region that included carbon dating, it could be a cultural or non-cultural object dating to up to 5000 years ago. A percussion test has not yet been performed, but that would confirm that the clear marks of chipping and impact were created by human hands.

Some of these tools are from before the year 2500 BCE, and indicate sustained human habitation (LCMM). Frequently they indicate familiarity and work conducted with the environment around them including wetlands. These communities were lost and today there is no Federally recognized Native American presence and are no reservations in the state.

Tools were fashioned from a variety of sources, from the soft blue-green quartzite of which there are great deposits throughout the state and neighboring regions, but also lime and granite. Shelburne Pond, despite international archaeological attention, continues to yield arrowheads, bone fragments, and other customary indications of civilization. Trading throughout the region was extant and research has not determined whether the dugout canoes were used to cross Lake Champlain, though they certainly would have been capable of this feat.

Early European contact with the French explorer Samuel de Champlain found that warring tribes were likely newcomers to the regions and in a sense colonists of their own sort from more established neighboring native American presence. This discovery in 1608 would not prove to be realistic to the actuality of continued Native American occupation. Over a dozen dugout canoes have been discovered and presented to the historical community by archeologists across Vermont.

Marine production continued until European contact and began centuries beforehand. The earliest confirmed dugout is estimated to date to 1900 BCE, though as already mentioned, sufficient evidence exists to suggest that more should remain almost or more than a millennium before this (LCMM). Archaic culture developed around 9000 BCE from the basic paleoindian cultures as communities swelled to more than around ten people at a time consisting of single families or small bands of families. As ideas spread, the interconnectivity of ideas with other Native American communities signified the entry of the Woodland period, during which time nearly all canoes date to. Future archeological digs should focus on digging into the origins of the design by demonstrating that the presence of water tools from the archaic period implies the presence of watercraft in a cogent fashion.

Figure 1: 550 year-old dugout canoe, Courtesy of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum



Figure 2: Hatchet c. 3500 – c. 1500 B.C.E. Shelburne Pond, VT




Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (2017).

Paul Fischer


Professor Alicia Daniels

Significant Animals in New England

Three significant animals through the year will be followed, recording their mating habits, their interactions with other animals, and demonstrate their interconnectivity with the environment. Two amphibians, the four-toed salamander and the American bullfrog will give the reader an insight to the small scale night and day life of ponds and streams that many of us frequent. As a keystone mammal, the beaver will give a view into the rest of the ecological web with sufficient analysis and independent research has yielded figures that will be included as evidence of the winter and spring activities of this mammal in New England. Nesting parasitism and natural instinctive intellect will be evaluated using the American Robin, a natural engineer like the beaver who also has discerning qualities that set it apart from many other avian species. Finally a species Vermont is uniquely famous for, the Monarch Butterfly will demonstrate the complexity of natural ecosystems even on a nearly microscopic level.



North American Beaver

Before engineering, the first things everyone thinks of when a beaver is mentioned are the unique bright orange teeth that mark one of the mammal’s favorite pastimes: forest felling. In fact, they are not completely orange, but instead this appearance is from a layer of outer enamel that is harder than the rest of the dentin in the tooth (Holland, 353). As an herbivore, the largest rodent in North America actually uses the sharp, beveled edge created by movement of the incisors against lower teeth to fell trees, shorten twigs, and sharpen their teeth as a recreational activity as seen in figure 2.

Such dams are necessary for breeding as they give beavers access to the water where the mating occurs almost exclusively as well as to the surrounding environment in the bitter cold of the months January to March (407). The escape of beavers during the occasional January thaw to retrieve fresh food can be seen in tracks such as that in figure (368). Females have a short period of time when they are receptive to the attention of the male, around 22-24 hours, and a successful incident will result in between three and six kits, or young beavers, being born between May and July.

Young beavers will frequently spend several weeks of their life inside the dams, or lodges one of which can be viewed in figure 1 (84). This is because of another fascinating feature of beavers, the oil and castoreum used to grease and waterproof fur, that develops a little later. They will be driven from the home after a few years and before little siblings are born, meaning brother and sister are terms without meaning for beavers.

Oil to waterproof the beavers are not the only fascinating aspect of the beaver that adapts the prolific mammal to life in water and on land alike. In fact, the adaptations that allow the beaver to exist on land and underwater are numerous and relatively unique among rodent species (321-3). From webbed feet to a nictitating membrane, or transparent third eyelid, the top of the beaver to the tail has been dramatically altered for survival in a variety of warm and cold, dry and wet environments. Even the respiratory system of the beaver is fundamentally altered from that of other species to allow use of five times as much of the oxygen inhaled as humans and to voluntarily increase bloodflow to the brain allowing toleration of higher levels of CO2. To put that in perspective, some beavers might be able to survive, for a period at least,  without a suit on parts of Mars, where oxygen levels run at under 1% the level found on Earth, though humans have permanent brain damage as levels of oxygen decrease to under 5% or even the 12% found at higher altitudes.

A high distribution of predators means that stealth is not only limited to ease of transport in multiple environments and naturally nocturnal behavior, but even the communication of beavers has been altered. Rather than using calls or acrobatic body language, their primary means of communication is through scent mounds of mud and vegetation mixed with pungent gland residue.



Four-toed Salamander

The four-toed salamander is unique among amphibians due to its secretive and nocturnal nature. Despite their stealth, they are found throughout New England and are noted for performing acrobatic while giving birth, depositing their eggs into depressions they have made in the moss seen in figure 4 (Holland, 37). I am reminded while reading of the American Woodcock, who creates the nest for their four eggs while in the act of mating by creating an indent in the grass or mud upon which they are lying. Males of that species also perform acrobatics, but prior to mating instead of subsequent to the act, in order to impress females seen in figure 3.

Although the salamander is largely inactive in the winter and difficult to find even in the summer as a secretive creature, because it mates in October it does not enter hibernation until as late as December (332). This is still not terribly late for the swampy areas where it can be found, such as the lowlands in Connecticut. A multitude of predators converge on the quiet salamander, and in addition to stealth, the ability to detach a tail and regrow that tail has become an evolutionary adaptation to this seasonal fluctuation. The indentation at the base of the tail and tissue allowing this can be seen clearly in figure 5.

The American Bullfrog

Amphibians, that include Four-Toed Salamanders, are equally as happy in the water as out of it. For the American Bullfrog, most of the lifespan will be spent in the mud (Holland, 37). In fact, in some extreme situations, there have been bullfrogs known to come back to life after extremely long periods in dormancy! Conversely, while resting in the hot summer sun, electrographic research has shown that they actually never sleep and are equally reactive while motionless as when obviously alert to stimuli (Hobson, 116-121).

The late emergence from hibernation necessitates this direct stimuli and also ensures the American Bullfrog’s place as among the most ferocious of carnivorous amphibians, though as a young tadpole they are normally herbivores (Holland, 158). Consuming most of the natural ecosystem around them, there are some parts of the country where you can actually help ecological systems by killing these invasive species. Their size also allows them to lay more eggs than many species of spawning fish and far more than other amphibians, with nearly 80,000 in number (Holland, 118). They experience a long period in as tadpoles as well, similarly to the mink or green frog, but otherwise unique among frogs and toads, that can last for up to two years (196). Other countries have also demonstrated serious issues with them when climate does not restrict their growth with the periodic dormant cycles which are natural and that allow them to swell to enormous proportions, feeding on even small mammals and avian species.



Figure 1: Beaver dam in a wetland

Centennial Woods Natural Preserve, Vermont, 2017

Figure 2: Evidence of beaver lodge-building activity

Centennial Woods Natural Preserve, Vermont, 2017



Figure 3: American Woodcock performing acrobatics to impress a mate

Courtesy of Asbed Iskedjian through



Figure 4: Four-Toed Salamander with eggs

Courtesy of David M. Dennis and



Figure 5: Four-Toe Salamander with Regrown Tail

Courtesy of Prince William Conservation Alliance




Hobson, J. A. (1967). Electrographic correlates of behavior in the frog with special reference to sleep. Electroencephalography and clinical neurophysiology, 22(2), 113-121.

Holland, M. (2010). Naturally Curious. Trafalgar Square Books.

Williams, D. R. (2016). Mars fact sheet. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Greenbelt, MD Retrieved from http://nssdc. gsfc. nasa. gov/planetary/factsheet/marsfact  (April 24, 2017).



Paul Fischer


Professor Alicia Daniels

ID your Wetlands as Functionally Significant!

Criteria for a functionally significant wetland:

Flood Flow Alteration
Upslope wetlands < 5% of the wetland’s watershed
Wetland area <20% of watershed area
Majority of the watershed is made of impervious surfaces
Most soils (>80%) have a slow infiltration rate <.06” /hour
Wetland is located near intermittent or first order stream
Wetland > 81 hectares
Surface Water Improvement
Watershed => potential pollutants
Majority of watershed != forest or scrub
Wetland < 5% watershed acreage
Upslope wetlands < 5% of the watershed
Avg. slope > 10% in watershed
Wetland type => riparian
Soil Type histosol or frequently flooded mineralized soil with high clay and organic materials levels
Near a 1st order or intermittent stream
Wildlife Habitat
1+ wetland of a different type bordering the wetland
Least common among other watershed types
Connection to surface water network
A football field or more of natural vegetation along the perimeter of the defined wetland
Hydrologically connected to another wetland within 400 meters


Cedfeldt, Paul T., Mary C. Watzin, and Bruce Dingee Richardson. “Using GIS to identify functionally significant wetlands in the Northeastern United States.” Environmental management 26, no. 1 (2000): 13-24.



Paul Fischer

Professor Alicia Daniels

A Birder’s Bug Book

In the winter, a dead carcass can be a tempting source of parasites and infectious disease for rodents and local habitants of a region. The bird seen in figure 1 was likely covered in some form of toxic chemical in order to prevent other animals from consuming it. The interplay between species is interesting and the ecoweb is part of tracking the animals in the book.

In order to find a bird, it’s nutrition needs to be protected. Even though it looks gross, sometimes this can mean wasting a decomposing body. I could not have imagined this if it were not for ticks that clung to me at a later date, and my subsequent research into lyme disease, a new and terrifying epidemic in many parts of the country that originated in Connecticut.

Natural Communities

I was able to use this book consistently in sit spots and in field trips to evaluate the community in which we were looking at. The wetlands tied to clay and sand communities correlate to trees such as cedar and pine. These are frequently adjacent to streams that can form deltas.

Such relationships are critical to responsibly harvesting timber and to identifying potential deposits of interesting geological formations. This handbook is also useful because pictures of trees allow identification of a natural community using circumspect evidence. That can, for example, mean tree type determination instead of a soil sample can be adequate or vice-versa.

We were not able to take pH levels at many of our sites, but this guide also provides introspective evaluation of the levels available from undergrowth and other specie-related analysis. Combined analysis with “Forest Trees of Maine” was especially useful for me. This made it easy to actually find the natural communities referenced in this book. Please refer to the activity on page to see more opportunities to interactively become involved with the environment around you!

Forest Trees of Maine

I do not live in Maine. However, I found this book still useful for multiple qualities. Because many species in Maine also are present in communities in Vermont, this tree species guide can be used effectively in areas of Vermont. Each determining factor that makes this an effective guide will be addressed.

Sometimes the tree bark can be quite similar, as is the case with Hemlocks and White Pines (which are not quite, as the name suggests, white). This handy guide gives an interlocking guide to the leaf and seed dispersal methods of the trees. Because there are frequently remains of the trees’ flowering season even in the winter, it is possible to attain a positive identification of even tricky trees.

Other difficult question are exemplified with the difference between an American Beech and a Yellow Birch. In this case the young trees or saplings look nearly identical. As they mature however, a distinct difference in the ruffling of the bar emerges, so an adept forester learns to look for matured trees.

The final advantage pertains to this last example. While Vermont is a region of overlap between these two trees, this is not always the case. Between the two species, about half of the region that an American Beech occupies is not occupied by the Yellow Birch. So if you are not in New England and think you have found a rare grove of Yellow Birch with their distinct golden hue, look again and check for a young American Beech!

Tracking Mammals

For tracking mammals I used a combination of footprint analysis and habitat evaluation to locate what I believed to be a beaver’s place of residence. Centennial Woods is home to multiple dams and varied markers of beaver activity. Woodchipping and sharpened twigs and stumps are all evidence of the occupation in the area by beavers.

Imagine my surprise when further habitat evaluation revealed the “beaver” in figure 1 was actually a woodchuck. The den seen in figure 2 is a typical of a woodchuck and research revealed that the two animals share their communities effectively. One notable difference between the species are sources of nutrition that do not conflict. Others include methods of communication, habitat already noted, and a pronounced tail on beavers that allows easy navigation of water.

Woodchucks do not have a particular affinity for water, though both are engineers. Their homes are specifically designed to stay cozy and warm using body and geothermal heat throughout a bitter winter. It is likely this picture was taken shortly after “groundhog day” seen in many cultures as an indicator of luck. Groundhogs are also hibernating mammals and natural engineers, which is actually the norm for many members of this family.



Figure 1: Remains of a bird either picked clean by rodent populations or chemically disposed of to prevent potential infection, Centennial Woods, VT

Figure 2: Woodchuck Den, Centennial Woods, VT

Paul Fischer

Professor Alicia Daniels

2/1 – Arm’s Grant

This is a piece of land that was in the Arm family for a very long time before it was turned over to the municipality, in part because of its unique natural communities as well as the proximity to state lands. The value of contiguous protected land multiplies in nature many times over. This is apparent in this region, where early mistreatment has been replaced by a permanent reserve for nature and recreation.

It rained on our trip to Arm’s Grant. Despite the early termination of the trip, one important contribution that can be identified to the experience was the difficult delineation between the American Beech and the valuable and rare Yellow Birch. In the American South this is an easy choice because the Yellow Birch is unique to the New England area. Arm’s Grant represents a piece of land where both can be identified. The papery ruffled bark of a birch can be seen in figures 1 and 2.

When this is the case, one thing that can be done is looking at the ruffle in the bark of the trees which is different in a way the texture and hue may not be. For those who have found saplings, this is a critical piece of information that a book on natural communities would later help create a utility towards determining more information about a region from correct identification of the tree species present.

Recreation and Fun Outside of Education

The area also makes for a prime cross-country skiing location and is frequented by local high school teams and classes who wish to capitalize on this valuable protected resource. Regular exercise can give emotional and intellectual benefits as well as an expected ten years in life expectancy. There is also a cohesive value for the community that is provided that creates a reciprocal relationship to the land and the communities upon it.

By learning about the incentives as well as the actualities of reserved land, our class had the opportunity to lay the groundwork to build ourselves into effective stewards of the land. Some attention was given to geological attributes and we were able to begin by identifying deer tracks, a concept that would spring up later in our work. Hopefully, in the future, it will be possible to return to the site with a more experienced eye. Or at least to say that should we, we certainly could.

2/22 – Raven Ridge

Raven Ridge was fascinating and we learned several facts about the site on our trip. Located in Hinesburg, the property was originally owned by the manager of Phish, one of the most popular bands to start at the University of Vermont. We stopped at several locations and were able to identify multiple items of relative importance. The 365-acre natural reserve is listed through the Nature Conservancy and provides explorers, natural scientists, and natural historians such as ourselves with a dramatically varied series of experiences.

The Dead Marshes

“Dreary and wearisome. Cold, clammy winter still held sway”

-Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

The first two landscape facets that were apparent upon arriving were the frozen wetlands and the small mountains from which the name of the ridge garnered its name that are typical of Vermont’s rolling terrain of hills and valleys (figure 3). The area is a natural preserve now and was acquired after years of successful management. It is noteworthy for the presence of extremely rare animals as well as ancient geological activity that is very well apparent.

Unlike the marshes of Lord of the Rings, these marshes are not so dead. In the winter, amphibians hibernate up to a foot under the ground in the loamy ground and in the summer the area will be alive with a number of different populations of insects, birds, amphibians and more. But like Lord of the Rings, these marshes did lead us to our first chance to go spelunking (figures 4-6).


“Trying to get up that great big hill of hope… I take a deep breath and get real real high and scream at the top of my lungs, ‘what’s going on?’”

What’s up, Four Non-Blondes

In figure four, the entrance to the cave can be seen as a haphazard combination of glacial rock and temporal tertiary plate movement that resulted in the creation of the cave. Inside, an agile explorer who penned this journal was able to garner a photo of the innermost depth of the cave where some particularly secretive creatures may have lurked before the illumination of the area by virtue of a handy cellular light (figure 5). Finally in figure six I can be seen with students listening to the interesting acoustics created by the sandstone and granite cave as four non blondes plays from a small phone speaker.

Their lyrics about getting real real high became true as the group of novice spelunkers was confronted with a daring drop of a couple of stories. It was the only way out without scaling ice-covered rocks on the way back. A combat roll into forgiving snow allowed us to circle back to our waiting instructor. The heights, as is often the case, appeared much more daunting from the original perception than after, much like a famous feature-length children’s film, “Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin” in which children return to a terrifying series of natural phenomena on a bright summer’s day to find it had been a quite civilized experience after all. We still did not know what golem (or otherwise creature) might have once or actively inhabited the cave.

Sherlocking the Lichen and the Deer

Multiple factors alerted our group standing atop the ridge to the possibility that a population of healthily hungry deer were in occupation of the area. Perhaps the most telltale were the criss-cross patterns of hoof prints across the snow (figure 7). A more adept eye also found the trees had been stripped to eye level, an indication the deer were active here in the winter as well as the summer. This also gives a portrait of the ages of the family or herd of deer.

A closer inspection of the footprints revealed that some of them had been nuzzled by der as well. They were not in search of affection, but instead the rare lichen that is a delicate treat in the winter for the species (figure 8). This lies under the snow and can even conduct photosynthesis through the ice, a remarkable feat. Common deer and even the uncommon lichen were not the most notable of attributes sleuthed at this site, though.

Raven Ridge’s Rarest Features

Unfortunately, returning to the site will not be possible this summer. The reason for this is among the most fascinating parts of the reserve. Near a former cottage or shack that had burnt to the ground decades past, a tree had knee-height razor sharp incision marks. This was not the deflected mark of a distracted woodpecker nor a very unskilled lumberjack, but instead the sure and steady sharpening of the claws of a bobcat. Bobcats are among Vermont’s rarest animals, sightings can be counted in the dozens, and they roam the site freely in the summer time, leading to restrictions about the way in which the site can be accessed as the small mammals contain seemingly limitless energy and ferocity. They are highly intelligent and impeccable hunters.

They are almost as rare as rap stars at UVM, and a budding young duo recorded a rap using local verses underneath a geological formation that indicates dramatic terra-shifts in times before human habitation. The natural auditorium created by a combination of heat and pressure is dubbed “the oven” and can be seen in figure 9.  The glacial contributors to this rock formation are partially responsible for the federal recognition of the site as biologically significant; the area was once an island, 15,000 years ago or more in the time of Lake Vermont.

3/15 Cuckoos and Roaring Springs at Sunny Hollow

Sunny Hollow provided the class with examples of delta natural landscapes and terraced natural preserves. We also reinforced our historical knowledge about the timeline of the state. Most importantly, it allowed acquaintance with the Fellowship of the Wheel, an organization responsible for ensuring the enforcement of the natural right to access recreational areas for wheeled activities. I was able to donate a golden wheel to the sign, that remains in place today (figure 10). The Fellowship of the Wheel is an active non-profit organization that maintains over 120 miles of trails across Vermont and won an award in 2013 for their work that constitutes over 1000 hours of volunteer work annually.

Natural Landscapes and Tree Species

Most deltas are clay-bottom natural communities. This area is marked by an active population of wildlife and forestry. One issue is a lack of fires, ironically enough. Tribal leaders in the area once ensured that controlled fires routinely cleared away brush and renewed the soil, but proximity to residential areas in Colchester has made this impossible currently, and a disheveled, though vibrant, natural community is apparent. That being said, it would certainly aid in the trying wait that occurs each spring for the trails to dry for cyclers and other travelers if only it could be carried out in a controlled fashion.

Dogs of War: Last Trees Standing

“See the fields burning ‘cus hell is coming through, I can’t stop the dogs of war”

Dogs of War, Blues Saraceno

Hemlocks are present, but a dominant species in the area is the pitch pine (figure 11). An interesting fact that I learned about this remarkable species of pine is that they actually have self-defense mechanisms that wage war on other trees! In order to protect themselves, they will increase and exacerbate destruction wreaked on surrounding natural life.

To explain that provocative fact, it is necessary to understand that the name for the trees is actually literally derived and what function that has. Pitch is sticky and has a lower temperature of incineration to standard wood. It will surround the tree, especially during hot summer months, in such great quantities that the pitch has been used in times past to make torches or even to prepare cauldrons. Other uses include as an adhesive and sealant.

The interior of the pitch pine is circumnavigated by a “sheath” that does not catch fire easily. Between these two features, the pitchpine will often be the only species standing after a fire. This is an example of intergenerational competition that is rare in animal or even human cultures but does occur in the natural world.

Springs (without cogs, boat or metal) and Trees

As one approaches the creek and the roaring river in the springtime, the hemlocks begin to dominate the landscape (figure 12). These proceed all the way down to the bank and are interspersed with cedar and oaks. One somewhat rare occurrence for the region was the presence of black oaks (figure 13).

Speaking of oaks, sometimes developmental stages are critical for trees, like humans. The white oak in figure 14 shows evidence of an early basal scar. The benefactor is likely a small mammal or a family who might use this area to hibernate. Some habitats are manmade, such as a cuckoo home we found along the way (figure 15).

Finally, not only is the pitch pine found in the region, but also red pines (figure 16). These look white, but should not be mistaken for their wrinkly cousins. The clay-like patchform bark is distinctively useful for the purpose of identification.

3/22 Church Woods and Craft Party

Maple is among the oldest and most reliable streams of revenue for the state of Vermont (figure 17). Both sugar and silver maples were abundant on our trip to one of the oldest and most reliable utopian farms constructed in Shelburne, where a horse barn, cheese factory, and maple syrup operations are just a few of the many attractions available for natural historians and other interested community members. Aerial photography was critical towards describing a natural landscape scheme and a secret accidental historical surprise was revealed in a short lesson. The biting wind touched our ears and my exposed ankles were heckled by the bite of knee deep snow as our group explored the striking landscape and what natural history could be gleaned from the territory at our disposal.

An Ancient History

Church woods has a history of spiritual commensalism with the land and communities who have inhabited this land. The trees in the area, however, are not immune to infection and erosion, so a downed tree such as can be seen in figure 18 with an impressive root structure may be a regular occurrence. What combinations of events could bring down such a massive resident of the area? We will find out shortly.

As it turns out, the land is connected to Shelburne Bay by means of terrestrial and underground streams. These lend a unique nature to the species of trees, wildlife, and shrubbery in the area. They can also shift, leading to bizarre changes in the area. From the sky, they appear to make a cat scratch, or three stripes from the increased hydration available in the areas surrounding these streams. This is ironical because in addition to turkey populations natural to the area, bobcats and other wildlife have also been spotted here.

Divine Guidance

In keeping with the ancient history of spirituality associated with the site, in modern history a discovery in the 1970s demonstrated an enormous level of chance. While most of Shelburne Farms was clearcut, Church Woods was left uncut for spiritual reasons. Nothing was thought to be particularly fascinating about the site, and it was ordered to be cut to provide a field.

It just happened that in addition to being a forester, the lumberjack was also a historian. Upon taking a single wedge from one of the red cedars in the grove, he noticed that an enormous number of rings were enclosed by the bark. Further analysis proved the area to be one of the areas of old growth, in New England as rare as Redwoods in the West. The trees dated back to early periods of contact between Europeans and tribes present in the region.


Figure 1: Birch bark, Arms Forest, VT Figure 2: Ruffled bark, Arms Forest, VT

Figure 3: Raven Ridge Valley and Mountains, Raven Ridge, VT

Figure 4: Cave Entrance, Raven Ridge, VT



Figure 5: A Mysterious Lair, Raven Ridge, VT



Figure 6: Inside the Cave! Raven Ridge, VT



Figure 7: Deer Print with Buried Lichen, Raven Ridge, VT

Figure 8: Lichen Sample, Raven Ridge, VT



Figure 9: The Oven, Raven Ridge, VT


Figure 10: Fellowship of the Wheel, Sunny Hollow, VT



Figure 11: Pitch Pine, Sunny Hollow, VT

Figure 12: Hemlock Dominant Tree Cover, Sunny Hollow, VT




Figure 13: Black Oaks, Sunny Hollow, VT



Figure 14: Great White Oak with Basal Scar, Sunny Hollow, VT


Figure 15: Cuckoo! Sunny Hollow, VT



  Figure 16: Red Pine, Sunny Hollow, VT



Figure 17: Tree Root Structure, Church Woods, Shelburne Farms, VT

Paul Fischer

Professor Alicia Daniels


Walk in Nature 1

Last night my roommate had a group of au-peres she leads over for a presentation so when I got back from the library in the evening I took a long walk around centennial park. I slipped and slid on the icy ground which is evident in an attached photo of a tree on campus as I explored the natural reserve for wildlife and refuge of wilderness behind me. The terrain was, naturally, hilly and densely populated with the remains of the summer’s growth.

As the land flattened, marshes became apparent with bridges made useless by connecting stretches of ice and snow. I stopped at the end to notice a slowly moving brook which passed by a distinctively red barked small tree or brush. Perhaps it was a young red maple or oak. It could also have been as diverse as a hornbeam or tupelo or sumac, according to our field guide. The red bark was completely ensconced in a sheet of ice which had rapidly froze around the bark, appearing to magnify it to the eye.



Figure 1: Ice and Tree, UVM

Walking Nature 2

On the way back from work I had the opportunity to walk through the green way up by the University of Vermont’s Horticulture center and research fields. There had once been small solar panels on a field there and now there is just one or two large solar panels. The snow was coming down heavily and I listened to music from Bruckner using Youtube Music. By the time I got back, a young man would remark, “Wow! So much snow just fell out of your hair.” Obviously this was before I got a haircut.

It was bizarre to see the research fields covered in snow, usually they abound with bizarrely colored crops and/or signs demarcating the nature of the corporate sponsors and such. The horses across the street had jackets on but seemed unperturbed by the falling snow, a full belly of oats and grain likely fueled their stand against the coming winter. A runner or two passed by and their face was illuminated by the glow of my electronic cigarette as I took a moment to turn away from the lighted path shortly. The natural area was interrupted drastically by a fence, though, and the cultivated nature took a new nature of civilization as it transformed into a series of golfing holes. I found no incentive to investigate further.

Walking Nature 3

I recently came to the Generator for a class and orientation early. My phone must have been set in German hours or something when I made my calendar date because I showed up at 10:30 and nothing happened there until 4:30! It turned out to be great though, I got the opportunity to walk up and down my coast line and caught some spectacular photos which will be attached.

Figure 2: Stone Circle with the Sun and Moon in Winter, Red Rocks, South Burlington, VT

Figure 3: When Burlington Looked like Greenland, Burlington, VT

Figure 4: Lighthouse and Waterfront View, Burlington, VT

Figure 5: An Artistic After-Walk Treat, South Burlington, VT

Artistic Credit: Mark, The Generator

Walk in Nature 4

This is part of another assignment, but as an hour-long detour on the hike, I had the opportunity to conduct some real life modern archaeology. In figure 6, what looks like a chemical weapons container is likely the remnants of an old milk or fuel container that spilled from a passing truck on the nearby Vietnam Memorial Highway. It has rusted away and its contents spilled into a nearby underpass for drainage.

This occurred probably many decades ago but still raises a serious question about the efficacy of a natural preserve on a former landfill so close to an area of major transit. Standard welfare unit evaluations place the value of an animal’s life at between 4% and 5% that of a human’s. When an area’s animals are in danger of extermination, as is the case with a particularly dangerous toxic spill the logic behind such belief begins to fall apart.

In fact, international law condones the incarceration, execution, or shoot on sight orders for large numbers of militia, criminal, or other nefarious organization responsible for taking such action with sanctioned poaching laws. Using this logic, that ratio mentioned above can be easily turned on its head, even more so. To be completely fair, given a random human and 23 random animals, to take another extreme, there would never be a situation in which these ratio are reversed.

Walking Nature 5

Eager for more, I continued my search for archaeological finds in the area. It was clear that human activity in the area had been markedly increased to today in decades past. Remnants of smaller power lines accompanied a burnt maintenance shed (figure 7).

Sometimes the anthropogenic of a natural community can be fascinating as well as the spring life that is springing up around it. The rusted cogs and axel seen in figures 8 and 9 indicate such a demonstration. It can be inferred that in a certain metaphorically stimulating sense that the presence of man in this area subsumed itself. Ultimately fire removed most traces but this picturesque almost post-apocalyptic remnant.

Figure 6: Rusted Spacesuit helmet, fuel tank, or milk canister? Centennial Woods, VT

Figure 7: Old Powerlines Centennial Woods, VT



Figure 8: Gearbox and burnt foundational stump, Centennial Woods, VT



Figure 9: Axle and wheel, from an old shed, Centennial Woods, VT

History of Musical Trends in the 1850s to 1900

History of Musical Trends in the 1850s to 1900

Paul Fischer



History of Musical Trends in the 1850s to 1900

The 1850s saw the burgeoning classical music industry ripen with an almost pungent odor of success. While new musical forms such as jazz, salsa, and eventually pop would shock and invigorate listeners across the globe within a century, this final stage of classical dominance heardsome of the most technically proficient and abundant masterpieces. The romantic period saw the ripening of the careers of traditional musicians exemplified in Brahms’ Liebslieder (1869) and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (1892). Both of these works equate the joys of childhood and innocence with the themes of romanticism already latent in European painting and literature. As perhaps an example of the only time period in which the profits and yields of industrialization could be focused on one set of objectives, the development of a Euro-centric romanticism, the work not only eclipsed but surpassed the work of innovators in the field in a definitive manner.

Expansion of the railroads during this period is evident in the music of the artists such as Josef Anton Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony and the manner in which brassy sections open and present mark a rivalrous departure from other choral and religious composers of the time, despite the common musical ancestry of Mozart and, more recently, even Beethoven. Many different themes are inherent in the incredible development of classical music in Europe at the time. These include the religious grounding and explosion of fervor seemingly justified by not only the discovery but the realization of riches, populations, wars, emotions and tragedy on a scale not only previously unimaginable, but unimaginable from any scale previously imaginable.

Not all music of the period, however, was limited to the realm of classical work and opera houses. Home on the Range is provided as an example of tune composed in 1871 by Daniel Kelly to a poem written by Brewster Higley. In addition to the European infrastructural inward expansion allowing a greater proliferation of musical geniuses than in all the history of mankind prior to that point, American railroads were redefining the perceptions of peripheries as social and cultural constructs. A melting pot of Irish-American, African-American, European and other counter-cultures were all at the cusp of recognition, a throbbing hub of innovation just under the surface of the frontier lifestyle. By the 1900s, the music industry had dramatically changed and perhaps the most important aspect of this was the move from live audiences to gramophones and rags, both of which were finally commercially available to the masses by virtue of mass production and assembly-line factories.

Latin Jazz and the End of an Era

The end of the period saw the musical industry begin chugging as steadily as the steam engines, and Scott Joplin’s Solace (1909) will be included as an example of the developing Latin Jazz genre. While it was only published in 1909, a combination of musical and racial discrimination meant that habanera music had been popular in America for decades before any “rags” were published. By the 1940s this would become an entire genre and produce award-winning albums through the 1970s with broad popular appeal. For listeners in the late 1800s, though, the clave-style beat and off-center gathering of instrumental acoustic devices created a whirlwind of counter-cultural production right in the middle of urban areas.

The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio in Urban Warfare of the Baroque Period as a Function of pre-Nationalist Demarcation from Absolutism in Form as a Function of Style

The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio in Urban Warfare of the Baroque Period as a Function of pre-Nationalist Demarcation from Absolutism in Form as a Function of Style

Paul Andreas Fischer


Professor Kelsey Brosnan


The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio in Urban Warfare of the Baroque Period as a Function of pre-Nationalist Demarcation from Absolutism in Form as a Function of Style

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio began a movement of art that has permeated society in a distinct manner through modern cultural representations of dance and photography, while defining social norms in which members of the greater artistic community perform their roles. The use of lighting to psychologically dominate the onlooker, formulaic precision as a pavement to success, and use of the body politic to emphasize the expression of urban warfare demonstrates the reactionary expansion of Caravaggio’s work into a rational artistic development of the Baroque period. Rejection of the customary transposition in religious ideals seen in The Calling of St. Matthew (figure 1) by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio developed a perpetually tangible coherence in artistic representation of rigor in geometry.

Use of religious terminology in definition of the artistic work of Caravaggio gave a biographical value to the narrative in work, and a detailed analysis of content and form will be provided. This painting is an oil on canvas piece which defines the vestiges of the Baroque era of wild abandon in the Renaissance decades before a definitive break in the social norms which define that period expire to the rigor necessitated by technological advances and community demands which were offered to and placed upon artists. Key to this development are the expansion of literacy and primacy in approach which work convergently to create some new dynamic in the popular reception of art.

Literacy of the Artist and the Community

This work is decidedly formal in nature and the cross-sectionality of the lighting can be reversed such that every character in the painting takes on a reversal in attitude. The furrowed brow of the young man with a light rapier at his side is not now allowed to expand in anticipation, perhaps of a fight or potential winnings (figure 6). The young apprentice by his pile of money conversely drawn downwards by study which could have been an upwards gaze in anticipation from a reflection off of the coins in hand (figure 4). Finally, the surprised onlookers at the center of the piece would have their brows furrowed by the new directionality of the light (figure 3). Fittingly, the only characters who would be unchanged by such a shift in lighting would be Christ, St. Matthew, and St. Peter. Religiously, those who had been portrayed in many ways before could now be read in one light by each literate member of society individually by virtue of the invention of the Gutenberg Press.

Sometimes the vernacular can mean artistically the explicit or provocative, which cannot be emphasized or stated in an evaluation of the good that literature, music, and dance revived from the spread of literacy to match a centuries-old explosion in population through Europe without a complete discussion of the manner in which the new form of communication and discourse was received. Shortly, this indicates the lasting nature of the upheaval in customary transposition which has been  In order to fully develop this argument, national ambitions which are set forth in artwork and poetry in generations subsequent to the critical year 1600 will be laid out. A smooth transition in form directs the ambitious but less effective rhetorical nationalism in the work of Rubens to the rigor in form found from the work of Velázquez.
The work of Michelangelo de Caravaggio establishes the vernacular visually in the painting The Calling of St. Matthew. The purpose of the investigation behind the contrast and lighting in the work determines that this painting was a shocking and terrifying experience to behold for clergy and audiences contemporary to the time.

Exploration of the style of the painting will not suffice, however, to achieve the conceptualization of the manner in which the artistic work of Caravaggio influenced later artists and his own community. More importantly, it misses the way that his own actions also were ignored by a community lost in the logic of the Classical period. While the religious statement seen in the painting was to be so outdated to a rigorous decision making process for artists’ early development as Christianity sprang outwards across Europe in the Middle Ages, the rejection of small miracles and divinity for the reality of early urban community’s recognition of great miracles and of visions which could overwhelm the artistic desire would be embraced in a natural sense.

Looking at the painting directly, it becomes clear that a break in normalized hierarchy is used to emphasize the calm nature of the elder. While the young man is armed for a monetary transaction, the rest of those involved are equipped with little more effective than a breadknife. Striking light into the room adds to a sense of surprise and depth. These are critical elements which will be dealt with in respect to later and more intensive efforts at artistic expression and lend credence to the nature of the rigorous investment component within his work.

Caravaggio’s Style and Technique Rejects Typification as a Parrot of the Paints

This is an example of the painterly before the Baroque painting had emerged. Within a century, the entire continent would reach the same stylistic panacea. Not all was as it seems, however, and no modernist completion to the form would be emphasized through such work.

Use of lighting in Caravaggio gives insight into the lifestyle of the painter and makes a significant difference to the behaviors of the individual himself as well as the society around him. It is well documented that he may have been illiterate, and this reputation as a parrot of the paints dominated the interpretation, both of his violent acts of inebriety as well as his professional artwork, which critics found for centuries. In the early 20th century, evidence emerged that his failure to pay rent in fact instigated a series of events which precipitated the misunderstanding after theft of his books and belongings.

The Calling of St. Matthew shows both literacy and astute care to the setting of his work. Unlike the squalor which surrounded his work, a strange brevity in accuracy is found to point at a single object which emphasizes a concept, in this case coins and arms. In order to understand how this stands out as an exceptional case of narrative painting, mysterious circumstance should be addressed as a possible factor in the development of the painting.

The nature of a mysterious in opposition to a certain circumstance can be seen in the series of paintings Mary de Medici Cycle by Peter Paul Rubens, specifically Henry IV Receiving the Portrait that currently resides in the Musée des Louvre in Paris. In this painting, which does date to slightly after the work discussed of Caravaggio, the lighting is focused to the bottom part of the painting, which focuses the viewer’s eyes upwards in admiration, but only in part of the painting. Later artwork will take advantage of the invention of tall candles and other dramatic forms of illumination to subvert the adoration of absolute monarchists into an intimidated dogma of nationalism, which begins with The Calling of St. Matthew.

Nationalism comes close to describing the fervor which surrounded leaders at this time, and a prayer contemporary to the time describes the excitement and anticipation of this moment as, “Virtue will return, with the laurel crowned,/ and her just favors bestowed upon true merit,/ will reawaken the excellence of the arts.” This was a prophecy as much as a prayer, and the discussion of the divinity of the right of King Henry IV can be evaluated as a function of glorification of absolutism in form (Rosenberg, 11-12). Creation of the “adorable” using inferior lighting is a short distance in theory from the glorification in themes which will become characteristic of absolutist nationalism.

An explorative journey is induced which changes the understanding of the painterly style which is not present in this painting. The patron of the piece is seen to be female, which reaffirms the communication between the artist and the painter and is indicative of the artist’s wish to conform to the needs of the painting. There is natural rejection which presents in the work of Caravaggio, and pastoral biblical scenes are accompanied by dramatic intercommunications.

One critical point which proves the literacy of Caravaggio through The Calling of St. Matthew was the inclination of Matthew towards immediate conversion (Culler, 7). This could not have occurred over time, it must have been the result of a vision upon the sight of Christ, and the actions of Peter, who points or gestures. Those are actions which indicate that all but the young see this apparition.

The young man is bewildered by the narrative. The buried head seen in figure 4 demonstrates a lack of familiarity with the use weaponry in a manner complicit with the ideals at hand. Soon gunpowder made even the walls and heavy fortifications of politic and finance alike comparatively useless. The impact on mothers who cried over the spilt blood of warriors was greater with the urban conflict, and the changes culturally as well as politically are Cicorean in nature in a manner similar to the introduction of the short sword and hand axe in place of poles and spears that preceded them. It only cost a gold piece to satiate a tax collector, but a pound of flesh for a vengeful merchant, after all, according to popular culture of the time (Shakespeare, ll. 307-308).

Style as a Form of Intimidation

The style of Caravaggio could be imagined as a grotesque and primal pioneer of was destroyed and resurrected through the lens of the neoclassical style in the flames of Revolution. Invention of chiaroscuro, manipulation of light, and narrative rejection of nationalism was marked by his the manipulation of the viewer’s eyes through use of lighting. Evidence demonstrated in the work before, after, and contemporary to the work of Caravaggio shows that a rigor in style lends to the widely ascribed geometry and sobriety of later churrigueresque artwork. With a patron in the church, the appeal of an ordinary and communicative discourse between the artist and the poor, through such generally accessible characters as those found in the bible, is an attraction which remains present in successful artwork in modern history (figure 15). This makes the political impact of Caravaggio reactionary in nature. Finally, his work continues to reverberate somehow and the mass appeal of various types of lighting as well as politicization of artistry remain.

Evaluation of a religious artist using the tool which is found in discussion of customary transposition in religious ideals creates a necessity to first define and then to apply the terminologies of the relevant concepts. Karl Barth defines the term religiously, emphasizing with the introduction of a neutered spiritual power that “the customary transposition of the divine being into a neutral absolute, to an anthropocentricity which is secretly at work in response to the revelation of God” (Barth, 296). In order to capture the terminology artistically, some raw emotive power and controversy must be drawn upon. Both are present in the story and the actuality of the artistic work of Caravaggio in The Calling of St. Matthew.

It is natural for discussion of the small miracle to include that counteraction against a greater evil, or an organized crime. That fear was realized centuries later for descendents of the patrons of Caravaggio’s art. In the same sense, there is a natural pessimism in the work that followed a concept fostering the emergence of Caravaggio’s style such as Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer, an engraving from 1504 seen in figure 8. This accompanies and precludes other cultural representations which would have been contemporary to the Baroque period, including the literary masterpiece Paradise Lost by John Milton lyrically recounting a greater good, “he whom mutual league, united thoughts and counsels… glory never shall his wrath or might/ Extort from me” (Milton, ll. 87-111) such that the outline for the grounds in the introduction of a greater benevolence was set.

Keeping the viewer focused in a contemplative pose with their eyes downward reverberated throughout the intellectual communities and discourse, and maintenance of hierarchy can be correctly seen through the work of Caravaggio to be of paramount importance to the Christian ideology and European dominance which was subsequent to the inferiority of the plague and suffering of the previous generations. As Matthew is “in the act of conversion itself… realization is delayed for a brief moment” throughout the artistic work, this indicates a rigorous adherence to religious ideology which was characteristic of upheaval. In a certain way this was being retold and visually portrayed for the consumption of the masses centuries before the masses would have any access to but ripples of the artistic revolution.

Urban Warfare in the Renaissance and the Obsolescence of Older Technology

There is a personality to urban warfare which was unique to the moment when Caravaggio painted, and the weaponry in this painting may have been something akin to the use of arms by rap stars in today’s music videos (50 Cent, OK). What had been relegated to the realm of stories and the biblical testament of the slave driven work camps of the Romans was becoming a part of the every day, and needed great artistic projection of the imagery. At the end of the selection, confusion presented itself directly within the communicative style and a greater precision without hampering the style the artist found necessitated.

Returning to the painting, the hilt of a light rapier, nearly half the size of the older generations’ swords, developed to mobilize a new level of youth involvement in urban warfare (figures 12 and 13) which had been virtually nonexistent previously. The nature of this critical brutality that would later consume Europe’s young into the most deadly of wars to that point, the Thirty Years War, had already begun to surface before Calling of St. Matthew in as early as 1579 with the Vernichtungsstrategie exemplified by the quote “when soever he made ostying or inrode, into the enemies Countrey, he killed mane, woman, and child” from Northern Europe as hierarchy and size of armies began to increase (Parker, 205). Even as Vienna suffered continued sieges, quarrels amongst families enriched for the first time began to become imagined as the norm. The light which in earlier pieces of artwork such as Four Apostles by Albrecht Dürer encouraged the viewer to look up in childish adoration was replaced by a superior lighting that directed the scholarly contemplation of the higher concepts which were now being explored by artists.

In the representation of The Calling of St. Matthew, introduction of the presence of arms shows that the anarchic discourse of transactions without a market is not lost or reduced. More importantly, that young man does not draw or have need to use his rapier, loosely hung at his side, as satiated in the company of the benevolent as the thieves and vagabonds that preceded modern banking were satiated in the blood and belongings of those who failed to invest in the extortion implied in the transaction of security (figure 6). Whether urban warfare allowed by such light and deadly weaponry was transforming society by bringing the dead to the doorsteps and gutters of the investors and families who needed their sacrifice to survive or inventions which included complex architecture, modern locksmithing, and irreproducibility in art, bank notes, or identity made the brutality of ancient conflict insignificant is lost to the viewer.

Light weaponry as a focus of the work of Caravaggio is remarkable and unique to his own experience as a painter. Living in squalid conditions, unable to pay rent and in the center of this new norm of urban warfare which returned to the Italian countryside after over a millennia, the importance of the short sword and dagger required a familiarity with literature beyond the bible. It demonstrates a definitive knowledge of a complete classical education, of the sort only available at certain prestigious and ancient universities.

St. Peter shuffles in the painting with the encumbrance of the ceremonial blade, which makes the necessity for intentionality before use of such a weapon clear (figure 14). The young man is in motion, and ready to spring from the chair in an instant (figure 11). There must be some considerations to the communication from ineffective bronze weapons into the short daggers which made Roman Legions particularly deadly in nature, using the old to incapacitate victims and the new to extinguish naturally low rates of recovery.

Lighting in Constructive Outline Conducive to Caravaggio’s Vision of the Evolution of Warfare

The bazaar was a place of trade, meeting, and communication, something akin to the English pub and stock companies or the European banks, bars, and nightclubs which mark the modern era. The etymological comparison between bar as a shortened form of bazaar cannot be likely a direct mistake. An early architectural impetus for revolution can be found to hint at the extension and development of the futuristic means of communication and of exchange which separated exchange using financial instruments from the everyday ordinary emotions, sickness, wars, or even the youth interfering with fair and just transactions (figure 4).

With the introduction of a bourgeoisie and merchant class, or the capitalist, across Europe much later than the rest of the world, finally the rigid social hierarchy of nobility and royalty began to weaken. Good things come to those who wait, and the late onset of such a change also meant that the extent and the velocity of the social changes were intensified compared to other parts of the world. Family structures changed dramatically and in addition to such social architecture, change can be more readily observed in physical architectures of buildings and artistic styles that, until then, had been relegated to religious Cathedrals within structure and from beyond. With these structural elements, the nature of the artistic work would also become redeveloped to emphasize the new religious concepts which were taking hold of various modes of cultural expression.

In The Calling of St. Michael, Michelangelo Caravaggio carefully selects the accompanying crowd who will oversee the failed transaction, that was dinner ending in harsh words. The passage which the painting tells of both scores in directionality and in content from the nature of sickness and health. In the painting, something is pointed at and another young man, possibly one of the sinners but in all likelihood an apprentice to the tax collectors, is armed and alerted, but still cautious (figure 5 and 6). This gives insight to the concerns of new forms of urban warfare, enabled by finer expertise in technological construction of the modern sword, or in this case rapier, and allows yet a further modernization of the biblical themes with a poignant defense of the older characters in the painting. It also redirects the exclamation of Christ, that doctors should be left for the sick into a message against the interfamilial wars which plagued Europe at the time of Caravaggio rather than a plea to the tax collectors and sinners who ignored the colonies of lepers, and victims of disease.

Poverty as an Underlying Source of Urban Warfare

Expansion of the concept of artistic representation of the economic transformations protecting or endangering those close to artists elucidated the concerns of disease and reference to escape through a subtle domination. The conceptualization of such direction did not exist prior to this eclipse of the outward momentum of the stylistic conflagration which Caravaggio was indicative of in nature. It did absolutely no good for his work to see superior lighting, representation of the act of conversion and introduction of money to shock the onlooker without a dramatic change in the nature of the onlookers themselves (Wendt).

Velázquez not only reproduced into and was part of a greater movement in enhancing the rigor of artistic work that Caravaggio helped to ignite, but also extended the importance of lighting into a cumulative perfection in colors as well. The distortion which can be seen in his artwork (figure 10) tackles the difficult in artistic composition also provides an exceptional comparative factor to the themes of warfare among the work of Caravaggio. In the same way that a beam of light, robes and fashion indicates the holy or imperfect nature of Christ, the sinners and other characters, Velázquez can be seen to use green and brown to represent earth and growth of his patron, and the dashing warfare espoused therein (Justi, 75). As weapon increased in efficiency indicating use in urban settings, the armor obsoleted by the trends illustrated in the work of Caravaggio demanded a new attention.

For the first time since the establishment of a united Christendom through the Catholic Church, poverty became commonplace even among those of virtuous religious standing, an event which was immortalized in confrontations such as the arrest of Thomas Aquinas in England and later conflict in Protestant and Reformed Catholic leadership throughout greater Europe. The relationship between the financiers and the changing horizons of religion can be seen as an elderly man is at ease with his calculations but the traumatized young are hunched over their work (figure 4). More of this redefinition in artistic expression would be necessitated for Caravaggio to shrink from the reality of a coming compression in artistic means through scalable growth across Europe, as the form of stylistic development.

Execution of expansion from objectives to ideals for religious doctrines were not limited to this time period, but are definitely noted through work in this time period. Visually, Caravaggio demands a subtle attention in scale to the narrative pattern of his artwork by using bold lighting popularized in previous centuries to create a subservient and groveling audience, which reflected the ambitious attitude of early Church reactionism. The light beam seen is in a direct contrast with the dull window, and representative of both industrialism and makes an important point into the nature of the cross-vector lighting array (figure 9).

Representation of the small sins which were demanded through this new focus in lighting gave a contrasted conflict in behavioral response with the confusion of the new era of urban warfare, financial instruments misused in the familial sense, and scales of production which seemed to promise the near miracle of biblical scales. Such a demonstrative effort was not lost upon the focus of the productive capacities within the customary transposition as a neutered response to the miracles with whom God expected conflict and resolution from naturally evil forces (Barth, 296). Instead, a distinctively gendered substitution of miraculous episodes in constraint defused the patchwork which threatened to smother the rich and often disgustingly vibrant community culture surrounding the young and meteorically rising star of the artistic community. The biblical passage from which Caravaggio would have worked was likely an oral rendition, and this was an important message in how to reduce the influence of negative emotions to simply good words.

In subsequent generations, the narrative in his work found itself fitting as snugly as a globe by the chess set. The goals and objectives of artists not only had to change, but were finally able to. Some of this break was natural to the work of Caravaggio himself and the rest was stylistic and later demonstrated in The Triumph of King Henry IV (figure 2). Gambits as a form of artistic intellectualism aside, enforcement of the positionality of the viewers discretion gave a certain completion to development of the transitory nature found in artistic work.

Statuesque in Nature and Industrial Complicity in Form

The reach of the success of this new visual form of subjugation of the viewer must be captured through art forms outside of the painting. The work of Albrecht Dürer exemplifies the compression in artistic ambition typical of rudimentary nationalism (figure 8), and in Caravaggio a geometrical architecture and rigor is explored, but perhaps the most delightful expression of this, an execution of sorts after direct play in form, comes the work of the sculptor. These bring the lighting into a new dimensionality of style and further encrypts the intended phenomenon and feeling of release or absolution which is decidedly desirable.

Such an encryption in form has been recently designated through the work of Antonio Canova, and seen in Cupid and Psyche which dates to the French Revolution. On display at the Louvre, the granite relies on the psychology of the viewer to add the brilliant and dazzling light which refract through the wings of Cupid which are inconceivable through material means (figure 7). This demonstrates not only carefully prepared knowledge of the style typical to Caravaggio, but additionally introspective reflection on the necessity to mirror the work as painters moved from the Baroque into Rococo and eventually necessitated a return, a sort of folding of the artistic styles which intensifies viewers’ individual experience.

In the Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio, this encryption must be defined through the rigor of creative absolution and omission of a defined timeline for the investment in an imagined timeline that includes both the explicit and implicit as definitive to style. German analysts have attributed the violence in the work of Caravaggio to a “rough sexuality” which forces its way through his work into the creations often commissioned by church or competitors to engage a discussion of how it is Christ follows as the leader (Wilkens, 22-23). Focus on the cross-sectional lack of lighting seen through Christ and St. Peter to gain insight into the ways this can be accomplished, that darkness or evil must exist before the intimidating forces of good or light can force them outwards (figure 6 and 9).

Today, the customary transposition in religious ideals has spread across mass culture. The selfie pioneered by Marilyn Monroe (figure 15) as well as modern ballet and dance architectures are exhibitions inviting the drawing of conclusions about a societal lifestyle which is irreproducible today, and modern culture has become emblematic of his work across hundreds of years of development. Similarity to the development of the selfie momentarily impacting modern means of understanding the work of Caravaggio begins with the dominant lighting that forces the viewer into contemplation and continues in an imitative nature but difficult rigor in form all contributing to a truly successful implication of social means across the hierarchy of belief systems implicit in such artistic endeavors.

Forms of representation also play a distinctive role in cooperative norms from viewership directly throughout formidability in form. Tacit revolution is countered by the domination of the subject and framing of the object in a corporate sense of belonging. Without the use of direct narrative, such a technique becomes decidedly useless.

Fame from a simple snapshot is given by fashion in the work of Caravaggio and is not appropriately reproduced or encouraged in any way. The viewer would have had a direct and personal connection to the work which is not present in the artists but were typical of the time. This also speaks directly to The Calling of St. Matthew and the customary transposition of the individual miracle which is found in the painting. The following of the tax collector is in turn collected by Christ. With a simple idea, Marilyn Monroe opened a thumbprint sized pavement to fame for America’s women and opened the eyes of the rest of the world to social means of hierarchy which were being demolished in a way never seen without violence in history.

Rigor Beyond the Statuesque and Tertiary Analysis

The act of painting, as hunting and warfare, had been a primal endeavor of social malaise and bare necessity. Artistic and cultural works had historically pointed to the plague, to violence, or to religious discord for an inspirational sentiment, a trend which should have been accelerated by the patron system of the Renaissance. Caravaggio uncovers a unique connection to the divine as the customary transposition in evil is replaced by an altogether more terrifying equivalent in his artistic representation of the good and saintly in conflict to the developing sins of urban warfare and tyranny of misuse of financial instruments.

This is a benevolence which works in the face of the ordinary sins, multiplied through the time period in an extravagant fashion. That fundamental shift in religious thinking was a theoretical device of academic construction and development and the social creations of the Renaissance must be understood to complement political movements and a dynamic in confusion of style which has today been lost. That does not mean the authenticity of the moment has been lost.

The late latin poem dating from the early 13th century O Fortuna defines the shedding of the conceptualization of poverty as tied to sinful behavior and ushers in a new era of industrial concern for the masses. By the time of Caravaggio, the opera King Arthur by Henry Purcell began to introduce structure into the eardrums of Europe, a rigor which did not necessitate the rigidity of the older dullard implied by classical conceptions of those who approached their work as a separation of form from passion. By firmly placing The Calling of St. Matthew into a historical context, it has been possible to gain insight into the nature of urban warfare as well as the religious understanding of miracles underpinning a dramatic reconception of poverty in the modern sense of development.


Figure 1: The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1600, oil on canvas, San Luigi dei Francesi.

Figure 2: The Triumph of Henry IV by Peter Paul Rubens, 1620, oil on wood, Met Fifth Avenue Gallery 630.

Figures 3-6: The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1600, oil on canvas, San Luigi dei Francesi.





Figure 7: Cupid and Psyche by Antonio Canova, 1787-93, Musée de Louvre, Paris.

Figure 8: Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer, 1504, copper engraving, Museo del Prado.

Figure 9: Detail from The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1600, oil on canvas, San Luigi dei Francesi.

Figure 10: Detail from Don Juan Francisco Pimentel (1584-1652), 1648

Figures 11-14: Details from The Calling of St. Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1600, oil on canvas, San Luigi dei Francesi.





Figure 15: Selfie taken by Marilyn Monroe c. 1940, obtained through Swann Galleries.


50 Cent, OK, You’re Right Shady Records/Aftermath, 2007.

Barth, Karl, Geoffrey William Bromiley, and Thomas F. Torrance. “Church dogmatics. 1st pbk. ed.” London/New York: T. & T. Clark International, 2004.

Culler, M. B. Self-reference in Caravaggio’s “Calling of St. Matthew” (Order No. 1442315). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I, 2007.

Justi, Carl. Diego Velazquez und sein jahrhundert. Vol. 1. M. Cohen, 1888.
Parker, Geoffrey. “The” Military Revolution,” 1560-1660–a Myth?.” The Journal of Modern History 48, no. 2 (1976): 196-214.

Rosenberg, Pierre. France in the Golden Age: Seventeenth-century French Paintings in American Collections. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982.

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice (Vol. 7). Lippincott, 1916.

Wilkens, Albrecht, and Prof. Dr. Klaus Heinrich. Licht Und Gewalt Bei Caravaggio, 2010.

Unity, Expansion, and Rate of Change in Stylistic Interpretation from Baroque to Classical Artwork

Unity, Expansion, and Rate of Change in Stylistic Interpretation from Baroque to Classical Artwork

Paul Andreas Fischer


Professor Kelsey Brosnan

Unity, Expansion, and Rate of Change in Stylistic Interpretation from Baroque to Classical Artwork

The place of unity in the stylistic representation of space frontiers without a time period from which to operate is also lacking movement in this placement, conceivably speaking throughout the appropriate conceptualization of the comfort of that artistic form and representation. Connotation of belief in the fluidity of artistic difference can be felt within the artistic devices of expansion (Wöllflin, 164) and is found in the artistic work of Dirk Vellert. A genuine departure from the pioneering provincialism is found as the Reconquista is effectively discarded and the focus of artistic work begins to develop into a united demonstration of piety combined and bound to ungodly wealth.

Style is not neither logical nor is it itemizable (Schapiro, 2) and the transition from the primitive art form is one which finds direct loss of contact with the rational as a result of social unity and coherence in artistic expression. The expansion of such a development indicates a cognitive disregard for the reality of a material expansion into artistic form. This cognitive disregard both hinders the expansion of the singularity, preserving the local multitude as well as ensures that such an expansion must occur.

What style can be directly seen as is the Baroque development from classic art of the 15th century. As a constant form, this is definitely implied as a community singularity, which is seen in the art of newly relaxed artists in their approach to the expression of their work (Wöllflin, 156). The gradual change of artwork from Classical to Baroque in style is marked by the limitation to specific fields of development, as defined by the refinement of materials, procedures, and investment behind artistic endeavors. Finally, it should be seen in both unity and expansion that a greater singularity in style is found.

The concentration of wealth created a unique system of complexity in artistic style that found itself without a direction and yielded a yearning or longing for a return to simplicity of primitive art forms by the modern era (Schapiro, 4). Other factors which played a role included a spiritual communality which could not be experienced during the massive onslaught of death and poverty which marked European art forms in the centuries preceding that new era. Lack of style, then, as well as the primitive art form can be seen to be logical in nature. This brings a new meaning to the joke from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, “if it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it!”

In artistic expression, unlike architecture, for example, the illogical can be seen to have a positive attribution of form and projection in its appeal to both the audience and the social tapestry for which the artwork provides a distinct and complete excitement in form. The domination of unity can be seen in the lighting as well (Wöfflin, 162). This is the sort of individualistic conceptualization of the development of style which was singular across the artistic world at the time. There is a use for such an analysis, as it affects modern painters such as Escher who attempt to increase their artistic tension by disregarding the rigidity of logic in their painting or drawing almost to an extreme to achieve a level of modernity in style.


Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996), “Style,” 1953 [Excerpt, pp. 1-4]

Jonathon Blower H. Wölfflin, translator, & Evonne Anita Levy, editor, writer of essay. (2015). Principles of art history : The problem of the development of style in early modern art / Heinrich Wölfflin ; a new translation by Jonathan Blower ; edited and with essays by Evonne Levy and Tristan Weddigen. (Texts & documents).

Crusades in the New World

Crusades in the New World

  A lecture was given recently by former History professor Alfred Andrea, of the University of Vermont at the Waterman Lounge. The presentation was well-sourced, and he has certainly kept a speaking capability which has not suffered after 15 years in retirement. One thesis was included, that the conquest of the New World could be termed as a Crusade.

  It is an interesting point, and one which has been explored in the past. One question which arose and was acknowledged in questioning as a good point was about the Treaty of Tordesillas. There must have been included among some primary sources discussion of calling this conquest a Crusade as Spanish conquistadors and royalty alike wished to prevent the double-entry into the New World by Britain and France.
  Portuguese encroachment upon the perceived divine entitlement of Spain to the New World could be acknowledged as long as similar deferment to the superior naval capabilities of the Spanish Imperial Navy. Unfortunately, these other potential players who had not proven effective in the Middle East or in the Spice Islands yet, and had little bargaining position with which to enter the New World. Whether there will be an attempt to reclassify greater parts of the period of colonization in the New World as a crusade remains to be seen.

The Red Terror Arises From the Ashes of the Green and White Armies: Revolution, Civil War, and the Cheka

The Red Terror Arises From the Ashes of the Green and White Armies: Revolution, Civil War, and the Cheka

Paul Andreas Fischer


Professor Youngblood

The Red Terror Arises From the Ashes of the Green and White Armies: Revolution, Civil War, and the Cheka

As the rising dust of the peasant revolts superseded the omnipresent factory smoke both literally and figuratively as WWI faded into the Civil War, an early and thoroughly Marxist interpretation of the party’s agenda gave way to more pragmatic concerns. The early Bolsheviks’ program moved to adopt the peasantry into their program and address their concerns while consolidating power over state and electoral procedures. This was a development which established an interesting dichotomy in the structure of the Bolshevik party, avoiding co-operation with opposing Socialist forces within Russia and saved the Party from factions within Russia that wished a complete privatization of land and reversion to older practices. Both will be examined as distinct components of the socialist political machine in Russia during the Revolution and subsequent social and economic deprivation along with significant military atrocities.

The roots of Bolshevism rejected the presence of the peasantry in a post-revolutionary society entirely, as a position which operates outside of the normal range of functionality for a successful Communist state under conventional Marxist theory (Barker and Grant, 305-10). This is evident in early essays of Iosef Lenin as well as in his work which encourages the people of Russia to look towards the movement of the previous attempts at Revolution which he admits in his “April Theses” of April 1917 had placed power into the hands of the bourgeoisie as the proletariat lacked organization or class consciousness (Weinberg and Bernstein, 40-1). Already the “second stage” is identified as one which places “power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest strata of peasantry” which hints at later attempts to strike at the kulaks, a financially empowered minority of the peasantry accorded some rights by the imperial regime and Provisional government, but which posed a significant threat to the status quo, and would rebel in five districts (Weinberg and Bernstein, 83).

The status of peasant, however, is so ingrained into Russian culture and society that it was not possible to see a Communism rise in Russia without some critical new curtain of demonstration to the ideals which would be encouraged in the people; premature action by the “man in the street” could spoil the nation’s wealth and demand the impossible (Barker and Grant, 331-5). The significance of the peasant can be seen as self-evident in the cries of a peasant in the opposition of privately owned property in late 1917 (Weinberg and Bernstein, 48). That the very individuals who labor for the land live in poverty is a central theme in the work, and this correlates well the cries of the peasantry in Peasant Resolution in late October of 1917, the week before armed insurrection in Petrograd, which add to this a need for the peasantry to have access to basic necessities in addition to public ownership of the land (Rowley, 122-3).

In order to understand the peasantry in relation to the development of the Bolshevik party, some understanding of the characters in play must also exist. Leon Trotsky followed the fall of the Provisional government and aforementioned armed insurrection at Petrograd with urges to Bolshevik followers to allow their voting be their oath (Weinberg and Bernstein, 53). This was a hint at later despotic and dictatorial methods which would be utilized by the party including the establishment of the secret police, the Cheka. That secret police which expanded rapidly would represent part of the rapidly changing double-standard extant both in the party discussions as well as in opposition, a key development in which is to evaluate the role of the Civil War which would last until 1921.

The avant-garde architecture of Vladimir Tatlin, Model for the Comintern Building, which remains unbuilt, is tenuous in structure at best (Rowley, 128). Revolutionary society mirrored this gut-wrenching design at the time. The Cheka served the purpose of the fish-line in the design, which should only exist in the time of Civil War, and be invisible to the viewer’s eye. Instead they became dark and hideous, and among the most hated parts of the Bolshevik agenda. Discussion of the Cheka would be incomplete without discussion of the Kronstadt rebellion in which hundreds of sailors were executed and thousands imprisoned as dissatisfaction with the new rule was demonstrated in their proclamation “What We Are Fighting For” which bemoans the replacement of the hammer and sickle with the bayonet and barred window (Weinberg and Bernstein, 88-9). It would be best not to forget that criminal reform was a primary focus of the Revolution of 1905, and despite the first World War, remained critical to many members of the population’s satisfaction. Over the course of the organization’s early existence, in these first years of revolution hundreds of thousands were incarcerated and around 10,000 executed, which Lenin emphasized as critical to the struggle against “Counter-Revolution and Sabotage” but betrayed the reality of the Revolution and Civil War for the Working class (Weinberg and Bernstein, 67).

The commonly known White Army and Red Army were not the only positions during the Civil War, which saw many of the fears of Lenin, Trotsky, and other leaders of the Revolution play out to the tune of horrendous atrocities. A series of Menshevik newspapers detail the worst fears of both White and Red Armies which seemed to have no end, from the stealing of cattle to the wanton burning of significantly more than 10,000 tons of grain by villagers in rural areas (Weinberg and Bernstein, 46-7). Bringing the subject of this work to a head were the efforts of the “Green Army” led by A. S. Antonov and designated as terroristic in nature, but espoused some legitimate concerns of the population and felt the impact of Communist despotism directly (Weinberg and Bernstein 84-6). At Tambov these “Toiling Peasants” suffered an unknown number of casualties and punitive burning of several villages. Ironically enough, they directly conflicted in nature with the demands of the Peasant Resolution, perhaps due to the aforementioned famine and need for basic necessities, reaching the point that a report to the American President Hoover described communal consumption of dogs in bologna and sausage (Weinberg and Bernstein, 73), and demanded reinstatement of private property and a demonstrative elimination of Cheka-style justice. In order to understand the execution of 10,000 people and the atrocities of the war, some knowledge of the fears of Revolutionary leaders at the time had to be imparted.

It can be seen that many of these forces interacted with one another, and some basic conclusions must be drawn from the work. The Bolshevik Party developed a dichotomy of practices which included developing stages by which it justified repressive and also dictatorial processes that prevented internal factions from gaining excessive control of the nation. The most punitive of these, inspiring rebellion, have been discussed, and others include disruption of democratic procedures which would have profound effects on attempts to spread Communism across the world in later generations. The Party was also saved from an immediate privatization of land and elimination of the gains made on behalf of the working man by terrorist and anarchist organizations in Russia at the time, in part by the serious punitive nature of the actions.

A Review of Documents Pertaining to Colonel Isaac Clark, Discipline in the War of 1812, and Analysis of Education and Connections in Prosecution of Charges of Treason and Desertion

A Review of Documents Pertaining to Colonel Isaac Clark, Discipline in the War of 1812, and Analysis of Education and Connections in Prosecution of Charges of Treason and Desertion

Paul Andreas Fischer


Charlie Briggs

A Review of Documents Pertaining to Colonel Isaac Clark, Discipline in the War of 1812, and Analysis of Education and Connections in Prosecution of Charges of Treason and Desertion

The topics of treason and desertion are of particular interest during the War of 1812, and to military history since the origination of organized warfare. While at first these seem to have little in common other than the method by which they are carried out, through a court martial issued by a commanding officer, at the time approved by a general or special tribunal, there is often much more which connects these sentences than would be normally appreciated. Examination of documents from Colonel Isaac Clark and secondary sources reveal a personal understanding of American law and military procedure, one that may have been both important in his time as well as in modern understanding of the legal and political structures which govern today’s society. Isaac Clark demonstrated a personal growth in his career as an errant soldier and later as a commanding officer of soldiers in the United States Military in his exploration of his new nation and the Constitution; personal documents display both an ignorance luckily tempered by mercy which nearly cost eight of his soldiers their lives unnecessarily as well as an intuitive grasp and understanding of the basic tenets and principles which were not commonly accepted in America until the 1960s when properly contextualized. The charges leveled against Isaac Clark demonstrated experiential growth in which a mishap set precedent for a fundamental and unique interpretation of the Bill of Rights contained within the Constitution, that the right to remain silent implicitly connotes to a right to know the reason for one’s arrest.

Generally soldiers by this time period were disciplined in minor matters by use of the lash, though the War of 1812 saw the right of a commanding officer to use the instrument on soldiers ended as America sought greater recruitment in the newly founded army (Stagg, 541). While the expansion of military operations proved to be quite successful from a corp of permanent officers (Buchanan, lecture), this may not have been enough to withstand a legitimate invasion carried out in earnest. Without this rudimentary, though brutal, method of discipline, volunteers deserted at a greater rate than during previous invasions or even in comparative military operations, and military leaders used harsher forms of punishment, including the noose, as a form of protest (Stagg, 568). Of the soldiers enlisted in the War of 1812, one in eight deserted at one point, of whom one fifth received punishment (544). That is a percentage which correlates closely to those killed in the line of duty over the course of the war, and represents a statistically significant increase on the former statistic, though its importance should not be exaggerated as only around ten percent of these were actually executed or awaiting execution at the end of the war.

Isaac Clark’s first run-in with military procedures had been as a young man during the American Revolution. While interrogating a British officer with Ethan Allen, he shot the officer in the heart against orders to shoot after Ethan Allen had shot the officer in the hand (ICP, 1). This may have been an action in the heat of the moment, and charges were never pressed. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of his career was not what was done in battle, fighting skirmishes and leading an anti-smuggling unit but as a leader, defending his credentials, connections, and actions against rash and unscrupulous accusations, ones that turned out to be apparently unfounded.

The topic of desertion only arises with interest to the colonel in 1813, after the outbreak of war with England. He understood that the need to impress discipline in the ranks without a paddle, for whiplashing, could only be accomplished with the use or threat of a noose. That was likely a classical inflammatory response to a quite limited conciliatory measure for soldiers at the time, and cannot be considered a manner of sadism or hatred for his own men, as there is evidence that with medical advice certain conscripts were allowed to have another man stand in their place under his command (ICP, 41). The men responded to the accusations, despite one who may have been illiterate, with a written appeal for mercy, acknowledgement of their own guilt, and the company’s rectitude in their sentencing (48). As an act of civil disobedience, among many others, the use of corporal punishment by commanding officers in retaliation to losing their preferred method of discipline may have created genuinely negative concepts which ran throughout and beyond the military mobilization which occurred. It is important to remember that Isaac Clark did not lose his sword until 1815 and was likely a candidate for Brigadier General as late as 1812, according to a letter from Senator Jonathon Robinson.

Eight men were charged with desertion, and though it is not specified that supplies were stolen or, worse still, sold to the British, it is possible that this was the case. Such an incident was often worse than “changing colors” both in terms of danger and generally in severity of punishment. A unit could be endangered and left without ammunition, supplies, or even food and with long periods of time between communications, this was still long before the establishment of the Pony Express or efficient federal lines of communication, which could spell termination for units or even foil offensive operations. Of course, the greatest danger from such behaviour was recidivism, though such bounty jumping was relatively rare, and spread of desertion among new recruits. In reprimand, it is made very clear that soldiers could face death if not for the mercy offered in the officer’s clemency.

Not all cases of desertion were so malevolent in nature, however. Royal Dick was a New England black man in the 4th Infantry Regiment who was charged with desertion after leaving due to being teased by fellow soldiers, and sentenced to losing pay as well as having his ears cropped, though “the commanding general approved the sentence, but remitted the cropping of the ears” (Stagg, 551). The two incidents of Colonel Isaac Clark’s own transgressions of the law during war-time in the heat of interrogation and his reprimand of a similarly misguided band of soldiers are a fascinating insight into the development of an American military officer, but with the conclusion of the War of 1812 a new development takes place. Arrested for reasons unidentified, though it can be assumed this was no “marching order violation” and could well have been treasonous in nature, what is astounding about the particular case is the appeal of his reprimand. This document does not take responsibility for wrongdoing, but merely criticizes the manner of the colonel’s arrest (ICP, 61).

As an officer, to be charged with desertion would not have been likely, and it is instead the probability that the charges were treasonous in nature. This should not be taken to mean particularly threatening or dangerous, and probably differed quite significantly from the attempted surrender of West Point by Benedict Arnold during Clark’s previous combat service (Wright, 34) which was unsuccessful but foreshadowed a looming British invasion in the Northeast rather than in the South, as might have been expected. An example of how such an incident might be prosecuted for a man without education or connections can be seen in Irish-born Private Mitchell, who was charged with mutinous behaviour after talking back to an officer with expletives and was sentenced to be shot and fined three dollars, a sentence which was carried out after review in Washington (Stagg, 556).

In this defense, a potentially momentous event has transpired. Prosecution of officers was extremely rare during the War of 1812, and even more rare afterwards, though many deserters were freed in 1815 after being cleared by cessation of the war. Isaac Clark was never given a reason for his arrest, which for American civilians was officially codified in 1966 with the Miranda Rights as improper interrogation techniques implicit in the Fifth Amendment: without the knowledge one is under arrest and on what charges, there is no possibility of remaining silent or awaiting a proper legal counsel. The case in point is shown to be intrinsically constitutional in nature, though without evidence of such respect being placed in civilian cases until a century and a half later, this may not have been a defense frequently recognized in the United States in these early formative years.


Buchanan, Andrew. “Military History of the United States.” Lecture at the University of Vermont. (2013).

Clark, Isaac. 1, 40, 41, 48, 61, 6a3, 73. “Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821.” Isaac Clark Papers, Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont.

Stagg, J. C. A. 2014. “Freedom and Subordination: Disciplinary Problems in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812.” Journal Of Military History 78, no. 2: 537-574. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed November 30, 2015).

United States. Army. Regulations for the order and discipline of the troops of the United States. Part 1. Philadelphia, PA. Charles Cist.

Wright, Esmond. “Benedict Arnold and the Loyalists.” History Today 36 (1986): 29.

Congratulatory Letter and Account of Progress in the War of 1812 from Senator Jonathon Robinson to Col. Isaac Clark

Congratulatory Letter and Account of Progress in the War of 1812 from Senator Jonathon Robinson to Col. Isaac Clark

Senator Jonathon Robinson to Col. Isaac Clark


My dear friend, Washington Dec. 22nd 1812

I have harried unwearingly the Secretary of War in behalf of your for and have the Jaleasee now to announce to you your Lou in their day confirmed in the Senate as an Ensign – I feel excessively dis couraged nothing has been done by our Armies if nothing was intended why call over Militia into the Field to distruste their families I will not Lay where lies all the blame but one thing is certain the deranged situation of our Armies cx their having done nothing has distroyed the politics of Vermont disgraced our country and burned the Enthusiasm from our Land to our naval Forces all is glory there – There things will ruin us I expect the next long raph [?] will not hate Every measure that has nerve cx shall be Oratsowed [?] by Madison – we learn that your hoops are exceedingly Link at Burlington I wish you to give me some account of this fact indeed I am almost Surprised you have never written me time I saw you at Bennington may god preserve our dear Country – your Cordial friend,

Gen Clark –

Jon a Robinson

Original document from Special Collections at the University of Vermont
Transcribed by Paul Fischer

Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821. Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont. 40.

Consent for an Enlisted Man to have Another Stand in his Place: 1812

Consent for an Enlisted Man to have Another Stand in his Place: 1812

Captain Charles Follett, NS to -Colonel Isaac Clark

Consent for an enlisted man to have another stand in his place: 1812


Dear Colonel,

Sir, I am in Health to good Hreennies [sp.?] I find Our friend near the Ready to Attack in Fopely [sp.?] to Be Made on Our Enemy

I Have Entitled a man by the name of Thommas Richardson which you will see by My Return I find him to be an inferm Man verry rivalling to You I told him if he would get a Man to Take his Silou. With your Consent,, He was found among which I think will Better than him See I became te affis Aim in his discharge, your Complyance Will I blieys. yours with Esteem

Charles Follett, Capt.
Original Document from Special Collections at the University of Vermont
Transcribed: Paul Fischer

Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821. Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont. 41.

Appeal for Reinstatement of Sword Colonel Isaac Clark, ALS to 26th Regiment

Appeal for Reinstatement of Sword Colonel Isaac Clark, ALS to 26th Regiment

Regimental Rendezvous,

Burlington May 13, 1815.

To the Officers of the 26th Regt. now at this Rendezvous –


I have the honor of acknowledging the re [-] ceipt of your address of the 12th int. on the subject of my arrest. -The sentiments you have expressed towards me personally, cannot fail of engaging all my feel [-] ings in favor of complying with your earnest request – but having for many years of my life been em [-] ployed on Military duty, and having from long experience, considered it as a privacy [privileged?] duty in every officer of an army to set the example of subordination, that soldiers may be induced the more promptly to follow the example.

The subject of your acidress [sp?] involves a very se [-] rious question, which has not, to my knowledge been decided upon by a court-martial – it therefore be [-] comes my duty to take counsel on the subject before I take a step that may reflect dis honor on my military character. – This being the Just time that I ever received even the slightest repri [-] mand from a superior officer, not even for a mis – take in any of the complicated duties that have been assigned me – therefore, Gentlemen, you cannot but See the pro [-] priety of my desire to preserve the principle so necessary for the government of an army: – but before I close this answer, I beg leave to observe, that it has ever been my expectation that the question would have been promptly decided by the Department of War – and that officers, merely from their high standing in rank, would not in future be permitted to interphere with the recruiting regulations of that Department, which I am conscious of having pursued with unremitting ardor, until sickness deprived the Regiment of my a∫ [-] sistance, in a measure. – In this situation the General deprived me of my sword on the 12th day of July last – and altho’ repeated applica – tions have been made to him in becoming language for a trial, I have not been able to obtain one – neither have I been furnished with a proper copy of the charges, specifications upon which my arrest was predicated, [?] which was necessary to a suitable defense. –

I am, Gentlemen,

very respectfully,

your obedient Servea: [sp?]


Isaac Clark

Original Document provided by Special Collections at the University of Vermont: Documents Pertaining to Isaac Clark, 61

Isaac Clark Papers 1781-1821. Special Collections, University of Vermont Bailey/Howe Library, Burlington, Vermont. 61.

Transcription: Paul Fischer

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