Tom Chaffin

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Historian Tom Chaffin is the author of “Revolutionary Brothers: Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Friendship that Helped Forge Two Nations,” to be published in November 2019 by St. Martin’s Press. The work tells the story of the enduring relationship between the American Founding Father and the French aristocrat and how their collaborations helped to shape events associated with the American War of Independence and the French Revolution of 1789-1799.

Chaffin’s earlier books include "Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire" and "Sea of Gray: The Around-The-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah." Most recently he published "Giant’s Causeway: Frederick Douglass’s Irish Odyssey and the
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“One afternoon, while gazing down his intended line of travel, Frémont had spotted a solitary towering peak that appeared to be some fifty to sixty miles distant. Almost like an obelisk in its starkness, the peak seemed like a reasonable destination for the first leg of their foray across the Great Basin. After inducing a local Indian to go along as a guide, Frémont ordered Carson, Archambeault, and Maxwell to set out at night for the mountain. If they found water there, they were to build a signal fire; Frémont and the rest of the party would leave the next day and, after making a single camp in the desert, reach the mountain the following day. Carson’s party set out that night, and Frémont and his men followed the next afternoon. Frémont’s men, encamped on the desert on their first night away from the Great Salt Lake, built a fire to alert Carson’s party to their location. Near daybreak, they were awakened by the jangling of Archambeault’s spurs as he rode into camp with news that Frémont’s hunch had proven correct—the mountain did offer abundant water, grass, and wood. The party quickly broke camp and soon joined Carson and company at the foot of the mountain that Frémont named Pilot Peak—even today a conspicuous landmark along U.S. Interstate 80.”
Tom Chaffin, Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire

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