Hello All –

This isn’t so much a blog post as an update on current activity that may be of interest to some subscribers.

I’ve had to postpone several in-person events and curtail my customary appearances at Washington Crossing Historic Park (WCHP) due to what I assume, i.e., hope will be a short-term physical issue, while trying to do a limited amount of face-to-face engagement and find opportunities to pound the keyboard.

Two recent blog posts on this site have morphed into articles for other platforms:

Defining Victory in the Revolution has insinuated itself into the WCHP blog.

Albigence Waldo: Surgeon, Soldier, Diarist, Poet appeared in the Journal of the American Revolution this week.

I’m looking forward to giving the inaugural guided tour of the 2024 season for the Princeton Battlefield Society on May 19 from 1—2:30 pm. More information and registration are available here.

As part of Hopewell Valley Heritage Week 2024, I’m scheduled to speak on May 21 at the First Presbyterian Church of Titusville, 48 River Drive, Titusville, NJ 08560 (Hopewell Township). This event is cosponsored by the Washington Crossing Park Association of New Jersey and the D & R Greenway Land Trust. The talk, which will be the first (and hopefully not the last) based on my forthcoming book, is entitled: “Winning the Ten Crucial Days: A Thematic Interpretation.” In addition, Dr. Richard Veit, a registered professional archeologist and professor of anthropology at Monmouth University, will discuss his findings in regard to the site where over 10,000 Continental troops encamped in Hopewell from June 23 to 25, 1778, prior to the Battle of Monmouth. The event runs from 7—8:30 pm. More information is available here.

Best to all.



69. Where was Waldo?

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Why was Albigence Waldo Important?

In general historiographic terms, Waldo is best known for having kept a diary during the winter of 1777-78 that recorded his experience and that of his fellow Continental soldiers during the storied Valley Forge encampment. The diary provides a graphic firsthand account of the challenges faced by the army that winter. Waldo’s commentary is regarded as an especially valuable resource for studying this period, during which the young physician attended to many an ill soldier. His entries were recorded in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography more than a century later based on a manuscript furnished by Amos Perry of the Rhode Island Historical Society.

Who Was He?

Born in February 1750, in Pomfret, Connecticut, Waldo received his early education there and studied medicine under the guidance of Dr. John Spaulding in neighboring Canterbury. Afterwards, he settled in his native town, where he took the place of Dr. John Hall, who had moved to Vermont. Waldo married Lydia Hurlburt in 1772, and they would have four sons and three daughters.

When the Revolutionary War began, the Pomfret physician left his family and medical practice to join the cause. Waldo initially served as a clerk in a militia company from Woodstock, Connecticut, but In July 1775, he was commissioned surgeon’s mate of the 8th Connecticut Regiment under Col. Jedediah Huntington, only to be discharged that September because of ill health. In December 1776, the Connecticut Committee of War commissioned him chief surgeon of the armed ship Oliver Cromwell, but he was induced to leave that vessel by an invitation from Col. Huntington to join his newly raised 1st Connecticut Regiment as surgeon. In early 1777, Waldo joined the regiment, which was assigned to the brigade led by Brig. Gen. Huntington (having been promoted from colonel) in Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall’s division of Connecticut and Rhode Island troops.

Raised largely in New London County, the 1st Connecticut took the field in the spring of 1777 at Peekskill, New York, and was ordered by Washington to join the main army in Pennsylvania in September after the battle of Brandywine Creek. At Germantown on October 4, the regiment was engaged at the front of Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene’s division. As winter settled in, Waldo recorded the experience of army life in a series of day-by-day chronicles that vividly convey his thoughts and feelings.

The army surgeon resigned his commission in October 1779 and resumed his medical practice in Pomfret, where he became an accomplished surgeon whose entire practice was devoted to that specialty. His first wife died in 1785; and two years later, he married Lucy Cargill, who survived him until 1830 (they would have two daughters). Dr. Waldo died in January 1794 and is buried in Pomfret.

Waldo’s Words

The Connecticut surgeon’s diary entries are thoughtful, lively, engaging, and in many cases quite caustic—understandably so given the prevailing circumstances. His observations reflect a determination to cope with the challenging circumstances facing him and his army brethren, a frustration with a lack of appreciation for the troops’ plight among the civilian population, an enduring love of family, a deep admiration for Washington and his fellow soldiers in general, and a recognition of the long-standing mistreatment accorded Indians by the colonists.

A Sample of Waldo’s Writing

December 15, 1777 — Mankind are never truly thankfull for the Benefits of life, until they have experience’d the want of them. The Man who has seen misery knows best how to enjoy good. He who is always at ease & has enough of the Blessings of common life is an Impotent Judge of the feelings of the unfortunate.

December 21 (after the army’s arrival at Valley Forge on the 18th) — Preparations made for hutts. Provisions Scarce … sent a Letter to my Wife. Heartily wish myself at home, my Skin & eyes are almost spoil’d with continual smoke. A general cry thro’ the Camp this Evening among the Soldiers, “No Meat! No Meat!”-the Distant vales Echo’d back the melancholly sound-“No Meat! No Meat!” Immitating the noise of Crows & Owls, also, made a part of the confused Musick. What have you for your Dinners Boys? “Nothing but Fire Cake & Water, Sir.”

December 24 — Hutts go on Slowly-Cold & Smoke make us fret. But mankind are always fretting, even if they have more than their proportion of the Blessings of Life. We are never Easy, allways repining at the Providence of an Allwise & Benevolent Being, Blaming Our Country or faulting our Friends. But I don’t know of anything that vexes a man’s Soul more than hot smoke continually blowing into his Eyes, & when he attempts to avoid it, is met by a cold and piercing Wind.

December 26 — Many Country Gentlemen in the interior parts of the States who get wrong information of the Affairs & state of our Camp, are very much Surprized at G Washington’s delay to drive off the Enemy, being falsely inform’d that his Army consists of double the Number of the Enemy’s-such wrong information serves not to keep up the spirit of the People, as they must be by and by undeceiv’d to their no small disappointment;-it brings blame on his Excellency, who is deserving of the greatest encomiums; it brings disgrace on the Continental Troops, who have never evidenced the least backwardness in doing their duty, but on the contrary, have cheerfully endur’d a long and very fatigueing Campaign.

January 1, 1778 — New Year.—I am alive. Hutts go on briskly, and our Camp begins to appear like a spacious City….
Nothing tends to the establishment of the firmest Friendship like Mutual Sufferings which produces mutual Intentions and endeavours for mutual Relief which in such cases are equally shar’d with pleasure and satisfaction-in the course of this, each heart is laid open to full view-the similar passions in each, approximate themselves by a certain impulsive sympathy, which terminates in lasting esteem.

January 4 — I was called to relieve a Soldier tho’t to be dying-he expir’d before I reach’d the Hutt. He was an Indian-an excellent Soldier-and an obedient good natur’d fellow. He engaged for money doubtless as others do;-but he has serv’d his country faithfully-he has fought for those very people who disinherited his forefathers-having finished his pilgrimage, he was discharged from the War of Life & Death. His memory ought to be respected, more than those rich ones who supply the world with nothing better than Money and Vice.

January 6 — If I should happen to lose this little Journal, any fool may laugh that finds it,-since I know that there is nothing in it but the natural flowings & reflections of my own heart, which is human as well as other Peoples-and if there is a great deal of folly in it— there is no intended Ill nature-and am sure there is much Sincerity, especially when I mention my family, whom I cannot help saying and am not asham’d to say that I Love….
We have got our Hutts to be very comfortable, and feel ourselves happy in them—I only want my family and I should be as happy here as anywhere, except in the Article of food,
which is sometimes pretty scanty.

January 8 — Unexpectedly got a Furlow [furlough]. Set out fur home. The very worst of Riding-Mud & Mire.

The diary ends here.

P.S. For anyone who may be interested, Brookline Books is accepting preorders HERE for my upcoming book, Winning the Ten Crucial Days: The Keys to Victory in Washington’s Legendary Winter Campaign.

67. Whither the Republic?

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A 72-page pamphlet by Moses Mather (1719-1806), entitled “America’s Appeal to the Impartial World,” which mounted a vigorous defense of American rights against Great Britain, was published in the spring of 1775 by Ebenezer Watson in Hartford, CT, and advertised for sale in the April 3 edition of Watson’s paper, The Connecticut Courant. Mather, a native of Lyme, CT and a Yale College graduate, was ordained a Congregational minister in 1744. The pastor of the Congregational church in Darien, he later became an outspoken revolutionary and was imprisoned in 1779 and 1781 by British raiding parties from New York. After the war, he received a divinity degree from the College of New Jersey (today’s Princeton University) and continued his ministerial duties in Darien until his death.

In reading the above pamphlet, it struck me that one of his observations has particular relevance for this generation. Without seeking to make a partisan point (which would be at variance with the intent and purpose of this platform), I wanted to share the following, which I believe is especially deserving of our consideration:

Mather references the assertion of an anonymous “celebrated French writer, treating of the English, and the excellence of their constitution … that England could never lose its freedom, until parliament lost its virtue.”[1] It seems to me that we can contemporaneously echo that claim in regard to the status of American democracy going forward. We can never lose our freedom unless our government loses its virtue.

That point was essentially made by no less a luminary than the nation’s 16th president. On January 27, 1838, a youthful Abraham Lincoln, then a member of the Illinois General Assembly speaking before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, opined as follows regarding any hypothetical threat to the republic:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach[es] us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.[2]

He and his generation would be forced to grapple with just such a challenge a little over two decades later.


[1] Gordon S. Wood, ed. The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate, 1773-1776. vol. 2 (New York: The Library of America, 2015), 598-599.

[2] Mario M. Cuomo and Harold Holzer, eds. Lincoln on Democracy (New York: A Cornelia & Michael Bessie Book, 1990), 16.

64. How Conclusive are your Conclusions?

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Hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving. I know I’ve neglected this blog of late, due in part to other literary exertions, but felt compelled to scribble something that bears on what I’ve been doing and will hopefully satisfy an urge to be at least minimally conscientious about posting stuff. (I will not make a new year’s resolution to do better on this score because experience suggests—actually screams—that it would guarantee nonperformance.)

Anyway, what triggered this latest post is something from Al Frazza’s book, State of Revolution: My Seven-and-a-Half-Year Journey Through Revolutionary War New Jersey, Al, who created RevolutioaryWarNewJersey.com, provides a useful reminder to maintain humility in the context of historical interpretation—and other pursuits too, for that matter. In other words, it’s a good idea to know what you don’t know (so to speak). I’ve tried to keep that in mind when writing and doing my tour-guide thing at Washington Crossing and Princeton, but it never hurts to give the memory banks a nudge on that every so often.

So here’s the relevant excerpt:

…one should always stay humble about what one is researching. Always consider that, no matter how much you know, it is only a small part of the larger story, and that other people know things that you don’t. Even when it comes to the things that you know very well, it is good to be open to the possibility that you may be incorrect in your conclusions. It can keep you from finding a deeper truth if you are too confident in your assumptions.

And speaking of assumptions, one that I never made relates to an early holiday gift for yours truly that just arrived from the Journal of the American Revolution (JAR). I never know what’s going to (as they say at the Washington Crossing parks) really float the editors’ boat, but today I learned that one of my articles from earlier this year—Eutaw Springs and the Ambiguity of Victory—has been selected for inclusion in the next annual hardcover book produced by JAR, scheduled for release in April. These hardcover volumes feature the best (as determined by the editors) historical research and writing published by the journal during the prior calendar year—typically between thirty and forty articles (forty in the 2024 volume). They are available from Westholme Publishing, Amazon, or wherever books are sold. (Since 2021, I’ve written nine articles for JAR and three have made the cut for the annual volume. Boy, if only I could have hit .333 playing softball at Glen Ridge High.)

I hope to be able to share encouraging news on the next book very soon—but I don’t want to sound too, well, confident in that assumption.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great holiday season and extend my best wishes for a healthy and happy new year!

If any of you will be attending the annual Princeton battle reenactment on January 7, I’ll be manning the “general store”for the Princeton Battled Society that day, i.e., selling stuff, along with my wife Alison. (I mean to say she’ll be helping me, not that I’ll be selling her.) So stop by and say hello. I’ll also be helping out at the Delaware River crossing reenactments at Washington Crossing Historic Park on December 10 and Christmas Day, so the same goes for them. (No, I will not be in a boat; I get seasick in a bathtub.)

Upcoming Talk

Hi all —

For anyone who’s interested, I’ll be giving a Zoom talk about my most recent book, The Battle of Harlem Heights, 1776, through the Fort Ticonderoga Author Series on Sunday, January 14 (2 – 3 p.m.). The link to register is here. Please note: admission is free for Fort Ticonderoga members, and there is a $10 fee for the general public. Most of my speaking events are limited to members of the hosting organization, so you might say this is the exception to the rule.

Best regards,


From One Blog to Another, by George

Reminder: If you’re reading this in your email, you have to click on the link at the bottom or go to dpauthor.com and click on the Speaking of Which tab in order to view the actual blog post with the featured image.

I recently wrote an article for the Friends of Washington Crossing Park newsletter, entitled A Few Thoughts About George Washington, which was just posted on their blog. It’s essentially a reiteration of an earlier blog post of mine (number 59 on May 5 of this year), with a few very minor tweaks, but I’m posting a link to it here in case anyone didn’t get a chance to see it before or wants to revisit the piece for whatever reason—or is just looking for an excuse to peruse the park’s website.

Last night, I had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) of talking to the National Society of the Washington Family Descendants at their 69th annual reunion, held at the Philadelphia Marriott Old City. There were about eighty attendees, people from across the country who trace their lineage to Martha Washington or various Founding Fathers/Mothers. (Notwithstanding the moniker “Father of Our Country,” George was not functional in that respect, probably owing to his mild bout with smallpox as a youth.)  The group’s total membership exceeds five hundred, and they plan to hold their 70th such event next year in Savannah, GA. More power to them!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the above image—Washington at the Battle of Trenton—is an 1870 engraving by Illman Brothers based on a painting by Edward L. Henry.

60. Another JAR Article

Reminder: If you’re reading this in your email, you have to click on the link at the bottom or go to dpauthor.com and click on the Speaking of Which tab in order to view the actual blog post with the featured image.

I’ve gone far afield with my latest contribution to the Journal of the American Revolution, delving into the Southern campaign that others have written about so expertly—and I do so with trepidation and a sense of intruding into an aspect of the American rebellion that should be left to others. Be that as it may, this article focuses on what may have been the most savage and was one of the longest contests in our struggle for independence, the Battle of Eutaw Springs (depicted above in a print based on Alonzo Chappel’s mid-eighteenth-century painting).

Why Eutaw Springs? Several reasons, I suppose:

— the unvarnished brutality of the event, which I think truly brings home William T. Sherman’s reminder that “War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it”;

— the fact that this was the last major open-field battle of the Revolutionary War;

— focusing on it reinforces one’s perception of the conflict as a civil war, given the prominent role played by both Patriot and Loyalist militia in this engagement;

— its ambiguous outcome begs the question, which the article explores, of how one defines “victory” in a military context;

— the idea that this was the capstone engagement in General Nathanael Greene’s prolonged endeavor to fulfill his ambition of achieving a triumph that would earn him the acclaim of his and future generations;

— the irony of someone from New Jersey, known as the “Crossroads of the Revolution,” writing about a battle in South Carolina, which competes with the Garden State in claiming to have hosted more military encounters in the war than any other state—over two hundred battles, skirmishes, and raids; and

— finally, why not?

So if you’re interested, enter here, and I hope you find it worth your while.

Event Reminder

Hi All –

For anyone in the area who’s interested, on Saturday, April 29 I will be selling and signing copies of my latest book, The Battle of Harlem Heights, 1776, and my other scribbling during an author fair at the Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ, The event is part of the library’s twelfth Local Author Day and will be held from 1:30 – 4 pm in the library’s Community Room and first floor area.

Here’s a link to more information about the participating authors (listed alphabetically) and their work.

Also FYI

In terms of current literary activity, I’m wrapping up a new article (number seven) for the Journal of the American Revolution that I expect to submit shortly. This will be the longest one I’ve written for JAR and focuses on a different aspect of the Revolutionary contest than my previous efforts. (Hint: I’m invading the South.) More to come  .  .  .

I hope everyone is having a healthy and happy spring.

Best regards,


New Book Review and Author Signing Event

Reminder: If you’re reading this in your email, you have to click on the link at the bottom or go to dpauthor.com and click on the Speaking of Which tab in order to view the actual post with the featured image.

Hi All –

For anyone who may be interested, here’s some news concerning the latest arrow in my literary quiver, The Battle of Harlem Heights, 1776—not to (uh oh) equivercate in this matter.

Review Snippet

James Stacy wrote as follows in the Winter 2023 issue of The Journal of America’s Military Past:

“David Price presents in less than 200 pages a remarkably well-researched, readable, and informative book on what is arguably a little-known, but very important episode of the American Revolution, the Battle of Harlem Heights…. The Battle of Harlem Heights is another enjoyable and informative book in Westholme Publishing’s “Small Battles” series. This series spotlights small, often overlooked yet important episodes of the American Revolution.”

If you’d like to read the entire review, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll be glad to send it to you.


If you know anyone who might be keen on the subject and is in the area, I will be selling and signing copies of this and my other books during an author fair that is part of the twelfth Local Author Day at the Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ, This event will be on Saturday, April 29 from 1:30 – 4 pm in the library’s Community Room and first floor area.

Best regards,


35. Who said What about the “Ten Crucial Days”

Rev War buffs are about to commemorate the 245th anniversary of the “Ten Crucial Days” campaign—from December 25, 1776 through January 3, 1777, perhaps the ten most remarkable days in American history—that reversed the momentum of the war for independence just when the Revolutionary enterprise seemed on the verge of final defeat, The battles at Trenton and Princeton—the first significant victories for Washington’s army—altered not only the course of the conflict but the public image of the Continental Army’s commander-in-chief as well.

In this season of remembrance, I thought it timely to recall some observations about these events here:

SIR GEORGE OTTO TREVELYAN, British Historian—It may be doubted whether so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater and more lasting effects upon the history of the world. (Source: The American Revolution in six volumes, Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 1899-1907)

FREDERICK II, King of Prussia, 1740-1786 (Frederick the Great)—The achievements of Washington and his little band of compatriots between the 25th of December and the 4th of January, a space of ten days, were the most brilliant of any recorded in the annals of military achievements. (Source: The Battles of Trenton and Princeton, William S. Stryker, 1898)

THOMAS PAINE, Author and pamphleteer—The conquest of the Hessians at Trenton by the remains of a retreating army…is an instance of heroic perseverance very seldom to be met with. And the victory over the British troops at Princeton, by a harrassed and wearied party, who had been engaged the day before and marched all night without refreshment, is attended with such a scene of circumstances and superiority of Generalship, as will ever give it a place on the first line in the history of great actions. (Source: The American Crisis, Number V, Thomas Paine, March 21, 1778, in Thomas Paine, Collected Writings, 1955)

JAMES WILKINSON, Major, Continental Army—The joy diffused throughout the union by the successful attack against Trenton, reanimated the timid friends of the revolution, and invigorated the confidence of the resolute. Perils and sufferings still in prospect, were considered the price of independence, and every faithful citizen was willing to make the sacrifice. Success had triumphed over despondency, and the heedless, headlong enthusiasm, which led the colonists to arms, had settled down into a sober sense of their condition, and a deliberate resolution to maintain the contest at every hazard, and under every privation. (Source: Memoirs of My Own Times, James Wilkinson, 1816)

MERCY OTIS WARREN, American poet, dramatist, and historian—Perhaps there are no people on earth, in whom a spirit of enthusiastic zeal is so readily enkindled, and burns so remarkably conspicuous, as among the Americans….The energetic operation of this sanguine temper, was never more remarkably exhibited, than in the change instantaneously wrought in the minds of men, by the capture of Trenton at so unexpected a moment. (Source: History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution, Mercy Otis Warren, 1805)

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Captain, Continental Army—After escaping the grasp of a disciplined and victorious enemy, this little band of patriots were seen skillfully avoiding an engagement until they could contend with advantage and then by the masterly enterprises of Trenton and Princeton, cutting them up in detachments, rallying the scattered energies of the country, infusing terror into the breasts of their invaders and changing the whole tide and fortunes of the war. (Source: The Battles of Trenton and Princeton, William S. Stryker, 1898)

LORD GEORGE GERMAIN, British Secretary of State for North America—All our hopes were blasted by that unhappy affair at Trenton. (Source: Remarks by George Germain, May 3, 1779, in The Parliamentary Register: Or History of the Proceedings and Debates of the House of Commons during the Fifth Session of the Fourteenth Parliament of Great Britain, Volume XI, John Stockdale, 1802)

HENRY KNOX, Brigadier General, Continental Army—I look up to heaven and most devoutly thank the great Governor of the Universe for producing this turn in our affairs. (Source: Letter to Lucy Flucker Knox, January 7, 1777, in The Battles of Trenton and Princeton, William S. Stryker, 1898)

SAMUEL DeFOREST, Connecticut militiaman—The events of two weeks appears to have rolled on a pivot which has sealed and gave a stamp to the destiny of America. (Source: Samuel DeForest, Military Pension Application Narrative, in The Revolution Remembered: Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence, John C. Dann, ed., 1980)

NICHOLAS CRESSWELL, English diarist who travelled throughout the American colonies from 1774 to 1777—The minds of the people are much altered. A few days ago they had given up the cause for lost. Their late successes have turned the scale and now they are all liberty mad again. (Source: Nicholas Cresswell: Journal, January 5-17, 1777, in The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence, 1775-1783, John Rhodehamel, ed., 2001)

WILLIAM HARCOURT, Colonel, British Army—Though it was once the fashion of this army to treat [the American soldiers] in the most contemptible light, they are now become a formidable enemy. (Source: Letter to his father, Earl Harcourt, March 17, 1777, in The Spirit of ‘Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants, Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds., 1967)

CHARLES EARL CORNWALLIS, Lieutenant General, British Army (reportedly responding to a toast at a dinner for British, French, and American officers hosted by George Washington after Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1781)—And when the illustrious part that your excellency has borne in this long and arduous contest becomes a matter of history, fame will gather your brightest laurels from the banks of the Delaware than from those of the Chesapeake. (Source: The Battles of Trenton and Princeton, William S. Stryker, 1898)

The final quote below is not generally cited in this context but is far better known than the others and VERY MUCH on point.

LAWRENCE PETER “YOGI” BERRA, Professional baseball player, coach, manager, and philosopher—It ain’t over till it’s over. (Source: Attributed to Berra as manager of the New York Mets during the 1973 season and quoted in The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said, Yogi Berra, 1998)

There, now I’ve covered all the bases (so to speak).

Dear Reader:

Please be advised that I anticipate diminished blog production for a period of time (a slowdown, not a complete stop), owing to my immersion in another literary project—a book about the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776 as part of Westholme Publishing’s Small Battles series.

I hope to return to a more regular blogging schedule in the not-too-distant future and extend my sincere thanks to those who have subscribed. To other readers, I hope you’ll consider signing up – it’s free and easy to do in the footer on any page.

Thank you for your indulgence.

Don’t go away. I’ll be back.

Best regards,