Chronicles of the Revolutionary War organizes the events of the tumultuous birth of the United States into easily read, short chapters. These chapters enliven the story of the American Revolution and capture the spirit of America’s patriot forebears with a balanced account that also respects their British and Tory antagonists. Ideal for students, or even for reading aloud at meetings of historical societies, the book received its inspiration from Patriot Medal recipient Clarence M. Carroll, who has had a lifelong interest in educating the public about American History. Even those who already have an excellent grasp of the history of the Revolutionary War can profit from this book, as it can also serve as a concise outline of that surprisingly broad and expansive subject.
In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, George Washington's army lay idle for want of supplies, food, and money. All hope seemed lost until a powerful French force landed at Newport in July. Then, under Washington's directives, Nathanael Greene began a series of hit-and-run operations against the British. The damage the guerrilla fighters inflicted would help drive the enemy to Yorktown, where Greene and Lafayette would trap them before Washington and Rochambeau, supported by the French fleet, arrived to deliver the coup de grâce.
Richard M. Ketchum illuminates, for the first time, the strategies and heroic personalities--American and French--that led to the surprise victory, only the second major battle the Americans would win in almost seven horrific years. Relying on good fortune, daring, and sheer determination never to give up, American and French fighters--many of whom walked from Newport and New York to Virginia--brought about that rarest of military operations: a race against time and distance, on land and at sea. Ketchum brings to life the gripping and inspirational story of how the rebels defeated the world's finest army against all odds.
Written in the present tense, as newspaper articles and interviews, "Revolution" is also the story of a civil conflict fought in a divided country where the words "liberty" and "independence" are equally cheered, cursed and ignored.
No part of the country was more contested during the American Revolution than New York City, the Hudson River, and the surrounding counties. Political and military leaders on both sides viewed the Hudson River Valley as the American jugular, which, if cut, would quickly bleed the rebellion to death.
So in 1776, King George III sent the largest amphibious force ever assembled to seize Manhattan and use it as a base from which to push up the Hudson River Valley for a grand rendezvous at Albany with an impressive army driving down from Canada. George Washington and every other patriot leader shared the king’s fixation with the Hudson. Generations of American and British historians have held the same view. In fact, one of the few things that scholars have agreed upon is that the British strategy, though disastrously executed, should have been swift and effective. Until now, no one has argued that this plan of action was lunacy from the beginning.
Revolution on the Hudson makes the bold new argument that Britain’s attempt to cut off New England never would have worked, and that doggedly pursuing dominance of the Hudson ultimately cost the crown her colonies. It unpacks intricate military maneuvers on land and sea, introduces the personalities presiding over each side’s strategy, and reinterprets the vagaries of colonial politics to offer a thrilling response to one of our most vexing historical questions: How could a fledgling nation have defeated the most powerful war machine of the era?
George C. Daughan—winner of the prestigious Samuel Eliot Morrison Award for Naval Literature—integrates the war’s naval elements with its political, military, economic, and social dimensions to create a major new study of the American Revolution. Revolution on the Hudson offers a much clearer understanding of our founding conflict, and how it transformed a rebellion that Britain should have crushed into a war they could never win.
Along with French General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau, George Washington made an astonishing march through New Jersey and trapped British General Charles Cornwallis and his forces in Yorktown, Virginia, where they unleashed a tremendous artillery assault, with the support of the French navy. But victory was never certain - both sides made a series of dramatic attacks and counterattacks.
Using the diaries and letters of participants in the siege, Fleming creates a moving and exciting depiction of the days in October 1781 that ended the American Revolution and changed the world.
The American Revolution, the Bicentennial of which we are celebrating in 1975 and 1976, was an event of utmost significance in the history of both this country and the world. It brought into being a nation, dedicated to the ideals of liberty and justice, that was destined to become, in less than two centuries, the leader of the western world. And it marked the beginning of vast changes that would sweep that western world in the century following, thrusting aside old monarchical institutions in favor of representative government and free economic institutions. Albeit fought on the battlefields much like other eighteenth century wars, it also carried within it the seeds of change in the military sphere that were to sprout and grow in the French Revolution less than two decades later. It was, in this sense, a war of transition between the epoch of limited wars fought by professional armies and people’s wars fought by the “nation in arms.”
Our first national army, the Continental Army, was created to fight the Revolution. As the forebear of the United States Army of today, the Continental Army established many of the traditions and practices still honored in our service. The War of the American Revolution was, until Vietnam at least, the Army’s longest war. It is altogether fitting and proper then that the United States Army should pay particular attention to the study of its origins during the bicentennial years and commemorate the events of the Revolution in which the Continental Army and its adjunct, the militia, participated.
The purpose of this small volume is to provide a ready reference for such study and observance. The American Revolution has been intensively studied and written about in the two hundred years that have elapsed since 1775. There is much good scholarship as well as popular writing, both old and new, covering all aspects of the conflict and the political and social changes that accompanied it.
George Washington was famously unknowable, a man of deep passions hidden behind a facade of rigid self-control. Yet before he was a great general and president, Washington was a young man prone to peevishness and a volcanic temper. His greatness as a leader evolved over time, the product of experience and maturity but also a willed effort to restrain his wilder impulses.
Focusing on Washington’s early years, Robert Middlekauff penetrates his mystique, revealing his all-too-human fears, values, and passions. Rich in psychological detail regarding Washington’s temperament, idiosyncrasies, and experiences, this book shows a self-conscious Washington who grew in confidence and experience as a young soldier, businessman, and Virginia gentleman, and who was transformed into a patriot by the revolutionary ferment of the 1760s and ’70s. Taking command of an army in constant dire need—of adequate food, weapons, and, at times, even clothing and shoes—Washington displayed incredible persistence and resourcefulness, growing into a leader who both understood and defined the crucial role of the army in the formation of a new American society.
Middlekauff makes clear that Washington was at the heart of not just the revolution’s course and outcome but also the success of the nation it produced. This is an indispensable book for truly understanding one of America’s great figures.
From the Hardcover edition.
By 1781, America had been at war with the world’s strongest empire for six years with no end in sight. British troops occupied key coastal cities, from New York to Savannah, and the Royal Navy prowled the waters off the American coast. The remaining Patriot forces hunkered down in the hinterland, making battle only at opportunities when British columns ventured near. But after several harsh winters, and the failure of the nascent government to adequately supply the troops, the American army was fast approaching the breaking point. The number of Continental soldiers had shrunk to less than 10,000, and the three-year enlistments of many of those remaining were about to expire. Mutinies began to emerge in George Washington’s ranks, and it was only the arrival of French troops that provided a ray of hope for the American cause.
In a shift of strategy given the stalemate between New York and Philadelphia, the British began to prioritize the south. After shattering the American army under Horatio Gates at Camden, South Carolina, the British army under Lord Cornwallis appeared unstoppable, and was poised to regain the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia for the Crown. However, when General Nathaniel Greene arrived to take command of Patriot forces in the south, he was able to gradually turn the tables. By dividing his own forces, he forced the British to divide theirs, dissipating their juggernaut and forcing Cornwallis to confront a veritable hydra of resistance.
1781 was a year of battles, as the Patriot Morgan defeated the notorious Tarleton and his Loyal legion at Cowpens. Then Greene suffered defeat at Guilford Courthouse, only to rally his forces and continue to fight on, assisted by such luminaries as Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” and “Light Horse Harry” Lee. While luring Cornwallis north, Greene was able to gather new strength and launch a counterattack, until it was Cornwallis who felt compelled to seek succor in Virginia. He marched his main army to Yorktown on the Peninsula, upon which the French fleet, the British fleet, Greene, Washington, and the French army under Rochambeau all converged. On October 19, 1781, Cornwallis surrendered his weary and bloodied army.
In this book, Robert Tonsetic provides a detailed analysis of the key battles and campaigns of 1781, supported by numerous eyewitness accounts from privates to generals in the American, French, and British armies. He also describes the diplomatic efforts underway in Europe during 1781, as well as the Continental Congress’s actions to resolve the immense financial, supply, and personnel problems involved in maintaining an effective fighting army in the field. With its focus on the climactic year of the war, 1781 is a valuable addition to the literature on the American Revolution, providing readers with a clearer understanding of how America, just barely, with fortitude and courage, retrieved its independence in the face of great odds.