Ethan Allen’s Ill-Fated March on Canada

A new look at a famous Revolutionary figure questions whether history’s long-standing judgment is accurate

AT 9 O’CLOCK ON THE morning of September 25, 1775, a French Canadian habitant banged on the main gate of Montreal. The Americans were coming, he blurted breathlessly to a British officer. As drums began to rattle out the alarm and a panicky crowd filled the Place d’Armes, the farmer told Sir Guy Carleton, governor general of Canada, that an American army had crossed the St. Lawrence during the night and was marching south down the island. The invaders numbered in the hundreds.Read more »

With Little Less Than Savage Fury

America’s first civil war took place during the Revolution, an ultra violent, family-splitting, and often vindictive conflict between patriots and loyalists

On April 22, 1775, three days after a British column marched out of Boston and clashed with militiamen at Lexington and Concord, the news—and the cry of Revolution!—reached Danbury, Connecticut, where 18-year-old Stephen Maples Jarvis was working on the family farm. Over the next several days, the young man would confront the hard, consequential choice between joining the rebel patriots or staying loyal to King George. He was not alone; all across the eastern seaboard, others were wrestling with the same dilemma. Read more »

Drill Master At Valley Forge

How Baron von Steuben used a tough winter to make a solid army out of a collection of untrained volunteers

On the first day of December, 1777, a group of four foreign gentlemen landed from the French ship Le Flamand at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They had had a rough voyage, 66 days at sea diversified by a mutiny of the crew and three occasions when the vessel was on fire. But they were not traveling in search of comfort and safety: they had come to offer their services to the army of the infant United States of America. Read more »

Big Guns For Washington

How tough Henry Knox hauled a train of cannon over wintry trails to help drive the British away from Boston

Knox was one of those providential characters which spring up in emergencies, as if they were formed by and for the occasion.

—Washington Irving, Life of George Washington .

 
Read more »

The Sparck Of Rebellion

Badly disguised as Indians, a rowdy group of patriotic vandals kicked a revolution into motion

On the evening of December 16, 1773, in Boston, several score Americans, some badly disguised as Mohawk Indians, their faces smudged with blacksmith’s coal dust, ran down to Griffin’s Wharf, where they boarded three British vessels. Within three hours, the men—members of the Sons of Liberty, an intercolonial association bent on resisting British law—had cracked open more than 300 crates of English tea with hatchets and clubs, then poured the contents into Boston Harbor. Read more »

Franklin Charms Paris

The 70-year-old statesman lived the high life in Paris and pulled off a diplomatic miracle

By the time John Adams arrived in Paris in early 1778 to replace American diplomat Silas Deane, there was only one American name on everyone’s lips: Ambassador Benjamin Franklin. “His name was familiar to government and people,” groused the envious Adams. “To foreign courtiers, nobility, clergy and philosophers, as well as plebians, to such a degree there was scarcely a peasant or a citizen, a valet de chambre, coachman or footman, a lady’s chamber maid or a scullion in a kitchen . . . who did not consider him as a friend. . . .Read more »

Patriots Or Terrorists?

The Lost Story of Revolutionary War POW’s

Sometime that seismic spring of 1776, 16-year-old Levi Hanford of Norwalk, Connecticut, enrolled in his uncle’s militia company and went to war against the British. He expected to make short work of the enemy. Everybody knew how simple farm boys like himself had just sent the redcoats reeling from Lexington and Concord, then cut them down at Bunker Hill. But Hanford’s war got off to a slow start.Read more »

George Washington, Founding CEO

Sharp business skills ensured the first president’s phenomenal success

America’s greatest leader was its first—George Washington. He ran two start-ups, the army and the presidency, and chaired the most important committee meeting in U.S. history, the Constitutional Convention. His agribusiness and real estate portfolio made him America’s richest man. He was as well known as any actress, rapper, or athlete. Men followed him into battle; women longed to dance with him; famous men, almost as great as he was, some of them smarter or better spoken, did what he told them to do. He was the Founding CEO.Read more »