George Washington, Spymaster

Without his brilliance at espionage the Revolution could not have been won

 

George Washington a master of espionage? It is commonly understood that without the Commander in Chief’s quick mind and cool judgment the American Revolution would have almost certainly expired in 1776. It is less well known that his brilliance extended to overseeing, directly and indirectly, extensive and very sophisticated intelligence activities against the British.

 
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Portrait Of A Hero

Courtly, gallant, handsome, and bold, John Laurens seemed the perfect citizen-soldier of the Revolution. But why did he have to seek death so assiduously?

How a nation regards its past is itself a fact of considerable historical significance, and it will be interesting to observe the treatment of the Founding Fathers during the Bicentennial celebration. Indications are that in some quarters at least the military heroes of the Revolution may not fare very well. “They wrote in the old days,” Ernest Hemingway noted some years ago, “that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying.Read more »

Men Of The Revolution: 15. Frederick Mackenzie

Of the British officers who served in America during the Revolution, the names Howe and Clinton, Burgoyne and Cornwallis, are the ones that echo across the years. There is some irony to this, since none of those captains—with the possible exception of Cornwallis—had any notable claim to posterity’s attention for their accomplishments on this side of the Atlantic. Yet just as they had in their day the perquisites of rank, so they were accorded the privilege of fame. Read more »

A Bicentennial Monument ToOur Fumbling Foes Of ’76

Although the bicentennial of American independence is just over a year away, it is the unhappy fact that the United States has not yet expressed the slightest appreciation to those who did the most to make that independence possible. Read more »

Gentleman Johnny’s Wandering Army

Defeated at Saratoga, Burgoyne’s troops faced nearly five years of enforced exile in a hostile countryside

On October 17, 1777, Elijah Fisher confided the following information to his diary: … Gen. Burgoin and his howl army surrendered themselves Prisoners of Ware and Come to Captelate with our army and Gen. Gates. … Then at one of the Clock five Brigades was sent for Albeny (for there come nuse that Gen. Clinton was a comin up the North river). … Gen. Clinton having nuse that Gen. Birgoyne had capetlated and had surrendered his army prisoners of war he Returned back to New York. … Read more »

“A Melancholy Case”

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In reprisal for a Tory atrocity, Washington ordered the hanging of a captive British officer chosen by lot. He was nineteen.

Providence Rides a Storm

Had a tempest not thwarted his plans, George Washington might have lost the Revolution in the first major operation he commanded

That George Washington drove the British out of Boston in early March 1776 is known to almost every schoolboy who has studied the American Revolution, but a disturbing aspect of this crucial event is not recognized even by most of the experts. One may read biographies of Washington, and military histories of the Revolution, without coming on more than a stray hint. This omission has undoubtedly occurred because the story flies in the face of the traditional Washington legend.Read more »

General Clinton’s Dumbbell Code

Late in July, 1777, the British general John Burgoyne found himself trapped by a colonial army in the upper reaches of the Hudson; he was about to lose the Battle of Saratoga. In desperation he wrote to Sir Henry Clinton in New York, asking for reinforcements. But the only available troops, under Sir William Howe, were off in Maryland. Clinton’s discouraging answer was a letter which had no apparent meaning until Burgoyne’s staff fitted a prearranged dumbbell-shaped mask over it.Read more »

Burgoyne and America's Destiny.

Stickler for a point of honor, the General marched to defeat and helped to lose a war

Not long alter the distressing events—from a British standpoint—at Concord and Lexington, and while heavy reinforcements were pouring into Boston to aid the beleaguered General Gage, one ship was observed to have brought an indeed notable cargo. Aboard this lucky craft, the Cerberus, were three of His Majesty’s generals, all members (in absentia) of the House of Gommons, and all destined to play important roles in the years ahead: Major Generals Henry Clinton, William Howe, and John Burgoyne.Read more »