Revolutionary War

The brilliant Polish engineer who made possible the victory at Saratoga was a fighter for freedom in both America and his homeland

A large crowd was on the wharf as the Adriana arrived in Philadelphia from England on the evening of August 18, 1797. Aboard was a distinguished passenger whose name few Americans could pronounce but whose noble reputation was well known. Read more >>
When one of the wealthiest men in the Colonies sided with the Patriot cause, he was called a “wretched and plundered tool of the Boston rebels.”
Like Abou Ben Adhem, his name led all the rest. Read more >>

BATTLES OF THE REVOLUTION

On July first of 1777 the able, affable “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne set out from Crown Point on Lake Champlain with his competent Hessian ally, Baron Friedrich von Riedesel, thereby opening a campaign that he had wagered would see him home victorious by Chris Read more >>

Eighth in a series of paintings for AMERICAN HERITAGE

On September 23, 1779, Captain John Paul Jones, wallowing along the English coast in the unwieldy Bonhomme Richard , met the British frigate Serapis . Read more >>

It hardly seemed possible that a British garrison of seven hundred men could withstand a siege by the greatest American armada of the Revolution. But luck was not with the Americans that summer

“When the British came I was at Fox Island, with my uncle—where we went fishing in an open boat. Read more >>

Seventh in a series of paintings for AMERICAN HERITAGE

At its northern end Manhattan Island shrinks to a spur of ground three quarters of a mile wide, bounded by the Harlem River on one side and the Hudson on the other. Read more >>

Sixth in a series of paintings for AMERICAN HERITAGE

The first and most unusual battle of the American Revution began in earnest when the seven hundred British regulars under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith left Concord and started back for Boston on the afternoon of April 19, 1775. Read more >>

WHAT IS THERE TO CELEBRATE?

As we approach the bicentennial of the American Revolution we find ourselves in a paradoxical and embarrassing situation. A celebration of some kind certainly seems to be in order, but the urge to celebrate is not exactly overwhelming. Read more >>

The brothers were expected to perform an almost impossible task, subduing a people of the same flesh and blood and heritage.

Wars are more often lost than won, but in 1775 a man who predicted British defeat in the Revolution would have been taken for a fool. Read more >>

Rakehells, men of good will, adventurers, and bunglers were all in the glittering pageant when the Old World came to help out the New

Two great historic figures, men who have merged into myth, are almost the sole remains of the alliance between France and the revolutionary forces of America—Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin. And like most myths time has changed them, clothing the reality in a web of romance. Read more >>

Fifth in a series of painting for
AMERICAN HERITAGE

One of the ghastliest incidents of the Revolution took place at Groton, Connecticut, during the last engagement of the war in the north. Read more >>
In September a statue of Nathan Hale, martyr-patriot of the Revolution, is to be unveiled near the main entrance to the CIA headquarters in Washington. Read more >>

Credited with shouting “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” at Bunker Hill, he was perhaps the most experienced general in the American army. But “Old Put” was not without his faults.

In the early summer of 1775, when the time came to appoint major generals to serve with George Washington in the Continental Army, Congress voted unanimously that Israel Putnam was to be one of them. Read more >>
Crowds on both sides of the Atlantic shouted “Wilkes and Liberty!” after he was jailed and tossed out of Parliament for defending the rights of Colonists and the “middling and inferior sort of people who stand most in need of protection.”
Not many political martyrs are born to the part; more often they are cast in it by government officials who are stupid or self-righteous or both. Read more >>
At one point in the Battle of White Plains an American militiaman whose unit was temporarily not engaged with the enemy called out to a nearby civilian: “Who’s ahead?” The civilian, holding a small square object up to one ear, replied: “Oakland, 3 to 1.” Read more >>

Second in a series of paintings for
AMERICAN HERITAGE

Mid-October of 1776 found a badly beaten American army in full retreat from Manhattan Island into the forests and farmlands of Westchester County. Read more >>
Yorktown was not the end of the Revolutionary War. The Americans were to gain one victory more. Read more >>

“The damn rebels form well”

Clark’s career was like the passage of a meteor—a quick, fiery moment that lit up the heavens for all to see and wonder at, then vanishing in oblivion.

It is of a piece with the rest of the story that the portrait of George Rogers Clark which his son described as “a Masterpiece” was painted long after the events that made him famous, when he was in the throes of his final illness, embittered and forgotten. Read more >>
Common Sense was a bestseller and turned the tide of public feeling toward independence, but for its author fame was followed by ingratitude.
The whole history of America affords examples of men who fitted precisely the needs of a particular moment, only to be cast aside, forgotten or traduced when the tide of events they created or manipulated waned and time passed them by. Read more >>

Form the Journal of Comte Jean-Francois-Louis de Clermont-Crèvecoeur

To read Thomas Jones’s acerb History of New York during the Revolutionary War is to behold the outward man of the portrait—prim, carping, easily outraged, a nob who looks as though he had sniffed something odious. Read more >>
The British Prime Minister for most of the Revolution was fiercely loyal to King George, but had no stomach for war.
Given the necessities of the times, the prevailing mood of the country, and the configuration of political power in Great Britain, the selection of Frederick, Lord North, as prime minister to His Majesty George in was no surprise. Read more >>
When British dragoons captured this brilliant and ambitious general, it put an end to his ambition to replace Washington as commander-in-chief.
One acquaintance nicknamed him Naso, for the long beak that dominated his dark, pinched face. Mohawk warriors, with whom he lived during the French and Indian War, called him Ounewaterika, or “Boiling Water”—a name that only partially suggested his disposition. Read more >>

The key to control of Canada was a city whose defenders doubted they could hold out for long once the American Rebels attacked

Sixteen years after General James Wolfe’s famous assault on Quebec, the city was subjected to another siege—and another storming—that, though less celebrated, was vitally important to Americans in the early months oj their revolution. Read more >>

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. Read more >>

The British commander-in-chief at the beginning of the Revolution was popular and conscientious, but events were beyond his control.

On October 10, 1775, Lieutenant General Thomas Gage took his last salute as commander in chief of His Majesty’s forces in North America and the next day sailed for England aboard the transport Pallas . Read more >>
As the fourth ice age of the Pleistocene epoch receded some eleven thousand years ago, an almost impenetrable forest of oak, elm, birch, maple, and pine trees sprang up between the coast of New England and the shores of the Mississippi. Read more >>

Warren took the lead in creating the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Refusing to leave Boston like the other radical leaders, he died in the fighting on Breed's Hill in 1775

Personal charm and affability are traits not commonly issociated with revolutionaries, and rarely has an agent of social upheaval been held in such universal esteem by his contemporaries as was Dr. Joseph Warren. He seems to have been a man nearly everyone liked, and his qualities come down to us in those dignified adjectives of the eighteenth century—gentle, noble, generous. So it is difficult to know if it was because of these characteristics or in spite of them that he was one of a handful of provincials most feared by British officialdom. Read more >>

What was it like to actually be there in April, 1775?
This is how the participants, American and British, remembered it