Kosciusko

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. He was Thaddeus Kosciusko (pronounced kôsh-chōōsh’kō), the illustrious veteran of the American and the Polish revolutions.Read more »

Men Of The Revolution: 14. John Hancock

Like Abou Ben Adhem, his name led all the rest. On the document proclaiming America’s independence it is inscribed boldly with flourishes, the mark of a confident, proud man; and the fact that it was written an inch longer than he customarily signed it gave rise to the legend that John Hancock had recorded his name large enough for George in to read without spectacles. Read more »

Saratoga

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 Christmas. Burgoyne’s plan was to bisect the colonies; Colonel Barry St. Leger would move east through the Mohawk Valley with seventeen hundred men, Howe would march north from New York, and Burgoyne would take his ninety-five hundred troops south to Albany, where he would meet with Howe and St. Leger.Read more »

Flamborough Head

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 . The battle that followed remains one of the most extraordinary single ship actions in history. The Richard had been a weary old French Indiaman, condemned for rot, when Jones took her over.Read more »

The Penobscot Fiasco

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. We had news of their coming, and when the fleet came in sight, uncle said, ‘there comes the devils.’ We started for home and when the fleet followed us up we knew it was them.” Read more »

Fort Washington

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. Mount Washington rises more than two hundred feet above the water on the Hudson River side, and it was here in July of 1776 that the Americans built a crude pentagonal earthwork that they dignified with the name Fort Washington. The tragic and ill-considered attempt to hold this position would result in the single greatest blow to American arms during the entire Revolution. Read more »

Lexington And Concord

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. For sixteen bloody miles the king’s troops got their first taste of a kind of fighting in which all their famous discipline and the terrible rolling volleys that could break armies in the formal patterns of continental warfare would avail them not at all. Read more »

The Most Successful Revolution

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. Though many will doubtless ascribe this mood to various dispiriting events of the recent past or to an acute public consciousness of present problems, I think this would be a superficial judgment.Read more »

Men Of The Revolution: 12. Richard And William Howe

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. The mightiest, richest empire since Rome, Great Britain ruled the seas unchallenged; there seemed no limit to the power and resources that could be brought to bear against the uprising across the Atlantic. Yet after seven years of fighting, England withdrew from the contest, yielded up its sovereignty over thirteen American provinces, and left its lonely monarch to contemplate the wreckage of his hopes.Read more »

The French Connection

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. The young Marquis de Lafayette, plunging ashore on North Island, South Carolina, is seen as the personification of those forces in France that yearned for liberty, for freedom from the oppressive hierarchical regime of an absolutist monarchy.Read more »