The Observant French Lieutenant

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

The Comte de Clermont-Crèvecoeur came to America in 1780 as a lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Artillery—a unit of Rochambeau ‘s army. The young French aristocrat spent three years here and recorded them all in a journal, now translated for the first time. He proved to be an eager observer—interested in everything, open-minded, usually friendly, and tending to sweeping, youthful generalizations. As well as reporting on military matters, he described houses, people, religious customs, and food.Read more »

Men Of The Revolution —vi—

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. When he began writing this record in 1783, Judge Jones was prepared to particularize his hates. He was less concerned by then with issues than with people, and he divided his cast of characters into two simple categories: good and bad.Read more »

Men Of The Revolution —v

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. In 1770, when the king was forced to call for a general election, he sought a man who would execute his policies and pull the government together, and he turned to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and eldest son of the first Earl of Guilford.Read more »

Men Of The Revolution: 4. Charles Lee

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. And during the first year of the Revolution certain members of the Continental Congress regarded him as the greatest general in the world—the officer who should have led the American army had he not been an Englishman.Read more »

The Siege Of Quebec, 1775–1776

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 »

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 »

Men Of The Revolution: 2. Thomas Gage

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 . As he wound up nearly two decades of dedicated service in the American colonies, almost no one saw him off; and after his arrival in London a fellow officer wrote of him as a “poor wretch [who] is scarcely thought of, he is below contempt …” while other countrymen joked about the possibility of hanging him.Read more »

Americans As Guerrilla Fighters: Robert Rogers And His Rangers

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. So fertile was the soil and so thick did the green canopy become that sunlight seldom penetrated to the forest floor, where ferocious beasts prowled and decaying tree trunks littered the primordial gloom. It was in this great arboreal cavern, stretching from Maine to Missouri, that Robert Rogers found himself at home.Read more »

Men Of The Revolution: 1. Dr. Joseph Warren

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.

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Voices Of Lexington And Concord

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

“When the regulars had arrived within eighty or one hundred rods, they, hearing our drum beat, halted, charged their guns, and doubled their ranks, and marched up at quick step.”
 

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