Richard M. Ketchum

A long-time editor with American Heritage, Richard M. Ketchum is the author of the Revolutionary War classics Decisive Day: The Battle of Bunker Hill; The Winter Soldiers: The Battles for Trenton and Princeton; the award-winning New York Times Notable Book Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War; and, most recently, Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York. Born in Pittsburgh, Ketchum served in the Navy during World War II. He lives in Vermont.

Articles by this Contributor

More than two decades before the Revolution broke out, a group of Americans voted on a scheme to unite the colonies. For the rest of his life, Benjamin Franklin thought it could have prevented the war. It didn’t—but it did give us our Constitution. Read >>
Seeking the truth of an event in the memories of the people who lived it can be a maddening task—and an exhilarating one Read >>
The bombs that fell that Sunday didn’t just knock out some battleships; they roused America into a new age. Here is how the long, unforgettable day unfolded. Read >>
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.” Read >>
The brothers were expected to perform an almost impossible task, subduing a people of the same flesh and blood and heritage. Read >>
He was Irish, but with neither the proverbial charm nor the luck. Generals are not much known for the former quality, but the latter, as Napoleon suggested, is one no successful commander can be without. And John Sullivan was an officer whom luck simply passed by. Read >>
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.” Read >>
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. Read >>
Courageous and resourceful, the Marquis was bred for better things than defeat at the hands of rebellious provincials. Read >>
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. Read >>
When British dragoons captured this brilliant and ambitious general, it put an end to his ambition to replace Washington as commander-in-chief. Read >>
The British Prime Minister for most of the Revolution was fiercely loyal to King George, but had no stomach for war. Read >>
Common Sense was a bestseller and turned the tide of public feeling toward independence, but for its author fame was followed by ingratitude. Read >>
Overcoming painful ailments, Greene emerged from the Revolution with a military reputation second only to that of George Washington. Read >>
A domino theory, distant wilderness warfare, the notion of “defensive enclaves,” hawks, doves, hired mercenaries, possible intervention by hostile powers, a Little trouble telling friendly natives from unfriendly—George III went through the whole routine Read >>
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 Read >>
The British commander-in-chief at the beginning of the Revolution was popular and conscientious, but events were beyond his control. Read >>
You are conducting secret peace talks with the enemy in the midst of an unpopular and interminable foreign war. The American field commander is throwing every obstacle in your path. Then, just as the talks are getting somewhere, the President orders you home. What do you do now? Read >>
On the site where Pierre L’Enfant once envisioned a pantheon, the nation’s heroes are being assembled in the form of a Read >>
Gravely ill, John C. Calhoun came to the Senate one last time to call for the South and North to part ways while still equals. Read >>
Sixty-five years before the bomb destroyed Hiroshima, a medicine man from Sf. Louis dreamed up a weapons system “so terrible and devastating” as to banish war forever. He would be, he modestly admitted, the savior of mankind Read >>

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