Category: Interesting Facts


The Battle of Saratoga was a Military Turning Point, which shifted war in favor of the Americans. It all started with General Burgoyne. He had gone down south from Canada in campaigns to try take New York region and try to cut the Upper Colonies from the Southern ones: weakening Patriots drastically. This couldn’t happen as Americans Soldiers fought with all their hearts, and made the British fall into their trap at Saratoga. Patriots won this battle and in October 17, 1777 made general Burgoyne surrender their troops. This was the greatest Patriot victory yet, which greatly increased American soldiers’ spirit and which suggested Patriots had a chance to win the war.

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The Battle of Saratoga allowed and made French recognize Patriots’ independence. Since long ago, we could observe a France which secretly supplied weapons and ammunitions to Patriots. They were helping secretly because they didn’t want a show or create an open alliance; but now that they saw that the Patriots had an opportunity to win the war, they were willing to form an open alliance with them Americans against the British. France gladly welcomed the opportunity to even with British, and damage and weaken an old enemy. After Saratoga, French decided to negotiate a treaty in February 1778, with Americans. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson went in the American Delegation to negotiate and secure an Alliance with French. In February 6, the “Treaty of Alliance” is signed bringing many benefits to the Americans. Benjamin Franklin was a key figure during the negotiations and in winning France population’s support. He was praised by the French for showing himself as a humble and common American who loved French. French Navy would make a more even war. Joint operations of French and Americans failed miserably on the first years, but as the years passed, French and Americans improved in battle and their the greatest victory together would happened in 1781.

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The Battle of Saratoga and the alliance with French were critical and essential for winning the war. Without the French, Patriots would have surely lost. Some benefits of French alliance were that french provided supplies and ammunitions to British so that they could continue fighting; french provided volunteers, either soldier or generals, such as Marquis de Lafayette, a brilliant general who help trained patriots and provided military expertise to the Continental Army; French with their navy fought against British Navy; French protected British strategic points and finally that because of French, the war ended in 1781 with victory for the patriots (as well as french). As you can see the French were key elements in winning the war. Without them America would probably not exist today. The Battle of Saratoga and Treaty of Alliance are two things that should be known today about the Revolutionary war: for their importance and impact in history.

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In war there is a time for fighting, a time for thinking and even a time for resting, a time of temporary peace. When winter arrived in the revolutionary war, both the patriots and the British decided to stop fighting for a while, since mobilization of troops and fighting was much tougher when struggling to keep your body warm or walk on dense snow.
On the winter of 1777 and 1778, the patriot army had lost Philadelphia and needed a place to spend the winter. It had to be close enough to Philadelphia in order to have some intel on the British and prevent them from marching deeper into Pennsylvania, but not so close that British could risk a night raid on the Patriots while they were asleep.

Washington decided to make camp at Valley Forge, it was a optimum defensive spot for the Patriots. It was surrounded by mounts that provided a natural barrier and it had the Schuyilkill River to the North which was an obstacle for anyone who wanted to attack them. Besides having a very good geographical location for defending, it was 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia, it was close enough to send spies and gather intel and far enough for the British not to risk their troops on a march to attack the colonists.

Everything looks perfect up to this point, but the Continental army is going through very hard times. Out of the 10,000 man he has at his command, only 1/3 of the army possessed boots and coats to spend the winter. Many of the soldiers had to wrap up their feet using dead rat fur, and that was for the lucky ones who could find rats to kill. The rest of the soldiers walked barefooted on snow! If you haven’t touch snow in your bare skin entire life, let me tell you, it so cold, that it burns your skin. Now to that, add up the cold winds that blow and marching almost 10 hours a day. Some historians assure, that the Continental army left a trail of blood wherever they marched.

“We have this day no less than 2,873 men in camp, unfit for duty because they are barefooted and otherwise naked.” – George Washington

Not only that, supplies for food were scarce, the men would usually work tirelessly under the cold winter in order to build some cabin for them to spend the night, but they would do this starving. They received very few and inadequate supplies of meat and bread, luckily for the Continental army, the baking talents of general Christopher Ludwig helped them by providing them one pound of freshly baked bread a day, which was better than nothing. George Washington taking a look at the desperate situation in which his army stands, decides to write a letter to the Congress in which he explained that if circumstances didn’t improve he would be force to starve, disperse or dissolve the Continental army.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But still, it took some time for the letter to arrive, and patriots had to hold on. Horses were starting from starvation, and the soldiers were dying because of exposure of wounds to the outer environment, not only that but with all these factors of lack of hygiene, hunger and living overcrowded in one cabin made sickness ravage Valley Forge; typhoid, jaundice, dysentery, and pneumonia were among the many diseases that killed 2,500 men that winter.

After many attempts from Washington to make the Continental Congress send supplies, there was still no reply. The Congress had too much things to do throughout the whole territory. But a luckily sky heaven angels came to the rescue, and these angels were the women. Wives, daughters, sisters, nieces, mothers all of them provided help to this army in need. They help to nurse and treat them, sewing and making coats and clothing to the army, and gathering and cooking food for the exhausted soldiers. Some even disguised themselves as men and fought in the battles ahead.

“They were as sky heaven angels, that came to our aid in the most adequate moment… “- taken from a soldier’s diary

Not only did the army received this miraculous morale help, but the army received as well specialized training by the European general Baron Friedrich von Steuben. He taught them discipline, taught them organization while in battle and gave this farmers and merchants a top quality military training that would really prove to be useful when fighting the red coats in future battles.

Having no help or support at all from the Continental Congress, George Washington and his army were not only able to withstand the hardest of challenges that winter had against his weaken army, but they were able to improve their skills, increase their motivation for fighting, and were eager to fight the British when spring arrived, and their wishes will soon become true. After 6 months of having arrived to Valley Forge, word of the British leaving Philadelphia and moving north toward New York arrived, and George Washington went on their pursuit.
It is incredible that when you think about it, Washington was able to win such a great war against the best army in the world by those times, with an army of farmers and merchants; just because of the fact that he and his army were able to survive for one more day in that cold winter of 1777-1778. It is the little things, the ones who make up the huge difference in the end.

“There is a Destiny which has the control of our actions, not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of Human Nature.” – Mighty General George Washington

The American Revolution War is known for having lots of turns in the tides of war, lots of surprises, and lots of mistakes. But it is also known for being a war where many people who were not American nor British died fighting for a cause many of them, didn’t even know existed.
A very well known group of people that fought during this great war were the Hessians. German mercenary troopers that were hired by George the Third of England, to fight in the American Colonies. They were called Hessians for two reasons: One them being that, out of the 30,000 that fought in the American Revolution, a group of 12,000 soldiers came from Hesse-Cassel, German; all the others came from various German villages. The second reason was that the name “Hessians” was another word for saying “assassin”.

King George knew very well, that fighting in another continent would prove a challenge, since he would need to transport his entire army by ship and that would take months and months of organization and preparation, besides the costs for hiring and maintaing troops was very high by that time. It was cheaper to simply hire these people and give them food and a place to quarter them. The Hessians were paid with a very small salary. The majority of the money went to the prince who owned them, but the good side for the soldiers in this, was that they were allowed to stay with whatever they found while, they were looting a city or seizing a fort and the prince wouldn’t care one bit if the soldiers found an Aztec treasure. He just wanted his British coin for the hiring

And speaking about hiring, the Hessians were not hired as individuals as the slaves were. They were hire in regiments, or groups of soldiers which consisted on: jäger (infantry soldiers), hussars (calvary soldiers), three heavy artillery companies and four battalions of grenadiers. The jäger, by the way, were divided into three subcategories: for close quarter combat, the musketeers; for mid range combat, the fusiliers; and for long range shooting, the chasseurs (which are sharpshooters, or marksman).

Jaegers

Hussars

Artillery

Grenadier Battalions

The Hessians were present in almost every battle in theAmerican Revolution since their arrival in Staten Island, New York on August 15, 1776. They were used as garrison troops to protect conquered cities, in order to have more British troops available for fighting the Patriots in battle, but this strategy was not welcomed by many Americans. Even loyalists saw this as a very low move, by the British king. If he had the strongest army and navy in the world by that time, why was he hiring german speaking troops to fight for him in America? They saw this as a sign of weakness and overconfidence, and also hated the fact that Hessians had no respect for British or non-British civilians. All people who lived in America, but did not wore an army uniform was badly treated Hessian troopers and remember that one of the British acts, The Quartering Act of 1776, states that all civilians must give shelter and food to soldiers fighting under the crown’s orders, whether if they liked it or not, and Hessians WERE fighting under the crown’s orders. Many Americans and even loyalist turned to the Patriot side, when they saw themselves being ordered and even insulted in their own homes, by some foreigners who didn’t even speak the same language.

By the end of the war, as mentioned before, about 30,000 Hessian troopers fought in the American Revolution War, from which about 18,000 returned home, 5000 settled in North America, 6000 died because of illness or accidents, and only 1200 died fighting. And although the British lost the war, no one can deny that Hessians provided a precious aid to the British army, and judging by this statistics, they were also very well-trained soldiers just 1200 Hessians died in battle, compared to the almost 8000 troops Patriots lost while fighting. It was a good investment indeed, although in the end because of many tactical mistakes made by the British, the war was ultimately lost to the Patriots.

“He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny…” -Grievance taken from the Declaration of Independence

Patriots had finally declared independence, but still they had to win a hard and bloody war to see their long awaited independence become a reality. Patriot were not fighting against anyone; they were fighting against the British, the most powerful empire of that time who was also a leader in manufacturing ships and weapons. While colonists Population was starting to grow, British population was about four times greater, not to mention that not all colonists were patriots willing to fight for America in war: about 1/5 were loyalists who wouldn’t go against their mother empire; another fifth were slaves who most of them hated their Patriot masters and were appealed by loyalism; and many other colonists were neutral. Patriots and their army had many weakness but that would never stop them in fighting in deadly wars and in triumphing superiorly.

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As war began and raged on, we could observe that while British had an established and solid government, the patriots were starting to establish and solidify one, meaning that during war, they were not only struggling to win, but also to build a new government. This implied less organization and less support to the troops in the front lines. We also could observe that the the Continental Congress struggled to pay the cost of war. Patriots fighting required food, clothes and weapons to keep on fighting, and without money, they couldn’t possibly get all this. At least the congress found a solution that was printing their own money called “Continentals” in the colonies. This was a great a solution; but even though, it brought some other problems. The printing of their money caused inflation, so this new money then wasn’t worth much . Another problem was that not everyone would accept this money in purchases or trade because of the risk that if Patriots lost the war, the money would be worth nothing. The Continental Army as a result will suffer hunger and cold becoming drastically weakened, unlike the British army who had every supplied they needed, were well fed, and especially well trained. Continental or patriot soldiers were also somewhat disorganized, not to mention the fact that also vastly outnumbered.

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But even though patriots had all these weaknesses and harsh situations against them, they posses something that would make them ultimately triumph superiorly; they had an undeniable courage, willingness and commitment towards the war, a smart and incredible commander and their women. British since the beginning of war had misunderstood the conflict between them and patriots. They believe they are fighting in a traditional european war, against traditional european armies, who fight for a king for the purpose of gaining more land; but they are not. They are fighting instead in a revolutionary war, the first of its kind. Patriots are fighting for their liberty and are fighting for their own country, not for a king. They would never surrender, nor die without giving a fight. British thought that by capturing their major cities, ports, and defeating the continental army multiple of times, they would make them surrender; but they didn’t. British clearly didn’t understand the essence of war. The Patriots would also fight in a smarter way as seen in the battle of Bunker. Although they were few, they would hid behind stones, trees and shoot at the redcoats; unlike the redcoats who would march all together in open field, and try to win by shooting and standing in the middle of a field, barely making movements.

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One of the patriots greatest strength was Commander, George Washington. Washington’s leadership kept the patriots troops going. He had realized that to have a chance in the war, he must preserve his army and not loose all his men in major battles. George Washington would retreat in battles and would save his army for other battles. Washington was very cunning at retreating; he would do all the damage possibly to the opposing side, and once he started loosing men he would retreat. Because of this, many times George Washington was triumphant, and also save his army as well as the revolution. Another of George Washington great decisions was that he freed the local militia to help suppress the loyalists in the country side.

Finally we have the women or “The Daughters of Liberty”. Without them, life in the colonies would have become much more difficult than what is was, as well as soldiers couldn’t have succeed or even fought in war. Women would free their sons and husband for war. They would take care of the farms, small children, home; taking away any pressure or responsibility from the husband. They would also spend their time to elaborate the so needed and required blankets and boots for soldier. During the war, some women would even follow their men into the army. They would be paid to wash uniforms, clean camps; but some even masked as men, would fight as troops and help with cannons. Some of this women were Deborah Sampson and Mary Hays, better known as Molly Pitcher. She would bring water to the soldiers, but once during the famous battle of Monmouth, legend says her husband was killed, so she stood up and took his place at a cannon.

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Also we can consider patriot’s excellent politicians and prominent men as one of their strength. This men such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would help construct a better government as well help form alliances with other empires that would become the last key for Patriots to be able to win the war.

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As you can see, Patriots had many difficulties, but their strengths make us conclude that they are able to win a war, as we would see later on.

Finally the moment has come. Colonists had decided to declare Independence. It is a great moment, but before going any further, we’re going to explain how general opinion changed from people wanting to remain under British rule, to people desperately wanting an Independence from them.

The event that swung general opinion toward Independence was Thomas Paine book, “Common Sense” published in January 1776. It was a short but powerful book that expressed all the colonists ideas; ideas they had for many time longed to express but had never been able to. The language used in the book was simple, so that everyone could understand, and direct, straight, forceful. Paine mentioned the things directly as they were without trying to make them look better, without circularity. In his book, Paine proposed that colonists should declare Independence to Britain, that they should form a republican state government, and finally proposed the union of the new states. The reasons for this was that he said that King George III and the aristocrats were frauds and parasites. He wanted the common people to be able to elect all the governors and authorities, not just one third, and he hated the structure and rigid classes of England, where Noble classes smothered common people. Paine thought that with independence and a republican state government, people would be rewarded because of merit and not because of inheritance; the colonies would be able to decide for themselves and be able to trade with whomever they wanted, and also be able to make diplomatic decisions; and they would be free from the the tyrant’s clutches. In short time, Paine’s idea had build the like for independence, and shortly the congress decided it was time for Independence.

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It was a bright day, July 2nd, 1776. The Congress has decided and voted for independence and that now America should be free. The task of writing the declaration of Independence was given to Thomas Jefferson, and by July 4th, 1776, everything was set up. On this memorable day, 4th of July, Americas proudly declared independence. They were free from tyranny, free to make their new government, but above everything else free to prosper. But still, declaring independence was something, but achieving it was completely different. This would bring many difficulties to America, starting that no other country in America had ever won independence against an European country before.

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The Declaration of independence, as expected, drew upon many of Paine’s Ideas. It also was greatly influenced by the Enlightenment ideas. It expressed that all men are created equal and emphasized that men had three unalienable right that could never be taken away: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 56 men signed the declaration of Independence, the first one being John Hancock. It is a beautiful document and in the following paragraphs we are going to analyze it.

The declaration of Independence can be divided into three parts: The Preamble, the Grievances and the Independence or conclusion. The ideas expressed in the Preamble explain the unalienable rights of man as well how governments should really be. It introduces the topic of Independence, and in two paragraphs, it reflects the Enlightenment ideas that all men posses these unalienable rights which are life, property, and pursuit of happiness* that no one can’t ever take away. It states that a government is instituted to protect these rights, but if it fails to do so and is destructive to them, people have the right to change or abolish it. If a government is full of abuses and usurpations, it is people’s right to throw off such government and establish one that would protect their future. It states that the government of the present King of England, George III, has caused repeated injuries and usurpations, so it is necessary to alter the government and separate from it.

The document continues with facts of the king’s faults and usurpations. This part is the Grievances. The Grievances, as its name suggest, are primarily complains toward the king, parliament action’s, and things that shouldn’t be happening that are happening; which are making the colonists declare independence. In several points, there are many complains about the Intolerable acts, the Taxation without Representation, violation of rights and many other faults that have angered the colonists and made them look for the independence. The Grievances end by claiming they had tried redress and have petitioned it many times, but every time they were rejected. The King is a Tyrant and is unable to rule people.

The final part is the actual declaration of Independence and the conclusion. They claimed they had warned the British that their legislature was unfair, and that they have been disavow with their many usurpations; so therefore they must separate from them and remain neutral; enemies at war and friends at peace. Colonies should become independent states with no political connection with Britain. They shall be free to make diplomatic decisions and trade.

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A bright day has shun in the Colonies, with airs of hope and gusts of war. Patriots would fight to the end to see all this ideals become through and we’ll never stop to fight if someone threatens their liberty. The Declaration of Independence is finally been sign, and at the same time…. struggle and bloody war has been opened.

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Click here to find and read the declaration of independece.

Before war rages on and the violent strife for freedom in America begins, we are going talk to you about the Armies of the King, and The Armies of the Congress, a very interesting topic in the American Revolution.

 

King’s Army
In 1775, the British Army, known also as the King’s army, was one of the best in the world. In the past years they have already beaten the Spanish “superior” force and have also beaten the French, that even allied with the Indians, couldn’t defeat them. They were nickname “Redcoats” because of their red uniform jackets. The British Army came from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. They were also joined by thousands of blueish green-coated German Soldiers hired from the states of Hesse and Brunswick, and by the green coated Loyalists. A third of the American population remained loyal to Britain, and thousand of these Loyalist fought as king’s troops.

 

Congress’s Army
The congress’s Army, the American Revolutionary army, was made up of Continentals, which are regiments of soldiers raised by the Continental Congress. Because of this, the Congress’s Army is often referred to as the “Continental Army”. Civilian militia would often leave their homes to fight together with these army for the Revolution. Continentals usually wore blue or brown coats, and usually wore the old fashioned three- corner cocked hats, while riflemen and militia volunteers mostly wore civilian clothes or hunting shirts. The Continental infantryman was the heart of the Congress’s army, trained to stand firmly in rank during the heat of battle.

Weapons and Technology:
Both Continental and British infantry carried smoothbore muskets and used the same battle tactics: massed firing by ranks and charging with the bayonet. In one hand, we have the British who would produce grenades and would train elite grenadier companies for each of their regiments. In the other hand, we have the American artillery which was essential to the success of the revolutionary forces. Gunners were respected for their outstanding accuracy and skill, and helped win key battles in the revolution.

 

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“In defence of the freedom that is our birthright… We have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the agressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.” John Hancock

Question: The Midnight Ride

General Thomas Gage had secretly dispatched the troops towards Lexington and Concord. In a short time after they had been dispatched, the notice of the British Army marching toward Lexington was found out by some Colonists. Paul Revere was one of these colonists and he rode as fast as he could toward Lexington.

The horse was running as fast as it could run. The man was crying at the top of his voice:

“The British are coming! The British are coming!”

Or wait, was it “The Redcoats are coming”? Many history books present different versions of this story. Some claim that Paul Revere shouted that british were coming, others that the redcoats were coming, and some even claim that he shouted that the regulars were coming out. There are even some stories that say that Paul Revere was captured and didn’t reveal the message in time. Whatever the truth is, we want to know your opinion about this subject. Please comment and at the end we’ll see which story wins with the best arguments.

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