Visit Website Did you know? Now most famous as a traitor to the American cause, General Benedict Arnold began the Revolutionary War as one of its earliest heroes, helping lead rebel forces in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in May This First Continental Congress did not go so far as to demand independence from Britain, but it denounced taxation without representation, as well as the maintenance of the British army in the colonies without their consent, and issued a declaration of the rights due every citizen, including life, liberty, property, assembly and trial by jury.
The total number of the former provided by quotas from the states throughout the conflict wasmen, and the militias totaledAt any given time, however, the American forces seldom numbered over 20,; in there were only about 29, insurgents under arms throughout the country.
The war was therefore one fought by small field armies. Militias, poorly disciplined and with elected officers, were summoned for periods usually not exceeding three months. The terms of Continental Army service were only gradually increased from one to three years, and not even bounties and the offer of land kept the army up to strength.
Since it numbered only about 42, heavy recruiting programs were introduced. Many of the enlisted men were farm boys, as were most of the Americans.
Others were unemployed persons from the urban slums. Still others joined the army to escape fines or imprisonment. The great majority became efficient soldiers as a result of sound training and ferocious discipline.
The officers were drawn largely from the gentry and the aristocracy and obtained their commissions and promotions by purchase. Though they received no formal training, they were not so dependent on a book knowledge of military tactics as were many of the Americans.
British generals, however, tended toward a lack of imagination and initiativewhile those who demonstrated such qualities often were rash.
Because troops were few and conscription unknown, the British government, following a traditional policy, purchased about 30, troops from various German princes. The Lensgreve landgrave of Hesse furnished approximately three-fifths of that total.
Few acts by the crown roused so much antagonism in America as that use of foreign mercenaries. After the Boston Tea Party December 16,Parliament responded with the Intolerable Actsa series of punitive measures that were intended to cow the restive population into obedience.
Thomas Gagethe commander of all British troops in North America. William Legge, 2nd earl of Dartmouthsecretary of state for the colonies, advised Gage that American Revolution: Library of Congress, Washington, D. LC-USZC the violence committed by those, who have taken up arms in Massachusetts, have appeared to me as the acts of a rude rabble, without plan, without concert, without conduct.
From London, Dartmouth concluded that a small force now, if put to the test, would be able to conquer them, with greater probability of success, than might be expected of a larger army, if the people should be suffered to form themselves upon a more regular plan.
Gage, for his part, felt that no fewer than 20, troops would be adequate for such an endeavour, but he acted with the forces he had at hand.
Beginning in the late summer ofGage attempted to suppress the warlike preparations throughout New England by seizing stores of weapons and powder. Although the colonials were initially taken by surprise, they soon mobilized.
Groups such as the Sons of Liberty uncovered advance details of British actions, and Committees of Correspondence aided in the organization of countermeasures. The following day, several hundred men assembled and stormed the fort, capturing the six-man garrison, seizing a significant quantity of powder, and striking the British colours; a subsequent party removed the remaining cannons and small arms.
The trio were apprehended outside Lexington by a British patrol, but Prescott escaped custody and was able to continue on to Concord. Revere, PaulPaul Revere riding on the night of April 18,to warn Boston-area residents that the British were coming.
Some British troops spent the evening of April 18,forming ranks on Boston Common, with orders to seize the colonial armoury at Concord.
The lengthy public display ensured that Gage had lost any chance at secrecy, and by the time the force had been transported across the Charles River to Cambridge it was 2: The march to Lexington was an exercise in misery. It began in a swamp, and the British were forced to wade through brackish water that was, in places, waist deep.
By the time the soaked infantrymen arrived in Lexington at approximately 5: Officers on both sides ordered their men to hold their positions but not to fire their weapons. The colonial force evaporated, and the British moved on to Concord, where they were met with determined resistance from hundreds of militiamen.
Now outnumbered and running low on ammunition, the British column was forced to retire to Boston. On the return march, American snipers took a deadly toll on the British, and only the timely arrival of 1, reinforcements prevented the retreat from becoming a rout. Those killed and wounded at the Battles of Lexington and Concord numbered British and 95 Americans.
A line of minutemen being fired upon by British troops during the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts, April 19, Here is a brisk, accessible, and vivid introduction to arguably the most important event in the history of the United States--the American Revolution.
Today’s American political landscape can be quite a confusing and frightening place. The ideas of the Founding Fathers are commonly cited as the foundation of the nation. Introduction to the American Revolution (–).
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