The American Revolution 1776-1786 Chapter 7, Out of Many
Key Topics • The major alignments and divisions among Americans during the American Revolution • Major military campaigns of the Revolution • The Articles of Confederation and the role of the Confederation Congress during the Revolutionary War • The states as the setting for significant political change
The War For Independence • Britain had the world’s best-equipped and most disciplined army and navy – BUT, underestimated the American capacity to fight! • Britain misperceived the sources of conflict. • Initially their objective was to simply defeat patriot opposition. • Geography: • The PATRIOTS had the ADVANTAGE of fighting on their own ground!
The KEY FACTOR in the outcome of the war for independence was the popular support for the American cause!
The Patriot Forces • Population of 350,000 eligible men. • More than 200,000 saw action. • No more than 25,000 fighting at one time. • More than 100,000 served in the Continental Army, under Washington’s command. • The rest served in Patriot militia companies.
Militias • Armed bodies of men drawn from local communities. • BUT – the war was NOT won by citizen soldiers or backcountry riflemen. • Early on, many Patriots believed that militias alone could win the war. • BUT – because men preferred to fight with their local communities/companies, this left a shortage in the Continental Army.
Patriot Forces: • The American Revolution had little in common with modern national liberation movements (guerilla warfare) • Washington wanted a force that could DIRECTLY ENGAGE WITH THE BRITISH. • His views conflicted with popular fears of STANDING ARMY. • Congress refused to invoke a draft or mandate army enlistments that exceeded 1 year.
Patriot Forces: • The early failings of the militia made Congress to respond by enlarging state quotas – And, by extending the term of service to 3 YEARS or the war’s duration. • To spur enlistment Congress: • Offered bounties • Regular wages • Promises of FREE LAND after victory. • BY THE SPRING OF 1777, Washington’s army had grown to nearly 9,000 men.
Discipline was essential in conflict with men at close range! • One Connecticut soldier wrote of the effects of cannon on his regiment: • “The ball first cut off the head of Smith, a stout heavy man, and dashed it open, then took Taylor across the bowels; it then struck Sergeant Garret of our company on the hip, took off the point of the hip bone.” He concluded: • “Oh! What a sight it was, to see within a distance of sic rods those men with their legs and arms and guns and packs all in a heap.”
A sergeant witnessed British troops slaughtering wounded Americans during the battles in New Jersey: “The men that were wounded in the thigh or leg, they dashed out their brains with their muskets and run them through with their bayonets, made them like sieves. This was barbarity to the utmost.”
According to the best estimates: • 25,324 American men died in the Revolutionary War. • Approximately 6,800 from wounds suffered in battle. • 8,000 from the effects of disease. • The rest POWs or MIAs. • The Continental Army suffered the heaviest casualties rates. • Sometimes approaching 40%! • The casualty rate was higher than in any other American conflict, except for the Civil War. • The war claimed few civilian lives – It was confined largely to direct engagements between armies. • The highest non-combatant casualties occurred in the backcountry and the South.
Army Mutinies: • The most serious incident occurred among the Pennsylvania Line in January, 1781. • Enlisted men killed 1 officer • Wounded 2 others • Marched to Philadelphia to ask congress to uphold their commitments. • As they marched, they were joined by British agents who encouraged them to go over to the king. • Enraged the mutineers hanged the agents and gave up their resistance. As angry as they were at Congress, they were AMERICANS FIRST and HATED THE BRITISH!
Patriot Forces: • More than 100,000 men from every state served in the Continental Army – which contributed to UNITY and NATIONAL COMMUNITY! ***That was ESSENTIAL to the process of NATION MAKING!***
Patriot Forces: • In most communities, Patriot Forces seized local governments and with war imminent they began pressing eligible men to serve in the Patriot Militia. In Farmington, Connecticut, in 1776, 18 men who failed to join the muster of the local militia were imprisoned “on suspicion of their being inimical to America.” Later told there was no such thing as remaining neutral. **Probably the most important role of the Patriot militias was to force even the most apathetic of Americans to CHOOSE SIDES under the close scrutiny of their neighbors!**
Women: • As men marched off to war, many women assumed the management of family, farms, and business. • Abigail Adams – ran the family farm and wrote politically charged letters to her husband, John. • Mercy Otis Warren – turned her home into a center of Patriot political activity and published a series of satires supporting the American cause and scorning the Loyalists.
Women: • Thousands of women volunteered to support the war effort by working as seamstresses, nurses, even spies! • It was common for women to travel with armies of both sides: • “Camp Followers” -- were prostitutes • Most women were wives, cooks, launderers, and nurses.
Women: • Women not only shared the hardships with the soldiers, they were present on the battlefields carrying water, food, and supplies to the soldier in the front lines. • Tales were later told of one “Molly Pitcher” a wife who took her husband’s place at the cannon when he was killed by shrapnel. • The Continental Congress later awarded a pension to Margaret Corbin – who was wounded while filling in for her mortally wounded husband. • In fact, many women won pensions for wounds suffered in battle!
The Patriot, 2000 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQQ9ySdQ5Qs (14 minutes)
Women: • Mary Hays McCauley, known to soldiers as “Sgt. McCauley” • Anna Maria Lane, wife of a Connecticut enlisted man, who “in the garb and with the courage of a soldier performed extraordinary military services and received a severe wound in the Battle of Germantown.” • It is estimated that several hundred women disguised themselves as men and enlisted. • Deborah Sampson, of Massachusetts – subject of a sensational biography after the war.
The Loyalists • Not all American’s were Patriots! • Many sat the fenced, confused by the conflict, and waiting for a clear turn in the tide of the struggle before declaring their allegiance. • Between ½ a MILLION to a MILLION people, remained LOYAL to the British Crown. • They called themselves, LOYALISTS. • The Patriots called them: TORIES – the popular name for conservatives in England – who supported the King over Parliament.
The Loyalists: • Some 2/3 of Loyalist were recent migrants to the colonies – born in England, Scotland, or Ireland. • Royal officeholders or Anglican clergymen, were dependent on the British government for their salaries. • Many Loyalists were of conservative temperament – fearful of political or social upheaval.
The Loyalists: • The Loyalists included members of ethnic minorities, who had been persecuted by the dominant majority, such as the Highland Scots of the Carolinas and western New York, and southern tenant farmers who had Patriot landlords. • Loyalists were nearly a majority in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. • An officer of the Continental Army claimed Pennsylvania to be “the enemy’s country.”
The Loyalists: • Patriots passed state treason acts that prohibited speaking or writing against the Revolution. • If a Loyalist refused to swear allegiance to the Patriot cause – they lost their civil rights as well as their property. • In some areas Loyalists faced mob-violence. • A favorite punishment was the “grand Tory ride” • A victim was hauled through the streets astride a sharp fence rail. – Men would be striped to the buff, tarred, and feathered.
Benedict Arnold • Most infamous supporter of the British cause. • Name has become synonymous with TREASON in the United States. (Description on page 206, last paragraph in Textbook)
The British Strategy…. • Depended on mobilizing the Loyalists. • 50,000 Loyalists fought for the king during the Revolution. • Many joined Loyalist militias or engaged in irregular warfare, especially in the Lower South. • In 1780, while Washington had 9,000 troops – The British had 8,000 American Loyalists serving in their army.
The Loyalist (after the war): • As many as 80,000 Loyalists fled the country during and after the Revolution. • Many went to England or the British West Indies. • The largest number settled in Canada – Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. • Loyalist property was confiscated and sold at public auction.
Former governor Thomas Hutchinson, Mass. “I’d rather die in a little country farm-house in New England than in the best nobleman’s seat in old England.”
The Loyalists: • Despite their disagreement with the Patriots on essential political questions, they remained Americans – and they mourned the loss of their country.
Who did the Indians side with? • Mostly with the English – believed to be a sure bet to win. • Mohawk chief Joseph Brant and other key chiefs convince thousands of Iroquois, Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, and other warriors to join forces the British • Conducted independent raids on American arsenals and settlements along the western frontier. • After the war the Americans felt justified in taking land from natives.
New York & New Jersey: • During the winter of 1775-76 – the British developed a strategic plan for war. • Sir William Howe was to take the British Army to NYC. • Howe was to drive north along the Hudson River – while another British army marched south from Canada. • In Albany, the two armies would converge – cutting New England off from the rest of the colonies.
New York & New Jersey: • Washington had arrived in Boston during the summer of 1775 and anticipated this strategy. • In the spring of 1776, he shifted his forces southward toward NY. • In July, 1776 – Congress was taking its final vote on the Declaration of Independence. • At the same time, the British landed 32,000 troops in NYC. • The Americans set up forts in Brooklyn. • Attacking in August, the British inflicted heavy casualties on Washington’s troops. • The Battle of Long Island was a disaster for the Patriots.