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Revolutionary War


Because so many of my ancestors fought in Americas "Revolutionary War",  I wanted to include a section dealing with some of the important things that happened during that period of time, as well as a look at some of the major battles that were fought.  

Here is a list of my G*** Grandfathers who fought in that war.  There may have been -  and probably were -  others who served, but these are the ones I know of...

John David Reneau Jesse Brimer Frederick Emert
Timothy Ragan Thomas Atchley Josiah Maples
John Mikesell Adam Fox Thomas Compton
William Smith Simon Wheeler Jacob Stevens
Jacob Stolts Jacob Mikesell John Smith
Alexander Standley Redmond McMahon Joshua Culver



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"Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in that field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me give me liberty or give me death!"

Patrick Henry



Revolutionary War Beginnings


The American Revolutionary War was the outgrowth of the colonists' desire not to be taxed without the right to representation in the Parliament of England. Following the French and Indian War, England needed to recoup some of the cost of the war from the colonists. To the British it only seemed fair that the Colonies pay a share for their own defense.

Britain resorted to the Stamp Act of 1765 as a means to raise money from the Colonies. This act resulted in outrage from the Colonies and led to rioting, rhetoric, and the formation of the Stamp Act Congress. These actions quickly led to the repeal of the Stamp Act; however, there were many new taxes levied to take its place. The Americans continued to object strongly to these new measures and formed organized political groups such as the Committee of Correspondence and the Sons of Liberty. "Taxation without representation is tyranny," quickly became the battle cry of the Colonies.

In Boston the Americans became quite outspoken and even resorted to violent acts against the British customs officials as they attempted to collect the unpopular taxes. Britain was forced to send troops to protect the customs officials. In the year of 1770 the first blood was drawn by the British as the troops opened fire into a group protesting the "unfair" taxes. Five members of the group were killed in what later became known as the Boston Massacre.

In1773 a group of citizens from the Boston area dressed as Mohawk Indians, boarded a ship, and dumped over 300 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor to protest the monopoly of the East India Company. Britain responded with the "Intolerable Acts." This document required that Colonists accused of this act would be tried in England and that the homes of Americans would be used to quarter the British troops. As a direct result of this act, the First Continental Congress was formed in 1774, and held its first meeting in Philadelphia's Carpenter's Hall. All twelve of the colonies sent representatives to seek a means to restore harmonious relations with England. Revolution was not the purpose of this meeting; however, radical thinking proved the victor as the acts of Parliament were declared unconstitutional. Taxes were not to be paid and the Colonies were warned to arm themselves.


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The Pre War Years

COLONIAL USA--This site has many interesting link to the founding of the nation, and early settlements.

The American Crisis by Thomas Paine --THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Prelude to Revolution --Timeline of events leading to the Revolution.

Revolutionary America--Rare Map Collection

The Birth of A Nation

"These are the times that try men's souls"

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

To Form a More Perfect Union--The Work of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention--Between 1774and 1789, thirteen colonies became a nation--the United States of America. In1774, Great Britain's North American colonies first came together to defend themselves against wrongs committed by their "mother country." By1789, these colonies had become independent states, joined by a new federal constitution into a single nation.

Documents from The Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention 1774--1789 --The Continental Congress Broadside Collection (253 titles) and the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection (21 titles) contain 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Most Broadsides are one page in length, others range from 1 to 28 pages.


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"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary

 safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Benjamin Franklin

Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms --In their Declaration they hold out the hope of reconciliation with England, but at the same time approve the use of armed resistance to obtain recognition of their rights. While it disavows all claims of independence, it insists Americans will die rather than yield to enslavement.

The Boston Massacre--In the few years preceding the American Revolution, the city of Boston was a powder keg just waiting to explode.


Battle of Lexington and Concord--On the 15th of April 1775, when General Thomas Gage, British Military Governor of Massachusetts, was ordered to destroy the rebel's military stores at Concord. To accomplish this he assembled the "Flanking units," including Light Infantry and Grenadiers, from his Boston Garrison. In charge he put Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and Marine Major John Pitcairn. He also composed a relief column under the command of Lord Hugh Percy to leave 6 hours after the main column. In an attempt at secrecy he did not tell his officers his plan until the last minute. The problem with his security measures were that Boston had become a glass fishbowl. All rebel eyes were watching to see the British's next action, and when the garrison committed to an action, the Americans knew their every move.

Lexington and Concord - The Shot Heard 'round the World --By the end of that day, the fortunes of war had changed. The crown had lost 273 men, three times as many as the colonies' loss of 95. Now that a significant number of men had died in battle, reconciliation was impossible. It was only a matter of time before most other colonies would also become independent representative democracies -- in Canada, India, South America, and Africa -- and that all the kings of the world would be deposed in favor of government by the people -- in France, England, Germany, Spain, Russia, and China.

The Battle of Lexington & Concord --The first engagement between the British and the Americans happened on April 19,1775, on the grassy fields of Massachusetts. General Thomas Gage ordered his men to take or destroy the American's supply of arms and ammunition stored in Concord. He also wanted John Hancock and Sam Adams, who were staying in Lexington, arrested.

George Washington: The Commander In Chief --As the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, the services and achievements of George Washington are unique in the world's history. He was much more than the Commander in Chief. He was the one necessary person, whose calm, unswerving, determined sense of patriotic duty to country, and ability put real backbone into the Revolution and kept it from collapsing or merging into a civil conflict, under the hardships and unexpected privations encountered during the eight years of war.

A Guardian - George Washington--Washington's first great feat was leading the rag-tag Continental army to victory over the powerful British expeditionary forces in the American colonies. To achieve such a stunning success, he had to hold his tiny army of volunteers together for eight desperate years, always under unbelievably harsh conditions.

The Battle of Bunker Hill--Many people call this the battle of Bunker Hill, but the fighting really took place on Breeds Hill, which is an adjoining hill. People may call it the Battle of Bunker Hill because it is the bigger of the two hills. Bunker Hill did playa roll in the battle though, the Americans retreated and regrouped at Bunker Hill.

The Battle of Bunker Hill--The Battle of Bunker Hill was an important and decisive battle in the Revolutionary War. Several important events contributed to this battle. Quite a few famous people were involved with this battle. The most important part is what affect it had on the outcome of the war and our history.

Bunker Hill-- June 17,1775--On the morning of June 17, 1775, Major General Mark Howe ferried 1,500 British soldiers across Boston Harbor on barges.

The Battle of Bunker Hill--The sun rose slowly over the city of Charlestown on June 17, 1775, waking the British soldiers from their sleep. The British were totally unaware of the fact that American troops were positioned on Breed's Hill and that there were cannons stationed on both Breed's and Bunker Hill. The Americans had spent all night marching from Cambridge to Charlestown, under the command of Colonel William Prescott. Their order was to capture Bunker and Breed's Hill and force British redcoats out of Charlestown.

King George III, Proclaims the Colonies to be in Open Rebellion --Whereas many of our subjects in divers parts of our Colonies and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and ill designing men, and forgetting the allegiance which they owe to the power that has protected and supported them; after various disorderly acts committed in disturbance of the publick peace, to the obstruction of lawful commerce, and to the oppression of our loyal subjects carrying on the same; have at length proceeded to open and avowed rebellion, by arraying themselves in a hostile manner, to withstand the execution of the law, and traitorously preparing, ordering and levying war against us.

Arnold Invades Quebec--It was early fall of1775. General George Washington had taken command of the rag-tag, bobtail state's militia camped around Boston, and was endeavoring to turn the "rabble" into an army. He and the Continental Congress made the decision to wrest Quebec and the St. Lawrence River from the British.

The Birth of the Navy of the United States --Friday,13 October 1775. The British North American colonies, from Maine to Georgia, were in open rebellion. In colonial capitals, Royal governments had been thrust out and revolutionary governments put in their places. A British army occupied Boston, besieged by an American army under George Washington. Another American army, under Richard Montgomery, was besieging Fort St. John's on its way to attempt to capture Quebec and Montreal, while Benedict Arnold led a force through the wilderness farther east against the same target.

GREATBRIDGE--In early November, Dunmore raised the King's Standard and called for all loyal subjects to help suppress the rebellion. He established martial law, freeing slaves, and enlisting everybody capable of bearing arms. By the middle of November, Dunmore's forces numbered about three hundred men. Norfolk was fortified and cannon were mounted on the entrenchments. Hundreds of newly emancipated slaves were put to work on the fortifications to hold back patriots until work could be finished. A detachment was sent to build a stockade fort near the tiny village of Great Bridge, almost twenty miles from Norfolk. There the British could block the main road between Virginia and North Carolina.

Siege of Boston 1775Siege of Boston 1775--The 55th's first action in the American Revolution was to be an attack on the Rebel-held fortifications overlooking Boston on Dorchester Heights.


Washington crossing the Delaware


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"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country" (Sept 22, 1776, before being executed as a spy by the British)

Nathan Hale (1755-1776)

DECLARING INDEPENDENCE: DRAFTING THE DOCUMENTS --Chronology Of Events: June 7, 1776 to January 18, 1777.

Resolution for Independence--The momentous decision of the Continental Congress to sever its ties to Great Britain came on July 2,1776, which is the date that John Adams thought should be celebrated by future generations. The Declaration of Independence, drafted mostly by Thomas Jefferson, and edited by his colleagues in the Continental Congress, was adopted2 days later.

The Declaration of Independence--Church bells rang out over Philadelphia on July 1776 ...signaling that the Declaration of Independence was approved and officially adopted by the Continental Congress.

NORFOLK--Dunmore then decided to strike back. On New Year's Day 1776, Norfolk was rocked by aseries of explosions. Around mid-afternoon, every vessel in Dunmore's squadron began "a severe cannonade" which lasted until two o'clock the next morning.

Moores Creek--February 27,1776--The 86.5 acre park commemorates the decisive February 27,1776 victory by 1,000 Patriots over1,600 Loyalists at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge. The battle ended Royal Governor Josiah Martin's hopes of regaining control of the colony for the British crown. In addition, this first decisive Patriot victory of the Revolutionary War raised morale for Patriots throughout the colonies.

Moore's Creek Bridge--Though the battle was a small one, the implications were large. The victory demonstrated the surprising patriot strength in the countryside, discouraged the growth of loyalist sentiment in the Carolinas, and spurred revolutionary feeling throughout the colonies.

The Declaration of Independence--July 4,1776 --The American Declaration of Independence has been celebrated and esteemed all over the world, but few people know the history of the document's authorship.

Washington's Campaigns of 1776--Washington first faced the army of Howe in the Battle of Long Island, 27 August 1776. At this battle, Howe was able to turn the American left flank and inflict severe casualties, nearly capturing Washington's entire army. Troubled by these developments, Washington nonetheless continued his efforts in New York.  He occupied Harlem Heights; and upriver he ordered the construction of Fort Washington and Fort Lee, positioned on opposite sides of the Hudson River.

The Battle of Brooklyn, August 1776 --When you think of American history, the cities of Philadelphia and Boston come to mind. Washington, D.C., and Williamsburg, Virginia, are always known for their popular history. We've all known how the Borough of Manhattan is saturated in American History as well. But Brooklyn has more than her own place in the story of America. The first major campaign between The Continental Army and His Majesty's Royal Army happened in Brooklyn, U.S.A. It is here where important historical landmarks resulted from The Battle of Brooklyn in Flat bush and Brooklyn Heights.

The Battle of Long Island--August 27,1776 --The Battle of Long Island took place on August 27,1776. The American outpost of Colonel Edward Hand sent word that the British were preparing to cross Long Island from Staten Island on August 22, at dawn. There were three frigates, the Phoenix, Rose, and Greyhound, and two bomb ketches named Carcass and Thunder, in Gravesend Bay. The frigates were anchored in the Namews.

The Battle for Long Island--The Battle of Long Island may well be the singular most important battle in American history.The events that took place on and around Long Island in late August,1776,represented a number of firsts to our newly declared country: This was the first real battle of the American Revolution (Lexington/Concord and Breed's Hill were fought before independence was declared on July 4, 1776). This was also the first battle of the American Revolution in which George Washington was in command, having been appointed commander-in-chief by Congress on June17, 1775.Long Island was also the first battle in which the newly formed Continental Army played a significant role, and was the first time since the outbreak of hostilities in 1774 where the British and Continental armies met on relatively open ground in formal lines of battle.

The Battle of Trenton--Christmas Day, 1776 --George Washington learned from the Battle of New York that the British Army could not be fought by conventional methods. The Battle of New York had caused great losses to Washington of both men and equipment. The British Army led by General William Howe was enormous and was backed up by the British Navy which controlled the Atlantic Ocean. Washington fled into the countryside away from the British Army and Navy. By now the army under Washington was only about 500 men. The rest of the his troops were in White Plains, and in Peekskill, New York. The troops under Washington were cold, hungry, and demoralized. Their enlistments were almost up. Washington needed a victory.

The Battle of Trenton--On Christmas night of1776, Washington and his army were huddled together in their camp by the Delaware River. Defeated and tired, they had retreated to Pennsylvania. The army of 6000 men dressed in rags were discouraged and weakened. Across the river in Trenton slept a small group of Hessians who were stationed to guard New Jersey. General Howe had sent a large percent of soldiers to Newport and New York, sensing the Americans were not strong enough to attack.

Drums Along The Mohawk--The American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley, NY.




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