As it it Twistification’s first Independence Day post, I thought I would start out dispelling a few of the more common myths and misunderstandings of the Revolutionary War.
- Despite what the header image of this site portrays, the founders were never in a single location while signing the Declaration of Independence. They were wanted men on the run. So it took even more courage to sign the document that basically guaranteed their ruin if the British won the war.
- George Washington crossed the Delaware river, defeated the Hessians, and was all downhill from there. George Washington’s victory over the Hessians in Trenton was a moral victory only–but a critical moral victory. The revolution was on the edge of collapse and another defeat would of sapped the revolutionary spirit and ended the war before it really began. The war slogged on for 8 years afterward, and the real tipping point was the victory at Saratoga and the subsequential French alliance.
- The war was mostly fought in the North. The British mounted a long southern campaign in that eventually wore them down and led to their defeat at Yorktown.
- The Star Spangled Banner was written during the Revolutionary War. Nope. The war of 1812. Come on, the British didn’t have rockets in 1776! Silly….
- The American’s won the war by using guerrilla tactics and taking cover while the British stood in the open. Certainly, skirmishing tactics were used in the war, particularly at Lexinton & Concord, but all the essential battles were fought using traditional 18th century tactics. Inaccuracy of the common musket forced soldiers to cluster together to effectively concentrate their fire. For more on this click here.
Now for some little known facts…
- Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both passed away on the same day, July 4th, 1826. Exactly 50 years after the ratification of the Declaration of Independence.
- Admiral Howe, commander of the British navy at the beginning of the war, made an effort to effect peace. Howe offered pardons to all but a particular list including John Adams (he and his cousin Samuel were to be hanged).
- Benedict Arnold’s leadership during the battle of Saratoga was essential for the Patriot victory. Without Benedict arnold, a French alliance may never of occurred.
- Without Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, it is very likely that the Patriots would never of been able to gain enough support to win the war. It is hard to understate the impact of this document. Up until this publication many American’s were riding the fence, unable to put together enough reasons to risk their lives for the Patriot cause.
Victory in the Revolutionary War was a far from certain thing. It took many acts of fortune and luck for things to fall the way they did. Our founders were risking their lives, along with the soldiers on the lines. Even more remarkable was the creation of a new republic founded on the Constitution, but I’ll save that for another post.
Everyone have a happy 4th and remember our Veterans and active servicemen.
April Cobb said:
Good stuff Peter, thank you!. Just to add, at the time Americans did not celebrate the Christmas holiday, but the Hessians did. While they were up late in the night celebrating, Washington and his army were quietly rowing across the river.
Good point! Which brings me to another myth- that the Hessians were drunk from celebrating and were unprepared. They were not. But they were simply worn out from being on guard day an night to defend against ambushes.
And If I remember correctly, James Monroe was one of the wounded in the battle that day.
Great collection of gems! Hope you had a happy 4th.
April Cobb said:
Thanks for the correction Peter. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read stating the Hessians had celebrated too much. I guess they were RONG! DOH! 🙂
Bill Bahr said:
Great blog! As far as the Adams being brothers, however, they weren’t; they were second cousins. And it looks like it was the Admiral Howe, not his brother, the General, who offered the pardons.
http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/signers/adams_s.htm and http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-89812413.html and
Regardless, very interesting. Thanks!
Thank you for the correction! I need the support of vigilant readers such as yourself to keep me in line Bill. Thanks for checking out the blog!