Two brothers from Virginia signed the Declaration of
Independence ... Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot
Lee. Their cousin, Revolutionary War commander Henry
"Light-Horse Harry" Lee, was the father of Robert E.
uniforms during the Revolutionary War were blue (well, those who
actually had one). They were blue due to the fact that
indigo was the primary plant grown in the south, thus it was one
of the only colors the states had.
Betsy Ross' other
contribution to the American Revolution, besides the myth of
sewing the first American flag, was running a munitions factory in
George III vowed to keep fighting. When parliament demurred,
the King wrote a letter of abdication ... then withdrew it.
He tried to console himself with the thought that Washington would
become a dictator and make the Americans long for royal
rule. When he was told that Washington planned to resign his
commission, the monarch gasped, "If he does that, Sir, he will be
the greatest man in the world!"
By 1779, there were more
Americans fighting with the British than with Washington.
There were no less than 21 regiments (estimated to total 6,500 to
8,000 men) of Loyalists in the British army. Washington
reported a field army of 3,468. About a third of Americans opposed
There were women
in the Continental Army, even a few who saw combat! Probably
the best known is Mary Ludwig Hays, nicknamed "Molly
Pitcher." She replaced her wounded husband at his cannon
during the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. Another wife of an
artilleryman, Margaret Corbin, was badly wounded serving in her
husband's gun crew at the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776.
Thousands of other women served in Washington's army as cooks and
By 1779, as many as one
in seven Americans in Washington's army was black. At first,
Washington was hesitant about enlisting blacks. But when he
heard they had fought well at Bunker Hill, he changed his
mind. The all-black First Rhode Island Regiment ... composed
of 33 freed men and 92 slaves, who were promised freedom if they
served until the end of the war ... distinguished itself in the
Battle of Newport. Later, they were all but wiped out in a
The "first" man credited to be killed at the beginning of
the Revolution was a black man by the name of Crypus Attucks,
during the Boston Massacre.
submarine attack took place in New York Harbor in 1776. The
Connecticut inventor, David Bushnell, called his submarine "The
Turtle" because it resembled two large tortoise shells of equal
size joined together. The watertight hull was made of
6-inch-thick oak timbers coated with tar. On September 6,
1776, the Turtle targeted the HMS Eagle, flagship of the British
fleet. The submarine was supposed to secure a cask of
gunpowder to the hull of the Eagle and sneak away before it
exploded. Unfortunately, the Turtle got entangled with the
Eagle's rudder bar, lost ballast and surfaced before the gunpowder
could be planted.
In 1775, Franklin,
disgusted with the arrogance of the British and appalled by the
bloodshed at Lexington and Concord, wrote a Declaration of
Independence. Thomas Jefferson was enthusiastic. But,
he noted, many other delegates to the Continental Congress were
"revolted at it." It would take another year of bitter
conflict to persuade the Congress to vote for the Declaration of
Independence written by Jefferson ... with some astute editorial
suggestions by Franklin.
Everyone knows how 50 or
60 "Sons of Liberty," disguised as Mohawks, protested the 3-cents
per pound British tax on tea by dumping chests of the popular
drink into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773. Fewer know
that the improper Bostonians repeated the performance on March 7,
1774. The two tea parties cost the British around $3 million
in modern money.
A similar occurrence took place in New York Harbor, but the
Boston Tea Party resulted in serious consequences, while the
affair in New York has been nearly forgotten.
The Americans of 1776
had the highest standard of living and the lowest taxes in the
To support the
Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress chartered the Bank of
North America in Philadelphia as the nation's first "real" bank in
John Adams estimated
that at the time of the American Revolution, only a third of the
population supported the revolution, while an equal third
continued to support the British Crown. The remaining third
didn't much care either way. Almost as many colonists fought
on the side of the British as against them.
American Revolution, there was a strong effort by the colonists to
rename the pieces to Governor, General, Colonel, Major, Captain,
and Pioneer. A boy gave General Rahl of the British Army, a
note from a spy that George Washington was about to cross the
Delaware and attack. The general was so immersed in a chess
game that he put the note in his pocket unopened. There it
was found when he was mortally wounded in the subsequent battle.
On Paul Revere's famous
ride to warn Lexington and Concord that the British were coming,
he was detained by the British before reaching Concord. From
there, he had to walk back to Lexington on foot because the
British kept his horse.
Benedict Arnold was one
of Washington's favorite combat officers before coming to be known
as the most famous traitor in history. He was credited with
victories in Quebec, Saratoga, and dozens of other pivotal battles
in the American Revolution.