Military history

NOTES

KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS

Titles

AA

Peter Force, ed., American Archives, 9 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1833–53)

AFC

Lyman H. Butterfield et al., eds., Adams Family Correspondence, 9 vols. to date (Cambridge, Mass., 1963–)

AP

Robert J. Taylor et al., eds., The Papers of John Adams, 11 vols. to date (Cambridge, Mass., 1983–)

DA

Lyman H. Butterfield et al., eds., The Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 4 vols. (Cambridge, Mass., 1961)

FP

William B. Willcox et al., eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, 28 vols. to date (New Haven, 1959–)

GP

Richard K. Showman et al., eds., The Papers of General Nathanael Greene, 7 vols. to date (Chapel Hill, 1976–)

JCC

Worthington C. Ford, ed., The Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, 34 vols. (Washington, D.C. 1904–37)

JP

Julian Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 28 vols. to date (Princeton, 1950–)

LA

Library of America, The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence (New York, 2001), selections and notes by John Rhodehamel

LDC

Paul H. Smith et al., eds., Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789, 26 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1976–2000)

PH

T. C. Hammond, ed., The Parliamentary History of England, 30 vols. (London, 1806–20)

PWR

W. W. Abbott, Dorothy Twohig, and Philander Chase, eds., The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, 12 vols. to date (Charlottesville, 1985–)

WMQ

William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series

Persons

AA

Abigail Adams

BF

Benjamin Franklin

GW

George Washington

JA

John Adams

NG

Nathanael Greene

TJ

Thomas Jefferson

PREFACE

  1. See my American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic (New York, 2007), 38–44, for the argument that delaying the full promise of republican principles was essential in achieving independence.

  2. See Don Higginbotham, War and Society in Revolutionary America: The Wider Dimensions of the Conflict (Columbia, 1988), 153–73, for the impact of the Vietnam War on our understanding of the dilemma facing the British Army in 1776.

1. PRUDENCE DICTATES

  1. This synthesis of the early months of the war is taken from multiple accounts, especially from the following: Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life (New York, 2010), 181–205; Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington (New York, 2004), 73–92; David McCullough, 1776 (New York, 2005), 3–92; and Michael Stephenson, Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought (New York, 2007), 211–29. The quotation is from AA to JA, 16 March 1776, AFC 1:358.

  2. Jack N. Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress (New York, 1979), 91–92.

  3. Merrill D. Peterson, ed., The Portable Jefferson (New York, 1977), 235–36.

  4. GW to John Augustine Washington, 31 May 1776, PWR 4:412–13.

  5. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Oxford, 1765), 1:49. For a synthesis of the constitutional argument, see Gordon S. Wood, “The Problem of Sovereignty,” WMQ 68 (October 2011), 572–77.

  6. PH 18:149–59, for Pitt’s speech on 20 January 1775.

  7. Ibid., 18:233, 263, 304, 335.

  8. The best analysis of the moderate mentality in the middle colonies is Jack Rakove, Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America (Boston and New York, 2010), 71–111.

  9. On Dickinson’s life and thoughts, see Jane Calvert, Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson (New York, 2009).

10. John Dickinson, Notes for a Speech in Congress, 23–25 May 1775, LDC 1:378.

11. The clearest expression of the Dickinsonian solution came in an address that Dickinson coauthored with Thomas Jefferson in the summer of 1775 titled Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms, available in JP 1:213–19.

12. See, for example, Robert G. Parkinson, “War and the Imperative of Union,” WMQ 68 (October 2011), 631–34.

13. JA to James Warren, 24 July 1775, AP 3:89–93.

14. For Adams’s latter-day recollections on who deserved credit for producing the break with the British Empire, see Joseph J. Ellis, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (New York, 1993), 53–83.

15. McCullough, 1776, 3–12; JA to John Trumbull, 13 February 1776, AP 4:22. For George III’s crucial role in forcing a military response to the American protests, see Alexander Jackson O’Shaughnessy, “ ‘If Others Will Not Be Active, I Must Drive’: George III and the American Revolution,” Early American Studies 3 (Spring 2004), 1–46.

16. Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (New York, 1976). See also Harvey J. Kaye, Thomas Paine and the Promise of America (New York, 2005).

17. The authoritative biography of Paine is John Keane, Tom Paine: A Political Life (Boston, 1995). The Adams quotation is from JA to William Tudor, 12 April 1776, AP 4:118.

18. JA to AA, 19 March 1776, AFC 1:363.

19. For the “raging bulls” reference, see DA 1:33. I am drawing here and below on my own work on Adams, chiefly Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (New York, 1993) and First Family: Abigail and John Adams (New York, 2010). There are also four distinguished biographies: Page Smith, John Adams, 2 vols. (New York, 1962); Peter Shaw, The Character of John Adams: A Life (Chapel Hill, 1976); John Ferling, John Adams: A Life (Knoxville, 1995); and David McCullough, John Adams (New York, 2001).

20. See editorial note, AFC 1:136–37.

21. For the Ciceronian pose, see DA 1:63, 95.

22. JA to James Warren, 18 May 1776, AP 4:192; JA to Moses Gill, 10 June 1775, AP 3:21; JA to AA, 17 June 1775, AFC 1:216.

23. JA to James Warren, 22 April 1776, AP 4:135.

24. JA to Mercy Otis Warren, 16 April 1776, AP 4:124.

25. AA to JA, 27 November 1775, AFC 1:310.

26. JA to John Winthrop, 12 May 1776, AP 4:183–84.

27. See editorial note, AP 4:65–73.

28. My interpretation of Thoughts has been shaped by Edmund S. Morgan, Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America (New York, 1988).

29. JA to James Warren, 15 May 1776, AP 4:186.

30. Ibid., 4:185.

31. JA to AA, 17 May 1776, AFC 1:410. See as well AP 4:93, from the preface to Thoughts, where Adams also dramatizes the historical significance of his role.

32. JA to Horatio Gates, 23 March 1776, AP 4:58–60, for Adams’s conviction that George III had, in effect, declared war on the American colonies.

33. Adams believed, correctly it turned out, that the resolution of May 15 was an implicit call for a referendum on independence. What he feared was that the debates in the colonial legislatures would not be confined to that core question but would spin out of control and in the process undermine the consensus he considered crucial.

34. Unknown to JA, 9 June 1775, AP 3:18–19; “Humanity” to JA, 23 January 1776, AP 3:411.

35. AA to JA, 31 March 1776, AFC 1:370.

36. JA to AA, 14 April 1776, AFC 1:382; AA to JA, 7 May 1776, AFC 1:402. In the effort to find some kind of common ground, they eventually agreed that women should be better educated in the new American republic, in order to instruct the next generation of American leaders. See AA to JA, 14 August 1776; JA to AA, 25 August 1776,AFC2:94, 108.

37. Pennsylvania Evening Post, 14 March 1776. On the role of Philadelphia artisans and mechanics in Pennsylvania politics at this propitious moment, see Richard Alan Ryerson, The Revolution Is Now Begun: The Radical Committees of Philadelphia, 1765–1776 (Philadelphia, 1778).

38. James Sullivan to JA, 12 April 1776, AP 4:212–13.

39. JA to James Sullivan, 26 May 1776, AP 4:208–12.

2. OF ARMS AND MEN

  1. For a succinct but stirring account of the battle, including Warren’s fall, see Michael Stephenson, Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought (New York, 2007), 211–21. The most recent and comprehensive study of Bunker Hill is Paul Lockhart, The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington (New York, 2011). For the desecration of Warren’s body, see Benjamin Hichborn to JA, 25 November 1775, AP 3:323.

  2. A lengthier analysis of Washington’s selection as commander in chief of the Continental Army is in Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington (New York, 2004), 68–72. Adams was joking about the relevance of Washington’s height, but the joke contained a kernel of truth. First impressions of Washington were almost always responses to his physical impressiveness.

  3. John Hancock to GW, 2 April 1776, PWR 4:16–17; for the Harvard degree, PWR 4:23; for the medal, JCC 4:248–49; for the same kind of lavish praise from the Massachusetts General Court, PWR 3:555–57.

  4. The best study of Washington’s capacity to embody multiple versions of the American Revolution is Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol (New York, 1987). My understanding of Washington is based on a reading of the Washington Papers and additional research for His Excellency. Among the multiple biographies, three stand out: Marcus Cunliffe, George Washington: Man and Monument (Boston, 1958); Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington (Charlottesville, 2006); and Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life (New York, 2010).

  5. GW to John Hancock, 9 February 1776, PWR 3:275.

  6. The seminal work on the Continental Army is Charles Royster, A Revolutionary People at War: The Continental Army and the American Character (Chapel Hill, 1979). See also Robert K. Wright, The Continental Army (Washington, D.C., 1983).

  7. T. H. Breen, American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People (New York, 2010).

  8. GW to Joseph Reed, 14 January 1776, PWR 3:89.

  9. GW to Joseph Reed, 1 February 1776, PWR 3:237–38.

10. General Orders, 12 November 1775, PWR 2:353.

11. On the dying “spirit of ’76,” see Joseph J. Ellis, American Creation (New York, 2007), 20–57. On the “Norman Rockwell moments,” see Stephenson, Patriot Battles, 15.

12. John R. Alden, General Charles Lee: Traitor or Patriot? (Baton Rouge, 1951), remains the standard biography. Lee’s letters to Washington during the Boston Siege, which are sprinkled throughout PWR 3, contain multiple examples of his colorful eccentricities, as well as a less formal attitude toward Washington, whom he usually addressed as “my dear general.”

13. Terry Golway, Washington’s General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution (New York, 2005).

14. Mark Puls, Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution (New York, 2008).

15. JA to GW, January 1776, PWR 3:36–37; Charles Lee to GW, 5 January 1776, PWR 3:30; Charles Lee to GW, 16 February 1776, PWR 4:339–41.

16. Barnet Schecter, The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution (New York, 2002), 82–87, for the tactical problems posed by New York. See also the little classic by Bruce Bliven, Battle for Manhattan (New York, 1955), 9–12.

17. Stephenson, Patriotic Battles, 231–32, for the most recent estimate of the British invasion force; see also Schecter, Battle for New York, chap. 5, for a more detailed description of how the men and ships were assembled.

18. Quoted in Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775–1783 (Cambridge, Mass., 1964), 55.

19. Ibid., 50–55; see also Gerald S. Brown, The American Secretary: The Colonial Policy of Lord George Germain, 1775–1778 (Ann Arbor, 1963), and Stanley Weintraub, Iron Tears: America’s Battle for Freedom, Britain’s Quagmire, 1775–1783 (New York, 2003), 26–44.

20. Mackesey, War for America, 56–70. David Hackett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing (New York, 2004), 73–78, also provides a succinct overview of Germain’s Hudson-corridor strategy. This strategy failed spectacularly a year later because Howe, for reasons that will forever remain mysterious, chose to attack Philadelphia rather than move up the Hudson, and Burgoyne’s army, coming down from Ticonderoga, was forced to surrender at Saratoga.

21. Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (New York, 1972), remains the authoritative source. See also Troyer S. Anderson, The Command of the Howe Brothers During the American Revolution (New York, 1936), and Kevin Phillips, The Cousins’ War (New York, 1999), which emphasizes the American sympathies of the Howe brothers.

22. This sketch is heavily indebted to the above-mentioned works by Gruber and Anderson; see also the thoughtful essay by Maldwyn Jones in George A. Billias, ed., George Washington’s Opponents: British Generals and Admirals in the American Revolution (New York, 1969), 39–72. On the seductive charms of Elizabeth Loring, see the long note in Schecter, Battle for New York, 403–4, and the reliably savvy account in Fischer, Washington’s Crossing, 72–73. On the lasting influence of Bunker Hill on Howe’s thinking, see Henry Lee, Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1812), 1:55, where Charles Lee recalls that “the sad and impressive experience of this murderous day [Bunker Hill] sunk deep into the mind of Sir William Howe; and it seems to have had its influence upon all his subsequent operations with decisive control.”

23. William Howe to Lord George Germain, 26 April 1776, quoted in Anderson, Command of the Howe Brothers, 120; see also William Howe to Lord George Germain, 23 April 1776, ibid., 118–20, where Howe worries that his biggest challenge will be to lure Washington into a fight.

24. See Ellis, His Excellency, 89–93, for my summary of the strategic options discussed by the senior officers outside Boston during the siege.

25. GW to John Hancock, 5 May 1776, PWR 4:210.

26. See General Orders, 22 May 1776, PWR 4:396, for the official description of the fortifications. Lee’s original plan made no mention of Bunker Hill, but my point here is that his defensive scheme implicitly acknowledged that actually preventing the capture of New York was tactically impossible.

27. On Alexander, or Lord Stirling, see GP 1:216; on Greene’s feverish effort to fortify Brooklyn Heights, see GP 1:231, which provides a good map.

28. NG to Christopher Green, 7 June 1776, GP 1:232–33.

29. General Orders, 14 April 1776, PWR 4:59.

30. For a description of the numerous prostitutes, see Edward Bangs, ed., Journal of Lt. Isaac Bangs (New York, 1890; reprint, 1968). See also General Orders, 27 April 1776, PWR 4:140–42, for the public punishment of the regiment that pulled down the houses.

31. GW to John Hancock, 25–26 April 1776, PWR 4:128. The Canadian drain left Washington with 10,192 rank and file, 596 officers, 78 staff officers, and 881 noncommissioned officers, of whom nearly 20 percent were not fit for duty, mostly because of dysentery as a consequence of contaminated water. He estimated that this was about half of what he needed to oppose Howe successfully. And his estimate of Howe’s invasion force proved low by more than 10,000 troops.

32. GW to John Augustine Washington, 31 May–4 June 1776, PWR 6:413.

33. See John Hancock to GW, 21 May 1776, PWR 4:352–53, for Martha’s inoculation, which occurred in Thomas Jefferson’s lodgings on Chestnut Street. See Philip Schuyler to GW, 13 May 1776, PWR 4:291–92, for news of the Quebec defeat. See Message from the Six Nations, 16 May 1776, PWR 4:319–20, requesting “a Dram [of liquor] in the Morning & in the Eveng.”

34. Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (New York, 1997), 37–41, is the best account of the process leading up to the drafting of the document.

35. GW to John Augustine Washington, 31 May–4 June 1776, PWR 4:412.

36. See John Hancock to GW, 14 June 1776, PWR 4:525–26, for the creation of the Board of War and Ordnance. See JA to NG, 22 June 1776, GP 238–40, for Adams’s expression of incompetence.

37. NG to JA, 2 June 1776, GP 226.

38. GW to John Hancock, 10 July 1776, PWR 5:260.

39. See John Hancock to GW, 11 June 1776, PWR 4:499, for the additional militia deployments. See General Order, 3 June 1776, GP 1:227–28, for a special unit of 200 officers and men to round up the loyalists on Long Island. See JCC 4:406–7, for the new obstacles in the Hudson and East rivers.

40. General Orders, 6 June 1776, PWR 4:445.

3. DOGS THAT DID NOT BARK

  1. The ships and troops represent my distillation from Bruce Bliven, Under the Guns: New York, 1775–1776 (New York, 1972), 328; Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (New York, 1972), 72–88; and Barnet Schecter, The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution (New York, 2002), 95–111.

  2. Quoted in Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (New York, 1997), 59. Maier was the first modern historian to call attention to “the other declarations,” by which she means the resolutions and petitions generated throughout the colonies in response to the May 15 resolution by the Continental Congress. See ibid., 47–96.

  3. An excellent synthesis of the petition tradition in English history, which began with Magna Carta, is ibid., 50–55.

  4. Ashby, Middlesex County, 1 July 1776, AA 6:706

  5. Town of Boston, 23 May 1776, AA 6:556–57.

  6. Topsfield, Essex County, 21 June 1776, AA 6:703–4.

  7. Town of Malden, 27 May 1776, AA 6:602–3. The only Massachusetts town to reject independence was Barnstable, though the dissenters were barely outvoted and their minority opinion was much longer and more passionate. See AA 6:706.

  8. Virginia in Convention, 15 May 1776, AA 6:461–62.

  9. See, for example, the resolution from Buckingham County, 21 May 1776, AA 5:1206–8.

10. Maier, American Scripture, 64–68, gives a clear account of the political contexts in Pennsylvania and New York.

11. Memorial, City of Philadelphia, 25 May 1776, AA 6:560–61; Proceedings of the Provincial Conference … of Philadelphia, 18–25 June 1776, AA 6:951–57. For the role of the radical mechanics in Philadelphia politics, see Richard A. Ryerson, The Revolution Is Now Begun: The Radical Committees of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1978).

12. See “The Humble Address of the General Committee of Mechanics,” 29 May 1776, AA 6:614–15, which also includes the reply from the provincial congress. See John Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence: Its History (New York, 1906), 181–86, for the tardy New York vote.

13. Topsfield, Essex County, 21 June 1776, AA 6:704.

14. JA to John Hughes, 4 June 1776, AP 4:238–39.

15. JA to Patrick Henry, 3 June 1776, AP 4:234–35.

16. JA to AA, 2 June 1776, AFC 2:3.

17. JA to William Cushing, 9 June 1776, AP 4:245.

18. See, for example, Adams’s work on the Board of War and Ordnance, AP 4:253–59, and the Plan of Treaties, AP 4:260–78. More on this in Chapter 5.

19. See JCC 5:428–29, for the delay of a vote until 1 July. See editorial note, AP 4:341–44, for the creation of the draft committee.

20. Maier, American Scripture, 41–46, is the most comprehensive and recent account. But this is sacred ground, and several generations of historians have told the story of the Declaration with considerable distinction and influenced my account here and below. See especially Carl Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas (New York, 1922); Julian Boyd, The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text (Princeton, 1945); and Gary Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (New York, 1968). My own earlier effort is in American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1998), 46–59. I have also edited an anthology of the different interpretations, What Did the Declaration Declare? (Boston and New York, 1999).

21. TJ to Thomas Nelson, 16 May 1776, JP 1:292.

22. Ellis, American Sphinx, 24–26.

23. Ibid., 29–36.

24. TJ to James Madison, 30 August 1823, TJ to Henry Lee, 8 May 1825, quoted in editorial note, JP 1:415. See JP 1:413–33, for Julian Boyd’s long note on the multiple drafts of the document. Maier, American Scripture, 99–105, is also excellent on this score.

25. Edmund Pendleton to TJ, 22 July 1776, JP 1:471.

26. See DA 3:336, for the Adams recollection.

27. See DA 3:396–97, for Adams’s autobiographical account of the speeches on 1 July 1776.

28. Maier, American Scripture, 97–153, makes the longest and strongest case for seeing the delegates as coauthors of the Declaration based on their extensive revisions.

29. Ibid., 236–41, reproduces the revised Jefferson draft in which all the revisions and deletions are shown. All quotations are taken from this accessible version of the text. A slightly different version that also italicizes the deleted sections of Jefferson’s draft is conveniently available in Merrill Peterson, ed., The Portable Jefferson (New York, 1977), 235–41.

30. See H. Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, 1965), 158–84, for Jefferson’s “expatriation” and the Saxon myth.

31. See Ellis, American Sphinx, 52–53, for my treatment of this sentimental passage, which despite its deletion accurately captured the mood of many ordinary Americans. There was a potent sentimental streak in Jefferson, and the historian who has best captured it is Andrew Burstein, The Inner Jefferson: Portrait of a Grieving Optimist(Charlottesville, 2000).

32. Maier, American Scripture, 236.

33. Lincoln quoted in Ellis, American Sphinx, 54.

34. For the rest of his long life, Jefferson was obsessed with preserving his original draft of the Declaration, convinced that it was vastly superior to the official version edited by the congress. See Richard Henry Lee to TJ, 21 July 1776, JP 1:471, for Lee’s attempt to empathize with Jefferson, wishing that “the Manuscript had not been mangled as it is.”

35. Bliven, Under the Guns, 318–19.

36. General Orders, 2 July 1776, PWR 5:180.

4. ETC., ETC., ETC.

  1. See Sylvia R. Frey, The British Soldier in America: A Social History of Military Life in the Revolutionary Period (Austin, 1981), 37–38, for the casualty rate during the voyage; and Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775–1782 (New York, 2001).

  2. Journal of Ambrose Serle, 12–23 July 1776, LA 147–48.

  3. See Stanley Weintraub, Iron Tears: America’s Battle for Freedom, Britain’s Quagmire, 1775–1783 (New York, 2003), 65, for the quotation.

  4. See David McCullough, 1776 (New York, 2005), 142, for the quotation.

  5. Frey, British Soldier in America, 20–26.

  6. NG to Jacob Greene, 28 September 1776, GP 1:303–4. See also Matthew H. Spring, With Zeal and with Bayonets Only: The British Army on Campaign in North America (Norman, 2008), which argues that most of Howe’s army had only limited combat experience.

  7. John Hancock to GW, 6 July 1776, PWR 5:219.

  8. See editorial note, PWR 5:247; Journal of Isaac Bangs, 10 July 1776, LA 132–33, for the reading of the Declaration. See Weintraub, Iron Tears, 70–71, for the “melted majesty” quotation. See General Orders, 10 July 1776, PWR 5:256, for Washington’s reprimand.

  9. NG to GW, 5 July 1776, PWR 5:212.

10. GW to John Hancock, 4 July 1776, PWR 5:200.

11. See PWR 5:350–62, for the multiple letters on the northern campaign.

12. Council of War, 12 July 1776, PWR 5:280.

13. GW to John Hancock, 12 July 1776, PWR 5:283–85; NG to GW, 14 July 1776, GP 1:253–56.

14. Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier (New York, 2001), 17–18.

15. General Orders, 13 July 1776, PWR 5:290.

16. Pennsylvania Committee of Safety to GW, 11 July 1776, PWR 5:271–73; editorial note, PWR 5:569 and Thomas Mifflin to GW, 6 August 1776, PWR 5:580–81, for the sunken ships; Benjamin Franklin to GW, 22 July 1776, PWR 5:421–22, for the submarine proposal.

17. See NG to GW, 27 June 1776, GP 1:243, for the livestock matter. Six letters were subsequently exchanged on this issue, which was not resolved until 12 August 1776.

18. For the correspondence on the loyalists, see GP 1:241, 276–78, and PWR 5:252, 327–28.

19. John F. Roche, Joseph Reed: A Moderate in the American Revolution (New York, 1957), 84–85.

20. See the correspondence in PWR 5:232, 235, 439, 490–93, and GP 1:284–86.

21. GW to John Augustine Washington, 28 July 1776, PWR 5:428–30.

22. Lord Richard Howe to GW, 13 July 1776, PWR 5:296–97.

23. GW to John Hancock, 14 July 1776, PWR 5:306.

24. Journal of Ambrose Serle, 14 July 1776, LA 145; GW to John Hancock, 14 July 1776, PWR 5:306.

25. GW to General Horatio Gates, 19 July 1776, PWR 5:380–81.

26. Joseph Reed, Memorandum of Meeting Between George Washington and James Patterson, 20 July 1776, LA 152–55. See also PWR 5:398–403 for the same documentation.

27. Among the many biographies of Franklin, four strike me as invaluable: Carl Van Doren, Benjamin Franklin (New York, 1938); Edmund S. Morgan, Benjamin Franklin (New Haven, 2002); Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (New York, 2003); and Gordon Wood, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (New York, 2004). For Franklin’s London years, see David Morgan, The Devious Dr. Franklin: Benjamin Franklin’s Years in London (Macon, 1996). For a more critical view of Franklin’s character, see Robert Middlekauf, Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies (Berkeley, 1996).

28. BF to Lord Howe, 20 July 1776, FP 22:518–21.

29. Lord Howe to Lord George Germain, 6 August 1776, PWR 5:402, editorial note.

30. GW to John Hancock, 22 July 1776, PWR 5:424–25.

31. Most historical accounts put the British invasion force at 32,000, but I am including the naval complement in my estimate because they were an integral part of the ensuing combat.

32. JA to AA, 20 July 1776, AFC 2:53.

33. GW to Colonel Adam Stephen, 20 July 1776, PWR 5:408–9; GW to Brigadier General Willliam Levingston, 8 August 1776, PWR 5:632.

34. GW to Militia Colonels in Western Connecticut, 7 August 1776, PWR 5:593–94; GW to Jonathan Trumbull, 7 August 1776, PWR 5:615–16.

35. JA to AA, 27 July 1776, AFC 2:63; JA to AA, 3–4 August 1776, AFC 2:75–76.

36. General Orders, 13 August 1776, PWR 6:1.

37. GW to John Hancock, 8–9 August 1776, PWR 5:627.

38. JA to AA, AFC 2:81.

5. AFTER VIRTUE

  1. Two old but still valuable accounts are Merrill Jensen, The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation (Madison, 1940), and Edmund C. Burnett, The Continental Congress (New York, 1941). More recently, Herbert James Henderson, Party Politics in the Continental Congress (New York, 1974), and Jack K. Rakove, The Beginning of National Politics: An Interpretative History of the Continental Congress (New York, 1979), see regional and sectional splits appearing in the summer of 1776 after the vote on independence. Rakove is best at suggesting the start of a new political chapter following over a year of improvised unity.

  2. TJ to Francis Eppes, 15 July 1776, JP 1:458–60; TJ to John Page, 30 July 1776, JP 1:482–83.

  3. See Anthony Wayne to BF, 31 July 1776, FP 22:539–40, for the rumor of 60,000 troops.

  4. Elbridge Gerry to JA, 3 August 1776, AP 4:431–34.

  5. BF to Anthony Wayne, 28 August 1776, FP 22:584.

  6. See LDC 4:233–50, for the Dickinson Draft.

  7. See LDC 4:251, note 1, for the quotations from Bartlett and Rutledge.

  8. LDC 4:233–34.

  9. LDC 4:239, 242–43.

10. LDC 4:338–39.

11. DA 2:245–46; JP 1:320–23.

12. LDC 4:242.

13. FP 22, 536–38, editorial note; DA 2:245.

14. DA 2:247.

15. DA 2:246; JP 1:323–27.

16. DA 2:241–43, 249–50.

17. Edward Pendleton to TJ, 15 July and 3 August 1776, JP 1:462–65, 484–85.

18. JA to Joseph Hawley, 25 August 1776, LDC 5:60–62.

19. See AP 4:260–78, for the full text of the Plan of Treaties, with an editorial note on the political context and diplomatic legacy.

20. AP 4:265.

21. AP 4:266. See DA 2:236, 3:337, for JA’s earliest articulation of restricting a treaty with France to commerce.

22. AP 4:268.

23. See AP 4:290–92, for the Plan of Treaties as adopted.

24. TJ to Richard Henry Lee, 8 July 1776; Richard Henry Lee to TJ, 21 July 1776, JP 1:455–56, 471.

25. JP 1:21–28.

26. TJ to Edmund Pendleton, 30 June 1776, TJ to Richard Henry Lee, 29 July 1776, JP 1:408, 477.

27. TJ to Edmund Pendleton, 13 and 26 August 1776, JP 1:491–94, 503–6.

28. TJ to John Page, 5 August 1776, JP 1:485–86.

29. TJ to Edmund Pendleton, 26 August 1776, JP 1:505–6.

30. See AP 4:253–59, for JA’s duties as chair of the Board of War and Ordnance, 12 June–27 August 1776.

31. Joseph Reed to JA, 4 July 1776, AP 4:358–60; Nathanael Greene to JA, 14 July 1776, AP 4:380–82.

32. JA to William Heath, 3 August 1776, AP 4:426–27.

33. Horatio Gates to JA, 17 July 1776, AP 4:388–89.

34. JA to Horatio Gates, 13 August 1776, AP 4:426–27.

35. AA to JA, 17 and 19 August 1776, AFC 2:98, 101.

36. JA to AA, 16 July and 28 August 1776, AFC 2:50–51, 111.

37. James Bowdoin to BF, 19 August 1776, FP 22:569–71.

38. Lord Howe to BF, 16 August 1776, FP 22:565–66; BF to Lord Howe, 20 August 1776, FP 22:575, which was not sent.

39. Editorial note, FP 22:551–52.

40. Editorial note, FP 22:537–38. On August 20 Franklin drafted a letter to protest state-based representation but decided not to send it. See FP 22:571–75.

41. See editorial note, FP 22:529–33, for Franklin’s role in the Pennsylvania Convention.

42. George Ross to BF, 18 August 1776, FP 22:568; BF to Horatio Gates, 28 August 1776, FP 22:583–84.

6. THE FOG OF WAR

  1. Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (New York, 1972), 100–2.

  2. GW to Lund Washington, 19 August 1776, PWR 6:82–86. The final size of the American force is an educated guess, based on rough calculations of the size of the late-arriving state militia units. Washington himself did not know how many troops he commanded when the battle began.

  3. NG to GW, 15 August 1776, GP 1:287; Stirling quoted in Michael Stephenson, Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought (New York, 2007), 231.

  4. William Howe to GW, 1 August 1776, PWR 5:537.

  5. GW to William Howe, 17 August 1776, PWR 5:537–38.

  6. Editorial note, PWR 6:23–24; Hugh Mercer to GW, 19 August 1776, PWR 6:79; General Orders, 7 August 1776, GP 1:277; Barnet Schecter, The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution (New York, 2002), 129.

  7. William B. Willcox, Portrait of a General: Sir Henry Clinton in the War for Independence (New York, 1964), preface, 492–524, provides the deepest analysis of any British officer in the war, as well as the most sophisticated psychological analysis of any prominent figure on either side. See also William Willcox and Frederick Wyatt, “Sir Henry Clinton: A Psychological Exploration in History,” WMQ 14 (January 1959), 3–26.

  8. William B. Willcox, ed., The American Rebellion: Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775–1782 (New Haven, 1954), 40–41; Schecter, Battle for New York, 60–61.

  9. Gruber, Howe Brothers, 106–7.

10. NG to GW, 15 August 1776, PWR 6:29–31; GW to John Hancock, 23 August 1776, PWR 6:111, for the appointment of Sullivan.

11. Ambrose Serle, The American Journal of Ambrose Serle (San Marino, 1940), 72–74; Stephenson, Patriot Battles, 232–33, for Washington’s allocation of troops.

12. General Orders, 23 August 1776, PWR 6:109–10. Several secondary works on the ensuing battle, in addition to those already cited, have helped to shape my understanding of the story. On the British side, Piers Mackesy, The War for America, 1775–1783 (Cambridge, Mass., 1964). On the American side, Bruce Bliven, Under the Guns: New York, 1775–76 (New York, 1972); Thomas Fleming, 1776: Year of Illusions (New York, 1975), 308–38; James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: In the American Revolution (Boston, 1967), 87–156; David Hackett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing (New York, 2004), 81–114; and David McCullough, 1776 (New York, 2005), 115–200

13. Editorial note, GP 1:291–93.

14. John Sullivan to GW, 23 August 1776; GW to John Hancock, 26 August 1776, PWR 6:115–16, 129–30; Schecter, Battle for New York, 131–32. See Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life (New York, 2010), 246, for background on Putnam, who has no modern biographer.

15. Willcox, Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative, 40–42; Schecter, Battle for New York, 135–37.

16. Willcox, Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative, 35.

17. All quotations from Schecter, Battle for New York, 132–34.

18. Ibid., 141–43.

19. Stephenson, Patriotic Battles, 237–38.

20. Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier (New York, 2001), 22–23.

21. E. J. Sowell, The Hessians and the German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War (New York, 1884), 65–67.

22. Schecter, Battle for New York, 149–54; Paul David Nielson, William Alexander, Lord Stirling (Tuscaloosa, 1984) 44; Lord Stirling to GW, 29 August 1776, PWR 6:159–62.

23. William Howe to Lord George Germain, 3 September 1776, in K. G. Davies, ed., Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783 (Dublin, 1976), 12:217; Howard H. Peckham, ed., The Toll of Independence: Engagements and Battle Casualties of the American Revolution (Chicago, 1974), 22; editorial note, PWR 6:143.

24. William Howe to Lord George Germain, 3 September 1776, in Davies, Documents of the American Revolution, 12:218; Schecter, Battle for New York, 166–67; Willcox, Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative, 44.

25. This is the major argument made by Gruber, Howe Brothers.

26. Howe defended his conduct before Parliament soon after his return to England. See William Howe, The Narrative of Lieutenant General William Howe…(London, 1780). The earliest case that Howe’s American sympathies lost the war for Great Britain came from a member of his own staff. See Charles Stedman, The History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War (Dublin, 1794). In my view, Howe’s motives were psychologically intricate, but his chief mistake was to assume that British victory was assured, so he could afford to fight more cautiously. Like most British officers, he overestimated the level of loyalist sentiment and underestimated the staying power of the Continental Army. His concern about British casualities, though misguided in retrospect, was wholly plausible at the time.

27. Davies, Documents of the American Revolution, 218.

28. Robert Hanson Harrison to John Hancock, 28 August 1776, PWR 6:142–43, provides Washington’s initial and somewhat incoherent report on the battle for Gowanus Heights, which is the only direct evidence we have on Washington’s somewhat dazed state of mind. Among Washington’s biographers, Chernow, Washington, 247–49, is most astute on this score.

29. William Bradford Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed (Philadelphia, 1847), 1:226–27.

30. This interpretation of Washington’s thought process at this intense moment is based on my assessment of his personality in His Excellency: George Washington (New York, 2004).

31. This emphasis on Mifflin’s influence was first argued in Fleming, Year of Illusions, 322–23.

32. Council of War, 29 August 1776, PWR 6:153–55; Tallmadge quoted in Henry P. Johnston, The Campaign of 1776 Around New York and Brooklyn (Brooklyn, 1878), 2:11; Schecter, Battle for New York, 155–67.

33. See Alexander Graydon, A Memoir of His Own Time (Philadelphia, 1846), 164, for the quotation. The standard work on Glover is George Billias, General John Glover and His Marblehead Mariners (New York, 1960).

34. See Graydon, Memoir, 166, for the making of wills; and Martin, Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier, 26–27. The Tilghman quotation is in Johnston, Campaign of 1776, 2:85.

35. Graydon, Memoir, 168; George F. Scheer and Hugh Rankin, eds., Rebels and Redcoats (New York, 1957), 171. This incident was the beginning of bad blood between Mifflin and Washington.

36. Benjamin Tallmadge, Memoir of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge (New York, 1858), 11.

37. Charles K. Bolton, ed., Letters of Hugh Earl Percy from Boston and New York (Boston, 1972), 69.

38. Sir George Collier, “Admiral Sir George Collier’s Observations on the Battle of Long Island,” New-York Historical Society Quarterly (October 1964), 304.

39. GW to John Hancock, 31 August 1776, PWR 6:177–78; editorial note, GP 1:293, for making Greene’s absence the reason for the defeat.

40. General Orders, 31 August 1776, PWR 6:173.

41. JA to James Warren, 17 August 1776, JA to AA, 5 September 1776, LDC 5:12, 107.

42. JA to AA, 4 September 1776, JA to Samuel Cooper, 4 September 1776, LDC 5:101–2.

43. AA to JA, 7 September, 20 September, 29 September 1776, AFC 2:122, 129, 134–36; JA to AA, 8 October 1776, AFC 2:140.

44. William Hooper to Samuel Johnston, 26 September 1776, LCD 5:182–83.

45. Benjamin Rush to Julia Rush, 18–25 September 1776, Benjamin Rush to Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg, 16 September 1776, LCD 5:198–99.

46. BF to William Bingham, 21 September 1776, FP 22:617.

47. John F. Roche, Joseph Reed: A Moderate in the American Revolution (New York, 1957), 92.

48. Editorial note, FP 2:591–92.

49. Editorial note, DA 3:415.

50. John Witherspoon’s Speech in Congress, 5 September 1776, LDC 5:108–13.

51. DA 3:416.

52. DA 3:419–20.

53. Report to Congress, 13 September 1776, FP 22:606–8.

54. Henry Strachey, Memorandum of Meeting Between Lord Howe and the American Commissioners, 11 September 1776, LA 186–91.

55. DA 3:422.

56. DA 3:422–23.

57. Journal of Ambrose Serle, 13 September 1776, LA 215.

58. JA to Samuel Adams, 14 September 1776, DA 3:428.

7. HEARTS AND MINDS

  1. GW to John Hancock, 2 September 1776, PWR 6:199–201; PWR 6:163, editorial note.

  2. GW to John Hancock, 4 September 1776, PWR 6:215–16; Barnet Schecter, The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution (New York, 2002), 168.

  3. General Orders, 4 September 1776, PWR 6:212–13; Collier quoted in Schecter, Battle for New York, 175.

  4. George Germain to William Howe, October 1776, quoted in Stanley Weintraub, Iron Tears: America’s Battle for Freedom, Britain’s Quagmire, 1775–1783 (New York, 2003), 75.

  5. NG to GW, 5 September 1776, GP 1:294–96.

  6. GW to John Hancock, 8 September 1776, PWR 6:248–54.

  7. Henry P. Johnston, “Sergeant Lee’s Experience with Bushnell’s Submarine Torpedo in 1776,” Magazine of History 29 (1893), 262–66. This episode is nicely covered in Thomas Fleming, 1776: Year of Illusions (New York, 1975), 338–41. See also the editorial note on the Turtle in PWR 6:528.

  8. GW to John Hancock, 8 September 1776, PWR 6:248–52.

  9. Joseph Reed to Esther Reed, 2 September 1776, quoted in John F. Roche, Joseph Reed: A Moderate in the American Revolution (New York, 1957), 92.

10. William Heath to GW, 31 August 1776, Rufus Putnam to GW, 3 September 1776, PWR 6:179–81, 210–11.

11. New York Committee of Safety to GW, 31 August 1776, PWR 6:185–86.

12. John Hancock to GW, 10 September 1776, PWR 6:273; JCC 5:749; Petition of Nathanael Greene and Others to General Washington, 11 September 1776, GP 1:297–98.

13. Council of War, 12 September 1776, GP 1:299–300; see also PWR 6:288–89.

14. GW to John Hancock, 14 September 1776, PWR 6:308–9.

15. JA to Henry Knox, 29 September 1776, LDC 5:260–61.

16. William Hooper to Samuel Johnston, 26 September 1776, LDC 5:245–49; JCC 5:762–63.

17. LDC 5:xiii; John Hancock to TJ, 30 September 1776, LDC 5:264–65; DA 3:409–10.

18. AA to JA, 20 September 1776, AFC 2:129.

19. GW to John Hancock, 25 September 1776, PWR 6:393–94.

20. GW to Jacob Greene, 28 September 1776, GP 1:303–4; GW to John Hancock, 25 September 1776, PWR 6:394–98.

21. JCC 5:762–63.

22. John Hancock to the States, 24 September 1776, LDC 5:228–30.

23. GW to John Hancock, 25 September 1776, PWR 6:304.

24. AA to JA, 29 September 1776, AFC 2:134–36.

25. New England Chronicle, 5 September 1776.

26. Connecticut Courant, 6 September 1776; Pennsylvania Packet, 10 September 1776; Newport Mercury, 16 September 1776; Virginia Gazette, 6 September and 8 November 1776. I realize that this is only a geographically spread sampling, and other newspapers might have provided more accurate accounts of the Long Island debacle. But if so, they were the exception rather than the rule.

27. See, for example, Virginia Gazette, 4 October 1776; Independent Chronicle, 3 October 1776; Newport Mercury, 30 September 1776.

28. William B. Willcox, ed., The American Rebellion: Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775–1782 (New Haven, 1954), 44–45; Schecter, Battle for New York, 179–80.

29. Joseph Reed to Esther Reed, 2 September 1776, New-York Historical Society.

30. My account of the Kip’s Bay engagement draws on the eyewitness reports of Philip Vickers Filthan and Benjamin Trumbull, both in LA, 219–24, and on the memoir of Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier (New York, 2001), 30–32. In addition, three secondary accounts were indispensable: David McCullough,1776(New York, 2007), 209–12; Schecter, Battle for New York, 184–87; and Michael Stephenson, Patriotic Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought (New York, 2005), 244–46.

31. Martin, Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier, 31.

32. Ibid., 32. GW to John Hancock, 16 September 1776, PWR 6:313–17, provides Washington’s official report on the battle, plus editorial notes on troop strength, logistics, and the naval bombardment.

33. PWR 6:316–17; NG to Nicholas Cooke, 17 September 1776, GP 1:380.

34. JA to William Tudor, 20 September 1776, LDC 5:200.

35. Trevor Steele Anderson, The Command of the Howe Brothers (New York, 1936), 160; GW to Lund Washington, 6 October 1776, PWR 6:495.

36. My treatment of the action at Harlem Heights is indebted to McCullough, 1776, 217–20; to Stephenson, Patriotic Battles, 246–47; and most especially to Bruce Bliven, Battle for Manhattan (New York, 1955), 65–107. The old but still reliable account by Henry P. Johnston, The Battle of Harlem Heights (New York, 1897), contains information not found elsewhere.

37. GW to Lund Washington, 30 September 1776, PWR 6:440–43.

38. Burr is quoted in Bliven, Battle for Manhattan, 84; Ashbel Woodwood, Memoir of Colonel Thomas Knowlton (Boston, 1861).

39. See GW to John Hancock, 18 September 1776, PWR 6:331–37, for Washington’s official report of the battle. See also Johnston, Battle for Harlem Heights, 44–91. The Knowlton quotation is in Bliven, Battle for Manhattan, 94.

40. GP 1:301–2, editorial note, nicely synthesizes the secondary literature.

41. General Orders, 17 September 1776, PWR 6:320–21. See also GW to Philip Schuyler, 20 September 1776, PWR 6:356–58, noting that the victory at Harlem Heights “has inspired our troops prodigiously.” For newspaper coverage, see Virginia Gazette, 4 October 1776; Newport Mercury, 7 October 1776; Independent Chronicle, 26 September 1776.

8. A LONG WAR

  1. General Orders, 21 September 1776, PWR 6:359–60.

  2. See John Hancock to GW, 3 September 1776, PWR 6:207, for the order not to burn the city. See Frederick MacKenzie, Diary of Frederick MacKenzie, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1930), 1:59–60, for an eyewitness account of the fire. See David McCullough, 1776 (New York, 2007), 221–23, for an excellent secondary account.

  3. GW to Lund Washington, 6 October 1776, PWR 6:495. John Shy, “The American Revolution: The Military Conflict Considered as a Revolutionary War,” in Stephen G. Kurtz and James H. Hutson, eds., Essays on the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, 1973), 121–56, argues that American control of the countryside, in which militia served as a roving police force, proved decisive in determining the outcome of the war.

  4. Caesar Rodney to Thomas McKean and George Read, 18 September 1776, LDC 5:197–98; William Hooper to Samuel Johnston, 26 September 1776, LDC 5:245–49.

  5. NG to William Ellery, 4 October 1776, GP 1:307.

  6. See editorial note, GP 1:244–45, for the recommendations of the visiting committee. See JCC 5:808, 810–11, 842–44, for the congressional vote on the recommendations. See John Hancock to GW, 21 September 1776, JCC 5:230–31, for Hancock’s assurance that the Continental Congress will provide whatever he needs; John Hancock to GW, 9 October 1776, PWR 6:515–16 and JCC 5:853–56, for the final vote on all resolutions.

  7. JA to Henry Knox, 29 September 1776, LDC 5:260–61.

  8. JA to William Tudor, 26 September 1776, LDC 5:241–43.

  9. GW to Hancock, 4 October 1776, PWR 6:463; Tilghman quoted in editorial note, PWR 7:105.

10. GW to Patrick Henry, 5 October 1776, PWR 6:479–82.

11. MacKenzie, Diary, 1:64; Leonard Lundin, Cockpit of the Revolution: The War for Independence in New Jersey (Princeton, 1940), 157.

12. Committee of Correspondence to Silas Deane, 1 October 1776, LDC 5:198–99.

13. JA to Daniel Hitchcock, 1 October 1776, LDC 5:271–72.

14. Committee of Correspondence to Silas Deane, 1 October 1776, LDC 5:277–81.

15. Benjamin Rush to Julia Rush, 18–25 September, 1776, LDC 5:198–99.

16. William Williams to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 20 September 1776, LDC 5:208–11.

17. JA to Henry Knox, 29 September 1776, LDC 5:260–61.

18. JA to General Parsons, 2 October 1776, DA 2:444–46.

19. JA to William Tudor, 26 September 1776, LDC 5:242–43.

20. William Howe to George Germain, 30 November 1776, quoted in editorial note, PWR 6:535.

21. GW to John Hancock, 11–13 October 1776, PWR 6:534–36.

22. Robert Hanson Harrison to John Hancock, 14–17 October 1776, PWR 6:564–66.

23. Council of War, 16 October 1776, PWR 6:576–77. A month later, on November 16, Fort Washington surrendered after spirited resistance. Greene had reinforced the garrison to 2,900 troops, of whom 150 were killed or wounded in the battle and the rest captured. More than two-thirds of them died on board prison ships in New York Harbor, quite scandalously supervised by Betsy Loring’s husband. See GW to John Hancock, 16 November 1776, PWR 7:162–69; NG to Henry Knox, 17 November 1776, GP 1:351–52; and editorial note, GP 1:354–59.

24. See Charles Lee, The Lee Papers, 2 vols. (New York, 1871), 2:255–59; Thomas Fleming, 1776: Year of Illusions (New York, 1975), 369, for an excellent analysis of Lee’s arrival in camp.

25. Henry Steele Commager and Richard Morris, eds., The Spirit of ’76 (Indianapolis, 1958), 487; George Billias, General John Glover and His Marblehead Mariners (New York, 1960), 121. It is revealing that Glover thought of Lee rather than Washington for military guidance.

26. For different accounts of the engagement at Pell’s Point, see McCullough, 1776, 231–32; David Hackett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing (New York, 2004), 110–12; Michael Stephenson, Patriot Battles: How the War of Independence Was Fought (New York, 2007), 247.

27. Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier (New York, 2001), 44–46.

9. POSTSCRIPT: NECESSARY FICTIONS

  1. GW to NG, 8 July 1783, in John C. Fitzpatrick et al., eds., Writings of George Washington, 39 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1931–39), 26:104.

  2. GW to William Gordon, ibid., 27:51–52.

  3. E. Wayne Carp, To Starve the Army at Pleasure: Continental Army Administration and American Political Culture (Chapel Hill, 1984).

  4. Charles Royster, A Revolutionary People at War: The Continental Army and American Character, 1775–1783 (Chapel Hill, 1979), chap. 8.

  5. Connecticut Courant, 13 May, 24 June, 29 July 1783; Boston Gazette, 29 December 1783; James Morris, “Memoirs of a Connecticut Patriot,” Connecticut Magazine 11 (1907), 454.

  6. Royster, Revolutionary People at War, 353–58.

  7. Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier (New York, 2001).

  8. Ibid., 249.

  9. DA 3:184; AA to TJ, 6 June 1785, AFC 6:169–73.

10. Howe published his initial speech as The Narrative of Lieutenant General Sir William Howe in a Committee of the House of Commons (London, 1780). Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution (New York, 1972), 336–39.

11. PH 20:679.

12. PH 20:705, 723–24.

13. PH 20:748–49.

14. PH 20:753, 758–59.

15. PH 20:803–4.

16. PH 20:805.

17. William B. Willcox, ed., The American Rebellion: Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775–1782 (New Haven, 1954).

18. Ibid., 39, 40–49.

19. Charles Stedman, The History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War, 2 vols. (Dublin, 1794), 1:iii.

20. Ibid., 1:212–26.

21. Ibid., 1:230–49. For those interested in modern analogies, blaming the British defeat on William Howe is eerily similar to blaming the American defeat in Vietnam on William Westmoreland. In both instances, assigning culpability to the military commander obscures the deeper reasons for the defeat and the fatally flawed strategic assessment at the start.

22. I solicited the opinions of four distinguished historians of the American Revolution in response to this question: Would the demise of the Continental Army and the capture of George Washington in 1776 have changed the outcome of the American Revolution? Edmund Morgan, Gordon Wood, and David Hackett Fischer all said no, though all agreed that the way the war played out would have been different. Ed Lengel, editor of the Washington Papers, disagreed on the grounds that Washington was indispensable and irreplaceable.

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