Patriot Leaders in the Revolutionary War 1775-1783

Leaders & Commanders: American Revolutionary War, the soldiers & the famous battles of the conflict

Patriot Leaders in the Revolutionary War 1775-1783

Many military leaders in the American Revolutionary War played a important role. The following list is a collection of some of the most important leaders among all of the many participants in the war. The following individuals has satisfied one of the following criteria:

  1. was a nation's top civilian responsible for directing military affairs
  2. held a commission of at least major general or rear admiral in an organized military during the conflict
  3. was the highest ranking member of a given nation's force that participated in the conflict (if that rank was not at least major general)
  4. was the highest ranking member of a given state/colonial militia
  5. was a provincial or territorial governor who is documented to have directed a military action
  6. was a Native American tribal leader who is documented to have had a leadership position in a military action

Some individuals held more than one position in more than one organization; some Continental Army generals also held high-ranking positions in their state militia or state government.

List of Continental Army and Colonial Leaders

Includes Government, Militia, Frontier leaders, Army and Navy Officers and Foreign Commanders

Andrew Pickens

  • Born: September 13, 1739 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
  • Died: August 11, 1817 in Tamassee, Oconee County, South Carolina
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Captain, Colonel, Brigadier General
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Kettle Creek, Siege of Charleston, Battle of Cowpens, Siege of Augusta, Siege of Ninety Six, Battle of Eutaw Springs
Andrew Pickens

Andrew Pickens

He emerged as a military leader in Long Cane, South Carolina fighting against the Cherokee who had allied with the Loyalists. In the year 1779 Henry Clinton deployed British soldiers to both South Carolina and North Carolina to encourage Loyalist support. On February 14, 1779, Colonel Pickens and his 300 man militia overtook the larger British force of 700-800 men at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County, Georgia just South of the Long Canes. The victory at Kettle Creek slowed the recruitment of the Loyalists. However, when the British defeated the Southern Continental Army in 1780 in the Siege of Charleston, Pickens surrendered a fort in the Ninety-Six District and he, along with his 300 militia men, on oath, agreed to sit out of the war.

Pickens' parole did not last, however. After Tory raiders destroyed most of his property and frightened his family, he informed the British that they had violated the terms of parole and rejoined the war. During this period of the war, Pickens would join Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter as the most well-known partisan leaders in the Carolinas. He saw action at the Battle of Cowpens, Siege of Augusta, Siege of Ninety-Six, and the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

Pickens also led a campaign in north Georgia against the Cherokee Indians late in the war. His victorious campaign led to the Cherokees ceding significant portions of land between the Savannah and Chattachoochee rivers in the Long Swamp Treaty signed in what is currently Pickens County, Georgia. Pickens led a detached militia of 25 men to battle against a Cherokee force of an estimated 150 men in what came to be called the "Ring Fight."

Pickens gained the respect of these Natives, and after the war was well regarded by Native Americans that he dealt with; he was given the name Skyagunsta, "the Wizard Owl," which is reportedly a name based on a well-regarded previous King of the tribe.

At the end of the war, Pickens was elected to public office in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1781-1794.
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Anthony Wayne

  • Born: January 1, 1745 in Easttown Township, Province of Pennsylvania
  • Died: December 15, 1796 in Fort Presque Isle, near Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Buried: St. David's Episcopal Church, Radnor, Pennsylvania
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Colonel, Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Trois-Rivières, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Paoli, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Stony Point, Battle of Bull's Ferry, Battle of Green Spring
Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne

Born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Wayne worked as a tanner and surveyor after attending the College of Philadelphia. He won election to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and, in 1775, helped raise a Pennsylvania militia unit.

During the Revolutionary War, Wayne served in the Invasion of Quebec, the Philadelphia campaign, and the Yorktown campaign.

Wayne's reputation suffered due to his defeat in the Battle of Paoli, but he won wide praise for his leadership in the 1779 Battle of Stony Point.

After the war, Wayne settled in Georgia on land that had been granted to him for his military service. Wikipedia Article

Artemas Ward

  • Born:November 26, 1727 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
  • Died:October 28, 1800 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
  • Buried: Mountain View Cemetery, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
  • Service: 1775–1777
  • Ranks: Colonel, Commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts Bay colony's militia, and Major general
  • Commands:Eastern Department: April 4, 1776 -March 20, 1777
  • Battles: Boston campaign
Artemas Ward

Artemas Ward

During the siege of Boston, Ward directed his forces from his sickbed, but later moved his headquarters to Cambridge. Soon, the New Hampshire and Connecticut provisional governments both named him head of their forces participating in the siege. Most of his efforts during this time were devoted to organization and supply problems.

Additional British forces arrived in May, and in June, Ward learned of their plan to attack Bunker Hill. He gave orders to fortify the point, setting the stage for the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. Command during the battle devolved upon General Israel Putnam and Colonel William Prescott.[citation needed]

Meanwhile, the Continental Congress was creating a Continental Army.

On June 17 they commissioned Ward a major general, and second in command to George Washington. Ward was one of the original four major generals in the Continental Army along with Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler and Israel Putnam. Over the next nine months he helped convert the assembled militia units into the Continental Army.

After the British evacuation on March 17, 1776, Washington led the main army to New York City. Ward took command of the Eastern Department on April 4, 1776. He held that post until March 20, 1777, when his health forced his resignation from the army.
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Arthur St. Clair

  • Born:March 23, 1737 in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland
  • Died:August 31, 1818 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania
  • Buried: St. Clair Park, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Colonel and Major General
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Battle of Trois-Rivières, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Siege of Fort Ticonderoga, and Battle of Yorktown
Arthur St. Clair

Arthur St. Clair

In January 1776, Arthur St. Clair accepted a commission in the Continental Army as a colonel of the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment. He first saw service in the later days of the Quebec invasion, where he saw action in the Battle of Trois-Rivières. He was appointed a brigadier general in August 1776, and was sent by Gen. George Washington to help organize the New Jersey militia. He took part in George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on the night of December 25–26, 1776, before the Battle of Trenton. Many biographers credit St. Clair with the strategy that led to Washington's capture of Princeton, New Jersey on January 3, 1777. St. Clair was promoted to major general in February 1777.

In April 1777, St. Clair was sent to defend Fort Ticonderoga. His small garrison could not resist British General John Burgoyne's larger force in the Saratoga campaign. St. Clair was forced to retreat at the Siege of Fort Ticonderoga on July 5, 1777. He withdrew his forces and played no further part in the campaign.

In 1778, he was court-martialed for the loss of Ticonderoga. The court exonerated him and he returned to duty, although he was no longer given any battlefield commands. He still saw action, however, as an aide-de-camp to General Washington, who retained a high opinion of him. St. Clair was at Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army.
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Benedict Arnold

  • Born: January 14, 1741 in Norwich, Colony of Connecticut
  • Died: June 14, 1801 in London, United Kingdom
  • Buried:St. Mary's Church in Battersea, London, United Kingdom
  • Service: Connecticut & Massachusetts Colonial militia 1775, Continental Army 1775–1780;
    British Army 1780–1781
  • Ranks: Major General (Continental Army); Brigadier General (British Army)
  • Commands: Fort Ticonderoga (June 1775); Quebec City (January–April 1776 siege); Montreal (April–June 1776); Lake Champlain (August–October 1776); Philadelphia (June 1778 – April 1780); West Point (August–September 1780); American Legion (September 1780–1781)
  • Battles: Continental Army - Capture of Fort Ticonderoga, Arnold's expedition to Quebec, Battle of Quebec, Battle of The Cedars, Battle of Valcour Island, Battle of Ridgefield, Relief of Fort Stanwix, Battles of Saratoga / British Army - Raid of Richmond, Battle of Blandford, Battle of Groton Heights
Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold was a general during the Revolutionary War, who fought for the American Continental Army, and later defected to the British

Arnold was born in Connecticut and was a merchant operating ships on the Atlantic Ocean when the war broke out in 1775. He joined the growing army outside Boston and distinguished himself through acts of intelligence and bravery.

His actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, defensive and delaying tactics at the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776 (allowing American forces time to prepare New York's defenses), the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to major general), operations in relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, and key actions during the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that halted his combat career for several years.

Despite Arnold's successes, he was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress, while other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments.

Adversaries in military and political circles brought charges of corruption or other malfeasance, but most often he was acquitted in formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts and concluded that he was indebted to Congress (he also had spent much of his own money on the war effort).[vague] Arnold was frustrated and bitter at this, as well as with the alliance with France and the failure of Congress to accept Britain's 1778 proposal to grant full self-governance in the colonies.

He decided to change sides, and opened secret negotiations with the British. In July 1780, he was awarded command of West Point. His scheme was to surrender the fort to the British, but it was exposed when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers which revealed the plot.

Upon learning of André's capture, Arnold fled down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of George Washington, who had been alerted to the plot.

Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army. He led British forces on raids in Virginia and against New London and Groton, Connecticut before the war effectively ended with the American victory at Yorktown.

In the winter of 1782, he moved to London with his second wife Margaret "Peggy" Shippen Arnold.
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Benjamin Lincoln

  • Born:January 24, 1733 in Hingham, Massachusetts Bay, British America
  • Died: May 9, 1810 in Hingham, Massachusetts
  • Buried: Old Ship Burying Ground, Hingham, Massachusetts
  • Service:Militia 1755–1777; Continental Army 1777–1781
  • Ranks: Major general
  • Commands:Massachusetts provincial militia; Bound Brook; Southern Department
  • Battles: Boston campaign, Battle of White Plains, Battle of Bound Brook, Second Battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights), Siege of Savannah, Siege of Charleston, Yorktown campaign
Benjamin Lincoln

Benjamin Lincoln

Benjamin Lincoln is notable for being involved in three major surrenders during the war: his participation in the Battles of Saratoga (sustaining a wound shortly afterward) contributed to John Burgoyne's surrender of a British army, he oversaw the largest American surrender of the war at the 1780 Siege of Charleston, and, as Gen. George Washington's second in command, he formally accepted the British surrender at the Battle of Yorktown.

In January 1776, Lincoln was promoted to major general of the Massachusetts militia, overseeing the coastal defenses of the state. After the British evacuated Boston, he and Continental Army General Artemas Ward oversaw attempts to improve the state's coastal fortifications, and he was ordered to hold the state's militia brigades in readiness in case the British returned. In May 1776, he directed the state forces that successfully drove the last Royal Navy ships from Boston Harbor.

Lincoln's first command was that of a forward outpost at Bound Brook, New Jerse. After months of skirmishing, his post was the target of a surprise attack in April 1777. In the Battle of Bound Brook, he was defeated by a much larger British force, barely escaping capture.

Lincoln rejoined Gen. George Washington outside New York in August 1778, and was appointed commander of the Southern department in September.

From 1781 to late 1783, Lincoln served as the first United States Secretary of War. He was appointed by the Confederation Congress under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, adopted 1781.
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Bernardo de Gálvez

  • Born:July 25, 1746 in Macharaviaya, Málaga, Spain
  • Died:November 30, 1786 in Tacubaya, Kingdom of Mexico, New Spain
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1762–1786
  • Ranks:Captain General, Marshal
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles:Capture of Fort Bute, Battle of Baton Rouge, Battle of Fort Charlotte, Siege of Pensacola
Bernardo de Gálvez

Bernardo de Gálvez

Bernardo Vicente de Gálvez y Madrid, Viscount of Galveston and Count of Gálvez was a Spanish military leader and colonial administrator who served as colonial governor of Spanish Louisiana and Cuba, and later as Viceroy of New Spain.

Gálvez practiced an anti-British policy as governor, taking measures against British smuggling and promoting trade with France. He damaged British interests in the region and kept it open for supplies to reach General George Washington's Continental Army.

Gálvez aided the American Thirteen Colonies in their quest for independence and led Spanish forces against Britain in the Revolutionary War, defeating the British at the Siege of Pensacola in 1781 and conquering West Florida. Following Gálvez's successful campaign, the whole of Florida was ceded to Spain in the Treaty of Paris.

Gálvez carried out a masterful military campaign and defeated the British colonial forces at Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Natchez in 1779.The Battle of Baton Rouge in 1779, freed the lower Mississippi Valley of British forces and relieved the threat to the capital of Louisiana, New Orleans. In March 1780, he recaptured Mobile from the British at the Battle of Fort Charlotte.

Gálvez's most important military victory over the British forces occurred 8 May 1781, when he attacked and took by land and by sea Pensacola, the British (and formerly, Spanish) capital of West Florida from General John Campbell of Strachur. The loss of Mobile and Pensacola left the British with no bases along the Gulf coast.

In 1782, forces under Gálvez's overall command captured the British naval base at Nassau on New Providence Island in the Bahamas.

Gálvez is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.
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Casimir Pulaski

  • Born:March 4 or 6, 1745 in Warsaw, Poland
  • Died:October 11, 1779 in Savannah, Georgia
  • Buried:Monterey Square, Savannah, Georgia
  • Service: 1762–1779
  • Ranks:Brigadier General
  • Commands: Pulaski's Legion
  • Battles:Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Siege of Savannah
Kazimierz Pułaski

Kazimierz Pułaski

Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski of Ślepowron was a Polish nobleman, soldier and military commander who has been called, together with his Hungarian friend Michael Kovats de Fabriczy, "the father of the American cavalry".

On August 20, he met General George Washington in his headquarters in Neshaminy Falls, outside Philadelphia. He showed off riding stunts, and argued for the superiority of cavalry over infantry.Because Washington was unable to grant him an officer rank, Pulaski spent the next few months traveling between Washington and the United States Congress in Philadelphia, awaiting his appointment. His first military engagement against the British occurred before he received it, on September 11, 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine.

Pulaski went to Yorktown, where he met with General Horatio Gates and suggested the creation of a new unit. At Gates' recommendation, Congress confirmed his previous appointment to the rank of a brigadier general, with a special title of "Commander of the Horse", and authorized the formation of a corps of 68 lancers and 200 light infantry. This corps, which became known as the Pulaski Cavalry Legion, was recruited mainly in Baltimore, where it was headquartered.

Pulaski arrived in Charleston, South Carolina on May 8, 1779, finding the city in crisis. Although he frequently suffered from malaria while stationed in Charleston, he remained in active service.

Pulaski rendered services during the siege of Savannah, and in the assault of October 9 commanded the whole cavalry, both French and American. While attempting to rally fleeing French forces during a cavalry charge, Pulaski was mortally wounded by grapeshot. A wounded Pulaski was carried from the field of battle and taken aboard the South Carolina merchant brig privateer Wasp, where he died two days later, having never regained consciousness.
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Charles Lee

  • Born:February 6, 1732 in Darnhall, Cheshire, England
  • Died:October 2, 1782 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Buried:Christ Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Service:1775–1780
  • Ranks:Major General
  • Commands: Southern Department
  • Battles:Battle of Brooklyn, Battle of Monmouth
Charles Lee

Charles Lee

Lee was appointed as the first commander of the Southern Department. He served in this post for six months, until he was recalled to the main army.

Although his army was supposed to join that of Washington's in Pennsylvania, Lee set a very slow pace. On the night of December 12, Lee and a dozen of his guard inexplicably stopped for the night at White's Tavern in Basking Ridge, New Jersey,some three miles from his main army. The next morning, a British patrol of two dozen mounted soldiers found Lee writing letters in his dressing gown, and captured him. Lee returned to service a couple of years later after he was exchanged.

During the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778, Washington needed a secondary commander to lead the frontal assault. He unwillingly chose to put Lee in charge, as he was the most senior of his generals. At first, Lee was so reluctant to take part in the attack that Washington bestowed command onto the Marquis de Lafayette. Upon this, Lee had a change of heart and requested that Lafayette cede command, which he gladly did.

Washington ordered him to attack the retreating enemy, but instead, Lee ordered a retreat after only one volley of fire. After seeing this, Lafayette sent a messenger to Washington informing him of this behavior. Lee's troops retreated directly into Washington and his troops, who were advancing, and Washington dressed him down publicly. Lee responded with insubordination, for which he was arrested.

On July 2, 1778, Lee was court-martialled at Brunswick, New Jersey by a jury presided by Lord Stirling on three charges: 1) disobedience of orders in not attacking the enemy; 2) misbehavior before the enemy in making an unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat; 3) disrespect to the commander-in-chief. Lee was found guilty, and he was relieved of command for a period of one year.

Lee tried to get Congress to overturn the court-martial's verdict. When this failed, he made open attacks on Washington's character. Lee's popularity then plummeted. Colonel John Laurens, an aide to Washington, challenged him to a duel, in which Lee was wounded in his side.

Lee was released from his duty on January 10, 1780
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Daniel Morgan

  • Born:July 6, 1736 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey
  • Died:July 6, 1802 in Winchester, Virginia
  • Buried: Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Colonel, Brigadier General
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Invasion of Canada, Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Freeman's Farm, Battle of Bemis Heights, Battle of Cowpens
Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan was an American pioneer, soldier, and politician from Virginia. He was one of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the Revolutionary War.

He became an officer of the Virginia militia and recruited a company of soldiers at the start of the war. The Virginia House of Burgesses chose Daniel Morgan to form one of these companies and become its commander. He had already been an officer in the Virginia militia since the French and Indian War. Morgan recruited 96 men in just 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston, Massachusetts in 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. His company of marksmen was nicknamed "Morgan's Riflemen."

Morgan's company had a significant advantage over the others. Instead of the smooth-bore weapons used of most British and most American companies, his men carried rifles. Morgan's company used guerrilla tactics, first shooting the Indian guides who led the British forces through the rugged terrain. They then targeted the officers. The British Army considered these guerrilla tactics to be dishonorable; however, they created chaos within the British ranks.

Early in the war, Morgan served in General Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec, where he was captured and remained a prisoner until he was exchanged in January 1777. He was then in the Saratoga campaign. After Saratoga, Morgan's unit rejoined Washington's main army, near Philadelphia.

Throughout 1778, Morgan hit British columns and supply lines in New Jersey, but was not involved in any major battles. He was not involved in the Battle of Monmouth but actively pursued the withdrawing British forces and captured many prisoners and supplies. When the Virginia Line was reorganized on September 14, 1778, Morgan became the colonel of the 7th Virginia Regiment.

Morgan served in the Philadelphia campaign but resigned from the army in 1779. Besides this frustration with the army and the Congress, his legs and back aggravated him from the abuse taken during the Quebec Expedition. He was finally allowed to resign on June 30, 1779, and returned home to Winchester.

Morgan returned to the army after the Battle of Camden, and led the Continental Army to victory in the Battle of Cowpens.
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Francis Marion

  • Born: c. 1732 in Berkeley County, South Carolina
  • Died: February 27, 1795
  • Buried:Belle Isle Plantation Cemetery in Saint Stephen, South Carolina
  • Service:1757–1782
  • Ranks:Lieutenant colonel, Brigadier general
  • Commands:N/A
  • Battles:Battle of Fort Sullivan, Siege of Savannah, Siege of Charleston, Battle of Black Mingo, Siege of Fort Watson, Siege of Fort Motte, Battle of Eutaw Springs
Francis Marion

Francis Marion

Acting with the Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, Marion was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina and Charleston in 1780-81, even after the Continental Army was driven out of the state in the Battle of Camden.

Marion used irregular methods of warfare and is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare and maneuver warfare. He was known as "The Swamp Fox".

On June 21, 1775, Marion was commissioned captain in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment under William Moultrie, with whom he served in June 1776 in the defense of Fort Sullivan, in Charleston harbor.

In September 1776, the Continental Congress commissioned Marion as a lieutenant colonel. In the autumn of 1779, he took part in the siege of Savannah.

Colonel Banastre Tarleton was sent to capture or kill Marion in November 1780; he despaired of finding the "old swamp fox", who eluded him by travelling along swamp paths. It was Tarleton who gave Marion his nom de guerre when, after unsuccessfully pursuing Marion's troops for over 26 miles through a swamp, he gave up and swore "[a]s for this damned old fox, the Devil himself could not catch him." Once Marion had shown his ability at guerrilla warfare, making himself a serious nuisance to the British, Governor John Rutledge (in exile in North Carolina) commissioned him a brigadier general of state troops.

Marion was also tasked with combating groups of freed slaves working or fighting alongside the British. He received an order from the Governor of South Carolina, to execute any blacks suspected of carrying provisions or gathering intelligence for the enemy "agreeable to the laws of this State".

In January 1782, he was elected to a new State Assembly at Jacksonborough and left his troops to take up his seat. During his absence, his brigade grew disheartened, particularly after a British sortie from Charleston, and there was reportedly a conspiracy to turn him over to the British. But in June of that year, he put down a Loyalist uprising on the banks of the Pee Dee River. In August, he left his brigade and returned to his plantation.
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Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

  • Born: September 17, 1730 in Magdeburg, Duchy of Magdeburg (now Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Died:28 November 1794 in Utica, New York
  • Buried:Steuben Memorial State Historic Site in Remsen, New York
  • Service:1778–1783
  • Ranks:Major general
  • Commands: #
  • Battles:Valley Forge, Battle of Monmouth Court House, Battle of Blandford, Siege of Yorktown
Friedrich von Steuben

Friedrich von Steuben

Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben, also referred to as the Baron von Steuben, was a Prussian and later an American military officer. He served as inspector general and major general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

He is credited with being one of the fathers of the Continental Army in teaching them the essentials of military drills, tactics, and disciplines. During the winter of 1778–1779, Steuben prepared "Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States", commonly known as the "Blue Book". Its basis was the training plan he had devised at Valley Forge. The book that served as standard United States drill manual until the American Civil War.

In 1780, Steuben sat on the court-martial of the British Army officer Major John André, captured and charged with espionage in conjunction with the defection of General Benedict Arnold. He later traveled with Nathanael Greene, the new commander of the Southern campaign.

Steuben would help in the defense of Virginia with approximately 1000 militia fighting a delaying action in the Battle of Blandford. During the spring of 1781, he aided Greene in the campaign in the south, culminating in the delivery of 450 Virginia Continentals to Lafayette in June.

He was forced to take sick leave, rejoining the army for the final campaign at Yorktown, where his role was as commander of one of the three divisions of Washington's troops. In 1783, General Von Steuben joined General Knox at Vail's Gate, near West Point, in the fall of 1782 and in early 1783 moved to the Verplanck homestead, at Mount Gulian, across the Hudson River from Washington's headquarters in Newburgh. Steuben gave assistance to Washington in demobilizing the army in 1783 as well as aiding in the defense plan of the new nation.
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George Rogers Clark

  • Born:November 19, 1752 in Albemarle County, Virginia
  • Died:February 13, 1818 in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Buried:Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Service:1776–1790
  • Ranks:Brigadier General
  • Commands:Western Frontier
  • Battles:Illinois campaign, Battle of Kaskaskia, Battle Vincennes, of Siege of Fort Sackville, Battle of Piqua
George Rogers Clark

George Rogers Clark

George Rogers Clark was an American surveyor, soldier, and militia officer from Virginia who became the highest ranking American military officer on the northwestern frontier. He served as leader of the militia in Kentucky (then part of Virginia) throughout much of the war. He is best known for his celebrated captures of Kaskaskia and Vincennes during the Illinois Campaign, which greatly weakened British influence in the Northwest Territory. The British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, and Clark has often been hailed as the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest".

As the war began in the East, Kentucky's settlers became involved in a dispute about the region's sovereignty. In June 1776, these settlers selected Clark and John Gabriel Jones to deliver a petition to the Virginia General Assembly, asking Virginia to formally extend its boundaries to include Kentucky. Clark and Jones traveled convinced Governor Patrick Henry to create Kentucky County, Virginia. Clark was to help defend the settlements and was appointed a major in the Kentucky County militia.

In 1777, British lieutenant governor Henry Hamilton armed his Indian allies, encouraging them to wage war on the Kentucky settlers in hopes of reclaiming the region as their hunting ground. The Continental Army could spare no men for an invasion in the northwest or for the defense of Kentucky, which was left entirely to the local population. Clark spent several months defending settlements against the Indian raiders as a leader in the Kentucky County militia, while developing his plan for a long-distance strike against the British. His strategy involved seizing British outposts north of the Ohio River to destroy British influence among their Indian allies.

In December 1777, Clark presented his plan to Virginia's Governor Patrick Henry, and he asked for permission to lead a secret expedition to capture the British-held villages at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes in the Illinois country. Governor Henry commissioned him as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia militia and authorized him to raise troops for the expedition.

In July 1778, Clark and about 175 men crossed the Ohio River at Fort Massac and marched to Kaskaskia, capturing it on the night of July 4 without firing their weapons. The next day, Captain Joseph Bowman and his company captured Cahokia in a similar fashion without firing a shot. The garrison at Vincennes along the Wabash River surrendered to Clark in August. Several other villages and British forts were subsequently captured, after most of the French-speaking and Indian inhabitants refused to take up arms on behalf of the British.

To counter Clark's advance, Hamilton recaptured the garrison at Vincennes, which the British called Fort Sackville, with a small force in December 1778. They arrived at Vincennes on February 23 and launched a surprise attack on Fort Sackville. Hamilton surrendered the garrison on February 25 and was captured in the process. The winter expedition was Clark's most significant military achievement and became the basis of his reputation as an early American military hero.

In June 1780, a mixed force of British and Indians from the Detroit area invaded Kentucky, including Shawnee, Delaware, and Wyandot, among others. They captured two fortified settlements and seized hundreds of prisoners. In August 1780, Clark led a retaliatory force that won a victory at the Shawnee village of Peckuwe.

In 1781, Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson promoted Clark to brigadier general and gave him command of all the militia in the Kentucky and Illinois counties.

In August 1782, another British-Indian force defeated the Kentucky militia at the Battle of Blue Licks. In response, Clark led another expedition into the Ohio country, destroying several Indian villages along the Great Miami River during the Battle of Piqua, the last major expedition of the war.
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George Clinton

  • Born: July 26, 1739 in Little Britain, New York, British America
  • Died: April 20, 1812 in Washington, D.C.
  • Buried:N/A
  • Service:1775-1783
  • Ranks:Brigadier general
  • Commands:N/A
  • Battles:N/A
George Clinton

George Clinton

In December 1775, the New York Provincial Congress commissioned him brigadier general in the militia tasked with defending the Highlands of the Hudson River from British attack. To this end, he built two forts and stretched a giant chain across the river to keep the British forces in New York City from sailing northward. On March 25, 1777, he was commissioned a brigadier general in the Continental Army.

In June 1777, he was elected at the same time Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York. He formally resigned the Lieutenant Governor's office and took the oath of office as Governor on July 30. He was re-elected five times, remaining in office until June 1795. Although he had been elected governor, he retained his commission in the Continental Army and commanded forces at Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery on October 6, 1777. He remained in the Continental Army until it was disbanded on November 3, 1783.

He was known for his hatred of Tories and used the seizure and sale of Tory estates to help keep taxes down. A supporter and friend of George Washington, he supplied food to the troops at Valley Forge, and rode with George Washington to the first presidential inauguration.
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George Washington

  • Born: February 22, 1732 in Bridges Creek, Colony of Virginia, British America
  • Died: December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • Buried: Washington Family Tomb, Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • Service: 1777–1783
  • Ranks: General and Commander-in-Chief
  • Commands: Continental Army
  • Battles: Boston campaign, New York and New Jersey campaign, Philadelphia campaign, Yorktown campaign
George Washington

George Washington

In 1775, the Second Continental Congress commissioned him as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution. In that command, Washington forced the British out of Boston in 1776 but was defeated and nearly captured later that year when he lost New York City. After crossing the Delaware River in the middle of winter, he defeated the British in two battles (Trenton and Princeton), retook New Jersey, and restored momentum to the Patriot cause. His strategy enabled Continental forces to capture two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781.

Washington appeared at the Second Continental Congress in a military uniform, signaling that he was prepared for war. He had the prestige, military experience, charisma, and military bearing of a military leader and was known as a strong patriot. Virginia was the largest colony and deserved recognition, and New England—where the fighting began—realized that it needed Southern support.

Washington did not explicitly seek the office of commander and said that he was not equal to it, but there was no serious competition. Congress created the Continental Army on June 14, 1775. Washington was nominated by John Adams of Massachusetts, then appointed as a full General and Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

Washington assumed command of the Continental Army in the field at Cambridge, Massachusetts in July 1775 during the ongoing siege of Boston. Washington reorganized the army during the long standoff in Boston and forced the British to withdraw by putting artillery on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city. The British evacuated Boston in March 1776 and Washington moved his army to New York City.

New York battles info**

On the night of December 25, 1776, Washington led his army across the Delaware River. The next morning, the troops launched a surprise attack on a Hessian outpost in Trenton, New Jersey. He followed up his victory at Trenton with another over British regulars at Princeton on January 3. The British retreated to New York City and its environs, which they held until the peace treaty of 1783.

In late summer of 1777, British General John Burgoyne led a major invasion army south from Quebec, with the intention of splitting off rebellious New England. But General Howe in New York took his army south to Philadelphia instead of going up the Hudson River to join with Burgoyne. Meanwhile, Washington rushed to Philadelphia to engage Howe. The ensuing pitched battles at Philadelphia were too complex for Washington's relatively inexperienced men and they were defeated. Washington's loss at Philadelphia prompted some members of Congress to consider removing Washington from command. This movement termed the Conway Cabal, failed after Washington's supporters rallied behind him

At the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, Howe outmaneuvered Washington and marched into the American capital at Philadelphia unopposed on September 26. Washington's army unsuccessfully attacked the British garrison at Germantown in early October. Meanwhile, to the north, Burgoyne was beyond the reach of help from Howe, trapped and forced to surrender after the Battles of Saratoga. This was a major turning point militarily and diplomatically—the French responded to Burgoyne's defeat by entering the war, allying with America and expanding the Revolutionary War into a major worldwide affair.

Washington's army of 11,000 went into winter quarters at Valley Forge north of Philadelphia in December 1777. The next spring, a revitalized army emerged from Valley Forge in good order, thanks in part to a full-scale training program supervised by General von Steuben. The British evacuated Philadelphia for New York in June, 1778. He decided to make a partial attack on the retreating British at the Battle of Monmouth. After sharp words of criticism, Washington relieved General Charles Lee and continued fighting to an effective draw in one of the war's largest battles.

In the summer of 1778, Washington ordered Major Benjamin Tallmadge to form the Culper Ring. This group was composed of a select few trustworthy individuals whose purpose was to collect information about the British movements and activities in New York City. The Ring is famous for uncovering Benedict Arnold's intentions of treason.

In the summer of 1779, Washington and Congress decided to strike the Iroquois warriors of the "Six Nations" in a campaign to force Britain's Indian allies out of New York, which they had used as a base to attack American settlements around New England. In August 1779, General John Sullivan led a military operation that destroyed at least 40 Iroquois villages, burning all available crops.

In July 1780, 5,000 veteran French troops led by the comte de Rochambeau arrived at Newport, Rhode Island to aid in the war. French naval forces then landed, led by Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse. At first Washington hoped to bring the allied fight to New York and to end the war there, but Rochambeau advised de Grasse that Cornwallis in Virginia was the better target. Admiral de Grasse followed this advice and arrived off the Virginia coast. Washington immediately saw the advantage created, made a feinting move with his force towards Clinton in New York, and then headed south to Virginia.

Washington's Continental Army delivered the final blow to the British in 1781, after a French naval victory allowed American and French forces to trap a British army in Virginia, preventing reinforcement by Clinton from the North. The surrender at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, marked the end of major fighting in North America.

By the Treaty of Paris signed on September 3, 1783, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States. Washington disbanded his army and gave an eloquent farewell address to his soldiers on November 2. On November 25, the British evacuated New York City, and Washington and the governor took possession.

At Fraunces Tavern on December 4, Washington formally bade his officers farewell and he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief on December 23, 1783, to the Continental Congress in the Old Senate Chamber of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Md. "I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping." King George III called Washington "the greatest character of the age" because of this.
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Henry Knox

  • Born: July 25, 1750 in Boston, Massachusetts Bay, British America
  • Died: October 25, 1806 near Thomaston, Massachusetts (now Maine)
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1772–1784
  • Ranks: Major General
  • Commands: Chief of Artillery
  • Battles: Battle of Bunker Hill, Siege of Boston, Knox Expedition, Fortification of Dorchester Heights, Battle of Long Island, Battle of Trenton, Battle of the Assunpink Creek, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth, Siege of Yorktown
Henry Knox

Henry Knox

When the war broke out, Knox joined the militia army besieging Boston. He served under General Artemas Ward, putting his acquired engineering skills to use developing fortifications around the city. He directed rebel cannon fire at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

When General George Washington arrived in July 1775 to take command of the army, he was impressed by the work Knox had done. The two also immediately developed a liking for one another, and Knox began to interact regularly with Washington and the other generals of the developing Continental Army. Knox did not have a commission in the army, but John Adams in particular worked in the Second Continental Congress to acquire for him a commission as colonel of the army's artillery regiment.

Reaching Fort Ticonderoga on December 5, Knox commenced what came to be known as the noble train of artillery, hauling by ox-drawn sled 60 tons of cannon and other armaments across some 300 miles to the Boston siege camps. They were immediately deployed to fortify the Dorchester Heights recently taken by Washington. So commanding was the new battery over Boston harbor, the British withdrew their fleet to Halifax. With the siege ended, Knox undertook the improvement of defenses in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York City in anticipation of British attack there.

Knox was with Washington's army during the New York and New Jersey campaign, including most of the major engagements resulting in the loss of New York City. He narrowly escaped capture following the British invasion of Manhattan, only making it back to the main Continental Army lines through the offices of Aaron Burr. He was in charge of logistics in the critical crossing of the Delaware River that preceded the December 26, 1776 Battle of Trenton.

Knox was promoted to brigadier general for this accomplishment, and given command of an artillery corps expanded to five regiments. The army again crossed the river a few days later after the decision to make a stand at Trenton. Knox was with the army at the January 2, 1777 at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek, and again the next day at Princeton.

In 1777, while the army was in winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey, Knox returned to Massachusetts to improve the Army's artillery manufacturing capability. He raised an additional battalion of artillerymen and established an armory at Springfield, Massachusetts before returning to the main army in the spring. That armory, and a second at Yorktown, Pennsylvania established by one of his subordinates, remained valuable sources of war material for the rest of the war.

Knox was present at the Brandywine, the first major battle of the Philadelphia campaign, and at Germantown. At Germantown, he made the critical suggestion, approved by Washington, to capture rather than bypass the Chew House, a stone mansion that the British had occupied as a strong defensive position. This turned out to significantly delay the army's advance and gave the British an opportunity to reform their lines. Knox was also present at the Battle of Monmouth in July 1778, where Washington commended him for the artillery's performance.

Knox was promoted to major general on March 22, 1782; he became the army's youngest major general. He and Congressman Gouverneur Morris were assigned to negotiate prisoner exchanges with the British.

With the arrival of news of a preliminary peace in April 1783 Congress began to order the demobilization of the army, and Washington gave Knox day-to-day command of what remained of the army. He also drafted plans for the establishment of a peacetime army, many of whose provisions were eventually implemented. These plans included two military academies (one naval and one army, the latter occupying the critical base at West Point), and bodies of troops to maintain the nation's borders.
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Henry Lee III

  • Born: January 29, 1756 in Dumfries, Colony of Virginia, British America
  • Died: March 25, 1818 in Cumberland Island, Georgia
  • Buried: Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia,
  • Service: 1776–1783
  • Ranks: Lieutenant colonel, Major general
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: #
Henry Lee

Henry Lee

Major-General Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee III was an early American Patriot and politician who served as the ninth Governor of Virginia and as the Virginia Representative to the United States Congress. Lee's service during the American Revolution as a cavalry officer in the Continental Army earned him the nickname by which he is best known, "Light-Horse Harry". Lee was the father of Civil War-era Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

Lee graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1773, and began pursuing a legal career. With the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he instead became a captain in a Virginia dragoon detachment, which was attached to the 1st Continental Light Dragoons.

In 1778, Lee was promoted to major and given the command of a mixed corps of cavalry and infantry known as Lee's Legion, with which he won a great reputation as a capable leader of light troops. At the time, highly mobile groups of light cavalry provided valuable service not only during major battles, but also by conducting reconnaissance and surveillance, engaging the enemy during troop movements, disrupting delivery of supplies, doing raiding and skirmishing, and organizing expedition behind enemy lines; part of such tactics now are known as guerrilla warfare and maneuver warfare. In September of the same year, Lee commanded a unit of dragoons which defeated a Hessian regiment at the Battle of Edgar's Lane.

It was during his time as commander of the Legion that Lee earned the sobriquet of "Light-Horse Harry" for his horsemanship.

Lee was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was assigned with his Legion to the southern theater of war. Lee's Legion raided the British outpost of Georgetown, South Carolina with General Francis Marion in January 1781 and helped screen the American army in their Race to the Dan River the following month. Lee united with General Francis Marion and General Andrew Pickens in the spring of 1781 to capture numerous British outposts in South Carolina and Georgia including Fort Watson, Fort Motte, Fort Granby, Fort Galphin, Fort Grierson, and Fort Cornwallis, Augusta, Georgia.

They conducted a campaign of terror and intimidation against Loyalists in the region, highlighted in Pyle's Massacre. Lee and his legion also served at the Battle of Guilford Court House, the Siege of Ninety-Six, and the Battle of Eutaw Springs. He was present at Charles Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, but left the Army shortly after, claiming fatigue and disappointment with his treatment from fellow officers.
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Horatio Gates

  • Born: July 26, 1727 in Maldon, Essex, Great Britain
  • Died: April 10, 1806 in New York City, New York
  • Buried: Trinity Church graveyard in New York City, New York
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: Adjutant General, Canadian Department, Northern Department, Eastern Department,
    Southern Department
  • Battles: Battles of Saratoga, Battle of Camden
Horatio Gates

Horatio Gates

Horatio Lloyd Gates was a retired British soldier who served as an American general during the Revolutionary War. He took credit for the American victory in the Battles of Saratoga (1777) and was blamed for the defeat at the Battle of Camden in 1780. Gates has been described as "one of the Revolution's most controversial military figures" because of his role in the Conway Cabal, which attempted to discredit and replace George Washington; the battle at Saratoga; and his actions during and after his defeat at Camden.

On June 17, 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned Gates as a Brigadier General and Adjutant General, on Washington's recommendation, of the Continental Army. He is considered to be the first Adjutant General of the United States Army. He was assigned command of Fort Ticonderoga in 1776 and command of the Northern Department in 1777.

By June 1776, he had been promoted to Major General and given command of the Canadian Department. During the summer of 1776, Gates was given command of Ticonderoga and the defense of Lake Champlain.

Gates had always maintained that he and not George Washington should have commanded the Continental Army, an opinion supported by several wealthy and prominent New England delegates to the Continental Congress. Although Gates actively lobbied Congress for the appointment, Washington's stunning successes at Trenton and Princeton subsequently left no doubt as to who should be commander-in-chief.

Congress gave Gates command of the Northern Department on August 4, 1777, Shortly afterwards, the Continental Army defeated the British at the crucial Battles of Saratoga. After the battle, some members of Congress considered replacing Washington with Gates, but Washington ultimately retained his position as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

Gates took command of the Southern Department in 1780, but was removed from command later that year after the disastrous Battle of Camden. Gates's military reputation was destroyed by the battle and he did not hold another command for the remainder of the war.

Because of the debacle at Camden, Congress passed a resolution calling for a board of inquiry, the prelude to a court-martial, to look into Gates's conduct. Although he never was again placed in field command, Gates's New England supporters in Congress came to his aid in 1782, repealing the call for an inquiry. Gates then rejoined Washington's staff at Newburgh, New York.
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Isaac Huger

  • Born: March 19, 1743
  • Died: October 17, 1797
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1775-1781
  • Ranks: Lieutenant colonel, Colonel , Brigadier general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Stono Ferry, Siege of Savannah, Battle of Monck's Corner , Battle of Cowpens, Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Battle of Hobkirk's Hill
Isaac Huger

Isaac Huger

While serving as a representative for the parishes of St. Philip and St. Michael in the First Provincial Congress of South Carolina, Isaac Huger was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina militia and later commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 1st South Carolina Regiment on June 17, 1775. He was promoted to colonel on September 16, 1776, and appointed commander of the 5th South Carolina Regiment. On January 9, 1779, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Continental Army.

Brigadier General Huger fought and was wounded at the Battle of Stono Ferry on June 20, 1779 and commanded the South Carolina and Georgia militia during the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779.

During the siege of Charleston in the spring of 1780, he was placed in command of the light horse and militia outside the city. A surprise attack by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton's forces routed and dispersed Huger's troops at Monck's Corner on the morning of April 14, 1780. Illness kept Huger from capture with the surrender of Charleston, and he later rejoined the Southern army under Major General Horatio Gates in North Carolina.

He was present when Major General Nathanael Greene took command of the Southern Department in Charlotte later in December. Greene detached his light forces to the western parts of South Carolina and moved his regulars to a camp in the Cheraws, with Huger as his second-in-command. After the brilliant American victory at Cowpens, Huger was entrusted by Greene to lead the command posted in the Cheraws to rejoin the detached light forces in North Carolina.

At the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781, Huger commanded a brigade of Virginia Continental regiments and was slightly wounded in action. He commanded the same brigade at the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill on April 25.

With the retreat of the British from the interior to Charleston, Huger was reunited with his family and returned to his home, ending his combative service.
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Israel Putnam

  • Born: January 7, 1718 in Danvers, Province of Massachusetts Bay, British America
  • Died: May 29, 1790 in Brooklyn, Connecticut
  • Buried: Putnam Memorial in Brooklyn, Connecticut
  • Service: 1775-1779
  • Ranks: Major general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Long Island, Battles of Fort Montgomery/Fort Clinton
Isreal Putnam

Isreal Putnam

On April 21, 1775, Putnam was named major general, making him second in rank to General Artemas Ward in the Army of Observation, which preceded the founding of the Continental Army.

Putnam was one of the primary figures at the Battle of Bunker Hill, both in its planning and on the battlefield.

Putnam served as temporary commander of the American forces in New York, while waiting for the arrival of commander-in-chief General George Washington there on April 13, 1776. Putnam's fortunes declined at the Battle of Long Island in August 1776, where he was forced to effect a hasty retreat from the British.

Putnam was fooled in October 1777 by a feint executed by British troops, making way for yhe capture of Fort Montgomery and Fort Clinton. As was standard procedure, Putnam was relieved of command and brought before a court of inquiry for these losses. transferred Putnam to recruiting duties in Connecticut after the court of inquiry finished its investigation of the loss of Forts Montgomery and Clinton.

Putnam was later put in command of the Eastern Division, consisting of three brigades of New Hampshire and Connecticut troops. In 1779, he was put in command of the right wing of the army, which included the Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania divisions.

In December 1779, Putnam suffered a paralyzing stroke, which ended his military service.
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Johann de Kalb

  • Born: June 19, 1721 in Erlangen, Bavaria, Holy Roman Empire (now Erlangen, Germany)
  • Died: August 19, 1780 in Camden, South Carolina
  • Buried: Bethesda Presbyterian Churchyard in Camden, South Carolina
  • Service: 1777–1780
  • Ranks: Major-general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Camden
Johann de Kalb

Johann de Kalb

Johann von Robais, Baron de Kalb, born Johann Kalb, was a Bavarian-French military officer who served as a major general in the Continental Army. He was killed in action while fighting the British Army during the Battle of Camden.

In 1777, de Kalb returned again with his protégé, the Marquis de Lafayette, and joined the Continental Army. He was appointed to the rank of Major general on September 5, 1777.

He was at Valley Forge for most of the 1777–78 winter, and commanded a division of Patterson's and Learned's Brigades.

De Kalb was assigned to command a division of Maryland and Delaware troops, and he was ordered south to the Carolinas in command of these reinforcements. At the Battle of Camden, De Kalb's horse was shot from under him, causing him to tumble to the ground. Before he could get up, he was shot three times and bayonetted repeatedly by British soldiers. He died three days later and was buried in Camden.
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John Ashe

  • Born: ca. 1720 in North Carolina, British Americaa
  • Died: October 24, 1781
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1775-1781
  • Ranks: Militia: Colonel, Brigadier general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Fort Johnson, Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge

An outspoken opponent of the Stamp Act and eventually a supporter of independence from Great Britain, Ashe served in the North Carolina Provincial Congress and on both the committees of correspondence and safety as hostilities between the colonies and Great Britain began to rise.

Leading a force of 500 men, Ashe destroyed the British garrison of Fort Johnston (near present-day Wilmington, North Carolina) in 1775, becoming a colonel later that year. Raising and equipping a regiment at his own expense, Ashe led his regiment in the American victory at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge. Ashe was thereafter promoted to brigadier general of the militia in April 1778.

He was dispatched to support Continental Army Major General Benjamin Lincoln following the British capture of Savannah, Georgia in late 1778. Ashe's troops first marched to Purrysburg, South Carolina, where Lincoln had established his camp, but was then sent north to join forces threatening Augusta, Georgia, which was being held by British Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell. Ashe's advance in early February 1779 prompted Campbell to abandon Augusta, and Ashe followed him southward in Georgia. Ashe halted just above Brier Creek, where the British had burned out a bridge during their retreat, and established a camp while he traveled back to South Carolina for a war council with Lincoln. Ashe returned to the Brier Creek camp on March 2.

Most of the British force embarked on a lengthy detour to flank Ashe's camp while a diversionary force demonstrated on the far side of the burned-out bridge. The British approached his camp from the rear on March 3, with Ashe's force having just 15 minutes notice to prepare for the onslaught. Ashe's poorly trained and supplied militia were routed. Ashe was subjected to a court martial, which found that although he was not entirely to blame for the debacle, he was guilty of setting inadequate guards around his camp.

Returning to Wilmington, remained active there in suppressing Loyalist activity in the district. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war following the town's occupation in 1781. Contracting smallpox while imprisoned, Ashe was paroled, but died in Sampson County on October 24 shortly after his release.
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John Lacey

  • Born: February 4, 1755 in Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania
  • Died: February 17, 1814
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1776-1778
  • Ranks: Militia: Captain, Lieutenant colonel, Brigadier general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Germantown, Battle of Matson's Ford, Battle of Crooked Billet

Lacey was a member of local militia unit which was incorporated into the Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army. He served as a captain under Colonel Anthony Wayne on the Canadian frontier in 1776, but he and Wayne got along poorly and Lacey resigned his commission and went home.

In 1777, he served as a lieutenant colonel in a Bucks County Regiment of militia, during which he fought at Germantown, and Matson's Ford. He gained such a reputation for skill and courage that Pennsylvania Supreme Executive made him a Brigadier General in the Pennsylvania Militia on January 9, 1778. He commanded the American forces in the Battle of Crooked Billet.
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John Paul Jones

  • Born: July 6, 1747 in Arbigland, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
  • Died: July 18, 1792 in Paris, France
  • Buried: Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland
  • Service: 1776–1783
  • Ranks: 1st Lieutenant, Captain
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Battle of Nassau, Battle of Block Island, USS Providence vs HMS Mellish, Irish/North Sea Campaign, Action of 24 April 1778, Battle of Flamborough Head
John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones (born John Paul) was the United States' first well-known naval commander in the Revolutionary War. He made many friends and enemies—who accused him of piracy—among America's political elites, and his actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day. As such, he is sometimes referred to as the "Father of the American Navy"

Jones was appointed as a 1st Lieutenant of the newly converted 24-gun frigate USS Alfred in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775. Jones sailed from the Delaware River in February 1776 aboard Alfred on the Continental Navy's maiden cruise. It was aboard this vessel that Jones took the honor of hoisting the first U.S. ensign−the Grand Union Flag−over a naval vessel.

Jones was assigned the smaller command of the newly constructed USS Ranger on June 14, 1777. Jones had some early successes against British merchant shipping in the Irish Sea.

Ranger's capture of the HMS Drake was one of the Continental Navy's few significant military victories during the Revolution, and was of immense symbolic importance, demonstrating as it did that the Royal Navy was far from invincible. By overcoming such odds, Ranger's victory became an important symbol of the American spirit and served as an inspiration for the permanent establishment of the United States Navy after the revolution.

In 1779, Captain Jones took command of the 42-gun USS Bonhomme Richard. At the Battle of Flamborough Head, Jones captured the HMS Seripas. Most of Bonhomme Richard's crew immediately transferred to other vessels, and after a day and a half of frantic repair efforts, it was decided that the ship could not be saved, so it was allowed to sink, and Jones took command of Serapis for the trip to neutral (but American-sympathizing) Holland.

In 1780, the King of France Louis XVI, honored him with the title "Chevalier". In Britain at this time, Jones was usually denigrated as a pirate.
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John Stark

  • Born: August 28, 1728 in Londonderry, Province of New Hampshire
  • Died: May 8, 1822 in Derryfield, New Hampshire
  • Buried: Stark Cemetery in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Militia: Colonel, Major general
  • Commands: Northern Department, New Hampshire Militia, 1st New Hampshire Regiment
  • Battles: Siege of Boston, Battle of Bunker Hill, Invasion of Canada (1775), Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Bennington
John Stark

John Stark

John Stark was a New Hampshire native who served as an officer in the British Army during the French and Indian war and a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He became widely known as the "Hero of Bennington" for his exemplary service at the Battle of Bennington in 1777.

On April 23, 1775, Stark accepted a Colonelcy in the New Hampshire Militia and was given command of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment. He fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

As General George Washington prepared to go to New York in anticipation of a British attack there, he knew that he desperately needed experienced men like John Stark to command regiments in the Continental Army. Washington immediately offered Stark a command in the Continental Army. Stark and his New Hampshire regiment agreed to attach themselves to the Continental Army. The men of the New Hampshire Line were sent as reinforcements to the Continental Army during the Invasion of Canada in the spring of 1776. After the retreat of the Continental Army from Canada, Stark and his men traveled to New Jersey to join Washington's main army. They were with Washington in the battles of Princeton and Trenton in late 1776 and early 1777.

In July 1777, his home state offered Stark a commission as brigadier general of the New Hampshire Militia. He accepted on the strict condition that he would not be answerable to Continental Army authority. After his victory at the Battle of Bennington, Stark won his coveted promotion to brigadier general in the Continental Army on October 4, 1777.

John Stark sat as a judge in the court martial that in September 1780 found British Major John André guilty of spying and in helping in the conspiracy of Benedict Arnold to surrender West Point to the British.

Stark was the commander of the Northern Department three times between 1778 and 1781.
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John Sullivan

  • Born: February 17, 1740 in Somersworth, Province of New Hampshire, British America
  • Died: January 23, 1795 in Durham, New Hampshire
  • Buried: Sullivan Family Burial Ground in Durham, New Hampshire
  • Service: 1775-1779
  • Ranks: Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Siege of Boston, Battle of Trenton,Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Rhode Island, Sullivan Expedition
John Sullivan

John Sullivan

John Sullivan was an Irish-American general in the Revolutionary War, a delegate in the Continental Congress, Governor of New Hampshire and a United States federal judge.

On June 27, 1775, Sullivan left Philadelphia to join the army at the siege of Boston.

After the British evacuated Boston in the spring of 1776, Washington sent Sullivan north to replace the fallen John Thomas as commander in Quebec. He took command of the sick and faltering invasion force, sent some of those forces on an unsuccessful counterattack against the British at the Battle of Trois-Rivières, and withdrew the survivors to Crown Point. This led to the first of several controversies between Congress and General Sullivan, as they sought a scapegoat for the failed invasion of Canada. He was exonerated and promoted to major general on August 9, 1776.

At the Battle of Long Island, Sullivan engaged the Hessian attackers with a pistol in each hand; however, he was captured.

Sullivan was released in a prisoner exchange in time to rejoin Washington before the Battle of Trenton. There, his division secured the important bridge over the Assunpink Creek to the south of the town. This prevented escape and ensured the high number of Hessian prisoners captured. In January 1777, Sullivan also performed well in the Battle of Princeton.

Next, Sullivan suffered losses at the battles at Brandywine and Germantown.

In early 1778 he was transferred to the post of Rhode Island where he led Continental troops and militia. Sullivan was forced into retreat after fighting the inconclusive Battle of Rhode Island in August 1778.

In the summer of 1779, Sullivan led the Sullivan Expedition, a massive campaign against the Iroquois in western New York. The lukewarm response of the Congress was more than he could accept. Broken, tired and again opposed by Congress, he retired from the army in 1779 and returned to New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire legislature selected him as a delegate to the Continental Congress for one year to start in November 1780.
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Marquis de La Fayette

  • Born: 6 September 1757 in Chavaniac, France
  • Died: 20 May 1834 in Paris, France
  • Buried: Picpus Cemetery in Paris, France
  • Service: 1777–1781
  • Ranks: Major General
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Gloucester, Valley Forge, Battle of Barren Hill, Battle of Rhode Island, Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Green Spring, Siege of Yorktown
Marquis de La Fayette

Marquis de La Fayette

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette in the United States often known simply as Lafayette, was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the Revolutionary War. He was a close friend of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson.

Lafayette became convinced that the American cause in its revolutionary war was noble, and traveled to the New World seeking glory in it. There, he was made a major general; however, the 19-year-old was initially not given troops to command.

Lafayette's first battle was at Brandywine on 11 September 1777. Lafayette was shot in the leg during the battle. Lafayette returned to the field in November after two months of recuperation. He assisted General Nathanael Greene in reconnaissance of British positions in New Jersey.

Lafayette stayed at General George Washington's encampment at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777–78, and shared the hardship of his troops.

On May 18, 1778, Washington dispatched Lafayette with a 2,200-man force to reconnoiter near Barren Hill, Pennsylvania. The next day, the British heard that Lafayette had made camp nearby and sent 5,000 men to trap and capture him at the Battle of Barren Hill. He escaped the British with his troops.

Lafayette fought at Monmouth Courthouse and served with distinction in the Battle of Rhode Island. In February 1779, he returned home to lobby for an increase in French support. He arrived in back in Boston on April 27, 1780.

After the Continental victory at Cowpens in January 1781, Washington ordered Lafayette to re-form his force in Philadelphia and go south to Virginia to link up with troops commanded by Baron von Steuben. The combined force was to try to trap British forces commanded by Benedict Arnold, with French ships preventing his escape by sea. British command of the seas prevented the plan, though Lafayette and a small part of his force was able to reach von Steuben in Yorktown, Virginia.

The Battle of Green Spring was a victory for the British, but the American army was bolstered by the display of courage by their men. Lafayette commanded the American forces.

By August, General Charles Cornwallis had established the British at Yorktown, and Lafayette took up position on Malvern Hill, stationing artillery surrounding the British, who were close to the York River, and who had orders to construct fortifications to protect the British ships in Hampton Roads. Lafayette's containment trapped the British when the French fleet arrived and won the Battle of the Virginia Capes, depriving Cornwallis of naval protection.

On September 14, 1781, Washington's forces joined Lafayette's. On September 28, with the French fleet blockading the British, the combined forces laid siege to Yorktown. On 14 October, Lafayette's 400 men on the American right took Redoubt 9 after Alexander Hamilton's forces had charged Redoubt 10 in hand-to-hand combat. These two redoubts were key to breaking the British defenses. After a failed British counter-attack, Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781.

Lafayette left Boston for France on December 18, 1781. On arrival, he was welcomed as a hero. He was promoted to maréchal de camp, skipping numerous ranks and was made a Knight of the Order of Saint Louis.
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Nathanael Greene

  • Born: August 7, 1742 in Warwick, Rhode Island, British America
  • Died: June 19, 1786 in Chatham County, Georgia
  • Buried: Johnson Square in Savannah, Georgia
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Siege of Boston,Battle of Harlem Heights, Battle of Fort Washington, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Rhode Island, Battle of Springfield, Battle of Guilford Court House, Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, Siege of Ninety-Six, Battle of Eutaw Springs
Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene was a major general of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. He emerged from the war with a reputation as commanding General George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer, and is known for his successful command in the Southern theater of the war. He was called "The Savior of the South" and the "The Fighting Quaker".

Greene was singularly able and, like other prominent generals on the American side, a self-trained soldier. He was second only to Washington among the officers of the American army in military ability, and the only general, other than Washington and Henry Knox, to serve the entire eight years of the war. Like Washington, he had the great gift of using small means to the utmost advantage.

The Second Continental Congress appointed Greene to the rank of brigadier general in the Continental Army in 1775, and on August 9, 1776, he was promoted to be one of the four new major generals. He served as General George Washington's subordinate in the New York and New Jersey campaign and the Philadelphia campaign, and was the Continental Army's Quartermaster General from 1778 to 1780.

At the Battle of Trenton, Greene commanded one of the two American columns. At the Battle of Brandywine, Greene commanded the reserve. At Germantown, Greene's command failed to arrive in good time. But when they arrived, Greene and his troops distinguished themselves.

At the urgent request of Washington on March 2, 1778, at Valley Forge, he accepted the office of Quartermaster General. However, he had become Quartermaster General on the understanding that he should retain the right to command troops in the field. Thus, he became head of the right wing at Monmouth on June 28, 1778.

In August 1778, Greene and Lafayette commanded the land forces sent to Rhode Island to co-operate with French admiral d'Estaing, in an expedition (the Battle of Rhode Island).

In June 1780, Greene was in command at the Battle of Springfield. In August, he resigned the office of Quartermaster General. A month before Washington appointed him commander of West Point, it fell to Greene to preside over the court which condemned Major John André to death on September 29, 1780.

In December 1780, Greene was appointed to command the Continental Army in the southern theater, replacing General Horatio Gates. The Congress approved the appointment, gave Greene command over all troops from Delaware to Georgia with extraordinarily full powers, "subject to the control of the Commander-in-Chief", effectively making him the second-in-command of the entire Continental Army.

After only a week's encampment at Halifax Court House, Greene had sufficient promises and reports of help on the way to recross the river. Greene and the main army re-crossed the Dan River into North Carolina on the 22nd, then pursued Cornwallis and gave battle on March 15, 1781, at the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina, on ground which he had chosen.

Next, Greene commanded the forces at the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill and the Siege of Ninety-Six. These actions helped force the British to the coast.

Greene engaged in a successful campaign to harass the British forces under General Charles Cornwallis, limiting British control of the South to the coastal areas. On September 8, Greene engaged the British at Eutaw Springs. The battle, although tactically a draw, so weakened the British that they withdrew to Charleston, where Greene pinned them down during the remaining months of the war.
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Philemon Dickinson

  • Born: April 5, 1739 in Trappe, Maryland
  • Died: February 4, 1809 in Trenton, New Jersey
  • Buried: N/A
  • Service: 1775-1778
  • Ranks: Militia: Colonel, Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Somerset Court House, Battle of Monmouth
Philemon Dickenson

Philemon Dickenson

As a brigadier general of the New Jersey militia, Dickinson was one of the most effective militia officers of the Revolutionary War. He rose to the rank of Major General in the New Jersey Militia.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War in 1775 he was commissioned a colonel of the Hunterdon County militia. In 1776, he was elected as a delegate to New Jersey's Revolutionary provincial congress. In January 1777, Dickinson led 400 of his militia in a raid on a British foraging party near Somerset Court House, New Jersey, capturing about forty wagons of supplies and several prisoners. In June 1777 he was appointed major general in command of all New Jersey militia, a post he held throughout the rest of the war. Dickinson's militia took part in the battle of Monmouth in 1778, helping obstruct the retreat of the British to New York.

In 1782 and 1783, he represented Delaware at the Continental Congress.
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Philip Schuyler

  • Born: November 20, 1733 in Albany, Province of New York
  • Died: November 18, 1804 in Albany, New York
  • Buried: Albany Rural Cemetery in Albany, New York
  • Service: #
  • Ranks: Major General
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Battle of Saratoga

Schuyler was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775, and served until he was appointed a Major General of the Continental Army in June. General Schuyler took command of the Northern Department, and planned the Invasion of Canada (1775). His poor health required him to place Richard Montgomery in command of the invasion.

As department commanding General, he was active in preparing a defense against the Saratoga Campaign.

Schyler resigned from the Army on April 19, 1779. He then served in two more sessions of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780.
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Richard Montgomery

  • Born: December 2, 1738 in Swords, Dublin, Kingdom of Ireland
  • Died: December 31, 1775 in Quebec City, Province of Quebec
  • Buried: St. Paul's Churchyard in Manhattan, New York City
  • Service: 1775
  • Ranks: Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Invasion of Quebec, Battle of Fort St. Jean, Battle of Quebec
Richard Montgomery

Richard Montgomery

When the Revolutionary War broke out, Montgomery took up the Patriot cause, and was elected to the New York Provincial Congress in May 1775. In June, he was commissioned as a brigadier general in the Continental Army.

General George Washington assigned Montgomery as deputy commander under General Phillip Schuyler. A few days later, Schuyler received orders from the Continental Congress to invade Canada. The idea was that the army was to invade Quebec, where the Hudson River and the northern lakes could supply the army. After Schuyler became too ill to lead the invasion of Canada, Montgomery took over.

Montgomery captured Fort St. Johns (he sent the colors of the 7th Royal Fusiliers, who had been defending the fort, to Schuyler, the first standards of a British regiment captured in the war) and then Montreal. The city surrendered on November 13, and Montgomery and his army marched into the city without a shot being fired. He then advanced to Quebec City, where he joined another force under the command of General Benedict Arnold. Unknown to Montgomery, he was promoted to major general on December 9 for his victories at St. Johns and Montreal.

As the bombardment of the Quebec City proved to be unsuccessful, Montgomery then began to plan for an assault. He was to assault the Lower Town district, the part of the city near the river shore, while Arnold was to attack and take the Cape Diamond Bastion. Montgomery believed that they should attack during a stormy night, therefore the British would not be able to see them.

On the night of December 30, a snowstorm struck. Montgomery issued the order to attack and the Americans began to move towards their designated positions. At 4:00 AM, December 31, Montgomery saw the rocket flares and began to move his men around the city towards the lower town. British forces in a blockhouse opened fire with cannon, musket, and grapeshot. Montgomery was killed with grapeshot through the head and both thighs. With the death of Montgomery, his attack fell apart. Without Montgomery's assistance, Arnold's attack, after initial success, fell apart.
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Robert Howe

  • Born: ca. 1732 in New Hanover County, Province of North Carolina
  • Died: December 14, 1786 in Bladen County, North Carolina
  • Buried: Columbus County, North Carolina
  • Service: 1775–1783
  • Ranks: Colonel, Brigadier general, Major general
  • Commands: 2nd North Carolina Regiment, Southern Department, Commandant of the fortifications at West Point
  • Battles: Burning of Norfolk, Capture of Savannah, Battle of Stony Point
Robert Howe

Robert Howe

On September 1, 1775, the Third North Carolina Provincial Congress appointed Howe to lead the newly created Second North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Army as its colonel.

Howe directed the occupation of Norfolk, Virginia, which had recently been abandoned by Loyalist forces, and assumed command of the various North Carolina and Virginia units there. The situation deteriorated, and Norfolk was burned on January 1, 1776, in an action started by British marines and a bombardment by Royal Navy vessels and completed by Patriot forces. The fire raged on for two more days, and Howe ordered most of the buildings that remained standing to be razed before he withdrew, to further render the location useless to the British.

In March 1776, Howe was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General by the Second Continental Congress. Upon arriving in Charleston, South Carolina, Howe acted as an adjutant to Major General Charles Lee, who had been appointed Commander of the Southern Department of the Continental Army. Howe directly commanded the South Carolina militia during the First Siege of Charleston in June 1776 and was assigned command over the defenses of the city proper.

On April 15, 1777, Howe assumed command of the Southern Department. He was promoted to the rank of major general on October 20, 1777, the only North Carolinian to reach that rank in the Continental Army.

In 1778, he was ordered to act on a plan developed by General Charles Lee to assault British West Florida. On June 29, 1778, Howe captured Fort Tonyn on the St. Marys River. By July 14, 1778, Howe was forced to pull his units back north and returned to Charleston.

The Continental Congress stripped him of his command over the Southern Department on September 25, 1778. Howe remained with the Southern army and commanded it from Savannah. During the First Battle of Savannah on December 29, 1778, Howe's forces fled and the ensuing defeat gave Savannah to the British, for which Howe received much blame. On January 3, 1779, Howe formally relinquished his command. Howe was ordered to join the Continental Army in the North, which he rejoined on May 19, 1779 and served under General George Washington in the Hudson Highlands. Howe did not have a successful or significant career in that theater.

Howe sat as a senior officer on the court-martial board that sentenced to death Major John André, a British officer accused of assisting Benedict Arnold in the latter's plot to change allegiance and deliver West Point to the British. Howe himself was accused of attempting to defect to the British, but the accusations were cast aside at the time as having been based in a British attempt to cause further discord in the Continental Army.

Howe was made commandant of the Continental Army fortifications at West Point on February 21, 1780. He held that command immediately prior to Benedict Arnold's conspiracy to turn over control of that stronghold to the British.

In 1781, Howe assisted in putting down the Pompton Mutiny in the New Jersey Lines in New Jersey, which was inspired by the slightly earlier Pennsylvania Line Mutiny. Washington ordered Howe to surround the camp and arrange for the court-martial and execution of two of its ringleaders. Again in 1783, Howe was called on to put down the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, which had caused the Continental Congress to flee Philadelphia.

In the fall of 1781, Howe requested permission to go with Washington to Virginia for what was anticipated to be the final campaign against the British, but Washington refused. Instead, Howe was required to appear before a court–martial in Philadelphia which was opened to inquire into Howe's actions in the defense of Savannah in 1778. He was acquitted of any wrongdoing at Savannah.

Howe returned home to his North Carolina plantation in 1783.
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Tadeusz Kościuszko

  • Born: February 4, 1746 in Mereczowszczyzna, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (now in Belarus)
  • Died: October 15, 1817 in Solothurn, Switzerland
  • Buried: #
  • Service: 1776-1783
  • Ranks: Colonel, Brevet Brigadier General
  • Commands: Chief engineer of Southern Army
  • Battles: Siege of Fort Ticonderoga, Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Second Battle of Camden, Siege of Ninety Six, Battle of James Island
Tadeusz Kościuszko

Tadeusz Kościuszko

On August 30, 1776, Kościuszko moved to North America and submitted an application to the Second Continental Congress; he was assigned to the Continental Army the next day. He took part in the war as a colonel in the Continental Army. An accomplished military architect, he designed and oversaw the construction of state-of-the-art fortifications, including those at West Point, New York.

Kościuszko's first task was building fortifications at Fort Billingsport in Paulsboro, New Jersey, to protect the banks of the Delaware River and prevent a possible British advance up the river to Philadelphia. On October 18, 1776, Congress commissioned him a colonel of engineers in the Continental Army.

In spring 1777, Kościuszko was attached to the Northern Army under Major General Horatio Gates. Gates tapped Kościuszko to survey the country between the opposing armies, choose the most defensible position, and fortify it. Finding just such a position near Saratoga, overlooking the Hudson at Bemis Heights, Kościuszko laid out a strong array of defenses, nearly impregnable from any direction. His judgment and meticulous attention to detail frustrated the British attacks during the Battle of Saratoga.

In March 1778 Kościuszko arrived at West Point, New York, and spent more than two years strengthening the fortifications and improving the stronghold's defenses. Soon after Kościuszko had finished fortifying West Point, in August 1780, General George Washington granted Kościuszko's request to transfer to combat duty with the Southern Army, where he became the chief engineer.

Over the course of this campaign, Kościuszko was placed in command of building bateaux, siting the location for camps, scouting river crossings, fortifying positions, and developing intelligence contacts. Many of his contributions were instrumental in preventing the destruction of the Southern Army. This was especially so during the famous "Race to the Dan", when British General Charles Cornwallis chased Major General Nathanael Greene across 200 miles of rough back country in January and February 1781. Thanks largely to a combination of Greene's tactics, and Kościuszko's bateaux, and accurate scouting of the rivers ahead of the main body, the Continentals safely crossed each river, including the Yadkin and the Dan.

Kościuszko subsequently helped fortify the American bases in North Carolina, before taking part in several smaller operations in the final year of hostilities, harassing British foraging parties near Charleston, South Carolina. He had become engaged in these operations, taking over intelligence network in the area.

Kościuszko commanded two cavalry squadrons and an infantry unit, and his last known battlefield command of the war occurred at James Island, South Carolina, on November 14, 1782. In what has been described as the Continental Army's final armed action of the war, he was very nearly killed as his small force was routed. A month later, he was among the Continental troops that reoccupied Charleston following the British evacuation of the city and spent the rest of the war there.

In 1783, in recognition of his services, the Continental Congress promoted him to brigadier general.
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William Alexander

William Alexander

William Alexander

William Alexander spent most of the war with the Main Army under Washington.

Stirling was made a colonel in the New Jersey colonial militia. Because he was wealthy, he outfitted the militia at his own expense and was willing to spend his own money in support of the Patriot cause. He distinguished himself early by leading a group of volunteers in the capture of an armed British naval transport.

The Second Continental Congress appointed him brigadier general in the Continental Army in March 1776.

He was captured during the Battle of Long Island in 1776 and not long after that, he was exchanged for Montfort Browne.

He also served with distinction in numerous battles in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He died in 1783 shortly before the end of the war. Wikipedia Article

William Lee Davidson

  • Born: ca. 1746 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
  • Died: 1781
  • Buried: Hopewell Presbyterian Church near Huntersville, North Carolina
  • Service: 1775–1781
  • Ranks: Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Brigadier general
  • Commands: #
  • Battles: Snow Campaign, Battle of Colson's Mill, Battle of Cowan's Ford

Active in the war from its inception as adjutant to General Griffith Rutherford during the Snow Campaign in December 1775, he was promoted to major of the Fourth Regiment of the North Carolina line in 1776. He marched with the North Carolina line to the north and was at the Battle of Germantown, after which he was promoted to Lt. Colonel of the Fifth Regiment of the North Carolina line.

At Valley Forge with Washington, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, Daniel Morgan and others, he became friends with most of the influential military commanders in the Continental Line. Left without a command, he had been ordered out for the purpose of preventing the British from crossing the Catawba. Griffith Rutherford appointed Davidson his second in command. Severely wounded at the Battle of Colson's Mill on July 21, 1780, he did not participate in the Battle of Camden at which Rutherford was captured. Davidson was promoted to brigadier general and given command of Rutherford's Salisbury District militia.

He participated in resisting the entry of Lord Cornwallis into Charlotte in late September 1780. Davidson was killed at the Battle of Cowan's Ford in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on February 1, 1781 while opposing the re-entry of Cornwallis into North Carolina. General Davidson was trying to rally his men as the lead British and German elements arrived on the near bank. He was killed within minutes as the engagement unfolded. Davidson's body was recovered by fellow officers later that evening after the battle
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William Heath

  • Born: March 2, 1737
  • Died: January 24, 1814 in Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • Buried: Forest Hills Cemetery in Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • Service: 1775-1783
  • Ranks: Brigadier general
  • Commands: Highland Department
  • Battles: Battle of Lexington and Concord, Battle of Long Island, Battle of Harlem Heights, Battle of White Plains, Battle of Fort Independence
William Heath

William Heath

Heath commanded Massachusetts forces during the last stage of the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April 1775. As the siege of Boston began, Heath devoted himself to training the militia involved in the siege. In June of that year, Massachusetts named him a major general in the state troops, and the Continental Congress commissioned him a brigadier general in the newly formed Continental Army.

In 1776, Heath participated in the defense of New York City, and was one of those who urged General Washington not to abandon the city. He saw action at Long Island, Harlem Heights, and White Plains.

In August 1776, he was promoted to major general in the Continental Army, but Washington had doubts about Heath's abilities and posted him where no action was expected. In November he was placed in command of forces in the Hudson River Highlands. In January 1777, Washington instructed Heath to attack Fort Independence in New York in support of Washington's actions at Trenton and Princeton, but Heath's attack was botched and his troops were routed. He was censured by Washington and thereafter was never given command of troops in combat.

Heath was placed in charge of the Convention Army of John Burgoyne’s surrendered troops after the Battle of Saratoga. In 1780 he returned to command the Highland Department after General Benedict Arnold’s treason.
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William Maxwell

  • Born: ca. 1733 in County Tyrone, Kingdom of Ireland
  • Died: November 4, 1796 in Lansdown, Hunterdon County, New Jersey
  • Buried: Greenwich Township, Warren County, New Jersey
  • Service: 1775–1780
  • Ranks: Colonel, Brigadier General
  • Commands: N/A
  • Battles: Battle of Trois-Rivières, Forage War, Battle of Cooch's Bridge, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth, Sullivan Expedition, Battle of Newtown, Battle of Connecticut Farms, Battle of Springfield

When the war broke out, he was commissioned as colonel of the 2nd New Jersey Regiment in November 1775. The regiment was among troops sent to Quebec under General John Sullivan in early 1776, and was involved in the Battle of Trois-Rivières before the Continental Army retreated to Fort Ticonderoga. Promoted to brigadier general, Maxwell returned to New Jersey to join General George Washington's army after its retreat across New Jersey following the loss of New York.

In August 1777, Gen. George Washington assigned Maxwell, then commanding the New Jersey Brigade in the Main Army, to organize and command a provisional Corps of Light Infantry, culling 100 of the best troops from each of the army's ten brigades. This force formed the advanced skirmish line in the defense of Philadelphia, and was involved in the Battle of Cooch's Bridge prior to the Battle of Brandywine. Maxwell's brigade served as the reserve at the October Battle of Germantown, and spent the winter at Valley Forge. After Germantown Maxwell was brought up on charges of excessive drinking.

In May 1778, Washington sensed that the British were evacuating Philadelphia, so he sent Maxwell with four New Jersey regiments and two pieces of artillery to reinforce the New Jersey militia. Maxwell's troops were among those harassing the British as they crossed New Jersey to New York, and were involved in the Battle of Monmouth.

He was a member of the 1779 Sullivan Expedition against Iroquois lands in upstate New York, and fought in the Battle of Newtown, the only major action of the campaign. When Sullivan was ill during the expedition, Maxwell had command of the entire force. In 1780, his troops were stationed on guard duty outside New York, and were called out to repulse two British advances on the main army base at Morristown in the June battles at Springfield and Connecticut Farms.

Maxwell, apparently feeling he was inadequately recognized for his contributions, tendered his resignation to Congress in 1780 in the hopes that he would be rewarded. However, Congress accepted his resignation, ending his military career. He tried to get reinstated, but was unsuccessful.
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American Military Ranks