Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

Band of Giants: The Amateur Soldiers Who Won America's Independence

Jack Kelly

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1137278773

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Band of Giants brings to life the founders who fought for our independence in the Revolutionary War. Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin are known to all; men like Morgan, Greene, and Wayne are less familiar. Yet the dreams of the politicians and theorists only became real because fighting men were willing to take on the grim, risky, brutal work of war. We know Fort Knox, but what about Henry Knox, the burly Boston bookseller who took over the American artillery at the age of 25? Eighteen counties in the United States commemorate Richard Montgomery, but do we know that this revered martyr launched a full-scale invasion of Canada? The soldiers of the American Revolution were a diverse lot: merchants and mechanics, farmers and fishermen, paragons and drunkards. Most were ardent amateurs. Even George Washington, assigned to take over the army around Boston in 1775, consulted books on military tactics. Here, Jack Kelly vividly captures the fraught condition of the war―the bitterly divided populace, the lack of supplies, the repeated setbacks on the battlefield, and the appalling physical hardships. That these inexperienced warriors could take on and defeat the superpower of the day was one of the remarkable feats in world history.

















ability in the fiercest fighting on Long Island and polished his reputation through Trenton, Brandywine, and Monmouth. Washington had put him in charge of the Northern Department when the army departed for Yorktown. Stirling, always an extravagant imbiber, fell ill in Albany. He died there in January 1783 at the age of forty-seven. At noon on December 4, the few officers still left in New York met at Fraunces Tavern for a farewell dinner. Like their men, they had shared the most vivid

now occupied by John Quincy Adams, the president spoke the nation’s farewell. “You alone survive,” he told the aging warrior. He spoke of a “tie of love, stronger than death.”12 You alone—Lafayette was almost too moved to utter a word. He blessed his adopted country and embraced its president. Both men wept. Twenty-four cannon fired salutes, signaling the time for departure. Lafayette climbed into a carriage. Children perched on shoulders to watch him pass. The crowd of spectators at the river

Paul Douglas. The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron De Steuben and the Making of the American Army. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2008. Lord, Philip L. War over Walloomscoick: Land Use and Settlement Pattern on the Bennington Battlefield, 1777. Albany, NY: University of the State of New York, 1989. McCullough, David G. 1776. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. Martin, James Kirby. Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered. New York: New York University

the previous autumn. Burgoyne’s engineers hauled several cannon up a nearby mountain, forcing American general Arthur St. Clair to abandon the poorly located fort without firing a shot. Early in July, the Americans snuck out of the bastion in the middle of the night and headed south. The loss, a rattled George Washington wrote to Schuyler, was “an event of chagrin and surprise not apprehended nor within the compass of my reasoning.”1 As the Americans fled Ticonderoga, the Green Mountain Boys,

hastily roasted beef, the mountain men took to their saddles again and rode nonstop through the rain-soaked dark. About noon the next day, October 7, 1780, the rain finally abated. Sensing they were closing in on Ferguson’s trail, they questioned the inhabitants of a farmhouse. The men there, preferring neutrality, pretended ignorance. But a girl followed the patriots outside and whispered to them that the enemy were camped on a hill about a mile away. Kings Mountain, two miles inside South

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