Read the Revolution

June 3, 2014

Second-in-Command

In the early months of the War of Independence, faith in General George Washington's leadership wavered. Among those strongly questioning Washington's strategy was his second-in-command, General Charles Lee. In this excerpt from Phillip Papas' book, Renegade Revolutionary, we see the tension building between the two generals and their very different military ideologies.

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May 20, 2014

Battle at Sea

The still winds plaguing the Atlantic Ocean on May 29, 1781, spelled likely defeat for the Alliance, a Continental frigate ship led by Captain John Barry. Under attack by two British ships, the Atalanta and the Trepassey, Barry commanded his besieged troops with unwavering persistence, even after grapeshot ripped through his shoulder. In this excerpt from Tim McGrath’s book, John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail, we see how a mix of courage and lucky coincidence turned a seeming disaster into a stunning victory.

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May 6, 2014

Fighting Infection

During the War of Independence, soldiers in the Continental Army and state militias were far more likely to succumb to disease than to the bullets or bayonets of their foes. Over the course of eight years, deadly scourges regularly threatened the lives of General Washington's men. In Jeanne E. Abrams' book, Revolutionary Medicine, we learn how Washington's efforts to prevent a smallpox outbreak amongst his troops early in the conflict represent one of the first successful American public health initiatives.

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