Colonial Soldiers in The Revolutionary War Were Difficult.

by Daniel Russ on July 29, 2019

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I’m reading “The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (The Revolution Trilogy Book 1)” by Rick Atkinson and wanted to share this quote with you.

“Discipline,” Washington had written in 1757, “is the soul of an army.” Certainly this army was still looking for its soul. American troops, one visitor claimed, were “as dirty a set of mortals as ever disgraced the name of a soldier.” Each man lived in “a kennel of his own making.” No two companies drilled alike, and together on parade they were described as the finest body of men ever seen out of step. Their infractions were legion: singing on guard duty, voiding “excrement about the fields perniciously,” promiscuous shooting for the sake of noise, a tendency by privates to debate their officers, “unnecessary drum beating at night,” insolent “murmuring,” pilfering thirty bushels of cherries, thirty barrels of apples, and five hundred cabbages from one Chelsea farmer alone. When a small reward was offered for each British cannonball retrieved so that they could be reused, “every ball, as it fell, was surrounded with a great number of men to see who would get it first,” a lieutenant in Roxbury reported. Several lost their feet before the bounty was canceled.”


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