Continental Army

1772 Washington portrait by Charles W. Peale

George Washington famously appeared at the Second Continental Congress in his old Virginia militia uniform from the French & Indian War.  His appearance sent a radical message –Washington was ready for a fight by the spring of 1775.  Washington’s feisty sentiments and his Virginia birth explain a great deal about why he was selected to lead the new Continental Army and why he became such a revered figure during the Revolutionary War.  Washington was not, as Gordon Wood observes, a distinguished battlefield tactician.  However, he was an extraordinary organizer and leader of men.   Students in History 117 should be able to explain how Washington transformed the Continental Army and why his strategy for victory proved to be so prescient.  In class, we will discussion Washington’s 1778 letter to the committee of Congress, which another historian, Jack Rakove describes as a “virtual state paper,” and try to assess its significance.  We will also review the experiences of the Continental Army in the field, during the various campaigns of the Revolutionary War.

Revolutionary War

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