Before the nineteenth century was more than a couple of decades old, certainly by the fiftieth anniversary of 1776, the United States had come to regard the veterans of its revolution with a sort of wistful romanticism. So who were these soldiers?
The army was ragtag, barely trained, half-starving and woefully unequipped. The group was also hardly united for too much of the war and led by generals often squabbling, undermining, or fighting with each other. The victories, while qualified, are remarkable in this light.
“Faces of the men who won America's independence: Amazing early photos of heroes of the Revolutionary War in their old age.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 5 July 2013, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2356524/Faces-American-revolution-Amazing-early-photographs-document-heroes-War-Independence-later-years.html.
For most Americans the difference between militia and regular, or “Continental,” soldiers is hard to grasp. Both fought in the war. Both suffered casualties. Both have supporters who claim they won the war.
This undated sheet, addressed to a “Col. Jackson,” issues instructions for enlistment of men in the Continental Army. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which holds the orders, believes that the addressee was Henry Jackson, who commanded various Massachusetts regiments between 1777 and 1784.
Onion, Rebecca. “How to Pick a Soldier for the Continental Army (No Short Guys Need Apply).” Slate Magazine, 7 June 2017, www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_angle/2017/06/modern_sexism_among_voters_bulls_vs_warriors_hypothetical_matchup_and_why.html.