Comparison of the British and Continental Armies

The Continental Army: At first they were trained poorly, and were not well equip. They had a lack of gunpowder, guns, food, and clothes. Some guys didn’t even have a gun. The biggest crisis they had was the Congress went bankrupt, they couldn’t pay for stuff that the army needed. Like guns and clothing needed to survive the cold weather.
The very first color of their uniform was brown. Then George Washington changed the color to blue later on. The usual equipment they would use were a bayonet with scabbard, a bag filled with musket shots, a musket, eating utensils, and a canteen. All this stuff would be either carried in a pouch or in their hands.

external image Canteen_big.jpg external image Mess%20Kit%20Utensils.JPG

They had some advantages as well. First of all, they had the home advantage of knowing the land, being closer to the support of the country and being able to receive supplies faster. Many could handle weapons. Later in the war, they gained the support of the French and that made a big difference in winning the war.

Continental Army
Continental Army

British Army: The British army was usually made up of the lowest social classes, like farmers and merchants. Their main weapon was the “Brown Bess”, or the flintlock musket.These muskets were in much better condition then the colonists’ muskets. They had long range so they could hit targets from a distance. Unlike the colonists, the British were clothed well and had plenty of supplies. They had plenty of gunpowder and guns to help them through the war.

During the war the British hired German soldiers. These soldiers were called Hessians, they were paid to help the British in the war. They made up one third of the British troop strength.

The British had disadvantages as well and some were that they were very far from home so it took a very long time to get new supplies and communicate between the troops and the country. There were very poor roads in America, especially compared to the cobblestone roads in Britain so travel was difficult. The British troops also had little support from the people in Great Britain. Another one of the disadvantages was that the British didn't adapt their own fighting style. The colonists learned very quickly which they used to their advantage. It was one of the key parts of many reasons that the British lost the war. Because they didn't hide, they lost many soldiers and had to retreat many times.
British Troop
British Troop

The Shot Heard 'Round the World

The term "the shot heard 'round the world" is from the first official battle of the Revolutionary War. This battle was called the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

There was two reasons that the British went on a march the first was because the British heard that there were guns and ammunition being gathered in Concord in case there was a war. The other reason was that they were going to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock as rebels of the British government.

A man named Dr. Joseph Warren learned of the British plans to attack Concord. He sent Paul Revere, a silversmith, out on the road to Concord to warn the people that the British were coming. There was a signal that was used to alert Paul Revere if the British were coming by marching on land or sailing by sea. This signal was lighting one or two lanterns in the Old North Church Steeple. One lantern was lighted if they came by land; two lanterns were lighted if they came by sea. The signal that was used was two lanterns which meant that the British were going by sea.

Paul Revere went out on his horse in the early hours of April 18th and made a journey to warn the people that they were going to have to assemble troops and the warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that they were going to be arrested. When the British arrived later on in Lexington, they found that Samuel Adams and John Hancock had escaped.

The colonists assembled themselves the next day at the very last minute to fight the British. Because of this, they were called the "Minutemen." The two armies met at Lexington. The British greatly outnumbered the Minutemen. The Minutemen were ordered not to fire on the British until they saw ""the whites of their eyes." The British were the first to fire. They killed eight people and injured ten others. The Americans quickly retreated and the British kept marching on to Concord.

The townspeople at Concord were busy moving the guns and ammunition to new hiding places so when the British got there, there wasn't a lot for them to destroy or steal. The British were tired of going after the guns so they decided to march back home to where they had settled in Boston.

As the British marched home, they were attacked by the Minutemen. Since the British used the European fighting tactic, they walked and shot out in the open. The Minutemen used Indian tactics which were to hide behind trees and rocks and shoot at the British. The British, even though the Minutemen were shooting at them, kept marching until they couldn't stand it anymore and made a frantic and hasty retreat back to Boston. Seventy-three British were killed while 174 were wounded.

The British Battle Plan

The British war plans were to invade the Hudson River Valley. This would cut the New England colonies off from the rest of the colonies. By cutting New England off from the rest of the colonies the British would prevent American soldiers and supplies from entering and leaving the New England colonies and isolating the New England colonies the British would weaken the war effort. This would lead to a quick British victory. At the battle of Saratoga the colonists prevented this from happening.

1776 - Crossing the Delaware

The British occupied two very important northern cities, New York and Boston. They were getting very close to eliminating the American war support in the north. The Continental Army was desperate to win a battle against the British and gain the American people's support and faith again.

It was Christmas. The Hessian army and the Continental army were separated by only the Delaware River. The Hessians, because of the holiday, were probably tired and drunk. The Continental army thought that this was the perfect time to attack the unexpecting Hessians.

It was very cold and very icy on that Christmas night. George Washington was taking a great risk in trying to get his troops across the river. It was very dangerous to try to row across the river in ice. That risked the chance of the boat being tipped over and the soldiers falling into the river and dying. George Washington ignored these risks and led 2,000 soldiers safely across the river and back onto land. A proud George Washington led the troops on to Trenton where the Hessians were camped.

The Continental Army slipped quietly into the Hessian camp and quickly awoke all of them. This was a great surprise to the Hessians and that sent them running for cover. 900 Hessians were taken prisoner by the Continental Army. There were also much needed supplies that the Americans took, like food and ammunition.

This battle helped revive the Americans' hope in the Continental Army and they began to have faith that American might win the war.


1777 - The Battle of Saratoga

The Battle of Saratoga was a major turning point in the Revolutionary War, which took place in upstate New York along the Hudson River. The Americans were successful in destroying the British hopes to split the colonies in two. This also was a major turning point because it convinced the French to join the war and take sides with the Americans.

Saratoga was a major turning point in the Revolutionary War, which took place in upstate New York along the Hudson River. The Americans were successful in destroying the British hopes to split the colonies in two. This also was a major turning point because it convinced the French to join the war and take sides with the Americans.

The Battle of Saratoga was really two battles, The Battle of Freeman’s Farm and the battle of Bemis Heights. The two battles took place nine miles south of Saratoga, New York. The British were sending 9000 troops past Saratoga to Albany. In the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, the British forces had forced the American forces into Freeman’s woods. General Benedict Arnold ordered colonel Daniel Morgan to shoot at the British forces while they were advancing through the woods trying to reach Albany. The American troops took out much of the British forces.

In the Battle of Bemis Heights the American troops set up a brigade on Bemis Heights to stop the British forces. Hessians planned to push the Americans out of the field. The American brigade stopped the British forces in the first attack, then the Americans made a counter attack. The Americans finally overran the British troops and forced them to retreat to Fort Ticonderoga. They were stopped and then tried to get to the East side of the Hudson River. But, they were surrounded by American Troops and then surrendered.

1777 - The Battle of Ticonderoga

The battle of Ticonderoga took place on the 6th of July, 1777 in New York on Lake Chaplain. The fort at Lake Chaplain, Fort Carillon, was originally established by the French and was a trading post. There was a battle there during the French and Indian War.

In 1775, Fort Ticonderoga was captured from the British, who owned the fort at that time, by the American Army under Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen. In 1776, British forces threatened the fort by coming down out of Canada. There were many valuable artillery things kept in that fort and the British wanted to capture it.

1777-1778 - Winter at Valley Forge

George Washington and his men camped outside of Philadelphia in Valley Forge during the grueling winter of 1777-1778. Most of the soldiers, including General Washington, were undernourished and poorly clothed. They also had very few supplies because the state and local government didn't have the money to supply it.

Washington gained much respect during this time because he could've chosen to go and snuggle up in nice warm cabin while his soldiers suffered. He also proved that he could rally his forces during such difficult times.

June 28, 1778 – The Battle of Monmouth

On the 27th of June, General Lee was right on the British army tails. Lee had a smaller part of the Army than George Washington. Washington told Lee to attack the next day because Washington and the rest of the army would meet up with him at the battle. On the 28th the British told crossed the Hudson River for safety in New York City. Washington was with his army very close to where the British were camped. He even said “That after two years, both armies are brought back right where they set out from.”

1781 - Battle of Yorktown

Yorktown was the last major battle in the Revolutionary War. British General Lord Cornwallis advanced his troops to the small port town located in Virgina. General Washington's troops and a few French troops followed Cornwallis and surrounded him on the small peninsula not far from the original Jamestown colony location. The only way for the British to escape was by sea. Even though the Americans had a weak navy, the French were able to pin Cornwallis's troops in Yorktown. The British surrendered, which took them out of any contention to win the war. Many smaller battles were fought though until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783.

1783 - The Treaty of Paris

The Revolutionary War officially ended in 1783 at the signing of the Treaty of Paris, 1783. ( This was one of the many treaties mad in Paris.) The treaty set the U.S. western border at the Mississippi River, and gave the British colonies, now the United States of America, independence. It also required Great Britain to withdraw their troops and give up all forts in the American region.

Native American Involvement In The War

The Native Americans played an important roll in the revolutionary war. Most tribes fought with Great Britain against the Americans. Most joined the British army around 1776. Because many of the Indians fought against the Americans they lost their land. The main reason they wanted to fight the Americans was to be able to stay peacefully where they were, without losing their land. Great Britain tried to help them by making laws for the Americans, not to go past the Mississippi river. But many Americans didn’t follow this.
This resulted in the Native Americans fighting in the war.




The main weapons of the American Revolution were the muzzleloading flintlock musket, its attached bayonet, and the cannon. Secondary weapons were the rifle and pistol, swords and other cutting weapons. By far, the most common weapon was the smoothbore flintlock musket, of a large caliber, .62 to .75 inch bore, or equal to 16 to 11 gauge shotguns.

A musket has no rifling to spin the ball. It will shoot both ball or shot, or a combination of the two. The firearms of the period used blackpowder. Blackpowder leaves fouling behind when fired. For this reason, the balls used by the military were undersized, so that the troops could quickly seat the next load down the barrel. The British musket, (the Brown Bess), was 75 caliber and they used a 69 caliber ball. The French musket (the Charleyville), supplied to the Americans, was 69 caliber and fired a 65 caliber ball. They were long barreled (about 42 inches) and could mount a long triangular shaped bayonet on the barrel. The bayonet was an important part of the musket system. The length of the musket, with the long bayonet, was also designed to be used to defend against horsemen. The bayonet replaced the pike as the means of defending against cavalry, and was the close range weapon.


Cannon were considered the queens of the battlefield. Infantry unsupported by cannon usually lost if the enemy had cannon. American Militia units were known for not standing up against British units with cannon support, since they rarely had any of their own.

The Muzzleloading cannon used were smoothbores, and smaller than used in later wars. Most were 3, 4 or 6 pound guns, mounted on wooden carriages with large wheels. Some 3 pound guns had iron legs to stand on and were called "grasshoppers". Larger guns of 12 pounds were sometimes used in the field, and even larger guns were mounted in fortifications and ships

The cannon fired either solid ball, various small shot, or sometimes shells. Shells are a hollow iron ball filled with blackpowder and fitted with a fuse. The shot used could be buckshot, musket balls or grape shot, which are larger iron or lead balls about 1 inch in diameter.

Cannon had a range of several hundred yards. A 3 pounder ranged about 800 yards with solid shot, and 2 hundred yards with grape shot, maximum. At close range, loaded with shot, it could destroy an enemy company.

The Revolutionary War Flags

British Flag

Have you ever wondered why do flags look the way that they do? Well the British flag consists of 3 different country’s flags into there their own. The blue background with the white X is from St. Andrews Cross of the flag of Scotland, the white background with the red + is from the St. George’s Cross of England, and lastly the red X over the white background of from St. Patrick’s Cross of Ireland.

British Flag
British Flag

American Flag

The American flag has been said to been invented by a woman named Betsy Ross, but this is just a myth. The flag originally was made with 13 starts not the 50 that we know today, this was because there where only 13 colonies, so hence the 13 stars which also is the symbol of the heavens, while the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light exerting from the sun. The colors of the flag are as follows, the white stripes stands for purity and innocence, red stands for hardness and valor, the blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Besty Ross flag
Besty Ross flag

British Navy

The British Navy was one of the best navies in the world. They were well trained but they need special permission to let the British fly while on their journey or war(which meant that the sailors had to certified by the king). The ships weapons were lined up on the three floors of the ship. The process they used to arm it was the sailors would open the hatch and then stick the cannon out the door. They would then arm it and fire it then. They also made it so that the guns will be able to swivel around. On board it carried weapons, ammunition, and gunpowder along with a ship full of troops. They also kept food for all the soldiers on the ship and the ones on land.

British Navy
British Navy


Propaganda is a message or a group of messages the try to influence opinions of people or their behavior. Most of propaganda today is all truthful, but some share information that is slanted in a way to get across the idea of who made it up. Examples of propaganda would be a magazine with opinions and also campaigning. Propaganda was pretty much the same back in the Revolutionary War.

One of the newspapers in the war was considered a s propaganda. The Boston Gazette was a newspaper that would ethier make or break your opinion. That means it could change your opinion or make you think your opinion was a good one. For example, if you talked about freeing the slaves, the slaves would get excited because they were going to get freed. The owners, on the other hand, would be upset at whoever put that section in the paper. Another example would be if a person wrote about the Americans doing well in the war. This would help support the troops and push them harder to win the battle.

Samuel Adams was considered the leader of propaganda at that time. He felt it was important for the Americans to win the war. He expressed some of his thoughts in the Boston Gazette . This is what got the Americans prepared to try their best in the war. This also got the British down with themselves so then they would be easier to attack. Propaganda boosted the spirits of Americans.

Boston Gazette
Boston Gazette


The Americans made paper money, which could be exchanged for gold coins. American paper money came in amounts of $.16, $.33, $.50, $.66 $1.00, $2.00, $3.00, $4.00, $5.00, $6.00, $7.00 and $8.00. The money was an average of 8 cm by 6 cm. On the front it has the words “According to a resolution of congress paffed at Philadelphia” and the “Mind your business” logo. On the back were thirteen rings linked together which represented the thirteen colonies. In the middle of the rings was the words “We are one”.

Plain Truth: A response to Common Sense

There was a lot of talk about Thomas Paine's Common Sense , but James Chalmers decided to take the criticism a little further. He wrote an anti-Patriot pamphlet called Plain Truth . A quote from the pamphlet is "Their Constitution is the pride and envy of mankind." He was very harsh about the Americans as they were about the King and all of Britain. There were as many verbal attacks about Common Sense as there were by writing. It was basically the "talk of the town". As you can tell, Chalmers named his pamphlet based on Thomas Paine's writings. I don't think it affected the Americans as much as Common Sense angered the British because the Patriots didn't really care about anything except independence. Chalmer's used basic ideas to attack the Americans just like Paine did.

African Americans in the Revolutionary War

Life as an African American was very hard during the time of the Revolutionary War. All they wanted the most was freedom. It was hard
for them to choose what side they wanted to side with so they went with whatever side would give them their freedom. The British were the ones to pick up the African Americans the most. Since most of the slaves decided to go to the British, they were the men that fought the most and about 100,000 black people were killed.

Although many blacks, like Agrippa Hull and Prince Hull sided with the Patriots. 5,000 men fought with the Continental Army. Lord Dunmore had a Proclamation saying that any slave on the Patriots side that came over to the British side would get full freedom. Not before too long, 300 black men came to the British.

George Washington had tried to get them out of the Continental Army. Washington finally realized that African Americans were the best soldiers in the Army. Crispus Attucks was the first African American to die in the war. They say that on March 5,1770, was the Monday that started the Revolutionary War. There were street fights and tavern brawls that happened and the British were beaten out of town. But later on they came with more of the British soldiers. The British were not aloud to fire upon colonists but the rage of the Private for the British did not stop him. He had shot Crispus Attucks straight in the heart.


The women acted unofficially as spies for the United States and helped boycott English goods. A women by the name of Susan Livingston she helped stop the British from finding out military secrets she also helped by scolding the British so poorly that they went away from her house with out searching it witch was good because if they would have searched the house they would have found spies hiding in her house. Deborah Champion, who was also called the "Female Paul revere" because she carried news that she carried news from the enemy lines and she went to warn the colonists that the British were coming. Women were not the only Spies men were also spies. They carried out there plans by hiding and blending in with the British and then when they found information they would send one of the other spies to go and warn the colonists.

Foreign Involvement


During the years 1776-1781 France was involved in the American Revolutionary War. They were fighting with the Americans against the British. Historians said they were fighting with the Americans because they lost most of their power in America, so they wanted anyone else but Britain to have the land. But, later they found out more of the reason, it was because of “dispassionate calculation”. The French almost left the war because they had debt that was overflowing. Their economy was decreasing very fast. But, they knew America needed them so they kept fighting. The exact year that France entered the war was February 6, 1778. This also was the day that France signed a friendship treaty with the 13 colonies. France fought in the war till the end; they were so determined to defeat Britain, because of their own loss. France and America have stayed allies and in peace ever sense the American Revolutionary War.


Spain had also helped the Americans against the British. Carlos III, King of Spain sent over an abundance of supplies and money to America. Spanish men fought it the war too. Marquis de Grimaldi was a Spanish man that was a secret aid to the colonies. The thing that many people don’t know is that for exchange of the alliance with the Americans, Spain wanted Gibraltar; Minorca; the Florida’s, especially Pensacola; Jamaica and the Bahamas; Mexico, Honduras and Compeche coasts cleared of British establishments; and Britain out of Central America. At the end of the war Spain was given everything that they wanted except Jamaica and Gibraltar.

In 1776, Madrid and Paris decided a plan to giving secret help to the colonies. At the same time Spain was helping America, they were also in a war with Portugal. The reason why Spain wanted it to be kept a secret that they were aiding the Americans, was because if they became known, war would be declared against them by England. This would result in an immediate blockade in Spanish ports. This would also result in signing a treaty with Portugal.” The two Bourbon Courts would initially make an outright gift of two million "livres tournaises", one million to come from each country. One of the first moves consisted of setting up a fictitious company to direct the aid program, make purchases of supplies, arrange for their shipment to the colonies, contact American agents living in France, and account for the money spent . Even before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Carlos, III began to supply the colonists with guns, ammunition, supplies and money.” For the whole war Spain was working under cover.


Hessians are from Germany. Fredrick II sold thousands of Hessian soldiers to the British. Hessian soldiers weren’t the kind of soldiers who got paid for being in the army. Most of the men were criminals who were forced to fight. They only got paid very little or just got daily food as there “pay”. One third of the British army were Hessians. In 1776, over 18,000 Hessian soldiers came to North America. By the end of the war, over 30,000 Hessian soldiers fought with the British. Propaganda was used against the Hessians. Hessians helped out the Britain very much.

American Revolution

Women and Children in the Revolutionary War

Men were not the only people who took part in the Revolutionary War. Women and children also sometimes took part. Often the husband and father would be in the war, so some wives and children moved along and camped with the army. They were often called “camp followers” because they followed the Army from camp to camp. The women had different jobs. They washed and mended clothes, cooked and cleaned, sold cider and rum, and some even worked as nurses. The work they did was important because it kept the camps healthier and helped them run smoother. They often kept diaries of what happened.

Children also had work to do. People expected them to be as busy as the adults. They would gather water and collect firewood. Boys would serve as runners and carry messages from one person to another. Some boys would become military musicians who played the drums. Girls worked hard helping their mothers cook, clean, and mend clothes. Children had plenty of time to work, because there was no school in the army. It was not easy moving with the army, but families mostly did it to stay together. Yet the army took care of the families. Women and children were feed, and given shelter. Those who became musicians or washed clothes were paid.

Not all women and children went with the army, in fact many did not. When a father or brother went off to war they were very upset. Not knowing whether they would ever see them again. Also hearing loud gun shots would scare younger children. Everyone would have to do extra work because less people were at home and everything needed to be done. If a family lost a father it would be very sad, and hard because the mother could not do all of the work herself. The war was very hard on everyone.

Loyalists during the war

The Loyalists were treated poorly during the war. They had their land taken away from them just because they were Loyalist and to see if they would become Patriots. They had to take refuge in the areas where the British army was camped. Most of the Loyalists lived in New York, Georgia, and in the Carolinas of the United States. Sometimes they had to leave the country, most of the time they would move back over to England and other places would be Canada, Bahamas, and the West Indies. The people who were still living in America were mostly merchants, British soldiers, and black slaves and Indians, indentured servants and some German immigrants , who were promised to be freed if they served under the British army. The others that came from Britain, but weren’t in the army worked as blacksmiths, small farms, artisans, and shopkeepers.