Widgets Magazine
MIGHTY HISTORY

13 rarely seen illustrations from the Revolutionary War

If you're reading this, you're probably familiar with what happened during the American Revolution. But the heroics, triumphs, and defeats of the first American citizens have inspired artists for centuries. Here are 13 illustrations of the war that are often left out of the history books and popular culture:


1. Maj. Gen. Richard Montgomery was a former Irish soldier who joined the Continental Army and helped lead an attempted invasion of Canada in 1775. On December 31, he and then-Col. Benedict Arnold attempted to take Quebec, but Montgomery was killed in the fighting, as depicted above.

(John Trumbull, Yale University Art Gallery)

2. This engraving is named for the fight it depicts, "The Battle of Long Island." Maj. Gen. George Washington and his men were cornered by British forces, but bad weather gave Washington enough time to quietly evacuate his men.

(Alonzo Chappel via Good Free Photos)

3. This engraving, "The First Blow for Liberty," celebrated the men who fought at the Battle of Lexington in 1775. But the artist created it a long time later in 1863.

(A.H. Ritchie via National Archives and Records Administration)

4. Speaking of Washington pulling away from the Battle of Long Island, this engraving is the "Retreat from Long Island" and it depicts Washington getting his men away from the battle shown in the previous entry.

(M.A. Wageman via National Archives and Records Administration)

5. "John Paul Jones capturing the Serapis," this engraving shows the fateful battle in 1779 when John Paul Jones attacked the British Serapis but had his own vessel shot out from under him. When the British demanded that he surrender, he declared, "I have not yet begun to fight!" and rammed the Serapis, locking the ships together and buying Jones and his men enough time to capture the British vessel before the Bonhomme Richard sank.

(Alonzo Chappel via National Archives and Records Administration)

6. This illustration of the Battle of Trenton is much less famous than that of Washington crossing the Delaware or a painting by Hugh Charles McBarron showing British soldiers dead at their cannon. This less famous depiction shows Washington in bold command at the front of his troops.

(E.L. Henry via National Archives and Records Administration)

7. Capt. Allen McClane is a sort of little-known folk hero. The people who are aware of him know of him for an apocryphal story about staging a fake attack against the British defenses at Philadelphia by dropping kettles turned into bombs along the road or they know him for reportedly fighting three British dragoons sent to capture him. He reportedly took down at least two of the dragoons at the cost of a cut to his hand.

(James Peale via National Archives and Records Administration)

8. Baron von Steuben, the famous Prussian who came to America to help shape the Continental Army, displays drill techniques to the Patriots in Valley Forge in 1777.

(Augustus G. Heaton via National Archives and Records Administration)

9. Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth. It's unsure if Molly Pitcher was a real person, a folklore character, or an amalgamation of different women who came to the colonies' defense, but the stories of women who took their husband's place at artillery pieces rallied support for the colonial cause.

(Alonzo Chappel via National Archives and Records Administration)

10.  "Clark's attack on Fort Sackville." George Rogers Clark led a militia force against a British governor at Fort Vincennes in Indiana, securing a major American victory in what was, at the time, the far west of the conflict and country.

(Ezra Winter via National Archives and Records Administration)

11.  "Attack on Savannah, Oct. 8,1779," a force of French and American troops attempted to re-take the port city of Savannah, Georgia, from British hands, but they were repulsed and then their siege eventually failed. A Polish noble, Count Casimir Pulaski, was killed October 9, and a fort was later named in his honor and became a major point in Civil War fighting around the city.

(A.I. Keller via National Archives and Records Administration)

12.  At the Battle of Camden, Continental Gen. Horatio Gates decided to attack British forces. He outnumbered the Brits nearly two to one, but he didn't realize just how badly his ranks had been affected by dysentery sweeping his camp August 15, 1780. When his troops actually took to the field, he had only 3,000 to the 2,200 British troops. And the Brits were in better shape overall and were the only ones with bayonets.Once the British charged with the bayonets, their force of arms came to bear. Gates was defeated, Maj. Gen. Baron Johann DeKalb was killed, 900 troops were killed, and thousands of weapons were lost to the British.

(Alonzo Chappel via National Archives and Records Administration)

13.  When Washington captured Yorktown with French and American troops in October 1781, it marked the end of the last major land campaign of the war. Britain would surrender within days. The British band played World Turned Upside Down as the Redcoats stacked their arms and withdrew from the war.

(Turgis via National Archives and Records Administration)