Continental Army enlistment—no drums, no drunks (sorry, Adam Ruins Everything)

Posted on April 18, 2018. Filed under: Revolutionary War, Truth v. Myth, What History is For | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Hello and welcome to part 3 of our series on Adam Ruins Everything‘s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Truth” episode, in which we hope to go through more than 90 seconds of video per 10,000 words (which we failed to do last time, in post 2).

So far, the episode has claimed that in 1775 there were no patriotic Americans who supported independence, and so George Washington personally tricked drunks and immigrants into joining the army. It was, we have shown, the other way around: most revolutions enjoy a surge of passionate but temporary support fueled by the excitement of the moment, deeply held belief in the cause, or a mix of both. If the revolution is not over quickly, most of those original volunteers melt away, and few want to take their places; the majority of the population holds out until something—a great victory, a heroic sacrifice, a threat by the enemy—prompts them to join.

Thus it was with the American Revolution. In 1775 the ranks of the Continental Army were pretty well filled, and not with drunks or rubes swindled by Washington, but by men who were hot to fight the British. By the beginning of the 1776 campaign, Washington and all the other generals were struggling with far fewer soldiers than they needed to face the enemy.

This point is made by one of the authors ARE actually sources: Erna Risch, “Supplying Washington’s Army.” (1981) ARE quotes Risch as saying that Continental Army recruiters (and Washington himself, according to the show) would “walk into bars beating a drum and literally march drunks into the army,” We could not find anything in Risch about drums or forced enlistment. Here’s what we did find:

Four days after the battles of Lexington and Concord [on April 19, 1775],  the Massachusetts Provincial Congress voted to raise an army of 30,000 men and requested the other New England colonies to join this effort. New England colonies then began the process of forming from their various militias a volunteer army enlisted for the rest of the year. In June the Continental Congress took over the New England army besieging Boston and reinforced it with ten rifle companies from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, the first soldiers drawn from outside New England. Congress thereby created the CA.

The delegates unan elected George Washington to be commander of all forces then raised, or to be raised, for the defense of American liberty. To Washington fell the unenviable task of trying to whip up enthusiasm for reenlistment among the New England troops whose terms of service expired at the close of that year. From this nucleus he built he Continental Army, but the unpatriotic attitudes he encountered discouraged him. (pp. 5-6)

This was when Washington wrote the comments about lack of patriotism that ARE quotes. It’s one red flag that we could not find the drumming quote ARE cites in Risch, and another that this source does not corroborate the show’s picture of Washington or the army.

ARE also claims Risch says that Continental recruiters would “frame colonists for crimes and have them ‘punished’ with forced enlistment.” Again, we could not find a reference to forced enlistment in Risch; if someone out there can find these quotes, send them to us.

In fact, as we see, Risch notes that the Continental Army was well supplied with soldiers—but only for one term of service. After that, it would be a difficult process to keep soldiers in the army for anything longer than their 6-month or one-year terms. But far from resorting to crime to trick people into fighting, Washington tried to get soldiers to re-enlist by improving their food, clothing, and ammunition supply. His furious letters to members of the Continental Congress lambasting them for sitting in comfort while his army starved are legendary. Here is part of one, from December 23, 1777:

“[W]e find Gentlemen …reprobating the [decision to make a winter camp rather than attack Philadelphia] as much as if they thought Men [the Soldiery] were made of Stocks or Stones and equally insensible of frost and Snow and moreover, as if they conceived it [easily] practicable for an inferior Army under the disadvantages I have describ’d ours to be to confine a superior one (in all respects well appointed, and provided for a Winters Campaign) within the City of Phila., and [to protect] the States of Pensa., Jersey, &c. but what makes this matter still more extraordinary in my eye is, that these very Gentn. who were well apprized of the nakedness of the Troops …advised me, near a Month ago, to postpone the execution of a Plan, I was about to adopt  for seizing Cloathes… [they] think a Winters Campaign and the covering these States from the Invasion of an Enemy so easy a business. I can assure those Gentlemen that it is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fire side than to occupy a cold bleak hill and sleep under frost and Snow without Cloaths or Blankets; however, although they seem to have little feeling for the naked, and distressed Soldier, I feel superabundantly for them, and from my Soul pity those miseries, wch. it is neither in my power to relieve or prevent…”

This does not sound like a man who didn’t care what happened to the men recruited into the Continental Army. Or, as ARE puts it, “even with all that chicanery, Washington still didn’t have enough men.”

We move now to the show’s aghast bombshell that “wealthy elites were able to avoid the draft by paying poor people to take their place.”

This was, in fact, a common practice by this time (mid-18th century). Hiring substitutes was not just something the wealthy did; many middling farmers did it. You didn’t have to pay substitutes a fortune, just enough to convince them to take your place. This continued during the Civil War, and was not a cause of shame at the time. Older men, men with many children, and men with vital war industries, including farming, could choose to hire a substitute with minimal or no backlash.

This doesn’t make it right, perhaps, but what we quarrel with here is ARE’s seeming lack of any historical understanding or context for substitutions.

The narrator of the show interjects at this point to say, “You’re telling me Washington’s army was made of people drafted, tricked, or paid off?” The answer? “Yes, and as a result, desertion was a constant problem… as many as 30% of all the soldiers deserted.”

The source cited here is James Howard Edmonson, “Desertion in the American Army,” 1971. We looked this up and found it was a dissertation, but could not find a copy online. Edmonson from 1971, Risch from 1981; it’s not quite ancient historiography, but one wonders why ARE’s sources are, so far, so dated. History, like any field, is constantly updated. A few classic works stand the test of time, but in general, we wouldn’t try to prove a hypothesis strictly with works that are 40-50 years old.

We’ll stop here, because next time we’re tacking the thorniest problem of the show: the claim that Washington murdered 200 Continental soldiers.

 

 

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Puritan law, oligarchy, and the Body of Liberties

Posted on September 11, 2012. Filed under: 17th century America, Politics, Puritans, Revolutionary War, U.S. Constitution | Tags: , , , |

Part the last of our series on the 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties, the first codification of law in Puritan New England, in which we wrap up our look at this groundbreaking American political document with some thoughts on its meaning in its own time, and in ours.

This first codification of Massachusetts law was, as we saw in part 1, not easily drafted, as the people of the colony resisted doing so for two reasons: first, they felt a body of laws should develop naturally over time, as it had done in England, allowing precedent rather than law-makers to rule the day; and second because their colonial charter forbid them to create any laws “repugnant” to the laws of England, and they were not certain whether the laws they drafted would violate that tenet.

The uncertainty sprang, of course, from the fact that there was no written code of law in England at that time—its famously unwritten constitution was composed of centuries of local custom. But the Puritan leaders, and a growing number of freemen, in Massachusetts were worried about following that tradition in the New World. They worried that legal and court decisions would be made based on opinion, prejudice, or personal agenda rather than an objective striving toward justice. Just four years after landing in America, the Puritans began the lengthy process of drafting a code of laws with input from all the towns, and after six years of canvassing, drafting, reviewing, and revising, the Body of Liberties was published, with copies sent to all the towns to be read aloud and voted on.

The Body was only the first of many Massachusetts codes of law. In 1660 the Body was updated and enlarged (and renamed “Laws and Liberties”), with addenda added each year from 1662-6, and again in 1668. The Laws were revised and rewritten again in 1672, and would evolve over the decades into the state law of Massachusetts.

In its own time, the Body of Liberties was daring and innovative. Daring in that it established an independent government for the colony, with laws clearly not part of English law. The Puritans broke their charter to create their laws, and this is just one example of the commitment the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony made to independence almost from the moment of their arrival. As we’ve seen elsewhere in Puritan New England on the Edge, 1637, the people of the MBC feared a royal takeover of their colony, expecting warships from England to arrive in Boston harbor at any moment. Their response was to build forts overlooking the harbor and arm them with cannon, making the decision to fight to the death to preserve their religion, their laws, and their liberty.

The Body was innovative in that it set out a relatively brief yet comprehensive set of laws that reinforce a) the rights of freemen; b) the principle that no one is above the law; c) the right to a fair day in court; and d) the need for buy-in from the people themselves, who  first helped draft and then voted to approve and accept these laws. This was proto-democracy, and it was not being practiced in any other American colony—or many other places anywhere else in the world.

Today, the Body is mostly unknown to Americans. Most Americans, if asked what they think Puritan laws were like, would come up with the most repressive, draconian, irrational suggestions imaginable. (One example: on a recent tour of sites along the Freedom Trail in Boston, an acquaintance was told by the tour guide that Puritans put people in the stocks for sneezing on a Sunday. The Body, as readers of this series will note, contains no references to sneezing.) Modern-day Americans think of Puritans as witch-crazy religious nuts whose only goal was to oppress people. But we see from our study of the Body that to say this image is unfair is an understatement.

Why the Puritans continue to get such a bad rap is fairly clear: very few people actually read their documents. They read The Scarlet Letter in high school, hear the term “city upon a hill” used to refer to smug arrogance, and learn that Anne Hutchinson was persecuted, along with Quakers, for trying to spread religious tolerance. The overall effect is a rejection of the Puritans as unpleasant and even evil people, a fleeting example of intolerance that was stamped out by later Americans who created a fair Constitution.

Those who actually read what the Puritans wrote, and know what their beliefs and ideals and goals were, may not always come away happy and approving, but they have a much more accurate understanding of these revolutionary people, whose laws, and ideas of justice, in having shaped the political consciousness of Massachusetts, played an important role on the road to American independence and the Constitution we revere today.

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Revolution Myth #5: America had no chance of winning the war

Posted on June 24, 2009. Filed under: Revolutionary War | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Welcome to the last in our Truth v. Myth series on 5 Myths about the American Revolution. Here we re-examine the cherished idea that we were total underdogs in our war of independence. This article was inspired by a re-listening to the insightful Prof. Allen Guelzo’s lecture series “The American Revolution.”

Yes, the British Army was bigger than the Continental Army, and better organized. And most British officers and politicians in the spring of 1775 thought the war could be won fairly quickly.

But the British Army was not that big—at least not in America. In 1775, there were about 38,000 men serving in the British Army around the world, and around 18,000 men in the Royal Navy (in 270 ships) also spread around the world. To fight in America, men had to be impressed and mercenaries hired, because Britain did not want to pull its forces from the invaluable sugar islands in the Caribbean, which would be snapped up by France or Holland if left unguarded. Sugar was the oil of the 18th century, to borrow Prof. Robert Bucholz’s inspired phrase, and the sugar islands were far more valuable to Britain than all the colonies in North America. So when 16,000 American men enlisted to fight the British in 1775, they were fairly equal in numbers to the redcoats.

The British Army was well-organized and well-run, far more so than the Continental Army. That did stand in Britain’s favor. British soldiers were under no illusions about having control over how long they served (though there were desertions from the British Army during the war).

As for the British attitude to the war, it was far more complex than we imagine. The British knew that those Americans in rebellion would not go down easily. They knew that they could not hope to conquer the vast territory of the 13 colonies, and that any attempt to conquer land battle-by-battle would result in a hopeless loss of men and drain on money and supplies in a war of attrition. They understood that an occupied people almost always win wars of attrition because they have the motivation and the resources to resist for many, many years.

The British approach was to try to destroy the heart of the rebellion—Boston, Washington’s army, the Congress—and get Loyalists to take over local governments.  The British were hampered by poor communication, infighting between generals, the months it took to get orders from London, lack of support from Loyalists, and often conflicting goals (for instance, Howe was told to at once occupy New York City and to destroy Washington’s army in 1776; the impossibility of doing both at once led to delay and paralysis).

So while the British Army itself was well-organized internally, from the start it had management problems at the level of Parliament and its generals, and it was always low on supplies.

By 1778, opposition to the war was making itself heard in Parliament. We picture a vindictive empire trying to keep America in its clutches to the bitter end, committed to stamping out revolution, but in reality there was strong opposition to the war after three unproductive years. Boston had been occupied, and so had New York, but Washington’s army remained at large, the British had lost an army at Saratoga and an important battle at Trenton. The rebellion remained strong despite the occupation of two major cities, and the Loyalists had yet to rise up. Most important, France had joined the war on America’s side, which meant Britain had to increase its expenditures to supply its army and  navy against a stronger—and now much more important—enemy. The sugar islands were at higher risk, and the sugar planters lobbied Parliament vigorously, threatening to oppose any move to relocate  British soldiers from their islands to America. War with France meant war not only in America but in the Caribbean and India.

In these circumstances, Parliament came close to voting not to send any more soldiers to America at all in 1779, and Lord North’s government actually sent a peace committee to Congress, offering the colonies control over their taxation, no more quartering British soldiers on civilians, and acknowledgement of Congress—in short, everything the colonies wanted but independence. This offer was rejected, but it is significant to realize that by 1779, Britain was looking for a way out of the war. Washington fought his last battle against the British in July 1779, a full two years before the official surrender at Yorktown.

By the time Cornwallis’ disastrous attempts to take the Carolinas and organize Loyalists into an army to defeat Nathaniel Greene and turn the tide of the war were over, in1781, and the British surrendered their army to Washington, Parliament was mostly resigned to the loss, and already turning its attention to India, Africa, and the West Indies. It would hold on to its western territories in America, and try to foment Native American rebellion against the U.S. It would happily engage the U.S. in war in 1812, vengefully burning down our capital. But for Britain, its ever-expanding eastern empire and its wars against France in Europe were more important.

We see, then, that the deck was not totally stacked against us. This is not to say that Washington was not a genius and a powerful leader who kept our fight for liberty alive when the odds of success looked bleak. We could have lost that war. But we had more going for us than we think. Britain knew it faced substantial difficulties, just as America did.  Everyone likes an underdog, but we shouldn’t overdo it.

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Revolutionary Myth #4: All was well before the war

Posted on June 15, 2009. Filed under: 17th century America, Revolutionary War | Tags: , , , , , |

Part four of our series on 5 Myths about the Revolutionary War dwells on the pre-war period.

In the shorthand version of American history, the colonial period is one of peace and prosperity right up to the 1770s. But especially in New England, the 17th and 18th centuries were strewn with political conflict and open war.

Canada and New England ended up acting out the wars between France and England over and over from 1689 through 1763. In 1689, New Englanders overthrew the Dominion imposed on them by James II. From 1689-1697, New England was a battlefield in King William’s War. Just five years later, word came to New England that they were at war with Canada once again, for in 1702, Queen Anne’s War began. This war lasted until 1711. The War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739-42) involved New Englanders recruited to fight in the Caribbean, most notably in the attempt to take Cartagena (in what is today Colombia). 65% of the 4,183 Americans who went to fight for Cartagena died.

In 1745 and 1758, New Englanders went to Louisbourg, the major French fort guarding Canada from the sea, successfully capturing it in 1745 only to have Great Britain return it to France in their peace treaty. Harried by French-sponsored Native American attacks from 1748-58, New Englanders retook the fort at great cost in 1758 (it was destroyed in 1760).

So we see that New England was in a state of almost constant turmoil in its colonial years, turmoil almost always caused by England’s wars with France. England spared few troops for North America, focusing on the naval battles in Europe, and more than once promised to send soldiers to back up New England, then failed to do so. This caused great anger and bewilderment in New England, which felt it was being deliberately endangered by its mother country.

Of course, the last in this series of wars between France and Britain in America was the French and Indian War, 1756-63. The road to revolution was taken the next year, when the Sugar Act was passed.

No wonder New England was the hotbed of revolution against England by 1764. A sense of betrayal and separateness had been forged by all those battles against France that New Englanders fought without British help. It would not be until 1815, when the War of 1812 ended, that New England breathed several decades’ worth of peace.

Next—our final myth!

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The Dominion of New England; or, the Puritan Revolution

Posted on May 19, 2008. Filed under: 17th century America, Puritans, Revolutionary War | Tags: , , , , , |

Many claims and counter-claims are made about whether the Puritans of New England can be considered to have dug the foundation for democracy in British America. The more I study it, the more I believe it is true. Let’s look at one important instance, the battle against the Dominion of New England, 1686-1689.

James II became king of England in 1685. James posed a threat to the country, in the eyes of his Protestant subjects, because he was Catholic. People feared he would try to return the kingdom to Catholicism, but James’ first move was not against England but Massachusetts. The Puritans in New England were just as vocal and militant about their designs for an improved England from the distant shores of America as they had been in the heart of London. And, more immediately, they had just sent Increase Mather as their representative to Parliament to try to fend off a new, royal charter that would give the king more power over them. James decided to rid himself of a burr in his saddle.

In 1686 he created the Dominion of New England. Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and East and West Jersey made up the new domain. Edmund Andros, formerly governor of New York, was appointed by the king to run the Dominion with the help of a council—also appointed by the king. Andros took to his new role, exerting his power dictatorially.

The impact on Puritan colonists was fundamental:

—The popularly elected assemblies were dismissed.

—Puritan judges and military officers were replaced by Anglicans.
Puritan clergy could no longer be paid by taxes.

—Land titles issued by Puritan governments before 1686 had to be reissued. Not only did Puritan colonists have to pay new title fees, they would also have to pay quitrents, an annual land tax.

—A new court was set up in Boston to enforce the Navigation Acts. It had no jury. In 1686 the court found at least six merchant ships guilty of violating the Acts and seized the ships. Merchants started avoiding the port of Boston, depressing the new England economy.

 

The list sounds very familiar to any student of the “Intolerable Acts” of 1774.

Puritan citizens of the colonies formerly known as New England were angry and despairing. They had little power to represent themselves to Parliament, and no hope of subverting the Dominion. Little did they know that the young, healthy new king who had enslaved them would soon be overthrown.

James had made his desire to return the country to Catholicism more and more open; thus, when his queen gave birth to a son and potential Catholic heir in 1688, his government didn’t wait for James to act. It invited Protestant Holland’s leader William of Orange to invade England and force James off the throne. William was conveniently married to Mary Stuart, James’ own daughter.

The plan worked. William was welcomed in London, and James II fled to France.

When the Puritans in the Dominion first heard about this Glorious Revolution in 1689, there was a moment of suspense. It was impossible to know if James was really permanently overthrown, and the long wait for news from England was agonizing. Once the good news came, Puritans from Maine to Connecticut rose up against Governor Andros’ officials, who were arrested and imprisoned. Massachusetts, Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut restored their original governments, complete with elected assemblies.

In New York City, rebels led by Jacob Leisler took over the colony. Leisler became governor.

The Puritans celebrated their successful rebellion. The colonies of New England remained royal colonies, rather than privately owned colonies, but they had preserved their independence. Their lawmakers were popularly elected. Their courts were local. Their laws were valid. And it was specifically to maintain those vital components of representative government that the Puritans fought.

Thus I think we can look back to the overthrow of the Dominion as a valid instance of Puritan Americans putting their independent and representative government ahead of all other considerations, and the events of 1689 were indeed fresh in the memories of men and women—grandchildren of rebels—who fought the Revolution. Benjamin Franklin, born in 1705, just 16 years after the Dominion was overthrown, would have heard the stories from people who took part in the rebellion. And thousands of New Englanders must have had their ancestors in mind when they agreed in 1776 that a government which does not have the consent of the people is legitimately overthrown.

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The French and Indian War and the American Revolution

Posted on May 18, 2008. Filed under: Revolutionary War | Tags: , , , |

I had finished taking some friends from England through a historical house in my town that saw action on the first day of the Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775) when one of them asked, in all sincerity, “What started that war? I mean, what really was the cause?”

Immediate answers came to mind, sort of starting with the last straws and moving backward: the “Intolerable Acts” (see a fantastic post on why we could stop using this term at Boston 1775), the refusal of Parliament to seat American members, Stamp Tax, Sugar Act—all the tax acts—the tireless activism of Samuel Adams and his mechanics… all the way back to the English Civil War itself and its effects on American-English relations (as covered in What caused the Revolutionary War?). But rather than go into all that back story with my friends, who wanted to hear something about history on American soil, I pulled out the French and Indian War.

All those tensions between England and America described in “What caused the Revolutionary War?” created a constant atmosphere of difference and distance between America and England.  But if I had to set a date for when that tension Americans felt shifted to demands for outright separation from England, I’d say the aftermath of the French and Indian War (1754-1763).

Americans had supported the war. In fact, they had basically demanded that England remove the perceived French threat to the western frontier. So long as they didn’t have to pay for it, Americans wanted the war to be fought, and took part on a strictly voluntary basis. 

With each shared victory, Americans celebrated heartily. And at the practical end of the war—the capture of Montreal—the Pennsylvania Gazette put it this way on September 11, 1760: “We now have the Pleasure to congratulate our Countrymen upon the most important Event, as we apprehend, that has ever happened in Favour of the British Nation . . . the War in Canada is at an End: The Governor, has surrendered the Country to the British General Amherst without Bloodshed. The Subjects of France are to be sent Home, all that remain of the French are to swear Allegiance to His Majesty, and retain their Possessions.”

“Our Countrymen.” We still felt that way about the British in 1760. But when the war was officially over, and Britain’s taxpayers were reeling under the expense, the British moved that Americans should share the burden of that expensive war fought for their benefit at their request. And that’s when all hell broke loose.

A lot of maybes come into play at that point. Maybe if the British had invited American representatives to discuss the taxes there would have been no protests in America. Maybe if the British had required the Americans to share the burden of expenses during the war (even just feeding and quartering soldiers) there would have been no heavy taxes after the war.

As it is, the taxes went through without American input and the people of Boston in particular were hit hard. The people of Boston protested most forcibly and, in the end, led the charge to revolution.

It was a little awkward for me to privately think, as I spoke to those English friends, that in 1775 the people of Boston were just about the only ones ready to fight.  That it would take a long time to get other Americans on board. That the other colonies were very content to watch and wait and let Massachusetts fight.

So I just answered their question with my on-the-spot response: It was the French and Indian War that pulled the trigger on the Revolutionary War. All the little irritations of being in a colonial relationship were enlarged and rendered insufferable by the taxes that came due to pay for that war. All the statues of King George III that Massachusetts colonists had erected in 1763 to celebrate the victory over the French were pulled down by the same colonists and melted into bullets in 1775.

After that point, it was just a matter of framing the arguments for war, which took many years. But the ball was rolling, and the French and Indian War was what sent it downhill.

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The Revolution did not begin at Lexington or Concord

Posted on April 19, 2008. Filed under: Revolutionary War | Tags: , , |

It’s April 19th! The first day of the American Revolution was April 19, 1775. And it started in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Of course, it was known as Menotomy back then. Lexington and Concord? They were a sideshow.

Here’s the story. Menotomy, the northwest precinct of the town of Cambridge, was about midway between Boston and Concord, where the Provincial Congress had fled when outlawed in Boston. The Committee of Safety, run by Samuel Adams, was camped out at the Black Horse tavern in Menotomy, watching for movement of British soldiers on the main road from Boston to Concord (called Concord Way back then, and known as Massachusetts Avenue today).

An advance party of British soldiers came through Menotomy, alerting the Committee, which sent word back to Boston to keep an eye out for the go signal there. By the time the full British force marched through Menotomy, at about 3 AM on April 19, everyone in the village knew what was happening.

So the British get to Lexington, they get to Concord. That part of the story is well-known, simply because the first shots were fired there. But the fighting took place in Menotomy.

As the British retreated through Lexington, they were harried by sniper fire and did no damage to the town. But at the border of Lexington and Menotomy, they were met by reinforcements, and basically decided to do their worst. In Menotomy, and only there, they burned and pillaged houses on the main road.

Word of this reached militia men who were in Menotomy on their way to join the battle at Concord. Realizing the action was now in Menotomy, they hunkered down around the large farmhouse of Jason Russell. Facing the main road, waiting for the soldiers to appear, they were unaware that the British sent flankers around the back. They were encircled and trapped at Jason Russell’s house.

Russell went out to parlay with the British leader, Lord Percy. But he was killed pretty much on the spot. Then the fighting began, and more people were killed at Russell’s house in Menotomy that day than in Lexington, Concord, and the retreat combined. Eleven Americans and two Britons lost their lives, and British casualties were 120. In comparison, total British casualties in L&C and the retreat were 34.

When the British returned at last to Boston, it was the fighting at Menotomy that convinced them this was a war and not an isolated incident.

So why don’t we know the name Menotomy like we know Lexington and Concord?

Well, Menotomy changed its name a few times, to West Cambridge and then to Arlington. And even in colonial days, Menotomy was a spelling challenge. Some British soldiers recorded the hot fighting at “Anatomy.” And after all, Lexington and Concord were the sites of the first fighting, and history loves firsts.

But take a moment today to pay tribute to Jason Russell and the eleven men who died with him on the first day of the Revolution.

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