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1776 Book Review

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History 2700-02

Derek Smith


1776, Book Review

It was a good year for a revolution, 1776. But it didn't start off quite as well as the colonists would have liked. When George Washington agreed to take command of the American forces in 1775, he probably didn't realize what he was truly getting himself into. Washington took command of an army made up of old men and young boys that had either come from their farms or the street. The army was short on weapons and gunpowder, lacked uniforms, and was racked by disease and drunkenness. Washington understood that what lies ahead would be difficult, considering he would be facing the most powerful country in world. But he probably didn't expect his worst problems to come from his own army, which was an undisciplined and untrained group that would eventually tamper with his great patience. Through it all he would stay determined and always try to stay one step ahead of the enemy.

In the summer of 1775, The Americans prepared to attack the British in Boston. But Washington was informed that they were shorthanded on gunpowder. The Americans had fewer than 10,000 pounds, roughly nine rounds per man. The situation was not expected to improve soon. During the night of March 4th, 1776 in Boston. Washington pulled the unthinkable and surprised the British by placing his army up the undefended Dorchester Heights. The British had ships anchored in the Boston Harbor, which were within range of American cannons. The British army woke up the next morning and was amazed to see how much hard work took place that night by the American army. Since the British army was surrounded they had no other option but to surrender, and vacate the city. Washington outsmarted the enemy, and it was Washington's first great victory. The battle was won, despite insufficient arms and ammunition. It would be one of the few military victories Washington would experience that year.

The news got back to England, and King George III was angered when he heard the outcome of Boston. He spoke before Parliament and ordered that the rebels were to be stopped. The British, devastated by the defeat, returned later in the year, this time with more reinforcements and the help of the Hessians. New York City was now the new battleground. The battles and conflicts that lie ahead once again reminded Washington of what kind of army he had.

The Battle of New York would soon prove to be a disaster. It was Washington's first command on a large scale battle. He and his general officers had not only failed, but they looked like fools from the British point of view. After the battle, troops began to run away in fear. Even Washington's closest friend, Joseph Reed, began plotting behind his back. Washington suffered another bitter defeat at Fort Washington, N.Y. The colonists were intimidated, and surrendered Fort Washington. It was a severe blow to the colonists, 2000 were taken prisoner, 59 killed, 146 cannons lost to the British and Hessians in a matter of hours. It was a humiliating blow. During one particularly disastrous skirmish with the British, Washington saw his own troops fleeing from the enemy, and they were refusing to obey orders. Washington threw his hat on the ground in disgust. And rode into battle to rally his troops, but he



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