People, Places, and Terms Mentioned in Staff Rides

The following entries are by no means exhaustive, intended only to provide basic details about the topics involved in the study of these battles. A source reference is included, when available, to assist the interested reader in a more comprehensive study. References are listed by author's last name and are linked to the bibliographical listing on the relevant Preliminary Study page.

To find a specific topic, click below on the first letter of the subject, or the first letter of the last name of a person.



Abercromby, LTC James

British Officer, a longtime friend of Thomas Gage and Israel Putnam. Abercromby was Aide de Camp to Amherst in 1759, he was promoted to LTC in 1770. Abercromby led the grenadiers to the rail fence at Bunker Hill. He was mortally wounded in the attempt, but lived long enough to write to John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun, "A few such victories would ruin the army."

Acland, MAJ John Dyke

British Major John Dyke Acland was a British politician and officer who pushed Parliament for more action against the American colonies in 1774. On March 23rd of the same year he joined the British army as an Ensign of the 33d Foot. Later in his career he rose to command the 20th Foot at the rank of Major. In 1776 he went to Canada to serve Sir Guy Carleton before becoming the commander of the grenadiers under Lieutenant General John Burgoyne during the British Expedition of 1777. During that offensive, Major Acland faced a string of misfortunes. He fell ill at Chambly and Skenesboro, was wounded at the Battle of Hubbardton on 7 July 1777, and narrowly escaped death when his tent caught fire shortly before the British crossed the Hudson River north of Saratoga. He led the British left wing at the Second Battle of Saratoga and was shot through both legs and abandoned by his own men when the American forces overran his position at Breymanns Redoubt. After he was allowed to return to England on parole, he continued his parliamentary career. He served in that capacity until his death on 22 November 1778.
See Boatner.

Arnold, GEN Benedict

Benedict Arnold enlisted in the American militia at 17 years of age. He was elected as a militia Captain in 1774, advancing to the rank of Colonel the following year. He participated in the 10 May 1775 capture of Fort Ticonderoga and received temporary command of the American forces on Lake Champlain on June 1st. Two weeks later, when ordered to turn over command to the new leader, he initially defied the order but ultimately conceded command. Arnold redeemed himself by leading the assault on Quebec from September to November of 1775, and was wounded on 31 December 1775 during the attack. Appointed Brigadier General on 10 January 1776, he was forced to surrender his army to the British that April and leave Canada. He led the American fleet to victory at Valcour Island 11-13 October 1776. After that action he became enveloped in a court disputes concerning his conduct during the American offensive in Canada. Passed over for promotion to Major General in February of 1777, the enraged Arnold wrote General Washington of his intent to resign, but was persuaded to wait. The promotion finally came 2 May 1777, but Arnold remained bitter over his loss of seniority to five officers promoted in February. This bitterness, coupled with the continuing court disputes, led Arnold to submit his resignation on 11 July 1777. He quickly reconsidered when offered a command in the Northern Department to oppose the 1777 offensive of British General John Burgoyne. His first move against Burgoyne was to defeat St. Leger at the Mohawk River Valley on 23 August 1777. From there he joined General Philip Schuyler's forces at Stillwater, where he became involved in the factional dispute between Generals Horatio Gates and Schuyler over command of the Northern Department. His support of Schuyler angered Gates, who ultimately received the position. Arnold participated in both battles at the Battle of Saratoga, but had been relieved of command before the second battle after a heated dispute with Gates. To fuel Arnold's anger, Gates replaced him with Benjamin Lincoln, one of the five generals who had recieved the February promotion to Major General. Therefore, Arnold's valiant charges on 7 October 1777 in the Second Battle of Saratoga were without command authority. Having been wounded at the second battle, the incapacitated Arnold took command of Philadelphia upon the 28 May 1777 British evacuation. Due to disagreements with the several factions existing in Philadelphia after the British occupation, Arnold once again he found himself troubled with court disputes. Possibly due to the anger in dealing with these attempts at the defamation of his character, Arnold's next decision forged his name in infamy. See Arnold's Treachery for more information.
See Boatner and Sellers.


Although the European forces of the era relied extensively upon artillery support in European conflicts, the use of artillery was greatly hampered during the American Revolution. This was due to the scarcity of both guns and horses in the Americas. Also, the hilly terrain of the continent hampered the effectiveness of artillery fire. However, both the British and American armies found ways to use indirect fire during the battles fought during the American Revolution. Artillery pieces used were cannon, howitzer, and mortar. Eighteenth Century ArtilleryCaliber Solid ShotGrape Shot
3 or 4 pounder 800 yds 400 yds
6 pounder 800 yds 500 yds
12 pounder 900 yds 600 yds
8 inch Howitzer900 yds 500 yds From Elting: The maximum ranges of all calibers was considerably greater than the effective ranges listed above. Therefore a solid shot that had missed its target still could be dangerous farther to the rear - such a shot might roll and bounce for hundreds of yards with enough momemtum to kill or cripple anyone in its way. Guns had a comparatively flat trajectory; howitzers were designed for high angle fire so that they could drop explosive shells behind enemy entrenchments.


Balcarres, Earl of

British Major Balcarres commanded the British right wing during the Second Battle of Saratoga. At this time, we have been unsuccessful in finding a source providing biographical information on Major Balcarres.

Baldwin, MAJ Loammi.

MAJ Loammi Baldwin was the commanding officer of the Woburn militia on 19 April 1775. He established the first successful ambush on the British that day at Bloody Angle. His forces destroyed the British command by injuring 9 out of the 10 officers in the leading companies. Loammi Balwin remained in the militia, eventually being promoted to Colonel in early 1776. He led the 26th Cont'l regiment into battle at Trenton on 26 December 1776, after which he retired due to poor health
See Galvin , Fischer or Boatner.

Barrett, COL James.

Colonel Barrett was in charge of the Concord militia. He organized the formation of the miltia troops as they arrived in Concord to repel the British on the morning of 19 April 1775. He was also in charge of the military stores of Concord, most of which he stored at his home one mile from the Old North Bridge. He lead his militia units into battle several times that day, including the most devastating attack on the British, Bloody Angle.
See Fischer or Galvin.


Temporary earthen fortifications; usually short walls and trenches providing cover to the middle chest.

Buttrick, Major John

Major Buttrick of the American militia was in charge of the assault on the Old North Bridge on 19 April 1775. His home was on top of the hill which overlooked the bridge, and many men assembled there. He was placed in charge while Colonel Barrett was securing the stored arms 1 mile down the road. When he saw the smoke rising from Concord,the decision was collectively made that the militia would defend the town or die trying. When organizing the assault he clearly ordered the men not to fire unless fired upon, then to fire as fast as they could. When the British did fire, he watched minuteman Captain Davis fall, and yelled out, "Fire, For God's sake fire!!" The returning fire from his provincals injured four out of eight British officers at the bridge, and killed 3 British light infantry. More importantly the feared British troops fled. This was a major inspirational victory for the Americans.

Buttrick was also in charge of the Concord militia at Bloody Angle later that day.
See Fischer or Galvin.

Burgoyne, LTG John

John Burgoyne, "Gentleman Johnny," a British general in the American Revolution, was also a politician and playwright. Burgoyne conducted himself so well during military campaigns in Portugal in 1762 that he was called a man of promise. After serving (1763-75) in Parliament, he joined the army in America and in 1776 was given command of the northern army to carry out an invasion from Canada. Burgoyne's campaign started successfully when he captured Ticonderoga in July 1777, but he ran into difficulty when a detachment of his Hessians was defeated (August 16) near Bennington, VT, while foraging for food. After two furious battles near Saratoga, Burgoyne surrendered his entire army to General Horatio Gates on Oct. 17, 1777. Saratoga proved to be the turning point of the war, because it convinced France to become America's ally. Burgoyne returned to England in disgrace and resigned his rank as lieutenant general after a parliamentary inquiry into his conduct of the war in America. Briefly reinstated, he was commander in chief of Ireland in 1782-83. He later retired from the army and occupied himself mainly with literary and dramatic writing. His best-known play is "The Heiress" (1786). (Grolier Encyclopedia)
See Hudleston and Boatner.


Clark, LTC George

In command of the British Light Infantry column moving along the Mystic River in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Clark stated after the battle that the rebels fought "far beyond any idea I could have formed of them."

Clinton, MG Henry

A British Officer born in New York, Clinton's military career began in the New York Militia, where as a Lieutenant he served in the capacity of a Captain. He returned to England with his father where he served in the British Guards from 1751 to 1758, attaining the rank of Liutenant Colonel. In 1760 he saw active service during the Seven Years' War, becoming Aide de Camp to Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, and was promoted to Colonel on 24 June 1762. He received another promotion to Major General on 25 May 1772 as an MP. The death of his wife in August of the same year nearly drove Clinton out of his mind, but he regained control and traveled to Boston in May of 1775 with Generals Howe and Burgoyne to join Gage. He fought during the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775 and received local promotion to Lieutenant General in September. Clinton was then detached to command the Charleston Expedition of 1776 and received local promotion to full General in January of 1776. He joined Howe as a subordinate General and distinguished himself at the Battle of Long Island, 27 August 1776. During Howe's New York and New Jersey campaigns, Clinton repeatedly suggested that Howe pursue Washington's army rather than real estate, but his advice fell on deaf ears. In an effort to rid himself of Clinton's annoying company, Howe ordered that he capture Newport. Upon completing that task and hearing of Howe's losses at Trenton and Princeton, Clinton returned home intending to resign. Upon learning of Clinton's intent, Lord Germain, commander of the British forces in Canada, asked Clinton to reconsider and promised a knighthood if he would remain. Upon his return to England, Clinton was knighted and promoted to the official rank of Lieutenant General. He returned to America with his new position and led the October 1777 Expedition to the Hudson Highlands. On 7 March 1778, Lord Germain provided orders naming Clinton as Howe's successor as Commander-in-Chief of North America (1778-82), and he took comand of Philadelphia in May. Clinton attempted to trap French Major General LaFayette at Barren Hill on May 20, but failed and was forced to retreat across New Jersey. This retreat led to the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778. After the war, he became governor of Gibraltar, where he died.
See biography in Boatner.

Colonial Wars

Commonly reffered to as part of the French and Indian War, or the Seven Year War. The French and Indian war was a series of armed conflicts between England's colonies in North America on one side and the rival European colonies on the other during the period of 1689-1763. Each conflict was part of a larger war in Europe and on the High seas. The war reached North America in 1753-1763 in what is considered the Colonial Wars, and involved Colonial military leaders who would later play important roles in the American Revolution. The significance of this conflict was two fold:
1: The British decided that after defending the colonies that it was time for them to start paying for it. They instigated taxes on the colonies without having American representatives in Britain. This started the large disputes between the colonies and Britain.
2: The conflicts were a training ground for the colonial troops. Many of the provincial leaders and soldiers on the field that day were experienced veterans from the French and Indian wars. While the British leaders were also experienced, most of their troops had never seen combat.

Continental Rifle Corps

The Continental Rifle Corps were a light infantry corps of accomplished riflemen. These units were comprised of 10 companies, each possessing 68 musket infantrymen. Note that the Colonial rifle differed from the musket in function and application. Due to the inability of the rifle to accept a bayonet, musket infantrymen were normally used in conjunction with riflemen in order to repel British bayonet charges. Morgan's Rifle Corps were an elite force of riflemen who played an important part in the Battle of Saratoga. They also participated in the Battle of Monmouth, though their true potential was not realized in that battle.

Cornwallis, LTG Charles

Cornwallis was second in command after Clinton during the Battle of Monmouth. His element of the British command was the one attacked by Lee. He personally led the elite of Clinton's force against the Americans under Greene on the British left flank in the final stages of the battle.


Davis, CPT Isaac

Captain Isaac Davis led his Acton Minutemen from Acton to Concord in response to the British actions on 19 April 1775. He led his men on the first march in formation on the British at the North Bridge. He was an energetic gunsmith, who had made his men train weekly at his house, and had fashioned them bayonets. He has been quoted several times as saying "I have not a man that's afraid to go!" in response to the sight of smoke rising from Concord. He led his men directly at the British, and was the first man killed in the British volley.
See discussions in Galvin, Fischer, or Lancaster.




A vee-shaped field work of two sides pointing toward the enemy and open in the rear, typically constructed of earthen materials.

Fraser, BG Simon

Simon Fraser was a Scotsman who entered the Dutch service in 1748 before his appointment on 31 January 1755 as a Lieutenant in the British 62d Royal Americans. Two years later he became acting Captain of the Fraser Highlanders, promoted to Captain 22 April 1759. He fought in engagements of the French and Indian War at Louisburg, Cape Breton, and Quebec. On 8 February 1762 he became the Major of the 24th Foot, serving with the 24th at Gibraltar and Ireland before his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1768. In 1776, the 24th Foot was deployed to Canada and his regiment was brigaded with the grenadiers and light infantry of Carleton's army. With this brigade, he conducted a successful defense at Trois Rivieres on 8 June 1776, and he was granted the local commission of Brigadier General. As the commander of the Advance Corps in Burgoyne's Offensive in 1777, Fraser showed his leadership skill during the Battle of Hubbardton. General Fraser commanded the right flank element of the British advance at the First Battle of Saratoga, 19 September 1777. He again commanded the British right wing during the Second Battle, 7 October 1777. During his efforts to cover the British withdrawal, he was mortally wounded. The battlefield became his burial site the following day.
See Boatner

Fraser's Rangers

Fraser's Rangers were an elite force of British light infantry and grenadiers under the command of Brigadier General Simon Fraser at the Battle of Saratoga. The brigade was composed of General Fraser's British 24th Regiment of Foot plus light infantry and grenadier units from Sir Guy Carleton's Montreal forces. They served as the advance element at the first battle, forming the right wing of the British forces there.


Gage, MG Thomas

British Commander-in-Chief in North America and the last royal governor of Massachusetts, Gage was 54 years old in 1775. His military career had begun in the War of Austrian Succession, during which he fought in Flanders. Later he helped suppress the Jacobite rebellion. He was the royal Governor of Massachusetts when the uprisings at Salem and Concord occured. His plan for destroying military stores at Concord was the first of his many mistakes that would eventually have Gage recalled to England after Bunker Hill, effectively ending his military career.
See Alden and Boatner.

Gates, GEN Horatio

Horatio Gates was trained as a British officer, leaving the British Army in 1773 at the rank of Major due to the fact that his humble, middle-class birth precluded the possibility of his attaining high rank in the British army. Upon his exit from the British army, he purchased a plantation in Virginia and remained there until 1775, when the war broke out and he became the first adjutant-general of the Continental Army due to his friendship with the American Commander George Washington, commissioned as a Brigadier General on 17 June 1775. He received a field command later, seizing control of the Northern Department from General Phillip Schuyler after the two disputed over the command for more than a year. General Gates presided over the American victory on the fields of battle at the Battle of Saratoga, a two-stage battle ending 7 October 1777. However, Gates' actual leadership role at Saratoga proved to be secondary to the roles of his subordinate leaders Colonel Daniel Morgan and Major General Benedict Arnold. Although his role was small during the battle, a movement to name Gates as the new Commander-in-Chief began as a result of the brilliant victory at Saratoga and the lamentable outcome of Washington's campaigns during 1777. As a result, Congress diminished Washington's authority by establishing the Board of War 17 October 1777, naming General Gates as its president. During his time at that position, Gates attempted to discredit Washington and thus gain enough public favor to secure the position as C. in C., but his efforts failed. When the war began to favor the British in the south, Congress decided that Gates would be the best choice as commander of the Southern Department. Gates proved them wrong at the Battle of Camden.
See Boatner and Patterson.

Gerrish, COL Richard

American Colonel in command of a Massachusetts militia regiment at the Battle of Bunker's Hill. His unit was called to reinforce COL Prescott at the redoubt after the landing of the British on Moulton's Point. Gerrish advanced as far as Bunker's Hill, where he remained for the rest of the battle, either attempting to help Putnam or hiding himself, depending on the account. Generally considered a coward, Gerrish managed to elude scandal until a skirmish several weeks after Bunker's Hill showed his true colors.


In the 17th century a grenadier was a soldier assigned to throw grenades against the enemy. By 1672, each French infantry regiment contained a grenadier company. The British Army used Grenadiers, as well as Light Infantry, as flank companies; often the biggest and strongest of the men they would be detailed for particularly hazardous combat assignments. During the 18th century the original function of the grenadier was lost, and since then the name has been applied to elite troops.
(Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia; Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, 457.)

Gridley, COL Richard

Sixty-five at the time of the Battle of Bunker's Hill, Gridley had been a military man for 30 years. In 1745, as a captain in the Boston Artillery Company, he directed several batteries in the reduction of Louisburg. It was Gridley who figured how to drag cannon up the perpendicular cliffs to the Plains of Abraham. After the British evacuated Boston, he stayed in the Eastern Department building coastal fortifications.
See biography in Boatner.


Hamilton, GEN James

Hamilton was the British commander of the central column of advance during the Battle of Saratoga. However, as Lieutenant General John Burgoyne was present with this element, most commands during the battle originated from Burgoyne.

Heath, GEN William

American Brigandier General Heath was in charge of the Provincials during the hardest and bloody part of the attack on the British column on April 19, 1775. He led the Provincials during the attacks at Menetomy and Cambridge. His orders were to retreat from the roads, but they were not followed and many militia men were trapped in their homes and killed. Being the first General on the scene he ordered the postions which later became the siege of Boston. He was promoted to Cont'l Brigadier General in June 1775, a position he perfromed in less than perfectly. General Washington, sensing the inadequacies of Heath, posted him in places that were not essential, and had no major threat expected. After a series of blunders he retired from the military in July 1783. He entered politics, and was on the board that ratified the Constitution in 1791.
See biography in Boatner.

Howe, MG William

British Major General Howe led the bloody assaults on the stone fence defended by Colonel Stark during the Battle of Bunker's Hill. He succeeded General Gage as Commander-in-Chief of North America after the latter was recalled to England. In that capacity, Howe led a victorious campaign against American General Washington during 1776, forcing the American forces out of New York to retreat to Pennsylvania. In 1777, Howe took advantage of the weakened rebel government by distracting Washington's army while Cornwallis seized Philadelphia, the American capitol, on September 26th.
See Anderson and the biography in Boatner.



Jaeger Rifle

The German jaeger rifle was a short, heavy, large caliber weapon brought to America by the German forces under the British. The jaeger rifle was used in Europe for generations as a hunting weapon. The jaeger rifle differed from the colonial long rifle in that it was heavier, shorter, and less-accurate than the American weapon.


Kosciuszko, Thaddeus

Thaddeus Kosciuszko was an able Polish engineer who volunteered for service to the American army during the American Revolution. He served General Horatio Gates by preparing the defenses at Bemis Heights during the Battle of Saratoga establishing the defense in September of 1777. He also provided assistance to General Greene in the establishment of the American camp at the Battle of Cowpens in 1780.


Lafayette, MG Marquis de

On 9 April, 1771 Lafayette joined the French Royal Army at the age of thirteen as an orphaned, but rich, boy. At 16 he married Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles, a daughter of one of the most powerful families in France. He had made the rank of Captain in the Royal Army by the age of 17. Motivated by romantic ideas of the American revolt, revenge against the British, and a thirst for glory, he decided to join the American cause. He made a deal with Silas Deane to transfer to the American Army as a commissioned Major General. He arrived in America on 13 June, 1777. After making an offer to Congress to serve at his own expense and as a volunteer, Congress commisioned him a Major General without command on 31 July, 1777. General Washington and Lafayette took an immediate liking to each other and, throughout Lafayette's stay with the Continental Army, the two developed an extrodinary friendship. At Brandywine, 11 Sept., 1777, Lafayette helped check the enemy advance and was slightly wounded. This event helped to establish the young general in the eyes of the Americans. On 25 Nov 1777, he led a reconnaisance force of Greene's division against Cornwallis' position at Gloucester, NJ, and with 300 men, out fought a superior enemy Hessian force. Washington wrote a letter to Congress earlier in November and, with Lafayette's actions at Gloucester considered, Congress voted Lafayette command of a division of Virginia light troops on 1 Dec, 1777. By the time of the battle of Monmouth, Lafayette was appointed the commander of the advance force against Clinton's main army as the Americans pursued the British across NJ. This command was eventually relinqished to Lee just prior to the battle of Monmouth due to political pressures from Lee. Lee, as the second in command of the Continental Army, felt that such a prestigious command should be appointed to himself. However, Lafayette performed with great professionalism during the battle.

Laurie, CPT William

British Captain Laurie commanded the three companies of light infantry at the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA, on 19 April 1775. He ordered his men to retreat as the Militia line approached from the hill above the bridge. After his men had retreated across the bridge he called them into street-firing position to repel the militia. His orders insured the British volume of fire was less than the milita's causing thier loss at the bridge. He was wounded at the bridge during the ensuing battle, and died late that day.
Galvin, or Fischer.

Learned, BG Ebenezer

Ebenezer Learned led the revolutionary movement in his home town of Oxford, Massachussetts, where a bridge is now dedicated to his honor. Representing Oxford, he served as a delegate to the provincial congresses of Concord and Cambridge in 1774 and 1775. He led a militia company to Concord on 19 April 1775 for the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and was commissioned as a Colonel to command the 3rd Continental Regiment of Massachussetts. Although not directly involved in the heavy fighting, his regiment received fire at Roxbury during the Battle of Bunker Hill. He also participated in observing the evacuation of British forces from Boston and marched the first American forces into the city 17 March 1776. He resigned his commission due to poor health in May of 1776, returning to duty 2 April 1777 as a Brigadier General assigned to the Northern Department. In that capacity he served under Generals Philip Schuyler and Horatio Gates in the American efforts against the British Campaign of 1777. Learned commanded his own Continental Brigade of Massachussetts and the 4th New York Regiment at the Battle of Saratoga. However, he received little attention by most historians for actions during the two battles fought at Saratoga as he was subjugated by the more decisive leadership of Major General Benedict Arnold, who assumed command of his Brigade and led his men in the daring offensive at the close of the Second Battle of Saratoga. These attacks secured a decisive American victory on the battlefield, forcing the surrender of British Lieutenant General John Burgoyne at Saratoga days later. On 24 March 1778 his health again required that he resign his commission. Having served his country honorably, he became a member of the Massachussetts legislature in 1783.
See Boatner.

Lee, MG Charles

Lee was born a native of England in 1731 and entered his father's regiment as an ensign in 1747. On 2 May, 1751, he became a Lieutenant in the British 44th Foot Regiment. He served in the French and Indian War as a Captain and married the daughter of a Seneca Indian chief. He returned to England in the winter of 1760-61 and was apponited Major of the 103rd Regiment by August, 1761. In the following year he served with real distinction under Burgoyne in Portugal. In 1763 he retired from the British Army at half-pay when his regiment was disbanded. In 1765 Lee became a soldier of fortune in the Polish Army where he got to be on intimate terms with King Stanislaus Poniatowski. In 1767 he was promoted to Major General and returned to England for two years and displayed criticism of the government. In 1769 he returned to Poland again to fight the Turks and was invalided home the next year. In 1773 Lee went to America and he was aware of the potential for personal advancement among the revolutionaries as a soldier with his experience and influence. He urged patriot leaders to raise an army, and in May, 1774, started buying real estate to gain leverage in recommending himself to Congress as an officer in the army. Still at half-pay from his British service, Lee's articulate speech and his good pamphleteering moved Congress to appoint him Major General on 17 June, 1775. He was subordinate only to Washington and Ward. Lee forsaw the confiscation of his property in Britain as a consequence to his acceptance of his commission and arranged for Congress to compensate him for it. Lee then paid for his Virginia property with the advancement from Congress. During the retreat to the Delaware, Lee reacted in such a way as to raise suspicion that he hoped for Washington's defeat so that he may succeed him. Shortly after, Lee had written several letters to different generals within Washington's command that openly showed he questioned Washington's abilities and actions. On 13 Dec., 1776, Lee was captured by the British at Basking Ridge. It was disclosed over 70 years later that as a prisoner Lee secretly submitted to his captors a plan for ending the rebellion by an offensive that would destabilize the Continental Army by gaining the control of the middle colonies of MD, PA, and VA. Whether his plans were actually for such intentions or were a plot for him to advance himself by a double-dealing "timely" counter plan for the Continentals is not clear, especially since the British ignored the plan. Lee was returned in a prisoner exchange in April,1778 and complained to Congress about the promotion of others while he was prisoner. General Lee was, at the time of the Battle of Monmouth, the second in command of the Continental Army (under Gen Washington). In the battle Lee had his first test as a field commander. In the opinion of many of his contemporaries, he failed miserably at it. Lee was in charge of the advance guard that was sent out by Washington to engage the British as they departed Monmouth Courthouse. He led a very confused and poorly planned attack that ended in eventual retreat. As a consequence to his actions in this battle, as well as his actions in other campaigns, there is much speculation as to his loyalty to the Continental Army and America in general. There was undoubtedly an intensely political relationship between Washington and himself. This relationship, combined with Lee's actions and outward disrespect for Washington, resulted in Lee being court martialed after this battle.

Light Infantry

Light Infantry units differed from the standard musket infantry in that the light infantryman carried less equipment in order to increase mobility and endurance by lightening the combat load of the soldiers. The obvious advantage of being less burdened was countered by the loss of many of the useful provisions carried by the standard infantryman. In essence, the light infantryman was required to "do more with less."


French fortress erected in 1720 on Cape Breton Island at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, in Canada, it was second only to Quebec in importance during the French regime. Captured by American infantry elements of the British Army in 1745 with support of the British fleet, it was returned to France by the treaty of Aachen, 1748. The British recaptured it in 1758.


Militia Units

The American Militia units served as a power base of irregular musket infantry valuable more for quantity than quality. The men of the Continental militias were the least trained members of the American army and their numbers swelled and diminished at unpredictable rates due to the short-term enlistments established by the Continental Congress.

Minutemen Units

The Minute Men units of the American Revolution served as a relatively well-trained reserve of militia ready to serve "at a minute's notice." The potential of the Minute Man was quickly realized at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, where they served as the elite among the more poorly trained militia units of the provincials.

Morgan, COL Daniel

A Frontiersman and Continental officer, Daniel Morgan was a first cousin of the notorious Daniel Boone. At the early age of 22 his efforts against the British began when he hit back after a British officer had slapped him with the flat of his sword. He later redirected his efforts by receiving a Continental Commission as a captain of a Virginia rifle company on 22 June 1775. His company led Benedict Arbold's march to Quebec from September to November of 1775 and he temporarily took command after Arnold had been seriously wounded in the leg. Taken prisoner during that engagement, Morgan was paroled the next summer and exchanged in the fall. On 12 November 1776 he was commissioned Colonel of the 11th Virginia Regiment. He joined General Washington's army in April 1777 and raised a force of 500 sharpshooters known as Morgan's Continental Rifle Corps.

Morgan's Continental Rifle Corps

These riflemen possessed expert marksmanship abilities and were very proficient in Indian fighting tactics. They were regarded by Washington as "chosen men, selected from the army at large, well acquainted with the use of rifles, and with that mode of fighting which is necessary to make them a good counterpoise to the Indian." (Quotation from Battles of the American Revolution by Curt Johnson) Under his leadership, Morgan's Rifle Corps played a key role in the Battle of Saratoga. In that battle, the riflemen were used to initiate fires on the American side, targeting key personnel such as officers and artillerymen. After the close of the Battle of Saratoga, Morgan rejoined the main American army outside of Philadelphia at White Marsh. At the winter quarters of Valley Forge, his 11th Virginia Regiment was brigaded with the 7th under Brigadier General William Woodford. Morgan's regiment was present, but not engaged, at the Battle of Monmouth. Allegedly due to poor health, Morgan resigned his commission on 18 July 1979. Congress ordered that he report to General Gates in the Southern Theater, but he declined. After hearing of the American defeat at Camden, Morgan joined Gates late in Spetember of 1780 at Hillsboro. On 13 October 1780 he received a commission as a Brigadier General, and he led his elite corps of riflemen to victory at the Battle of Cowpens 17 January 1781. He resigned again on 10 February 1781 before returning to support Lafayette's efforts to end British raiding of Virginia. He later commanded militia units during the Whiskey Insurrection of 1794 and was elected to Congress in 1797.
See Boatner


The musket was a large-caliber, smooth-bore firearm that was aimed and fired from the shoulder. The weapon, which first appeared in Spain in the mid-1500s, fired a lead ball weighing about 1.5 oz (42 g). Although it was lighter and more accurate than the older arquebus, it was still so heavy and long that each musketeer needed an aide who helped carry the weapon and its ammunition and prop it up on its stand. The first simple muskets were fitted with matchlocks as the refiring mechanism. The later wheel lock, a serrated wheel that struck sparks from iron pyrites, was too complicated and costly for rough use. The simpler flintlock, known in England as a snaphance, was produced in the late 1500s. Between 1645 and 1650 the snaphance flintlock action was improved, producing the Brown Bess, the musket used by the armies of Europe and America for nearly 200 years. The Brown Bess was simple, cheap, and easy to manufacture, but like all muskets it had serious disadvantages. Apart from the complex loading procedure, the flintlock's efficiency was uncertain. Moreover, the musket's range was limited--as late as 1846 the British War Office put the range at 100 to 150 yards "for all practical purposes. (Grolier Encyclopedia)
See Gluckman.

Musket Infantry

The musket infantry unit was utilized extensively by both the British and American forces as the primary small arms unit. As the name implies, the musket served as the primary weapon of the musket infantry.



Oswald, COL Eleazer

Oswald emigrated to America from England around 1770 as a sympathizer to the patriot cause. He served as a Private in the Lexington Alarm, took part in the capture of Ticonderoga, and volunteered for Arnold's March to Quebec. In the later operations he became Arnold's secretary and was wounded and captured on 31 Dec 1775. He was exchanged 10 Jan 1777 and was commissioned Leuitenant Colonel of John Lamb's 2nd Continental Artillery as of 1 Jan., 1777 where he became famous as an artilleriest. He was particularly distinguished at Compo Hill during the Danbury Raid in April, 1777. During the battle of Monmouth he once again demonstrated great skill and perseverance and was instrumental in checking several British advances with his artillery. He was praised in official orders for his actions at Monmouth but was not credited with the seniority he felt he deserved. As a result Oswald resigned from the army after the battle.


Parker, CPT John

American officer John Parker was in charge of the minutemen that met the advancing British column at Lexington Green on 19 April 1775. He watched as the British approached and then ordered his men to retreat. In their retreat, a shot was fired, and then the British line fired at the retreating Minutemen and Militia. Eight of Captain Parker's men died, and ten more were wounded. After the British moved on to Concord, Parker organized his men again, and led them to attack the British. This extraordinary act of leadership paid off. Instead of meeting the British on open ground, Parker chose a hill that ran perpendicular to the road the British were traveling. His men, along with the Lincoln miltia, fired at the unsuspecting British column. Colonel Smith, and the last uninjured officer of the British 10th light foot Captain Parsons, fell under Parker's fire. This location has been dubbed "Parker's Revenge." John Parker died the next year from tuberculoses.
See biography in Boatner and discussions in Galvin, Fischer, and Lancaster.

Parsons, CPT Moses

Captain Parsons commanded the 4 British companies on a search and destroy mission to Colonel Barretts home in Concord on the morning of April 19 1775. His mission was a failure, and when he returned to Concord he found that the three companies covering his retreat under Captain Laurie had been dispersed by American Militia units. His men were unmolested as they retreated to Concord, but were not so lucky later as they retreated back to Boston. He was put in charge of the front of the column by Lieutenant Colonel Smith, with orders to keep it moving at all costs. Parsons was the last uninjured officer in the 10th light foot after Bloody Angle, and was shot at Parker's Revenge and removed from command of the 10th light foot.
See discussions in Fischer and Galvin.

Pigot, BGN Robert

General Howe's second in command of the British Light Infantry, Pigot was among the first to reach the redoubt in the final assault on the American fortifications on Breed's Hill, 17 June, 1775.
See biography in Boatner.

Percy, Lord Hugh

Earl Hugh Percy was the British Major in charge of the relief column sent out of Boston to assist Colonel Smith on 19 April 1775. He was in command of nearly 1000 troops and carried two six pound cannon with him. He was attributed with the saving of Colonel Smith's entire column. When he recieved news that British troops were engaged in heavy battle down the road, Percy set his men in lines to Lexington, and awaited Smith's column. When the broken troops got to Lexington he lead them in their retreat from Lexington to Boston.
Percy was the only officer to recognize the bravery of the men he was facing, and warned his fellow British officers not to take them too lightly. He later refused to partake in the assault on Bunker Hill due to a disagreement with General Howe on how the operation should be handled. He later commanded a division at the Battle of Long Island, and in the attack on Ft. Washington. After many disagreements with Gen Howe, Lord Percy retired in June of 1777 with the rank of Lieutenent General.
See the biography in Boatner.

Pitcairn, MAJ John

A well liked British Royal Marines commander, John Pitcairn held little more than contempt for the colonials. He was second in command on 19 April 1775 when the British marched on Concord. He was in charge of the advanced party that met John Parker's Militia on the Lexington Green, and many historians believe was responsible for the ensuing battle through poor command. He led the British column that day after Colonel Smith had been injured. He was shot through the leg at Fiske Hill in Concord and removed from command.
Pitcairn was commander of the final assualt on Colonel Prescott's redoubt at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, 17 June, 1775, with the battle cry "Now for the glory of the marines!" Pitcairn was subsequently killed by a bullet that crushed his chest, and carried off the field by his son.
See biography in Boatner.

Pomeroy, BG Seth

Pomeroy, a American veteran of the 1745 capture of Louisburg, rode to the Bunker Hill on a borrowed horse, carrying the musket he'd made himself for that earlier battle. He served primarily as a volunteer, helping to hold the rearguard together after the fall of the redoubt.
See biography in Boatner.

Poor, BG Enoch

Enoch Poor was a trader and ship builder in Exeter, New Hampshire, before holding a variety of public offices. He was elected to sit in two provincial congresses of New Hampshire and was named the Colonel of the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment on 24 May 1775. His unit reinforced the withdrawal from Lake Champlain in 1776 and he also joined American General Washington's army at the battles of Trenton and Princeton. Promoted to Brigadier General 21 February 1777, Poor led his Brigade of New Hampshire continentals during the operations at Ticonderoga from July 2nd through July 5th of the same year. He also led them into battle at the Battle of Saratoga. During the first battle, 19 September 1777, Poor's Brigade was used to reinforce Morgan's Continental Rifle Corps near the close of battle. At the second battle of Saratoga, 7 October 1777, Poor's brigade attacked the eastern flank of the advancing British forces. They struck the first blow against the British in that engagement, overcoming British opposition on the British east flank. With that the British line began to fail, and soon the British were forced to retreat. Poor was also with Washington's forces at the winter quarters at Valley Forge and left as part of General Lee's Monmouth Campaign. At the Battle of Monmouth, Poor led one of the final movements of the battle on 28 June 1778. Historical accounts conflict on his death, which has been attributed either to typhus, a deadly fever, or a fatal wound received during a duel with a junior officer.
See Boatner.

Prescott, COL William

Prescott served in the American provincial regiments at Louisburg in 1759. Preferring farming to a military career, he was nonetheless elected colonel of the Pepperell militia regiment, and as such, responded to the alarm of Concord. He became one of the most aggressive voices in General Ward's councils of war throughout the revolution.
See Green and the biography in Boatner.

Putnam, MGN Israel

Fifty seven at the time of Bunker Hill, American General Isreal Putnam had already led a remarkable military career. In 1755, he became a captain in Rogers' Rangers, leading the first Connecticut company sent out in the French and Indian War. He was with Lord George Howe (William's older brother) when Howe was killed. He was appointed to command the Connecticut Militia by the Provincial Congress in 1774, and rode to Cambridge upon hearing of Lexington to assume command of the Connecticut volunteers arriving there.
See biographies in Boatner, Cutter, Drake, Humphreys, and Livingston.



Roger's Rangers

Robert Rogers achieved fame in the French and Indian War of 1754-63 as a commander of colonial rangers. Rogers grew up in New Hampshire and soon after joining the army in 1755 he was given command of an independent company of rangers. By 1758 he was in charge of ranger companies for the British army. He established his reputation the next year when his troops burned the village of the Saint Francis Indians, killing about 200 people. (Grolier Encyclopedia)
See also Cuneo.


A small independent dirt fortress, completely enclosed. The structure on Breed's Hill was "eight rods square" and had six foot walls. Laid out by Colonel Gridley, the only drawback to this quickly erected fort was that no provision had been made for artillery ports. The provincials could only fire small arms from the redoubt.

Riedesel, GEN Baron Friederich von

The German Major General Baron von Riedesel served the British forces during the American Revolution. He was commissioned as an ensign in the Hessian battalion of Marburg while attending law school. At 18 years old he went to England with a German regiment in the service of George II, serving in the Seven Years' War the following year. He became the Aide de Camp to Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and also performed well at the Battle of Minden. He was the Colonel of the garrison at Wolfenbuttel when ordered to take British service in America. To fulfill this duty, on 10 January 1776 he became the commander of the first contingent of over two thousand men, sailing from Dover on April 4th for America. Riedesel arrived in Quebec on 1 June 1776 and remained there for a year before taking part in Burgoyne's 1777 Offensive. During the expedition, he commanded two companies of Hessian (German) regulars as well as his own company and an artillery unit from Hanau. The professionalism and elite level of training possessed by his troops caused envy among the ranks of his British compatriots. His brilliant tactical mind served to save the British forces under Lieutenant General John Burgoyne on several occasions during the campaign.
See Boatner and Stone.


The colonial long rifle was a slower, more-accurate version of the musket. It was a small caliber weapon known for being rugged, dependable, and lightweight. As the name suggests, the barrel of the rifle possessed a grooved, "rifled" bore. In conjunction with the longer barrel, the rifling greatly improved the effective range and accuracy of the rifle in comparison to the musket. However, the longer barrel made reloading more difficult, requiring the rifleman to spend more time reloading than would be necessary for the musketeer. In addition, the rifle was never modified to accept a bayonet, making the rifleman a vulnerable target at close range. During the American Revolution, American riflemen served the role of the modern-day sniper, as they were able to effectively single out their targets from long range.


Schuyler, GEN Philip

American General Philip Schuyler (pronounced "skyler") commanded the Northern Department of the Continental Army until being replaced by Major General Horatio Gates in 1777. Historians describe Schuyler as an aristocratic New Yorker, a description which stemmed from his very honorable Dutch family heritage. He was a well-educated man, commissioned as a Captain at the beginning of the French and Indian War. He fought at the Battle of Lake George on 8 September 1755 and soon after became an accomplished logistician. Schuyler was a victim of rheumatic gout, a hereditary disease which plagued him throughout his career. He resigned his commission in 1757, but decided to return to military service in 1758. He was elected to state assembly in 1768, and served in that capacity until named as commander of the Northern Department on 15 June 1775. In opposing the British Expedition of 1777, he proved his effectiveness as a talented and capable military leader. However, the factional dispute between Gates and Schuyler called charges of incompetence against Schuyler. After spending over a year before clearing his name of that offense, Schuyler resigned his commission on 19 April 1779. After leaving the military, Schuyler served on the Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs. He also served as a member of the Second Continental Congress and several other public offices.
See Boatner.

Smith, LTC Francis British Army

Lieutenant Colonel Smith was the commanding officer for the British preliminary column on 19 April 1775. He was considered to be a slow man, both to anger and to act. Many believe that he was chosen to lead this column because of his temperment. Considering his circumstances in this battle, he made the most logical, and the hardest decisions to keep his troops in order and alive. He was wounded at "Parker's Revenge", and lost the ability to lead his troops any farther. He was promoted to full Colonel at the years end, and commanded a brigade in the Battle of Long Island (Aug '76) and Quaker Hill in Newport (Aug '78). He returned in 1779 and was promoted to Major General, although the reasoning for these promotions is unclear due to his poor performance in his leadership positions.
See biography in Boatner and discussions in Galvin and Fischer.

Stark, COL John

John Stark was a woodsman and Indian fighter, with experience as a Lieutenant and Captain in Roger's Rangers. On 23 April 1775 he became the Colonel of the 1st New Hampshire militia regiment, and he led his regiment in battle at the Battle of Bunker Hill. At Bunker Hill, Stark exceeded his original instructions by bringing his entire regiment to battle and building the stone wall on the Mystic River shore. His personal command at the stone wall and use of the "reserve the rear" tactics learned under Robert Rogers, commander of Roger's Rangers, were instrumental in repulsing General Howe's first two light infantry attacks. On 1 January 1776 he was appointed commander of the 5th New Hampshire Continental Regiment, only to be placed in command of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment again on 8 November 1776. After serving in the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, Stark was passed over for promotion to Brigadier General and resigned on 23 March 1777. On July 17th of the same year, the legislature of New Hampshire persuaded him to return to service at the rank of Brigadier General. He assembled a brigade of militia which he led to victory at the Battle of Bennington on 15 August 1777. However, his decision to move his brigade to Bennington was in violation of an order from General Schuyler to move to Saratoga and support the American defense. As it turned out, his insubordination denied resupply of the British expedition and also cut off British General Burgoyne's escape route from Saratoga. His actions at Bennington led Congress to promote him to the rank of Brigadier General, as his current rank was recognized only by New Hampshire. He stayed on active duty for the remainder of the war, commanding the Northern Department on two occassions during that time. On 30 September 1783 he recived a commission as a Major General, only to retire on November 3rd of that same year.
See Boatner and Wood

Sutherland, LT William.

British Lieutenant Sutherland was supernumerary in the command of the British forces at the Old North Bridge in Concord on 19 April 1775. He attempted to rally the troops and hold the bridge when the Provincials returned fire. He failed in his attempt due to poor command and control of troops that were not his own. He was wounded at the bridge along with three other officers.
See Galvin or Fischer.


Thomas, BG John

Fifty years old and a physician by profession, Thomas had served in the French and Indian War as a colonel of expeditionary regiments in Nova Scotia, Crown Point and under Wolfe in Quebec. The fourth General in the Massachusetts Militia, he assumed command at Roxbury after Concord. Nominally responsible to General Ward, he in fact acted as if his command were independant. Respected by his contemporaries, his correspondance of the time shows him to have been a cool, independant personality. After General Washington took command, he led a brigade under General Ward. His troops led the advance party when the Dorchester Heights were occupied in March 1776. Transferred to St. Johns, he commanded the Canadian Department until he died of smallpox on 2 June, 1776.
See Coffin.




War of Austrian Succession

1740-48. Caused by Frederick the Great of Prussia's rejection of the Pragmatic Sanction, and by Austria's invasion of Silesia, this war started with France, Spain, Saxony and Sardinia supporting the Bavarian claim to the Imperial title in 1741. Each of the Allies coveted a portion of the Hapsburg dominions. Britain arranged a peace between Austria and Prussia in 1742. George II led Anglo-Prussian operations that resulted in French defeat at Dettingen, 27 June, 1743, and French withdrawal from German soil. In 1743 an alliance of Britain, Austria and Sardinia was formed to drive France and Spain from Italy. France, Spain and Prussia joined forces in 1744. After the French victory of Marshal de Saxe at Fontenoy, which gave them control of Flanders, Prussia withdrew from the alliance, retaining Silesia. in 1746, the Bourbons were driven from northern Italy.
France declared war on England in 1744, which touched off the second Jacobite rebellion; the latter was crushed at Culloden. The European conflict evolved into a struggle for maritime and colonial supremacy, and the American phase was King George's War. The British captured Louisburg in 1745, the French took Madras in 1746, and England gained control of the seas.
The treaty of Aachen, 18 October, 1748, restored all conquests, including Louisburg-much to the disgust of the Americans. The War of Austrian Succession forms an important piece of background to the American Revolution, and many of the officers involved in the Revolution participated in it.
(From the Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, 51-52.)

Ward, MG Artemas

Created an American army right under the nose of British General Gage, in spite of overwhelming obstacles. Poor sanitation and cooking habits during his participation in the French and Indian War left Ward chronically ill in the years that followed. Slow moving and slow to react, he was without the showier qualities of leadership. Ward was trusted and respected because of his being from a good family and a Harvard graduate. A leader of the Patriotic movement from the beginning, he helped to purge the Massachusetts Militia of all Loyalist members, thus breaking the Royal Governor's means of using it.
See Martyn.

Warren, MG Joseph

Despite a lack of military experience, Warren, a physician by profession, was chosen as a Major General by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. He lead men into combat on April 19th, 1775. In this battle he was not so much a military leader, but an inspiration to those men he commanded.
Warren also served in the Battle of Bunker Hill, even though he had not yet received his commission by the day of the battle. He served at the redoubt as an ordinary volunteer, where he was killed. Warren's death contributed as much as the respectable performance of the American troops to strengthening the radicals politically and making reconciliation impossible after Bunker Hill.
See Frothingham.

Washington, GEN George

General Washington, our nation's first president, was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army after the Battle of Bunker's Hill. At the Battle of Monmouth, Washington commanded the support element to the rear of the advance guard led by Major General Lee. As Lee engaged the rear guard of the evacuating British forces at Monmouth Courthouse and drew them into battle, Washington was to bring his support element forward to overpower the British. However, Lee fell into retreat and Washington was left to reinforce it. Washington took control of Lee's forces as he came upon Lee in retreat and set up a hasty defense to guard against a British counter-attack. His plan was effective and the British were repelled and suffered harshly from the efficient defenses.




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