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Washington and the Revolutionary War

General George Washington led the American army to victory during the Revolutionary War. While he lost more battles than he won, Washington employed a winning strategy that included victories at the Battle of Trenton in 1776 and Yorktown in 1781.

Winter Patriots

Winter Patriots

During some of the hardest times of the war, Washington and his soldiers prepare to cross the Delaware River to attack the Hessian and British troops at Trenton and Princeton. 

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Now or Never: The Yorktown Campaign

Now or Never: The Yorktown Campaign

The Siege of Yorktown is one of the most important battles of the Revolutionary War and confirmed that American efforts to win independence from Great Britain would end in success.

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Revolutionary War Battles

There were over two-hundred-and-thirty skirmishes and battles fought during the American Revolution. Of those, General Washington was present for seventeen, leading the Continental Army troops to victories, draws, and defeats.

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10 Facts About Washington and the Revolutionary War

George Washington’s strong leadership presence and fortitude held the American military together and set them on the path to victory, but the Revolutionary War brought about many challenges and close-calls, and victory was not always given.

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African Americans in the Revolutionary War

As the American Revolutionary ideal for liberty and equality did not yet apply to the thousands of enslaved people of African descent, African Americans were posed with a difficult choice in terms of what to believe and who to side with.

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The coming of the American Revolution made the spread of the dangerous smallpox disease significantly larger in scale. Washington had battled the disease as a teenager, and knew that its threat to the Continental Army was almost as dangerous as that of the enemy.

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Ten Facts About Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware River

On the night of December 25th, 1776, General George Washington and the Continental Army famously crossed the Delaware River, the first move in an attack on Hessian troops at Trenton, New Jersey. Less well-known were the various set-backs that threatened the derail the entire operation.

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Music in the Revolutionary War

The music in General Washington’s Continental Army consisted of fife and drum corps, both of which played a vital role in battles.

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George Washington, Spymaster

George Washington served as the head of the Culper Ring, a network of spies that operated during the American Revolution, secretly providing information on British operations. Under his supervision, they made invaluable contributions to the war effort.

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Resignation of Military Commission

Following the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, George Washington gave up power and resigned his military commission. This act, perhaps his greatest example of leadership, is of tremendous importance to American history.

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Primary Sources to Explore

Smallpox Inoculation Letter

Washington described smallpox in 1777 as a potentially greater threat “than…the Sword of the Enemy.” Soldiers arriving from England and Germany frequently brought smallpox to American shores and Washington was ever vigilant “against this most dangerous enemy.” In this letter, George Washington coordinates his officers to ensure the inoculation of Continental Army soldiers against smallpox in 1777.

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Continental Army Muster Roll, 1779

As Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, George Washington won the military struggle for American Independence. This was remarkable, as the army was ragtag, barely trained, half-starving, and woefully underequipped. The average age of soldiers who served in the Continental Army was 18 to 20 years old, some as young as 14. This document lists the men who joined the Continental Army from Springfield, Massachusetts in 1779. It lists their hometown, country, age, stature, skin tone, and time of arrival.

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The Culper Code Book

The Culper Spy Ring was an American spy network operating during the War of American Independence that provided George Washington with information on British troop movements. This code book was used by the agents to send messages to the General’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War.

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George Washington After the Battle of Princeton

The American victory at the Battle of Princeton in January of 1777 was one of the mostimportant of the American Revolution. George Washington’s victory boosted American morale and provided great confidence to his soldiers. This portrait, painted by Charles Willson Peale in 1780, shows the victorious Washington after the battle. 

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What Did Washington Think of King George III?

Did George Washington go from supporter of King George III to rebel of the crown? Or did he always have negative feelings towards the royals?

The Life of William Lee

For two decades, William Lee was by George Washington's side, and forged a close relationship with him. He was with Washington throughout every moment of the Revolutionary War, and till his death.

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Select the Battle of Second Trenton or the Newburgh Conspiracy scenarios of our Be Washington Interactive and decide how Washington should handle different challenges he faced during the Revolutionary War. Listen to advisers and choose how Washington should respond. 

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