American Revolution Facts and Trivia


Two brothers from Virginia signed the Declaration of Independence ... Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee.  Their cousin, Revolutionary War commander Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, was the father of Robert E. Lee.

The American uniforms during the Revolutionary War were blue (well, those who actually had one).  They were blue due to the fact that indigo was the primary plant grown in the south, thus it was one of the only colors the states had.


Betsy Ross' other contribution to the American Revolution, besides the myth of sewing the first American flag, was running a munitions factory in her basement.

After Yorktown, George III vowed to keep fighting.  When parliament demurred, the King wrote a letter of abdication ... then withdrew it.  He tried to console himself with the thought that Washington would become a dictator and make the Americans long for royal rule.  When he was told that Washington planned to resign his commission, the monarch gasped, "If he does that, Sir, he will be the greatest man in the world!"


By 1779, there were more Americans fighting with the British than with Washington.  There were no less than 21 regiments (estimated to total 6,500 to 8,000 men) of Loyalists in the British army.  Washington reported a field army of 3,468. About a third of Americans opposed the Revolution.

There were women in the Continental Army, even a few who saw combat!  Probably the best known is Mary Ludwig Hays, nicknamed "Molly Pitcher."  She replaced her wounded husband at his cannon during the Battle of Monmouth in 1778.  Another wife of an artilleryman, Margaret Corbin, was badly wounded serving in her husband's gun crew at the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776.  Thousands of other women served in Washington's army as cooks and nurses.


By 1779, as many as one in seven Americans in Washington's army was black.  At first, Washington was hesitant about enlisting blacks.  But when he heard they had fought well at Bunker Hill, he changed his mind.  The all-black First Rhode Island Regiment ... composed of 33 freed men and 92 slaves, who were promised freedom if they served until the end of the war ... distinguished itself in the Battle of Newport.  Later, they were all but wiped out in a British attack.

The "first" man credited to be killed at the beginning of the Revolution was a black man by the name of Crypus Attucks, during the Boston Massacre.

History's first submarine attack took place in New York Harbor in 1776.  The Connecticut inventor, David Bushnell, called his submarine "The Turtle" because it resembled two large tortoise shells of equal size joined together.  The watertight hull was made of 6-inch-thick oak timbers coated with tar.  On September 6, 1776, the Turtle targeted the HMS Eagle, flagship of the British fleet.  The submarine was supposed to secure a cask of gunpowder to the hull of the Eagle and sneak away before it exploded.  Unfortunately, the Turtle got entangled with the Eagle's rudder bar, lost ballast and surfaced before the gunpowder could be planted.


In 1775, Franklin, disgusted with the arrogance of the British and appalled by the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord, wrote a Declaration of Independence.  Thomas Jefferson was enthusiastic.  But, he noted, many other delegates to the Continental Congress were "revolted at it."  It would take another year of bitter conflict to persuade the Congress to vote for the Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson ... with some astute editorial suggestions by Franklin.

Everyone knows how 50 or 60 "Sons of Liberty," disguised as Mohawks, protested the 3-cents per pound British tax on tea by dumping chests of the popular drink into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773.  Fewer know that the improper Bostonians repeated the performance on March 7, 1774.  The two tea parties cost the British around $3 million in modern money.

A similar occurrence took place in New York Harbor, but the Boston Tea Party resulted in serious consequences, while the affair in New York has been nearly forgotten.


The Americans of 1776 had the highest standard of living and the lowest taxes in the Western World.

To support the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress chartered the Bank of North America in Philadelphia as the nation's first "real" bank in 1781.


John Adams estimated that at the time of the American Revolution, only a third of the population supported the revolution, while an equal third continued to support the British Crown.  The remaining third didn't much care either way.  Almost as many colonists fought on the side of the British as against them.

During the American Revolution, there was a strong effort by the colonists to rename the pieces to Governor, General, Colonel, Major, Captain, and Pioneer.  A boy gave General Rahl of the British Army, a note from a spy that George Washington was about to cross the Delaware and attack.  The general was so immersed in a chess game that he put the note in his pocket unopened.  There it was found when he was mortally wounded in the subsequent battle.


On Paul Revere's famous ride to warn Lexington and Concord that the British were coming, he was detained by the British before reaching Concord.  From there, he had to walk back to Lexington on foot because the British kept his horse.

Benedict Arnold was one of Washington's favorite combat officers before coming to be known as the most famous traitor in history.  He was credited with victories in Quebec, Saratoga, and dozens of other pivotal battles in the American Revolution.

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