Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The American Revolution: Not In Vain

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From the website, "Revolutionary War":

"The United States enlisted a total of about 200,000 soldiers and sailors during the war. Battle casualties were 4435 dead and 6188 wounded. An estimated 20,000 Americans died of non-combat causes. [Other sources cite: 'An estimated 25,000 American Revolutionaries died during active military service. About 8,000 of these deaths were in battle; the other 17,000 deaths were from disease, including about 8,000 who died while prisoners of war. The number of Revolutionaries seriously wounded or disabled by the war has been estimated from 8,500 to 25,000. The total American military casualty figure was therefore as high as 50,000.']

1200 Hessians were killed in action and 6,354 died from illness or accident.

According to data from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the last surviving U.S. veteran of the conflict, George Fruits, died in 1876 at the age of 114. However, Fruits was never on a pension roll.

The last surviving veteran may have been Daniel F. Bakeman (died 1869), who was placed on the pension rolls by an act of Congress and is listed as the last survivor of the conflict by the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs."

From Wikipedia:
'Clarke Crossing the Wabash' Hosted by Free image hosting
"The total loss of life resulting from the American Revolutionary War is unknown. As was typical in the wars of the era, disease claimed more lives than battle. The war took place during a massive North American smallpox epidemic which probably killed more than 130,000 people. Historian Joseph Ellis suggests that Washington's decision to have his troops inoculated may have been the commander-in-chief's most important strategic decision.

"About 171,000 seamen served for the British during the war; about 25 to 50 percent of them had been pressed into service. About 1,240 were killed in battle, while 18,500 died from disease. The greatest killer was scurvy, a disease known at the time to be easily preventable by issuing lemon juice to sailors, a step not taken by the Admiralty due to what historian Piers Mackesy characterized as "administrative apathy". About 42,000 British seamen deserted during the war.

"Approximately 1,200 Germans were killed in action and 6,354 died from illness or accident. About 16,000 of the remaining German troops returned home, but roughly 5,500 remained in the United States after the war for various reasons, many eventually becoming American citizens. No reliable statistics exist for the number of casualties among other groups, including Loyalists, British regulars, American Indians, French and Spanish troops, and civilians."

The Revolution fought against Great Britain for the Independence of the American Colonies was a long conflict. Only the Vietnam War was longer in American History. The population of the American Colonies at the time of the Revolution is estimated at 3.5 million people. The estimate of 200,000 colonists fighting at one time or another in the Revolution, means that fully 5.7% of the population fought, and risked their lives in defense of Liberty.

Today, in Iraq alone, the present number of battlefield deaths, of American combatants, stands at 2,529. If we estimate a force of 150,000 Americans in Iraq, we have what amounts to one-half of one percent of the population of the United States. That doesn't count, of course, the total number of Americans serving in the US Military. But look at the comparison with our own War of Independence. 5.7% of the populace versus .05%. My math may be off, but we are looking at a population of over 300 million in the USA. Do we have 3 million Men & Women in the Armed Forces? We are fighting the War On Terror with one hand behind our back and our legs tied together. And that's something this Nation has done often in its Wars.

The Revolution raged for 8 years - 1775 until 1783 - and was fought from Canada south to the Georgia border with Spanish Florida. Fortunes were lost, and rich men died in poverty, having given their entire fortunes to the War effort.

'Battle Of Camden' Hosted by Free image hosting

From an Interview with Jeffrey M. Keenan:

"Life for a soldier in the eighteenth century was hard. Extremely hard. Men rarely had enough to eat, and often went days without food. They would forage the areas around them for anything edible, and often were marching through places already stripped of food and game. Supplying the troops was difficult and beset with problems - transport was hard to come by, money was in short supply, and suppliers were corrupt. To find a cornfield was like reaching heaven. Soldiers would eagerly eat green corn, drink molasses, and eat unripe apples.

Tents were sometimes available to troops, but sleeping in the open was probably the norm for militias. They would wrap themselves in a blanket for warmth and sleep with their muskets in their arms.

Clothing was truly 'rag-tag' and led to mocking comments from the British and Loyalists. Even the French were appalled at the aspect of an army without proper uniforms, but the sight of these lean, tall, hard American men impressed the French a good deal.

These men had no shoes, or wrapped their feet in rags. And they still went forward to fight for their freedom. It amazes me. I could not do it. To give an idea of the conditions of these fighting men, let me paraphrase the words of an observer following the battle of Trenton. "You could have followed the Americans by the bloody footprints they left in the snow."

As far as medicine, they had leeches for bleeding, and amputations for bad wounds. They suffered from smallpox, typhus, and dysentery. Prisoners of the British faced starvation and disease on the dreaded prison ships.

Discipline was spotty at first, but became harsher as the war went on and Washington needed a more disciplined army. Hanging offenses included striking an officer and desertion. Flogging was a common form of punishment."

Give thanks to GOD, Americans, for the Bravery and Fortitude of these Merchants, Farmers, Doctors, Lawyers, everyday Men & Women. Those who chose Liberty and Freedom over the King of Great Britain. Those who risked Life, Limb, and Fortune to gain Independence.

GOD Bless America!
'Triumph of patriotism-Washington entering New York, Nov. 25,1783' Hosted by Free image hosting
Triumph of patriotism-Washington entering New York, Nov. 25,1783


blogagog said...

Happy 230th! Don't forget to eat lots of grilled pork, beef, and/or chicken. It's the law!

WomanHonorThyself said...

Merry Liberty Benning!!...awesome post!..:)

benning said...

I have the Poke Chops a-thawin', blog!

A Merry Liberty to you, too, Angel!

blogagog said...

I like your new quotes at the top of the page. You should put up another one:

"*clink* *clink* phsssssst! *gurgle gurgle gurgle* Aaaaah." - Sam Adams, last night.

blogagog said...

Hmm, that was supposed to sound like a beer being drunk. It didn't work, did it :(

Brooke said...

Great post, Benning!

Happy 4th to you; I hope it was fantastic!

benning said...

Kevin, we need to up your dosage! Heheheee!

Brooke, it was fine - not the best, but not close to the worst! LOL

Still, the Lightning and Thunder was better than the fireworks the neighbors were shooting off.