Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Military Men of The American Revolution. The American Revolution was the result of a dispute with Great Britain over taxes and other affairs of state and ended in the creation of a new country. What many don’t consider is the number of great men who caused the revolution to be won. Further, most don’t consider that many of the men who fought in the American Revolution, weren’t even Americans. There were even a few of them who earned the reputation of being notorious along the path of their careers.
List of Top 10 Military Men of The American Revolution
10. Benedict Arnold
Everyone knows that to be called a “Benedict Arnold” is about as low an insult as can be named, but few consider the fact that the man who originally had the name was actually a very good soldier. It was only after he was turned down for a promotion by the American Congress did he consider abandoning his country for the British cause. The truth is that Arnold had considerable doubts about the country’s future even before he planned to surrender his fort at West Point to the British, but it was that plan that eventually led him to escape.
9. Tadeusz Kościuszko
Tadeusz Kościuszko was a Polish–Lithuanian soldier and engineer who contributed his talents to the American cause by helping to build fortifications in the defenses of Philadelphia, Ticonderoga, and West Point. In 1780, he accompanied Gen. Nathanael Greene in his crossing of the Dan and Yadkin Rivers in North Carolina. Although his contributions to America’s war for independence is greatly overlooked, Kościuszko was praised for his work by many leaders of the new country and was a close friend of the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
8. John Paul Jones
There are probably no others whose names epitomize the U.S. Navy like that of John Paul Jones. Jones joined the Navy in 1779, taking command of the vessel Bonhamme Richard. He immediately set sail for England, where he took his crew to the North Sea and won a decisive victory in his most famous battle, the Battle of Flamborough Head, from which he returned a hero.
7. Nathan Hale
Probably few soldiers of the American Revolution inspire so much controversy as Nathan Hale. He was a soldier and spy during the American struggle for independence. It was during that war that he volunteered for one particular intelligence-gathering mission in the city of New York, an effort he bungled. In that effort, however, he was captured by the British and hanged. His last words, purportedly delivered on a platform before his death are said to have been “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” His words and his example served as an inspiration during the war and beyond. He is one of the Top 10 Military Men of The American Revolution.
6. Israel Putnam
Israel Putnam was an American soldier who is considered to have been instrumental in the battle of Bunker Hill. His courage and defiance in the face of the enemy has earned him a reputation as a hero. Despite the fact that the battle was a technical victory for the British, it was a sobering experience for them and a lesson that the American militia was a force to be reckoned with. Regardless of the loss, Putnam has gone down in history for his words, “don’t one of you fire until you see the white of their eyes.”
5. Charles Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis was the commander of the British forces throughout the American Revolution. He might have lost the war, but Cornwallis was also responsible for winning a number of the most famous battles. These include the Battle of Camden, and the Battle of Long Island, the latter of which he was opposed by George Washington himself. Cornwallis is probably most famous for his leadership in the Battle of Guildford Courthouse, which he won despite being seriously outnumbered.
4. Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a witness to the Boston Massacre, which took place soon after he joined the Boston Grenadier Corps. His contributions were primarily his gift for planning, such as when he moved 59 guns and mortars from the fortifications at Ticonderoga more that 300 miles to Boston during the dead of winter. Once there, Washington effectively used the weapons at several key positions around the city, forcing the British into a hasty retreat. When the war was over, Knox became America’s First Secretary of War.
3. Marquis de Lafayette
The Marquis de Lafayette was deeply involved in the battle for independence despite not being an American. Instead, he was a native of France. Lafayette began his cooperation with the American forces after being introduced to George Washington in 1777. He was even eventually given command of one division of the American army. The American Revolution was not the only one of its kind that Lafayette took an active part in. He was also a key figure in the French Revolution.
2. Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene was a key officer in the American Revolution. Interestingly, he was totally self-educated in the skills of military tactics. With only that limited background he was able to set up his troops in proper order and discipline around Boston in 1775. It was at this time that he befriended George Washington. His most important success was during the Southern Campaign during which Greene conducted smaller, sudden surprise attacks to exhaust and confuse his enemy. This tactic served to weaken the British positions throughout the South, which eventually led to driving them out.
1. George Washington
It should serve as no surprise that in terms of the greatest military men of the American Revolution, the number one spot should go to George Washington, who started his military career in the colonial militia at the beginning of the French and Indian War. In 1776, the Colonial Congress commissioned Washington as commander in chief of the American forces due largely to his experience, passion, and charisma. His military career was filled with many victories as well as disappointments, but in the end, his leadership skills were responsible for leading America to finally gaining its independence. It is largely in recognition of his wartime leadership that he was selected to serve as the first President of the United States.
These are the Top 10 Military Men of The American Revolution. The American Revolutionary War was not only the key to the colonies winning their independence, but it was also the testing ground for many of the young country’s key leaders in the first years of its existence, which also proved its capability for the future.