"Revolutionary America! 1763-1789 April 20-November 3, 2002

The Continental Army
from Boston to Quebec

photo of exhibit section
In this photo:
DOCUMENTS (lower left) relating to the Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775
  On loan from the collection of:
    --Robert G. Oswald
ARTIFACTS (right side of case) representing George Washington
    --Lou and Colleen Picek, Main Street Antiques and Art, West Branch IA
    --Robert G. Oswald
    --State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines IA
    --Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, West Branch IA
SWORD (at left) of Daniel Morgan; also a PORTRAIT (facsimile) of Morgan
    --Virginia Historical Society, Richmond VA
HUNTING SWORD (in center) attributed to Ethan Allen, 18th century
    --Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort KY
ARTIFACTS excavated at Fort Ticonderoga, include a Bullet Ladle for pouring lead, a Trench Pike Head and Musket Balls, 1775
    --Andy Ball, Des Moines IA
PRINT (facsimile) of the "Ruins of Fort Ticonderoga"
    --Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park NY

A Short-lived Victory

After the battle at Lexington/Concord, New England militia gathered at Boston's Breeds Hill and gunned down 40 percent of British forces before running out of ammunition. Their subsequent flight from Bunker Hill, however, allowed Britain to claim victory. Congress quickly authorized a volunteer Continental Army, appointing George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. The General formed an eight-mile blockade around Boston that languished for months before the British evacuated to New York City. There they were joined by 40,000 fresh troops, while only 10-15,000 untrained men remained in the new American army.

The Fourteenth Colony?

Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys along with Captain Benedict Arnold and his company of Connecticut militia were sent to northern New York. There they gained hero status after successfully capturing Fort Ticonderoga! Hoping to enlist the French majority in British Canada to join sides with America, the regiments were then sent on to Quebec.

Canada proved most difficult, however. Allen and 30 of his men were captured, and remained prisoners for two and a half years. Benedict Arnold was shot in the leg as the Continentals tried to capture Quebec in December 1775. He turned command over to Daniel Morgan who was soon surrounded after being abandoned by the rest of the army. Morgan and 371 frontier sharpshooters languished in Canadian jails for almost two years. (However, this was not the last time that Morgan and his riflemen would prove to be heroes.) Arnold, meanwhile, retreated with his men to a small island in Lake Champlain.


When Did it Happen? Sub-Sections
The Shot Heard Round the World
  Miniature Diorama
The Continental Army (You are here)
  George Washington, Commander in Chief
Common Sense
  Pamphlet, "Common Sense"
The Colonies Commit Treason
  56 Traitors Who Signed the Declaration of Independence


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