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

Redcoats and Turncoats

photo of exhibit section
In this photo approximately left to right:

BENEDICT ARNOLD - related artifacts: PORTRAIT of Arnold on the wall; HANDWRITTEN LETTER from George Washington regarding a failed attempt to capture Arnold, 1781; ENGAGEMENT RING given to Betsey Deblois; PORTRAITS of Arnold's wife and Major André; MUSKET and BAYONET used to arrest Major André in 1780

  On loan from the collection of:
    --Claude and Jeanne Harkins
--Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston MA
--State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines IA
BROADSWORD with a basket hilt used by the British cavalry; a HESSIAN BAYONET, 1776-1777
    --State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines IA
TUREEN PLATE of wood, PEWTER PITCHER stamped with a Crown, PISTOL, British pattern 1756-1777, and a brass GORGET that protected the throat of a British officer
    --Andy Ball, Des Moines IA
DOCUMENTS record the confiscation of property of an American soldier who joined the enemy, 1781; a RECEIPT for expenses to transport two British officer prisoners, 1777; a RECEIPT for flour for British prisoners of war, 1777
British DOCUMENT CHEST depicting the crown and "GR." ("GR" stands for "Georgius Rex" or King George), and a HESSIAN BAYONET, 1776-1777
    --Robert G. Oswald

British, Germans, and Americans

For their sheer courage, the Redcoats were reluctantly admired because they performed brilliantly under heavy fire. King George also paid Germany for the use of Hessian soldiers or even German criminals. Almost 30,000 fought in the Revolution yet only 17,500 returned to Germany at the end of the war - over 7,000 were killed in battle or died of disease, and over 5,000 deserters vanished into the American countryside.

Thousands of Loyalists or "Tories" - 20 to 30 percent of the American population - remained loyal to England. An estimated 19,000 joined the British Army. After the war, thousands of Loyalists forfeited their homes and property to move to Nova Scotia, the West Indies or the British Isles, including one former Patriot named Benedict Arnold.


The French
  Prisoners of War
Redcoats and Turncoats (You are here)
  Benedict Arnold
Southern Campaign


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