American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence

(Hardback - Apr 2001)
$35.20 - Online Price
$40.00 - Retail Price
You save: $4.80 (12 %)


Drawn from letters, diaries, newspaper articles, public declarations, contemporary narratives, and private memoranda, "The American Revolution" brings together over 120 pieces by more than 70 participants to create a unique literary panorama of the War of Independence. From Paul Revere's own narrative of his ride in April 1775 to an account of George Washington's resignation from command of the Army in December 1783, the volume presents firsthand all the major events of the conflict-the early battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill; the failed American invasion of Canada; the battle of Saratoga; the fighting in the South and along the western frontier; and the decisive triumph at Yorktown. "The American Revolution" includes a chronology of events, biographical and explanatory notes, and an index.


  • SKU: 9781883011918
  • SKU10: 1883011914
  • Title: American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence
  • Series: Library of America
  • Qty Remaining Online: 6
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Date Published: Apr 2001
  • Pages: 874
  • Age Range: 18 - UP
  • Grade Level: College Freshman thru Up
  • Weight lbs: 1.65
  • Dimensions: 8.12" L x 5.18" W x 1.57" H
  • Features: Price on Product, Index, Ikids, Dust Cover, Concordance, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Secular; Chronological Period | 18th Century;
  • Subject: United States - Revolutionary War

Book Excerpt

Copyright © 2001 Literary Classics of the United States, Inc
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1-883011-91-4

Paul Revere: Memorandum on Events of April 18, 17751
  The War Begins: Massachusetts, April 1775
Frederick MacKenzie: Diary, April 18-21, 17755
  The British Retreat from Concord: Massachusetts, April
Thomas Gage to the Earl of Dartmouth, April 22, 177519
  "Fire from every Hill, Fence, House, Barn": 
  Massachusetts, April 1775
John Dickinson to Arthur Lee, April 29, 177521
  A Pennsylvanian Reacts to Lexington and Concord: April 1775
Peter Oliver: from "The Origin & Progress 
of the American Rebellion"25
  A Tory View of Lexington and Concord: Spring 1775
George Washington: Address to the Continental Congress, June
16, 177531
  Washington Accepts Command: Philadelphia, June 1775
John Adams to Abigail Adams, June 17, 177532
  Washington's Appointment: June 1775
Eliphalet Dyer to Joseph Trumbull, June 17, 177534
  An Appraisal of Washington: June 1775
Samuel Blachley Webb to Joseph Webb, June 19, 177536
  Battle of Bunker Hill: Massachusetts, June 1773
George Washington to Burwell Bassett, June 19, 1775.41
  "Imbarkd on a tempestuous Ocean": June 1775
John Adams to Abigail Adams, June 23, 177543
  Washington Leaves for Boston: June 1775
Peter Oliver: from "The Origin & Progress 
of the American Rebellion"44
  A Tory View of Bunker Hill: Summer 1775
Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, July 5, 177553
  "You are now my Enemy": July 1775
The Continental Congress: Address to the Six Nations, July
13, 177554
  An Appeal to the Iroquois: July 1775
Abigail Adams to John Adams, July 16, 177561
  A Visit with Washington: July 1775
Lord Rawdon to the Earl of Huntingdon, August 3, 1775.67
  A British Account Bunker Hill: August 1775
Ethan Allen: from "A narrative of Col. Ethan Allen's captivity".71
  An American Defeat in Canada: September 1775
To the Virginia Gazette, November 24, 177581
  Response to Lord Dunmore's Proclamation: November 1775
William Woodford to Edmund Pendleton, December 5, 177587
  Slaves Fighting with the British: Virginia, December 1775
Martha Washington to Elizabeth Ramsay, December 30, 177591
  The Continental Army Outside Boston: December 1775
Isaac Senter: Journal, November 1-December 31, 1775.93
  The Invasion of Canada: 1775
Sarah Hodgkins and Joseph Hodgkins, February 1-20, 1776109
  A Continental Officer and his Wife Correspond: February 1776
John Bowater to the Earl of Denbigh, March 25, 1776113
  The British Evacuate Boston: March 1776
Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776116
  "Remember the Ladies": March 1776
Peter Oliver: from "The Origin & Progress 
of the American Rebellion".119
  A Tory View of the Siege of Boston: Fall 1775-Spring 1776
John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776124
  Congress Votes for Independence: July 1776
The Declaration of Independence Philadelphia, July 4, 1776.128
Isaac Bangs: Journal, July 10, 1776132
  New York Celebrates Independence: July 1776
Landon Carter: Diary, June 26-July 16, 1776133
  Slaves Join the British: Virginia, Summer 1776
Ambrose Serle: Journal, July 12-23, 1776.142
  The British Fleet Arrives at New York: July 1776
Joseph Reed: Memorandum on Meeting Between George Washington
and James Paterson, July 20, 1776152
  Washington Refuses to Negotiate: New York, July 1776
Benjamin Franklin to Lord Howe, July 20, 1776156
  "It is impossible we should think of Submission": July 1776
Henry Laurens to John Laurens, August 14, 1776.159
  Events in South Carolina: Summer 1776
Philip Vickers Fithian: Journal, August 11-30, 1776171
  The Continental Army at New York: August 1776
Jabez Fitch: Diary, August 27-28, 1776.183
  Battle of Long Island: August 1776
Henry Strachey: Memorandum on Meeting Between Lord Howe and
the American Commissioners, September 11, 1776.186
  A British Peace Plan Fails: September 1776
Ambrose Serle: Journal, August 22-September 15, 1776.192
  British Victories at New York:  Summer 1776
Philip Vickers Fithian: Journal, September 15, 1776219
  Battle of Kips Bay: New York, September 1776
Benjamin Trumbull: Journal, September 15-16, 1776222
  Kips Bay and Harlem Heights: New York, September 1776
Frederick MacKenzie: Diary September 20-22, 1776.225
  The Burning of New York: September 1776
Robert Auchmuty to the Earl of Huntingdon, January 8, 1777.230
  Capture of Fort Washington: New York, November 1776
George Washington to Lund Washington, December 10 and 17, 1776.234
  The American Retreat: Pennsylvania, December 1776
Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, Number 1, December 19, 1776 238
  Philadelphia, December 1776
Thomas Rodney: Diary, December 18-25, 1776.247
  Defending Philadelphia: Pennsylvania, December 1776
George Washington to John Hancock, December 27, 1776.254
  Battle of Trenton: New Jersey, December 1776
Thomas Rodney: Diary, January 2-4, 1777257
  Battle of Princeton: New Jersey, January 1777
Nicholas Cresswell: Journal, January 5-17, 1777264
  News of Trenton: Virginia, January 1777
Jabez Fitch: A Narrative.266
  American Prisoners in New York: August 1776-January 1777
John Peebles: Diary, February 13-24, 1777295
  Skirmishing in New Jersey: February 1777
Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 8, 1777.301
  Hardship in Massachusetts: March 1777
John Burgoyne: Proclamation. June 23, 1777.303
  "The Vengeance of the State": New York, June 1777
William Digby: Journal, July 24-October 13, 1777.306
  The Saratoga Campaign: New York, July-October 1777
John André: Journal, August 31-October 4, 1777.334
  The Fall of Philadelphia: Pennsylvania, August-October 1777
John Glover to Jonathan Glover and Azor Orne, September 21
and 29, 1777.348
  Battle of Freeman's Farm: New York, September 1777
John Adams to Abigail Adams, September 30, 1777351
  Congress Flees Philadelphia: September 1777
Samuel Shaw to Francis Shaw, September 30, October 3, 13, and
15, 1777.353
  Battle of Germantown: Pennsylvania, October 1777
Robert Morton: Diary, September 16-December 14, 1777.359
  Occupation of Philadelphia: September-December 1777
Sarah Wister: Journal, October 19-December 12, 1777383
  The Continental Army at Whitemarsh: 
  Pennsylvania, October-December 1777
George Washington: General Orders, December 17, 1777.398
  The Army Seeks Winter Quarters: Pennsylvania, December 1777
Albigence Waldo: Diary, December 11-29, 1777.400
  The Army Moves to Valley Forge: Pennsylvania, December 1777
John Laurens to Henry Laurens. January 14 and February 2, 1778.410
  A Proposal to Free and Arm Slaves: January-February 1778
John Laurens to Henry Laurens, May 7, 1778.414
  News of the French Alliance: Valley Forge, May 1778
Ambrose Serle: Journal, March 9-June 19, 1778416
  The British Abandon Philadelphia: March-June 1778
The Continental Congress: Response to British Peace
Proposals, June 13-17, 1778444
  York, Pennsylvania, June 1778
Henry Laurens to Horatio Gates, June 17, 1778450
  "The Door is shut": June 1778
John André: Journal, June 16-July 5, 1778452
  The British Retreat to New York: New Jersey, June-July 1778
James McHenry: Journal, June 18-July 23, 1778459
  The American Advance: New Jersey, June-July 1778
John Laurens to Henry Laurens, June 30 and July 2, 1778470
  Battle of Monmouth: New Jersey June 1778
J. Hector St. John Crèvecoeur: Narrative of the Wyoming Massacre.476
  Frontier Warfare: Pennsylvania, July 1778
Peter Oliver: from "The Origin & Progress 
of the American Rebellion".487
  A Tory View of Frontier Warfare: Summer 1778
George Washington to Henry Laurens, November 14, 1778490
  Opposing a proposal to invade Canada: November 1778
George Washington to Benjamin Harrison, December 18, 1778493
  The Weakness of Congress: December 1778
Stephen De Lancer to Cornelia Barclay De Lancey, January 14,
  The Fall of Savannah: Georgia, January 1779
George Rogers Clark: Narrative of the March to Vincennes.502
  Capture of Vincennes: Illinois Country, February 1779
Alexander Hamilton to John Jay, March 14, 1779.523
  "To give them their freedom with their muskets": March 1770
George Washington to Henry Laurens, March 20, 1779.526
  Arming Slaves "a moot point": March 1779
Samuel Shaw to Francis and Sarah Shaw, June 28, 1779.528
  Depreciation of Continental Currency: New York, June 1779
"A Whig": To the Public, July 30, 1779.530
  Banishing Tories: Philadelphia, July 1770
William Barton: Journal, August 27-September 14, 1779534
  War Against the Iroquois: New York, August-September 1779
John Paul Jones to Benjamin Franklin, October 3, 1779543
  Battle in the North Sea: October 1779
William Moultrie: Journal, April 2-May 12, 1780559
  The Siege of Charleston: South Carolina, April-May 1780
The Sentiments of a Lady in New-Jersey, July 12, 1780575
  Aiding the Continental Army: July 1780
Otho Holland Williams: Narrative of the Battle of Camden.578
  An American Rout: South Carolina, August 1780
Royal Gazette: "Strayed . a whole Army,"
September 16, 1780.590
  A Loyalist Satire: New York, September 1780
Benedict Arnold: `To the Inhabitants of America, October 7, 1780.592
  Arnold Justifies His Actions: New York, October 1780
Benedict Arnold to Lord Germain, October 7, 1780.596
  A Report on the Continental Army: New York, October 1780
Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, c. October 11, 1780600
  Arnold and Major André: New York, September-October 1780
Robert Campbell: Narrative of the Battle of King's Mountain610
  South Carolina, October 1780
George Washington: Circular to the State Governments, October
18, 1780.615
  An Appeal for New Troops: October 1780
Anthony Allaire: Diary, October 7-November 25, 1780622
  A Loyalist Prisoner: South Carolina, October-November 1780
Eno Reeves: Letterbook Extracts, January 2-17, 1781630
  Mutiny of the Pennsylvania Line: New Jersey, January 1781
Oliver De Lancey: Journal, January 3-21, 1781638
  British Attempts to Exploit the Mutiny: 
  New Jersey, January 1781
George Washington to Philip Schuyler, January 10, 1781.647
  "The event, which I have long dreaded": January 1781
Nathanael Greene to Alexander Hamilton, January 10, 1781.649
  The Plight of the Southern Army: South Carolina, January 1781
Nathanael Greene to Catherine Greene, January 12, 1781.654
  "The distress and misery that prevails": 
  South Carolina, January 1781
Thomas Jefferson: Narrative of Arnold's Raid, January 13, 1781.656
  The British Attack Richmond: Virginia, January 1781
Daniel Morgan to Nathanael Greene, January 19, 1781659
  Battle of Cowpens: South Carolina, January 1781
George Washington to Robert Howe, January 22, 1781.663
  Mutiny of the New Jersey Line: New Jersey, January 1781
Royal Gazette: "Our Last Will and Testament,"
January 31, 1781.664
  A Loyalist Satire of Congress: New York, January 1781
Nathanael Greene to George Washington, February 9, 1781667
  Cornwallis Invades North Carolina: February 1781
Nathanael Greene to Joseph Reed, March 18, 1781670
  Battle of Guilford Courthouse: North Carolina, March 1781
Nathanael Greene to George Washington, March 18, 1781674
  Prospects for Defeating Cornwallis: March 1781
Nathanael Greene to Thomas Jefferson, April 28, 1781.676
  An Appeal for Support from Virginia: April 1781
Ebenezer Denny: Journal, May 1-15, 1781679
  The Pennsylvania Line Marches South: May 1781
Thomas Brown to David Ramsay, December 25, 1786681
  The War in Georgia: November 1778-June 1781
Josiah Atkins: Diary, June 5-July 7, 1781689
  The Campaign in Virginia: June-July 1781
Ebenezer Denny: Journal, June 18-July 7, 1781699
  Skirmishing in Virginia: June-July 1781
James Robertson to William Knox, July 12, 1781.702
  The British Consider Occupying Yorktown: July 1781
Otho Holland Williams: Narrative of the Battle of Eutaw Springs707
  South Carolina, September 1781
Ebenezer Denny: Journal, September 1-November 1, 1781721
  The Yorktown Campaign: Virginia, September-November 1781
St. George Tucker: Journal, September 28-October 20, 1781727
  Siege of Yorktown: Virginia, September-October 1781
James Robertson to Lord Amherst, October 17, 1781742
  The British Relief Expedition Sets Sail: 
  New York, October 1781
Lord Cornwallis to Henry Clinton, October 20, 1781.744
  Cornwallis Surrenders: Virginia, October 1781
Anna Rawle: Diary, October 25, 1781750
  Victory Celebrations in Philadelphia: October 1781
Robert Gray: Observations on the War in Carolina.752
  Partisan Warfare in the South:  May 1780-February 1782
William Feilding to the Earl of Denbigh, August 10, 1782.769
  New York Loyalists Fear Peace: August 1782
Ebenezer Denny: Journal, January 4-December 12, 1781.771
  The War Ends in South Carolina: January-December 1782
John Armstrong: The Newburgh Address, c. March 10, 1783774
  An Officer Urges Disobedience to Congress: 
  New York, March 1783
George Washington to Joseph Jones, March 12, 1783778
  Political Intrigue and the Army: New York, March 1783
George Washington: Speech to the Officers, March 15, 1783781
  "The flood Gates of Civil discord": 
  New York, March 1783
Samuel Shaw to the Rev. Eliot, c. April 1783.786
  Washington at Newburgh: New York, April 1783
A New York Loyalist to Lord Hardwicke, c. Summer 1783790
  Loyalist Emigration: New York, Summer 1783
George Washington and Thomas Mifflin: Speeches in the
Continental Congress, December 23, 1783793
  Washington Resigns His Commission: Annapolis, December 1783
James McHenry to Margaret Caldwell, December 23, 1783796
  "The revolution just accomplished": Annapolis, December 1783
Bibliographical Notes813
Note on the Texts830

Chapter One


Paul Revere: Memorandum on Events
of April 18, 1775

Paul Revere of Boston, in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay in New England; of Lawfull Age, doth testify and say, that I was sent for by Duct Joseph Warren, of said Boston, on the evening of the 18th of April, about 10 oClock; when he desired me "to go to Lexington, and inform Mr Samuel Adams, and the Honle John Hancock Esqr that there was a number of Soldiers, composed of Light troops, & Grenadiers, marching to the bottom of the Common, where was a number of Boats to receive them; it was supposed, that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Cambridge River, to take them or go to Concord, to distroy the Colony Stores." I proceeded immeditely, and was put across Charles River, and landed near Charlestown Battery, went in town, and there got a Horse, while in Charlestown, I was informed by Richd Devens Esqr that he mett that evening, after Sun sett, Nine Officers of the Ministeral Army, mounted on good Horses, & Armed, going towards Concord; I set off, it was then about 11 oClock, the Moon shone bright. I had got almost over Charlestown Common, towards Cambridge, when I saw two Officers on Horseback, standing under the shade of a Tree, in a narrow part of the roade. I was near enough to see their Holsters, & cockades. One of them Started his horse towards me, the other up the road, as I supposed, to head me should I escape the first. I turned my horse short about, and rid upon a full Gallop for Mistick Road, he followed me about 300 yardes, and finding he could not catch me, returned. I proceeded to Lexington, thro Mistick, and alarmed Mr Adams & Col. Hancock. After I had been there about half an hour Mr Daws arrived, who came from Boston, over the neck; we set off for Concord, & were overtaken by a young Gentn named Prescot, who belonged to Concord, & was going home; when we had got about halfway from Lexington to Concord, the other two, stopped at a House to awake the man, I kept along. When I had got about zoo Yards ahead of them, I saw two officers as before. I called to my company to come up, saying here was two of them, (for I had told them what Mr Devens told me, and of my being stoped) in an instant, I saw four of them, who rode up to me, with their pistols in their hands, said G—d d—n you stop, if you go au Inch further, you are a dead Man. immeditly Mr. Prescot came up we attempted to git thro them, but they kept before us, and swore if we did not turn in to that pasture, they would blow our brains out, (they had placed themselves opposite to a pair of Barrs, and had taken the Barrs down) they forced us in, when we had got in, Mr Prescot said put on. He took to the left, I to the right, towards a Wood, at the bottom of the Pasture, intending, when I gained that, to jump my Horse & run afoot; just as I reached it, out started six officers, siesed my bridle, put their pistols to my Breast, ordered me to dismount, which I did. One of them, who appeared to have the command there, and much of a Gentleman, asked me where I came from; I told him, he asked what time I left it; I told him, be seemed surprised, said Sr, may I crave your name. I answered my name is Revere, what said he, Paul Revere; I answered yes; the others abused me much; but he told me not to be afraid, no one should hurt me. I told him they would miss their Aim. He said they should not, they were only waiting for some Deserters they expected down the Road. I told him I knew better, I knew what they were after; that I had alarmed the country all the way up, that their Boats were catch'd aground, and I should have 500 men there soon; one of them said they had 1500 coming; he seemed surprised and rode off into the road and informed them who took me, they came down immeditly on a full gallop, one of them (whom I since learned, was Major Mitchel of the 5th Regt) clapd his Pistol to my head, and said he was going to ask me some questions, if l did not tell the truth, he would blow my brains out. I told him I esteemed myself a man of truth, that he had stopped me on the highway, & made me a prisoner, I knew not by what right; I would tell him the truth; I was not afraid. He then asked me the same questions that the other did, and many more, but was more particular; I gave him much the same answers; he then ordered me to mount my horse, they first searched me for pistols. When I was mounted, the Major took the reins out of my hand, and said, by G—d Sr, you are not to ride with reins I assure you; and gave them to an officer on my right to lead me. he then Ordered 4 men out of the Bushes, and to mount their horses; they were country men which they had stopped who were going home; then ordered us to march. He said to me "We are now going towards your friends, and if you attempt to run, or we are insulted, we will blow your Brains out." When we had got into the road they formed a circle and ordered the prisoners in the centre & to lead me in the front.

    We rid towards Lexington, a quick pace; they very often insulted me calling me Rebel, &c &c. after we had got about a mile, I was given to the Sergant to lead, he was Ordered to take out his pistol (he rode with a hanger) and if I run, to execute the Major's sentence; When we got within about half a Mile of the Meeting house, we heard a gun fired; the Major asked me what it was for, I told him to alarm the country; he Ordered the four prisoners to dismount, they did, then one of the officers dismounted and cutt the Bridles, and Saddels, off the Horses, & drove them away, and told the men they might go about their business; I asked the Major to dismiss me, he said he would carry me, lett the consequence be what it will; He then Orderd us to march; when we got within sight of the Meeting House, we heard a Volley of guns fired, as I supposed at the tavern, as an Alarm; the Major ordered us to halt. he asked me how far it was to Cambridge, and many more questions, which I answered; he then asked the Sergant, if his horse was tired, he said yes; he Ordered him to take my horse; I dismounted, the Sarjant mounted my horse; they cutt the Bridle & saddle off the Sarjant's horse & rode off down the road. I then went to the house where I left Mess Adams & Hancock, and told them what had happined; their friends advised them to go out of the way: I went with them, about two miles a cross road; atter resting myself, I sett off with another man to go back to the Tavern, to enquire the News; when we got there, we were told the troops were within two miles. We went into the Tavern to git a Trunk of papers belonging to Col. Hancock, before we left the House, I saw, the Ministeral Troops from the Chamber window. We made haste & had to pass thro' our Militia, who were on a green behind the Meeting house, to the number as I supposed, about 50 or 60. I went thro' them; as I passed I heard the commanding officer speake to his men to this purpose. "Lett the troops pass by, & don't molest them, without they begin first" I had to go a cross Road, but had not got half Gun shot off when the Ministeral Troops appeared in sight behinde the Meeting House; they made a short halt, when a gun was fired. I heard the report, turned my head, and saw the smoake in front of the Troops, they imeaditly gave a great shout, ran a few paces, and then the whole fired. I could first distinguish Iregular fireing, which I suppose was the advance Guard, and then platoons. At the time I could not see our Militia, for they were covered from me, by a house at the bottom of the Street, and further saith not.

Excerpted from The American Revolution by John Rhodehamel. Copyright © 2001 by Literary Classics of the United States, Inc Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Also in "Library of America" Series