5 Things You Didn't Know About The Revolutionary War

On this day in 1783, The American Revolution officially came to an end when representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Spain and France signed the Treaty of Paris. Here are 5 revolutionary facts you probably didn’t know about America’s war for independence...

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Yankee Doodle Was Originally A Diss Song The “Yankee Doodle” song was basically one of American history’s first diss tracks. The song was originally sung by the British to mock and ridicule Yankee “doodles” or simpletons. In the tune, the British were mocking what they perceived as the Americans lack of class. The Rebels quickly claimed the song as their own, and decided to embrace the term. Being called a Yankee Doodle became a point of pride, and Patriots sang it to taunt the British. According to legend, the American army greeted General Cornwallis’ surrender with a rousing rendition of the song. 

The Country‚Äôs First Secretary of War Trained at a Bookstore Henry Knox was a bookseller in Boston. He lacked a formal military education, but he gained his military knowledge from the shelves of his London Book Shop. After the Boston Massacre in 1770, he began teaching himself about the art of war and military tactics. By 1772, he joined a local militia, the Boston Grenadiers. He quickly impressed George Washington, and was responsible for the Patriots’ first victory when they forced the British out of Boston. Soon, he was helping out by moving artillery and aiding in the battle of Yorktown, which led to his appointment as the first Secretary of War.

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There Was A Secret Plot To Remove Washington As Commander After defeats at Brandywine and Germantown in 1777, much of the Continental Congress had lost faith in General Washington’s military abilities. In what is now referred to as the “Conway Cabal,” General Thomas Conway championed Horatio Gates as a replacement for George Washington as commander-in-chief following Gates’ victory at the Battle of Saratoga. Conway encouraged Gates’ ambitions to become commander and denigrated Washington’s abilities in letters that were forwarded to Congress. Washington received copies of these letters and questioned Gates and Conway about them, which led to apologies by both men.

It Was The First Use Of A Submarine In Warfare The American submersible craft Turtle was the first time in history that a submarine was used in warfare. The submarine was supposed to attach a timed explosive to the hull of the British ship the HMS Eagle, but pilot Ezra Lee was unable to penetrate the ship’s iron sheathing, and was forced to retreat. The bomb exploded nearby, causing no harm to either the Eagle or the Turtle. During the next week, the Turtle made several more attempts to sink British ships on the Hudson River, but each time it failed, due to the operator’s lack of skill. During the Battle of Fort Lee, the Turtle was lost when the American sloop transporting it was sunk by the British.

Fort Lee Was Named After a Traitor Charles Henry Lee served as a general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Though he had far more military experience, Lee was passed over for Commander-in-Chief in favor of George Washington. Perhaps in an attempt to soothe Lee’s ego, George Washington had Fort Lee named after him in 1776. Soon after, Lee was captured by the British at a tavern in New Jersey. While in British custody, Lee committed treason, advising William Howe on the best way to capture Philadelphia. Lee was released in a prisoner swap in 1778, but was later court-martialed by the Americans for the offense.