5 Lesser Known Facts About The American Revolution

On April 19, 1775, the American Revolution began when American and British soldiers exchanged fire at Concord and Lexington. Here are 5 things you probably never heard about the American Revolutionary War…


The Colonists Were Not Originally Seeking Independence When the American Revolution began in 1775, colonialists were more interested in greater self-government than they were with separating from the British Empire. In fact, in the petition to King George III, the Continental Congress appealed to him for protection and assured him that independence was not an objective of the colonists. The colonists’ attitude changed when the king and ministers of Britain rebuffed them, so many thought their only option was to strive for independence.

The Boston Tea Party Had a Sequel We all know about the initial incident on December 16, 1773, when Boston’s Sons of Liberty dressed as Mohawk Indians and tossed 342 chests of tea from three ships into the Boston Harbor to protest the taxes imposed in the Tea Act. But we forget that they felt the need to hammer the point home with a second party, on March 7, 1774 — probably because they grabbed only 16 chests of tea.


George Washington Returned British General Howe's Dog to Him After A Battle At the Battle of Germantown, 150 of Washington’s men were killed, 500 wounded, and 400 taken prisoner.  But George Washington didn’t lose his sense of good manners with the battle. A fox terrier appeared in the American’s camp that was wearing a tag with British General Howe’s name as the owner. Washington promptly returned the dog back to Howe along with the following polite note (likely written by Alexander Hamilton):

To General William Howe

General Washington’s compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return [to] him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the collar appears to belong to General Howe. 

The Secretary of War Trained Himself by Reading Henry Knox was a bookstore apprentice and opened his own store in 1771, where he read books on fortification construction, military tactics and even how to target artillery. He joined the local militia in Boston in 1772, and after the harbor was shut off for trade by the Boston Port Act, he and his spouse sneaked over to the other side of the river where he joined the revolutionary forces. Washington was impressed with his knowledge of homemade fortifications, and Knox became his chief artillery officer and was later appointed as the country’s first Secretary of War.

A Woman Disguised Herself as a Man and Served During the War Massachusetts born Deborah Sampson, who was taller than most men at the time, was one of a few women who saw military combat during the War of Independence and proved to be an excellent soldier. Using the name Robert Shurtliff, she enlisted in the army with the 4th Massachusetts Regiment and was wounded in the leg by two musket balls at a battle in Tarrytown before she was discovered after having served for about three years. She was honorably discharged on October 25, 1783, after a physician discovered she wasn’t a male when he treated her for an illness.