5 Things You Didn't Know 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…

ADVERTISEMENT

The Word Independence Never Appears In The Declaration The title of the document is not the Declaration of Independence. The document's first words are "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America." The only reference to independence is the phrase "Free and Independent States" near the document's end.

General Washington Insisted On Inoculating The Troops Before the advances of modern medicine, disease—not combat—was one of the primary causes of death in war. In the winter of 1777, Washington demanded the entire Continental Army to be inoculated against smallpox. This operation required great secrecy, as the process left the inoculated soldiers incapacitated for a stretch of time. As a result, death by smallpox decreased from 17% of deaths to 1% of deaths after troops were inoculated.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 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. 

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.