The Age of George III

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The American Army

The men in Washington's army were irregulars who were fighting for a cause and a cause is worth more than men. They did not wear uniforms, mainly because they did not have them in the early stages of the war. This meant that they were able to merge into the landscape. The "backwoodsmen" wore buckskins and were used to stalking to catch their food. The British army, in bright uniforms, posed few difficulties for these men. The Americans used guerrilla tactics of strike and run. They had no battle tactics and did not "fight fair" so far as the British were concerned because the Americans avoided pitched battles wherever possible. They were familiar with the terrain and could (and did) just 'disappear'. Also, they had accurate rifles with a 100 yard range.

However, the American army worked on short enlistments (about six months) and the men went home to their farms whenever they could, particularly at harvest and sowing time. There were many desertions. Congress was reluctant to give money to the army and traders refused to give credit in case the colonists lost the war. Men starved and were ill-clothed, poorly paid (in arrears) and suffered from exposure. The colonial army was held together only by the personality of George Washington.

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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