Jefferson’s Purge of the U.S. Army

Using the authority of the Military Peace Establishment Act, Jefferson reduced the size of the U.S. Army by about one-third to 3,289 officers and men. Its order of battle now consisted of two regiments of infantry, one of artillery and a company of engineers.

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Founding of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

After Alexander Hamilton left office as the Secretary of the Treasury, Washington appointed him as the Inspector General of the U.S. Army. Believing that the relations with France would continue to deteriorate and lead to armed conflict, Hamilton introduced “a bill for establishing a military academy” in Congress to train officers. In addition to details on the curriculum, Hamilton recommended Fort Clinton, now the name of the fort at West Point, be the new school’s location.

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The Brilliance of General Nathaniel Greene

To replace the discredited Gates, Washington sent Generals Nathaniel Greene and Daniel Morgan to take command of the Continental Army in the south. Greene took command in October 1780, and his subordinates included Daniel Morgan, Wilhelm von Steuben, Francis Marion, and Henry Lee.

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Doomed to Failure and Disgrace

Madison and his secretary of war, William Eustis, now had a war on their hands. When they took office, they inherited an Army and Navy that had been horribly underfunded since the end of the war against the Barbary Pirates in 1805.

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Attacking a Country is Easier Than Taking it

To help in this effort to win over the Canadians, the Continental Congress sent a delegation to Montreal led by Benjamin Franklin. Their goal was to meet with the local citizens to convince them to join the Thirteen Colonies in their fight against the British.

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First U.S. Invasion of Canada

At best, reception to Canadian’s joining the American cause was tepid so in 1775, the Second Continental Congress authorized the Continental Army to march north and seize Montreal and Quebec City, the capital of Canada.

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The Necessity of Powder

When the revolution broke out, there was only one “large” gunpowder mill in the U.S. that could provide quality gunpowder in any quantity. Located in Frankford, Pennsylvania, the mill could produce only a fraction of what was needed.

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8 Little Known Tidbits About the Battle of Trenton and Its Aftermath

Two years into the war, the British government in London and the British Army in the Thirteen Colonies were confident that, eventually, they would defeat the Continental Army and end the rebellion. Or the citizens would tire of trying to defeat what was then the most powerful country in the world and reaffirm their allegiance to the crown. The Colonials, as the Brits called them, American historians prefer Patriots, needed a decisive victory.

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