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Leaders of the American Revolution

Leaders of the American Revolution


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The American Revolution began in 1775 and led to the rapid formation of American armies to oppose the British. While British forces were largely led by professional officers and filled with career soldiers, the American leadership and ranks were filled with individuals drawn from all walks of colonial life. Some American leaders, such as George Washington, possessed extensive service in the militia, while others came directly from civilian life. The American leadership was also supplemented by foreign officers recruited in Europe, though these were of varying quality. During the early years of the conflict, American forces were hampered by poor generals and those who had achieved their rank through political connections. As the war wore on, many of these were replaced as competent and skilled officers emerged.

American Revolution Leaders: American

  • Major General William Alexander, Lord Stirling - noted brigade, division, and department commander
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ethan Allen - Commander, Green Mountain Boys during 1775 attack on Fort Ticonderoga
  • Major General Benedict Arnold - noted field commander, famously changed sides in 1780 becoming one of history's best-known traitors
  • Commodore John Barry - noted naval commander
  • Brigadier General George Rogers Clark - Conqueror of the Old Northwest
  • Major General Horatio Gates - Commander, Northern Department, 1777-1778, Southern Department, 1780
  • Colonel Christopher Greene - Commander at Fort Mercer, Battle of Red Bank
  • Major General Nathanael Greene - Commander, Continental Army in the South (1780-1783)
  • Commodore John Paul Jones - Key American naval commander
  • Major General Henry Knox - American artillery commander
  • Marquis de Lafayette - Noted French volunteer in American service
  • Major General Charles Lee - Controversial American field commander
  • Major General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee - noted American cavalry/light infantry commander
  • Major General Benjamin Lincoln - Commander, Southern Department (1778-1780)
  • Brigadier General Francis Marion - "The Swamp Fox" - Noted guerilla leader
  • Brigadier General Hugh Mercer - American general killed in 1777
  • Major General Richard Montgomery - Promising American general killed at the Battle of Quebec
  • Brigadier General Daniel Morgan - Key commander at Saratoga and Cowpens
  • Major Samuel Nicholas - Founding Officer, US Marine Corps
  • Brigadier General Count Casimir Pulaski - Father of the America Cavalry
  • Major General Arthur St. Clair - Commander at Fort Ticonderoga, 1777
  • Major General John Stark - Victor of Bennington
  • Major General Baron Friedrich von Steuben - Inspector General, Continental Army
  • Major General John Sullivan - Division Commander (1776-1778), Commander, Rhode Island (1778), Sullivan Expedition (1779)
  • General George Washington - Commander in Chief, Continental Army
  • Major General Anthony Wayne - Daring American commander who saw extensive service

American Revolution Leaders - British

  • Major John Andre - British spymaster
  • Lieutenant General John Burgoyne - British commander at the Battle of Saratoga
  • Governor Major General Sir Guy Carleton - British Governor of Quebec (1768-1778, commander-in-chief in America (1782-1783)
  • General Sir Henry Clinton - British commander-in-chief in America (1778-1782)
  • Lieutenant General Lord Charles Cornwallis - British commander in the South, forced to surrender at the Battle of Yorktown
  • Major Patrick Ferguson - inventor of the Ferguson rifle, commander at the Battle of Kings Mountain
  • General Thomas Gage - governor of Massachusetts, commander-in-chief in America (1775)
  • Vice Admiral Richard Howe - Commander, North American Station (1776-1778)
  • General Sir William Howe - British commander-in-chief in American (1775-1778)
  • Admiral Lord George Rodney - British naval commander
  • Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton - noted British cavalry commander


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