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Don Troiani's Soldiers Of The American Revolution book cover
Don Troiani's Soldiers of the American Revolution by Don Troiani and James L. Kochan

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From the insignia on a soldier’s coat buttons to the shape of their cap, Don Troiani’s Soldiers of the American Revolution brings to the life the soldiers and battles of the Revolutionary War. Surviving objects and primary source descriptions of the uniforms, weapons, and accessories of the Revolutionary War serve as Troiani’s source material for his full-color illustrations of British, American, Oneida, and Hessian soldiers presented in various poses and scenes. A historical artist specializing in military paintings of the American Revolution and the Civil War, Troiani shows his work by featuring his original paintings of soldiers alongside the actual objects he studied in his artistic recreations.

The objects featured are from both public and private collections and some had never before been publicly displayed prior to the book’s publication. One of the Museum’s own objects, a wooden soldier’s canteen, is included in the volume and featured below. Other objects like, a Butler’s Rangers Silver-hilted Officer’s Saber or a Virginia Pistol, both from private collections are also currently on view at the Museum.

 View more historical artwork from Don Troiani on his website.


Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill by Don Troiani
"Bunker Hill". The Patriot Militia prepare to fire at the oncoming British host during the Battle of Bunker/Breed's Hill, June 17, 1775"

The danger we were in made us think ... that we were brought there to be all slain . . . for about 5 in the morning, we not having more than half our fort done, they began to fire." Thus wrote Pvt. Peter Brown to his mother the week following the momentous June 17, 1775. The night's work had produced a respectable redoubt and connecting breastworks. Intermittently, while the morning's work continued, British warships blasted the Charlestown Peninsula; although generally falling short of the fortifications, the gunnery set the old town ablaze. Half a mile across the bay, thousands of Boston residents watching from rooftops marveled at the destruction. By 1 P.M., they had also witnessed forty barges deliver about 2,200 British troops to that smoky shore.

In the scene shown here, about an hour later, the redoubt's garrison had withstood two massed frontal assaults, inflicting enormous casualties. Each time, His Majesty's regulars performed with remarkable fortitude, overcoming through sheer will the burdens of sixty pounds of gear per man. And each time, the New Englanders reserved their fire almost to the literal point of Col. William Prescott's "whites of their eyes" admonition. Now, though, piling knapsacks at the base of the hill and affixing bayonets, the redcoats were preparing to drive forward in irresistible, savage rage. For not a few of the now greatly outnumbered Yankees atop the hill, the cartridge just loaded was their final round.

In news that would reverberate throughout the empire for years to come, the cost of this terrible day in British military annals would be 268 killed and 828 wounded, a stunning 50 percent.

Wooden Canteen

This wooden canteen of stave, or "keg," construction is a fine specimen of a form well documented as Continental Army issue. This example has "U. STATES" deeply branded into one of its faces, one of several canteens of this pattern bearing such markings. The initials "JG" or "IG" also stamped in the wood may be the maker's mark.

Read the Revolution is published biweekly by the Museum of the American Revolution to inspire learning about the history of the American Revolution and its ongoing relevance.

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A Museum staff member views a painting in the Liberty exhibit

Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings of the Revolutionary War

October 16, 2021 - September 5, 2022
Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings of the Revolutionary War immersed visitors in the dramatic and research-based works of nationally renowned historical artist Don Troiani to bring the compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events of the American Revolution to life.
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Image 121420 Rtr 16x9 Insignia Of Independence Troiani Kochan Cover

Insignia of Independence

This excerpt from artist Don Troiani and author James L. Kochan looks at the armies of the American Revolution and further divides each by regiment to take a closer look.
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Image 092120 Wooden Canteen Ustates Collection 200300 0033 2

Wooden Canteen Marked "USTATES"

Take a closer look at an extremely rare wooden soldier’s canteen marked “USTATES,” indicating Continental Army usage.
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