Read the Revolution
Don Troiani’s Soldiers of the American RevolutionDecember 13, 2017
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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.
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.
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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