New Witness to Revolution: The Unlikely Travels of Washington's Tent special exhibit now open. Info & Tickets

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Picturing Washington's Army: West Point | Continental Army

Take a closer look at a group of soldiers in the foreground of the painting. Also notice the lines of tents in the distance with the Hudson Highlands in the background. 

Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 

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Finding Freedom: Jack - Patrick Lockhart’s Letter to Thomas Nelson

Patrick Lockhart of Botetourt County, Virginia, wrote this letter to Virginia Governor Thomas Nelson in November 1781 to ask for state assistance to recapture Jack, who had escaped from prison earlier that year. Lockhart described that Jack was heavily armed and “Threatening Revenge” upon the people who had first imprisoned him. In April of 1781, Jack was arrested, brought to court, and found guilty of trying to start an uprising among people of African descent who would join the British to battle the American Revolutionaries. One day before his planned execution, Jack escaped from jail and White residents of Botetourt County, such as Patrick Lockhart, feared for their lives. Considering this fear, the accuracy of Lockhart’s claims in this letter is unclear.

Courtesy of the Library of Virginia

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Studying the Poll Lists

The Museum’s discovery of poll lists that include the names of women and free people of color who voted in New Jersey from 1800 to 1807 has revealed various patterns, themes, and possible trends among these voters and the elections they participated in. Here, we explore some of these themes.
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Season of Independence: Instructions by the Virginia Convention to Their Delegates in Congress, May 15, 1776

This newspaper from Boston, Massachusetts includes a printing of the instructions from Virginia’s assembly to their delegates at the Second Continental Congress. Most notably, the instructions tell Virginia delegates to not simply vote in favor of independence, but to propose it themselves. The instructions reference King George III’s “Proclamation of Rebellion” as one of several justifications for taking this step.

Courtesy of Massachusetts Historical Society

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New Online Exhibit “Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier” Now Available

The Museum of the American Revolution’s award-winning 2019-2020 special exhibition Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier is now available to virtual visitors through a robust online experience. The online exhibit is free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
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Finding Freedom: Andrew - “Soldiers in Uniform”

This French officer’s depiction of American soldiers at the Siege of Yorktown shows a soldier of African descent from the Rhode Island Regiment of the Continental Army. During the Revolutionary War, Black and White soldiers fought alongside one another on both sides of the conflict. Historians estimate that between 4,000 and 8,000 men of African descent served in the Continental Army. In 1778, Rhode Island offered freedom to enslaved men in exchange for service. It created a regiment with privates of African and Native American ancestry, officered by White men. In 1781, the Rhode Island line was collapsed from two regiments into one integrated unit with segregated companies.

Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library

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Finding Freedom: Eve - Bruton & Middleton Parish Register, page 83

This page from the record book for Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, lists the baptism of Eve’s infant son George on July 6, 1766. The names of George and Eve can be found near the middle of the page. When Eve and George first ran away from the Randolph family in search of their freedom in late-1775 or early-1776, George was about 10 years old.

Courtesy of Bruton Parish Church

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Among His Troops: Pierre Charles L’Enfant

In 1782, Pierre “Peter” Charles L’Enfant, a French-born Continental Army engineer, created the panoramic watercolor views of the army’s encampments at Verplanck’s Point and West Point. The son of an artist, L’Enfant studied at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. He crossed the ocean to volunteer for America. In 1778, during the Valley Forge winter, he received a commission as captain of engineers. Unsatisfied with such a technical role, L’Enfant went south in hopes of distinguishing himself in combat. In 1779, he fought at Savannah, Georgia and was badly wounded in the leg. He rejoined the army in 1780, and fought while leaning on a crutch during the Siege of Charleston, South Carolina. Taken prisoner with the rest of the Charleston garrison in 1780, L’Enfant missed the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. When he painted these watercolors in 1782, he was still nursing hurt feelings that he had missed the chance for glory and promotion at Yorktown. After the siege of Yorktown, L’Enfant returned to the Continental Army, and wrote to Washington from Philadelphia on February 18, 1782, asking for a promotion. He then moved with the army from Philadelphia to the Hudson Highlands in the spring of 1782.
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Among His Troops: Continental Army Along the Hudson

George Washington called the Hudson River the “Key of America.” With the Mohawk River to the West and Lake George and Lake Champlain to the North, the Hudson was part of a system of waterways that reached from the Great Lakes, to Canada, and down to New York City. During the Revolutionary War, Americans clustered their Hudson River fortifications around three narrows– West Point in the North, the Popolopen Creek in the middle, and King’s Ferry to the South. These posts were between 45 and 60 miles from New York City. In 1781, French troops and a portion of the Continental Army crossed the Hudson River at King’s Ferry on their way to Yorktown, Virginia, a crossing that is now recognized as part of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. By the summer of 1782, the American Army had secured its control of this region. Along the 15-mile stretch of the Hudson River, Washington maintained a force of over 11,000 soldiers. At the same time, 13,000 British troops occupied New York City. West Point was the Continental Army’s strongest fortification. Verplanck’s Point and Stony Point, on either side of King’s Ferry, were the front line against the British to the south.


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Meet the Figures: Oneida Nation Theater: Wale

Mary Hanonwayele, also known as Wale (possibly the Oneida pronunciation of “Mary”), was a member of the Oneida Bear Clan. Her brother, Thomas Sinavis, was one of the Oneida warriors at Valley Forge and was killed at the Battle of Barren Hill on May 20, 1778. Unfortunately, Revolutionary commissioners overlooked her in distributing condolence gifts. In 1794, she finally received a small sum for this purpose as part of larger treaty negotiations between the United States and native groups. She lived until at least 1800.

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