Washington's Partisan War, 1775-1783

Washington's Partisan War, 1775-1783

Washington's Partisan War, 1775-1783

Washington's Partisan War, 1775-1783

Synopsis

"George Washington could criticize the militia in the sharpest, most condemning terms, but, as Mark Kwasny argues, the general also embraced a strategy that depended on the effectiveness of the militia. Its contributions were especially significant in the middle states around New York City. Militia units controlled local populations while defending coastal towns and enclaves against British raids. They cooperated effectively with the Continental Army, gathering military intelligence, serving as a defensive screen, and at critical times reinforcing the main army. Washington encouraged the use of the militia as partisans. The combination of 18th-century military doctrine and the partisan dimension reveals in Washington a depth of strategic ability only rarely recognized. By combining the histories of regular units, state militia, and politics at the state and national levels, the author brings clarity to the chaotic and complicated military campaigns. He aptly compares events in the middle states to the better known partisan warfare in the South and thus illuminates the militia's contributions to Washington's victories in the Revolutionary War." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Evan as the rebel colonists went through the process of organizing the governments and formulating their policy, the militia soldiers shouldered their guns and took the field in defense of the colonies. The war clearly would not wait for the colonial leaders to hammer out the finer points concerning the employment of the provincial troops. Amid the chaos of hurried militia calls, Tory dangers, and threats of invasion, the national and colonial leaders had to implement their policy and coordinate the competing calls on the militia.

In the first year the internal threat posed by the Loyalists proved to be less than the Whigs of the middle colonies expected, though the fear remained strong. Controlling the people, however, proved to be a role the militia handled well, partly because the militia had been used for social control before the revolt occurred. In the months following the opening battles of Lexington and Concord, the local rebellious militia forces helped ensure the continued dominance of the Whigs within the colonies and helped guarantee that the Loyalists could not initiate a countermovement among the people. The colonial Whig governments of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut in particular passed laws to restrain and punish those people unfriendly to the cause, and to stop anyone who sent intelligence or supplies to the enemy, or who spoke out against the Whig governments or the United Colonies. Anyone raising or joining . . .

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