A Quest for Glory: Major General Robert Howe and the American Revolution

A Quest for Glory: Major General Robert Howe and the American Revolution

A Quest for Glory: Major General Robert Howe and the American Revolution

A Quest for Glory: Major General Robert Howe and the American Revolution

Synopsis

Born into a wealthy and prominent Cape Fear River plantation family, Howe became a militia officer, justice of the peace, and legislator. In 1775 he was appointed colonel of the Second North Carolina Regiment and became commanding general of the Southern Department and the highest ranking officer in the states south of Virginia. He also served as a division commander with General Washington's main army in the New York Highlands, commanded the crucial West Point post, and put down mutinies in the American army.

Originally published in 1991.

Excerpt

Robert Howe, descendant of a wealthy North Carolina planter family, was the product of a colonial aristocracy that by privilege of birth assumed the right and the responsibility of leadership. For more than a decade, Howe vocally participated in the public life of colonial North Carolina. He was considered one of the most effective legislators in the provincial assembly; and when the breach with the mother country began to develop he moved easily into the forefront of the Revolutionary War movement in North Carolina. He rose from militia colonel to major general in the Continental Army and became one of the few elite general officers who attained the distinction of serving for the entire war. He was one of twenty-nine men to wear the blue ribbon of the major general, and by the war's end he stood seventh in seniority among the major generals of the Continental Army. Howe held an independent post as commander of the Southern Department and subsequently served as commanding officer of Fort West Point and division commander in General Washington's main army. His greatest strength as a patriot—and probably his greatest weakness as a military commander—was his abiding faith in the concept of civilian rule. He constantly espoused the sacred trust in civil authority and the inalienable rights of the citizenry. As a military officer, he found himself irresistibly drawn into a quest for glory, but he was never willing to subvert the Whig principle of civilian rule in order to attain the glory he sought.

Unlike most of his associates in the fight for independence, General Howe has never been the subject of full biographical treatment. The few published accounts of his life primarily have focused on his unhappy military command in Georgia and/or his amorous personal life. Undoubtedly, the lack of documentation has been a major factor in the lack of interest in the general. No body of personal papers . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.