This article needs additional citations for verification . (February 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Participant in the American Revolutionary War|
Seal of the United States Board of War and Ordnance
|Active||June 14, 1775 – 1783|
|Founder||Second Continental Congress|
|Commander-in-Chief||Gen George Washington|
|Size||80,000 at peak|
|Succeeded by||Legion of the United States|
|Battles and war(s)||American Revolutionary War|
The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia between September 5, 1774, and October 26, 1774. The Second Congress managed the Colonial war effort and moved incrementally towards independence. It eventually adopted the Lee Resolution which established the new country on July 2, 1776, and it agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Congress acted as the de facto national government of the United States by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties such as the Olive Branch Petition.
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Most of the Continental Army was disbanded in 1783 after the Treaty of Paris ended the war. The 1st and 2nd Regiments went on to form the nucleus of the Legion of the United States in 1792 under General Anthony Wayne. This became the foundation of the United States Army in 1796.
The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War. The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States, on lines "exceedingly generous" to the latter. Details included fishing rights and restoration of property and prisoners of war.
The Legion of the United States was a reorganization and extension of the Continental Army from 1792 to 1796 under the command of Major General Anthony Wayne composed of professionally trained soldiers, rather than state militias. The Legion was composed of four sub-legions each with its own infantry, cavalry, riflemen and artillery.
Anthony Wayne was a United States Army officer and statesman. He adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the nickname Mad Anthony. He served as the Senior Officer of the Army and led the Legion of the United States.
The Continental Army consisted of soldiers from all 13 colonies and, after 1776, from all 13 states. When the American Revolutionary War began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the colonial revolutionaries did not have an army. Previously, each colony had relied upon the militia, made up of part-time citizen-soldiers, for local defense, or the raising of temporary "provincial regiments" during specific crises such as the French and Indian War of 1754–63. As tensions with Great Britain increased in the years leading to the war, colonists began to reform their militias in preparation for the perceived potential conflict. Training of militiamen increased after the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774. Colonists such as Richard Henry Lee proposed forming a national militia force, but the First Continental Congress rejected the idea.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. The battles were fought on April 19, 1775 in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy, and Cambridge. They marked the outbreak of armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in America.
The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians.
The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British to the detriment of colonial goods. In Great Britain, these laws were referred to as the Coercive Acts.
On April 23, 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress authorized the raising of a colonial army consisting of 26 company regiments. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut soon raised similar but smaller forces. On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress decided to proceed with the establishment of a Continental Army for purposes of common defense, adopting the forces already in place outside Boston (22,000 troops) and New York (5,000).It also raised the first ten companies of Continental troops on a one-year enlistment, riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia to be used as light infantry, who became the 1st Continental Regiment in 1776.
The Massachusetts Provincial Congress (1774–1780) was a provisional government created in the Province of Massachusetts Bay early in the American Revolution. Based on the terms of the colonial charter, it exercised de facto control over the rebellious portions of the province, and after the British withdrawal from Boston in March 1776, the entire province. When Massachusetts declared its independence in 1776, the Congress continued to govern under this arrangement for several years. Increasing calls for constitutional change led to a failed proposal for a constitution produced by the Congress in 1778, and then a successful constitutional convention that produced a constitution for the state in 1780. The Provincial Congress came to an end with elections in October 1780.
Colonial troops or colonial army refers to various military units recruited from, or used as garrison troops in, colonial territories.
Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers (infantry) throughout history, typically having lighter equipment or armament or a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as heavy infantry or line infantry. Historically, light infantry often fought as scouts, raiders and skirmishers—soldiers who fight in a loose formation ahead of the main army to harass, delay, disrupt supply lines, and generally "soften up" an enemy before the main battle. After World War II, the term "light infantry" evolved, and now generally refers to rapid-deployment units that specifically emphasize speed and mobility over armor and firepower. Some units or battalions that historically held a skirmishing role have kept their designation "light infantry" for the sake of tradition.
On June 15, 1775, the Congress elected by unanimous vote George Washington as Commander-in-Chief, who accepted and served throughout the war without any compensation except for reimbursement of expenses.
George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, and he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.
On July 18, 1775, the Congress requested all colonies form militia companies from "all able bodied effective men, between sixteen and fifty years of age." It was not uncommon for men younger than sixteen to enlist as most colonies had no requirement of parental consent for those under twenty-one (adulthood).
Four major-generals (Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, and Israel Putnam) and eight brigadier-generals (Seth Pomeroy, Richard Montgomery, David Wooster, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathanael Greene) were appointed by the Second Continental Congress in the course of a few days.After Pomeroy did not accept, John Thomas was appointed in his place.
As the Continental Congress increasingly adopted the responsibilities and posture of a legislature for a sovereign state, the role of the Continental Army became the subject of considerable debate. Some Americans had a general aversion to maintaining a standing army; but on the other hand the requirements of the war against the British required the discipline and organization of a modern military. As a result, the army went through several distinct phases, characterized by official dissolution and reorganization of units.
Soldiers in the Continental Army were citizens who had volunteered to serve in the army (but were paid), and at various times during the war, standard enlistment periods lasted from one to three years. Early in the war the enlistment periods were short, as the Continental Congress feared the possibility of the Continental Army evolving into a permanent army. The army never numbered more than 17,000 men. Turnover proved a constant problem, particularly in the winter of 1776–77, and longer enlistments were approved. Broadly speaking, Continental forces consisted of several successive armies, or establishments:
In addition to the Continental Army regulars, local militia units, raised and funded by individual colonies/states, participated in battles throughout the war. Sometimes the militia units operated independently of the Continental Army, but often local militias were called out to support and augment the Continental Army regulars during campaigns. (The militia troops developed a reputation for being prone to premature retreats, a fact that Brigadier-General Daniel Morgan integrated into his strategy at the Battle of Cowpens in 1781.)
The financial responsibility for providing pay, food, shelter, clothing, arms, and other equipment to specific units was assigned to states as part of the establishment of these units. States differed in how well they lived up to these obligations. There were constant funding issues and morale problems as the war continued. This led to the army offering low pay, often rotten food, hard work, cold, heat, poor clothing and shelter, harsh discipline, and a high chance of becoming a casualty.
At the time of the Siege of Boston, the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in June 1775, is estimated to have numbered from 14–16,000 men from New England (though the actual number may have been as low as 11,000 because of desertions). Until Washington's arrival, it remained under the command of Artemas Ward, while John Thomas acted as executive officer and Richard Gridley commanded the artillery corps and was chief engineer. It was during this siege that Washington allegedly uttered his famous words, "It is cold out here." This was a poetic representation of the harsh conditions the men endured during the summer of the siege, and a reference to a political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin. It served as a piece of satire as it was a remark about cold conditions, while the men experienced some of the hottest temperatures of that year.
The British force in Boston was increasing by fresh arrivals. It numbered then about 10,000 men. Major Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne, had arrived late in May and joined General Gage in forming and executing plans for dispersing the rebels. Feeling strong with these veteran officers and soldiers around him—and the presence of several Men-of-War under Admiral Graves—the governor issued a proclamation, declaring martial law, branding the entire Continental Army and supporters as "rebels" and "parricides of the Constitution." Amnesty was offered to those who gave up their allegiance to the Continental Army and Congress in favor of the British authorities, though Samuel Adams and John Hancock were still wanted for high treason. This proclamation only served to strengthen the resolve of the Congress and Army.
After the British evacuation of Boston (prompted by the placement of Continental artillery overlooking the city in March 1776), the Continental Army relocated to New York. For the next five years, the main bodies of the Continental and British armies campaigned against one another in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. These campaigns included the notable battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Morristown, among many others.
The Continental Army was racially integrated, a condition the United States Army would not see again until Truman ordered the desegregation of the military in 1948. African American slaves were promised freedom in exchange for military service in New England, and made up one fifth of the Northern Continental Army.
Throughout its existence, the Army was troubled by poor logistics, inadequate training, short-term enlistments, interstate rivalries, and Congress's inability to compel the states to provide food, money or supplies. In the beginning, soldiers enlisted for a year, largely motivated by patriotism; but as the war dragged on, bounties and other incentives became more commonplace. Two major mutinies late in the war drastically diminished the reliability of two of the main units, and there were constant discipline problems.
The army increased its effectiveness and success rate through a series of trials and errors, often at great human cost. General Washington and other distinguished officers were instrumental leaders in preserving unity, learning and adapting, and ensuring discipline throughout the eight years of war. In the winter of 1777–1778, with the addition of Baron von Steuben, of Prussian origin, the training and discipline of the Continental Army began to vastly improve. (This was the infamous winter at Valley Forge.) Washington always viewed the Army as a temporary measure and strove to maintain civilian control of the military, as did the Continental Congress, though there were minor disagreements about how this was carried out.
Near the end of the war, the Continental Army was augmented by a French expeditionary force (under General Rochambeau) and a squadron of the French navy (under the Comte de Barras), and in the late summer of 1781 the main body of the army travelled south to Virginia to rendezvous with the French West Indies fleet under Admiral Comte de Grasse. This resulted in the Siege of Yorktown, the decisive Battle of the Chesapeake, and the surrender of the British southern army. This essentially marked the end of the land war in North America, although the Continental Army returned to blockade the British northern army in New York until the peace treaty went into effect two years later, and battles took place elsewhere between British forces and those of France and its allies.
A small residual force remained at West Point and some frontier outposts until Congress created the United States Army by their resolution of June 3, 1784.
Planning for the transition to a peacetime force had begun in April 1783 at the request of a congressional committee chaired by Alexander Hamilton. The commander-in-chief discussed the problem with key officers before submitting the army's official views on 2 May. Significantly, there was a broad consensus of the basic framework among the officers. Washington's proposal called for four components: a small regular army, a uniformly trained and organized militia, a system of arsenals, and a military academy to train the army's artillery and engineer officers. He wanted four infantry regiments, each assigned to a specific sector of the frontier, plus an artillery regiment. His proposed regimental organizations followed Continental Army patterns but had a provision for increased strength in the event of war. Washington expected the militia primarily to provide security for the country at the start of a war until the regular army could expand—the same role it had carried out in 1775 and 1776. Steuben and Duportail submitted their own proposals to Congress for consideration.
Although Congress declined on May 12 to make a decision on the peace establishment, it did address the need for some troops to remain on duty until the British evacuated New York City and several frontier posts. The delegates told Washington to use men enlisted for fixed terms as temporary garrisons. A detachment of those men from West Point reoccupied New York without incident on November 25. When Steuben's effort in July to negotiate a transfer of frontier forts with Major General Frederick Haldimand collapsed, however, the British maintained control over them, as they would into the 1790s. That failure and the realization that most of the remaining infantrymen's enlistments were due to expire by June 1784 led Washington to order Knox, his choice as the commander of the peacetime army, to discharge all but 500 infantry and 100 artillerymen before winter set in. The former regrouped as Jackson's Continental Regiment under Colonel Henry Jackson of Massachusetts. The single artillery company, New Yorkers under John Doughty, came from remnants of the 2nd Continental Artillery Regiment.
Congress issued a proclamation on October 18, 1783, which approved Washington's reductions. On November 2, Washington, then at Rockingham near Rocky Hill, New Jersey, released his Farewell Orders issued to the Armies of the United States of America to the Philadelphia newspapers for nationwide distribution to the furloughed men. In the message he thanked the officers and men for their assistance and reminded them that "the singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the Armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing Miracle."
Washington believed that the blending of persons from every colony into "one patriotic band of Brothers" had been a major accomplishment, and he urged the veterans to continue this devotion in civilian life.
Washington said farewell to his remaining officers on December 4 at Fraunces Tavern in New York City. On December 23 he appeared in Congress, then sitting at Annapolis, and returned his commission as commander-in-chief: "Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my Commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life." Congress ended the War of American Independence on January 14, 1784, by ratifying the definitive peace treaty that had been signed in Paris on September 3.
Congress had again rejected Washington's concept for a peacetime force in October 1783. When moderate delegates then offered an alternative in April 1784 which scaled the projected army down to 900 men in one artillery and three infantry battalions, Congress rejected it as well, in part because New York feared that men retained from Massachusetts might take sides in a land dispute between the two states. Another proposal to retain 350 men and raise 700 new recruits also failed. On June 2 Congress ordered the discharge of all remaining men except twenty-five caretakers at Fort Pitt and fifty-five at West Point. The next day it created a peace establishment acceptable to all interests.
The plan required four states to raise 700 men for one year's service. Congress instructed the Secretary at War to form the troops into eight infantry and two artillery companies. Pennsylvania, with a quota of 260 men, had the power to nominate a lieutenant colonel, who would be the senior officer. New York and Connecticut each were to raise 165 men and nominate a major; the remaining 110 men came from New Jersey. Economy was the watchword of this proposal, for each major served as a company commander, and line officers performed all staff duties except those of chaplain, surgeon, and surgeon's mate. Under Josiah Harmar, the First American Regiment slowly organized and achieved permanent status as an infantry regiment of the new Regular Army. The lineage of the First American Regiment is carried on by the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
However the United States military realized it needed a well-trained standing army following St. Clair's Defeat on November 4, 1791, when a force led by General Arthur St. Clair was almost entirely wiped out by the Western Confederacy near Fort Recovery, Ohio. The plans, which were supported by U.S. President George Washington and Henry Knox, Secretary of War, led to the disbandment of the Continental Army and the creation of the Legion of the United States. The command would be based on the 18th-century military works of Henry Bouquet, a professional Swiss soldier who served as a colonel in the British army, and French Marshal Maurice de Saxe. In 1792 Anthony Wayne, a renowned hero of the American Revolutionary War, was encouraged to leave retirement and return to active service as Commander-in-Chief of the Legion with the rank of Major General.
The legion was recruited and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was formed into four sub-legions. These were created from elements of the 1st and 2nd Regiments from the Continental Army. These units then became the First and Second Sub-Legions. The Third and Fourth Sub-Legions were raised from further recruits. From June 1792 to November 1792, the Legion remained cantoned at Fort LaFayette in Pittsburgh. Throughout the winter of 1792–93, existing troops along with new recruits were drilled in military skills, tactics and discipline at Legionville on the banks of the Ohio River near present-day Baden, Pennsylvania. The following Spring the newly named Legion of the United States left Legionville for the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between American Indian tribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy in the area south of the Ohio River. The overwhelmingly successful campaign was concluded with the decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794, Maj. Gen. Anthony Wayne applied the techniques of wilderness operations perfected by Sullivan's 1779 expedition against the Iroquois. The training the troops received at Legionville was also seen as an instrumental to this overwhelming victory.
Nevertheless, Steuben's Blue Book remained the official manual for the legion, as well as for the militia of most states, until Winfield Scott in 1835. In 1796, the United States Army was raised following the discontinuation with the legion of the United States. This preceded the graduation of the first cadets from United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, which was established in 1802.
During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army initially wore ribbons, cockades and epaulettes of various colors as an ad hoc form of rank insignia, as General George Washington wrote in 1775:
"As the Continental Army has unfortunately no uniforms, and consequently many inconveniences must arise from not being able to distinguish the commissioned officers from the privates, it is desired that some badge of distinction be immediately provided; for instance that the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green."
In 1776 captains were to have buff or white cockades.
|Rank insignia of the Continental Army 1775|
|Ribands across the breast||Cockades in the hats||Epaulettes or stripes on the right shoulder|
|Major general||Brigadier general||Aide-de-camp||Colonel,|
Later on in the war, the Continental Army established its own uniform with a black and white cockade among all ranks. Infantry officers had silver and other branches gold insignia:
|Ranks and insignia of the Continental Army 1780|
| General and|
|Major general||Brigadier general||Colonel||Lieutenant colonel||Aide-de-camp||Major||Captain||Lieutenant, Cornet, Ensign||Sergeant major||Sergeant||Corporal||Private|
Jacket with silver or gold trim
|Two epaulets||Gold epaulets|
Hat with green cockade
|Two epaulets||One epaulet|
|Two epaulets||One red epaulet|
|One green epaulet|
The Green Mountain Boys was a militia organization first established in the late 1760s in the territory between the British provinces of New York and New Hampshire, known as the New Hampshire Grants and later in 1775 as the Vermont Republic. Headed by Ethan Allen and members of his extended family, it was instrumental in resisting New York's attempts to control the territory, over which it had won de jure control in a territorial dispute with New Hampshire.
Between 1776 and 1789, the United States of America emerged as an independent country, creating and ratifying its new constitution and establishing its national government. In order to assert their traditional rights, American Patriots seized control of the colonies and launched a war for independence. The Americans declared independence on July 4, 1776, proclaiming "all men are created equal". Congress raised the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington, forged a military alliance with France and defeated the two main British invasion armies. Nationalists replaced the governing Articles of Confederation to strengthen the federal government's powers of defense and taxation with the Constitution of the United States of America in 1789, still in effect today.
In the American Revolutionary War units of the Continental Army were assigned to any one of seven regional or territorial departments to decentralize their command and administration. This was necessary because the regiment was the largest permanent unit in the Continental Army. A superior headquarters, above regiment, was needed if more than a few regiments were stationed in the same department. Although brigades, divisions, and field armies existed, they were temporary units which did not necessarily include all the units assigned to a department. Nor did field armies include establishments of the staff, such as magazines of the Quartermaster General's Department, or hospitals of the Hospital Department. The militia in a department was usually at the disposal of the department commander.
The Boston campaign was the opening campaign of the American Revolutionary War, taking place primarily in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The campaign began with the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, in which the local colonial militias interdicted a British government attempt to seize military stores and leaders in Concord, Massachusetts. The entire British expedition suffered significant casualties during a running battle back to Charlestown against an ever-growing number of militia.
James Mitchell Varnum was an American legislator, lawyer, general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and a pioneer to the Ohio Country. "The career of Gen. Varnum was active, but brief. He graduated at twenty; was admitted to the bar at twenty-two; entered the army at twenty-seven; resigned his commission at thirty-one; was member of Congress the same year; resumed practice at thirty-three, and continued four years, was elected to Congress again at thirty-seven; emigrated to the west at thirty-nine, and died at the early age of forty."
The Regular Army of the United States succeeded the Continental Army as the country's permanent, professional land-based military force. Even in modern times the professional core of the United States Army continues to be called the Regular Army. From the time of the American Revolution until after the Spanish–American War, state militias and volunteer regiments organized by the states supported the smaller Regular Army of the United States. These volunteer regiments came to be called United States Volunteers (USV) in contrast to the Regular United States Army (USA). During the American Civil War, about 97 percent of the Union Army was United States Volunteers.
The 3rd New Hampshire Regiment, also known as the 2nd Continental Regiment, was authorized on 22 May 1775, organized 1–8 June 1775, and adopted into the Continental Army on 14 June 1775, as the third of three regiments raised by the state of New Hampshire during the American Revolution. The enlistment dates for officers and rank and file soldiers extended to 23 April 1775, based on their response to the alarm for the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
For the Civil War and Spanish–American War units see 1st Rhode Island Infantry.
The "Maryland Line" was a formation within the Continental Army, formed and authorized by the Second Continental Congress, meeting in the "Old Pennsylvania State House" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June 1775.
The New Hampshire Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "New Hampshire Line" referred to the quota of numbered infantry regiments assigned to New Hampshire at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
The New York Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "New York Line" referred to the quota of numbered infantry regiments assigned to New York at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
The North Carolina Line refers to North Carolina units within the Continental Army. The term "North Carolina Line" referred to the quota of infantry regiments assigned to North Carolina at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
The Rhode Island Line was a formation within the Continental Army. The term "Rhode Island Line" referred to the quota of numbered infantry regiments assigned to Rhode Island at various times by the Continental Congress. These, together with similar contingents from the other twelve states, formed the Continental Line. The concept was particularly important in relation to the promotion of commissioned officers. Officers of the Continental Army below the rank of brigadier general were ordinarily ineligible for promotion except in the line of their own state.
The Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment, most commonly known as Rawlings' Regiment in period documents, was organized in June 1776 as a specialized light infantry unit of riflemen in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The American rifle units complemented the predominant, musket-equipped, line infantry forces of the war with their long-range marksmanship capability and were typically deployed with the line infantry as forward skirmishers and flanking elements. Scouting, escort, and outpost duties were also routine. The rifle units' battle formation was not nearly as structured as that of the line infantry units, which employed short-range massed firing in ordered linear formations. The riflemen could therefore respond with more adaptability to changing battle conditions.
In the American Revolution, gaining freedom was the strongest motive for black slaves who joined the Patriot or British armies. The free black may have been drafted or enlisted at his own volition.
The history of the United States Army began in 1775. From its formation, the United States Army has been the primary land based part of the United States Armed Forces. The Army's main responsibility has been in fighting land battles and military occupation. The Corps of Engineers also has a major role in controlling rivers inside the United States. The Continental Army was founded in response to a need for professional soldiers in the American Revolutionary War to fight the invading British Army. Until the 1940s, the Army was relatively small in peacetime. In 1947, the Air Force became completely independent of the Army Air Forces. The Army was under the control of the War Department until 1947, and since then the Defense Department. The U.S. Army fought the Indian Wars of the 1790s, the War of 1812 (1812–15), American Civil War (1861–65), Spanish–American War (1898), World War I (1917–18), World War II (1941–45), Korean War (1950–53) and Vietnam War (1965–71). Following the Cold War's end in 1991, Army has focused primarily on Western Asia, and also took part in the 1991 Gulf War and war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan.
The 26th Continental Regiment was an infantry unit of the Massachusetts Line during the American Revolutionary War. Gerrish's Regiment was raised in the early days of the war, and the regiment underwent name changes as the Continental Army was reorganized in 1776 and 1777. From 1777 onward, the unit was known as the 9th Massachusetts Regiment.
The Salisbury District Brigade was an administrative division of the North Carolina militia during the American Revolutionary War (1776–1783). This unit was established by the North Carolina Provincial Congress on May 4, 1776, and disbanded at the end of the war.
80,000 militia and Continental Army soldiers served at the height of the war