Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution
Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution

Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution

by Don N. Hagist, Rick Atkinson

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Redcoats. For Americans, the word brings to mind the occupying army that attempted to crush the Revolutionary War. There was more to these soldiers than their red uniforms, but the individuals who formed the ranks are seldom described in any detail in historical literature, leaving unanswered questions. Who were these men? Why did they join the army? Where did they go when the war was over?
    In Noble Volunteers: The British Soldiers Who Fought the American Revolution, Don N. Hagist brings life to these soldiers, describing the training, experiences, and outcomes of British soldiers who fought during the Revolution. Drawing on thousands of military records and other primary sources in British, American, and Canadian archives, and the writings of dozens of officers and soldiers, Noble Volunteers shows how a peacetime army responded to the onset of war, how professional soldiers adapted quickly and effectively to become tactically dominant, and what became of the thousands of career soldiers once the war was over. 
    In this historical tour de force, introduced by Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson, Hagist dispels long-held myths, revealing how remarkably diverse British soldiers were. They represented a variety of ages, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and many had joined the army as a peacetime career, only to find themselves fighting a war on another continent in often brutal conditions. Against the sweeping backdrop of the war, Hagist directs his focus on the small picture, illuminating the moments in an individual soldier’s life—those hours spent nursing a fever while standing sentry in the bitter cold, or writing a letter to a wife back home. What emerges from these vignettes is the understanding that while these were “common” soldiers, each soldier was completely unique, for, as Hagist writes, “There was no ‘typical’ British soldier.” 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594166686
Publisher: Westholme Publishing
Publication date: 12/02/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 201,939
File size: 8 MB

About the Author

Don N. Hagist is managing editor of the Journal of the American Revolution. An expert on the British army in the American Revolution, he is the author of many books and articles, including British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution (Westholme 2012) and The Revolution’s Last Men: The Stories Behind the Photographs (Westholme 2015). He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Foreword Rick Atkinson xi

Introduction xv

Part I A Peacetime Army Prepares For War

1 Seduced, Kidnapped, and Cruelly Used: Tensions in America 3

2 Roving Dispositions and Soaring Spirits: Enlisting in a Peacetime Army 12

3 Closeness and Smartness in Everything He Does: Training and Duties 29

4 Working Hard at the Firelock: Preparing for War 58

Part II The Wartime Army

5 Evident Superiority Even in Woods: Adapting to Warfare in America 73

6 Gone Volunteer to America: Recruiting for the American War 97

7 Barracks and Barns, Transports and Tents, Wigwams and Blankets 113

8 Beef and Bread, Fever and Flux, Swimming and Sack Races 135

9 The Plunder Problem 157

10 Bringers Handsomely Rewarded: Recruiting for Global War 177

11 Bounties, Wages, Rewards, Prizes, and Promotions 199

Part III Ending Careers, Ending the War

12 The Remains of Regiments 225

13 Long and Faithful Services 237

Notes 261

Selected Bibliography 307

Acknowledgments 321

Index 323

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