On April 8, 2016, military historian and author Patrick K. O’Donnell spoke at the Heritage Foundation to discuss his book “Washington’s Immortals,” a book about the forgotten people and battles in the revolutionary war.
The author discusses facts of the war that many schools fail to recognize; these include details of the colonists’ struggles with the loyalists, the soldiers’ shortages of clothing and food, and the sacrifices of many wealthy colonists. The stories in this book of the band of brotherhood and the sacrifices of the colonists are beneficial for students in order for them to fully understand American values.
Prior to O’Donnell’s book, only a sign outside an auto garage recognized the death of the Marylanders, an independent company that General Washington heavily depended on to help win critical battles of the revolutionary war. In his book, O’Donnell discusses the bond between the Marylanders as they stuck together during the darkest times to defeat the British troops.
Surprisingly, the Marylanders were also an integrated unit; seven to nine percent were free African Americans. O’Donnell uncovers the story of the forgotten hero Private Thomas Carney, a free black man who fought seven years in the revolutionary war and contributed to the victory of the battle of Guilford Court House.
The book also tells of Jenny Ramsey, wife of ardent patriot Nathaniel Ramsey. Despite the Ramsey’s great wealth, Jenny set her riches aside to accompany her husband in the war. She marched with the army out of love and devotion and even got captured.
O’Donnell also addresses the inaccurate perception of the Battle of Trenton. Most students learn that Washington attacked the drunken Hessian troops because it was an easy victory that increased the morale of the American soldiers. O’Donnell emphasizes, however, that the Hessian soldiers were highly trained; they slept in their uniforms and had their muskets ready to fight. Contrary to popular belief, the Battle of Trenton was not an easy win.
This book provides a new perspective of the brutalities and sacrifices in the revolutionary war; it will help Americans understand not only who we were in the past, but also who we are today.
Photo by roberthuffstutter