Continental Army Essay

3728 words - 15 pages

The war of the American Revolution lasted for eight years, 1775-1783, years that tested Americans' dedication to independence. In the process, the country's first war both shaped and tested Americans' ideals of national character. In 1775 the Continental Congress felt that the union of the colonies was complete, not withstanding that Georgia was not yet represented in the congress. On June 7, in a resolution for a general fast, they had spoken, for the first time, of the then twelve United Colonies (Georgia not yet represented). To make the bond stronger they now, on motion of John Adams, adopted the forces as a Continental Army, and proceeded to choose a commander-in-chief. At the suggestion of the New England delegation, Thomas Johnson of Maryland nominated George Washington, of Virginia, then a member of the Congress, for that important office, and he was elected by a unanimous vote. The American Army is born, the Continental army, which through dedication and conviction the Americans overpowered the British for a window of achievement for the United States. The response of George III and his ministers to the events at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill was a determined effort to put an end to the rebellious colonists by force. It took time to mount this effort, and after Bunker Hill the Americans enjoyed a break lasting almost a year. During most of this period the Second Continental Congress, though forced by events in New England to take on itself the leadership of an armed revolt, proceeded hesitantly, still seeking a method for reconciliation that would preserve American rights. Military preparations were designed for a short struggle, to endure no longer than the end of the year 1776. Nevertheless the Americans took advantage of the break to create a national army, to consolidate their hold on the governmental machinery throughout the thirteen colonies, to invade Canada, and finally to force the British to evacuate Boston (Van Doren 234). The creation of a Continental Army was in the long run perhaps their most significant achievement. Some time before Bunker Hill the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, aware of the necessity of enlisting the support of all the colonies in the struggle against the British, appealed to the Continental Congress to adopt the New England army. Although there is no formal record of the action, Congress evidently did vote to adopt it on June 14, 1775, the accepted birthday of the U.S. Army. On the same day it voted to raise ten companies of riflemen, the first soldiers to be enlisted directly in the Continental service in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, to march north to join the army before Boston. The next day, June 15, Congress chose George Washington, a Virginian, to be Commander in Chief. The choice was made for geographical and political as much as for military reasons. The New Englanders felt that in order to enlist the support of the southern colonies, a southerner should be...

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