The Americans

Morgan, Daniel. Engraving (full length) from painting by Alonzo Chappel. Lafayette, Marquis de; conclusion de Ia campagne de 1781 en Virginie. Engraving (full length) by Noel Le Mire from painting by J. B. LePaon. Lee, Henry (Light-Horse Harry). Engraving (full length). Greene, Nathaniel. Mezzotint (full length) by V. Green from painting by C.W. Peale.

In 1775, at the start of the American Revolution, there wasn't a regular American Army, but rather a group of poor and ragged men and boys who left their homes to join with local and state militia units. These 'Minutemen' were always ready for battle at a moment's notice, and, although very poorly equipped and unorganized, they were determined to fight for the cause that they believed in. Shortly afterward, the Continental Congress established an army of regular troops known as the Continental Army. This army at the time was not disciplined and desertion for lack of pay was not uncommon. By the Winter of 1777-1778, while encamped at Valley Forge, they began to be drilled extensively and gradually became one of the finest armies in the world. Their uniforms, equipment, and weaponry varied, as many soldiers carried with them what they had taken from home. But by late 1779, there was more consistency in the regular army. Many artifacts that are recovered from American military sites are often items of a civilian nature that had been re-fashioned for military use.