Listening to the book 1776 by David McCullough. Exceptional treatise on the Revolutionary war, General George Washington, several other major players; but most fascinating of all has been the insights in the military forces.

It details what kind of men made up the Continental Army. Where they came from. Their training, or lack thereof. Their interactions with each other (the southern militias did not care for the 'stupid' Yankee forces—but they worked through it). Their courage and cowardice on the battlefield. Their triumphs and failures. To think that these completely ill prepared, and ill-suited guys from all walks of everyday life could take on, and defeat the greatest empire of their time is nothing short of a real miracle!

It certainly has provided new insight in my thinking regarding the Second Amendment. Without those commoner butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers with the 'assault weapon' rifles of their day there would be no America.

Were they always the picture-perfect patriots we commonly envision? Heck no! They were human. Some braver than others. Some were rotten scoundrels given the chance. Many were terribly homesick; having never traveled before. They suffered all kinds of hardships, not the least of which was the oft lack of pay, which they desperately needed to send back home.

They were (at least initially) really despised by the professional troops on the other side. But they did the most amazing feats. At least two or three nighttime maneuvers that completely astonished the British forces.

Well. It's a fine book. If someone could adequately adapt it, it would make an amazing movie.

PS I believe it reveals one of the first instances I can recall of biological warfare: people infected with smallpox sent among the Continental army.

No comments: