The Price of Freedom: Americans at War Home Collection Search

War of Independence

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Prelude

Colonial Military Forces

During the French and Indian War, volunteer provincial regiments and local militia augmented British forces sent to America. Provincial units included long-term regional volunteers equipped by each colony. Militias were comprised of local white men, and sometimes free black men, between the ages of sixteen and sixty who trained irregularly and were mustered, or called out, only as needed. They provided their own weapons.


Related Artifacts

Matchlock Musket
Brown Bess Musket
Powder Horn
American Long Rifle

Indians at War, 1754–1763

The Iroquois were staunch British allies. Their rivals, the Huron and the Algonquin, allied themselves with the French. Others remained neutral. American Indians saw the alliances as a way to play the Europeans against each other and against rival Indians in order to protect their own interests and autonomy.


Exhibition Graphics

Indians in the battle of Lake George, 1755

Indians in the battle of Lake George, 1755

Conjectural depiction of Braddock’s  defeat, 1903

Conjectural depiction of Braddock’s defeat, 1903

From 1755 to 1774, Sir William Johnson served as Britain's Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Department of North America.' He lived among the Iroquois and nurtured their loyalties to the Crown. He presented this certificate to Iroquois who demonstrated loyalty to 'his Britannic Majesty's interest.'

From 1755 to 1774, Sir William Johnson served as Britain's Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Department of North America." He lived among the Iroquois and nurtured their loyalties to the Crown. He presented this certificate to Iroquois who demonstrated loyalty to "his Britannic Majesty's interest."


Related Artifacts

War Club
Gorget

Disdained Provincials

Colonial provincial troops and local militia fought the opening battles of the war against the French and their Indian allies. Colonials continued to fight when regular British soldiers under the command of General Edward Braddock were dispatched from England to conduct the war in 1755. After initial setbacks, including a British rout in which Braddock was killed, combined British forces successfully ousted the French from the Ohio River valley in 1758. Throughout the war, the British disparaged colonial forces: Braddock’s aide labeled them “languid, spiritless, and unsoldierlike in appearance.”


Related Artifacts

English Sword
French Halberd
'Towne of Boston” Flintlock Musket
Adam Stephen’s Waistcoat and Gorget
John Edward’s Enlistment Papers

Colonel George Washington

Washington secured a reputation for “the greatest courage and resolution” during the opening—often disastrous—battles of the war. In 1755, the royal governor of Virginia named him commander of the colony’s provincial regiment. For two years he oversaw the Virginia Regiment, and attempted to secure a commission in the British Army. In 1759, after helping defeat the French in the Ohio River valley, Washington resigned. He was disillusioned with a British military that disparaged provincials, and frustrated with commanding free-willed volunteers.


Exhibition Graphics

George Washington in the Uniform of a British Colonial Colonel by Charles Willson Peale, 1772

George Washington in the Uniform of a British Colonial Colonel by Charles Willson Peale, 1772


Related Artifacts

Braddock Pistol


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