The American Revolution

"The War For Independence"

This school year, Michael and I have been doing a unit on the American Revolution. As we go through our unit, we'll post what we are reading and any activities which we might undertake.

To start our unit, we used our Print Artist to print out a blank map (no border lines) of the east coast of the United States. The map is fairly large - four sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" paper, taped together. This is kept on our bulletin board until we need it ... which I will explain in just a bit.

Our first book to read was from the series, Childhood of Famous Americans, Crispus Attucks, Boy of Valor by Dharathula H. Millender. Crispus Attucks was a runaway slave who was killed at the Boston Massacre.

We then read about the Boston Massacre in our encyclopedia - The World Book Encyclopedia (copyright 1965). The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770. We also read Chapter 13 of Joy Hakim's From Colonies to Country, which also tells of the Boston Massacre. (Which, by the way, wasn't a massacre.)

At this point, we took our blank map and marked an "x" with the number one beside it at the location of Boston, Massachusetts. The number one was then written in the upper left-hand corner of the map and designated as "1. Boston Massacre - March 5, 1770". The letter "B" was placed at the end of this line to indicate that the British got the best of the Colonists in this situation. On the back of the map, we are listing all of the books that we read throughout this unit as well the names of noteworthy people.

We read a delightful book, Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? by Jean Fritz. Samuel Adams has been Michael's favorite historical figure of the revolution so far. He likes how Sam Adams is always standing on something to give a speech - something that Michael would like to do!

Our next book was Paul Revere, Boston Patriot by Augusta Stevenson (also in the Childhood of Famous Americans series.) We were surprised to know that Paul Revere was a teenager when he began running messages for the patriot cause. We also read Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson. What an enjoyable book!

The Boston Tea Party was next on our list of events. We read about the "tea party" when reading about Paul Revere, but also in our World Book Encyclopedia, The Rainbow Book of American History, and Chapter 14 of From Colonies to Country by Joy Hakim. This event took place on December 16, 1773.

The Boston Tea Party is the second event noted on our large map. The letter "P" is shown at the end of the description line to indicate that the Patriots got the best of the British this time!

Reading about Paul Revere brings you to his famous ride. This unit wouldn't be complete without a reading of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. There is a lovely picture book in the children's department of the library with this poem. We've read it several times.

The midnight ride of Paul Revere takes you to the next event in the War for Independence, The Battle of Lexington and Concord, which occurred April 19, 1775. We began our reading of this battle in Chapter 1, "The Alarm", of a wonderful old book, originally printed in 1876, The Boys of '76 by Charles Carleton Coffin. We read Chapter 14 of Joy Hakim's From Colonies to Country, "One if by Land, Two if by Sea". And we also read of this account in a book by Felix Sutton, We Were There at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. This book was so good, we read the entire book in one day! This was the battle in which was proclaimed, "The shot heard round the world." For many, this was the start of the Revolutionary War.

Once again our large map is marked. The Battle of Lexington and Concord is noted and marked with a "P".

We next read John Hancock, New England Boy by Catherine Seward Cleven (Childhood of Famous Americans). Once again, we found this book so enjoyable, we read it in one day! We both liked reading about how John worked so hard on his handwriting. When he signed the Declaration of Independence, it is claimed that he said, "There! England can read my name without glasses. She may now double her reward for my head." He wrote his name beautifully and large!

For the next major event, we read Chapter 2 (Bunker Hill) and Chapter 3 (Battle of Bunker Hill) in The Boys of '76. We followed this with the book, The Minute Boys of Bunker Hill, which was originally written in 1899 by Edward Stratemeyer. What a great book! We thoroughly enjoyed this one and hated to see it come to an end.

Our map is now marked with the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775. A letter "B" belongs to this battle. Michael was confused as to why the Patriots didn't win the battle. After all, they certainly killed more people. We discussed how the war is not to see who can kill the most people; in this particular battle, the victory went to whomever captured Bunker Hill. Hence, the "B".

After Bunker Hill, George Washington was called in to command the troops. So our next book was George Washington, Boy Leader by Augusta Stevenson. (Childhood of Famous Americans)

George Washington needed gunpowder desperately. There was British gunpowder in Bermuda and history shows that the gunpowder was stolen August 14, 1775 and delivered to General Washington. We read a very good book that told a story of how this might have happened, Powder Keg: The Bermuda Gunpowder Mystery by Donald E. Cooke.

Add the stolen gunpowder event to the large map with a letter "P".

This brings us to the present. We are reading two books right now, Patrick, Son of Thunder by D. M. Stephenson, and Tom Jefferson, Boy of Colonial Days (A Childhood of Famous Americans). We'll let you know how we liked them when we've finished them.

:-) Well, we put Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson on hold while we quickly read We Were There With Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys by Robert N. Webb. We love this series of books! This book recounts stories of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys and when they "stormed" and captured Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775. It was the first successful offensive action by the colonists in the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold was there! We'll be reading more about him later! We need to go back now and put this event, with the letter "P," onto our map.

To close for now, this is a list of highlights of The Revolutionary War. The first list is events we read about that were not on the second list - which is right out of our World Book Encyclopedia! The World Book Encyclopedia list is the one we are basically following to read about the Revolutionary War in a sequential manner. I'm sure there are other events that are not on these lists, but these are good highlights to follow.

Other events:
March 5, 1770 - The Boston Massacre took place
December 16, 1773 - The Boston Tea Party took place
May 10, 1775 - Ethan Allen and Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga
August 14, 1775 - Gunpowder stolen from British in Bermuda for General Washington

From our World Book Encyclopedia:
April 19
- Minutemen and redcoats clashed at Lexington and Concord.
June 17 - The British drove the Americans from Breed's Hill in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
July 3 - Washington assumed command of the Continental Army.
November 13 - The patriots occupied Montreal in Canada.
December 30-31 - American forces failed to seize Quebec.

February 27
- The patriots drove the Loyalists from Moore's Creek Bridge.
March 3 - The Continental Fleet captured New Providence Island in the Bahamas.
March 17 - The British evacuated Boston.
July 4 - The Declaration of Independence was adopted.
August 27 - The redcoats defeated the patriots on Long Island.
September 15 - The British occupied New York City.
October 28 - The Americans retreated from White Plains, New York.
November 16 - The British captured Fort Washington.
December 26 - Washington mounted a surprise attack on Trenton.

January 3
- Washington gained victory at Princeton.
August 6 - The redcoats forced the patriots back at Oriskany, but then had to evacuate.
August 16 - The patriots crushed the Hessians at Bennington.
September 11 - The British won the battle of Brandywine.
September 19 - Gates' forces checked Burgoyne's army in the First Battle of Freeman's Farm.
September 26 - The British occupied Philadelphia.
October 4 - Washington's forces met defeat in the Battle of Germantown.
October 7 - The patriots repulsed the British in the Second Battle of Freeman's Farm.
October 17 - Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga.
December 19 - Washington's army retired to winter quarters at Valley Forge.

February 6
- The United States and France signed an alliance.
June 28 - The Battle of Monmouth ended in a a draw.
July 4 - George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia.
Dec. 29 - The redcoats entered Savannah.

February 25
- George Rogers Clark captured Vincennes.
June 21 - Spain declared war on Great Britain.
July 15 - Anthony Wayne's troops stormed Stony Point.
September 23 - John Paul Jones' Bonhomme Richard captured the British ship Serapis.

May 12
- Charleston fell after a British seige.
July 11 - French troops arrived in Newport to aid the American cause.
August 16 - The British defeated the Americans at Camden.
October 7 - American frontiersmen stormed the British positions on Kings Mountain.

January 17
- Patriots won a victory at Cowpens, S.C.
March 15 - Cornwallis clashed with Greene at Guildford Court House, N.C.
September 15 - The French fleet drove a British naval force from Chesapeake Bay.
October 19 - Cornwallis' army surrendered at Yorktown.

March 20
- Lord North resigned as British prime minister.
July 11 - The British evacuated Savannah.
November 30 - The Americans and British signed a preliminary peace treaty in Paris.
December 14 -The British left Charleston.

April 19
- Congress ratified the preliminary peace treaty.
September 3 - The United States and Great Britain signed the final peace treaty in Paris.
November 25 - The British left New York City.

Reading List:

In addition to the books I have mentioned above, here are some other books which we had here in the house, but decided not to keep (we still have many others). These books all have their settings during the American Revolution:

Drums by James Boyd
"Mad Anthony" Wayne by Bob Wells
The Picture Story and Biography of Tom Paine by Grace Neff Brett
When Washington Danced, A Tale of the American Revolution by Clarence Stratton, adapted by Gertrude Moderow
Tree of Freedom by Rebecca Caudill
Drumbeats in Williamsburg, A Story of Washington, Lafayette, and Yorktown by Isabelle Lawrence
Guns for General Washington by Seymour Reit
Tory Hole by Louise Hall Tharp
Liberty Boy by Maxine Drury
Battle Lanterns by Merritt Parmelee Allen
Noah Carr, Yankee Firebrand - A Boy Sailor with John Paul Jones - by H.C. Thomas
Minutemen of the Sea by Tom Cluff
Action Starboard by Victor Mays
Escape to Danger by Edward Buell Hungerford (1949, "Boy escapes from hardships of Mill prison in England, only to become involved in the daring ventures of Captain John Paul Jones.")
Peggy Owen Patriot, A Story for Girls by Lucy Foster Madison (1920)
Peggy Owen and Liberty by Lucy Foster Madison (1922)
Guns in the Forest by Bruce Lancaster (1952 - This is a "revised and condensed version of the earlier book entitled Guns of Burgoyne.)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
The Spy and General Washington by William Wise
Johnny Codliner, A Story of the American Revolution by Winona Straghan
The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery
Brave Journey, Launching of the United States, compiled by Mildred Corell Luckhardt (Full of good stories, includes the signers of the Declaration. Authors - Benet, Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, Esther Forbes, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Erick Berry, Longfellow, Leonard Wibberley, Genevieve Foster & more)
A Blow for Liberty by Stephen W. Meader
Clear for Action! by Stephen W. Meader
Time Machine 10 - American Revolution (a choose your own adventure book)

I still need to list the books we have here in the house that we intend to read. I'll try to do that soon!

Go back to see what else I have on my web pages...

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