Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day

Military history is littered with instances where mistakes or miscommunications pressed soldiers into desperate situations. It actually happened in the very first major battle of the American Revolution, the Battle of Long Island (also known as the Battle of Brooklyn).

The battle itself was the first strike in the British invasion of New York. The British had marched in secret through the night, and led by Cornwallis, managed to circle around the American line. If the Americans could be encircled, the Revolution might have been crushed in one fell swoop:

So, in the first battle the U.S. Army ever fought, it lost. Washington escaped, but at the cost of hundreds of casualties and a thousand men captured. The losses might have been greater had it not been for General William Alexander, who ordered all but a few hundred of his troops to fall back. The 1st Maryland Regiment stayed behind, launching repeated charges against the British in order to cover the American retreat. It was one of the first, true-blue hero moments of the U.S. military, but thankfully it wouldn't be the last.

Happy Independence Day!


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