What about the British Redcoats?
When we discuss the military history of the American War for Independence, we tend to focus on specific battles or details about the men who served in George Washington’s Continental Army.
Rarely do we take the opportunity to ask questions about the approximately 50,000 men who served in the British Army.
Don N. Hagist, independent scholar and author of British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution, leads us on exploration of the “other” men who fought in the American War for Independence, the soldiers in the British Army.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, Don N. Hagist, author of British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution leads us on an exploration of the British Army and the men who served in it during the American War for Independence.
Don will reveal how many men served in the British Army, how they became one of the best fighting forces in the late eighteenth-century world, and whether some of the myths that we have heard about the British Army hold true, such as whether the men who served in it represented the dregs of British society.
What You’ll Discover
• How Don became interested in British solders during the American Revolution
• Whether the myth that the “dregs of British society” served in the British Army holds true
• More about the background of the men who served in the British Army
• What historical sources Don uses to study the military history of British soldiers
• Whether the myth that the British Army stood as the most well-trained and well-disciplined army in the entire world after the French and Indian War (1754-1763) holds true
• How British regiments recruited soldiers
• More about the German soldiers who served in the British Army during the American War for Independence
• How Don selected the accounts of the 9 soldiers he writes about in British Soldiers, American War
• The story of Thomas Watson, common soldier in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers
• How many men served in the British Army during the American Revolution
• How many men deserted the British Army during the American War for Independence and why
• Information about the Journal of the American Revolution
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Don N. Hagist
- Journal of the American Revolution
- British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution
- Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls: A Selection of Advertisements for Female Runaways in American Newspapers, 1770-1783
- General Orders, Rhode Island: December 1776-January 1778
Time Warp Question
What might have happened if regional recruitment had been a standard practice for the British Army? Would desertion rates have been lower? Would the better cohesion of regional army units have affected the outcome of the War for Independence?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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Absolutely wonderful!!!!!! I look forward to future programs. I will pass this on to educators I know; this should be part of every classroom in the country!!!!!
Thanks for listening, Bob. I am glad you enjoy the show and I appreciate your willingness to share it with your friends. Together we are going to create a lot of buzz and interest about early American history. I also realize there are a lot of educators who listen to the show. I am working on ideas for resources that I can offer that will help them out.