I Was a Teenager in the American Revolution

21 Young Patriots and Two Tories Tell Their Stories

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About the Book

Teenagers were critical to the American victory in the Revolutionary War. Over half of the colonial population was under the age of 16. A draft of all boys between the ages of 16 and 19 was enacted to fill the ranks of the Continental Army, leaving their sisters to fill their places at home. These circumstances meant that teenagers played an essential role not only in combat but also on the home front.
Israel Trask joined the militia at the age of 10; by the time he turned 12 he was serving at sea. Abigail Foote, a 15-year-old from Connecticut, wove cloth, sewed clothes, weeded the garden and made cheese, providing much needed clothing and food. Henry Yeager, 13, barely escaped hanging for his army role as drummer. Dicey Langston, 16 when the war began, risked her life to pass loyalist information to the Patriots. Future president Andrew Jackson was only 14 when he was captured and sent to jail at Camden.
This book relates the Revolutionary War experiences of 23 teenagers. Drawing on firsthand accounts of young Americans from Massachusetts to South Carolina and from many different backgrounds—wealthy and poor, slave and free, Tory and Patriot—it provides a fascinating, varied look at America’s fight for independence and teenagers’ role in this struggle for liberty. Excerpts from journals and memoirs make up the body of the text. Appendices provide a chronology of events and a glossary of sailing terms.

About the Author(s)

The late Elizabeth Ryan Metz, a former librarian, lived in Manlius, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Elizabeth Ryan Metz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: photos, maps, appendices, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2509-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Introduction      1

1. John Greenwood Was There at the Beginning of the War      5

2. Israel Trask Sees Washington for the First Time      17

3. Ebenezer Fox Runs Away to Sea      24

4. Abigail Foote Notes Each Day’s Tasks on the Home Front      51

5. A Dream Sends Mary Slocumb to the Battle      54

6. Michael Smith Meets a British Ship Up the Kills      58

7. British Soldier John Enys Sees Service in Canada      61

8. Sixteen-year-old Walter Bates Arrested as a Tory      68

9. Sybil Ludington Rides to Warn the Militia “the British Are Coming”      72

10. Ebenezer Fletcher Is Captured by the British at Hubbardton      77

11. David Holbrook at Bennington Heard “Boys Follow Me”      94

12. Lafayette Buys a Ship to Join the Americans      99

13. Henry Yeager: “You Are to Be Hanged Until You Are Dead! Dead! Dead!
14. Sally Wister: “My Teeth Rattled and My Hand Shook Like an Aspen Leaf”      116

15. African-American James Forten Was a Rebel      129

16. Eliza Faces the Enemy When They Invade Her Home      133

17. Dicey Langston: Spy/Courier Threatened by the Enemy      140

18. Grace and Rachel Capture Enemy Documents      145

19. Paul Hamilton: One of Marion’s Swamp Foxes      147

20. Andew Jackson: “Take It Altogether, I Saw and Heard a Good Deal of War”      163

21. James Armistead: A Spy for Lafayette      168

22. Joseph Plumb Martin: At Yorktown “We Thought the More the Merrier”      171

23. Peter Otsiquette: Liaison Between Iroquois and Americans at Treaties      207

A Chronology of Events, 1763–1787      223

A Glossary of Sailing Ship Terms      227

Index      231