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The Continental Army was a military force of American colonists established by a resolution made during the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1775. It was formed through the efforts of the original 13 colonies against British rule and was headed by George Washington as Commander-in-Chief.
See the fact file below for more information on the Continental Army or alternatively, you can download our 27 page Continental Army worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- On April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War broke out during the British encounter at Lexington and Concord. Prior to the war, colonial revolutionaries from the original thirteen colonies relied upon the militia.
- As disparity and conflict between British rule and American colonists intensified through the years, colonists began to propose ideas of creating a colonial army for potential encounters.
- After the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774, training of militiamen increased. Richard Henry Lee, a colonist, proposed the establishment of a national militia but the First Continental Congress rejected his idea.
The Establishment and Structure of the Continental Army
- On June 14, 1775, in need of a unified militia, the Second Continental Congress officially created the Continental Army. It initially consisted of ten companies of riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, all serving for a year’s enlistment.
- A day after, the Congress unanimously elected George Washington as the Continental Army’s Commander-in-Chief.
- They also adopted the existing forces in the colonies of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
- The troops were organized into 39 regiments of infantry wherein each regiment was composed of eight companies with 728 soldiers headed by a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, a major and a captain.
- Washington arrived in Philadelphia on May 9, 1775. He had a good military reputation from the French and Indian War. He accepted his appointment without any compensation or reimbursement of expenses.
- Initially, Washington organized the New England Army into three divisions, six brigades and 38 regiments. In 1776, after a year of enlistment, the army was organized into 36 regiments with eight companies each, while the enlistment period was extended to three years.
- By 1777, Congress allowed Washington to raise an additional 16 battalions wherein one-battalion regiments would come from each of the 13 colonies. Hence, the army was still supported by local militias under each states’ authority.
- State regiments were supplied with food, shelter, clothing, pay and equipment by their own state. Moreover, the number of soldiers required were in proportion to state’s population.
- Upon establishment, soldiers of the army had no uniforms. The Continental Congress immediately adopted brown as the official color of uniforms. It was replaced with blue or gray after a shortage of brown cloth. It was not until 1779 that Congress adopted an official uniform.
- The absence of uniforms created problems because soldiers were unable to distinguish their commanders. As a remedy, the use of cockade was introduced. A cockade on the hat determines the commander’s rank. Field officers wore pink or red, while captains wore buff or yellow and junior officers were pinned green.
- Furthermore, black cockade were worn by commanders, which were then changed to black and white, known as the ‘Union Cockade’ after the French alliance.
- Weapons during the Revolutionary War included rifles, muskets, bayonets, pistols, knives, tomahawks, sabers, axes, swords, cannons and polearms.
- Commander George Washington relied on his generals to win the war, including Major Generals Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, Israel Putnam, Brigadier Generals John Thomas, Richard Montgomery, David Wooster, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Sullivan and Nathanael Greene.
Battles of the Continental Army
- The Continental Army had a great advantage in terms of having soldiers highly skilled in guerrilla warfare. They knew places, shortcuts and land terrain. Moreover, each soldier was fighting for their independence and freedom, which served as the grandest motivation.
- Later in the war, countries like France, Spain and the Dutch Republic joined as allies of the Americans.
- Despite several advantages, the Continental Army was short of money, supplies, weapons and medicine. Congress had no source of wealth compared to the crown-funded British Army. In addition, the British Army was equipped with some of the most trained leaders and skilled soldiers.
- Aside from the Redcoats, the British were supported by German mercenaries known as Hessians.
- On October 13, 1775, Congress established the Continental Navy followed by the Continental Marines in November.
- All in all, there were 36 major Revolutionary battles and over 100 minor battles. Major battles included the Siege of Boston, Battles of Long Island, Harlem Heights, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, Saratoga, Monmouth, Charleston, Camden, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse and Yorktown.
End of the War
- In 1781, the surrender of the British Army at Yorktown marked the unofficial victory for the Continental Army. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 formally ended the war and the British Government recognized American sovereignty over the thirteen colonies.
- After the victory, Washington became the first President of the newly established republic.
Continental Army Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Continental Army across 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Continental Army worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Continental Army which was a military force of American colonists established by a resolution made during the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1775. It was formed through the efforts of the original 13 colonies against British rule and was headed by George Washington as Commander-in-Chief.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Continental Army Facts
- Major Battles
- Army Generals
- War of Independence
- Thirteen Colonies
- Continental Army Codes
- To Independence
- Army Artillery
- Lettering Revolution
- End of British Rule
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Link will appear as Continental Army Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 25, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.