- WASHINGTON’S IMMORTALS: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution By Patrick K. O’Donnell
In August 1776, little over a month after the Continental Congress had formally declared independence from Britain, the revolution was on the verge of a sudden and disastrous end. General George Washington found his troops outmanned and outmaneuvered at the Battle of Brooklyn, and it looked like there was no escape. But thanks to a series of desperate rear guard attacks by a single heroic regiment, famously known as the “Immortal 400,” Washington was able to evacuate his men and the nascent Continental Army lived to fight another day.
Today, only a modest, rusted and scarred metal sign near a dilapidated auto garage marks the mass grave where the bodies of the “Maryland Heroes” lie—256 men “who fell in the Battle of Brooklyn.” In Washington’s Immortals, best-selling military historian Patrick K. O’Donnell brings to life the forgotten story of this remarkable band of brothers. Known as “gentlemen of honour, family, and fortune,” they fought not just in Brooklyn, but in key battles including Trenton, Princeton, Camden, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, and Yorktown, where their heroism changed the course of the war.
Drawing on extensive original sources, from letters to diaries to pension applications, O’Donnell pieces together the stories of these brave men—their friendships, loves, defeats, and triumphs. He explores their arms and tactics, their struggles with hostile loyalists and shortages of clothing and food, their development into an elite unit, and their dogged opponents, including British General Lord Cornwallis. And through the prism of this one group, O’Donnell tells the larger story of the Revolutionary War. Washington’s Immortals is gripping and inspiring boots-on-the-ground history, sure to appeal to a wide readership.
Two reviews of the books are at:
President Joseph Dooley distributed two recent book reviews about books about George Washington.
- The first one is Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés, edited by Robert M.S. McDonald. In Sons of the Father: George Washington and His Protégés, editor Robert M. S. McDonald, associate professor of history at the United States Military Academy, assembles an impressive collection of essays by noted scholars detailing the various relationships that George Washington maintained with his Revolutionary War subordinates. This volume is an outgrowth of Sons of the Father, the first Sons of the American Revolution Annual Conference on the American Revolution. A description of the other conference is contained at the end of the article. The 2016 Conference is entitled Empires of Liberty and the American Revolution. This conference will be held at the Courtyard Hotel and the Huntington Library in Pasadena, CA. Click on the link at the very bottom of this page to view and download reviews of both books.
- A second review covers George Washington: Gentleman Warrior, by Stephen Brumwell as well as Sons of the Father, edited by Robert M.S. McDonald. By 1775, Washington had strong ideas about how to run an army. Officers, he said, should be men of independent financial means. By 1775, when he took command of the Continental Army, Washington had developed strong ideas about how to staff a fighting force–ideas that looked more to Old Europe than to the New World. Washington told Gov. Patrick Henry, then assembling battalions from Virginia, that he should avoid “the soldier and the officer being too nearly on a level” Because America didn’t have a long military tradition, and its men lacked experience, Washington thought that other considerations should be weighed: The “true criterion . . . is to consider whether the candidate for office has a just pretension to the character of a gentleman, a proper sense of honor, and some reputation to lose.”