Revolutionary War Tactics

Revolutionary War Tactics
• Sacha Standish
• Jason Freewalt
• Joe Ruhl
• Beth Robinson
• Karen Zink
• Grade Level - 8
• Est. Duration - One Lesson
• Objectives
• In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of how Native American
military tactics influenced the military tactics of the Patriots in the American
• Ohio Content Standards Addressed by this Lesson
• History – Grade 8
• 2: Describe the political, religious and economic aspects of North American
colonization including:
c. Interactions between American Indians and European settlers, including
the agricultural and cultural exchanges, alliances and conflicts.
3: Identify and explain the sources of conflict which led to the American
Revolution, with emphasis on the perspectives of the Patriots, Loyalists,
neutral colonists and the British concerning:
b. Character and significance o the military struggle in the North in the early
years of the war and the shift of the battle to the South after 1779.
Social Studies Skills and Methods – Grade 8
2: Construct a historical narrative using primary and secondary sources.
Pre-Assessment Activity
• What do you know about military tactics?
Which of these tactics have anything to do
with the American Revolution?
• [guerilla warfare] [these questions can be used
for discussion and/or using the board or post-it
Post-Assessment Activity (handout)
The British
The Patriots
Native Americans
Similarities between American and British Soldiers
• Continental army uniforms were modeled after those of the
British army.
Washington based the training of his army on the formations and
fighting style of the British army, since he was familiar with it.
Washington’s lack of experience prompted him to hire French
and German soldiers to train his troops.
Who was Francis Marion?
• Was nicknamed the “Swamp Fox” by British Colonel
Tarlton because of Marion’s ability to use his knowledge
of the terrain as a war tactic against the British.
– "Come my boys! let us go back, and we will soon find
the game cock, but as for this damned old fox, the
devil himself could not catch him."
His popularity led to many legends and myths about his
use of guerilla warfare.
From a letter with an unknown author,
“Here was a fine well dug by General Marion, familiarly
known as the "Swamp Fox", who greatly harassed the
British during the Revolutionary War. We could still
plainly see the ruins of the Fort. There was a large
hollow sycamore tree which was named Marion's
Magazine because of his storing great quantities of
ammunition in it. It was always a great surprise to the
British to see his ammunition replenished without an
expedition for it.”
Typical British Strategy
Regiments and corps assembled
Marched at daybreak
Attacked forts
Ranks and files
Shouts of “hurrah!”
Native American Strategy
• Not until the summer of 1776 did either the Americans or
British formally and officially attempt to involve the Iroquois,
the most powerful northern nation, on their side. Informal
approaches, however, were made with increasing frequency.
In July 1775, Ethan Allen, of Vermont, sent a message to the
Iroquois urging them to shun the King's side. Allen asserted:
– I know how to shute and ambush just like the Indian and
want your Warriors to come and see me and help me fight
Regulars You know they Stand all along close Together
Rank and file and my men fight so as Indians Do I want
your Warriors to Join with me and my Warriors like
Brothers and Ambush the Regulars, if you will I will Give
you Money Blankets Tomehawks Knives and Paint and the
Like as much as you say because they first killed our men
when it was Peace time.
• Barbara Graymont, "The Iroquois in the American Revolution"
(Syracuse, New York, 1972), pp. 48-50.
• The Iroquois sided with the British.
• Brant was certainly not dissuaded or criticized by the
British or the Tories for his efforts. In fact, the intent of
the British with respect to the use of Indians in the
Revolutionary War was aptly expressed in the following
poetic example of Gen. John Burgoyne, Deputy of the
British forces in Canada, and taken from the Introduction
to Burgoyne’s Orderly Book, page xxii:
– " I will let loose the dogs of hell,
Ten thousand Indians, who shall yell
And foam and tear, and grin and roar,
And drench their moccasins in gore:
To these IÂ’ll give full scope and play
From Ticonderog to Florida..."