Five Little Known Facts About The Revolutionary War

We all have a pretty general understanding of the Revolutionary War, some may even consider themselves subject matter experts on this monumental period of human history.

For the experts out there, what are the odds you knew the little known facts we were able to cobble together?

Check out our list of little known facts about the American Revolution below and see how many of them you knew beforehand.

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Five Facts to Sound Smart at Parties

1. The Failed Plot to Assassinate George Washington

In the year 1776, just prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a clandestine committee uncovered a sinister conspiracy aimed at assassinating the future first president of the United States. This committee was formed under the directive of George Washington himself, following his arrival in New York to prepare for an imminent British assault.

What made this plot particularly astonishing was that it was masterminded by none other than Washington’s trusted personal bodyguard, Thomas Hickey. Several other prominent figures, including the governor of New York and the mayor of the city, were implicated as well. However, due to Hickey’s proximity to Washington and his perceived role as the potential executor of the assassination, he was the sole individual to face execution.

2. 200 Copies of the Declaration of Independence Were Created

Within the halls of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., resides a singular, impeccably preserved copy of the Declaration of Independence, bearing the signatures of all 56 members of the Second Continental Congress.

During the creation of this historic document, printer John Dunlap produced a total of 200 copies. However, the majority of these included just the names of John Hancock, the Congress President, and Charles Thompson, the Secretary of the Congress. Regrettably, the vast majority of the 199 remaining copies have been lost to the annals of history, leaving a mere 26 known copies in existence today.

Among these treasured remnants, the copy housed within the National Archives stands as a testament to the enduring significance of this pivotal moment in American history.

3. Invisible Ink Helped Revolutionaries Transfer Secret Messages

Dr. James Jay, the brother of Founding Father John Jay, devised a remarkable “invisible ink” composed of a mixture of ferrous sulfate and water. This ingenious solution allowed individuals to write covert messages that would appear completely transparent when dry.

To unveil the concealed text, one needed to subject the paper to heat or apply a specific revealing chemical. The employment of this invisible ink became highly advantageous for George Washington and his troops, enabling them to encode secret messages within the lines of letters or even on the blank pages at the end of books.

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4. Ever Hear of Deborah Sampson?

Deborah Sampson sought to contribute to the war effort in a manner that defied societal expectations for women. Adopting the disguise of a man named Robert Shurtleff, she enlisted in the Continental Army. Despite her remarkable military skills and frequent injuries, Sampson managed to maintain her secret for an impressive two years, evading detection. However, her ruse came to an end when she fell seriously ill in 1783 and found herself in a hospital.

In a surprising turn of events, Sampson received an honorable discharge from the military and was granted a full military pension. She went on to deliver lectures across the country, sharing her remarkable experiences as a concealed female soldier during the war.

In collaboration with Herman Mann, she penned a memoir recounting her extraordinary journey, published in 1797. Sampson passed away at the age of 66, and her husband successfully petitioned Congress for spousal pay, a benefit typically awarded to women after the passing of their soldier-husbands.

5. Paul Revere Was Supposedly a Good Dentist

In addition to his famous midnight ride through Boston to warn of an imminent British attack, the renowned figure Paul Revere had diverse talents and occupations. Prior to the revolution, Revere showcased his skill as a silversmith and also dabbled in dentistry, which was a highly profitable, if still barbaric, profession during that era.

Around two months after his legendary ride, Revere was called upon to identify the body of a soldier who was thought to be familiar to him. Due to the advanced decomposition of the body, traditional identification methods were ineffective. However, Revere resorted to a unique approach by examining the soldier’s mouth, specifically checking if the individual had the same set of ivory teeth that Revere had personally crafted and affixed to his jaw.

This unconventional method successfully confirmed that the body belonged to Major Joseph Warren, marking a significant milestone in the early application of dental forensics for identification purposes.

What are some cool facts that often get overlooked about the Revolutionary War? Let us know in the comments below and across social media.

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