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General Earl Percy’s Account of Fighting Rebel Militia Men

July 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phineas Upham

The British army had to fight a completely different kind of enemy by the time it had reached American shores, because the militiamen fought unlike any opponent the British had encountered before. General Earl Percy was among the divisions who engaged the Americans during the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first engagements of the Revolutionary War, and he wrote later of their tactics in battle.

The Americans took advantage of the hillsides, the forests and the multiple points of entry that the British were unfamiliar with. The Americans had a much greater understanding of the surrounding area, which allowed them to continually make strategic withdrawals. That came into play heavily during the battle at Concord, where a withdrawal to the hillside gave the British a false sense of security.

Percy noted that the rebels attacked in a scattered fashion, using irregular patterns of attack and always with resolution to do the most damage. Their targeted strikes were swift, and aimed at demoralizing British troops with key targets.

Many of the men who fought on the American side had already been deployed as hunters and rangers who were fighting the native Americans and Canadians. These men were tough and battle hardened, as opposed to British regulars who viewed America as a glorified training ground.

The British were repeatedly operating as coordinated units, which had strengths to be certain, but the colonists were able to use the hillsides and woods to break up regiments and cause confusions.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.