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Travel Logs August 2016

Compulsive Traveler

Ten Places to Learn about the Revolutionary War

By Sandra Scott

Nearly every state between Florida and Maine and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi has museums devoted, all or in part, to the fight for freedom.

To avoid the crowds, don’t wait for a national holiday to visit and learn about America’s fight for freedom. The historical sites are open year-round. America’s fight for independence is an amazing story, one that sparked people around the world to demand their freedom. Many of the historical sites are National Parks. Consider buying a National Park pass – U.S. citizens or permanent residents 62 or older can get a lifetime pass for a mere $10.

  1. Boston Tea Party: Boston was a hotbed of rebellion. The Sons of Liberty protested the British tea tax by tossing a shipment of tea into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum has multi-media exhibits, restored ships, and live actors that will bring the event alive. Visitors can reenact the historic occasion by tossing tea into Boston Harbor. The tour ends with a video called “Let it Begin Here.”

  2. Lexington and Concord: Start at Boston’s Old North Church and follow the route of Paul Revere’s ride to Lexington and wander along Battle Road to Concord. The first skirmish of the American Revolution -- “The Shot Heard Around the World” – took place on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775.  
  3. Independence National Historical Park: Philadelphia is where the Second Continental Congress met. George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army, and the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. Walk the Freedom Trail to the many sites important during the Revolution, including the home of Betsy Ross, purported to be the designer of the American flag.

  4. Washington Crossing Historic Park: At the Visitor’s Center at Pennsylvania’s Washington Crossing Historic Park, visitors can view historic exhibits dealing with George Washington’s daring 1776 Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware River and the defeat of the Hessians. It is one of the turning points in the Revolutionary War because it renewed hopes for a Colonial victory. There are reenactments in December.

  5. Saratoga: The British devised a three-pronged plan to conquer New York. Howe and St. Leger did not complete their portion of the plan, leaving “Gentleman” Johnny Burgoyne without support. The major battle occurred in Saratoga where, on September 19, 1777, Burgoyne’s columns were unable to defeat General Horatio Gates’ army. The American victory convinced France to enter the war as an ally of the United States.

  6. Valley Forge: A major low point for the colonial army was the 1777-1778 winter in Valley Forge near Philadelphia. More than 2,000 soldiers died as a result of too little to eat and inadequate clothing. Baron von Steuben, a former Prussian officer, arrived at the camp in February and began a training regimen for the army. By June 1778 when the soldiers marched out of Valley Forge, they were better trained and more confident.

  7. Kings Mountain National Military Park: The national park in South Carolina was the location of the first major patriot victory after the British capture of Charleston. In the fall of 1780, two thousand patriots engaged British Major Ferguson and his command of loyalists. The colonists prevailed. The Military Park includes the battle site, monuments, and Ferguson’s grave.

  8. Cowpens National Battlefield: Cowpens, a pastureland in, South Carolina, was the site of General Daniel Morgan’s attack on Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton’s British Legion on January 17, 1781. Called a tactical masterpiece, Morgan’s battle plan began with militia sharpshooters who fired two volleys, then fell back behind the Continentals who next attacked, followed by the cavalry. In less than an hour, the British suffered nearly 1,000 casualties.

  9. Yorktown: On September 28, 1781, General Washington commanding 17,000 French and Continental troops led a siege against British General Cornwallis and 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia. The Marquis de Lafayette and 5,000 colonial troops blocked Cornwallis’ escape by land and the French navy blocked the British escape by sea forcing Cornwallis to surrender to Washington on October 17, effectively ending the War for Independence.

  10. And… More can be learned at a variety of sites and museums. Nearly every state between Florida and Maine and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi has museums devoted, all or in part, to the fight for freedom.


Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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