Top 10 Famous Soldiers from the Revolutionary War

In any war, each and every Soldier is important. Any Soldier who fought during the Revolutionary War had his part to play. The goal of today’s post is not to take away from anyone who played a part in the war that gained independence from British rule. Instead, we are going to provide our opinion on the top 10 famous Soldiers from the Revolutionary War.

You may, or may not agree with my choices here. I spent quite a lot of time performing research to make these choices, but please feel free to post your choices in the comments section at the bottom of today’s post.  These are who I feel are the top 10 famous Soldiers from the Revolutionary War starting with #10 and working down to #1:

10: Nathanael Greene

If you do not recall your history books mentioning this great Revolutionary War personality, they should have.

Nathanael Greene was raised in a Quaker family in Rhode Island. He became quite political and supported Patriot efforts. Nathanael helped organize the Rhode Island militia and in doing so, he was taken from the roles of the Quakers because of their pacifist stand.

At the start of the Revolution, Nathanael was a private. George Washington saw the great leadership abilities and promoted him to Major General, and a brigadier of the Continental Army. Greene commanded his troops with skill. He is best known for his appointment to 2nd in command under George Washington. Greene had great success with his troops in the Southern states where no other leaders could.

“I am determined to defend my rights and maintain my freedom or sell my life in the attempt.”

Nathanael Greene

9: Thomas Gage

Thomas Gage was a British General. In the early days of the Revolution, Gage was over all of Massachusetts. It was Gage’s orders to British troops to travel to Concord and destroy Patriot supplies that created the first battles of the Revolutionary War. Gage also was in control of British troops during the Battle of Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill. Even though British troops finally won these battles, the cost of British lives were extremely high. Gage was relieved after Bunker Hill, and he returned home to England.

“Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.”

Thomas Gage

8: Henry Clinton

Clinton was sent to strengthen British troops in Boston, but when he arrived, the siege of Boston had already begun. He was a strong commander, but he did not get along well with the British Commander-in-Chief, General Howe, who had taken over when Thomas Gage was sent back to England.

Clinton had many great ideas to destroy Washington’s troop buildup, but because of their animosity toward each other, Howe usually rejected Clinton’s ideas.

After Howe resigned as Commander-In-Chief, Clinton was given the position. When I look at the whole scenario, if Clinton’s leaders across the ocean would have listened to him more, we all may be bowing to the Queen of England today, and paying taxes to them.

Clinton was a formidable foe for the patriots, but because of higher ups, he was held back from defeating the Patriots. He had even developed the idea of freeing runaway slaves if they enlisted with the British. Many runaways soon wore the redcoats of the British Army.

After Cornwallis surrendered because he had not followed Clinton’s orders, Clinton went back to England knowing the war was all but lost.

7: Francis Marion

He was known as the Swamp Fox. When Henry Clinton had laid siege on Charleston, Francis was not captured. He had been injured and was in the country recuperating.

Marion was given troops and became the Father of guerrilla warfare. The British hated Marion because his tactics in the woods of the South were devious. He would take troops on attack missions and the British wouldn’t see them coming.

The Army Rangers look back on Francis Marion as the one who is the original Ranger. He commanded troops in many victories, and was a major reason the Patriots won the war.

6: Nathan Hale

This famous Revolutionary War Soldier didn’t live very long, but the service he provided was entrenched in courage.

Nathan had joined the Connecticut Militia, and when the siege of Boston began Nathan was still in his home state. Because of an inspirational letter from his friend, Nathan accepted the commission of 1st Lieutenant in the Connecticut Militia. They soon departed for Manhattan Island to help stop the British from the take over of New York City.

General George Washington was seeking a spy to go behind enemy lines to discover their plans. The British did get into New York and Hale was sent in in disguise, but he was discovered. Hale requested a Bible and a Clergy before the upcoming punishment he faced. The British denied both. He was marched down the main road and a 13 year old Loyalist who was once a slave tied the noose around Nathan’s neck.

Nathan Hale was hanged in front of a crowd of onlookers. He gave his life for independence; he was only 21.

“I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Nathan Hale

5: Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen lived a wild life of disorder as a young man. He had been raised in a very religious home, but when his father died, Ethan had to fend on his own in rural Connecticut. He found himself on the wrong side of the law several times, most of which were disputes over land and property.

Ethan had mustered together a group of friends with similar political and social standings. They were called the Green Mountain Boys. The Revolution started and Ethan felt obligated to help the Patriot cause. A plan was hatched to attack Ticonderoga, and all the Soldiers agreed that Ethan should lead. Benedict Arnold appeared and claimed he should lead, but all the Soldiers claimed they wouldn’t fight unless Ethan Allen led the attack.

Without one gunshot being fired, Ethan Allen entered the British commander’s quarters and ordered him to surrender. He did.

Allen was later captured by the British. He faced many hardships during his Prisoner of War status including his son dying from smallpox. His fame had reached many, and when the prison ship was in Ireland, the Irish found they had the famous Ethan Allen on-board and brought him shoes and clothes.

Ethan became a loved politician after the war.

“Princes may make laws and repeal them, but they can neither make nor destroy virtue, and how indeed should they be able to do what is impossible to the Deity himself? Virtue being as immutable in its nature as the divine will which is the ground of it.”

Ethan Allen

4: John Paul Jones

Born in Scotland, Jones always loved the seas. He served on many different ships during his younger years where he learned the complete process of operation of ships. Because of the deaths of higher ranking ship personnel, Jones soon found himself commanding slave ships.

He longed for America and immigrated to the new land. He volunteered for the new Continental Navy, and his expertise was recognized.

Jones used his cunning skills to battle British ships all over the ocean. Many to this day claim that John Paul Jones is the Father of the United States Navy.

“I have not yet begun to fight.”

John Paul Jones

3: Benedict Arnold

At the start of the Revolution, Benedict Arnold was a great leader. He participated and lead in many significant battles that aided the Patriots in the war. In many cases, others were given the glory for the work that Arnold did. The leader became dejected with how he was treated by the Continental Army leadership.

Benedict started working in secret with the British. In 1780, he was given command of West Point, New York. Arnold planned to surrender the fort to the British, but a British Soldier was caught carrying paperwork that told of the scheme.

George Washington and his troops almost caught Arnold, but he managed to escape to a British ship. Arnold became a General with the British. He fought for the Redcoats until the war’s end, and then settled in England where he was well received.

Benedict Arnold is probably the most famous traitor in history.

“Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.”

Benedict Arnold

2: Paul Revere

This famous silversmith is best known for his ride warning the people about the approaching British before the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Paul had noticed that the high taxes from the British had made his business suffer. He became engulfed in the politics to gain independence from British oppression. He became a member of the famed Sons of Liberty.

At the start of the war, Revere was not commissioned. He did help using his courier abilities, most notably the Midnight Ride. Later on in the war, Revere was commissioned into the Massachusetts Militia.

Revere’s knowledge of gunpowder and gun making were an important aspect of his service to the Army. He gave his wisdom to help us gain independence.

“Out started six officers, seized my bridle, put their pistols to my breast, ordered me to dismount, which I did. One of them, who appeared to have the command there, and much of a gentleman, asked me where I came from; I told him. He asked what time I left . I told him, he seemed surprised, said ”Sir, may I crave your name?” I answered ”My name is Revere.””

Paul Revere

1: George Washington

Of course the great General, and the 1st President of the United States of America should be #1. He was never commissioned into the British Army, but he studied all of the tactics they used.

The great George Washington led many men into battle against the British. He lost many, but never would he surrender. Washington also won many battles, and his leadership is the main reason that the Patriots won the Revolutionary War.

General Washington was the Chief of Chiefs in this war. No decision was made without his knowledge and agreement. If Washington would have been on the side of the British, I presume we would be bowing to the likes of Prince Charles or Harry.

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

George Washington

Final Thoughts

Now you know who I consider to be the top 10 most famous Revolutionary War Soldiers. We would love to hear your opinion on the subject. Feel free to give it below.

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