Chapter 1

The Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

"The essential principles of our Government…form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety."

President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
3rd President of the United States
First Inaugural Address, 1801

Thomas Jefferson

June 17, 1775 – The first major fight between British and American troops occurs in Boston at the Battle of Bunker Hill. American troops are dug in along the high ground of Breed's Hill (the actual location) and are attacked by a frontal assault of over 2,000 British soldiers who storm up the hill. The Americans are ordered not to fire until they can see "the whites of their eyes."

As they get within 15 paces, the Americans let loose a deadly volley of rifle fire and halt the British advance.

The British then regroup and attack 30 minutes later with the same result. A third attack, however, succeeds as the Americans run out of ammunition and are left only with bayonets and stones to defend themselves. The British succeed in taking the hill, but at a loss of half their force, over a thousand casualties, with the Americans losing about 400, including the important colonial leader, General Joseph Warren.

I am voting in honor of Benjamin King, who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War.
John K. Willard, Gardiner
Served in Korea

Maine's Role in the Revolutionary War

At the time of the American Revolution, Maine, not a State until 1820, was part of Massachusetts. Because of Maine's remoteness from the authorities in Boston and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the inhabitants received little military support despite the proximity of the British across the border in Canada and constant pressure from the Royal Navy along the coast. Apart from Benedict Arnold's ill-fated expedition to Quebec through the wilderness of western Maine, most military action took place up and down the vulnerable coast.

June 1775 – A Machias seaman, Jeremiah O'Brien, leads the rebel raid on the British schooner HMS Margaretta and two other vessels on the Machias River, the first naval battle of the American Revolution.

The British retaliate by burning the Town of Falmouth (now the City of Portland) in the autumn of that year. Other attempts by Revolutionary forces, like the unsuccessful "Penobscot Expedition" aimed at driving the British out of their fortifications at Castine, also fail. The War for American Independence was successfully fought and won elsewhere.

There were two ways in which a man might serve the Revolutionary cause: most men, like Daniel Sullivan, joined a local militia unit to serve for a three- or nine-month stint, subject to a call-up in response to a nearby emergency; others joined what was known as the Regular Continental Army for three years or for the duration of hostilities. These men were often stationed far from their homes. Their units operated under the direct command of General George Washington.

Several Maine responses, like the following, honored ancestors and early settlers who had served in the Revolutionary War:

I am voting in memory of Daniel Sullivan, who was a Revolutionary War hero; our town is named for him. He was Captain of the 2nd Company, 6th Lincoln County Regiment of Militia.
Lynn A. Dunbar, Sullivan

Grave Registration Card for Captain Daniel Sullivan

Grave Registration Card for Captain Daniel Sullivan, who served with Colonel Benjamin Foster at Machias and at "Majorbagaduce," now the Town of Castine.  –Maine State Archives

I am voting in honor of Joshua Williams, my 5th great-grandfather by marriage. He served in the Revolutionary War and later founded the Town of Great Pond around 1810.
Joan P. Archer, Aurora

July 10, 1779 – Naval ships from Massachusetts are destroyed by the British while attempting to take the Loyalist stronghold of Castine, Maine.

Nathaniel Warren, my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, served from 1778-1781 in Colonel Henry Jackson's 16th Massachusetts Regiment…He made a forced march from Providence to Boston to relieve the militia on the Castine Expedition.
Charles H. Warren, Scarborough
Served in WWII

When we vote, we will do so in honor of Captain Nathan Daggett, our 5th great-grandfather, who was a captain in the American Revolution.
Lynda N. Quinn, Skowhegan
Vanessa L. Quinn, Skowhegan

Faneuil Hall, Boston (1789)

Faneuil Hall, Boston (1789)

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