David Mccullough’s “1776” Essay

David McCullough. who has won Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awards two times impresses in his book” 1776 “ that the twelvemonth 1776 is one of the most important old ages in annals of U. S. A. McCullough segregates his book non by cardinal military brushs but by negligible incidents with major effects on those brushs.

McCullough in his book “1776” limpidly explains the exultant American besieging of Boston in 1775. the ruinous defence of New York City against resistless British military personnels in the late summer of 1776. the Continental Army’s near brush with disintegration and failure and its first-class dead-of-winter success over the Hessians and the British at Princeton and Trenton as 1776 gave manner to 1777. Harmonizing to McCullough. General Washington was non without defects but as a military inexpert who was out-generaled by his British antagonists.

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By showing the strength to which American luck had descended by mid-November 1776. McCullough lauds the victory in Trenton and illustrates that how American gallantry is yet once more demonstrated. McCullough restricts himself to events that occurred in a individual calendar twelvemonth and a little more. Further. he zeros in on a individual individual –General Washington. McCullough prose is fashionable. sturdy and has a novelist manner of construction and tempo. The pick of twelvemonth 1776 is wise one as it was the twelvemonth of roller-coaster drive in footings of American military victory.

“1776” began on a high note when General Henry Knox. taking the benefit of terrible winter conditions. employed sleighs and flatboats to transport about 60 dozenss of cannons and howitzers down from Fort Ticonderoga in northern New York and across snow heaped Massachusetts countryside. 1 Negociating uneasily in the dark. General Washington troops successfully placed the heavy weapon atop Dorchester Heights. confronting Boston Harbor. in early March 1776. Though. the metropolis was under the control of British. they were now openly exposed and the British had no other pick but to retreat.

The three cardinal chapters of book are categorized as follows ; ? The Siege? Fateful Summer? The Long Retreat In the first chapter “The Siege” . McCullough narrate the military characteristics of war. It is to be recalled that the rubric “The Siege” was coined after the munitions made at Dorchester Heights. In this chapter. McCullough recounted penetration to the heads of battlers on each side of the brush with extracts from letters written by soldiers.

At that point of clip. warriors on each side were under the feeling that they had the adequate motivations to contend but did non recognize that it would shortly transform. Howe. the general on the British side was a adult male of action and had non any forbearance to wait and wanted to settle his mark with American troop immediately. However. General Washington was most concerned about the rawness and deficiency of cognition of his warriors. Further. adding fuel to the fire. there was deficit of pieces and ammos on American side which had made General Washington to worry approximately.

At this occasion. McCullough recalled the exact words used by General Washington when he narrated this unstable state of affairs to his brother through a missive. “We had fewer slugs than ripples and non equal ripples for every soldier and non adequate soldiers to win into the war. ” The deficit of pieces for Rebels was such that General Washington had issued stipulation to those who wanted to fall in him to contend against British to convey pieces with them from the farm.

This scenario competently illustrates how American side was in rickety status as respects to pieces and ammo as compared to the mighty British ground forces. Further. in this Chapter. McCullough describes the information exchanged by General Washington with his married woman through letters which detailed the jobs and booby traps faced by Rebels and how American ground forces was handicapped and devised its scheme against the mighty British. However. as per McCullough. General Washington was extremely diplomatic as he ne’er revealed how frenetic the scenario was to American soldiers at that occasion.

In one another missive to his brother. General Washington was of the sentiment that he wanted to be an enlisted warrior instead than keeping the place of General and ever concerned for the soldier’s morality. At the decision of the first chapter. McCullough narrates that fortuitously General Knox arrived in Dorchester with much wanted cannons and due to this. the hereafter looked really dazing for the American soldiers. The 2nd chapter has been named as “Fateful Summer” since General Washington was under feeling that the fate of unborn 1000000s now reckon on his success.

General Washington cautioned his troop that failure was non an option and at any cost. they must accomplish success. Major part of this chapter devotes to memoirs of General John Sullivan. Major Joseph Reed and General Rufus Putnam. McCullough recalls that there is absence of integrity among settlements at that occasion. Since. bulk of the generals were from South. they had experiencing that they were superior to generals acclaiming from North.

McCullough reveals this through the conversation that had occurred between General Washington and General Graydon as they vouched that “Yankees were despairingly organized” and did non visualise that the northern regiments would be able to safeguard their place in conflict. However. Southern leading found that they had a misconception on the strength of the northern regiments when they smartly wrestled and won in Bunker Hill and in Lexington. McCullough illustrates that bulk of work forces who has joined the regiment at that occasion were from northern settlements.

McCullough besides refers General Washington’s quotation mark that he did non imagine any concern with Negroes who have so freed from their bondage but was non particularly harmonic with them in his position and rank. McCullough besides portraits immature soldiers who have joined the regiment did non hold any subject as no proper preparation were imparted to these immature new recruits. Further. these immature soldiers were besides affected by sexually transmitted diseases when they had relationship with cocottes who roamed the New York City at that clip and there was besides deficit of medical specialty to bring around them.

Harmonizing Washington estimation. he lost more 10. 000 soldiers due to prevalence of little box and genital disease. This chapter ends with note that though American suffered a large licking. nevertheless they were united in their cause and had programs to fly off to New York to settle their tonss in another twenty-four hours. The 3rd and concluding chapter is named as “Fortune Frowns” . In this chapter. McCullough explains how Washington informed their licking to Congress. McCullough uses most of the letters written by Washington to his married woman in this chapter to narrate the incidents.

However. Washington ne’er exchange military or warfare schemes with his married woman this clip as in the past but gave direction about how interior had to be organized in his abode. With licking in the Battles of Long Island and Brooklyn. Washington. his military personnels and the state were witnessing really difficult clip. In his missive to Governor Trumbull which was written on December 14. 1776. Washington mentioned that he wanted to presume hazard to any extent and all that he needed was a spot of fortune.

Washington besides unraveled in that missive that his scheme was to traverse the Delaware during the dark and pay an onslaught on Trenton steeping from three sides. This clip there was first-class cooperation among the dominating generals. Washington scheme worked good and onslaught after traversing Delaware during dark was a singular victory for Washington. McCullough in his reasoning portion of the book made a high note about the success in Trenton conflict.

McCullough in his book “1776” narrates several inspirational addresss delivered by General Washington to his soldiers from his Equus caballus back. It is to be observed that General Washington’s greatest endowment was his capableness to animate even the most timid soldier to go brave plenty to wrestle. Success in Trenton has proved American gallantry one time once more. McCullough wish to remind us that Americans have to value their ancestor’s expansive forfeit and if Americans fail to acknowledge the same. freedom may steal away from them.

The lesson of the book is that exclusive intent to remind the conflict against British in the twelvemonth 1776 is to conserve the good workss accomplished for Americans in the yesteryear so that American can fix for the undertakings and tests which still lie in front. Hence. this is history as a construction of national rearmament that is why it harmonizes so nicely with the embattled state pique.


Countryman. Edward. “1776. ” The Historian 69. no. 1 ( 2007 ) : 120+ . Daniel Lazare. ”Patriotic Bore: 1776 by McCullough–book reappraisal. ” The Nation. 281 [ 7 ] [ 2005 ] : p. 31-37. Kingseed. Cole C. “1776. ” Parameters 35. no. 4 ( 2005 ) : 128+ .