I read "The Real Revolution" [July 7-14] with interest and disappointment.
The fact that the early Army was made up of "unmarried men in their early 20s who took up arms not to defend some abstract ideal but because they were offered money and land" upset me at first reading. My mind wandered back to my own military service during the late 1960s and early 1970s as the Vietnam War was at its most controversial. In retrospect, I admit that my motivations for joining were mixed, just as I suspect that the reasons for the "signing up" of these young men were. In large part, my volunteering to serve was because I knew that I would earn an income and be provided shelter, clothing, and meals every day. Does it mean I was a mercenary? I think not. Simply because the ideal of patriotism is not primary does not mean it is nonexistent.
Rev. L. Harry Soucy
Your American Revolution articles are marvelous, especially "For Blacks, No Clear Choice" on the role of African-Americans. Their desire for freedom was reflected in the fact that thousands of slaves fled to the British. Although many of them died during the war, more than 15,000 African-Americans were evacuated by the British from the United States at the end of the war—much to the chagrin of General Washington and other (primarily Virginian) slave owners. This is an area ripe for even more research.
Edward H. Bonekemper III
Adjunct Lecturer in Military History
It's admirable to research old records, but I strongly object to referring to the history of our country as "fables" or "myths." It is this very history that I learned in school over 75 years ago that has inspired the patriotism that has served us so well all down through the years.
Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Regarding "Always a Traitor, but Once a Patriot," Benedict Arnold remains one of the most misunderstood figures in American history. Readers may enjoy the historical fiction of Kenneth Roberts, particularly Rabble in Arms, which tells the story of some of Arnold's early exploits in the Revolution. It's a book that shouldn't be forgotten.
One of the "Did You Know..." sidebars casts doubt on the truth of the Molly Pitcher tale, but believers, take heart. One of the confirmed versions of this Revolutionary War folktale involves Margaret Corbin, who was at the Battle of Fort Washington in upper Manhattan at her artilleryman husband's side. When he was killed in a Hessian assault on their position, she took over firing his cannon until she was hit by enemy fire. In the aftermath, she became the first woman to receive a pension from Congress, and she is the only Revolutionary War soldier buried at the West Point military cemetery.
Louis A. Claudio
Safety Harbor, Fla.
I wonder how many in our current administration noticed the last two lines on Page 48 of "Allied With the Enemy of Our Enemy": "France paid...through loans rather than through increased taxation, causing a serious economic crisis when the bills came due...that helped trigger the French Revolution." Any government that borrows from others instead of being fiscally responsible within its own country will eventually collapse. Loans do come due.
Lana E. Mason