Category: Revolutionary Characters

The Fruit Seller’s Portrait

Among the treasures in the care of the American Revolution Institute—owned for nearly two hundred years by the New York State Society of the Cincinnati—is an enigmatic portrait painted by John Trumbull at the height of his career. The sitter, Bryan Rossiter, is a handsome man in middle age, in what appears to be a […]

Lost Hero of Yorktown

The British surrender at Yorktown is remembered as a triumph for George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau. Students of the siege know that Admiral de Grasse played a central role in the allied victory, Alexander Hamilton distinguished himself in a daring attack on the British lines, and Henry Knox directed the artillery bombardment that […]

Benjamin Lincoln’s Fireside

With the Revolutionary War finally over, Benjamin Lincoln returned home to Hingham, Massachusetts. He had left in 1776, a stout and sturdy farmer of forty-three, respected in his community but little known beyond. He returned a major general. He had helped force the surrender of one army, surrendered one himself, and accepted the surrender of […]

The Heroic Jeffrey Brace

We have no portrait of Private Jeffrey Brace, and no more than a hint of a description of him. The records of his service in the Revolutionary War, like those of thousands of other black soldiers who fought for independence, are scattered, fragmentary, and confused. Assembling and assessing what remains rewards us with a rich […]

Plunkett Fleeson, Revolutionary Upholsterer

A prosperous craftsman whose trade serves the very wealthy is an unlikely sort of revolutionary. He has too much invested in stability to welcome economic upheaval, and too much invested in relationships with customers, suppliers and peers to welcome revolutionary change—or so it would seem. Yet such craftsmen were among the active supporters of American […]