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American Revolution

Generals and Military Leaders

History >> American Revolution

The Revolutionary War had many strong leaders on both sides. Below we've listed some of the most famous and important generals and military leaders for both the United States and the British. The French were allies with the Americans and some French officers are listed under the United States.

United States

Portrait of Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene
by Charles Wilson Peale
George Washington - Washington was the overall leader and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

Nathanael Greene - Nathanael Greene served under Washington at the start of the war and then took over the Southern Theatre of the war where he successfully defeated the British in the South.

Henry Knox - Knox was a bookstore owner in Boston who quickly rose to the rank of chief artillery officer under George Washington. He fought in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau - Rochambeau was the commander of the French forces in the war. His main action was at the end of the war at the Siege of Yorktown.

Portrait of Henry Knox
Henry Knox
by Charles Wilson Peale
Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse - De Grasse was leader of the French Navy. He played an important role fighting the British fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake and at Yorktown.

Horatio Gates - Gates was a controversial figure during the war. He led the Continental Army to a key victory at Saratoga, but also suffered a major defeat at Camden. He once tried to get Congress to make him commander over George Washington.

Daniel Morgan - Morgan led at a number of important battles including the invasion of Canada and Saratoga. He is most known for his decisive victory at the Battle of Cowpens.

Marquis de Lafayette - Lafayette was a French commander who served under George Washington during much of the war. He participated in several battles including the Siege of Yorktown.

John Paul Jones - Jones was a naval commander who captured several British ships. He is sometimes called the "Father of the United States Navy."

Portrait of William Howe
William Howe by H.B. Hall
British

William Howe - Howe was the leader of the British forces from 1776 to 1777. He led several campaigns that led to the capture of New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.

Henry Clinton - Clinton took over as the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces from Howe in early 1778.

Charles Cornwallis - Cornwallis led British troops in many battles including the Battle of Long Island and the Battle of Brandywine. He was given command of the army in the Southern theatre in 1779. He was successful at first, but eventually ran out of resources and troops and was forced to surrender at Yorktown.

John Burgoyne - Burgoyne is most famous for his defeat at Saratoga where he surrendered his army to the Americans.

Guy Carleton - Carleton began the war as governor of Quebec. He took over as lead commander for the British at the end of the war.

Portrait of Charles Cornwallis
Charles Cornwallis
by John Singleton Copley
Thomas Gage - Gage was the commander of the British forces in North America in the early stages of the war. He was replaced by Howe after the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Both Sides

Benedict Arnold - Arnold began the war as a leader of American troops where he played a key role at Fort Ticonderoga, the invasion of Canada, and the Battle of Saratoga. He later became a traitor and changed sides. He served as a brigadier general for the British.

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