When George Washington led the United States to victory in the American Revolution, he did so in collaboration with seventy-three other men who served as major and brigadier generals in the Continental Army over the course of the war. In Washington’s Revolutionary War Generals
(University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), Stephen R. Taaffe
describes the roles these commanders played and their contributions to the war effort. As Taaffe explains, while there were plenty of men in the colonies at the start of the war with combat experience, there was no professional military tradition among the colonial leadership. With appointments determined by the Continental Congress, selection occurred from the ranks of the social elite with considerable attention given to political considerations. Though Washington possessed no formal power to name generals, the Continental Congress often deferred to his recommendations, and thanks to his ability to recognize talent a number of men were promoted who made notable contributions to the revolutionary cause. As Taaffe demonstrates, while some won glory and others commanded in obscurity, in the end their combined leadership played a vital role in winning the colonies their independence.