Artillery in the American Revolution


"It is with peculiar Pleasure . . . that the Commander in Chief can inform General Knox and the Officers of Artillery that the Enemy have done them the Justice to acknowledge that no Artillery could be better served than ours." -George Washington, General Orders for June 29, 1778, following the Battle of Monmouth

Background Reading


• Birkhimer, William Edward. (1884). Organization-Generally. Historical Sketch of the Organization, Administration, Material and Tactics of the Artillery, United States Army, (pp. 1-67). Washington DC: James J. Chapman

• Dastrup, Boyd L. (1992). Birth Pains: 1775-1783. King of Battle: A Branch History of the U.S. Army's Field Artillery (pp. 1-34). Virginia: United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.

• McKeney, Janice E. (2007). The Beginnings. The Organizational History of Field Artillery 1775-2003, (pp. 3-11). Washington DC: Center of Military History.

• Steward, Richard W. ed. (2009). The American Revolution, First Phase & The Winning of Independence, 1777-1783. American Military History, Vol. 1: The United States Army and the Forging of a Nation, 1775-1917 (pp. 45-106). Washinton DC: Center of Military History.

• U.S. Army Field Artillery School. (1984). Revolutionary War. Right of the Line: A History of the American Field Artillery. Fort Sill: U.S. Army Field Artillery School.

Manucy, Albert. (1949). Artillery Through the Ages: A Short Illustrated History of Cannon, Emphasizing Types Used in America. Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office.



• Caruana, Adrian B. (1990). The Tin Case-Shot in the 18th Century. Arms Collecting, 28, 1, 11-17.

• Carafano, James J., Nelson John H., & Brereton, Timothy P. (1999). A Guide, Readings For Studying History Of The Field Artillery. The Artilleryman Magazine, 20, No. 2.

• The Coast Artillery Journal staff. (1928). Early Artillery Organization. The Coast Artillery Journal, 69, No. 5, 418-425.

• Field Artillery Journal staff. (1975). Yesterday's Artillery: May-June 1775. Field Artillery Journal, 60-61.

• Field Artillery Journal staff. (1975). Yesterday's Artillery: July-August 1775. Field Artillery Journal, 60-61.

• McMaster, Fitzhugh. (1977). Colonial Cannon: South Carolina Artillery 1670-1813. Field Artillery Journal, 45, No. 5, 47-50.

•Spaulding, Oliver Lyman. (1940). Artillery Episodes: Revolutionary War- The Beginnings of Our Artillery. Washington and Knox; Boston and Ticonderoga. Field Artillery Journal, 206-208.

• Downey, Fairfax. (1955). Birth of the Continental Artillery. Military Collector and Historian, 8 , No. 3, 61-69.

• Ferling, John. (2007). Rethinking the Revolution.  American History, 42.

• Holst, Donald W. (1987). Further Notes on the King Howitzer. Military Collector and Historian, 38, 162-165.

• Holst, Donald W. (1988). The Use of Carronade During the American Revolution. Military Collector and Historian, 40, 160-161.

• Jones, James T. & Elting, John R. (1976). Continental Artillery 1776-1783. Military Collector and Historian, 28, 12-14

• Kirschbaum, Joseph W. & Resney, Autum. (2002). Fort Ticonderoga’s Captured Cannons gave American Rebels a Chance to Seize Boston.Military History, 19.

• Tucker, Spencer C. (1975). Cannon Founders of the American Revolution. National Defense, 60, 33-37.

• Weller, Jac. (1956). The Artillery of the American Revolution – Part II. Military Collector and Historian, 8, 97-101.

• Weller, Jac. (1956). The Artillery of the American Revolution – Part I.  Military Collector and Historian, 8, 61-65.

• Weller, Jac. (1962). Revolutionary War Artillery in the South. Georgia Historical Quarterly, 46, 250-273, 377-387.


Student Papers

• Ferris, J.H. (1919). The Development of Field Artillery in the U.S. Army. Fort Sill: United States Field Artillery School.

• Gailar, Steven R. (1969). The Birth of the American Field Artillery: Bunker Hill to Fort Ticonderoga and Back. Fort Sill: United States Field Artillery School.

• Jacobs, Charles G. (1969). Birth and Development of the American Field Artillery. Fort Sill: United States Field Artillery School.

• Johnson, Craig F. (1969). The Birth of the American Field Artillery---From Bunker Hill to Fort Ticonderoga and Back. Fort Sill: United States Field Artillery School.



Henry Knox


•Drake, Francis. (1873). Life and Correspondence of Henry Knox: Major-General in the American Revolutionary Army. Boston: Samuel G. Drake.

• Campbell, James Wall Schureman. (1910). Major-General Henry Knox.



• Heit, Richard L. (1979). "Henry Knox, The Father of American Artillery," Field Artillery Journal, 47, 5, 48-55.

• Shepherd. Joshua. (2010). Henry Knox Created & Commanded Washington’s Rev. War Artillery Arm. The Artilleryman Magazine, 31, 2.


Online Sources

General Henry Knox []

Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment []

The Knox Trail-History []


Student Papers

• Fisher, George J.B. (1934). "Father Knox". Fort Sill: The Field Artillery School.

Print Sources

• Brooks, Noah. (1974). Henry Knox, A Soldier of the Revolution: Major-General in the Continental Army, Washington's Chief of Artillery. NY: Da Capo.

• Callahan, North. (1958). Henry Knox: General Washington's General. NY: Rinehart. 

• Puls, Mark. (2010). Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.




"I have had many forty two exceedingly strong sleds & have provided eighty yoke of oxen to drag them as far as Springfield where I shall get fresh cattle to carry them from here to Albany or Kinderhook but on sleds the roads being very gullied- at present the sledding is tolerable to Saratoga about 26 miles; beyond that there is none- I have sent for sleds & teams to come here & expect to begin moving them to Saratoga on Wednesday or Thursday next trusting that between this & then we shall have a fine fall of snow which will enable us to proceed further & make the carriage easy- If that should be the case I hope in 16 or 17 days to be able to present your Excellency a noble train off artillery"

--Dairy of Henry Knox, Fort George, December 17, 1775 [To General Washington]




"One of the most impressive developments in the Continental Army was the creation of the artillery arm. Not even in existence at the beginning of the war, this branch of service grew to a point where big guns became the decisive factor in the Yorktown campaign...Henry Knox was the person primarily responsible for this amazing expansion."

--North Callahan, George Washington's Generals and Opponents: Their Exploits and Leadership. 1944.




General Lafayette, who had come to regard himself as an American, enthusiastically shouted above the din. " We fire faster than the French. Upon my honor I speak the truth. American artillery- one of the wonders of the Revolution"

--Fairfax Downey, The Sound of Guns: The Story of American Artillery from the Ancient and Honorable Company to the Atom Cannon and Guided Missile," NY: David MacKay Company, Inc. 1955.



General Knox, who has deservedly acquired the Character of One of the most valuable Officers in the Service, and who, combating almost innumerable difficulties in the department he fills, has placed Artillery upon a footing, that does him the greatest Honor.

--George Washington, letter to Continental Congress, May 31, 1777




Molly Pitcher

• Downey, Fairfax. The Girls Behind the Guns. American Heritage Publishing, 1956.

• Hendricks, Robert F. The Rocket's Red Glare- The Artillery at Baltimore and Mchenry; The Molly Pitcher's of Field Artillery- Molly Pitcher at Monmouth; Molly Corbin. Student Paper, 1969.

• Hogenhout, Frank P. The Rocket's Red Glare- The Artillery at Baltimore and Mchenry; The Molly Pitcher's of Field Artillery- Molly Pitcher at Monmouth; Molly Corbin. Student Paper, 1969.

• McDonald, Constance M. Molly Pitcher: Who Was She? Field Artillery Journal, August 1990.

Molly Pitcher

Pitcher, Molly (Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley)

• Smith, Samuel. A Molly Pitcher Chronology. NJ: Philip Freneau Press 1972.


Artillery in the American Revolution

This page contains select websites, books, and articles on the Continental Army artillery and its importance to the colonists and allies during the American Revolution.


Select Bibliography

Online Sources

The Price of Freedom: Americans at War []  

France in the Revolution []

Lafayette and the Virginia Campaign 1781 []

Military Resources – American Revolution []

Online Bookshelves Revolutionary War []

RevWar'75 []

Weapons of the American Revolution []


Print Sources

Alden, John R. (1989).  A History of the American Revolution. Cambridge: Da Capo Press.

Archer, Richard. (2010).  As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution. NY:  Oxford  University Press.

• Billias, George Athan. (1994). George Washington's Generals and Opponents: Their Exploits and Leadership. NY: Da Capo Press.

Bonwick, Colin. (1991). The American Revolution. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.

• Downey, Faifax. (1966). Cannonade: Great Artillery Actions of History the Famous Cannons and the Master Gunners. NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

• Downey, Fairfax. (1956). Sound of the Guns: The Story of American Artillery form the Ancient and Honorable Company to the Atom Cannon and Guided Missile. NY: David McKay Company, Inc.

Ellis, Joseph J. (2004).  His Excellency:  George Washington. NY:  Knopf.

Ferling, John. ed. (1988). The World Turned Upside Down: The American Victory in the War of Independence. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Gooding, S. James. (1965). Introduction to British Artillery in North America. Ontario:  Museum Restoration Service.

Hibbert, Christopher. (1990). Redcoats & Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes. NY:  Norton. 

Higginbotham, Don. (1985). George Washington and the American Military Tradition. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Higginbotham, Don. (1971). The War of American Independence: Military Attitudes, Policies, and Practice, 1763-1789. NY:  Macmillan.

Hughes, B. P. (1969).  British Smooth-Bore Artillery:  The Muzzle Loading Artillery of the 18th and 19th Centuries. PA:  Stackpole Books.

Idzera, Stanley J. ed. (1975). France and the American War for Independence. NY: Scott Limited Editions.

McAfee, Michael J. (1976). Artillery in the American Revolution. Washington American Defense Preparedness Association.

McCullough., David. (2005).  1776. NY:  Simon & Schuster.

Martin, James Kirby, and Mark Edward Lender. (1982). A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789. Arlington Heights, Ill.: Harlan Davidson.

Middlekauff, Robert. (1982). The Glorious Cause:  The American Revolution, 1763-1789. NY:  Oxford University Press.

Palmer, Dave Richard. (1975). The Way of the Fox:  American Strategy in the War for America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Peckham, Howard Henry. (1958). The War for Independence, a Military History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Peterson, Harold. (1969). Round Shot and Rammers. NY: Bonanza Books.

Robson, Eric. (1966). The American Revolution in Its Political and Military Aspects, 1763-1783. NY: W. W. Norton. 

Shy, John. (1976). A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence. NY: Oxford Univ. Press.

Spring, Matthew H. (2008). With Zeal and with Bayonets Only: The British Army on Campaign in North America, 1775-1783. OK:  University of Oklahoma Press.

Stinchcombe, William C. (1969). The American Revolution and the French Alliance. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse Univ. Press.

Stokesbury, James L. (1991). A Short History of the American Revolution. NY: W. Morrow.  

Wallace, Willard M. (1951). Appeal to Arms: A Military History of the American Revolution. NY: Harper & Brothers.

Wickwire, Franklin and Mary. (1970). Cornwallis: The American Adventure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Wood, W. J. (1990). Battles of the Revolutionary War, 1775-1781. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.


Continental Army


Captain Hamilton of the Artillery

A History of the Organizational Development of the Continental Artillery during the American Revolution

Major General the Baron Von Steuben Trains Commander-in-Chief Guard.

• Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton / Ron Chernow. NY: Penguin Press, 2004.

• Kajencki, Francis. Thaddeus Kosciuszko: Military Engineer of the American Revolution. TX: Southwest Polonia Press, c1998.

• Lockhart, Paul Douglas. The Drillmaster of Valley Forge: The Baron de Steuben and the Making of the American Artillery. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Books; NY: Collins, 2008.

• Mitchell, Broadus. Alexander Hamilton: The Revolutionary Years. NY: Crowell, 1970.

• Stevens, Phillip H. (1965). Alexander Hamilton's Company of Artillery. Artillery Through the Ages (pp.35-45). NY: Franklin Watts, Inc.

• Wright, Robert K. The Continental Army.Washington D.C. : USA Center of Military History, 1983.


Online Sources

America's Revolutionary 'Peasant Prince'[]

Artillery Units []

A Brief Profile of the Continental Army []

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben []

Thaddeus Kosciuszko []




Dorchester Heights/Boston


• Bowne, Wm. L. (1975). Ye Cohorn Caravan: The Knox Expedition in the Winter of 1775-76. NY: NaPaul Publishers Inc.

• Strum, Richard L. (2007). Henry Knox: Washington's Artilleryman. NJ: OTTN Publishing.



• Perry, Clay. (1955). Big Guns for Washington. American Heritage, 6, 3.


Print Sources

• French, Allen. (1991). The Seige of Boston. NY: Macmillan.




• Carter, Michael D. (1998). From the Parade Ground to the Battlefield: Henry Knox and the Battle of Monmouth. Field Artillery Journal, 12-16.

Trussell, J.B.B. (1949). Artillery and the Battle of Monmouth. Field Artillery Journal, 39, 5, 221-223.

• Wade, David R. (1998). Battle of Monmouth. Military History Magazine.


Online Sources

Battle of Monmouth []

Correspondence between Major General Charles Lee and George Washington []


Print Sources

• Stryker, William S. (1927). The Battle of Monmouth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.




• Drake, Samuel Adams. (1895). The Campaign of Trenton 1776-77. Boston: Lee and Shepard Publishers.

• Fuller, J.F.C. (2007). The Surprise at Trenton and the Battle of Princeton, 1776-1777. Decisive Battles of the U.S.A. 1776-1918 (pp.12-36). Nebraska: University of Nebraska Printing Press.

Stryker, William S. (1898). The Battles of Trenton and Princeton. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.



• Cubbison, Douglas. (2011). Through Fire or Water: The March from Ticonderoga to Trenton. Patriots of the American Revolution.

• Weller, Jac. (1956). Guns of Destiny: Field Artillery in the Trenton-Princeton Campaign, 25 December 1776 to 3 January 1776 . Military Affairs, 20, 1-11.


Online Sources

Artillery and the Crossing []


Print Sources

• Dwyer, William M. (1983). The Day is Our! November 1776-January 1777: An Inside View of the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. NY: Viking Press.

• Fischer, David Hackett. (2004). Washington's Crossing. NY: Oxford University Press.

• Ketchum, Richard M. (1999). The Winter Soldiers: The Battles for Trenton and Princeton. NY: Holt Paperbacks.

• Press, William. (1992). Victory by Precise Plan. Miller Military History, 8, 42-49




• Cullins, Joseph P. (1781). The Story of the Last Campaign of the American Revolution: Victory at Yorktown. Washington DC: Government Printing Office.



• Evans, Robert M. The King of Battle: Ruler of Yorktown. Field Artillery Journal September-October 1981.

• Hure, Henri. (1986). The French Artillery at the Battle of Yorktown. Field Artillery Journal, 54, 5, 34-37.

• Pruett, W. Cochren. The Siege of Yorktown: Joint and Multinational Operations in the American Revolution. Field Artillery Journal. July-August 2003.

• Rudolph, Jack. Triumph at Yorktown. American Heritage Publishing, 1981.


Online Sources

Artillery at the Siege of Yorktown, 1781 []

• Hatch, Charles E. Jr. Yorktown and the Siege of 1781. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1954.

Journal of the Siege of York-town

Siege of Yorktown 1781

The Story of the Campaign and Siege of Yorktown

The Virginia Campaign and the Blockade and Siege of Yorktown 1781

U.S. Army Shows Replica Redoubt 10, A Key To British Defeat At Yorktown

Units at Yorktown

Yorktown Campaign August-October 1781

Yorktown Battle-Animation


Print Sources

• Danckert, Stephen C. The Siege of Yorktown Coalition Warfare. Military Review, Volume: 73, no. 1, pp. 15-20.

• Davis, Burke. The Campaign that Won America: The Story that Won America. NY: The Dial Press, 1970.

• Fleming, Thomas J. Beat the Last Drum: The Siege of Yorktown, 1781. NY: St. Martin's Press, 1963.

• Green, Jerome A. The Guns of Independence: The Siege of Yorktown, 1781.

• Johnston, Henry P. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. Williamstown, MA: Corner House, 1975.

• Ketchum, Richard M. Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign that Won the Revolution. NY: Henry Holt & Co., 2004.



Primary Sources

• de Tousard, Louis, Inspector of Artillery, Continental Army. American Artillerist's Companion.

Henry Knox letters 1775-1797

Hints for the Improvement of the Artillery of the United States

• Kościuszko, Tadeusz..Manœuvres of Horse Artillery. NY: Campbell & Mitchell, 1808.

Letters to and from George Washington- Revolutionary War Years

• Muller, John. ed. A Treatise of which is prefixed, an introduction, with...1757

• Robins, Benjamin. New Principles of Gunnery: Containing, the Determination of the Force of Gun.

• Steuben, Frederick von. Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. Albany: Daniel & Samuel Whiting, 1803.

The Reports of General George Washington

War Department Papers on "Tousard - Artillery"