People tend to think about the Revolutionary War in idealistic terms. It was a gentlemen’s war, fought with clearly delineated rules of war. That usually ignores basic facts, like how during the battle of Yorktown, General Cornwallis deliberately infected escaped slaves — who were under his protection — with smallpox and sent them into the no mans land between Yorktown and the American lines in an effort to infect American troops. It ignores the messy guerrilla warfare between settlers and native Americans throughout the colonies, and the extremely violent responses by the Americans. We tend to collectively ignore these facts, and fail to realize that the war, particularly on the frontier and in the South, more closely resembled Vietnam than the Revolutionary War of out collective consciousness.

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