Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle

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University of Oklahoma Press, Apr 18, 2016 - History - 624 pages

Historians have long considered the Battle of Monmouth one of the most complicated engagements of the American Revolution. Fought on Sunday, June 28, 1778, Monmouth was critical to the success of the Revolution. It also marked a decisive turning point in the military career of George Washington. Without the victory at Monmouth Courthouse, Washington's critics might well have marshaled the political strength to replace him as the American commander-in-chief. Authors Mark Edward Lender and Garry Wheeler Stone argue that in political terms, the Battle of Monmouth constituted a pivotal moment in the War for Independence.

Viewing the political and military aspects of the campaign as inextricably entwined, this book offers a fresh perspective on Washington’s role in it. Drawing on a wide range of historical sources—many never before used, including archaeological evidence—Lender and Stone disentangle the true story of Monmouth and provide the most complete and accurate account of the battle, including both American and British perspectives. In the course of their account it becomes evident that criticism of Washington’s performance in command was considerably broader and deeper than previously acknowledged. In light of long-standing practical and ideological questions about his vision for the Continental Army and his ability to win the war, the outcome at Monmouth—a hard-fought tactical draw—was politically insufficient for Washington. Lender and Stone show how the general’s partisans, determined that the battle for public opinion would be won in his favor, engineered a propaganda victory for their chief that involved the spectacular court-martial of Major General Charles Lee, the second-ranking officer of the Continental Army.

Replete with poignant anecdotes, folkloric incidents, and stories of heroism and combat brutality; filled with behind-the-scenes action and intrigue; and teeming with characters from all walks of life, Fatal Sunday gives us the definitive view of the fateful Battle of Monmouth.

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List of Illustrations Preface
The Military Situation 17771778
George Washington and His Critics
The British and American Armies
Toward a New Campaign
The Matter of Major General Charles
Henry Clintons March
The Continental Advance
The Battle of Detachments
The Living and the Dead
Departures and Arrivals
Constructing Victory Settling Scores
Assessments and Legacies
A Campaign and Battle Chronology 16
Appendix B Continental Army Order of Battle

Expectations and Misunderstandings
Battlefield and Village
The Opening Round
General Lees Battle
The Washington and Lee Affair
The Point of Woods and the Hedgerow
The Great Cannonade
British Army Order of Battle
Index of Military Units
General Index

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About the author (2016)

Mark Edward Lender is Professor Emeritus of History at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, and the coauthor of A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic and Citizen Soldier: The Revolutionary War Journal of Joseph Bloomfield.

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