Dick Martiny, Author

May 06, 2017

A while back our esteemed classmate wrote a book which might appeal to the military buffs amongst us...

Military Beginnings: Early Development of American and Maryland Forces

Military Beginnings opens with an examination of the development of militia and regular military forces in the Near East, the Mediterranean rim and Europe, from their ancient beginnings to the early 17th century, when the American colonization was in its infancy. The focus then shifts from the Old World to the New, primarily Maryland, where its early development of militia military units and their utilization in the Province's defense against internal and external threats is dealt with in detail through the Seven Years/French and Indian War. As the Revolution approached, Maryland and the other colonies stepped up their efforts to develop independent military forces, initially to defend themselves, and then to aggressively engage the British. Smallwood's Maryland Regiment was the first regular military unit created by the Marylanders in early 1776. It became the state's first regiment incorporated into the growing Continental Army commanded by George Washington. After he had successfully forced William Howe to leave Boston for Halifax, Nova Scotia, Washington moved his army to New York. He thought, correctly, that it would be Howe's next objective. Howe departed from Halifax and in the summer of 1776 met the British and Hessian troops that his brother Lord Richard's fleet had brought from Europe on Staten Island. Washington positioned the majority his troops on Long Island in the mistaken belief that they would be able to adequately cope with and contain the British professionals. Howe also transferred his units to Long Island. On August 27, 1776 he attacked, maneuvered around the Americans' left flank and proceeded to route them. Washington's army was disintegrating before his eyes. Smallwood's Maryland Regiment, with fewer than 400 men, attacked thousands of enemy soldiers multiple times, delaying their advance and allowing many of the fleeing Americans to reach the safety of Brooklyn Heights. Military Beginnings explores Smallwood's Regiment in detail, its origins, organization, and training in an attempt to determine what military traditions, if any, what expertise, if any, what experience, if any, existed which the Marylanders could build on when creating their Revolutionary War military units, especially this one. Washington's army was able to withdraw from Long Island and survived five years until it forced Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in October 1781. Smallwood's Regiment became the core of what evolved into two Maryland Brigades, which fought successfully throughout the rest of the war. They weren't at Yorktown, but their actions and bravery on Long Island were instrumental in allowing the Continental Army to survive long enough to get there. Military Beginnings answers the question of how they did it.


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