Funny facts of the Revolutionary War (share with your students!)

american revolution for history teachers fun & interesting facts

Peak your student’s interest when it comes to teaching them all about the American Revolutionary War by sharing these fun and interesting facts with them! (Some of them are really funny)


Known for his horrible dance skills, George Washington once danced for three hours straight at a ball without taking a break to rest

Washington once danced for three straight hours at a ball without stopping to rest, which was considered to be a remarkable feat at the time. When you also consider the fact that Washington was a tall man (especially for the 18th century) at 6'2", one can only imagine what the scene must've looked like with him busting a move for three hours straight on the dance floor! Despite his poor dancing skills, Washington was a popular and respected figure, and he was able to maintain a confident and commanding presence both on and off the dance floor. His leadership and determination played a crucial role in the success of the American Revolutionary War and the establishment of the United States as a new nation. 


Benjamin Franklin suggested that the national animal of the United States should be the turkey

A Founding Father and one of the most influential figures of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin was known for his wit, intelligence, and innovative ideas, and he had a strong interest in science, technology, natural history, as well as government and politics. In a letter to his daughter written in 1784, Franklin praised the turkey as a "much more respectable bird" than the bald eagle, which he described as a "bird of bad moral character." Franklin argued that the turkey, which is native to North America, was a more appropriate symbol for the new nation than the bald eagle, which is native to Europe. Despite Franklin's suggestion, the bald eagle was eventually chosen as the national animal of the United States. 



The Continental Army used shoes made of cardboard

The fact that the Continental Army used shoes made of cardboard as a makeshift replacement for their worn-out leather boots during the American Revolutionary War is a true and well-documented piece of history. The Continental Army, which was made up of volunteer soldiers who were fighting for the independence of the United States, was often low on supplies and had to make do with whatever they could find. Cardboard was one of the materials that was used to make makeshift shoes for the soldiers when their leather boots wore out. While these shoes were not very durable and did not provide much protection, they were better than nothing and allowed the soldiers to continue fighting. (The American soldiers also used animal skins!) 



The famous phrase, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes", was allegedly said by an American officer at the Battle of Bunker Hill

The origins of this phrase are somewhat unclear and it's possible that it was actually said by a British officer during the Battle of Agincourt way back in 1415. The phrase is often used to describe a situation in which soldiers are told to hold their fire until they are close enough to their targets to see the whites of their eyes, which would give them a better chance of hitting their targets. The idea behind this phrase is that by waiting until they are close enough to see the whites of their eyes, soldiers can be sure that they are aiming at their enemies and not at their own comrades. Whether or not the phrase was actually used during the American Revolutionary War, it has become an iconic and enduring symbol of the determination and bravery of soldiers in combat. 



"Molly Pitcher", a famous figure of the Revolutionary War, was actually a nickname given to several different women who assisted the Continental Army by carrying water to the soldiers during battle

"Molly Pitcher" was a nickname that was used to refer to women who served as water carriers during the American Revolutionary War. It is not a specific name of an individual person, but rather a term that was used to describe a type of role that women played during the war. These women, who were also sometimes known as "camp followers," followed the Continental Army as it moved from place to place and provided various types of support to the soldiers, including carrying water to them during battles. There are several stories and legends about individual women who were known as "Molly Pitchers," and each of these stories is unique. However, the term "Molly Pitcher" is generally used to refer to any woman who served as a water carrier during the Revolutionary War. 



The Continental Army was so poorly equipped that at times they would often use farmers' pitchforks as weapons

The Second Continental Congress struggled to financially support the Continental Army (in part because the Articles of Confederation left them with no way to levy taxes) which meant that it wasn't uncommon for the Continental Army to find itself poorly equipped (especially in going up against the British army!). They improvised in order to arm themselves against British forces and one way of doing this was by using farmers' pitchforks as weapons. Pitchforks were readily available throughout much of the thirteen colonies and could be easily converted into weapons, and they were used by the Continental Army in a variety of ways, including as makeshift spears and bayonets against the British regulars. 



George Washington had terrible teeth!

One of the most important figures of the Revolutionary War (and all of American history!), George Washington was known for his strong leadership, military experience, and political skills, BUT he was also known for his poor dental hygiene. Washington lost most of his teeth due to a combination of poor dental care and the high levels of sugar in his diet, which was common for people living in the 18th century. As a result, he had to have several sets of false teeth made to replace his missing teeth. These false teeth were made from a variety of materials, including wood, ivory, and animal teeth. Despite his dental problems, Washington was able to maintain a confident and commanding presence, and his leadership played a crucial role in the success of the American Revolutionary War. He became a fervent opponent of British rule and led American forces against the better trained, better equipped, and better financed British soldiers. General Washington attempted to defend New York City, and the American colonists who lived there, early in the war from encroaching British troops. General George Washington later led the American army through the long, grueling winter at Valley Forge and then coordinate with French troops and the French Navy in the decisive victory at the Battle of Yorktown. A major defeat for Great Britain, the Battle of Yorktown led to the British surrender and end of the war resulting in peace negotiations and the eventual Treaty of Paris in which King George and the British Parliament formally recognized the independence of the American colonies (and the United States of America was created!) General Washington then became the first President of the United States and served two terms before doing what was then unthinkable when he voluntarily relinquished power (something that almost never happened at that point in time) and retired to his home at Mount Vernon.


In 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga the Continental Army celebrated its victory by throwing a huge party and getting so drunk that they accidentally set fire to their own camp

Fought in upstate New York, the Battle of Saratoga was a turning point in the war and helped to secure the support of the French, who subsequently joined the war on the side of the Americans. To celebrate this victory, the Continental Army threw a huge party and got so drunk that they accidentally set fire to their own camp. While this event may seem humorous in hindsight, it was actually a serious and potentially dangerous situation.  



The Continental Army was so desperate for ammunition that they resorted to using buttons as makeshift bullets

The Continental Army, which was made up of volunteer soldiers who were fighting for the independence of the United States, was often low on supplies and had to make do with whatever they had available. When they ran out of bullets, they would sometimes use buttons or other small metal objects as makeshift replacements. While these makeshift bullets were not as effective as traditional bullets and did not have the same range or accuracy, they were better than nothing and allowed the soldiers to continue fighting. The use of buttons as bullets was just one example of the resourcefulness and determination of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the British, the Continental Army fought bravely and ultimately emerged victorious, paving the way for the independence of the United States. 


I hope that you find these facts as interesting as I did and that they'll help spark a few discussions in your classroom! I've found that breaking up the monotony of "everyday" classroom instructions is one of the BEST and EASIEST ways to engage your students, ignite their curiosity, and help them learn. All the while, as they gain a better understanding and comprehension of the historical events, topics, and figures you're teaching them about.  

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