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Glossary of Revolutionary War Terms

Improve Your Revolutionary War Vocabulary

Improve your Revolutionary War vocabulary with our collection of relevant words & definitions.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | | X | Y | Z

 

A:

Abatis: (pronounced ab-uh-teeab-uh-tisuh-bat-ee, or uh-bat-is) A line of trees, chopped down and placed with their branches facing the enemy, used to strengthen fortifications. 

Ambush:  To lie in wait for an unexpected attack.

Apron: Stone or gabions (woven baskets) filled with stones used to prevent erosion of earthworks.

Articles of Association: Document introduced by the First Continental Congress in response to the "Intolerable Acts" that proposed a boycott on the import and export of goods from Britain and its other colonies to take effect December 1, 1774.

Articles of Confederation: The Articles of Confederation introduced thirteen articles that granted powers to the states and to the federal government: "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated."

Artificer: A skilled mechanic in the armed forces. 

Artisan: Skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly of entirely by hand.

 

B:

Backcountry: Sparsely inhabited rural areas; defined in South Carolina as 50 miles or farther inland from the coast.

Banquette: A small footpath or elevated step along the inside of a rampart or parapet of a fortification.  

Bastion: A structure projecting outward from the curtain wall of a fortification, most commonly angular in shape and positioned at the corners of the fort. The fully developed bastion consists of two faces and two flanks, with fire from the flanks being able to protect the curtain wall and the adjacent bastions.

Battalion: A military unit of 200 to 400 soldiers that was comprised of up to five companies.  There were two battalions in a regiment.

Battery: A fortified emplacement for heavy guns or artillery pieces; companies of artillery usually had six to ten guns used together or dispersed based on the situation.

Bayonet: (pronounced bay-uh-net) A metal blade, like a long knife or short sword, that could be attached to the end of a musket or rifle-musket and used as a spear or pike in hand-to-hand combat.

Besieged: Surround (a place) with armed forces in order to capture it or force its surrender. 

Berm: Small horizontal space between the top of the ditch and the bottom of the parapet.

Blockhouse: A large building used as barracks for soldiers and fortified to be used as a defensive position in case of attack.

Breastwork: Barriers which were about breast-high and protected soldiers from enemy fire.

Brigade: A large group of soldiers usually led by a brigadier general. A brigade was made of four to six regiments. 1 company = 50 to 100 men, 10 companies = 1 regiment, about 4 regiments = 1 brigade, 2 to 5 brigades = 1 division, 2 or more divisions = 1 corps, 1 or more corps = 1 army.

Brown Bess: This is a slang term for British muskets of the 18th and early 19th centuries. While many believe that Brown Bess is the specific name for one musket, in fact, the term applies to the Long and Short Land Pattern muskets, the India Pattern musket, and even to percussion muskets of the 19th century. The slang term refers to a common woman or lady of the evening and reflected the soldier’s relationship with his personal weapon. A soldier took up "Brown Bess," this metaphorical wife or partner, and carried it into battle. Taking up or hugging "Brown Bess" also refers to joining the army. 

 

C:

Cabal: Group of people united in some close design, usually to promote their private views or interests in an ideology, state, or other community, often by intrigue and usually unbeknownst to those outside their group. The use of this term usually carries negative connotations of political purpose, conspiracy and secrecy.

Caliber: The distance around the inside of a gun barrel measured in thousands of an inch. Bullets are labeled by what caliber gun they fit.

Campaign: A series of military operations that form a distinct phase of the War (such as the Yorktown Campaign).

Complement: Smaller group or detachment of men.

Carronade: A short-barreled gun that fired large shot at short range and was used especially on warships. 

Cartel: An arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest, such as prisoner exchanges. 

Cartridge Box: Usually a leather box with a shoulder belt worn on the soldier's right hip to carry approximately twenty musket cartridges. 

Cascabel: The knob end of a muzzle-loading cannon used to attach ropes for lifting or to assist with controlling recoil.

Castrametation: Planning and laying out a military camp.

Catawba: Native American tribe in the Carolinas who supported the Patriots; a river in the Carolinas.

Cavalry: A branch of military mounted on horseback. Cavalry was used for scouting, screening the main army, mobility, and shock by charging enemy infantry and cavalry formations. 

Cherokee: Native American tribe of Iroquoian lineage who lived in the southeastern part of what is now the United States, in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Allies of the British.

Chickasaw: Native American tribe of Muskogean lineage of the Southeastern woodlands who generally supported the British. Their traditional territory was in the Southeastern United States of Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Choctaw: Southeastern Native American tribe located in modern day Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Allies of the Patriots. 

Citadel: The core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a castle, fortress, or fortified center. The term is a diminutive of "city" and thus means "little city," so called because it is a smaller part of the city of which it is the defensive core.

Coffer Dam: A watertight enclosure pumped dry to permit work on a ship.  

Commissary: Deputy in charge of distributing food or a place where food is distributed. 

Confederation: An organization of parties or groups united in an alliance of league for purposes of common action.

Continental: Another term for Patriots, or those who supported the United States during the American Revolution. The term can also specifically refer to those who fought in the Continental Army, the official standing army of the United States during the war. 

Continental Army: The official army of the United States that was established by the Second Continental Congress in 1775.

Continental Congress: A group of delegates from each colony or state. It became the first governing body of the United States of America.

Cooper: A person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs and other similar containers from timber staves.

Corduroy: Logs (felled trees) layered down in swamps and stream beds to support the army’s troops, artillery, and wagons. 

Cornet: Originally the lowest grade of commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop; the modern equivalent being a second lieutenant.

Covered Way: A communication trench built to conceal movement. 

Creek: Native American tribe of Muskogean lineage of the Southeastern woodlands who generally supported the British.

Cremaillere Line: In a field-fortification, the inside line of the parapet is indented to resemble the teeth of a saw, as opposed to smooth, to offer more protection for soldiers inside the parapet. 

Crown Forces: Consisted of regiments who served the British in the war.

D:

Declivity: A downward slope. 

Disbanded: Soldiers sent home or furloughed. 

Dissident: A person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.

Ditch: The deep trench dug around each earthwork to impede attackers. The ditch was typically in front of the fortification, but some advanced works had the ditch built behind the raised surface.

Dragoons: A class of mounted infantry who used horses for mobility but dismounted to fight on foot.

 

E:

Earthwork: A field fortification (such as a trench or a mound) made of earth. Earthworks were used to protect troops during battles or sieges, to protect artillery batteries, and to slow an advancing enemy.

Embrasure: An opening or hole through the earthworks or fortification through which artillery was fired.

Encampment: A place with temporary accommodations consisting of huts or tents, typically for troops.

Enfilade: (pronounced en-fuh-leyd) To fire along the length of an enemy's battle line.

Engagement: Combat between two forces of medium size neither smaller than a company, in which each has an assigned or perceived mission.

Ensign: Lowest rank commissioned officer, equivalent to a second lieutenant, normally in the infantry or navy. 

Entrenchment: Long cuts (trenches) dug out of the earth with the dirt piled up into a mound in front. They enabled a defending army to fight with advantage because it sheltered them from enemy fire, posed an obstacle to the enemy’s approach, and provided the means for defenders to effectively use their weapons.

Envelopment: An offensive action in which an attacking force moves around the enemy and attacks from the flank or rear.

Epaulette: An ornamental shoulder piece on the coat or jacket of a military uniform that indicates rank.

Escarpment: A steep artificial slope in front of a fortification.

Establishment: Military organization for a specific purpose or set of tasks.

 

F

Fascine: (pronounced fah-seen) A tightly bound bundle of straight sticks used to reinforce earthworks, trenches or lunettes. Fascines could also be used to make revetments, field magazines, fill material and blinds.

Federalist: Relating to or denoting a system of government in which several states unite under a central authority. 

Firelock: A firearm in which the priming is ignited by sparks. Often used interchangeably with the term flintlock. 

Flank: Used as a noun, a “flank” is the end (or side) of a military position, also called a “wing”.  An unprotected flank is “in the air”, while a protected flank is a “refused flank”.  Used as a verb, “to flank” is to move around and gain the side of an enemy position, avoiding a frontal assault.

Flintlock: General term for any firearm that uses a flint striking ignition mechanism that fires the weapon; also applies to the mechanism itself. 

Flying Camp: A "flying" unit, or camp, was an eighteenth-century concept that today would be considered a mobile rapid reserve force.

Foot Infantry: Military units that primarily engaged in combat on foot as opposed to being mounted, also known as foot soldiers or infantrymen.

Ford: A shallow place in a river or stream that allowed people and wagons to cross.

Forlorn Hope: Troops picked to make an advance attack, or the first attack through the breach of a walled city during a siege where the risk of casualties is high. 

Fort: A fully enclosed earthwork; a fortified building, enclosure, or strategic position.

Fortification: Something that makes a defensive position stronger, like high mounds of earth to protect cannon or spiky breastworks to slow an enemy charge. Fortifications may be man-made structures or a part of the natural terrain.  Man-made fortifications could be permanent (mortar or stone) or temporary (wood and soil).  Natural fortifications could include waterways, forests, hills and mountains, swamps and marshes.

Fraises: Stakes or palisades placed horizontally along the berm or at the top of the counterscarp to stop or slow a climbing attacker. They prevented the earthworks from being taken by surprise or sudden assault.

Free Black: The legal status, in the geographic area of the United States, of African Americans (Blacks) who were not slaves.

Frigate: Quick three-masted square-rigged warships with a single main deck of canons.

Fusil: A light flintlock musket used by infantrymen.

Fusiliers: A member of any of several British regiments formerly armed with fusils

 

G:

Gabion: (pronounced gey-bee-en) Cylindrical wicker baskets which were filled with rocks and dirt, often used to build field fortifications or temporary fortified positions.

Garrison: A group of soldiers stationed at a military post.

Gazette: British Army personnel decorations, promotions, and officer commissions were "gazetted" in the London Gazette, the "Official Newspaper of Record for the United Kingdom;" a newspaper.

Grapeshot: Ammunition consisting of a number of small iron balls fired together from a cannon.

Grasshopper: Nickname for light 3 pounder cannons used by both sides to support infantry that seemed to "hop" up when fired.

Grenadiers: Elite soldiers who were generally the tallest and strongest in the unit and initially had the role of throwing grenades, and later served as primary assault troops. Regiments typically had one company of grenadiers; grenadiers were often combined together to serve with grenadiers from other regiments.

Groundscape Cover: Anything capable of physically protecting an individual from enemy fire; vegetation, trees, and other naturally occurring terrain foliage.

Guards: Elite regiments in the British army formed specifcally to protect the King. Three regiments were in existence at the time of the American Revolution. Fifteen men from each of the sixty-four companies were detached for service in North America.

Gun Carriage: A wheeled frame and mount that supports the gun barrel of an artillery piece, allowing it to be maneuvered and fired.

Gun Embrasure: An opening or hole through the earthworks through which artillery was fired.

Gun Platform: Usually a wooden or earthen foundation that provided a stable firing platform for an artillery piece or mortar and a means to be fired through an embrasure.  

 

H:

Half Bastion: A military engineering design of one front and one flank projecting from the main or "capitol" fortification designed to defend against enemy forces by allowing flanking fire on the attackers.

Haversack: Small canvas bag, about one-foot square, used to carry a soldier's food.  Typically, these bags were painted with black tar to make them waterproof.

Hessians: Name for the professional soldiers from the German land of Hesse hired by the British to fight in America.

Highlanders: Soldiers from the highlands of Scotland who served in the British Army, primarily the British 71st and 84th Highland Regiments.  Scottish highland immigrants were also in the Cross-Creek area of eastern North Carolina, and were predominantly loyal to the Crown.

Horn Work: The "Horn Work" was a wall-like main bastion built in Charles Town, South Carolina as part of the fortifications of the city that would block the road, with two rampart-like “horns” sticking out from each end, parallel to each other with the road entering the city gate between them. The road would come up to the gate between the two "horns."

Howitzer: A cannon which fired hollow projectiles and was generally lighter and shorter than its solid-shot cousins.  A howitzer's projectiles had a smaller powder charge.  Also, canister projectiles contained more small balls than other types of canister.  Howitzers were useful in defending fortifications and causing disorder within an attacking force. 

Hussars: Light Cavalry used for scouting and screening main army formations.

Huzzah: Common response of shouting praise in favor for what was just said.

 

I:

Impressment: Colloquially "the press" or the "press gang," is the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice. The British navy often forced recruitment by various means to fill their ranks.

Indent/Stub: When a Revolutionary War pension claim was to be paid, the serial number of the note was recorded on the stub, then the stub was cut from the note using a sharp blade to cut a wavy or curved line through the border design. This curved cut was called the indent. It was thought each cut would be unique so when the note was redeemed the note and the stub would match.

Insurrection: An act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

Intelligence: Information about the armed forces of another country that is useful in planning and conducting military operations or establishing policy.

Iron Works: An ironworks is an establishment where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and steel products are made.  Iron works during the American Revolution were important for manufacturing weapons, ammunition, and other steel and iron products used for horse drawn transportation and personal use.

 

K:

Killing Ground: An area exposed to concentrated fire or bombardment.  A tactical plan is made to lure enemy soldiers into that area in order to create high numbers of casualties. 

King's Tree: Resources, such as white pines and other trees, were earmarked for use for naval vessels as masts, turpentine, etc.  Such trees were marked with an arrow symbol on the trunk that designated it as the "King's Tree," meaning citizens were forbidden to cut it as it was meant for British government use.

 

L:

Latrine: Trenches dug in the earth in a military camp or bivouac area for use as a toilet.  Latrines are very important for sanitation and the health of soldiers.

Legion: British and Continental regimental size units comprised of infantry and mounted troops.

Liberty Tree: An Elm tree on Boston Commons which served as a place to demonstrate dissatisfaction with British rule.  That tree became a symbol of objection to British policies and was replicated in other communities to provide inspiration and a meeting site for those rallying to the cause of Liberty.  

Life Guard: The 180-man personal guard for the Commander-in-Chief George Washington. 

Light Infantry: Infantry units that had "light" equipment and armaments and were ideal for skirmishing, particularly in actions against the Patriots in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. Similar to grenadier companies, regiments typically had one light infantry company; light infantrymen were often combined together to serve with light companies from other regiments.

Lobsterback: Contemporary used word for a Redcoat.

Lowcounty: Coastal populated areas urban like Beaufort, Charlestown, and Georgetown and rural areas.

Loyalist: Those Americans professing loyalty to King George III and England; also called Tories, Royalists, or Kings Men.

Lunette: A half-moon shaped fortification similar to a redan, but consisting of two faces and two flanks. Like a redan, its rear is open.

 

M:

Magazine: A fortified location where powder or supplies were stored. 

Maham's Tower: A wooden tower suggested by Major Hezekiah Maham that was built at a greater height than British held Fort Watson.  Riflemen atop the tower forced the British to surrender the fort in April 1781.

Maneuvers: Refers to movement by forces to gain an advantageous position relative to the enemy.

Massacre: The killing of multiple victims, considered morally unacceptable, especially when perpetrated by a group against defenseless victims.  Militarily massacres are considered committed against those who are unarmed, surrendering, or who have laid down their arms and assumed a defenseless condition.

Matross: A soldier who assists artillery gunners in loading, firing, sponging, and moving the guns (artillery pieces).

Marauding / Plunder: To steal or take without authority.

Mechanics: Paul Revere organized the Mechanics, which grew out of the Sons of Liberty, as an intelligence network that monitored the actions of the British army in Boston and sent news of their movements to Patriot leaders. 

Meeting House: The colonial meeting house was the focal point of the community where all the town's residents could discuss local issues, conduct religious worship, and engage in town business.

Military Crest: The forward slope of a hill which allows soldiers a clear field of view.

Militia: Males 16-60 years old who were citizen soldiers. Miliamen drilled a few times a year, used their own equipment, and generally received no pay or support from the government.  Militia frequently came and went as they pleased with no set length of service unlike State Troops or the Continental Army.   

Minuteman: One subset of the Massachusetts or New England militia that was prepared to fight at a moment's notice.

Mortar: Resembling a pharmacist's mortar, this short gun was used to fire projectiles at a high trajectory, usually to clear walls and terrain features that prevented effective low angle fires by regular artillery.

Musket: A smoothbore firearm fired from the shoulder. Thrust from exploding powder shoots the bullet forward like a chest pass in basketball.

Muster: To formally enroll in the army or to call roll.

 

N:

New Acquisition: Area reclaimed by South Carolina from North Carolina in 1772 that now primarily constitutes York County, which was the scene of significant activity during the American Revolution. Many of General Thomas Sumter's troops came from this area.

 

O:

Oath of Allegiance: Oath given by citizens and soldiers declaring their support for the Royal government or for the Patriot cause.  Oaths were often given under duress, and were frequently used as evidence for execution against those taken prisoner who had switched sides.

Old Field: Farmland no longer used for agricultural purposes were often used as meeting places during the American Revolution for recruiting, mustering troops, etc.  (e.g. Alexander's Old Fields).

Operations: A sequence of tactical or non-tactical military actions coordinated to achieve control of an area or gain an advantage against an opposing force.  

Order of Battle: Comprehensive lineup of military troops under individualized, named commands as they approach battle

 

P:

Palisade: Typically, a fence or defensive wall made with wooden stakes or tree trunks, and used as a defensive structure or enclosure. Palisades form the walls of a stockade.    

Parallel: A series of parapets connected by saps and constructed in sequence toward the enemy. Used when advancing by regular approaches in siege operations.

Parapet: A low wall made of dirt or stone to protect soldiers, and may be the top of the rampart.

Parish (Jurisdiction): A small administrative district typically having its own church and a priest or pastor.  Also used as districts for government, legal jurisdictions, and the formation of militias.

Parole: Paroles were offered to soldiers allowing them to remain free as long as they did not act against the side who had given the parole.  It was not uncommon for soldiers to switch sides if it benefited them to do so. Violation of paroles was grounds for imprisonment or execution.

Partisan: A member of an irregular military force.  Partisans formed to oppose control of an area by the British army of occupation by taking part in some kind of insurgent or guerrilla activity like ambushes of supply columns. 

Patriot: American colonists who rejected British rule during the American Revolution, also called a Whig.

Pension: During the war, monetary pensions were offered to widows and orphans; were used to encourage enlistment and acceptance of commissions; and to prevent desertion and resignation. After the war, they became a form of reward for services rendered and were given monetarily or in the form of land grants.

Picket: Soldiers posted on guard ahead of the main force. Pickets included about 40 or 50 men each. Several pickets would form a rough line in front of the main army's camp. In case of an enemy attack, the pickets usually would have time to warn the rest of the force.

Pounder: Size of the cannon, mortar, or howitzer determined by the weight and diameter of the ball or shell.

Powder Horn: A hollowed-out (cow) horn with a removable plug and strap used to carry and pour gunpowder.

Prison Hull (Ship): Derelict ships anchored in harbors by the British to house Patriot prisoners.  Conditions were unspeakable and resulted in more deaths than the Patriots suffered in combat.

Provincial Congress: Between 1775 and 1776 the term "provincial congress" (in some colonies "provincial convention") was used to describe the primary revolutionary body managing the transition of power from traditional colonial legislative assemblies to independent state legislatures.

Provincial Troops: American Loyalist troops fighting fulltime for the British.  These soldiers armed, equipped, clothed, and paid by the British, and were well trained and led by regular British officers.

Public stores: Foodstuffs and provisions set aside to feed the army

 

Q:

Quartermaster: The officer who was responsible for supplying clothing, supplies and food for the troops.

 

R:

Rampart: A large earthen mound used to shield the inside of a fortified position from artillery fire and infantry assault. Occasionally ramparts might be constructed of other materials, such as sandbags.

Ramrod: Long, cylindrical metal rod used to push the cartridge down the barrel of a musket in preparation for firing.

Rear Guard: The soldiers positioned at the rear of a body of troops, especially those protecting an army when it is in retreat.

Rebel: A term referring to colonists who fought against the British Crown. Also called Patriots, Continentals, Yankees, Whigs, or Colonials.

Reconnaissance: Military observation to locate enemy or ascertain land features

Redan: (pronounced ri-dan) A fortification with two parapets or low walls whose faces unite to form a salient angle towards the enemy. That is, they form a point that juts out past the rest of the defensive line of works.

Redcoat: Nickname for regular British troops based on their uniforms having bright red coats, also called "Lobsterbacks."

Redoubt: (pronounced rih-dowt) An enclosed field work - without redans - which had several sides and was used to protect a garrison from attacks from several directions. A redoubt could also extend from a permanent fortress.

Refugee: A person forced to leave their home, community, or country in order to escape war, persecution, or threatening conditions.

Regiment: A military unit consisting of up to 10 companies.  The British infantry regiment was about 800 soldiers, while for the Continental Army regiment was about 470 soldiers.  

Regulars: Term for professional British soldiers sent from England to fight in America.

Regulators: Colonial governments in the 1760s often did not provide law enforcement and judicial systems to punish outlaws who preyed upon settlers in rural areas.  A group of vigilantes called Regulators were formed to protect citizens and punish the outlaws.  Regulators later became a problem themselves after the outlaws were removed.

Retrograde: Military backwards movement made cautiously while still anticipating an attack.

Revetment: Support for the embankment to protect against erosion, often made of wood, sandbags, gabion, or masonry.

Rifle: A weapon with rifling in the barrel that produced spin on the fired ball.  Rifles were accurate to ranges of 300 yards or more, but were slow to load.

Rout: A crushing defeat where, often, the losers run from the field. 

Royalist: Those Americans professing loyalty to King George III and England, also called Tories, Loyalists, or Kings Men.

 

S:

Salient: (pronounced SAY-lee-uhnt) A part of a defensive line of works or a fortification that juts out from the main line towards the enemy.  Salients can be very vulnerable because they may be attacked from multiple sides.

Sallyport: An opening, or gate, left in a fortification during construction to allow passage to facilitate movement to the advanced works and toward the enemy. 

Sap: An approach trench built to connect parallel trenches with each other that is used when employing regular approaches toward an entrenched enemy position. Saps could be built directly toward the target or in a zigzag.

Scarp: Inner sloped wall of the ditch.

Siege: A military strategy with the objective of blocking the supply lines and escape routes of a city or encampment in order to force its surrender. A siege usually meant one army trapped in a city, slowly running out of food and fresh water, with the opposing army camped outside. 

Shell: A hollow projectile shot from a cannon usually filled with powder and lit by a fuse. When the fuse burned down to the level of the powder, it would explode. Depending on the length of the fuse, artillerymen could decide when they wanted the shell to burst.

Shilling/Pound: Colonists counted their money by the English system of pounds, shillings, and pence -- twelve pence (pennies) per shilling, and twenty shillings per pound.

Shoals: A place where a sea, lake, or river is shallow. 

Shot: A solid, round projectile, shot from a cannon.

Skirmish: A brief battle between small groups, usually part of a longer or larger battle or war.

Slave: Someone who is the property of another person and has to work for that person. 

Smoothbore: A gun is smoothbore if the inside of the barrel is completely smooth. Smoothbore guns were used before rifled guns were developed. They were not as accurate and had a shorter range than rifled arms. 

Sons of Liberty: A group of patriots organized to protest the Stamp Act and other actions of the British government.

Split-Rail: Type of fence enclosing fields and homesteads constructed out of timber logs split lengthwise into rails.

Star Fort: A fortification, usually earthen, built with multiple angles resembling the shape of star.  The star shape allowed musket and cannon fire in all directions.

State Troops: Military units raised by the individual states and organized for an established term of service.  State officers had authority over militia officers.  

Stockade: A line of tall stout posts securely set either as a defense, to keep the enemy out, or as a pen to keep prisoners in. 

Subaltern: A junior officer below the rank of captain, comprising the various grades of lieutenant.

Superior Slope: The slope between the banquette and the exterior crest of a fortification.

Swivel Gun: Small cannon mounted upon a swivel or fork that offered a wide arc of fire, generally used to fire grapeshot and small caliber round shot. Often used on ships.

 

T:

Tavern: Establishments across the colonies where locals and travelers could get an alcoholic drink, meal, and usually a place to sleep.  Literate patriots read the news of the day aloud to their fellow revelers, thereby stoking revolutionary fervor. 

Terreplein: A level space where a battery of guns is mounted behind the parapet of a rampart.

Tete-De-Pont: A fortification erected at the end of a bridge nearest the enemy, for covering the communications across a river. 

Theatre: Military district defined by General Washington and the Continental Congress. For example, South Carolina is in the Southern Theatre along with Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Florida.

Tory: Someone who is loyal, or seemingly loyal, to Great Britain. “Tory” was often used as a derogatory term to describe federalists who opposed war with Great Britain. The word is derived from middle Irish words meaning "robber," "outlaw," or "pursued man."

Traverse: A mound of earth used to protect gun positions from explosion or to defilade the inside of a field work or fortification. 

Trunnions:     Cylindrical protrusions on either side of a cannon or mortar used to mount the weapon and as a pivoting point.

 

V:

Vidette: The sentry (usually mounted) closest to the enemy position.

Volley: A number of bullets or other projectiles discharged at the same time to increase firepower and effects on the target.  Military units used volley fire due to the inaccuracy of aimed fire by smoothbore muskets.

 

W:

Ware(s): Manufactured articles such as pottery, dishes, utensils, and tools.   

Whigs: A member of the British reforming and constitutional party that sought the supremacy of Parliament; American colonists who rejected British rule during the American Revolution, also called Patriots.