Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story


Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution


Washington’s Immortals tells the story of a heroic regiment that saved the Continental Army from destruction at the Battle of Brooklyn by holding the British at bay. Despite the pivotal importance of their sacrifice, the regimental dead are buried in a mass grave with only the most minimal markings, their story largely unknown to the modern public.

The author:

“About 2010, I was in New York City, and the regimental commander I was with in the Battle of Fallujah, Colonel Willie Buell, is assigned there. He’s part of the Council on Foreign Relations. He just called me up and he said, ‘Hey, Pat, what do you want to do? Do you want to go the Met?’ I said, ‘No, how about we do a battlefield tour of Brooklyn?’” he recalled.

The tour began at Battle Hill in Green-Wood Cemetery, where one of the largest battles of the Revolution began in August 1776.

“We walked up and down the hills at Green-Wood, and then we walked through some alleys in Brooklyn. We found this old stone house park that’s still there. The original house that was in 1776, they took the stones from that house and reconstructed it,” he said.

“At that house was really one of the epic small unit engagements in American history that nobody knows about. It’s the stand of the Maryland 400 – or the Marylanders or Washington’s Immortals or the Immortals – against the British Army. Their stand, which was a series of epic bayonet charges, literally saved a large portion of Washington’s army on the Battle of Long Island,” O’Donnell said.

“They charged into a house that was occupied by Cornwallis and nearly unhinged all of his defenses,” he elaborated. “Their charge created a gap in the lines, which allowed a portion of Washington’s army – which was on Green-Wood Cemetery, the Heights of Gowanus it was called – to escape through that gap, through some fortifications.”

“The other thing it did is, it tied up the British and Hessian army, which was allied with the British at the time, and didn’t allow them to strike these fortifications. As one historian put it, ‘an hour more precious to American history than any other.’ Their delaying action allowed the army to escape but also didn’t allow the British army to unite all its wings, including the Hessians, who could have then delivered a crushing blow on the forts, potentially, that contained nearly 10,000 of Washington’s troops, including Washington himself,” he said.

“We don’t know what would have happened, but it’s likely that if the British attacked, they would have taken the forts, and most of the army, and even Washington,” O’Donnell speculated, noting that such an outcome would have been “an absolutely crushing defeat” for the American Revolution.

He said he was amazed so little attention has been paid to this pivotal small-unit action. Only what he described as “a rusted old sign” that said, “Here lie 256 Continental soldiers, Maryland heroes” marked the place where these men died to defend their newborn country. As O’Donnell noted, the precise location of the mass grave containing their bodies is still a matter of speculation.
[... and that's just wrong. - W]

Top 10 Revolutionary War Movies
(according to the Journal of the American Revolution)


Their #2 pick is "April Morning", one I hadn't seen, so I watched it on Amazon and really liked it. It's based upon the coming of age novel of the same name. You can tell the great dialog in the film was probably taken straight from it.


The same author also wrote the famous novel "Spartacus" and has this interesting past I'd have never guessed from what he wrote in "Spartacus" and "April Morning".


Fast spent World War II working with the United States Office of War Information, writing for Voice of America. In 1943, he joined the Communist Party USA and in 1950, he was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities; in his testimony, he refused to disclose the names of contributors to a fund for a home for orphans of American veterans of the Spanish Civil War (one of the contributors was Eleanor Roosevelt), and he was given a three-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress.[3]

It was while he was at Mill Point Federal Prison that Fast began writing his most famous work, Spartacus, a novel about an uprising among Roman slaves.[3] Blacklisted by major publishing houses following his release from prison, Fast was forced to publish the novel himself. By the standards of a selfpublished book, it was a great success, going through seven printings in the first four months of publication. (According to Fast in his memoir, 50,000 copies were printed, of which 48,000 were sold.)

In 1952, Fast ran for Congress on the American Labor Party ticket. During the 1950s he also worked for the Communist newspaper, the Daily Worker. In 1953, he was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. Later that decade, Fast broke with the Party over issues of conditions in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
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