For many people, the Fourth of July is a festive time full of barbeques, family and friend gatherings, sparklers, and proud displays of red, white, and blue. These elements make up a truly special American holiday. But as time passes, it’s easy to forget the true significance of the Fourth of July: our pursuit of independence.
These early patriots not only created an opportunity for the United States of America to come into existence--they are also a perfect example of true preparedness and planning. If the early patriots weren’t prepared, they could not have won the war.
Read on to discover three specific ways early patriots used survival principles to win the Revolutionary War, and inevitably created the country we call home today.
#1: They Exercised General Principles of Preparedness
Our forefathers were wise to prepare for the worst-case scenario--a direct attack from the British. From building their army to loading up on ammo, they had the forethought to ensure they had what they needed for a variety of situations.
Whereas the British had a tough time accessing their supply ships during inland battles, the Continental Army was able to seamlessly access their supplies. As Major John A. Tokar shares on the Army Logistics University website, “the presence, or absence, of critical commodities affects military operations. Ultimately, the lack of sufficient reserve supplies, combined with cautious generalship, insufficient transportation, widespread corruption, and the lack of a coherent strategy to maximize the potential support of British loyalists in the colonies, ensured British failure.”
One resource in particular that was in short supply was gunpowder--an essential element to success in warfare. When the Revolutionary War began, our supply of gunpowder was not enough to sustain the army in the field. The continued demand for gunpowder was never met by domestic production, and we were forced to seek additional supplies from overseas.
If you find yourself in a situation in which your local area doesn’t have the necessary survival supplies, find out where you can source it, and source it sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until a crisis has hit to realize you don’t have a water filter, solar-powered device charger, or a supply of emergency foods.
Additionally, the patriots strategically stored and set up operations in many different locations to minimize the chances that their supplies would all be taken over by the opposing forces. In a similar way, you’ll want to keep your emergency supplies and food stored in various locations at home, in case a disaster compromises one area.
Preparedness doesn’t simply mean having the necessary supplies to survive in the face of crisis--it also requires a particular mindset. Early patriots had to be vigilant, aware, and quick-thinking in order to defeat the powerful British army. In your own life, you’ll want to maintain a general sense of awareness of what is happening around you. Stay up-to-date with the news, and take into account various red flags and risk factors when necessary. Hindsight has shown again and again that the warning signs are often there signaling impending disaster.
#2: They Created a Network of Support
Developing alliances with other countries and entities during war was key to claiming victory. For example, after a slew of American military victories, France felt inspired and encouraged to join the war and support the patriot cause. According to Battlefields, this additional alliance ultimately helped us win the war because France “provided the money, troops, armament, military leadership, and naval support that tipped the balance of military power in favor of the United States and paved the way for the Continental Army’s ultimate victory.”
In our own lives, there will be times where we will need to rely on alliances with others. Maybe it’s trading food supplies with your neighbor after a hurricane restricts access to grocery stores. Or seeking advice from your doctor friends when you or a loved one experience a medical emergency. Self-reliance is key, but additional support from other like-minded folks during a crisis will only help, not hurt you.
On the other hand, you also need to take steps to avoid making enemies. For example, during the Revolutionary War, the British “greatly overestimated loyalist sentiment in the South and their military presence there prompted many southern colonists who had been on the fence about the war to side with the patriots.” Remain vigilant and aware of who might turn against you, and take steps now to maintain and ensure their loyalty.
#3: They Conserved Food Supplies
In times of crisis, food supply is one of the first things to go. During the American Revolution, soldiers were forced to get creative in their food supply and conservation strategy.
Soldiers in the Continental Army were usually given their full rations, which included beef, pork, salt fish, bread or flour, peas or beans, and rice. Smithsonian Magazine shares, “As unappetizing as those foods may seem, though, the fact that the rebels had anything to eat at all was one of the key advantages that helped them defeat the British."
These early patriots didn’t always have the easiest time when it came to food supply--they were forced to learn the hard way. The brutal six-month encampment at Valley Forge is a good example of what happens when there is a food supply shortage. Hungry soldiers threatened mutiny and chanted, “No bread, no meat, no soldier.” Many perished, but thanks to the assertive leadership of their Commander George Washington, they remained united. It was Washington that wrote the President of the Continental Congress to drive home the importance of a better food supply moving forward.
On the other hand, the British didn’t seem to learn the same lesson quickly enough. When it came to providing sufficient food supplies to their soldiers, they failed. It’s easy to understand why--it’s difficult to feed tens of thousands of soldiers operating three thousand miles away from their country. Fortunately, our army had the advantages of being on familiar territory, and received the support of local farmers as they traveled.
They were also mindful when it came to conserving and preserving food. For example, after meals, soldiers divided and placed leftover food in their haversacks to be consumed as needed. They also salted and dried their food in order to preserve it longer. In your own home, aim to do the same. Take the time now to stock up on non-perishable foods, and preserve and can what you are able to.
As you can see, early patriots like those in the Continental Army were extremely strategic in their pursuit of survival for themselves, their loved ones, and their country. Over the Fourth of July weekend, find opportunities to instill these lessons and historical facts about our early heroes into your conversations with friends and family. It’s important to keep these tactics in mind--whether you face a natural disaster, civil unrest, or other unexpected situations, you’ll be more likely to survive and thrive.
From all of us here at My Patriot Supply--Happy Fourth of July!
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply