A Nation Created: The War for American Independence

  • CHAPTER 1

  • โ€œAmerica must fear youโ€

  • Narrator

    On a warm October morning in 1781, a strange sight appeared at the top of a hill in Yorktown, Virginia.

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  • In the haze of smoke from cannons and gunfire, a small soldier in a bright red coat was walking directly toward the enemy.

  • Profile Picture of American Soldier in A Nation Created: The War for American Independence

    American Soldier

    โ€œItโ€™s the British!โ€

  • Narrator

    shouted an American soldier.

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  • Profile Picture of American Soldier in A Nation Created: The War for American Independence

    American Soldier

    โ€œTheyโ€™re preparing a surprise attack from that far hill!โ€

  • Narrator

    But as the soldier drew closer, the Americans could see that he was only a young boy.

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  • He walked alone, playing a continuous drumroll, and he stood straight, perhaps in an attempt to look brave and tall.

  • The boy was too far away for the Americans to see the tears of terror that streaked his dusty face.

  • Finally, the boy stopped, barely fifty yards from the Americans.

  • Perhaps a hundred muskets were pointed at him.

  • He looked straight ahead, his thin legs shaking uncontrollably.

  • Narrator

    But his drumming never stopped.

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  • Profile Picture of Officer in A Nation Created: The War for American Independence

    Officer

    โ€œHold your fire!โ€

  • Narrator

    came the command from an officer who knew what this continuous drumroll meant.

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  • Profile Picture of Soldiers in A Nation Created: The War for American Independence

    Soldiers

    โ€œDonโ€™t shoot!โ€

  • Narrator

    the soldiers shouted to one another, eyeing the drummer curiously.

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  • What could this mean?

  • Sometimes drummer boys tapped a sharp, quick drumbeat that meant it was time to attack.