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John Sullivan

(1741—1795) revolutionary army officer and politician in America


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(1741–95) Revolutionary War army officer and state governor, born in Maine. Sullivan set up a law practice in New Hampshire and became attracted to the patriot cause through his objections to the Intolerable Acts. He attended the First Continental Congress and led an abortive and much-criticized charge at Bunker Hill (1775). In 1776 he led a failed invasion of Canada and contributed to Gen. George Washington's defeat in the Battle of New York. Sullivan led units at Trenton (1776) and at Princeton (1777) but performed poorly at Brandywine (1777), all the while complaining that he was being passed over for promotion; Washington's support kept him from losing his command. He wintered atValley Forge and continued to perform erratically. He participated in a devastating attack on the Iroquois in upstate New York in 1779. Sullivan resigned his commission late in that year. His reputation was further damaged when he accepted payments from the French ostensibly to help him pay the costs of serving again in the Continental Congress (1780–81). He was elected governor of New Hampshire in 1786, 1787, and 1789, and strongly supported the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1788.

From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.


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