Patriots of Independence: 5 Unsung Heroes of The Revolutionary War
Patriots of Independence: 5 Unsung Heroes of The Revolutionary War

Patriots of Independence: 5 Unsung Heroes of The Revolutionary War

William McLaughlin - July 23, 2017

Patriots of Independence: 5 Unsung Heroes of The Revolutionary War
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Peter Francisco

The Giant of the Revolution, also known as the Virginian Hercules, Peter Francisco certainly lived up to his nicknames. In an age where the average man was about 5’7, Francisco stood tall at 6’8 and 260 pounds, at the age of 16. He put his size to work as a blacksmith until the war broke out.

Francisco was famed for his ability to fight through battles despite injuries that could kill lesser men. In the fall of 1777, Francisco fought in several skirmishes such as the Battle of the Brandywine. He fought well in each engagement but had been so injured that he spent two weeks in hospitals before rejoining the war. At the Battle of Monmouth, he was shot clean through his thigh.

Though this took longer to recover from, Francisco got back to the fighting at Cowpens. At the assault on Stony Point outpost, Francisco was part of a hand-picked assault force and was the second man through the walls. While breaching the walls, Francisco suffered a long and deep gash on his stomach, but fought on, killing several men and capturing the British flag.

During one American retreat, Francisco noticed the American artillerymen abandoned a valuable cannon as it was stuck in the mud. Not wanting it to go to waste he freed the half-ton cannon and towed it to safety, reportedly taking the main cannon off and slinging it over his shoulder like a log.

Francisco would become most famous for something that was an accidental coincidence. after being wounded yet again, this time a bayonet to the thigh, Francisco was sent home to recuperate. On his way, he volunteered to spy on some of Tarleton’s raiders, the feared Dragoon Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton, the same Tarleton represented so villainously in the Patriot film.

Patriots of Independence: 5 Unsung Heroes of The Revolutionary War
Wikipedia

The riders approached Francisco and demanded that he hand over his valuables. Francisco refused and pulled the sword away from one of the men who reached towards him. Now armed, Francisco killed 1-3 of the men and wounded the other 8 or so men. Only one man was able to get back to his horse and ride off, the others ran on foot and allowed Francisco to capture 8 Dragoon horses.

Francisco standing up to Tarleton’s dragoons, who had a reputation for butchery, made Francisco more famous than he already was. He was a hero of the Revolution and when the war ended he decided to go back to primary school and earn his basic education. Despite his many wounds, Peter Francisco lived into his seventies. Though he died poor, the Virginia legislature adjourned for the day and hundreds attended the funeral of the Giant of Virginia.

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