Washington’s Marines: The Origins of the Corps and the American Revolution, 1775-1777

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Jason Q. Bohm (Maj. Gen. USMC)
Pub Date:
June 2023
Cloth, dj, 6 x 9
41 images, 9 maps, 360 pp.
Signed bookplates:

                                               Recipient of the 2024 Douglas Southall Freeman Award
                                            Recipient of the 2024 Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award


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About the Book

The fighting prowess of united states marines is second to none, but few know of the Corps’ humble beginnings and what it achieved during the early years of the American Revolution. Jason Bohm rectifies this oversight with his eye-opening Washington’s Marines: The Origins of the Corps and the American Revolution, 1775–1777.

The story begins with the oppressive days that drove America into a conflict for which it was ill-prepared, when thirteen independent colonies commenced a war against the world’s most powerful military with nothing more than local militias, privateers, and other ad hoc units. The Continental Congress rushed to form an army and placed George Washington in command, but soon realized that, to win its freedom, America would need men who could fight on the sea and on land. Enter the Marines. Bohm artfully tells the story of the creation of the Continental Marines and the men who led them during the parallel paths followed by the Army and Marines in the opening years of the war and through the early successes and failures at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, Canada, Boston, Charleston, and more.

As General Washington struggled to preserve his command after defeats in New York and New Jersey in 1776, the nascent U.S. Navy and Marines deployed the first American fleet, conducted their first amphibious operation, and waged a war on the rivers and seas to block British reinforcements and capture critically needed supplies. Desperate times forced Congress to detach the Continental Marines from the Navy to join the embattled army as Washington sought an “important stroke” to defeat his adversary.

Washington’s Marines joined their fellow soldiers in a protracted land campaign that culminated in turning-point victories at Trenton, Assunpink Creek, and Princeton. This chapter of the Continental Marines ends in Morristown, New Jersey, when Washington granted Henry Knox’s request to leverage the Marines’ expertise with naval guns to fill the depleted ranks of the army’s artillery during the “Forage War.”

Washington’s Marines is the first complete study of its kind to weave the men, strategy, performance, and personalities of the Corps’ formative early years into a single compelling account. The sweeping prose relies heavily on primary research and the author’s own extensive military knowledge. Enhanced with original maps and illustrations, Washington’s Marines will take its place as one of the finest studies of its kind.



“Jason Bohm’s study of Washington’s Marines provides wonderful insights into how the Colonials cobbled together a military force to fight the British.  It also provides clear insights into the origins of the U.S. Marine Corps by placing what really happened in its historical past in place of myths.  - Dr. Williamson Murray, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

“Jason Bohm’s meticulously researched study presents the birth of the legendary United States Marine Corps that set the standard for the few and the proud. Rallying to Washington’s call for all available units during ‘ . . . the times that tried men’s souls,’ the Continental Marines took part in some of the most critical early actions that turned the tide of the Revolution. Washington's Marines is cinematic storytelling not to be missed.”  -Roger S. Williams, Vice Chair, History Committee, National Society, Sons of the American Revolution and Co-Founder of TenCrucialDays.org

 “Jason Bohm has given us an excellent and useful book on the important contribution of Continental Marines and state Marines in pivotal campaigns of the American Revolutionary War.  At Trenton and Princeton small numbers of Marines brought strength, courage, and leadership to the American cause.” - Dr. David Hackett Fischer, acclaimed author of Washington’s Crossing, Albion’s Seed, The Great Wave, and Paul Revere’s Ride

“Jason Bohm brings the early history of the Marine Corps to life in this compelling account of our Nation’s fight for independence.  Through extensive research and engaging storytelling, he reveals that the multi-purpose role the Marine Corps plays in our national defense today began with Washington’s Marines in the Revolutionary War.  Every Marine and student of the Revolutionary War will enjoy, and learn from, this book.”  - James W. Lukeman, Major General, USMC, Ret., President of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation


Major General Jason Q. Bohm is a Marine with more than 30 years of service. An infantryman by trade, he has commanded at every level from platoon commander to commanding general in peacetime and war. Bohm also served in several key staff positions, including as a strategic planner with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School, House Director, Marine Corps Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, and Chief of Staff of U.S. Naval Striking and Support Forces, NATO. Bohm has a bachelor’s degree in marketing, a master’s degree in military studies, and a master’s degree in national security studies. Jason has written several articles for the Marine Corps Gazette and won various writing awards from the Marine Corps Association. He is the author of From the Cold War to ISIL: One Marine’s Journey (Naval Institute Press, 2019).