Revolutionary War Historical Article

A Glossary of Revolutionary War Nicknames

By the Charles R. Lampman and Donald N. Moran

Editor's Note: This article was reprinted from the April-May 2008 Edition of the Liberty Tree Newsletter. We will add new nicknames as they are identified.


America 's Hannibal = Colonel Benedict Arnold

American Fabius = General George Washington

Boiling Water = Captain Charles Lee (French &Indian War)

Carolina Gamecock = Brigadier General Thomas Sumter

Chucky Jack = Colonel John Sevier

Dictator = Governor John Rutledge (SC)

Drill Master = Major General The Baron von Steuben

Goliath of the Revolution = Trooper Peter Francisco.

Gustavus = Major General Benedict Arnold

His Excellency = General George Washington

Light Horse Harry = Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lee

Little Lion = Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton

Lord Stirling = Major General William Alexander

Mad Anthony = Brigadier General Anthony Wayne

Monk = Major General Benedict Arnold

Old Danger = Lieutenant Colonel William Thompson (SC Militia)

Old Granny = Major General Horatio Gates

Old Grape and Guts = Captain (Navy) Stephen Hopkins

Old Put = Major General Israel Putman

Old Wagoner = Brigadier General Daniel Morgan

Swamp Fox = Brigadier General Francis Marion

Town Burner = General George Washington

Wizard owl = Major General Andrew Pickens

Young Chief = Colonel John Stark



Gentleman Johnny = Lieutenant General John Burgoyne

Modern Hannibal = Lieutenant Gen. Charles Cornwallis

General Esopus = Major General John Vaughan

No Flint = Major General Charles Gray

Foul Weather -Jack = Admiral John Byron

Bloody Ban = Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton

The Hair Buyer =Lieutenant Colonel Henry Hamilton

Bulldog = Major Patrick Ferguson

Bulldog's Pup = Captain Abraham DePeyster

Honest Tom = Lieutenant General Thomas Gage

Old Woman =Lieutenant General Thomas Gage

Lothario = Major John Andre

Black Dick = Admiral Richard Howe



Abatis = Obstacles formed of trees felled toward the enemy

Bennington Rioters = Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain men

Black Watch = Scottish Forty-Second Foot

Brown Bess = The 75 caliber musket used during the war

Carolina Gold = Rice

Cold Steel = Bayonets

Even Sworded = British Twenty-Ninth Regiment of Foot

Flamers = Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Foot

Flying Camp = Pennsylvania Militia that responded to action of a skirmish in any location, then went home

Gentlemen Cadets = Attending the Woolwich Academy

Grasshopper = Mobile brass Field Cannon, 3 to 5 pounders

Havercake Lads = Thirty-Third Regiment of Foot

Kings Men = Loyalist or Tories

Liberty Boys = Generally members of the Sons of Liberty

Life Guards = George Washington's personal guard also known as "The Commander-in-Chief Guards"

Light Bobs = British Light Infantry

Lobster Backs = British Regulars

Maham Tower = A tower used during a siege to gain height to allow troops to fire over a fort wall

Marbleheaders = 14th Massachusetts Continentals

Marblehead Marines = 14th Massachusetts Continentals

Minutemen = Original Massachusetts Militia

Necessary = restroom or latrine

Plug Bayonets = The handle of the bayonet is shaped to allow it to be jammed into the musket barrel

Quaker guns = Tree trunks painted to look like guns

Regiments = Military coat

Sail = Ships

Shiners = British Fifth Regiment of Foot

Small cloths = Breeches, shirts, waistcoats (vests) and stocking.

The Shop = British Woolwich Military Academy

Springers = British Tenth Regiment of Foot

Sullivan's Bridge = Bridge over the Schuylkill at Valley Forge

Yelling Boys = Over-Mountain Men





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