Monday, July 04, 2011

America's Braveheart?

     "Young 'giant' Peter Francisco was the most renowned common soldier in the Continental Army — and possibly in the entire history of the U.S. Army." That's from an article in Military History magazine.
     He was a giant of a man for the time, standing six feet six inches, and weighing 260 pounds. In 1777, he joined the 10th Virginia Regiment at the age of sixteen, and over the next three years, his battlefield prowess gained him a near-mythical status among fellow soldiers. He carried a five-foot sword made under the authorization of General George Washington. Washington himself said that the American Revolution might well have been lost without the benefit of Francisco in key battles.
     Why isn't he better known? Well, one reason might be that he was not a member of the landed gentry. In fact, his origins are a bit of a mystery. Legend says that that he was brought to North America at the age of five. He was found sitting on a dock in what's now Hopewell, Virginia, wearing expensive clothing. He spoke only Portuguese. He was taken in by an uncle of Patrick Henry, Anthony Winston, and lived with and was tutored by the family until the start of the American Revolution.
     After the war, he married and had two children. He lost his wife in 1790, but later remarried and had four more children.
     He was probably born in 1760, and died in 1831. Perhaps his name will one day gain the recognition warranted by his superhuman feats.
     After all, without Peter Francisco, we might have grown up with fish and chips instead of hamburgers.

1 comment:

quid said...

Interesting tale!