Every Hazard and Fatigue The Siege of Pensacola 1781 By Joshua Provan

    Author Joshua Provan provides a vivid recounting of Spanish operations against the British in North America during the American Revolution. Popular images of the American Revolution such as Washington at Trenton, Warren’s death at Bunker Hill, or Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown owe a great deal to the art of John Trumball who served as an aide to George Washington and a staff officer under Horatio Gates. Trumball later gained fame as a painter, taking famous people and events from the Revolution as his subjects. Trumball’s view of the Revolution is romantic and grand, but greatly simplifies a complex period. Thus, Americans who came to see the history of the war through the lens provided by Trumball and others who shared his view can be forgiven for not understanding the role that Spain’s war against England played in the ultimate success of the nascent United States. Provan’s Every Hazard and Fatigue goes a long way to educate readers about Spain’s contributions. 

     While Spain never formalized an alliance with the United States during the war, but it did act as a French ally from 1779, a time when Britain was shifting to a Southern Strategy and experiencing success against American forces in Georgia and South Carolina. Bernardo de Galvez, the Spanish Governor of Louisiana chose not to wait for British strength in the region to grow and threaten Spanish possessions but went on the offensive against British positions until only Pensacola in West Florida remained. Provan’s book is a fascinating recounting of the Spanish siege, British efforts to enlist Loyalist and Native American support to repel Galvez, and the larger strategic considerations that drove British and Spanish decision making.

     Every Hazard and Fatigue is beautifully illustrated with both black and white sketches, some beautiful color plates by Don Troiani, and a collection of excellent photographs of living historians that provide context on what soldiering in West Florida entailed. Helion Company has created a magnificent publication that belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the American Revolution. This is a wonderful book.

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