Giant of the Revolution – “Virginia Hercules”

If Hollywood ever wants to create another box office hit war movie complete with mystery, romance, and swashbuckling action, it would have to be centered around Revolutionary War hero Peter Francisco. A five-year-old boy who was abandoned at a harbor in Virginia grew up to be one of our courageous soldiers in the War for Independence. 

Peter Francisco, born Pedro Francisco, was known as the “Virginia Giant”, the “Giant of the Revolution” and sometimes as the “Virginia Hercules”, was a Portuguese-born American patriot and soldier of the American Revolution. Peter is said to have stood six and a half feet tall, and weighed in at 260 pounds.

At age 16 Peter enlisted as a private. It did not take long before his fighting skills and bravery became well known. He was always in the middle of every battle he fought, and was wounded repeatedly, but kept on fighting in more battles.  

When General “Mad Anthony” Wayne stormed Stony Point, Peter was the second man over the British walls. But by that time he was already famous for his exploits. After several years in the northern battles, he joined a militia company in the South. At the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in March he killed eleven British soldiers before getting bayoneted in the leg.

While recovering, he encountered nine British soldiers. Unarmed, Peter seized a sword from one of the men. He then killed that man and wounded and drove off the other eight. Their commander sent a hundred men to chase him, but they failed to even find him.

He later wrote of escape, “This was the last favor I ever did for the British.”

General George Washington is reputed to have said of Peter:

“Without him we would have lost two crucial battles, perhaps the War, and with it our freedom. He was truly a One-Man Army.”


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