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© American Battlefield Trust

1775 - 1783

American Revolutionary War

The American Revolutionary War, also known as the Revolutionary War or the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America in Congress against Great Britain over their objection to Parliament's taxation policies and lack of colonial representation.


1764 Jan 1


Boston, MA, USA


The French and Indian War, part of the wider global conflict known as the Seven Years' War, ended with the 1763 Peace of Paris, which expelled France from its possessions in New France.

The 1763 to 1765 Grenville ministry instructed the Royal Navy to stop the trade of smuggled goods and enforce customs duties levied in American ports. The most important was the 1733 Molasses Act; routinely ignored prior to 1763, it had a significant economic impact since 85% of New England rum exports were manufactured from imported molasses. These measures were followed by the Sugar Act and Stamp Act, which imposed additional taxes on the colonies to pay for defending the western frontier.

Tensions escalated following the destruction of a customs vessel in the June 1772 Gaspee Affair, then came to a head in 1773. A banking crisis led to the near-collapse of the East India Company, which dominated the British economy; to support it, Parliament passed the Tea Act, giving it a trading monopoly in the Thirteen Colonies. Since most American tea was smuggled by the Dutch, the Act was opposed by those who managed the illegal trade, while being seen as yet another attempt to impose the principle of taxation by Parliament.

1765 Jan 1

Stamp Act

Boston, MA, USA

Stamp Act ©Reading Through History

The Stamp Act of 1765 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which imposed a direct tax on the British colonies in America and required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp.

1765 May 15

Quartering Act

New York

Quartering Act ©HistoryPod

General Thomas Gage, commander-in-chief of forces in British North America, and other British officers who had fought in the French and Indian War (including Major James Robertson), had found it hard to persuade colonial assemblies to pay for quartering and provisioning of troops on the march. Therefore, he asked Parliament to do something. Most colonies had supplied provisions during the war, but the issue was disputed in peacetime. This first Quartering Act was given Royal Assent on May 15, 1765, and provided that Great Britain would house its soldiers in American barracks and public houses, as by the Mutiny Act 1765, but if its soldiers outnumbered the housing available, would quarter them in "inns, livery stables, ale houses, victualing houses, and the houses of sellers of wine and houses of persons selling of rum, brandy, strong water, cider or metheglin", and if numbers required in "uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings." Colonial authorities were required to pay the cost of housing and feeding these soldiers.

1767 Jan 1

Townshend Acts

New York, USA

Townshend Acts
Townshend Acts, series of four acts passed by the British Parliament in 1767 in an attempt to exert authority over the American colonies.

The Townshend Acts or Townshend Duties, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to the British colonies in America. They are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who proposed the program.

1770 Mar 5

Boston Massacre


Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre was a confrontation on March 5, 1770, in which British soldiers shot and killed several people while being harassed by a mob in Boston. The event was heavily publicized by leading Patriots such as Paul Revere and Samuel Adams.

1772 Jan 1

Committees of correspondence

New England, USA

Committees of Correspondence © Journal of the American Revolution

The function of the committees was to alert the residents of a given colony of the actions taken by the British Crown, and to disseminate information from cities to the countryside. The news was typically spread via hand-written letters or printed pamphlets, which would be carried by couriers on horseback or aboard ships. The committees were responsible for ensuring that this news accurately reflected the views, and was dispatched to the proper receiving groups. Many correspondents were members of colonial legislative assemblies, and others were also active in the Sons of Liberty and Stamp Act Congress.

A total of about 7,000 to 8,000 Patriots served on these committees at the colonial and local levels, comprising most of the leadership in their communities; Loyalists were naturally excluded. The committees became the leaders of the American resistance to Great Britain, and largely determined the war effort at the state and local level. When Congress decided to boycott British products, the colonial and local committees took charge, examining merchant records and publishing the names of merchants who attempted to defy the boycott.

The committees promoted patriotism and home manufacturing, advising Americans to avoid luxuries, and lead a more simple life. The committees gradually extended their power over many aspects of American public life. They set up espionage networks to identify disloyal elements, displaced royal officials, and helped diminish the influence of the British government in each of the colonies.

1773 Dec 16

Boston Tea Party

Boston, MA

Boston Tea Party © TED-Ed

The Boston Tea Party was an American political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. The Sons of Liberty strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Protesters, some disguised as American Indians, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.

1774 Mar 31

Intolerable Acts

London, UK

Intolerable Acts © Reading Through History

The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British Government.

1774 Sep 5

First Continental Congress

Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia

First Continental Congress ©Reading Through History

The First Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. It met from September 5 to October 26, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after the British Navy instituted a blockade of Boston Harbor and Parliament passed the punitive Intolerable Acts in response to the December 1773 Boston Tea Party. During the opening weeks of the Congress, the delegates conducted a spirited discussion about how the colonies could collectively respond to the British government's coercive actions, and they worked to make a common cause.

1775 Jan 1 - 1782

Western theater of the American Revolutionary War

Ohio River, USA

Western theater of the American Revolutionary War
Joseph Brant (above), also known as Thayendanegea, led an attack on Col. Lochry (1781) that ended George Rogers Clark's plans to attack Detroit. Image by Gilbert Stuart 1786.

The Western theater of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was the area of conflict west of the Appalachian Mountains, the region which became the Northwest Territory of the United States as well as what would become the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Spanish Louisiana. The western war was fought between American Indians with their British allies in Detroit, and American settlers south and east of the Ohio River, and also the Spanish as allies of the latter.

1775 Apr 19

Battles of Lexington and Concord

Middlesex County, Massachusett

Battle of Lexington ©American Heroes Channel

The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. The battles were fought on April 19, 1775 in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy, and Cambridge.

1775 May 10

Capture of Fort Ticonderoga

Ticonderoga, New York

Capture of Fort Ticonderoga
A print depicting Ethan Allen's Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775.

The capture of Fort Ticonderoga occurred during the American Revolutionary War on May 10, 1775, when a small force of Green Mountain Boys led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold surprised and captured the fort's small British garrison. The cannons and other armaments at Fort Ticonderoga were later transported to Boston by Colonel Henry Knox and used to fortify Dorchester Heights and break the standoff at the siege of Boston.

1775 Jun 1 - 1776 Oct

Invasion of Quebec

Lake Champlain

The US Invasion of Canada and the Battle of Long Island ©Reading Through History
Invasion of QuebecInvasion of QuebecInvasion of Quebec

Beginning in August 1775, American privateers raided towns in Nova Scotia, including Saint John, Charlottetown, and Yarmouth. In 1776, John Paul Jones and Jonathan Eddy attacked Canso and Fort Cumberland respectively. British officials in Quebec began negotiating with the Iroquois for their support, while US envoys urged them to remain neutral. Aware of Native American leanings toward the British and fearing an Anglo-Indian attack from Canada, Congress authorized a second invasion in April 1775.

The Invasion of Quebec was the first major military initiative by the newly formed Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The objective of the campaign was to seize the Province of Quebec (part of modern-day Canada) from Great Britain, and persuade French-speaking Canadiens to join the revolution on the side of the Thirteen Colonies. One expedition left Fort Ticonderoga under Richard Montgomery, besieged and captured Fort St. Johns, and very nearly captured British General Guy Carleton when taking Montreal. The other expedition, under Benedict Arnold, left Cambridge, Massachusetts and traveled with great difficulty through the wilderness of Maine to Quebec City.

Montgomery's expedition set out from Fort Ticonderoga in late August, and in mid-September began besieging Fort St. Johns, the main defensive point south of Montreal. After the fort was captured in November, Carleton abandoned Montreal, fleeing to Quebec City, and Montgomery took control of Montreal before heading for Quebec with an army much reduced in size by expiring enlistments. There he joined Arnold, who had left Cambridge in early September on an arduous trek through the wilderness that left his surviving troops starving and lacking in many supplies and equipment.

1775 Jun 14

Continental Army formed

New England

George Washington Takes Command of the Continental Army ©Americana Corner

On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of an army of the United Colonies to fight against the British in the American Revolutionary War. This army, known as the Continental Army, was formed out of necessity because the colonies had no standing army or navy before the war. The army was composed of citizen-soldiers who volunteered to serve and was led by George Washington, who was appointed Commander-in-Chief by the Continental Congress. The Continental Army was organized into regiments, divisions, and companies and was essential to the war effort, from their initial stand at Boston in 1775 to the victory at Yorktown in 1781. The dedication and excellent leadership of George Washington and the citizen-soldiers enabled the Continental Army to overcome the vastly superior forces of the British and secure American independence.

1775 Jun 17

Battle of Bunker Hill

Charlestown, Boston

Battle of Bunker's Hill ©LionHeart FilmWorks
Battle of Bunker HillBattle of Bunker HillBattle of Bunker HillBattle of Bunker HillBattle of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775, during the Siege of Boston in the first stage of the American Revolutionary War. The British forces, led by General William Howe, ultimately won the battle, but at a significant cost. The American forces, led by Colonels William Prescott and Israel Putnam, inflicted heavy casualties on the British before being forced to retreat. The battle is considered a tactical victory for the British but a strategic victory for the Americans as it showed that the colonial militia could stand up against the British army.

1775 Nov 7

Dunmore's Proclamation

Virginia, USA

African Americans in the Revolution ©Reading Through History

Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, was determined to maintain British rule in the colonies and promised to free those enslaved men of rebel owners who fought for him. On November 7, 1775, he issued Dunmore's Proclamation: "I do hereby further declare all indented servants, Negroes, or others, (appertaining to Rebels,) free, that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining His Majesty's Troops." By December 1775 the British army had 300 enslaved men wearing a military uniform. Sewn-on the breast of the uniform was the inscription "Liberty to Slaves". These enslaved men were designated as "Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment."

Dunmore's proclamation angered the colonists, as they turned many African American slaves against them, serving as another contributor to the spark of the revolution. The opposition to the proclamation is directly referenced in the United States Declaration of Independence. The support of African American slaves would become an essential element to the Revolutionary Army and the British Army, and it would become a competition between both sides to enlist as many African American Slaves as possible.

Dunmore's Black soldiers aroused fear among some Patriots. The Ethiopian unit was used most frequently in the South, where the African population was oppressed to the breaking point. As a response to expressions of fear posed by armed Black men, in December 1775, Washington wrote a letter to Colonel Henry Lee III, stating that success in the war would come to whatever side could arm Black men the fastest; therefore, he suggested policy to execute any of the enslaved who would attempt to gain freedom by joining the British effort. It is estimated that 20,000 African Americans joined the British cause, which promised freedom to enslaved people, as Black Loyalists. Around 9,000 African Americans became Black Patriots.

1775 Dec 31

Battle of Quebec

Québec, QC, Canada

Assault on Quebec Ends in Disaster ©Americana Corner

The Battle of Quebec was fought on December 31, 1775, between American Continental Army forces and the British defenders of Quebec City early in the American Revolutionary War. The battle was the first major defeat of the war for the Americans, and it came with heavy losses. General Richard Montgomery was killed, Benedict Arnold was wounded, and Daniel Morgan and more than 400 men were taken prisoner. The city's garrison, a motley assortment of regular troops and militia led by Quebec's provincial governor, General Guy Carleton, suffered a small number of casualties.

1776 Jan 10

Common Sense

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Thomas Paine's Common Sense ©Reading Through History

On January 10, 1775, "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine was published. The pamphlet was a call to arms for the American colonies to declare their independence from British rule. Paine wrote in a clear and persuasive style, making a case for American independence that was easily understood by the average person.

The main argument Paine makes in "Common Sense" is that the American colonies should break away from British rule because they are not truly represented in the British government and are instead being unfairly governed by a distant and corrupt monarchy. He argues that the idea of a "virtual representation" in which the colonists are supposed to be represented by British members of parliament is a fallacy and that the colonists should instead govern themselves.

Paine also makes the case that the colonies have the natural right to govern themselves, citing the fact that the colonies are separated by a wide ocean from Britain and have their own distinct societies, economies, and interests. He argues that the colonists have the ability to create a just and equal society based on the principles of democracy and republicanism.

Paine also criticizes the idea of monarchy and hereditary rule, arguing that it is unjust and a relic of a bygone era. He instead argues that government should be based on the consent of the governed and should be a republic governed by elected representatives.

The pamphlet was widely read and had a major influence on the American revolution, helping to mobilize support for independence. It was an instant success, with 50,000 copies distributed in the colonies within three months of publication. This work is considered as one of the most influential pamphlet on the American Revolution and on the course of Western history.

1776 Mar 17

British evacuate Boston

Boston, MA

British evacuate Boston
An engraving depicting the British evacuation of Boston, March 17, 1776, at the end of the Siege of Boston

The siege of Boston (April 19, 1775 – March 17, 1776) was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War. New England militiamen prevented the movement by land of the British Army, which was garrisoned in what was then the peninsular city of Boston, Massachusetts Bay. Both sides had to deal with resource, supply, and personnel issues over the course of the siege. British resupply and reinforcement was limited to sea access, which was impeded by American vessels. The British abandoned Boston after eleven months and transferred their troops and equipment to Nova Scotia.

1776 May 18 - 1776 May 27

Battle of the Cedars

Les Cèdres, Quebec, Canada

Battle of the Cedars
Brigadier General Benedict Arnold
Battle of the CedarsBattle of the Cedars

The Battle of the Cedars was a series of military confrontations early in the American Revolutionary War during the Continental Army's invasion of Canada that had begun in September 1775. The skirmishes, which involved limited combat, occurred in May 1776 at and around the Cedars, 45 km (28 mi) west of Montreal, British America. Continental Army units were opposed by a small force of British troops leading a larger force of Indians (primarily Iroquois) and militia.

Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, commanding the American military garrison at Montreal, had placed a detachment of his troops at the Cedars in April 1776, after hearing of rumors of British and Indian military preparations to the west of Montreal. The garrison surrendered on May 19 after a confrontation with a combined force of British and Indian troops led by Captain George Forster. American reinforcements on their way to the Cedars were also captured after a brief skirmish on May 20. All of the captives were eventually released after negotiations between Forster and Arnold, who was bringing a sizable force into the area. The terms of the agreement required the Americans to release an equal number of British prisoners, but the deal was repudiated by Congress, and no British prisoners were freed.

Colonel Timothy Bedel and Lieutenant Isaac Butterfield, leaders of the American force at the Cedars, were court-martialed and cashiered from the Continental Army for their roles in the affair. After distinguishing himself as a volunteer, Bedel was given a new commission in 1777. News of the affair included greatly inflated reports of casualties, and often included graphic but false accounts of atrocities committed by the Iroquois, who made up the majority of the British forces.

1776 Jun 8

Battle of Trois-Rivières

Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada

Battle of Trois-Rivières
Battle of Trois-Rivières

The Battle of Trois-Rivières was fought on June 8, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. A British army under Quebec Governor Guy Carleton defeated an attempt by units from the Continental Army under the command of Brigadier General William Thompson to stop a British advance up the Saint Lawrence River valley. The battle occurred as a part of the American colonists' invasion of Quebec, which had begun in September 1775 with the goal of removing the province from British rule.

The crossing of the Saint Lawrence by the American troops was observed by Quebec militia, who alerted British troops at Trois-Rivières. A local farmer led the Americans into a swamp, enabling the British to land additional forces in the village, and to establish positions behind the American army. After a brief exchange between an established British line and American troops emerging from the swamp, the Americans broke into a somewhat disorganized retreat. As some avenues of retreat were cut off, the British took a sizable number of prisoners, including General Thompson and much of his staff.

This was the last battle of the war fought on Quebec soil. Following the defeat, the remainder of the American forces, under the command of John Sullivan, retreated, first to Fort Saint-Jean, and then to Fort Ticonderoga. The invasion of Quebec ended as a disaster for the Americans, but Arnold's actions on the retreat from Quebec and his improvised navy on Lake Champlain were widely credited with delaying a full-scale British counter thrust until 1777. Numerous factors were put forward as reasons for the invasion's failure, including the high rate of smallpox among American troops. Carleton was heavily criticized by Burgoyne for not pursuing the American retreat from Quebec more aggressively. Due to these criticisms and the fact that Carleton was disliked by Lord George Germain, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies and the official in King George's government responsible for directing the war, command of the 1777 offensive was given to General Burgoyne instead (an action that prompted Carleton to tender his resignation as Governor of Quebec).

A significant portion of the Continental forces at Fort Ticonderoga were sent south with Generals Gates and Arnold in November to bolster Washington's faltering defense of New Jersey. (He had already lost New York City, and by early December had crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, leaving the British free to operate in New Jersey.) Conquering Quebec and other British colonies remained an objective of Congress throughout the war. However, George Washington, who had supported this invasion, considered any further expeditions a low priority that would divert too many men and resources away from the main war in the Thirteen Colonies, so further attempts at expeditions to Quebec were never fully realized.

1776 Jun 28

Battle of Sullivan's Island

Sullivan's Island, South Carol

Battle of Sullivan's Island
An image of Sgt. Jasper raising the battle flag of the colonial forces

The Battle of Sullivan's Island or the battle of Fort Sullivan was fought on June 28, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. It took place near Charleston, South Carolina, during the first British attempt to capture the city from American forces. It is also sometimes referred to as the first siege of Charleston, owing to a more successful British siege in 1780.

1776 Jul 4

United States Declaration of Independence

Philadephia, PA

Declaring Independence ©Reading Through History

The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration explained why the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain regarded themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

1776 Aug 27

Battle of Long Island

Brooklyn, NY, USA

Battle of Long Island ©BattleStack

The Battle of Long Island, also known as the Battle of Brooklyn and the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, was an action of the American Revolutionary War fought on Tuesday, August 27, 1776, at the western edge of Long Island in the present-day Brooklyn, New York. The British defeated the Americans and gained access to the strategically important Port of New York, which they held for the rest of the war. It was the first major battle to take place after the United States declared its independence on July 4, and in troop deployment and combat, it was the largest battle of the war.

After defeating the British in the siege of Boston on March 17, commander-in-chief George Washington relocated the Continental Army to defend the port city of New York, located at the southern end of Manhattan Island. Washington understood that the city's harbor would provide an excellent base for the Royal Navy, so he established defenses there and waited for the British to attack. In July, the British, under the command of General William Howe, landed a few miles across the harbor on the sparsely populated Staten Island, where they were reinforced by a fleet of ships in Lower New York Bay over the next month and a half, bringing their total force to 32,000 troops. Washington knew the difficulty in holding the city with the British fleet in control of the entrance to the harbor at the Narrows, and accordingly moved the bulk of his forces to Manhattan, believing that it would be the first target.

On August 21, the British landed on the shores of Gravesend Bay in southwest Kings County, across the Narrows from Staten Island and more than a dozen miles south of the established East River crossings to Manhattan. After five days of waiting, the British attacked the American defenses on the Guan Heights. Unknown to the Americans, however, Howe had brought his main army around their rear and attacked their flank soon after. The Americans panicked, resulting in twenty percent losses through casualties and capture, although a stand by 400 Maryland and Delaware troops prevented greater losses. The remainder of the army retreated to the main defenses on Brooklyn Heights. The British dug in for a siege, but on the night of August 29–30, Washington evacuated the entire army to Manhattan without the loss of supplies or a single life. The Continental Army was driven out of New York entirely after several more defeats and was forced to retreat through New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

1776 Sep 16

Battle of Fort Washington

Washington Heights, Manhattan,

George Washington's Defeat in New York ©George Washington's Mount Vernon

The Battle of Fort Washington was fought in New York on November 16, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War between the United States and Great Britain. It was a British victory that gained the surrender of the remnant of the garrison of Fort Washington near the north end of Manhattan Island. It was one of the worst Patriot defeats of the war.

After defeating the Continental Army under Commander-in-Chief General George Washington at the Battle of White Plains, the British Army forces under the command of Lieutenant General William Howe planned to capture Fort Washington, the last American stronghold on Manhattan. General Washington issued a discretionary order to General Nathanael Greene to abandon the fort and remove its garrison – then numbering 1,200 men but which later grew to 3,000 – to New Jersey. Colonel Robert Magaw, commanding the fort, declined to abandon it as he believed it could be defended from the British. Howe's forces attacked the fort before Washington reached it to assess the situation.

Howe launched his attack on November 16. He led an assault from three sides: the north, east and south. Tides in the Harlem River prevented some troops from landing and delayed the attack. When the British moved against the defenses, the southern and western American defenses fell quickly. Patriot forces on the north side offered stiff resistance to the Hessian attack, but they too were eventually overwhelmed. With the fort surrounded by land and sea, Colonel Magaw chose to surrender. A total of 59 Americans were killed in action and 2,837 were taken as prisoners of war.

After this defeat, most of Washington's army was chased across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania, and the British consolidated their control of New York Harbor and eastern New Jersey.

1776 Sep 16

Battle of Harlem Heights

Morningside Heights, Manhattan

Battle Of Harlem Heights ©Wiki4All

The Battle of Harlem Heights was fought during the New York and New Jersey campaign of the American Revolutionary War. The action took place on September 16, 1776, in what is now the Morningside Heights area and east into the future Harlem neighborhoods of northwestern Manhattan Island in what is now part of New York City.

The Continental Army, under Commander-in-chief General George Washington, Major General Nathanael Greene, and Major General Israel Putnam, totaling around 9,000 men, held a series of high ground positions in upper Manhattan. Immediately opposite was the vanguard of the British Army totaling around 5,000 men under the command of Major General Henry Clinton.

1776 Oct 11

Battle of Valcour Island

Lake Champlain

Battle of Valcour Island

The Battle of Valcour Island, also known as the Battle of Valcour Bay, was a naval engagement that took place on October 11, 1776, on Lake Champlain. The main action took place in Valcour Bay, a narrow strait between the New York mainland and Valcour Island. The battle is generally regarded as one of the first naval battles of the American Revolutionary War, and one of the first fought by the United States Navy. Most of the ships in the American fleet under the command of Benedict Arnold were captured or destroyed by a British force under the overall direction of General Guy Carleton. However, the American defense of Lake Champlain stalled British plans to reach the upper Hudson River valley. The Continental Army had retreated from Quebec to Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Crown Point in June 1776 after British forces were massively reinforced. They spent the summer of 1776 fortifying those forts and building additional ships to augment the small American fleet already on the lake. General Carleton had a 9,000 man army at Fort Saint-Jean, but needed to build a fleet to carry it on the lake. The Americans, during their retreat, had either taken or destroyed most of the ships on the lake. By early October, the British fleet, which significantly outgunned the American fleet, was ready for launch.

1776 Oct 28

Battle of White Plains

White Plains, New York, USA

Battle of White Plains
Hessian Fuselier Regiment Von Lossberg fording the Bronx river at the battle of White Plains | ©GrahaM Turner

The Battle of White Plains was a battle in the New York and New Jersey campaign of the American Revolutionary War, fought on October 28, 1776 near White Plains, New York. Following the retreat of George Washington's Continental Army northward from New York City, British General William Howe landed troops in Westchester County, intending to cut off Washington's escape route. Alerted to this move, Washington retreated farther, establishing a position in the village of White Plains but failed to establish firm control over local high ground. Howe's troops drove Washington's troops from a hill near the village; following this loss, Washington ordered the Americans to retreat farther north. Later British movements chased Washington across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Washington then crossed the Delaware and surprised a brigade of Hessian troops in the December 26 Battle of Trenton.

1776 Dec 25

George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River

Washington's Crossing

George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River
This is an oil on canvas painting. Washington stands at the apex of a pyramid of figures, on horseback. Bingham portrays Washington and his crew riding on a broad, flat-bottomed raftboat, through icy waters; the boat seems to proceed directly toward the viewer.

George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, which occurred on the night of December 25–26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, was the first move in a surprise attack organized by George Washington against Hessian forces (German auxiliaries in the service of the British) in Trenton, New Jersey, on the morning of December 26. Planned in partial secrecy, Washington led a column of Continental Army troops across the icy Delaware River in a logistically challenging and dangerous operation.

1776 Dec 26

Battle of Trenton

Trenton, NJ

The Winter Patriots © George Washington's Mount Vernon

The Battle of Trenton was a small but pivotal American Revolutionary War battle that took place on the morning of December 26, 1776, in Trenton, New Jersey. After General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton the previous night, Washington led the main body of the Continental Army against Hessian auxiliaries garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle, almost two-thirds of the Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle significantly boosted the Continental Army's waning morale, and inspired re-enlistments.

1777 Jan 2

Battle of the Assunpink Creek

Trenton, New Jersey, USA

Battle of the Assunpink Creek
General George Washington at Trenton on the night of January 2, 1777, after the Battle of the Assunpink Creek, also known as the Second Battle of Trenton, and before the Battle of Princeton. | ©John Trumbull

The Battle of the Assunpink Creek, also known as the Second Battle of Trenton, was a battle between American and British troops that took place in and around Trenton, New Jersey, on January 2, 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, and resulted in an American victory.

Following the victory at the Battle of Trenton early in the morning of December 26, 1776, General George Washington of the Continental Army and his council of war expected a strong British counterattack. Washington and the council decided to meet this attack in Trenton and established a defensive position south of the Assunpink Creek.

Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis led the British forces southward in the aftermath of the December 26 battle. Leaving 1,400 men under Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mawhood in Princeton, Cornwallis advanced on Trenton with about 5,000 men on January 2. His advance was significantly slowed by defensive skirmishing by American riflemen under the command of Edward Hand, and the advance guard did not reach Trenton until twilight. After assaulting the American positions three times and being repulsed each time, Cornwallis decided to wait and finish the battle the next day. Washington moved his army around Cornwallis's camp that night and attacked Mawhood at Princeton the next day. That defeat prompted the British to withdraw from most of New Jersey for the winter.

1777 Jan 3

Battle of Princeton

Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Battle of Princeton
General George Washington rallying his troops at the Battle of Princeton. | ©William Ranney

After defeating the Hessians at the Battle of Trenton on the morning of December 26, 1776, Washington withdrew back to Pennsylvania. He subsequently decided to attack the British forces before going into winter quarters. On December 29, he led his army back into Trenton. On the night of January 2, 1777, Washington repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek. That night, he evacuated his position, circled around General Cornwallis' army, and went to attack the British garrison at Princeton.

On January 3, Brigadier General Hugh Mercer of the Continental Army clashed with two regiments under the command of Mawhood. Mercer and his troops were overrun, and Mercer was mortally wounded. Washington sent a brigade of militia under Brigadier General John Cadwalader to help them. The militia, on seeing the flight of Mercer's men, also began to flee. Washington rode up with reinforcements and rallied the fleeing militia. He then led the attack on Mawhood's troops, driving them back. Mawhood gave the order to retreat, and most of the troops tried to flee to Cornwallis in Trenton.

In Princeton, Brigadier General John Sullivan encouraged some British troops who had taken refuge in Nassau Hall to surrender, ending the battle. After the battle, Washington moved his army to Morristown, and with their third defeat in 10 days, the British evacuated Central Jersey. The battle (while considered minor by British standards) was the last major action of Washington's winter New Jersey campaign.

1777 May 24

Meigs Raid

Sag Harbor, NY, USA

Meigs Raid
Meigs Raid

The Meigs Raid (also known as the Battle of Sag Harbor) was a military raid by American Continental Army forces, under the command of Connecticut Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs, on a British Loyalist foraging party at Sag Harbor, New York on May 24, 1777 during the American Revolutionary War. Six Loyalists were killed and 90 captured while the Americans suffered no casualties. The raid was made in response to a successful British raid on Danbury, Connecticut in late April that was opposed by American forces in the Battle of Ridgefield.

Organized in New Haven, Connecticut by Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons, the expedition crossed Long Island Sound from Guilford on May 23, dragged whaleboats across the North Fork of Long Island, and raided Sag Harbor early the next morning, destroying boats and supplies. The battle marked the first American victory in the state of New York after New York City and Long Island had fallen in the British campaign for the city in 1776.

1777 Jul 2

Siege of Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Ti Road

Siege of Fort Ticonderoga
Siege of Fort Ticonderoga | ©Gerry Embleton

The 1777 Siege of Fort Ticonderoga occurred between the 2nd and 6 July 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga, near the southern end of Lake Champlain in the state of New York. Lieutenant General John Burgoyne's 8,000-man army occupied high ground above the fort, and nearly surrounded the defenses. These movements precipitated the occupying Continental Army, an under-strength force of 3,000 under the command of General Arthur St. Clair, to withdraw from Ticonderoga and the surrounding defenses. Some gunfire was exchanged, and there were some casualties, but there was no formal siege and no pitched battle. Burgoyne's army occupied Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, the extensive fortifications on the Vermont side of the lake, without opposition on 6 July. Advance units pursued the retreating Americans. The uncontested surrender of Ticonderoga caused an uproar in the American public and in its military circles, as Ticonderoga was widely believed to be virtually impregnable, and a vital point of defense. General St. Clair and his superior, General Philip Schuyler, were vilified by Congress.

1777 Aug 6

Battle of Oriskany

Oriskany, New York, USA

Battle of Oriskany
Although wounded, General Nicholas Herkimer rallies the Tryon County militia at the Battle of Oriskany | ©Frederick Coffay Yohn

The Battle of Oriskany was one of the bloodiest battles in the American Revolutionary War and a significant engagement of the Saratoga campaign. On August 6, 1777, a party of Loyalists and several hundred Indigenous allies across several nations ambushed an American military party that was marching to relieve the siege of Fort Stanwix. This was one of the few battles in which the majority of the participants were Americans; Rebels and allied Oneidas fought against Loyalists and allied Iroquois in the absence of British regular soldiers. There was also a detachment of Hessians in the British force, as well as Western Indians including members of the Mississauga people.

1777 Aug 16

Battle of Bennington

Walloomsac, New York, USA

Battle of Bennington ©Across the Fence

The Battle of Bennington was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place on August 16, 1777, in Walloomsac, New York, about 10 miles (16 km) from its namesake, Bennington, Vermont. A rebel force of 2,000 men, primarily New Hampshire and Massachusetts militiamen, led by General John Stark, and reinforced by Vermont militiamen led by Colonel Seth Warner and members of the Green Mountain Boys, decisively defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne's army led by Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum, and supported by additional men under Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann.

1777 Sep 11

Battle of Brandywine

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, USA

Battle of Brandywine
Nation Makers | ©Howard Pyle

The Battle of Brandywine, also known as the Battle of Brandywine Creek, was fought between the American Continental Army of General George Washington and the British Army of General Sir William Howe on September 11, 1777, as part of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). The forces met near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. More troops fought at Brandywine than any other battle of the American Revolution. It was also the second single-day battle of the war, after the Battle of Monmouth, with continuous fighting for 11 hours.

As Howe moved to take Philadelphia, then the American capital, the British forces routed the Continental Army and forced them to withdraw, first, to the City of Chester, Pennsylvania, and then northeast toward Philadelphia.

Howe's army departed from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, across New York Bay from the occupied town of New York City on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, on July 23, 1777, and landed near present-day Elkton, Maryland, at the point of the "Head of Elk" by the Elk River at the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay, at the southern mouth of the Susquehanna River.Marching north, the British Army brushed aside American light forces in a few skirmishes. General Washington offered battle with his army posted behind Brandywine Creek, off the Christina River. While part of his army demonstrated in front of Chadds Ford, Howe took the bulk of his troops on a long march that crossed the Brandywine far beyond Washington's right flank. Due to poor scouting, the Americans did not detect Howe's column until it reached a position in rear of their right flank. Belatedly, three divisions were shifted to block the British flanking force at Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse and School, a Quaker meeting house.

After a stiff fight, Howe's wing broke through the newly formed American right wing which was deployed on several hills. At this point Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen attacked Chadds Ford and crumpled the American left wing. As Washington's army streamed away in retreat, he brought up elements of General Nathanael Greene's division which held off Howe's column long enough for his army to escape to the northeast. Polish General Casimir Pulaski defended Washington's rear assisting in his escape. The defeat and subsequent maneuvers left Philadelphia vulnerable. The British captured it two weeks later on September 26, resulting in the city falling under British control for nine months, until June of 1778.

1777 Sep 19

Battles of Saratoga

Stillwater, Saratogy County

Battle of Saratoga ©Reading Through History

The Battles of Saratoga (September 19 and October 7, 1777) marked the climax of the Saratoga campaign, giving a decisive victory to the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War. British General John Burgoyne led a large invasion army southward from Canada in the Champlain Valley, hoping to meet a similar British force marching northward from New York City and another British force marching eastward from Lake Ontario; the southern and western forces never arrived, and Burgoyne was surrounded by American forces in upstate New York. He fought two small battles to break out which took place 18 days apart on the same ground, 9 miles (14 km) south of Saratoga, New York. They both failed.

1777 Sep 20

Battle of Paoli

Willistown Township, PA, USA

Battle of Paoli
A Dreadful scene of havock, depicting the British light infantry and light dragoons attacking the Continental Army encampment at Paoli on 20 September 1777

The Battle of Paoli (also known as the Battle of Paoli Tavern or the Paoli Massacre) was a battle in the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought on September 20, 1777, in the area surrounding present-day Malvern, Pennsylvania. Following the American retreats at the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of the Clouds, George Washington left a force under Brigadier General Anthony Wayne behind to monitor and harass the British as they prepared to move on the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia. On the evening of September 20, British forces under Major General Charles Grey led a surprise attack on Wayne's encampment near the Paoli Tavern. Although there were relatively few American casualties, claims were made that the British took no prisoners and granted no quarter, and the engagement became known as the "Paoli Massacre."

1777 Oct 4

Battle of Germantown

Germantown, Philadelphia, Penn

Battle of Germantown

The Battle of Germantown was a major engagement in the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War. It was fought on October 4, 1777, at Germantown, Pennsylvania, between the British Army led by Sir William Howe, and the American Continental Army, with the 2nd Canadian Regiment, under George Washington.

1777 Oct 22

Battle of Red Bank

Fort Mercer, Hessian Avenue, N

Battle of Red Bank

The Battle of Red Bank was a battle fought on October 22, 1777 during the American Revolutionary War in which a British and Hessian force was sent to take Fort Mercer on the left bank (or New Jersey side) of the Delaware River just south of Philadelphia, but was decisively defeated by a far inferior force of Colonial defenders. Although the British did take Fort Mercer a month later, the victory supplied a sorely-needed morale boost to the American cause, delayed British plans to consolidate gains in Philadelphia, and relieved pressure on General George Washington's army to the north of the city.

1777 Dec 5

Battle of White Marsh

Whitemarsh Township, Montgomer

Battle of White Marsh

The Battle of White Marsh or Battle of Edge Hill was a battle of the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought December 5–8, 1777, in the area surrounding Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania. The battle, which took the form of a series of skirmish actions, was the last major engagement of 1777 between British and American forces.

George Washington, commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces, spent the weeks after his defeat at the Battle of Germantown encamped with the Continental Army in various locations throughout Montgomery County, just north of British-occupied Philadelphia. In early November, the Americans established an entrenched position approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of Philadelphia along the Wissahickon Creek and Sandy Run, primarily situated on several hills between Old York Road and Bethlehem Pike. From here, Washington monitored British troop movements in Philadelphia and evaluated his options.

On December 4, Gen. Sir William Howe, the commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, led a sizable contingent of troops out of Philadelphia in one last attempt to destroy Washington and the Continental Army before the onset of winter. After a series of skirmishes, Howe called off the attack and returned to Philadelphia without engaging Washington in a decisive conflict.

With the British back in Philadelphia, Washington was able to march his troops to winter quarters at Valley Forge.

1777 Dec 19

Valley Forge

Valley Forge, PA

Washington's Army at Valley Forge ©Reading Through History

Valley Forge functioned as the third of eight winter encampments for the Continental Army's main body, commanded by General George Washington, during the American Revolutionary War. In September 1777, Congress fled Philadelphia to escape the British capture of the city.

1778 Feb 6

Treaty of Alliance

Paris, France

Help From France © Reading Through History

The Treaty of Alliance, also known as the Franco-American Treaty, was a defensive alliance between the Kingdom of France and the United States of America formed amid the American Revolutionary War with Great Britain. It was signed by delegates of King Louis XVI and the Second Continental Congress in Paris ( led by Benjamin Franklin) on February 6, 1778, along with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and a secret clause providing for the entry of other European allies; together these instruments are sometimes known as the Franco-American Alliance or the Treaties of Alliance. The agreements marked the official entry of the United States on the world stage, and formalized French recognition and support of U.S. independence that was to be decisive in America's victory.

1778 May 20

Battle of Barren Hill

Lafayette Hill, PA, USA

Battle of Barren Hill
| ©Don Troiani

The Battle of Barren Hill was a minor engagement during the American Revolution. On May 20, 1778, a British force attempted to encircle a smaller Continental force under the Marquis de Lafayette. The maneuver failed, with the Continentals escaping the trap, but the British took the field.

1778 May 25 - 1778 May 31

Mount Hope Bay raids

Fall River, Massachusetts, USA

Mount Hope Bay raids
General Sir Robert Pigot, the organizer of the raids | ©Francis Cotes
Mount Hope Bay raids

In December 1776, after completing the conquest of New York City, British Lieutenant General William Howe detached a body of troops from his army which occupied Newport, Rhode Island without significant opposition. The Newport garrison came under the command of Brigadier General Sir Robert Pigot when the original commander, Brigadier General Richard Prescott, was captured in the summer of 1777 in a daring commando operation led by Continental Army Major and Warren, Rhode Island, native William Barton.

Since the British occupation began American and British forces had been in a standoff. Major General Joseph Spencer had been ordered by Major General George Washington to launch an assault on Newport in 1777, but he had not done so, and was removed from command of the Rhode Island defenses. In March 1778 Congress approved the appointment of Major General John Sullivan to Rhode Island. By early May, Sullivan had arrived in the state and produced a detailed report on the situation there. He also began logistical preparations for an attack on Newport, caching equipment and supplies on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay and the Taunton River. General Pigot was alerted to Sullivan's preparations by a local Loyalist, and organized an expedition to raid Bristol and Warren. On the evening of May 24 he ordered a force of 500 British and Hessian soldiers under the command of the 22nd Regiment's Lieutenant Colonel James Campbell to march to the northern end of Aquidneck Island, from where they took whaleboats across to the mainland.

The Mount Hope Bay raids were a series of military raids conducted by British troops during the American Revolutionary War against communities on the shores of Mount Hope Bay on May 25 and 31, 1778. The towns of Bristol and Warren, Rhode Island were significantly damaged, and Freetown, Massachusetts (present-day Fall River) was also attacked, although its militia resisted British attacks more successfully. The British destroyed military defenses in the area, including supplies that had been cached by the Continental Army in anticipation of an assault on British-occupied Newport, Rhode Island. Homes as well as municipal and religious buildings were also destroyed in the raids.

On May 25, 500 British and Hessian soldiers, under orders from General Sir Robert Pigot, the commander of the British garrison at Newport, Rhode Island, landed between Bristol and Warren, destroyed boats and other supplies, and plundered Bristol. Local resistance was minimal and ineffective in stopping the British activities. Six days later, 100 soldiers descended on Freetown, where less damage was done because local defenders prevented the British from crossing a bridge.

1778 Jun 28

Battle of Monmouth

Freehold Township, NJ

Battle of Monmouth
Painting titled Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth; depicts George Washington at the 1778 Battle of Monmouth.

The Battle of Monmouth was fought near Monmouth Court House on June 28, 1778, during the American Revolutionary War. It pitted the Continental Army, commanded by General George Washington, against the British Army in North America, commanded by General Sir Henry Clinton.

1778 Jul 1 - 1779 Feb

Illinois campaign

Illinois, USA

Illinois campaign
Clark's march to Vincennes. | ©F. C. Yohn

The Illinois campaign, also known as Clark's Northwestern campaign (1778–1779), was a series of events during the American Revolutionary War in which a small force of Virginia militiamen, led by George Rogers Clark, seized control of several British posts in the Illinois Country of the Province of Quebec, in what are now Illinois and Indiana in the Midwestern United States. The campaign is the best-known action of the western theater of the war and the source of Clark's reputation as an early American military hero.

In July 1778, Clark and his men crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky and took control of Kaskaskia, Vincennes, and several other villages in British territory. The occupation was accomplished without firing a shot because many of the Canadien and Native American inhabitants in the region were unwilling to resist the Patriots. To counter Clark's advance, Henry Hamilton, the British lieutenant governor at Fort Detroit, reoccupied Vincennes with a small force. In February 1779, Clark returned to Vincennes in a surprise winter expedition and retook the town, capturing Hamilton in the process. Virginia capitalized on Clark's success by establishing the region as Illinois County, Virginia.

The importance of the Illinois campaign has been the subject of much debate. Because the British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, some historians have credited Clark with nearly doubling the size of the original Thirteen Colonies by seizing control of the Illinois Country during the war. For this reason, Clark was nicknamed the "Conqueror of the Northwest", and his Illinois campaign—particularly the surprise march to Vincennes—was greatly celebrated and romanticized.

1778 Aug 29

Battle of Rhode Island

Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island

Battle of Rhode Island
Continental Army in battle | ©Graham Turner
Battle of Rhode Island

The Battle of Rhode Island took place on August 29, 1778. Continental Army and Militia forces under the command of Major General John Sullivan had been besieging the British forces in Newport, Rhode Island, which is situated on Aquidneck Island, but they had finally abandoned their siege and were withdrawing to the northern part of the island. The British forces then sortied, supported by recently arrived Royal Navy ships, and they attacked the retreating Americans. The battle ended inconclusively, but the Continental forces withdrew to the mainland and left Aquidneck Island in British hands.

The battle was the first attempt at cooperation between French and American forces following France's entry into the war as an American ally. Operations against Newport were planned in conjunction with a French fleet and troops, but they were frustrated in part by difficult relations between the commanders, as well as by a storm that damaged both French and British fleets shortly before joint operations were to begin.

The battle was also notable for the participation of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment under the command of Colonel Christopher Greene, which consisted of Africans, American Indians, and White colonists.

1778 Oct 1 - 1782

Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War

Georgia, USA

Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War © American Battlefield Trust
Southern theater of the American Revolutionary WarSouthern theater of the American Revolutionary WarSouthern theater of the American Revolutionary War

The Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War was the central theater of military operations in the second half of the American Revolutionary War, 1778–1781. It encompassed engagements primarily in Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. Tactics consisted of both strategic battles and guerrilla warfare.

During the first three years of the conflict, 1775–1778, the largest military encounters between Continental Army and the British Army had been in the New England and Middle colonies, around the cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. After the failure of the Saratoga campaign, the British Army largely abandoned operations in the north and pursued peace through subjugation in the Southern Colonies. Before 1778, these colonies were largely dominated by Patriot-controlled governments and militias, although there was also a Continental Army presence that played a role in the 1776 defense of Charleston, the suppression of loyalist militias, and attempts to drive the British from strongly loyalist East Florida.

The British began to implement their "Southern Strategy" in late 1778, in Georgia. It initially achieved success with the capture of Savannah, Georgia, which was followed in 1780 by operations in South Carolina that included the defeat of Continental forces at Charleston and Camden. At the same time France (in 1778) and Spain (in 1779) declared war on Great Britain in support of the United States. Spain captured all of British West Florida, culminating in the siege of Pensacola in 1781. France initially offered only naval support for the first few years after its declaration of war but in 1781 sent massive numbers of soldiers to join General George Washington's army and marched into Virginia from New York. General Nathanael Greene, who took over as Continental Army commander after Camden, engaged in a strategy of avoidance and attrition against the British.

1778 Nov 11

Cherry Valley massacre

Cherry Valley, New York, USA

Cherry Valley massacre

The Cherry Valley massacre was an attack by British and Iroquois forces on a fort and the village of Cherry Valley in central New York on November 11, 1778, during the American Revolutionary War. It has been described as one of the most horrific frontier massacres of the war. A mixed force of Loyalists, British soldiers, Seneca and Mohawks descended on Cherry Valley, whose defenders, despite warnings, were unprepared for the attack. During the raid, the Seneca in particular targeted non-combatants, and reports state that 30 such individuals were slain, in addition to a number of armed defenders.

1778 Dec 29

Capture of Savannah

Savannah, Georgia

Capture of Savannah
Attack on Savannah

The Capture of Savannah, or sometimes the First Battle of Savannah (because of the siege of 1779), or the Battle of Brewton Hill, was an American Revolutionary War battle fought on December 29, 1778 pitting local American Patriot militia and Continental Army units, holding the City, against a British invasion force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell. The British capture of the city led to an extended occupation and was the opening move in the British southern strategy to regain control of the rebellious Southern provinces by appealing to the relatively strong Loyalist sentiment there.

1779 Jan 1

Gulf Coast campaign

Pensacola, FL, USA

Gulf Coast campaign
Painting depicting the Spanish advance at the lower Mississippi | ©Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

The Gulf Coast campaign or the Spanish conquest of West Florida in the American Revolutionary War, was a series of military operations primarily directed by the governor of Spanish Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez against the British province of West Florida. Begun with operations against British positions on the Mississippi River shortly after Britain and Spain went to war in 1779, Gálvez completed the conquest of West Florida in 1781 with the successful siege of Pensacola.

1779 Feb 23 - 1779 Feb 25

Siege of Fort Vincennes

Vincennes, Indiana, USA

Siege of Fort Vincennes
Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton surrenders to Colonel George Rogers Clark, February 25, 1779, painting by H. Charles McBarron Jr.

The siege of Fort Vincennes, also known as the siege of Fort Sackville and the Battle of Vincennes, was a Revolutionary War frontier battle fought in present-day Vincennes, Indiana won by a militia led by American commander George Rogers Clark over a British garrison led by Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton. Roughly half of Clark's militia were Canadien volunteers sympathetic to the American cause. After a daring wintertime march, the small American force was able to force the British to surrender the fort and in a larger frame the Illinois territory.

1779 May 10

Chesapeake raid

Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake raid

The Chesapeake Raid was an American Revolutionary War campaign by British naval forces under the command of Commodore Sir George Collier and land forces led by Major General Edward Mathew. Between 10 May and 24 May 1779 these forces raided economic and military targets up and down Chesapeake Bay. The speed with which the British moved caught many of the bay's communities by surprise, so there was little to no resistance. The British destroyed economically important supplies of tobacco and coal, and destroyed naval ships, port facilities, and storehouses full of military supplies.

1779 Jun 1

Spain and the American Revolutionary War

Florida, USA

Spain and the American Revolutionary War
Bernardo de Gálvez at the siege of Pensacola | ©Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

Spain played an important role in the independence of the United States, as part of its conflict with Britain. Spain declared war on Britain as an ally of France, itself an ally of the American colonies. Most notably, Spanish forces attacked British positions in the south and captured West Florida from Britain in the siege of Pensacola. This secured the southern route for supplies and closed off the possibility of any British offensive through the western frontier of the United States via the Mississippi River. Spain also provided money, supplies, and munitions to the American forces.

Beginning in 1776, it jointly funded Roderigue Hortalez and Company, a trading company that provided critical military supplies. Spain provided financing for the final siege of Yorktown in 1781 with a collection of gold and silver in Havana, then Spanish Cuba. Spain was allied with France through the Bourbon Family Compact and the Revolution was an opportunity to confront their common enemy, Great Britain. As the newly appointed Chief Minister of King Charles III of Spain, the Count of Floridablanca wrote in March 1777, "the fate of the colonies interests us very much, and we shall do for them everything that circumstances permit".

Spanish aid was supplied to the new nation through four main routes: from French ports with the funding of Rodrigue Hortalez and Company, through the port of New Orleans and up the Mississippi River, from the warehouses in Havana, and from Bilbao, through the Gardoqui family trading company.

1779 Jun 18 - 1779 Oct 3

Sullivan Expedition

Upstate New York, NY, USA

Sullivan Clinton Campaign

The 1779 Sullivan Expedition was a United States military campaign during the American Revolutionary War, lasting from June to October 1779, against Loyalists and the four British allied Nations of the Iroquois. The campaign was ordered by George Washington, in response to the 1778 Iroquois–British attacks on Wyoming, German Flatts, and Cherry Valley, with the aim of "taking the war home to the enemy to break their morale". The Continental Army carried out a scorched-earth campaign, chiefly in the lands of the Iroquois Confederacy (also known as the Longhouse Confederacy) in what is now Pennsylvania and western New York state.

The expedition was largely successful, with more than 40 Iroquois villages and their stores of winter crops destroyed, breaking the power of the Iroquois in New York all the way to the Great Lakes. The campaign drove 5,000 Iroquois to Fort Niagara seeking British protection. With the military power of the Iroquois vanquished, the campaign depopulated the area for post-war settlement and opened up the vast Ohio Country, the Great Lakes region, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky to post-war settlements. Historians Rhiannon Koehler, Jeffrey Ostler, and Barbara Alice Mann argue that it was an attempt to annihilate the Iroquois and describe the expedition as a genocide, although this term is disputed, and it is not commonly used. Historian Fred Anderson, describes the expedition as "close to ethnic cleansing" instead. Today this area is the heartland of Upstate New York, with thirty-five monoliths marking the path of Sullivan's troops and the locations of the Iroquois villages they razed dotting the region, having been erected by the New York State Education Department in 1929 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the expedition.

1779 Jul 1

Tryon's raid

New Haven, CT, USA

Tryon's raid
Tryon's raid

Tryon's Raid occurred in July 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, in which 2700 men, led by British Major General William Tryon, raided the Connecticut ports of New Haven, Fairfield, and Norwalk. They destroyed military and public stores, supply houses, and ships as well as private homes, churches, and other public buildings. The raids were ineffectually resisted by militia forces.

The raid was part of a larger strategy designed by the British commander-in-chief, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton, to draw Major General George Washington's Continental Army to terrain on which it might be more effectively engaged. The strategy failed, and both sides criticized General Tryon for the severity of his action. Although the raid had economic ramifications and affected military supplies, Clinton's efforts had no long-term strategic impact.

1779 Jul 16

Battle of Stony Point

Stony Point, New York, U.S.

Battle of Stony Point ©FISM TV
Battle of Stony PointBattle of Stony Point

The Battle of Stony Point took place on July 16, 1779, during the American Revolutionary War. In a well-planned and -executed nighttime attack, a highly trained select group of George Washington's Continental Army troops under the command of Brigadier General "Mad Anthony" Wayne defeated British troops in a quick and daring assault on their outpost in Stony Point, New York, approximately 30 mi (48 km) north of New York City.

The British suffered heavy losses in a battle that served as an important victory in terms of morale for the Continental Army. While the fort was ordered evacuated quickly after the battle by General Washington, this key crossing site was used later in the war by units of the Continental Army to cross the Hudson River on their way to victory over the British.

1779 Jul 24 - 1779 Aug 16

Penobscot Expedition

Penobscot Bay, Maine, USA

Penobscot Expedition
Destruction of the American Fleet at Penobscot Bay, 14 August 1779. | ©Dominic Serres
Penobscot Expedition

The Penobscot Expedition was a 44-ship American naval armada during the Revolutionary War assembled by the Provincial Congress of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The flotilla of 19 warships and 25 support vessels sailed from Boston on July 19, 1779 for the upper Penobscot Bay in the District of Maine carrying an expeditionary force of more than 1,000 American colonial marines (not to be confused with the Continental Marines) and militiamen. Also included was a 100-man artillery detachment under the command of Lt. Colonel Paul Revere.

The expedition's goal was to reclaim control of mid-coast Maine from the British who had captured it a month earlier and renamed it New Ireland. It was the largest American naval expedition of the war. The fighting took place on land and at sea around the mouth of the Penobscot and Bagaduce rivers at Castine, Maine, over a period of three weeks in July and August. It resulted in the United States' worst naval defeat until Pearl Harbor 162 years later in 1941.

On June 17, British Army forces landed under the command of General Francis McLean and began to establish a series of fortifications around Fort George on the Majabigwaduce Peninsula in the upper Penobscot Bay, with the goals of establishing a military presence on that part of the coast and establishing the colony of New Ireland. In response, the Province of Massachusetts raised an expedition to drive them out, with some support from the Continental Congress.

The Americans landed troops in late July and attempted to besiege Fort George in actions that were seriously hampered by disagreements over control of the expedition between land forces commander Brigadier General Solomon Lovell and expedition commander Commodore Dudley Saltonstall, who was later dismissed from the Navy for ineptitude. For almost three weeks, General McLean held off the assault until a British relief fleet arrived from New York on August 13 under the command of Sir George Collier, driving the American fleet to destruction up the Penobscot River. The survivors of the expedition made an overland journey back to more populated parts of Massachusetts with minimal food and arms.

1779 Sep 7

Capture of Fort Bute

East Baton Rouge Parish, LA, U

Capture of Fort Bute

The Capture of Fort Bute signalled the opening of Spanish intervention in the American Revolutionary War on the side of France and the United States. Mustering an ad hoc army of Spanish regulars, Acadian militia, and native levies under Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent, Bernardo de Gálvez, the Governor of Spanish Louisiana stormed and captured the small British frontier post on Bayou Manchac on September 7, 1779.

1779 Sep 10

Battle of Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana,

Battle of Lake Pontchartrain

The Battle of Lake Pontchartrain was a single-ship action on September 10, 1779, part of the Anglo-Spanish War. It was fought between the British sloop-of-war HMS West Florida and the Continental Navy schooner USS Morris in the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, then in the British province of West Florida. West Florida was patrolling on Lake Pontchartrain when it encountered Morris, which had set out from New Orleans with a Spanish and American crew headed by Continental Navy Captain William Pickles. The larger crew of Morris successfully boarded West Florida, inflicting a mortal wound on its captain, Lieutenant John Payne. The capture of West Florida eliminated the major British naval presence on the lake, weakening already tenuous British control over the western reaches of West Florida.

1779 Sep 12

Battle of Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Battle of Baton Rouge

The Battle of Baton Rouge was a brief siege during the Anglo-Spanish War that was decided on September 21, 1779. Baton Rouge was the second British outpost to fall to Spanish arms during Bernardo de Gálvez's march into British West Florida.

1779 Oct 18

Siege of Savannah

Savannah, Georgia, United Stat

Siege of Savannah
Attack on Savannah | ©A. I. Keller

The siege of Savannah or the Second Battle of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) in 1779. The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia, had been captured by a British expeditionary corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah, from September 16 to October 18, 1779. On October 9 a major assault against the British siege works failed. During the attack, Polish nobleman Count Casimir Pulaski, leading the combined cavalry forces on the American side, was mortally wounded. With the failure of the joint attack, the siege was abandoned, and the British remained in control of Savannah until July 1782, near the end of the war.

In 1779, more than 500 recruits from Saint-Domingue (the French colony which later became Haiti), under the overall command of French nobleman Charles Hector, Comte d'Estaing, fought alongside American colonial troops against the British Army during the siege of Savannah. This was one of the most significant foreign contributions to the American Revolutionary War. This French-colonial force had been established six months earlier and included hundreds of soldiers of color in addition to white soldiers and a couple of enslaved black men.

1780 Jan 16

Battle of Cape St. Vincent

Cape St. Vincent, Sagres, Port

Battle of Cape St. Vincent
The Moonlight Battle off Cape St. Vincent | ©Richard Paton

The Battle of Cape St. Vincent (Spanish: Batalla del Cabo de San Vicente) was a naval battle that took place off the southern coast of Portugal on 16 January 1780 during the American Revolutionary War. A British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney defeated a Spanish squadron under Don Juan de Lángara. The battle is sometimes referred to as the Moonlight Battle (batalla a la luz de la luna) because it was unusual for naval battles in the Age of Sail to take place at night. It was also the first major naval victory for the British over their European enemies in the war and proved the value of copper-sheathing the hulls of warships.

1780 Mar 2

Battle of Fort Charlotte

Mobile, Alabama, USA

Battle of Fort Charlotte

The Battle of Fort Charlotte or the siege of Fort Charlotte was a two-week siege conducted by Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez against the British fortifications guarding the port of Mobile (which was then in the British province of West Florida, and now in Alabama) during the Anglo-Spanish War of 1779-1783. Fort Charlotte was the last remaining British frontier post capable of threatening New Orleans in Spanish Louisiana. Its fall drove the British from the western reaches of West Florida and reduced the British military presence in West Florida to its capital, Pensacola.

Gálvez's army sailed from New Orleans aboard a small fleet of transports on January 28, 1780. On February 25, the Spaniards landed near Fort Charlotte. The outnumbered British garrison resisted stubbornly until Spanish bombardment breached the walls. The garrison commander, Captain Elias Durnford, had waited in vain for relief from Pensacola, but was forced to surrender. Their capitulation secured the western shore of Mobile Bay and opened the way for Spanish operations against Pensacola.

1780 Mar 29

Siege of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

Siege of Charleston
A depiction of the Siege of Charleston (1780) by Alonzo Chappel.

The siege of Charleston was a major engagement and major British victory, fought between March 29 to May 12, 1780, during the American Revolutionary War. The British, following the collapse of their northern strategy in late 1777 and their withdrawal from Philadelphia in 1778, shifted their focus to the American Southern Colonies. After approximately six weeks of siege, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, commanding the Charleston garrison, surrendered his forces to the British. It was one of the worst American defeats of the war.

1780 May 25

Battle of St. Louis

St. Louis, MO, USA

Battle of St. Louis
Indian Attack on the Village of Saint Louis, 1780

The Battle of St. Louis was an unsuccessful attack led by the British on St. Louis (a French settlement in Spanish Louisiana, founded on the West Bank of the Mississippi River after the 1763 Treaty of Paris) on May 26, 1780, during the American Revolutionary War. A former British militia commander led a force primarily of Indians and attacked the settlement. Fernando de Leyba, the Lieutenant Governor of Spanish Louisiana, led the local militia to fortify the town as best as they could and successfully withstood the attack.

On the opposite bank of the Mississippi, a second simultaneous attack on the nearby former British colonial outpost of Cahokia, occupied by Patriot Virginians, was also repulsed. The retreating Indians destroyed the crops and took captive civilians outside the protected area. The British failed to defend their side of the river and, thus, effectively ended any attempts to gain control of the Mississippi River during the war.

1780 May 29

Waxhaw massacre

Buford, South Carolina, USA

Waxhaws: Blood in the Backcountry ©SouthCarolinaETV

The Waxhaw massacre took place during the American Revolutionary War on May 29, 1780, near Lancaster, South Carolina, between a Continental Army force led by Abraham Buford and a mainly Loyalist force led by British officer Banastre Tarleton. Buford refused an initial demand to surrender, but when his men were attacked by Tarleton's cavalry, many threw down their arms to surrender. Buford apparently attempted to surrender. However, the British commanding officer Tarleton was shot at during the truce, causing his horse to fall and trap him. Loyalists and British troops were outraged at the breaking of the truce in this manner and proceeded to fall on the Americans.

While Tarleton was trapped under his dead horse, the British continued killing the Continental soldiers, including soldiers who were not resisting. The British gave little quarter to the rebels. Of the 400 or so Continentals, 113 were killed with sabers, 150 so badly injured they could not be moved, and the British and Loyalists took 53 prisoners. "Tarleton's quarter" thereafter meant refusing to take prisoners. In subsequent battles in the Carolinas, it became rare for either side to take significant prisoners. The Battle of Waxhaws became the subject of an intensive propaganda campaign by the Continental Army to bolster recruitment and incite resentment against the British. After Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, the only British officer not invited to dine with General Washington was Tarleton.

1780 Jun 7

Battle of Connecticut Farms

Union Township, New Jersey, US

Battle of Connecticut Farms
Battle of Connecticut Farms

The Battle of Connecticut and Concur, fought June 7, 1780, was one of the last major battles between British and American forces in the northern colonies during the American Revolutionary War. Hessian General Wilhelm von Knyphausen, in command of the British garrison at New York City, made an attempt to reach the principal Continental Army encampment at Morristown, New Jersey. Knyphausen's advance was strongly met by companies of the New Jersey militia at Connecticut Farms (present-day Union Township). After stiff resistance, the militia were forced to withdraw, but the battle and skirmishing that preceded it sufficiently delayed Knyphausen's advance that he remained there for the night. After realizing that further advance on Morristown would probably be met by even more resistance, Knyphausen withdrew back toward New York.

1780 Jun 23

Battle of Springfield

Union County, New Jersey, USA

Battle of Springfield
Battle of Springfield | ©John Ward Dunsmore
Battle of Springfield

The Battle of Springfield was fought during the American Revolutionary War on June 23, 1780, in Union County, New Jersey. After the Battle of Connecticut Farms, on June 7, 1780, had foiled Lieutenant General Wilhelm, Baron von Knyphausen’s expedition to attack General George Washington’s army at Morristown, New Jersey, Knyphausen and Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton, British commander-in-chief in North America, decided upon a second attempt. Although the British were initially able to advance, they were ultimately forced to withdraw in the face of newly arriving rebel forces, resulting in a Continental victory. The battle effectively ended British ambitions in New Jersey.

1780 Aug 6

Battle of Hanging Rock

Lancaster County, South Caroli

Battle of Hanging Rock

The Battle of Hanging Rock (August 6, 1780) was a battle in the American Revolutionary War that occurred between the American Patriots and the British. It was part of a campaign by militia General Thomas Sumter to harass or destroy British outposts in the South Carolina back-country that had been established after the fall of Charleston in May 1780. Future President Andrew Jackson (aged 13) and his brother Robert partook in the battle.

1780 Aug 16

Battle of Camden

Kershaw County

Battle of Camden
Battle of Camden; Death of de Kalb. Engraving from painting by Alonzo Chappel.

The Battle of Camden (August 16, 1780), also known as the Battle of Camden Court House, was a major victory for the British in the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War. On August 16, 1780, British forces under Lieutenant General Charles, Lord Cornwallis routed the numerically superior U.S. forces led by Major General Horatio Gates about four miles north of Camden, South Carolina, thus strengthening the British hold on the Carolinas following the capture of Charleston. The rout was a personally humiliating defeat for Gates, the U.S. general best known for commanding the American forces at the British defeat at Saratoga three years previously. His army had possessed a great numerical superiority over the British force, having twice the personnel, but his command of them was seen as shambolic. Following the battle, he was regarded with disdain by his colleagues and he never held a field command again. His political connections, however, helped him avoid any military inquiries or courts martial into the debacle.

1780 Oct 7

Battle of Kings Mountain

South Carolina, USA

Battle of Kings Mountain
Engraving depicting the death of British Major Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain

The Battle of Kings Mountain was a military engagement between Patriot and Loyalist militias in South Carolina during the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary War, resulting in a decisive victory for the Patriots. The battle took place on October 7, 1780, 9 miles (14 km) south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. In what is now rural Cherokee County, South Carolina, the Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson of the 71st Foot. The battle has been described as "the war's largest all-American fight".

1781 Jan 1

Yorktown campaign

Yorktown, VA, USA

Now Or Never: Yorktown Campaign of 1781 ©George Washington's Mount Vernon

The Yorktown or Virginia campaign was a series of military maneuvers and battles during the American Revolutionary War that culminated in the siege of Yorktown in October 1781. The result of the campaign was the surrender of the British Army force of General Charles Earl Cornwallis, an event that led directly to the beginning of serious peace negotiations and the eventual end of the war. The campaign was marked by disagreements, indecision, and miscommunication on the part of British leaders, and by a remarkable set of cooperative decisions, at times in violation of orders, by the French and Americans.

The campaign involved land and naval forces of Great Britain and France, and land forces of the United States. British forces were sent to Virginia between January and April 1781 and joined with Cornwallis's army in May, which came north from an extended campaign through the southern states. These forces were first opposed weakly by Virginia militia, but General George Washington sent first Marquis de Lafayette and then "Mad" Anthony Wayne with Continental Army troops to oppose the raiding and economic havoc the British were wreaking. The combined American forces, however, were insufficient in number to oppose the combined British forces, and it was only after a series of controversially confusing orders by General Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief, that Cornwallis moved to Yorktown in July and built a defensive position that was strong against the land forces he then faced, but was vulnerable to naval blockade and siege.

British naval forces in North America and the West Indies were weaker than the combined fleets of France and Spain, and, after some critical decisions and tactical missteps by British naval commanders, the French fleet of Paul de Grasse gained control over Chesapeake Bay, blockading Cornwallis from naval support and delivering additional land forces to blockade him on land. The Royal Navy attempted to dispute this control, but Admiral Thomas Graves was defeated in the key Battle of the Chesapeake on September 5. American and French armies that had massed outside New York City began moving south in late August, and arrived near Yorktown in mid-September. Deceptions about their movement successfully delayed attempts by Clinton to send more troops to Cornwallis.

The siege of Yorktown began on September 28, 1781. In a step that probably shortened the siege, Cornwallis decided to abandon parts of his outer defenses, and the besiegers successfully stormed two of his redoubts. When it became clear that his position was untenable, Cornwallis opened negotiations on October 17 and surrendered two days later. When the news reached London, the government of Lord North fell, and the following Rockingham ministry entered into peace negotiations. These culminated in the Treaty of Paris in 1783, in which King George III recognized the independent United States of America. Clinton and Cornwallis engaged in a public war of words defending their roles in the campaign, and British naval command also discussed the navy's shortcomings that led to the defeat.

1781 Jan 7

Battle of Mobile

Mobile, AL, USA

Battle of Mobile

The 2nd Battle of Mobile, also known as the Battle at the Village, was a British attempt to recapture the town of Mobile, in the British province of West Florida, from the Spanish during the Anglo-Spanish War. The Spanish had previously captured Mobile in March 1780. On January 7, 1781, a British attack against a Spanish outpost on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay was repulsed, and the German leader of the expedition was killed.

1781 Jan 17

Battle of Cowpens

Cherokee County, South Carolin

Battle of Cowpens ©History Gone Wilder

The Battle of Cowpens was an engagement during the American Revolutionary War fought on January 17, 1781 near the town of Cowpens, South Carolina, between U.S. forces under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan and British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, as part of the campaign in the Carolinas (North and South). The battle was a turning point in the American reconquest of South Carolina from the British.

1781 Mar 9

Siege of Pensacola

Pensacola, FL, USA

Siege of Pensacola
Spanish grenadiers and militia pour into Fort George. | ©United States Army Center of Military History.

The siege of Pensacola was a siege fought in 1781, the culmination of Spain's conquest of the British province of West Florida during the Gulf Coast campaign.

1781 Mar 15

Battle of Guilford Court House

Greensboro, North Carolina

Battle of Guilford Court House
Painting of the Battle of Guilford Court House (March 15, 1781)

The Battle of Guilford Court House was fought on March 15, 1781, during the American Revolutionary War, at a site which is now in Greensboro, the seat of Guilford County, North Carolina. A 2,100-man British force under the command of Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis defeated Major General Nathanael Greene's 4,500 Americans. The British Army, however, suffered a considerable number of casualties during the battle (with estimates as high as 27% of their total force).

1781 Aug 24

Lochry's Defeat

Aurora, Indiana, USA

Lochry's Defeat
Lochry's Defeat

Lochry's Defeat, also known as the Lochry massacre, was a battle fought on August 24, 1781, near present-day Aurora, Indiana, in the United States. The battle was part of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), which began as a conflict between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies before spreading to the western frontier, where American Indians entered the war as British allies. The battle was short and decisive: about one hundred Indians of local tribes led by Joseph Brant, a Mohawk military leader who was temporarily in the west, ambushed a similar number of Pennsylvania militiamen led by Archibald Lochry. Brant and his men killed or captured all of the Pennsylvanians without suffering any casualties.

1781 Sep 5

Battle of the Chesapeake

Cape Charles, VA, USA

Battle of the Chesapeake

The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American Revolutionary War that took place near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781. The combatants were a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet led by Rear Admiral François Joseph Paul, the Comte de Grasse. The battle was strategically decisive, in that it prevented the Royal Navy from reinforcing or evacuating the besieged forces of Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. The French were able to achieve control of the sea lanes against the British and provided the Franco-American army with siege artillery and French reinforcements. These proved decisive in the Siege of Yorktown, effectively securing independence for the Thirteen Colonies. Admiral de Grasse had the option to attack British forces in either New York or Virginia; he opted for Virginia, arriving at the Chesapeake at the end of August. Admiral Graves learned that de Grasse had sailed from the West Indies for North America and that French Admiral de Barras had also sailed from Newport, Rhode Island. He concluded that they were going to join forces at the Chesapeake. He sailed south from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, outside New York Harbor, with 19 ships of the line and arrived at the mouth of the Chesapeake early on 5 September to see de Grasse's fleet already at anchor in the bay. De Grasse hastily prepared most of his fleet for battle—24 ships of the line—and sailed out to meet him.

1781 Sep 6

Battle of Groton Heights

New London Road & Connecticut

Battle of Groton Heights ©Patrick Crawford Video

The Battle of Groton Heights was a battle of the American Revolutionary War fought on September 6, 1781 between a small Connecticut militia force led by Lieutenant Colonel William Ledyard and the more numerous British forces led by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Eyre.

Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton ordered Arnold to raid the port of New London, Connecticut in an unsuccessful attempt to divert General George Washington from marching against Lord Cornwallis's army in Virginia. The raid was a success, but the Connecticut militia stubbornly resisted British attempts to capture Fort Griswold across the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut. New London was burned along with several ships, but many more ships escaped upriver.

Several leaders of the attacking British force were killed or seriously wounded, but the British eventually breached the fort. As the British entered the fort the Americans surrendered, but the British continued firing and killed many of the defenders. However, the high number of British casualties in the overall expedition against Groton and New London led to criticism of Arnold by some of his superiors. The battle was the last major military encounter of the war in the northern United States, preceding and being overshadowed by the decisive Franco-American siege of Yorktown about six weeks later. At the battle of Yorktown, the Marquis de Lafayette reportedly yelled, "Remember Fort Griswold!" as American and French forces stormed the redoubts.

1781 Sep 8

Battle of Eutaw Springs

Eutawville, South Carolina

Battle of Eutaw Springs

The Battle of Eutaw Springs was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, and was the last major engagement of the war in the Carolinas. Both sides claimed victory.

1781 Sep 28

Siege of Yorktown

Yorktown, VA

The Siege of Yorktown ©HistoryPod
Siege of Yorktown

The siege of Yorktown, also known as the Battle of Yorktown, the surrender at Yorktown, or the German battle, ending on October 19, 1781, at Yorktown, Virginia, was a decisive victory by a combined force of the American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, and French Army troops led by Comte de Rochambeau over a British army commanded by British peer and Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. The culmination of the Yorktown campaign, the siege proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in the North American region, as the surrender by Cornwallis, and the capture of both him and his army, prompted the British government to negotiate an end to the conflict.

1781 Oct 25

Battle of Johnstown

Johnstown, New York, USA

Battle of Johnstown

The Battle of Johnstown was one of the last battles in the northern theatre of the American Revolutionary War, with approximately 1,400 engaged at Johnstown, New York on October 25, 1781. Local American forces, led by Colonel Marinus Willett of Johnstown, ultimately put to flight the British forces under the command of Major John Ross of the King's Royal Regiment of New York and Captain Walter Butler of Butler's Rangers. This was the first time so many British regular army troops participated in a border raid in this area. The British retreated northwards and Marinus Willett marched to German Flatts to try to cut them off. The British managed to escape, but Walter Butler was killed.

1782 Jul 9

Battle of the Saintes


Battle of the Saintes
| ©Thomas Whitcombe

The Battle of the Saintes (known to the French as the Bataille de la Dominique), also known as the Battle of Dominica, was an important naval battle in the Caribbean between the British and the French that took place 9–12 April 1782. The British victory was considered their greatest over the French during the American Revolutionary War.

1782 Aug 19

Battle of Blue Licks

Mount Olivet, Kentucky, USA

Battle of Blue Licks
Capt. Patterson’s Escape from the Battle of the Blue Licks | ©Lafayette Studios

The Battle of Blue Licks, fought on August 19, 1782, was one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War. The battle occurred ten months after Lord Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, which had effectively ended the war in the east. On a hill next to the Licking River in what is now Robertson County, Kentucky (then Fayette County, Virginia), a force of about 50 Loyalists along with 300 indigenous warriors ambushed and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen. It was the last victory for the Loyalists and natives during the frontier war. British, Loyalist and Native forces would engage in fighting with American forces once more the following month in Wheeling, West Virginia, during the Siege of Fort Henry.

1783 Jan 1

Expulsion of the Loyalists

Québec, QC, Canada

Expulsion of the Loyalists
Loyalist militias clash with Patriot militias at the Battle of Kings Mountain.

As the war concluded with Great Britain defeated by the Americans and the French, the most active Loyalists were no longer welcome in the United States, and sought to move elsewhere in the British Empire. The departing Loyalists were offered free land in British North America. Many were prominent colonists whose ancestors had originally settled in the early 17th century, while a portion were recent settlers in the Thirteen Colonies with few economic or social ties. Many had their property confiscated by Patriots.

Loyalists resettled in what was initially the Province of Quebec (including modern-day Ontario), and in Nova Scotia (including modern-day New Brunswick). Their arrival marked the arrival of an English-speaking population in the future Canada west and east of the Quebec border. Many Loyalists from the American South brought their slaves with them as slavery was also legal in Canada. An imperial law in 1790 assured prospective immigrants to Canada that their slaves would remain their property. However more black Loyalists were free, having been given their freedom from slavery by fighting for the British or joining British lines during the Revolution. The government helped them resettle in Canada as well, transporting nearly 3,500 free blacks to New Brunswick.

1783 Sep 3

Treaty of Paris

Paris, France

Treaty of Paris ©Reading Through History

The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on September 3, 1783, officially ended the American Revolutionary War.

1784 Jan 1


New England, USA


The conflict between British subjects with the Crown against those with the Congress had lasted over eight years from 1775 to 1783. The last uniformed British troops departed their last east coast port cities in Savannah, Charleston, and New York City, by November 25, 1783. That marked the end of British occupation in the new United States.

Of the European powers with American colonies adjacent to the newly created United States, Spain was most threatened by American independence, and it was correspondingly the most hostile to it.

Casualties and losses

Up to 70,000 American Patriots died during active military service. Of these, approximately 6,800 were killed in battle, while at least 17,000 died from disease. The majority of the latter died while prisoners of war of the British, mostly in the prison ships in New York Harbor. The number of Patriots seriously wounded or disabled by the war has been estimated from 8,500 to 25,000.

The French suffered 2,112 killed in combat in the United States. The Spanish lost a total of 124 killed and 247 wounded in West Florida.

A British report in 1781 puts their total Army deaths at 6,046 in North America (1775–1779). Approximately 7,774 Germans died in British service in addition to 4,888 deserters; of the former, it is estimated 1,800 were killed in combat.


The American Revolution established the United States with its numerous civil liberties and set an example to overthrow both monarchy and colonial governments. The United States has the world's oldest written constitution, and the constitutions of other free countries often bear a striking resemblance to the US Constitution, often word-for-word in places. It inspired the French, Haitian, Latin American Revolutions, and others into the modern era.


Key Figures for American Revolutionary War

Henry Clinton

Henry Clinton

British Army Officer

Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen

American Patriot

Henry Knox

Henry Knox

General of the Continental Army

General William Howe

General William Howe

Commander-in-Chief of the British

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry

Founding Father

Guy Carleton

Guy Carleton

Governor of the Province of Quebec

Banastre Tarleton

Banastre Tarleton

British General

George Washington

George Washington

Commander of the Continental Army

Mariot Arbuthnot

Mariot Arbuthnot

British Admiral

Paul Revere

Paul Revere

American Patriot

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Prussian Military Officer

John Burgoyne

John Burgoyne

British General

John Hancock

John Hancock

Founding Father

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Founding Father

Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene

General of the Continental Army

George III

George III

King of Great Britain and of Ireland

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Founding Father

William Howe

William Howe

Commander-in-Chief of British Army

William Pitt

William Pitt

British Prime Minister

Horatio Gates

Horatio Gates

General in the Continental Army

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

American Patriot

Thomas Gage

Thomas Gage

British Army General

General Charles Cornwallis

General Charles Cornwallis

British Army General

John Adams

John Adams

Founding Father

Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold

American Military Officer

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

Founding Father

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones

Patriot Naval Commander


When was the Declaration of Independence signed?
How many battles were fought during the American Revolution?
What were the casualties of the War?
What role did spies play?

Further Reading

Book Recommenations for American Revolutionary War

  • Allison, David, and Larrie D. Ferreiro, eds. The American Revolution: A World War (Smithsonian, 2018) excerpt
  • Bancroft, George (1854–1878). History of the United States of America, from the discovery of the American continent – eight volumes.
  • Volumes committed to the American Revolution: Vol. 7; Vol. 8; Vol. 9; Vol. 10
  • Bobrick, Benson. Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution. Penguin, 1998 (paperback reprint)
  • British Army (1916) [7 August 1781]. Proceedings of a Board of general officers of the British army at New York, 1781. New-York Historical Society. Collections. The John Watts de Peyster publication fund series, no. 49. New York Historical Society. The board of inquiry was convened by Sir Henry Clinton into Army accounts and expenditures
  • Burgoyne, John (1780). A state of the expedition from Canada : as laid before the House of commons. London : Printed for J. Almon.
  • Butterfield, Lyman H. (June 1950). "Psychological Warfare in 1776: The Jefferson-Franklin Plan to Cause Hessian Desertions". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. American Philosophical Society. 94 (3): 233–241. JSTOR 3143556.
  • Cate, Alan C. (2006). Founding Fighters: The Battlefield Leaders Who Made American Independence. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0275987078.
  • Caughey, John W. (1998). Bernardo de Gálvez in Louisiana 1776–1783. Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-56554-517-5.
  • Chartrand, Rene. The French Army in the American War of Independence (1994). Short (48pp), very well illustrated descriptions.
  • Christie, Ian R.; Labaree, Benjamin W. (1976). Empire or independence, 1760–1776. Phaidon Press. ISBN 978-0-7148-1614-2.
  • Clarfield, Gerard (1992). United States Diplomatic History: From Revolution to Empire. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 9780130292322.
  • Clode, Charles M. (1869). The military forces of the crown; their administration and government. Vol. 2. London, J. Murray.
  • Commager, Henry Steele and Richard B. Morris, eds. The Spirit of 'Seventy-Six': The Story of the American Revolution as told by Participants. (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958). online
  • Conway, Stephen. The War of American Independence 1775–1783. Publisher: E. Arnold, 1995. ISBN 0340625201. 280 pp.
  • Creigh, Alfred (1871). History of Washington County. B. Singerly. p. 49. ann hupp indian.
  • Cook, Fred J. (1959). What Manner of Men. William Morrow and Co. 59-11702. Allan McLane, Chapter VIII, pp. 275–304
  • Davies, Wallace Evan (July 1939). "Privateering around Long Island during the Revolution". New York History. Fenimore Art Museum. 20 (3): 283–294. JSTOR 23134696.
  • Downes, Randolph C. (1940). Council Fires on the Upper Ohio: A Narrative of Indian Affairs in the Upper Ohio Valley until 1795. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5201-7.
  • Duncan, Francis (1879). History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. London: John Murray.
  • Ferling, John E. (2002) [2000]. Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-513409-4.
  • Fleming, Thomas (1970). The Perils of Peace. New York: The Dial Press. ISBN 978-0-06-113911-6.
  • Foner, Eric, "Whose Revolution?: The history of the United States' founding from below" (review of Woody Holton, Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution, Simon & Schuster, 2021, 800 pp.), The Nation, vol. 314, no. 8 (18–25 April 2022), pp. 32–37. Highlighted are the struggles and tragic fates of America's Indians and Black slaves. For example, "In 1779 [George] Washington dispatched a contingent of soldiers to upstate New York to burn Indian towns and crops and seize hostages 'of every age and sex.' The following year, while serving as governor of Virginia, [Thomas] Jefferson ordered troops under the command of George Rogers Clark to enter the Ohio Valley and bring about the expulsion or 'extermination' of local Indians." (pp. 34–35.)
  • Fortescue, John (1902). A history of the British army. Vol. 3.
  • Fredriksen, John C. (2006). Revolutionary War Almanac Almanacs of American wars Facts on File library of American history. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-7468-6.
  • Freedman, Russell (2008). Washington at Valley Forge. Holiday House. ISBN 978-0823420698.
  • Fremont-Barnes, Gregory; Ryerson, Richard A, eds. (2006). Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1851094080.
  • Frey, Sylvia R (1982). The British Soldier in America: A Social History of Military Life in the Revolutionary Period. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0292780408.
  • Gilbert, Alan (2012). Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226101552.
  • Grant, John N. (1973). "Black Immigrants into Nova Scotia, 1776–1815". The Journal of Negro History. 58 (3): 253–270. doi:10.2307/2716777. JSTOR 2716777. S2CID 150064269.
  • Jensen, Merrill (2004). The Founding of a Nation: A History of the American Revolution 1763–1776. Hackett Publishing. ISBN 978-0-87220-705-9.
  • Johnston, Henry Phelps (1881). The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. New York: Harper & Bros. p. 34. OCLC 426009.
  • Hagist, Don N. (Winter 2011). "Unpublished Writings of Roger Lamb, Soldier of the American War of Independence". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. Society for Army Historical Research. 89 (360): 280–290. JSTOR 44232931.
  • Kaplan, Rodger (January 1990). "The Hidden War: British Intelligence Operations during the American Revolution". The William and Mary Quarterly. Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. 47 (1): 115–138. doi:10.2307/2938043. JSTOR 2938043.
  • Kepner, K. (February 1945). "A British View of the Siege of Charleston, 1776". The Journal of Southern History. Southern Historical Association. 11 (1): 93–103. doi:10.2307/2197961. JSTOR 2197961.
  • Kilmeade, Brian.; Yaeger, Don (2013). George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-6981-3765-3.
  • Knight, Peter (2003). Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 184–85. ISBN 978-1-57607-812-9.
  • Kohn, George C. (2006). Dictionary of Wars, 3d edition. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781438129167.
  • Kwasny, Mark V. Washington's Partisan War, 1775–1783. Kent, Ohio: 1996. ISBN 0873385462. Militia warfare.
  • Larabee, Leonard Woods (1959). Conservatism in Early American History. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0151547456. Great Seal Books
  • Lemaître, Georges Édouard (2005). Beaumarchais. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 9781417985364.
  • Levy, Andrew (2007). The First Emancipator: Slavery, Religion, and the Quiet Revolution of Robert Carter. Random House Trade Paperbacks. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-375-76104-1.
  • Library of Congress "Revolutionary War: Groping Toward Peace, 1781–1783". Library: Library of Congress. Library of Congress. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  • Lloyd, Earnest Marsh (1908). A review of the history of infantry. New York: Longmans, Green, and co.
  • May, Robin. The British Army in North America 1775–1783 (1993). Short (48pp), very well illustrated descriptions.
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Last Updated: Sun, 15 Jan 2023 14:33:18 GMT