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Warm-up. Struggles in the Middle States. June 1776 - British ships move into New York harbor. Fighting shifts from New England into the Middle States. August 1776 - the Battle of Long Island begins. This battle signaled the beginning of bleak times for the Continental Army.

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Warm up


Struggles in the middle states

Struggles in the Middle States

Warm up

June 1776 - British ships move into New York harbor.

Fighting shifts from New England into the Middle States.

August 1776 - the Battle of Long Island begins.

This battle signaled the beginning of bleak times for the Continental Army.

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The commanders of the opposing armies were:


George Washington


William Howe

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Washingtonhad fewer than 20,000 poorly trained troopsand no navy.

Howehad 34,000 troops and 10,000 sailors.

What do you think was the result of these battles for New York City?

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  • 1,400 Americans were killed, wounded, or captured.

  • Washington was forced to retreat north in order to avoid being captured by the British.

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Throughout the fall, Washington’s retreating forces fought a series of skirmishes with Howe’s advancing army.

In November 1776, Washington crossed the Hudson RiverintoNew Jersey.

Finally, they crossed the Delaware Riverinto Pennsylvaniato stay ahead of the British pursuit.

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Washington needed information about the British forces in New York

An officer named Nathan Halevolunteered to go behind British lines.

Hale was caught and secret notes about British troop movements were found in the soles of his shoes.

Hale was ordered hanged the next morning by the British.

While being walked to the gallows, he is reported to have said:

“I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

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  • Christmas night 1776 - Gen. Washington and his troops crossed the frozen Delaware River

  • The temperature was freezing

  • They were lacking proper clothing,

  • Goal - make a daring surprise attackatTrenton, NJ.

  • Why? He was tired of running away from his enemy.

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Captured most of the German Hessian army that was staying across the river in Trenton.

An American soldier summed up the Battle of Trenton this way:

“Hessian population of Trenton at 8:00 A.M. --1,408 men and 39 officers; Hessian population at 9 A.M.--0.”

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  • Embarrassed, General Charles Cornwallis set out to retake Trenton and capture Washington and his troops.

  • January 2, 1777, Cornwallis and his men spotted the burning campfires of the Continental Army camp in Trenton and planned to attack in the morning…

  • Little did they know that they had been fooled!!

General Cornwallis

  • Washington left the fires to burn while his forces slipped behind British lines to attack a British force that was headed toward Princeton, New Jersey.

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The Americans won at Trenton and Princeton.

British officials weren’t happy. 

General John Burgoyne wants to end the war quickly…


March three armies to Albany, New York


Take control of the Hudson River and cut off New England from the other colonies.

British General

“Gentleman John” Burgoyne

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Plan Results

Gen. Howe - march directly to Albany

Problem - King George III ordered him to capture Philadelphia, PA.

Howe captured Philly in July 1777. But instead of moving north, Howe decided to stay in Philadelphia for the winter.

Gen. Burgoyne - had to face the American army, led by Benedict Arnold, in northern NY.

Burgoyne captured back Fort Ticonderoga but nothing else.


Benedict Arnold

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Battle of Saratoga

Burgoyne’s army is surrounded by Gen. Arnold’s troops and the Green Mountain Boys – (Ethan Allen and men from Vermont)

British tried to break free, but were pushed back and trapped…

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…and surrendered his entire army to the Americans on October 17, 1777. This was

the war,

(1) a major turning point in

(2) ended the British threat to New England,

(3) convinced France to become our ally.


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Americans wanted French aid since early 1776

The Continental Congress sent Benjamin Franklin to Paris asking for money, weapons, and supplies.

Also, Congress wanted France to declare war on Britain.

French- eager to get revenge for their defeat in the French and Indian War, but cautious.

The victory at Saratoga

convinced France that the

United States could stand up

to Britain and proved to be the

HIGH POINT of the war in 1777.

Louis XVI

King of France

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  • Results

  • Improved morale from their recent victories

  • Difficulties

  • Valley Forge, Pennsylvania - winter of 1777-1778.

  • Frostbite and diseases in the extreme winter conditions.

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Food and supplies would eventually come from the citizens around the nation as they heard about the suffering. Some would even go to Valley Forge to help out.

Valley Forge would be the LOW POINT of the war in 1777 for the Continental Army.

War in the west

War in the West

  • Americans and British try to gain Indian allies.

  • Britain has success – encouraged attacks on American settlements all over the frontier. (See pg. 188)

  • 1778 – George Rogers Clark and Miami Indians capture Kaskaskia and Cahokia and move toward Vincennes.

Mohawk leader Joseph Brant – led attacks with the Iroquois against settlements in PA and NY.

War in the west1

War in the West


  • Surprise the British at Ft. Vincennes

  • Spread out in the woods so the British think there were more troops than in reality.


  • British commander thinks it will be too difficult to fight against so many Americans.

  • Surrenders Ft. Vincennes in Feb. 1779.

Gen . Henry Hamilton

Spain gets involved

Spain Gets Involved

  • Before the wins in the west, Bernardo de Galvez, the governor of Spanish Louisiana helps the Americans.

  • Secretly provided medicine, clothing, weapons, and gunpowder to Americans.

  • After we win and Spain allies with the U.S., Galvez helped seize forts along the Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico, and western Florida.

  • Galveston is named for Sr. Galvez. 

Bernardo de Galvez

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