Struggling Toward Saratoga Battles of the American Revolution and the Effects on the Colonies
The War Moves to the Middle The British retreated from Boston in March 1776 and moved the war to the Middle states. The focused their efforts on New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Washington assembled 23,000 men to defend NY, but he was outnumbered and under prepared for the massive British forces. General William Howe and Admiral Richard Howe (Brothers) joined forces in Staten Island. The brothers sailed into NY harbor with the largest British force ever assembled… 32,000 soldiers with thousands of German mercenaries. Washington was forced to retreat, and by fall he was pushed across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.
Obstacles Faced by Washington George Washington faced several challenges with the Continental Army. Also, the terms of the remaining men’s enlistment were due to end on New Year’s Eve of 1776. Many of the militiamen were inexperienced and without the training that many of the British Regulars had. Washington needed a major victory to keep the morale and enrollment up. After the retreat at NY, many of Washington’s men had deserted, been killed, or captured. Only 8,000 of the 23,000 remained
The Battle of Trenton Washington makes a bold move to gain a victory for the Continental forces. The Americans killed 30 German mercenaries and took 918 captive, as well as taking six Hessian cannons. On Christmas night, 1776, he crossed the Delaware River in row boats with 2,400 men to attack a garrison in Trenton, NJ. The Hessian forces in Trenton were still sleeping from a night of drinking. Washington’s surprise attack was a success.
The Brit’s Take Philly In the spring of 1777, General Howe began his campaign to seize the American capital of Philadelphia. The Continental Congress fled the city while Washington’s forces unsuccessfully tried to stop Howe’s forces at Brandywine Creek. The British now occupied the capital, leaving Washington’s forces at Valley Forge for the harsh winter to come.
Burgoyne at Saratoga General John “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne plans a complex attack to split New England from the rest of the colonies. He sets out with 4,000 redcoats, 3,000 mercenaries, and 1,000 Mohawk Indians under his command from Canada to Albany. The plan is stifled by the American General Horatio Gates, who attacked Burgoyne in Bennington, VT and then surrounded him in Saratoga, NY. Burgoyne was forced to surrender at Saratoga. How did this surrender impact the British battle tactics?
Foreign Aid Tips the Scales The French were still bitter about their defeat in the Seven Year’s War, and they had been sending weapons to patriot forces since 1776. The French agreed to not make peace with Britain until it recognized the independence of America. The victory at Saratoga bolstered the French opinion of the American forces, and led to an alliance or treaty of cooperation between the French and Americans in 1778.
Winter at Valley Forge While the British wintered comfortably in Philadelphia, Washington and his troops faced the harsh winter in a camp in Valley Forge, PA. How did these conditions and obstacles embody the American spirit? Soldiers suffered from exposure and frostbite. Many soldiers lost their limbs to the elements. 2,000 men died of exposure, hunger, and sickness.
Colonial Life During the Revolution The revolution effected all levels of society, especially the economy. The Congress ran out of gold and silver and had to borrow money through selling bonds to investors and foreign governments. They printed paper money, called Continentals, to pay troops. Equipment was also in short supply due to the naval blockade, and some agencies engaged in profiteering. Congress appointed Robert Morris as superintendent of finance and he, with the help of Haym Salomon, raised money from a variety of sources to pay the troops in specie (gold coin).
Civilians at War Wives were left at home to manage farms, businesses, and raise children. Many African Americans escaped to freedom, while others joined the fight. Women also volunteered their services by mending and washing clothes, and making ammunition out of silverware. Native Americans remained neutral for the most part, while some fought for the British. And some brave women went to war to support their husbands. The most famous was “Molly Pitcher” who was a noncommissioned officer.
Conclusions The American’s faced several obstacles against the British. They were outnumbered, less equipped, and less prepared. But the American’s did have a resilient and persevering spirit which would be a defining and lasting quality for years to come. The war was not only fought on the battlefields, but also on the home front. Many women stepped up to run the nation as well as show their bravery in battle. The war was still not over, but the scales were beginning to tip in favor of the colonists. The French aid and morale boosting victories would lead to an American victory.
Reminders • HW: SpNotes4.4 (pgs.118-123) • Leave the classroom better than you found it and have a great day!