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Fighting for Freedom. Battles of the Revolutionary War. British Strategize. March 1776: British retreat from Boston Focus of the war moves to the Middle States British aim to isolate New England Begin to plan to capture New York City. Action in New York.

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fighting for freedom

Fighting for Freedom

Battles of the Revolutionary War

british strategize
British Strategize
  • March 1776: British retreat from Boston
  • Focus of the war moves to the Middle States
  • British aim to isolate New England
  • Begin to plan to capture New York City
action in new york
Action in New York
  • General William Howe and brother Admiral Richard Howe sail into New York harbor with 32,000 troops
  • Thousands of Hessians (German mercenaries) contributed to these numbers
  • Washington countered with 23,000 troops
  • Outnumbered, untrained, and ill-equipped, Patriots retreat in August 1776
hard times for the continental army
Hard Times for the Continental Army
  • Fall 1776: Washington’s army pushed back into Pennsylvania
  • Most of the Patriot troops had been killed, captured, or deserted
  • Only 8,000 troops remain
turning the tide in trenton
Turning the Tide in Trenton
  • Christmas 1776: Washington leads 2,400 troops across the frozen Delaware River
  • Troops marched 9 miles through a snowstorm to Trenton, New Jersey and surprised 1,000 Hessians holding the town
  • Eight days later, Continental Army wins over 1,200 British soldiers at Princeton, New Jersey
  • Encouraged, Washington set up camp for the winter near Morristown, NJ
fighting for philadelphia
Fighting for Philadelphia
  • Spring 1777: General Howe turns his attention to the American capital
  • British sail from New York to Chesapeake Bay
  • Continental Congress flees the city
  • Continental Army unable to hold at Brandywine Creek, British take Philadelphia
victory at saratoga
Victory at Saratoga
  • British General John Burgoyne set out for NYC from Canada with 4,000 redcoats, 3,000 Hessians, and 1,000 Mohawk to meet up with Howe
  • Distracted in Philadelphia, Howe never arrives
  • Low on supplies, Burgoyne struggles with the terrain, loses troops in small battles
  • Surrounded by Patriots at Saratoga, forced to surrender
france picks a side
France Picks a Side
  • France had secretly been supplying weapons to the Patriots since 1776
  • After the victory at Saratoga, French formally agree to support the Revolution
  • France would not make peace with Britain until they recognized American independence
braving valley forge
Braving Valley Forge
  • British troops took up residence in Philadelphia for the winter
  • Washington’s troops suffered in Valley Forge
  • Low on supplies, many starved and suffered from frostbite
  • Of the 10,000 who started the winter, 2,000 died



Strong, world class army and navy

Strong central government with ample funding

Support of colonial loyalists and some Native Americans

  • “Home Field Advantage”
  • Strong military leadership of Washington and others
  • Troops inspired by “the cause”



Long way from home

Troops unfamiliar with terrain

Weak military leaders

Mercenaries not invested in the cause

Sympathy of some British politicians for colonial cause

  • Untrained, undisciplined soldiers
  • Shortage of food and ammo
  • Inferior navy
  • No central government to enforce wartime policies
impact on the home front
Impact on the Home Front
  • When Congress ran out of hard currency, it started selling bonds and printing paper money
    • Resulted in rising prices (inflation)
  • Low on supplies, many Americans began smuggling weapons from Europe
  • Some corrupt officials engaged in profiteering
    • Selling scarce goods for a profit
back at valley forge
Back at Valley Forge…
  • European military leaders (Friedrich von Steuben) volunteered to help train the Continental Army
  • Soldiers learned to stand at attention, execute field maneuvers, and fire weapons more efficiently
  • Marquis de Lafayette lobbied for French reinforcements in France
british look south
British Look South
  • British easily take Savannah in 1778 and by 1779 a royal governor ruled Georgia
  • 1780 – 8,500 British sail south from New York, capture Charles Town, SC in the greatest British victory of the war
    • 5,500 American soldiers taken prisoner
  • Henry Clinton returns to NY, leaving Cornwallis in charge of conquering the Carolinas
cornwallis carolina conquest
Cornwallis’ Carolina Conquest
  • As British forces swept through South Carolina, they were joined by freed slaves
  • Within 3 months they had forts across the state
  • In advancing to North Carolina, they met Patriot resistance and lost communication lines forcing retreat
cornwallis cont d
Cornwallis cont’d
  • Washington sent Nathanael Greene to harass Cornwallis as he retreated
  • Cornwallis sent troops to follow a band of 600 patriots under Daniel Morgan to Cowpens, SC where the outnumbered patriots won
  • Cornwallis responds with an attack on Guilford Court House, NC and wins but loses ¼ of his troops
cornwallis cont d1
Cornwallis cont’d
  • Cornwallis decided to march north to Virginia to meet up with reinforcements
  • Redcoats failed to capture troops led by Lafayette and von Steuben
  • He then marched his army of 7,500 to Yorktown to fortify
victory for america
Victory for America
  • 1780 – French army of 6,000 had landed in Newport, RI
  • Lafayette suggested that the French and American armies attack at Yorktown
  • French fleets win a naval victory over the British and block off Chesapeake Bay
  • From land, 17,000 French and American troops bombard Yorktown
peace talks
Peace Talks
  • After surrendering at Yorktown, the British sent representatives to Paris to meet with reps from the U.S., France, and Spain
  • Britain – hope to avoid granting U.S. full independence
  • France – supported U.S. independence but feared U.S. becoming a threat
  • Spain – interested in acquiring land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River
treaty of paris
Treaty of Paris
  • John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay represented the colonies
  • Treaty signed in September 1783
    • Full U.S. independence
    • Set up boundaries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and Canada to Florida
  • Problems
    • British made no efforts to protect Native American lands
    • British never specified when they would give up their American forts