Vocabulary • Redcoats: British soldiers • Minutemen: American colonial militia • Militia: Army of citizens • Continental Army: Colonial Army
Lexington - Concord colonists, warned that the British were coming, were waiting in Lexington when the British arrived the next morning. To this day no one knows for sure who fired first, but a shot rang out. The British soldiers fired a volley into the colonial militia, killing eight men and wounding 10. The British then moved on to Concord where minutemen drove back three British infantry units guarding Concord’s North Bridge. On their retreat back to Boston they were peppered by patriot snipers. By the time the redcoats reached Boston, they had suffered 273 casualties compared with fewer than 100 for the patriots. “Shot Heard Around the World”
Engravings (pictures) in local newspapers incorrectly reported that the British, after attacking Lexington and Concord, raided and pillaged (robbed) property all the way back to Boston. • That news enraged patriots throughout the colonies. Within 48 hours, militiamen from Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts gathered in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts across the Charles River from Boston. • The many differences that had separated the various colonies, including different religions, systems of government, and lifestyles, were forgotten for a greater cause.
Slowly the different colonial armies placed themselves under Massachusetts’ command and became a New England army. By mid-June 1775, approximately 7,600 troops were camped in and around Cambridge, Mass. While the patriots were mobilizing, British General Gage tried to decide how best to deploy his 5,000 British regulars. He realized that whichever side could take control of the high ground around Boston would have the advantage in a battle. The British army set forth a plan to occupy the hills around Boston by late June. Fortunately for the patriots their leaders learned of the British plan and resolved that the colonial army should beat the British to the high ground by fortifying the hills of Charlestown.
American Strengths and Weaknesses • The colonists are fighting for independence • George Washington can inspire his men to fight • France will aide the colonies with weapons, supplies and their navy
American Strengths and Weaknesses • The colonists are not a trained army • Colonists enlist for months instead of years • Short on money, weapons and supplies to fight a war
British Strengths and Weaknesses • The British have an experienced professional army • Outnumber the Continental Army • The British army is well supplied with equipment and weapons
British Strengths and Weaknesses • The British are not fighting for a cause • British officers are careless and poor leaders • The British have a to cross the Atlantic Ocean to send men and supplies for the war • The support at home is rather weak
American Colonies Keep the Colonial Army together Washington seeks to stretch the British army away from supply lines Harass the enemy, defeat the British in a major battle Get allies to help win! Britain Seeks to destroy the Colonial Army Regain control of the colonies by region Take the fight to the Colonial Army using European war tactics Use loyalists support against the colonies The Strategy of War
George Washington Founding father. Member of the Continental Congress, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention, first President of the United States.
Charles Cornwallis British general and colonial governor, served with distinction in American Revolution, won battle of Brandywine, captured Philadelphia in 1777 and Charleston in 1780, forced to surrender to Washington at Yorktown in 1781 ending the war.
Marquis de Lafayette French citizen who joined Continental Army during Revolutionary War, ardent supporter of American Revolution, voted Major General by Continental Congress, commanded light division in Battle of Yorktown, close associate of George Washington.
Henry Knox Major figure in American Independence, first Secretary of War, General in Continental Army, principal founder of U.S. Military Academy, co-founder of U.S. Navy.
Nathanael Greene Revolutionary War General, studied law under Thomas Jefferson, led American forces in major battles, supreme commander of Continental Army in Sept., 1780; his battlefield strategy forced Cornwallis to Yorktown.
African American in the War During the revolutionary period in America, the word "liberty" was everywhere: the liberty tree, the Sons and Daughters of Liberty, and slogans such as "give me liberty or give me death." The concept of liberty was everywhere, but its reality was limited. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence had as many as 200 slaves. Much of the American economy was based on the complete opposite of liberty, slavery. African Americans used the Revolution to try to obtain their personal freedom.
African Americans in the War • 5,000 black men served in the Continental Army, and hundreds more served on the sea. • African American Patriots fought in every major battle of the Revolutionary War. • When the American Revolution ended, most African Americans were denied the promises of liberty that were written in the Declaration. “Tell them that if I am Black I am free born American & a revolutionary soldier & therefore ought not to be thrown entirely out of the scale of notice.” - John Chavis to Willie P. Mangum, March 10, 1832
Native Americans in the War Native Americans were in a difficult position during the American Revolution. It was ironic to Native Americans that the colonists and British were waging a war over land that the indigenous people considered theirs. Indians knew that the Revolution was a contest for Indian land as well as for colonial liberty. At first, Native Americans remained uninvolved in the conflict between the British and colonists. As one Iroquois stated, “It is true I am tall and strong but I will reserve my strength to strike those who injure me.” However, Native Americans were drawn into the fighting.
Women during in the War The role and status of women underwent a dramatic change during the Revolution. Women, whose husbands went off to war, had to assume the responsibilities that had formerly belonged to men. Jobs such as farming, bookkeeping and trade became woman’s work while the men were off battling for independence. Not all women were satisfied by taking up the chores of men; some wanted to fight.
Women in the War • When John Corbin joined the army, his wife, Margaret Cochran Corbin, followed him to war. Wives of the soldiers often cooked for the men, washed their laundry and nursed wounded soldiers. During a battle, her husband was in charge of the cannon. He was killed during the battle. Margaret continued loading and firing the cannon by herself until she was wounded. She was the first woman to receive pension from the United States government as a disabled soldier • Deborah Samson fought disguised as a man named, Robert Shirtliffe in the Continental Army. Deborah served for three years and was awarded a pension for her military service. • Despite their contributions to America’s war of independence, once the war was over, women were relegated to their usual role and their contributions to the war were many times ignored.
“At every house women and children are making cartridges, running bullets…and at the same time encouraging their husbands and sons to fights.” According to the quote, was the revolution important to the colonial families? Do you believe that all races, genders, and ethnic groups shared this belief in the war effort?
Battle of Bunker Hill • American troops are dug in along the high ground of Breed's Hill (the actual location) and are attacked by a frontal assault of over 2000 British soldiers who storm up the hill. • The Americans are ordered not to fire until they can see "the whites of their eyes." As the British get within 15 paces, the Americans let loose a deadly volley of rifle fire and halt the British advance. • The British then regroup and attack 30 minutes later with the same result. • A third attack, however, succeeds as the Americans run out of ammunition and are left only with bayonets and stones to defend themselves. • The British succeed in taking the hill, but at a loss of half their force, over a thousand casualties, with the Americans losing about 400, including important colonial leader, General Joseph Warren.
Battle of Trenton The Battle of Trenton began on Christmas Day, December 1776, when General Washington's army was in a pitiful condition, and growing weaker. Troops were deserting, it was bitter cold and they lacked food, shoes and blankets. It was under these conditions that Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware river. He had heard from a scout that the Hessians, (German mercenaries) were spending the evening relaxing and enjoying food and wine. Washington decided to cross at night and surprise them in the morning. So while the Hessians were enjoying their wine and song, the Continental Army was preparing to attack. The army silently advanced to the Delaware River. They crossed the icy Delaware eight miles north of Trenton and nine hours later 2400 men gathered around Washington to hear the order for the assault on Trenton.
The famous crossing:Washington and his army cross the Delaware River at night to attack the Hessian mercenaries at Trenton.
The Hessians were sleeping at 8:00 a.m. when the Americans entered the City. Minutes later, Washington's army attacked - killing five Hessian officers, one non commissioned officer, and sixteen privates. There were 918 prisoners taken to Newtown, Pennsylvania. Of the American losses, two soldiers supposedly froze to death, one or two American privates were wounded, and three officers were wounded, (including future president Lt. James Monroe).
The Battle of Saratoga, August- October 1777 • The British are harassed by colonial guerilla forces and end up stretching their supply lines. • The British will surrender to the Colonial forces led by General Horatio Gates • Saratoga is important because it is a major defeat for the British and shows the French that the colonies may be able to win the war
The first major American victory of the Revolutionary War, inflicting 600 British casualties. American losses are only 150. October 17, 1777 - After long negotiations, Gen. Burgoyne officially surrendered his 5700 man army on October 17. He was sent back to England in disgrace, and was never given another command. In Paris the victory is celebrated as if it had been a French victory. France recognizes the independence of America and enters the war on the side of the patriots. Money and supplies flowed to the American cause, providing Washington's Continental Army with the support necessary to continue its fight against Great Britain. Battle of Saratoga
Victory at Saratoga !! Britain's loss at Saratoga proved disastrous, in that it signaled to the European powers that the rebels were capable of defeating the English on their own. More than any other single event, it would prove decisive in determining the eventual outcome of the War.
The End is near !!- Yorktown August 1, 1781 - British Gen. Cornwallis and his 10,000 tired soldiers seek rest at the port of Yorktown, Virginia. August 14, 1781 - Gen. Washington abruptly changes plans in favor of Yorktown after receiving a letter indicating a 29-ship French fleet with 3000 soldiers is now heading for the Chesapeake Bay near Cornwallis. Gen. Washington and Gen. Rochambeau rush their best troops south to Virginia to destroy the British position in Yorktown.
The Battle of Yorktown, October 1781 • The French are helping the Continental Army with men, weapons and warships • The Americans and the French will corner the British on a small peninsula and bombard them with cannon fire. • The British will surrender and end the American Revolution. • The colonists will win the American Revolution with this victory.
September 28, 1781 - Gen. Washington, with 17,000 men, begins the siege of Yorktown. French cannons bombard Gen. Cornwallis and his 9000 men day and night while the Allied lines slowly advance and encircle them. British supplies run dangerously low. • October 17, 1781 - As Yorktown is about to be taken, the British send out a flag of truce and surrender. • October 19, 1781 - As their band plays the tune, "The world turned upside down," the British army marches out in formation and surrenders. Hopes for a British victory in the war against America are gone. In the English Parliament, there will soon be calls to bring this long costly war to an end. • October 24, 1781 – Ships with 7000 British reinforcements arrive but turn back on hearing of the surrender at Yorktown.
The Treaty of Paris, 1783 • THE WAR ENDS WITH THESE CONDITIONS • “free, sovereign and independent states” • British must remove all troops from forts • Boundary for United States is the Mississippi • Loyalist would have rights and property protected • captured slaves must be returned to owners