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The American Revolutionary War Timeline - Marilyn Avila

  • The French Secretly Send Weapons to the Patriots

    Since the French hated the British and wanted revenge from the Seven's Year War, they secretly sent weapons to the American cause, hoping it would defeat their bitter enemy.
  • The British Retreat From Boston

    The British troops retreated from Boston in order to move their position to the Middle Colonies. This was done to try to isolate the New England colonies and to end the rebellion. This led to the fight for New York City.
  • Battle of Long Island

    The British brothers General William Howe and Admiral Richard Howe join their military together and position themselves in New York harbor. They also assembled the largest British expeditionary forced consisting of 32,000 soldiers that included German mercenaries called Hessians. This would led General George Washington to try to defend New York.
  • General George Washington Retreats from the Battle of Long Island

    Hearing of the Howe Brothers' plan, George Washington led 23,000 men to try to defend New York. His troops were untrained and ill-supplied. Therefore General Washington, due to a lot of casualties, was forced to retreat.
  • The Continental Army Crosses the Delaware River

    Planning to attack a garrison held by Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey on December 26, General George Washington led his troops through the ice cold Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776. He commanded 2,400 soldiers in small rowboats towards Trenton. General Washington hopes that this will lead him and his men to that much needed victory after getting pushed across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania earlier in the fall by the British.
  • Battle of Trenton

    Battle of Trenton
    After crossing the Delaware River, Washington leads his troops about 9 miles to Trenton, New Jersey where the Hessians were controlling a garrison. The Continental Army caught the Hessians off guard and they killed 30 and took 918 captives and 6 Hessian cannons. This was the beginning of General George Washington's victories, followed by the victory at Princeton, New Jersey. This raised morale around soldiers and gave them hope and a reason to continue to fight for their independence.
  • End of the Continental Army's Terms of Enlistment

    Morale was low among soldiers and since the soldiers were not paid in money of value, many no longer wanted to re-enlist themselves for military service. Less than 8,000 men were left in General Washington's command and many wanted to go back to their homes. Wanting to boost morale and keep his soldiers from leaving, General George Washington planned to attack the unsuspecting Hessians on December 26, 1776.
  • The Battle At Princeton

    After his victory at Trenton, General George Washington leads his men to another victory against 1,200 British positioned at Princeton. With boosted morale among soldiers, Washington marches his men into winter camp near Morristown, in northern New Jersey.
  • General Howe's Campaign for Philadelphia

    In the spring of 1777, British General Howe begins to plan the capture of the American capital of Philadelphia. In late August he positioned his troops near the capital, at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, from their original location in New York. General George Washington tries to defend Philadelphia but the British win and take over Philadelphia. This caused the Continental Congress to flee and the British to take refuge in Loyalists' home for the upcoming winter.
  • British Surrender at the Battle of Saratoga

    British Surrender at the Battle of Saratoga
    General John Burgoyne surrenders to the American forces of General Horatio Gates, Benedict Arnold, and Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. Burgoyne was coming down from Canada and was supposed to met with General Howe and Barry St. Leger. His plan was to separate New England from the rest of the colonies. This failed due to Howe not coming since he was in Philadelphia and St. Leger being stopped by Benedict Arnold. This American victory led to official French support.
  • Winter at Valley Forge

    General George Washington and the Continental Army, after losing Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the British, are forced to spend the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Valley Forge was located outside of Philadelphia and served as a camp for the troops. However they had almost no supplies; such as food, clothing, shelter, weapons, and in spite of that, the Continental Army had to suffer through the worst winter recorded. Washington lost many of his troops during this winter.
  • Alliance Between the French and the Americans is Formed

    Seeing the devotion and dedicated the Americans give to their cause, the French finally agree to form an alliance with the Americans. The Battle of Saratoga helped form that bond and trust in the Americans.
  • Training of the Continental Army During the Winter at Valley Forge

    While stuck during the winter at Valley Forge, Friedrich Von Steuben, a Prussian captain and skilled drillmaster, offered his services to General Washington to train the Continental Army. It was during this time that the troops began to improve significantly.
  • The British Change Their Strategy

    Upon their surrender at Saratoga, the British decide to change their battle plans and focus on the South. There, they hoped to gain Loyalist and slave support and move their way upwards towards the Northern states while reclaiming their former colonies in the region.
  • British Expedition Seizes Savannah, Georgia

    After the British decided to focus on the south, a British expedition takes back Savannah, Georgia.
  • Georgia is Under a Royal Governor

    After the capture of Savannah, Georgia by the British, in the spring of 1779 Georgia is once again under a royal governor.
  • Marquis de Lafayette Provides French Aid to the Americans

    Marquis de Lafayette, a young French nobleman, offered his services to General George Washington and the Continental Army. Lafayette also suffered with the troops at Valley Forge and he persuaded for French reinforcements in France in 1779.
  • British Generals Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis Focus on the South

    The British Generals Henry Clinton, who replaced General Howe, and Charles Cornwallis lead 8,500 men south, which is the region the British would focus on.
  • British Capture of Charles Town, South Carolina

    Once their troops were positioned in the south, the British were able to pull of their greatest victory of the war; the capture of Charles Town, South Carolina. Not only did the British capture Charles Town, they also secured 5,500 American soldiers as prisoners of war. British General Henry Clinton then goes to New York, leaving General Cornwallis in charge of the British troops in the south.
  • French Army of 6,000 Landed In Newport, Rhode Island

    After the British decided to focus on the South, in 1780 a French army of 6,000 was able to land in Newport, Rhode Island. It was then that the Marquis de Lafayette decided to unite the American and French forces with the French fleets to surround the British at Yorktown, Viriginia.
  • British General Charles Cornwallis Beats American Forces at Camden, South Carolina

    The British forces of General Cornwallis meet with the American forces at Camden, South Carolina. The British win and within 3 months, they have established forts across South Carolina.
  • Continental Army Defeats the British at Cowpens, South Carolina

    General Washington sends General Nathanael Greene to go after the British General Cornwallis as he and his troops retreated from an unsuccessful attempt to advance into North Carolina. General Greene decides to split his force, giving General Daniel Morgan the other half to command in South Carolina. General Cornwallis sent Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to go after General Morgan. Their forces met in January 1781 where Morgan's smaller-sized troops caused the British to surrender.
  • British Victory at Guilford Court House, North Carolina

    Outraged about the British loss at Cowpens, South Carolina, British General Cornwallis attacked General Greene at Guilford Court House, North Carolina where he claimed victory at the cost of about a fourth of his troops.
  • General Greene Asks Lafayette For Aid

    Becoming anxious about his upcoming battles, General Greene writes a letter to Lafayette, asking him to send more troops to the Southern states.
  • Congress Appoints Robert Morris as Superintendent of Finance

    In 1781, Robert Morris, a wealthy merchant, is named Superintendent of Finance. His associate was Haym Salomon, a Jew. They worked tirelessly and often took from their own personal money to raise money to pay the soldiers of the Continental Army.
  • Soldiers Are Paid In Specie

    After the many efforts of Robert Morris and Haym Salomon, the troops of the Continental Army were finally paid in gold coin or specie on September 8, 1781.
  • British Surrender at Yorktown, Virginia

    Once the joined forces of both the Americans and the French successfully surround the British and block any escape routes, the British troops are under constant fire for 3 weeks. Due to supplies running low and seeing that there was not another possible solution, the British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia to the American and French forces.
  • The Americans and their Allies Accept the Surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia

    The Americans and their Allies Accept the Surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia
    The British General Charles Cornwallis is forced to surrender to American forces and their allies. Two days later after General Cornwallis's surrender, General Washington and the Continental Army's allies accept his surrender. The Americans claim victory and hope to secure full independence from the British.
  • Representatives from the United States, Great Britain, France, and Spain Meet In Paris, France to Discuss Peace Negotiations

    After the war, representatives from the United States, Great Britain, France, and Spain met in Paris, France to discuss peace negotiations. Great Britain wanted to avoid giving the United States full independence. The United States wanted full independence from Great Britain. France worried the United States is becoming too powerful but nevertheless supported American independence. Spain wanted to gain the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.
  • The Treaty of Paris of 1783

    Once agreements were made, the diplomats signed the Treaty of Paris in September 1783. In this treaty, it included the new boundaries of the United States which went from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from Canada to the Florida border. The treaty, however, left certain things unclear such as when the British had to leave their American forts. This would lead to future conflict.