The American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War was one of the most significant wars in history. If America had not won the war, then history would have surely not played out the same way it did. The American victory gave rise to the most powerful and influential nation today, The United States of America.
The war had its roots beginning with colonization. The settlers always had their way of solving problems, and the English/British did not like their way of solving problems and that caused slight tension. When the Seven Years’ War came, the colonists and British worked together mainly because the colonists were wary of the French and disliked the Native Americans. After the Seven Years’ War and the Pontiac’s War, many colonists felt that the British weren’t capable of protecting the colonists. This was especially true during the Pontiac’s War, where both the Native Americans and The British targeted the colonists they were supposed to protect from the so-called, “Savages”, or Native Americans. Some colonists even formed underground groups, taking the problem into their own hands.
The Taxes and Acts imposed on colonists infuriated them, especially the Intolerable, Stamp, and Townshend Acts. News of events like the Boston Massacre were spreading like wildfire. The colonies were preparing for war. By 1775, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War broke out. After Britain punished the colony of Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party, and the British were going to seize ammunition from Concord. Prior to that, a skirmish at Lexington between colonial militia and British soldiers occurred. The militia retreated after a few minutes skirmish. A man named Paul Revere rode to alarm the colonists at Concord that the British were coming and they needed to hide their ammunition. The next morning, the British came and found the majority of the ammunition, including badly damaged artillery. The militia waited and observed the British on the North Bridge. The Colonists met the British on the North Bridge, adding an element of surprise, and the British were forced to retreat to Boston, where they were harassed and shot by colonists along the way.
The newly formed continental army sent Benedict Arnold to take Fort Ticonderoga, which was in a poor state but had lots of artillery, which was sent to aid in the Siege of Boston. Benedict Arnold pushed into British Canada, which is now Upstate New York, and seized British Naval ships and fought at Valcour Island, which is in Lake Champlain. The improvised navy fought well against the British, but the colonists were forced to retreat. The British, meanwhile, colonists found out that the British were planning to seize Bunker and Breed’s hills. The colonists decided to seize the hills the night before the British planned to and built earthworks in the hills. The Battle of Bunker Hill lasted for many hours, and although the colonists retreated, the British suffered over 1,000 casualties, compared to the colonists 450.
The Continental congress tried to end the war via the Olive Branch Petition, but King George III saw the petition outrageous, and that the colonies were in a full state of rebellion. The Battles of Saratoga in New York saw Horatio Gates commanding a major colonial victory, capturing over 6000 British Soldiers and another 1000 wounded or killed. Horatio Gates soon fell out of favor when he rode many miles away from the Battle of Camden in fear of his loss. Washington launched a counterattack after his defeat in New York City against the British on December Twenty-fifth in the night, surprised the Hessians, who were British allies. Washington’s military accomplishments were esteemed by Frederick the Great, stating that his accomplishments at Trenton and Princeton were, “…the most brilliant of any recorded in the history of military achievements.” The achievements of Washington were darkened by the frigid winter at Valley Forge, many of his men died of disease and famine. A Prussian military officer named Baron Von Steuben trained Washington’s men to become a better fighting machine.
The second half of the war shifted from the North and Middle colonies to ones in the south. The British swiftly took the colony of Georgia, and advanced into the Carolinas. Two battles decided if the British would conquer South Carolina. The first, a Charleston, was a siege that lasted six weeks and ended in a colonial surrender of over 5000 men. He second, the Battle of Camden, was anything but honorable. The general Horatio Gates fled the battle around sixty miles away out of fear for his loss. Somehow he avoided being court marshalled, but he would be criticized throughout history from then forward. British general Cornwallis was an excellent tactician who was underestimated by many. General Nathanael Greene would replace Horatio Gates in the southern theater, and was seen by many as a better general. Greene would face Cornwallis several times, and he inflicted many British losses at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, even though he had to retreat.
The decisive battles sealing the outcome of the war were the Battles of Yorktown and the Chesapeake. The Battle of Yorktown was a combined Franco-American, or French and American battle resulting in a British surrender that effectively sealed the victory to the Americans. The Battle of the Chesapeake, or the Battle of the Capes, was a French naval victory against the British, who had to retreat to New York City. The Battle of the Chesapeake involved no Americans, but was still important because if the French hadn’t arrived, Cornwallis would receive reinforcements and the Battle of Yorktown could have turned out differently.
From the years 1782 to 1783, there were only minor skirmishes and in 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed granting America the thirteen colonies and all land east of the Mississippi River, not including Canada or Florida, which was returned to Spain. Many caricatures depicted American soldiers being terribly equipped and wounded, but these soldiers won independence from the world’s most powerful nation at the time. America had won its independence, and a path to becoming the great nation it is today has begun.