Battles of the American Revolution - Video

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Life in the Continental Army

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Winter at Valley Forge

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Battle of Yorktown

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Battles of the American Revolution took place over a period of 6-1/2 years. The initial battles of the American Revolution took place as Britain made movement to reduce the threat of revolt by capture important patriot leaders and weapons stores. The Battle Lexington and Concord led to the Siege at Boston. The capture of artillery at Fort Ticonderoga helped the Americans fortify their position around Boston. This eventually led to the Battle of Bunker Hill and the British evacuation of Boston. The patriots also tried to force the British out of Quebec in the Battle of Quebec, but were force to retreat.

Having forced the British out of Boston, General George Washington shifted his focus onto New York. He expected the British to move against the city. Washington split his forces between Long Island and Manhattan. At this time the Second Continental Congress also issued the Declaration of Independence. British General Howe with 32,000 troops converged on New York. Washington and his Continental Army were soundly defeated at the Battle of Long Island, and were forced to retreat from Long Island and then northern Manhattan. Washington tried to hold his position at White Plains, but again was forced to retreat. Howe expanded his hold on New York with the capture of Fort Washington.

Before the end of 1776, Washington determined to end the year in a more positive position, turned and defeated the British in the Battle of Trenton and Battle of Princeton.

In early 1777, Britain had two main armies. One was located in New York, the other in Quebec. General Burgoyne and about 10,000 British troops started a campaign marching south from Quebec. On their march, they defeated the Americans at the Battles of Oriskany and Bennington. As the British continue their march south they extended their supply lines to the point of running out of food and supplies. The Americans also had a major campaign to recruit new soldiers for the militia. Burgoyne's supply poor army met the reinforced Continental Army at the Battle of Saratoga. Burgoyne was forced into retreat, and eventually had to surrender.

The British Army in New York also turned their battle to the south. The Continental Army was defeated at the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown. This ended the winter campaign of 1777.

Washington and his army spent the winter at Valley Forge. For the next six months the Continental Army performed rigorous training. They emerged from the camp as a new and powerful fighting force. Early 1778 also saw France formally join to help the Americans in their fight against the British. The French provided both soldiers and a naval fleet. British naval superiority was challenged for the first time. Spain also entered the war as an ally of France with the goal of recapturing Gibraltar and other properties from the British. This extended Britain's war to an international scale.

In 1780, the southern campaign saw the British defeat the Continental Army at the Battle of Charlestown and the Battle of Camden. By 1781 General Cornwallis and his British Army had reached Yorktown, Virginia. General Washington and his army were now reinforced by French General Rochambeau and 5,500 soldiers. They decided to abandon their plan to retake New York, and headed south to trap Cornwallis. Rear Admiral Comte de Grasse and the French Naval fleet defeated the British fleet at the Battle of Chesapeake, preventing Cornwallis from escaping by sea. French General Marquis de Lafayette and a small Continental Force kept Cornwallis and his army from escaping by land. By late September, General Washington and General Rochambeau had arrived with their combined American and French forces. They had Cornwallis surrounded and began an artillery bombardment. Seriously outnumbered, with no way to escape, Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781.

The Siege of Yorktown was the last major battle of the revolution. This surrender led the British to negotiate an end to the war, and the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. Check out the following videos to learn more about the battles of the American Revolution. Also, see the left menu for our Kidport pages on many of these battles.

 
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