Before America’s independence, the country consisted of multiple colonies that fell under British rule for years. For many reasons, the American colonists decided that they no longer wanted to be ruled by the British government. They wanted their independence. Of course, King George III and the British government did not agree to that. As a result, many American Revolution war battles were fought in an effort to gain their freedom.
Battles of Lexington and Concord
The Battles of Lexington and Concord are so significant because they marked the start of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. For the Battle of Lexington, it was a very small fight. Captain John Parker led the American militiamen in the town. Neither side expected to fight, but in the middle of all the confusion and chaos, a shot was fired. No one knows which side actually fired the first shot. The gunshot forced the British to attack. Some of the colonists died and the rest fled to safety.
As for the Battle of Concord, the British marched to the city of Concord after being met with little resistance in Lexington. They searched the town for the militia’s stash of weapons and munitions. The Americans fled Concord to the outskirts of town and observed the British from across the North Bridge. While the Americans were waiting across the bridge, more and more militiamen arrived, which made their forces stronger and stronger. The Americans decided to go back across the bridge to fight and defeated the British troops. This forced the British troops to retreat to Boston.
Battle of Bunker Hill
About two months after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the British were still in Boston. They could have left by water, but they did not have enough ships and were not afraid of the colonist militia. The colonists were not a trained army and did not have the same weapons as a true army.
The colonists learned from their spies that the British were about to send troops to occupy the hills surrounding Boston. The British could shoot the colonist militia better from this position. With the information from the spies, Colonel Prescott of the colonial militia decided to fortify the hill before the British arrived. Colonel Prescott decided to fortify Breeds Hill instead of Bunker Hill because it was within canon range of Boston.
When the British woke up the next morning, they found that Breeds Hill was swarming with militia minutemen. About 2,000 British troops sailed from Boston to the peninsula in order to attack Breeds Hill. Colonel Prescott warned his men “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes” in a famous quote. The British attacked Breeds Hill a total of three times, being driven back the first two times. On the third attempt, the militia retreated because they ran out of ammunition and the British had muskets, which were highly effective in hand-to-hand combat. Even though the colonials lost, it gave them motivation to their cause.
Battle of Trenton
The Battle of Trenton occurred on December 26th, 1776 in New Jersey. General George Washington took his men and crossed the Delaware river. The crossing was very dangerous as there were bad weather conditions while crossing. The river itself was frozen, but the soldiers marched on toward Trenton. The American forces surprised the British Army and the Hessians. George Washington took over Trenton and captured over 900 men of the British forces. He marched them through Philadelphia. The Battle of Trenton was a major victory for the American forces and they were invigorated by the easy defeat of the British Hessian forces.
Battle of Saratoga
The Battle of Saratoga took place in New York in 1777. The colonists made 6,000 British troops surrender in the battle. It was a huge win for the colonists and a harsh loss for the British. It was a major turning point in the American Revolution as it was the first major victory for the Continental army.
In 1778, Benjamin Franklin convinced France to support the colonists. France, impressed by the colonists’ win in Saratoga, agreed to join the war effort on the side of the Americans.
In the winter of 1777 to 1778, the American Continental Army made camp at Valley Forge. Valley Forge marked the place where the Americans became a proper fighting unit. Valley Forge is in southeast Pennsylvania about 25 miles outside of Philadelphia.
George Washington made camp at Valley Forge as it was very close to Philadelphia, which was where the British were camping. It was also a perfect enough distance away to where Washington could know if the British were coming. Valley Forge was a great location to defend if it were attacked. It had high areas to make fortifications and there was also a river that acted as a wall to the north.
In Valley Forge, the conditions were awful. It was cold and wet during the winter and food was very scarce. Many soldiers did not have warm clothes or even shoes at times. There were also not enough blankets. Disease and sickness spread quickly throughout the camp. Typhoid fever, pneumonia, and smallpox took the lives of many soldiers. Out of 10,000 men, about 2,500 died before the spring came around.
Battle of Yorktown
The Battle of Yorktown was the last battle of the American Revolution. The British Army surrendered, and the British government signed a peace treaty there.
The Battle of Yorktown lasted for weeks from September to October. General George Washington commanded tens of thousands of the troops that consisted of the American colonists and their allies from the French Navy. Once the American and French troops started to win the final battle of the war, the British troops were surrounded and couldn’t escape thanks to the American soldiers on the land and the French Navy in the sea. The British forces surrendered and ended the entire war for independence in October 1781.
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