Portal:American Revolutionary War

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The American Revolutionary War Portal

Clockwise from top left: Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of Montgomery at Quebec, Battle of Cowpens, "Moonlight Battle"
The American Revolutionary War began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen united former British colonies on the North American continent, and ended in a global war between several European great powers. The war was the culmination of the political American Revolution and intellectual American Enlightenment, whereby the colonists rejected the right of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them without representation. In 1775, revolutionaries gained control of each of the thirteen colonial governments, set up an alliance called the Second Continental Congress, and formed a Continental Army. Petitions to the king to intervene with the parliament on their behalf resulted in Congress being declared traitors and the states in rebellion the following year. The Americans responded by formally declaring their independence as a new nation, the United States of America, claiming sovereignty and rejecting any allegiance to the British monarchy. In 1777 the Continentals captured a British army, leading to France entering the war on the side of the Americans in early 1778, and evening the military strength with Britain. Spain and the Dutch Republic – French allies – also went to war with Britain over the next two years.

Throughout the war, the British were able to use their naval superiority to capture and occupy coastal cities, but control of the countryside (where 90% of the population lived) largely eluded them due to their relatively small land army. French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading to the surrender of a second British army at Yorktown in 1781. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.

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CoochsBridge1777.jpg
The Battle of Cooch's Bridge, also known as the Battle of Iron Hill, was a skirmish fought on September 3, 1777, between American militia and primarily German soldiers serving alongside the British Army during the American Revolutionary War. It was the only significant military action during the war in the state of Delaware, and took place about a week before the major Battle of Brandywine.

After landing in Maryland on August 25 as part of a campaign to capture Philadelphia, the seat of the Second Continental Congress, British and German forces under the overall command of General William Howe began to move north. Their advance was monitored by a light infantry corps of Continental Army and militia forces that had based itself at Cooch's Bridge, near Newark, Delaware. On September 3, German troops leading the British advance were met by musket fire from the American light infantry in the woods on either side of the road leading toward Cooch's Bridge. Calling up reinforcements, they flushed the Americans out and drove them across the bridge.


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The death of general warren at the battle of bunker hill.jpg
The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill
Credit: John Trumbull

Completed in 1786, this painting depicts the death of Massachusetts militia general and politician Joseph Warren at the June 17, 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. Depicting the nature of personal divisions the revolution created, Warren is cradled by John Small, a British Army officer who is preventing another British soldier from bayoneting Warren. General Israel Putnam, with whom Major Small served in the French and Indian War, is at the far left of the painting; portraits of other figures important in the battle are also included.

Selected biography

Portrait by John Singleton Copley
Thomas Gage (1719 or 1720 – 2 April 1787) was a British general who was the commander in chief of British forces in the early days of the American War of Independence.

Born to an aristocratic family in England, he entered military service, seeing action in the French and Indian War, where he served alongside future opponent George Washington in the 1755 Battle of the Monongahela. After the fall of Montreal in 1760, he was named its military governor. During this time he did not distinguish himself militarily, but proved himself to be a competent administrator.

From 1763 to 1775 he served as commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, overseeing the British response to the 1763 Pontiac's Rebellion. In 1774 he was also appointed the military governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, with instructions to implement the Intolerable Acts, punishing Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. His attempts to seize military stores of Patriot militias in April 1775 sparked the Battles of Lexington and Concord, beginning the American War of Independence. After the Pyrrhic victory in the June Battle of Bunker Hill he was replaced by General William Howe in October 1775, and returned to Britain, playing no further major role in the war.


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The 64th Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment of the British Army. The regiment was created as the 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment of Foot in 1756, and redesignated as the 64th Regiment of Foot in 1758. In the American War of Independence the regiment was first station in Boston when it was besieged in 1775, and fought in major actions of the New York and New Jersey campaign of 1776-77 and the Philadelphia campaign of 1777-78. It was sent into the Southern theater in late 1779, participating in the Siege of Charleston; one of its units was surrendered at the [1781 Siege of Yorktown.

Although the 64th Foot fought in many of the major conflicts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries (including the Seven Years' War, Napoleonic Wars, Anglo-Persian War, and the Indian Rebellion of 1857, it was normally in the more minor theatres of these conflicts. The regiment took a county title as the 64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot in 1782. Following the Cardwell Reforms the regiment amalgamated with the 98th (Prince of Wales's) Regiment of Foot to become The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment) in 1881. In the new regiment the 64th Foot became the 1st Battalion due to its seniority over the 98th Foot.


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