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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Engraving depicting the capture of Dominica
The Invasion of Dominica (7 September 1778) was a successful French invasion of the island of Dominica in the British West Indies. The action took place before British authorities in the Caribbean were aware that France had entered the war as an ally of the United States of America. The French governor in the West Indies, François Claude Amour, marquis de Bouillé organized the invasion, infiltrating spies to rally sympathetic French-speaking Dominican support.

Early on 7 September 1778, French forces landed on the southeastern coast of the island. They rapidly took over some of the island's defences, and eventually gained control of the high ground overlooking the island capital, Roseau. Lieutenant Governor William Stuart then surrendered the remaining forces. Dominica remained in French hands until the end of the war, when it was returned to British control.


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Battle of bunker hill by percy moran.jpg
Battle of Bunker Hill, by Percy Moran
Credit: Sebastian Wallroth
In this depiction of the Battle of Bunker Hill, British Army ranks are advancing on the Breed's Hill redoubt

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Gen. Sir William Howe.jpg
William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe, KB, PC (10 August 1729 – 12 July 1814) was a British army officer who rose to become Commander-in-Chief of British forces during the American War of Independence. Following a distinguished military career in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War (where he served with distinction in North America), Howe was again sent to North America in March 1775, arriving in May after the Revolutionary War broke out. After leading British troops to a costly victory in the Battle of Bunker Hill, Howe took command of all British forces in America from Thomas Gage in September of that year. Howe's record in North America was marked by the successful capture of both New York City and Philadelphia. However, poor British campaign planning for 1777 contributed to the failure of John Burgoyne's Saratoga campaign, which played a major role in the entry of France into the war. Howe's role in developing those plans, and the degree to which he was responsible for British failures that year (despite his personal success at Philadelphia), has been a subject of contemporary and historic debate.

He resigned his post as Commander in Chief, North America, in 1778, and returned to England, where he continued to be active in the defence of the British Isles. He served for many years in Parliament, and was knighted after his successes in 1776. He inherited the Viscountcy of Howe upon the death of his brother Richard in 1799. He married, but had no children, and the viscountcy was extinguished with his death in 1814.


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Cannon at Washington Crossing Park, Pennsylvania
The 4th Continental Artillery Regiment, also known as Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment, was an American military unit during the American Revolutionary War. The regiment became part of the Continental Army on 10 June 1777 as Colonel Thomas Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment. It was made up of eight artillery companies from eastern Pennsylvania. At the time of the regiment's formation, two companies were already in existence, one from as early as October 1775. One company served at Trenton in December 1776 where it performed well in action. In February 1777, Pennsylvania expanded its two-company battalion into an eight-company regiment. After officially joining the Continental Army, the regiment saw much fighting in the Philadelphia campaign in late 1777. Elements of Proctor's Regiment fought at Monmouth in June 1778 and joined the Sullivan Expedition to upstate New York in summer 1779. In January 1781 the regiment was sent south with General Anthony Wayne, where it participated in the Yorktown campaign, culminating in the October 1781 Siege of Yorktown. The regiment was disbanded in November 1783.


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