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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Battle of Nassau.jpg
The Battle of Nassau (March 3–4, 1776) was a naval action and amphibious assault by American forces against the British port of Nassau in the Bahamas during the American Revolutionary War (also known as the American War of Independence). It is considered the first cruise and one of the first engagements of the newly established Continental Navy and the Continental Marines, the progenitors of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The action was also the Marines' first amphibious landing.

Departing from Cape Henlopen, Delaware, on February 17, 1776, the fleet arrived in the Bahamas on March 1, with the objective of seizing gunpowder and munitions that were known to be stored there. Two days later the marines went ashore and seized Fort Montagu at the eastern end of the Nassau harbor, but did not advance to the town, where the gunpowder was stored. That night, Nassau's governor had most of the gunpowder loaded aboard ships that then sailed for St. Augustine. On March 4, the colonial marines advanced and took control of the poorly-defended town. The colonial forces remained at Nassau for two weeks, and took away all the remaining gunpowder and munitions they could.


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Surrender of General Burgoyne.jpg
The Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga by John Trumbull
Credit: Davepape
After the Battles of Saratoga, John Burgoyne surrendered to Horatio Gates on October 17, 1777

Selected biography

Statue of Allen by Larkin Goldsmith Mead
Ethan Allen (January 21, 1738 [O.S. January 10, 1737] – February 12, 1789) was a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, and American Revolutionary War patriot, hero, and politician. He is best known as one of the founders of the U. S. state of Vermont, and for the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga early in the American Revolutionary War.

Born in rural Connecticut, Allen had a frontier upbringing but also received an education that included some philosophical teachings. In the late 1760s he became interested in the New Hampshire Grants, buying land there and becoming embroiled in the legal disputes surrounding the territory. Legal setbacks led to the formation of the Green Mountain Boys, who Allen led in a campaign of intimidation and property destruction to drive New York settlers from the Grants. When the American Revolutionary War broke out, Allen and the Boys seized the initiative and captured Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775. In September 1775 Allen led a failed attempt on Montreal that resulted in his capture by British authorities. First imprisoned aboard Royal Navy ships, he was paroled in New York City, and finally released in a prisoner exchange in 1778. He returned to the now-independent Vermont Republic, where he continued to be politically active. In addition to continuing resistance to New York's attempts to assert control over the territory, Allen was active in efforts by Vermont's leadership for recognition by Congress, and he participated in controversial negotiations with the British over the possibility of Vermont becoming a separate British province.

Allen wrote accounts of his exploits in the war that were widely read in the 19th century, as well as philosophical treatises and documents relating to the politics of Vermont's formation. His business dealings included successful farming operations, one of Connecticut's early iron works, and land speculation in the Vermont territory. Land purchased by Allen and his brothers included tracts of land that eventually became Burlington, Vermont.


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Drawing of the regimental uniform by Charles Lefferts
The 2nd Canadian Regiment, also known as Congress' Own or Hazen's Regiment, was authorized on January 20, 1776, and initially raised in the province of Quebec for service with the Continental Army under the command of Colonel Moses Hazen. All or part of the regiment saw action at the Staten Island, Brandywine, Germantown and the Siege of Yorktown. Most of its non-combat time was spent in and around New York City as part of the forces monitoring the British forces occupying that city. The regiment was disbanded on November 15, 1783 at West Point, New York.


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