The Revolutionary War
The America Colonies' Independence from England
The Path to the American Revolution

Originally from the series of pages on the Boston revolution -- reformatted to simple HTML

Pontiac's Rebellion
took place in August 1763 in The Ohio River Valley along the Appalachian Mountains

In August of 1763, after the French-Indian War, an Ottawa Indian chief named Pontiac went to other Indian chiefs along the Ohio River Valley to start a rebellion. He wanted to start a rebellion, because the British fur trappers and traders were on the land where the French and Indians lived. The British had moved the French off the land and the Indians didn't receive any more presents from the French.

Then the Indians took over the British forts and burned the colonists' settlements in the country.

King George III wanted to end Pontiac's rebellion so he issued a proclamation that gave all the land west of the Appalachians to the Indians. This proclamation helped bring peace to the Ohio River Valley. Although the white people there who wanted the land got extremely angry because the land west of the Appalachians was off limits to them.

Pontiac's Rebellion caused the Proclamation of 1763 to be made by King George III.

The Proclamation of 1763
took place in 1763 in England but affected the colonists and the Indians in the Ohio River Valley from Georgia to Ontario, Canada.

At the end of the French and Indian War, Britain had control over all of North America to the east of the Mississippi River. The colonists wanted to move westward toward the Ohio Valley area. The Indians were used to receiving presents from the French were upset that their friends were no longer there, which is what started Pontiac's Rebellion.

King George III wanted to establish a stronger government in the Colonies. To keep peace with the Indians, he issued the Proclamation of 1763. The Proclamation gave the land west of the Appalachian Mountains to the Indians for their Hunting Grounds. Any colonists who were already settled in this area were forced to return to the eastern side of the Appalachians. The territory given to the Indians was not to be a part of any colony and the colonists could not buy or trade for land in that area. This made a boundary limiting the colonists to the east side of the Appalachians. King George III did not realize how much territory he was giving the Indians.

To protect the colonists and the British soldiers from the Indians King George sent 10,000 more troops to the colonies. To cover the costs, the Stamp Act and other various acts were passed.

Other Various Acts
took place in 1764 through 1767 in England and the colonies

Lord George Grenville's tax program was designed to reduce Britain's war debt (French and Indian War) which was more than 140 million pounds and to help to pay for the increased military needs in the colonies and new territories. The English Parliament passed the Sugar Act in 1764. This act increased taxes on imported sugar and other items such as textiles, coffee, wines and indigo dye. It doubled the tax on foreign goods reshipped from England to the colonies. Even though the colonists did not like the taxes from the Sugar Act, they were more upset over Grenville's Stamp Act, which affected everyone in the colonies.

The English Parliament also decided they need to better enforce the trade laws in the Colonies. King George III established a court in Halifax, Nova Scotia that ruled over all the Colonies in trade matters.

Then came the Currency Act that took the right to issue their own money away from the colonists. Both the industrial colonists in the North and the agricultural colonists in the South were angry about this decision.

In May of 1764 at a town meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, James Otis brings up the question of taxation without representation. His question roused the colonists and in August, Boston merchants begin a boycott of British luxury goods.

In December 1765, British General Thomas Gage, commander of all English military forces in America, asked the New York assembly to make colonists comply with the Quartering Act and house and supply his troops. Also in December, the American boycott of English imports spreads, as over 200 Boston merchants join the movement.

In January 1766, the New York assembly refused to comply with General. Gage's request to enforce the Quartering Act.

In March 1766, King George III signed a bill that repealed the Stamp Act. There was a lot of debate in the English Parliament. Ben Franklin presented the colonies' argument for the repeal and warned that if the British soldiers enforced the act, the colonies would rebel.

On the same day it repealed the Stamp Act, the English Parliament passed the Declaratory Act. This gave the British government total power to make laws they felt were needed to govern the colonies.

In April 1766, the colonies ended their boycott of British goods when they heard the news the Stamp Act had been repealed. There were a lot of celebrations in the colonies because they thought this meant good news.

In August 1766, the Sons of Liberty in New York fought with the British soldiers. The colonists were refusing to obey the Quartering Act by not giving up their homes or supplies to the soldiers.

In December, the New York legislature is closed down after it voted again to not obey the Quartering Act.

These various acts and other events led up to the Revolutionary War and the Colonies' Independence from England.

The Stamp Act
was passed in March 1765 and became effective November 1, 1765 in the colonies.

To pay for some of the costs of the French and Indian War, in March of 1765, Lord George Grenville asked the English Parliament to impose the Stamp Act. This was the first direct tax on the American colonies. All printed materials were taxed, including; newspapers, pamphlets, bills, legal documents, licenses, almanacs, dice and playing cards. The law would go into effect November 1, 1765.

Britain thought they would collect 60,000 pounds a year from this tax. Even though each stamp would only cost from 1/2 penny to 10 pounds, the colonists were afraid that England would not stop at just this tax.

The colonists were infuriated over this decision by King George III. The colonists felt they should be taxed only by their own government, they didn't like the British troops in their land, and they didn't like that the tax had to be paid in silver.

In May, Patrick Henry presents seven resolutions to the House of Burgesses that basically say only the Virginia assembly can legally tax Virginia residents. He is quoted as saying, "If this be treason, make the most of it."

In July, the first group of Sons of Liberty is formed in a number of colonial towns. It is an underground organization of people who oppose the Stamp Act. The members decided to use violence and intimidation to fight against the Stamp Act. The Sons of Liberty burned the stamps. They threatened the stamp agents. Most stamp agents were scared of the Sons of Liberty. Samuel Adams lead the group in Boston. He attacked the Act in the city's newspapers. One time they hung a puppet that looked like the stamp agent to a tree. That tree is known as the Liberty Tree.

On August 26, a mob in Boston attacks the home of Thomas Hutchinson, Chief Justice of Massachusetts, as Hutchinson and his family narrowly escape.

On October 7, 1765, representatives from nine colonies attend the Stamp Act Congress in New York City. This Congress passes a resolution to be sent to King George III and the English Parliament. The petition requests the repeal of the Stamp Act and the Acts of 1764. The petition stated only colonial legislatures could tax residents of the colonies and taxation without representation violates their basic civil rights.

On November 1, 1765, almost all daily business and transactions in the colonies came to a stop when the Stamp Act went into effect because the colonists refused to use the stamps. In New York City, a mob made a stuffed image of its royal governor, burned it, harassed the British troops, and then looted homes.

When the colonists refused to pay for the stamps, King George III passed the Townshend Acts to collect taxes they weren't getting from the Stamp Act acts were passed.

The Townshend Act
June 1767 in England
Repealed: March 1770

In June 1767 the English Parliament decided to cut British land taxes. In order to make up for the difference and to continue to finance their troops in the Colonies, Charles Townshend, the British Treasurer, promised he would tax the colonists.

Unlike the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts created a tax on goods the colonists imported, such as paper, red and white lead, glass, paints, and tea shipped from England.

The Act also established a board of customs collectors in Boston. The money collected from these import taxes was used to pay the salaries of these British colonial officials. This made them more independent of the colonial legislatures and better able to enforce British orders and laws.

The Townshend Acts were very unpopular with the colonists, who criticized the Acts and demonstrated in protest. In October, the colonists in Boston decided to restart the boycott of English items.

In February 1768, Samuel Adams of Massachusetts wrote a letter to oppose the taxation without representation. This letter became known as the "circular" letter. He asked the colonists to rise up against the British government. He told what the Massachusetts general court was doing to oppose the Townshend Acts and sent his letter to all the colony legislatures.

In April 1768, Lord Hillsborough, Secretary of State for the Colonies, ordered the governors of all the colonies to stop their assemblies from hearing Adam's circular letter. Lord Hillsborough ordered the Massachusetts governor to revoke the letter or he would stop their general court from meeting. By the end of April, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New Jersey had all agreed to approve Samuel Adam's method of opposition.

In July 1768, the Massachusetts governor shut down the general court because the legislature had refused to repeal their approval of Adams' circular letter.

In August, merchants in Boston and New York begin their boycott of most British goods until the Townshend Acts are repealed.

In September, a town meeting is held in Boston, Massachusetts and the residents were told to bear arms in case they were needed to fight the British soldiers who were increasing all the time.

British warships arrived in Boston Harbor in September and two regiments of infantry moved permanently into Boston neighborhoods.

In March 1769, merchants in Philadelphia joined the boycott of British goods.

In May George Mason wrote a set of resolutions that were presented to the Virginia House of Burgesses by George Washington. The resolutions opposed taxation without representation, opposed British reaction to the colonists acceptance of Samuel Adams' circular letter, and opposed British plans to try colonists in England.

Ten days later, Virginia's royal governor stopped the House of Burgesses from meeting again. But the members met the next day and decided to join the boycott of British goods.

In October 1769 the merchant boycott spread to New Jersey, Rhode Island and North Carolina. The colonists united in their opposition to the Townshend Acts. King George III had to send more troops to the colonies to keep his control.

The Townshend Acts except for the taxes on tea were finally repealed in March of 1770.

England sent more troops to keep control of the colonies. The increase of British soldiers made the colonists angry. The Boston Massacre started because colonists were harassing the British soldiers.

The Boston Massacre
March 5, 1770 in Boston, Massachusetts

In February 1770, eleven year old Christopher Sneider was shot and killed by a British merchant during a riot. His funeral drew thousands of people and was probably still on the minds of all the residents of Boston on March 5th.

On Monday, March 5, 1770, the conflicts between the colonists and the Boston Garrison soldiers grew. A merchant and one of the soldiers were arguing and some of the townspeople gathered. They began to throw snowballs and rocks at the soldiers. Soon Captain Thomas Preston and a small group of soldiers arrived. Private Hugh Montgomery of the British troops was hit by a club thrown from the crowd. When he got up, he fired into the crowd. Soon other British soldiers started firing wildly with their guns.

Three colonists died instantly and two more died later from the injuries they received during the shooting. The people who were killed were: Crispus Attucks, a freed black slave; Samuel Gray, a worker at rope walk; James Caldwell, a mate on a American ship; Samuel Maverick, a seventeen year old male; and Patrick Carr, a feather maker. Six other people were injured.

Crispus Attucks was either black or black and Native American. He had escaped from slavery. He was probably the first man killed in the Boston Massacre. In the Boston Commons, there is a statute of him.

After the incident, Sam Adams insisted the British troops leave Boston. The Massachusetts governor moved the soldiers to Castle William on one of the nearby islands.

The captain of the soldiers, Thomas Preston, and six of his men were arrested and charged with murder. John Adams, who later became president, and Josiah Quincy were their attorneys. Two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. Their punishment was to be branded on their thumbs and then they were released. Captain Preston and the others were not found guilty.

The Boston Massacre increased the hatred between the Americans and the British.

The Boston Massacre added to the hatred between the British soldiers and the colonists. The hostility and the Tea Act of 1773 sparked the Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party
December 16, 1773 in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts

In 1773, the East India Company had a lot of tea it could not sell in England and was almost ready to close down its business. To help save the company, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773. This allowed the company to sell its goods to the colonies without paying taxes. This meant the East India Company could sell their tea cheaper than the American merchants.

The Tea Act of 1773 did not impose any new tax on tea. It would still be taxed the three-penny per pound like it had been for the last six years. The British didn't think the colonists would be upset about the Act since by letting the East India Company not pay taxes, the price of tea would go down. But the colonists were angry because the Act would give the East India Company a monopoly on tea sales in the colonies.

The colonists became angry again about being taxed without representation. They decided to restart the boycott of tea. This time even more people joined the boycott. The women who drank most of the tea joined the boycott. The colonies united in a way they hadn't before.

Some of the colonies decided to stop the East India Company from docking their ships in colonial ports. In some ports East India Company agents were scared into resigning. Tea was returned to England or put in warehouses.

In October 1773, colonists in Philadelphia meet to discuss what they are going to do to oppose the tax and the East India Company monopoly. A committee then forced British tea agents to leave their positions.

In November the townspeople of Boston met and decided to follow what they did in Philadelphia. They tried to get their British tea agents to resign, but they refused to leave their positions. Then three weeks later, three ships carrying tea from the East India Company sailed into Boston harbor.

On November 29 and 30, 1773, the townspeople met two times to try to decide what to do about tea on three East India Company ships docked in the harbor. They decided to send the tea on one ship, the Dartmouth, back to England without paying the taxes. The Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Hutchinson, didn't agree and ordered the customs officials not to let the ship sail from the harbor unless the taxes are paid.

On December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams led three groups of fifty men dressed like Mohawk Indians and walked through the streets of Boston. Then someone blew a whistle. The men headed for the harbor and boarded the three ships with hatchets. They broke into 342 chests and threw all the tea overboard. (Most of the tea was a mixture of Ceylon and Darjeeling teas.) The amount of tea dumped into the harbor would make 24,000,000 cups of tea. Today, that much tea would cost about $1,000,000.00!

When they finished, they marched back through the city and headed for the Liberty Tree. Other colonists followed and together they sang "The Liberty Song."

The tea washed up on the shore. The next morning the colonists went to the shore and crushed the tea leaves. Paul Revere rode through the cities telling everyone what had happened at the Boston Tea Party. As news traveled through the Colonies, other colonists decided to follow the example. Soon this became the destiny of most East India Company's ships that decided to force their way into harbors.

The people of Boston refused to pay for the tea they had destroyed. This angered King George III. To punish the colonies, especially Massachusetts, the Parliament acted by creating the Coercive or Intolerable Acts. These acts only sparked new resistance up and down the colonies.

Boston's Failure to Pay for the tea they damaged caused the Coercive Acts to be ordered by King George III

The Intolerable Acts
also known as the The Coercive Acts were passed March 24, 1774 and became effective June 2, 1774 in England and affected the colonies

The Intolerable Acts were passed in 1774 to punish the colonists for the Boston Tea Party. There were three major acts involved that angered the colonists.

The first was the Boston Port Bill and it closed the Boston Harbor until the people of Boston paid for the tea that they threw into the harbor. It went into effect on June 1, 1774.

The Administration of Justice Act became effective May 20th and it did not allow British soldiers to be tried in the colonies for any crimes they might commit. This meant the soldiers could do anything they wanted since they would probably not be punished for their crimes.

The Massachusetts Government Act which also took effect on May 20, 1774, restricted town meetings to one a year unless the governor approved any more. The Massachusetts assembly could not meet. The governor would appoint all the officials, juries and sheriffs.

The Quebec Act was established May 20, 1774. This act extended the Canadian borders to cut some of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia.

There was also the Quartering Act that was established on March 24th. It required the colonial authorities to provide housing and supplies for the British troops.

The Impartial Administration of Justice Act gave British troops freedom from the Massachusetts law. So just like Administration of Justice Act, British troops could do whatever they wanted without worrying about consequences.

These laws made the people in Massachusetts and all the colonists very angry. The Boston Port Act helped to bond the colonies because the Bostonians needed supplies until the port opened back up. The Intolerable Acts also helped the colonies bond together. They joined together in boycotting British goods. This prepared the colonists for their war with the British and to declare their independence.

The Intolerable Acts united the colonies against England. To decide on what steps they would take, the colonists met in Philadelphia at the First Continental Congress.

The First Continental Congress
September 5, 1774 to October 26, 1774 Boston, Massachusetts

On September 5, 1774, every colony but Georgia sent representatives to what is now called the First Continental Congress. They met in secret because they did not want the British to know that the colonies were uniting. At first there were 44 delegates who met in Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia. Twelve other delegates reported late. Some of those who came were George Washington, Patrick Henry, John Jay, John Adams, and Samuel Adams. Peyton Randolph of Virginia was chosen president.

Joseph Galloway from Pennsylvania suggested they work out a way that the colonies could have their freedom under British rule, but not many delegates agreed with him. They made a list of basic rights they wanted and a list of complaints to send to King George III. They signed a petition demanding the Intolerable Acts be repealed and sent it to England with the demand they would be repealed.

John Adams thought the First Continental Congress was like a school for American leaders. George Washington, Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry were all part of this Congress. Benjamin Franklin was in England and presenting the colonists' demands in person to the British Parliament. The Continental Association was created at this Congress. This was an agreement of the colonies to stop all trade with Britain until their demands were met. Men from the colonies came to Philadelphia to represent their colonies. Soon they were able to see past just their colony and started to think of all the colonies together as America. Patrick Henry said: "I am not a Virginian, but an American."

When the governor of Massachusetts started taking some warlike steps, John Adams' wife, Abigail, wrote him to warn him. The colonists were also preparing. This showed the men at the Congress that the people were ready to stand behind their decisions, stop all trade with British companies, and to fight England.

The men adjourned the Congress on October 26, 1774 and decided to meet again in May of 1775 in Philadelphia if King George III did not repeal the Intolerable Acts.

When King George III heard of the colonists' demands, he answered: "The die is now cast. The colonies must either submit or triumph."

When Patrick Henry went to the Virginia Convention in Richmond, he made a speech. It was from this speech that his famous quote comes:

"I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

King George III's decision not to repeal the Intolerable Acts or any of the other taxes finally caused the Revolutionary War that led to the Colonies Independence

The Second Continental Congress
Opened May 5, 1774 and met continuously through the war Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When the First Continental Congress adjourned October 26, 1774, the delegates agreed to meet again on May 5, 1775. The Second Continental Congress met as agreed on May 5, 1775. This was after the battles at Lexington and Concord on April 19th. Sam Adams, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, and George Washington were some of the delegates.

There was mixed feelings about what should be done about the continued hostile acts of the British Parliament. Some delegates wanted immediate independence no matter what the cost. Others were still loyal to King George III and even though they did not like the British taxation without representation, they wanted to avoid an all-out war with England.

They finally decided to go slowly and not make any drastic moves that might start a major war. On the other hand, they also felt they needed to protect themselves, so they established the Continental Army and named George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. George Washington was officially commission on June 17, 1775, the same day as the Battle of Bunker (Breed's ) Hill. They also passed a "Declaration of Causes of Taking up Arms," which named England as an aggressor and gave the Colonists the right to take up arms against the British.

They wanted to tell King George III that they wanted peace. John Dickinson wrote "The Olive Branch Petition" and made suggestions on how to solve the problems. King George would not read it, because in his mind it was an illegal document made by an illegal congress.

The Second Continental Congress me all through the Revolutionary War. They made decisions when and where to attack the British and how to protect themselves. They issued paper money and set up a system where the government would borrow money from their citizens and pay it back with interest. They even created a postal system and the first American Navy was formed. There was never any power given to the Congress to levy taxes to finance the war effort. This meant that any support of the Army would come basically from the different colonies or persons who could afford to support them.

After King George III officially called the Colonies in rebellion and after Thomas Paine's Common Sense was circulated and read, the Patriots realized there was no way to solve the problems peacefully. They decided to declare independence and they drafted the Declaration of Independence which was adopted and ratified on July 4, 1776.

The main problem the Continental Congress had was how to finance the cost of the war. This took a lot of time and they tried different ways to support their Army. Soon the problem of "states rights" came, because even though they wanted to be united as one country, each colony wanted to remain independent and make its own laws.

The debate over how the colonies could remain united but keep their individual rights continued. In July 1776 the Articles of Confederation were presented to Congress as a way to define both the central government and the state governments. The Articles passed in 1777, but were not ratified by all the states until 1781.

Battle of Lexington
April 19, 1775

After the First Continental Congress, King George III told General Thomas Gage, the Governor of Massachusetts and the commander of all the British soldiers in North America, to use force when necessary to make certain the British rule in the colonies was maintained.

In February of 1775, Massachusetts, the colony the British considered most rebellious, was declared in rebellion and the British soldiers were told to be strict with those who showed disrespect for the British rule.

This did not improve the relations between the British and colonies. The colonies were more convinced than ever to bear arms and be prepared for war at any time. In Massachusetts, the men became known as Minutemen, because they were known to be ready at a minute's notice. The colonists called themselves Patriots.

By April of 1775, British General Thomas Gage learned heard that the Patriots had gathered together an arsenal of weapons in Concord, sixteen miles from Boston. He ordered his soldiers to go to Concord and capture the weapons. They decided to go through Lexington to look for Sam Adams who they wanted to arrest.

Somehow the Minutemen learned about the British troops going to Concord to take their weapons. So they went to Lexington and waited for the British to march through the city. The British marched into Lexington early in the morning of April 19 and were met by seventy Minutemen drawn upon in two lines.

There were between 600 and 700 British soldiers. When the Minutemen saw that they were outnumbered, they started to back down. It was then that the shot heard around the world was fired. Even today, no one knows who fired first, the British or the Patriots?

But that shot caused the British to fire two volleys. The first went over the Minutemen's heads and the second was fired right into their midst. The Minutemen scattered, but not before eighteen of them were killed.

The British marched on to Concord where they hoped to find a stockpile of rebel weapons.

The Battle of Concord
April 19, 1775

After they defeated the colonists at Lexington, the British marched to Concord to complete their task. They were able to search for weapons, but were unable to find any. They faced angry colonists, but very little happened in the city.

It wasn't until they were on their way back to Boston that they were shot at by Minutemen from the woods and fields. After the Battle at Lexington, the Minutemen increased as colonists joined their militia along the route from Lexington to Concord and back again. There are estimates that the Patriot army had between 4,000 and 10,000 men by the time they reached Boston late that night. The British were caught between the sea and the Patriot militia. They had no where to go, but to protect themselves against the Minutemen.

Brigadier General Hugh Percy led the British campaign. In his report to British General Gage the next day, he wrote:

In obedience to your Excellency's orders, I marched yesterday morning at 9 o'clock with the 1st brigade and two field pieces in order to cover the retreat of the grenadiers and light infantry in their return from their expedition to Concord.

As all the houses were shut up, and there was not the appearance of a single inhabitant, I could get no intelligence concerning them till I had passed Menotomy when I was informed that the rebels had attacked his Majesty's troops who were retiring, overpowered by numbers, greatly exhausted and fatigued, and having expended almost all their ammunition - and at about 2 o'clock I met them retiring rough the town of Lexington - I immediately ordered the 2 field pieces to fire at the rebels, and drew up the brigade on a height.

The shot from the cannon had the desired effect, and stopped the rebels for a little time, who immediately dispersed, and endeavored to surround us being very numerous. As it began now to grow pretty late and we had 15 miles to retire, and only 36 rounds, I ordered the grenadiers and light infantry to move of first; and covered them with my brigade sending out very strong flanking parties which were absolutely very necessary, as there was not a stone wall, or house, though before in appearance evacuated, from whence the rebels did not fire upon us. As soon as they saw us begin to retire, they pressed very much upon our rear guard, which for that reason, I relieved every now and then.

In this manner we retired for 15 miles under incessant fire all round us, till we arrived at Charlestown, between 7 and 8 in the evening and having expended almost all our ammunition. We had the misfortune of losing a good many men in the retreat, though nothing like the number which from many circumstances I have reason to believe were killed of the rebels. His Majesty's troops during the whole of the affair behaved with their usual intrepidity and spirit nor were they a little exasperated at the cruelty and barbarity of the rebels, who scalped and cut off the ears of some of the wounded men who fell into their hands.

There is no evidence that the colonist rebels scalped or cut off the ears of any wounded British soldier. So you must wonder how much of Brigadier General Percy's report is accurate.

Most accounts say that there were 73 British killed and and 247 wounded or missing at the end of the day. The Minutemen lost 93 soldiers in the fighting.

When the people in Boston heard of the shooting and bloodshed that took place in Lexington and Concord, they banned together and surrounded the British soldiers and officials.

General Gage was hurt by the large number of British deaths and casualties from these two battles. He decided until he could receive some reinforcements, he would not use any more force against the colonists. During this time, the Minutemen had time to organize and strengthen their position of surrounding the British in Boston. They had men along every road and pass and on every hill within ten miles of Boston.

The Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Concord was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It was during this long war that the American colonies won their independence from British taxation and rule.

The Battle of Ticonderoga
May 10, 1775 and July 5, 1777

Fort Ticonderoga is about 100 miles north of Albany, New York and is between Lake George and Lake Champlain. It was built in the year 1775 by the French to protect themselves against the British and to protect the fur trading routes. This was the first French fort to be built in North America. The Fort sits overlooking the major route through the Hudson River Valley from the Canadian border, a popular route for fur traders. They called it Fort Carillon.

In July 1758, British General Abercrombie and his 16,000 men could not take the fort from the 4,000 French soldiers. Then in 1759, British General Jeffrey Amhurst captured the fort from the French and renamed it Fort Ticonderoga after a nearby town. Ticonderoga comes from the Iroquois language (Cheonderoga) and means "the place between two waters."

John Brown, a Patriot lawyer, had been sent to Canada to see how the French were reacting to the Colonists' rebellion. On March 29, 1775, he wrote to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety: "One thing I must mention to be kept as a profound secret: the fort at Ticonderoga must be seized as soon as possible should hostilities be commenced by the King's troops."

The Continental Army's interest in capturing the fort was to have control of the waterways from Canada. There were many British soldiers in Canada and having control of the fort would mean having control of the waterways the British could use in attacking the Colonists. They did not want to make the first offensive move. The Battles at Lexington and Concord were not offensive, as much as they were "bickering."

Colonel Samuel Parson left Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775 (the same day as the battles at Lexington and Concord) to go to Connecticut. He wanted to recruit men for the siege of Boston. He started to realize that the Continental Army did not have many cannons or artillery. Then he met Benedict Arnold, who told him that there were plenty of cannons at Ticonderoga. Benedict Arnold had heard that the fort was run-down and not well protected. Benedict Arnold went on to Cambridge and urged the Committee of Safety to allow him to seize the fort at Ticonderoga. The Committee agreed, but Benedict Arnold could only take 400 men from Massachusetts.

Colonel Parson then met up with John Brown and Colonel James Easton were leading forty men to Castleton, Vermont. They traveled together and met Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, who were marching to capture the fort at Ticonderoga.

Now there were two different armies marching toward Ticonderoga. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold met at Castleton and marched together. Both men wanted to be in charge. Benedict Arnold had the commission papers from the Committee of Safety, but Ethan Allen had the men. Finally, they decided to march side by side.

In the early morning hours of May 10, 1775, in the first offensive action of the war, the 175 Green Mountain Boys of Vermont led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen walked through the open gate at Fort Ticonderoga. When a sleeping sentry awoke, Ethan Allen hit him on the side of his head and took his weapons. The sentry motioned to the upstairs and the men climbed the stairs. All eighty-three British soldiers and two officers, Captain William Delaplace and Lieutenant Jocelyn Feltham, were all asleep. It was an easy victory for the Continental Army and there were no shots fired.

Seth Warner, a Green Mountain Boy, was sent with some men to capture Fort Crown Point which sat on the southern tip of Lake Champlain. Both forts were under the control of the Continental Army.

Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen were both ordered to take their men back to Boston with all 100 cannons. The cannons were difficult to transport, and they did not arrive in Boston until January 1776.

Later, Congress realized the important locations of these forts and sent a thousand men to guard these posts. The colonists kept control of Fort Ticonderoga until July 5, 1777 when British forces led by General Burgoyne captured the fort. Fort Ticonderoga was set on fire by the British forces and in 1909 was restored and turned into a museum that is still open today for visitors.

The Battle of Bunker Hill (The Battle of Breed's Hill)
June 17, 1775

The Battle at Breed's Hill, which is usually incorrectly called the Battle at Bunker Hill, was the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War.

The Battles at Lexington and Concord in April 1775 were only skirmishes. After those battles, the British Army led by General William Howe continued to have a strong presence in Boston. This upset the Patriots and hostilities continued.

The British knew they needed to fortify their position. By taking control of Dorchester Heights and the Charleston peninsulas, they could watch over all of the Boston Harbor. This would protect them from any assaults from sea.

The Americans found out about the British plan and decided beat the English to the Charleston peninsula. On June 16, 1775, Colonel Israel Putnam and Colonel Samuel Prescott led the Patriots to the Charleston Peninsula. Their mission was to settle in at Bunker Hill on a small peninsula on the Charles River north of Boston. For some reason, they ended up on Breed's Hill closer to the waterfront.

On the morning of June 17, 1775, the British troops were surprised to see the Patriots in control of Breed's Hill. Immediately, they began to attack from the sea. Then, later in the day, General William Howe led his men in an assault on ground.

Colonel Putnam had told the Patriot army, "Don't fire until you can see the whites of their eyes." (This quote was again used by General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.) The first two times the British attacked, they were bombarded with heavy artillery and had to retreat. On the third attack, the British were more successful. The Patriots had run out of gun powder and could only fight them by hitting them with their muskets. The Patriots finally retreated. The British took Breed's Hill and then captured Bunker Hill.

This was a costly battle for the British. They had 226 soldiers killed during the battle and another 828 were wounded. The 145 American Patriots died and 274 were wounded with 30 captured.

One of the American men killed was Major General Joseph Warren. He was an American leader who was respected almost as much as John and Samuel Adams. He was president of the Massachusetts Congress in 1775. Today there is a statute of him near where he was killed.

Even though the Americans lost men, they realized the British lost more. General Nathanael Greene said "I wish we could sell them another hill at the same price." The Americans were starting to see that they might have a chance against the British and a spirit of national pride developed because of it. They were now confident they could fight the British rule and win!

Common Sense
February 14, 1776

In the early months of 1776, the mood in the colonies was to try to continue negotiating with the British to resolve the main problem of taxation without representation. Many of the colonists felt that the King and the Queen of England were appointed by God and any direct challenge to their authority would be a violation of Godly principles.

Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense in January 1776, but it was not published as a pamphlet until February 14, 1776. He wanted people to think about what was really happening. He explained that the people must fight against the unfair and unjust ways of King George III and the British Parliament. He used plain, simple common sense in his writing to show the Colonists that there was no other way to protect their rights, but to declare independence from their mother country who was treating them poorly. He talked about government being a necessary evil which could be made better through frequent elections for leadership. He didn't think that government should control people who did not have a voice in what was being done.

The British who lived in England had many rights. They had a say in whether they would be taxed. The Colonists, though, had no rights or any say in what laws Parliament made. Thomas Paine in lots of ways educated the world about the problems of the colonies.

In just a few months more than 500,000 copies were sold. That works out to be about one for every eight people living in the colonies at that time. Even though the colonists knew Thomas Paine, an Englishman, had been condemned in England and was probably prejudice, his arguments went right to their hearts. People saw the "common sense he made and started to show more desire to fight for their freedom from the severe laws King George III was making in the colonies.

The last line, "A government of our own is our natural right, 'TIS TIME TO PART," was probably the most convincing in his writing.

Read the entire document.

The Battle of Dorchester
March 2-3, 1776

Ever since he was given command of the Continental Army established by the Second Continental Congress, General George Washington wanted to take Boston back from the British. The skirmishes at Lexington and Concord were not fought by an organized army, but by the local militiamen. Because the delegates to the Second Continental Congress thought the war would not last long, men only enlisted for a year.

In January 1776 as Thomas Paine was publishing his Common Sense, George Washington was camped outside Boston begging his men to stay to the end of December when more recruits would arrive. Some of them stayed, but many left. At that time, the Continental Army was low on men and low on armory to fight any battle. With the loss at Bunker (Breed's) Hill, a successful attack on Boston seemed impossible.

With the capture of Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain, the Continental Army had also captured cannons and mortars that would help fight the British in Boston. Washington sent Colonel Henry Knox to get them.

When Colonel Knox arrived with 80 sleds packed with cannons, mortars and other heavy equipment in February, General Washington saw his chance. Even though 2,000 of his 9,000 soldiers didn't have muskets, he figured out the perfect plan. On March 2 and 3, 1776, soldiers fired all night into the city of Boston from the west. This was a camouflage of what was really happening.

South of the city there were hills named Dorchester Heights which reminded General Washington of Bunker and Breed's Hills. The men without guns moved the artillery brought by Colonel Knox south to Dorchester Heights and set them up so they could protect their gunners and could hit the British in the city.

On March 4th, when General Howe noticed how many cannons were pointed at him and his troops, he couldn't believe how much work they had done in just one night. "The rebels have done more in one night than my whole army could do in months." He didn't realize it took two nights, because the Continentals hid the evidence of their first night's work.

General Washington and his troops had put their guns on Dorchester Heights where they could command Boston, threaten the British Army, and made the Boston Harbor unsafe for any British ship. First General Howe planned to attack to recapture Dorchester Heights. Then he decided to leave Boston and move his troops to New York, which was more important to both armies since it would control the traffic to and from Canada. A big storm came and he blamed his decision to retreat on it.

General Howe took his troops and about 1,000 Loyalists and sailed for New York. On March 17, 1776, General Washington and his Continental Army marched back into Boston. At this time, there were no British troops in any of the thirteen colonies.

The Siege of Charleston
June 28, 1776

In 1776, the British still did not understand how important it was for them to develop a strategy to defend the uprising in the Colonies. The British knew the Colonies had little time to organize their rebellion and there were still many loyalists who argued against rebellion. They did not give enough credit to the colonists' anger at being taxed without representation. They did not realize the determination of the Patriots to win their freedom from the oppressive taxation of King George III. The British only tried to stop the Patriots from getting out of hand.

In the summer of 1775 the British Army decided they needed to develop strength in the southern colonies in order to protect their interests in the New England colonies. They decided to take control of Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. On June 28, 1776, Sir Henry Clinton sent British troops aboard the ship Thunder to attack the Continental Army at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island. Three other warships ran aground because Sir Clinton did not realize the shallowness of the waters in the channel.

They sent 100 British soldiers by small boat to the shore to siege Fort Moultrie. The Patriots were able to resist the attack and after thirteen hours of intense fighting, the British admitted defeat and the ships drifted out to sea. The British who were killed or wounded outnumbered the Patriot casualties five to one.

This was a terrible defeat to the British who thought their power was so strong. It wasn't until May 9, 1780, almost four years later, that the British were able to take control of Charleston by setting the town on fire and force the rebels to surrender.

An interesting story from this battle is about William Jasper, who was from Georgia and had been recruited by Francis Marion to join the Second South Carolina Regiment. Fort Moultrie's flag was blue with a white crescent and it flew through most of the battle letting nearby citizens know that the Patriots were still in control of the fort. When a shot took down the flag, William Jasper shouted to his commanding officer, "Colonel, don't let us fight without our flag?" When Colonel Moultrie replied, "How can you help it? The staff is gone," Jasper climbed over the wall to the fort and ran out in sight of the British to retrieve the flag. When he returned it safely to the fort, he pinned it to the wall as though it were hanging, and returned to fighting.

Jasper was offered a commission, but turned it down to be scout for the American forces. He made several trips into enemy lines and always returned with valuable information.

William Jasper died at Savannah, Georgia in 1779 while raising the colors of the Second South Carolina Regiment on the British lines. A statute in his memories stands in one of Savannah's squares. There are eight counties and seven cities and towns in our nation that are named after him. In Charleston, South Carolina, there is also a statute of him with his eyes staring at the harbor. It is inscribed with the words:

"We shall not fight without our flag."

The Declaration of Independence
adopted July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When the First Continental Congress adjourned in October of 1774, the delegates agreed to meet again in Philadelphia on May 5, 1775. Between the First and the Second Continental Congress, many events happened that increased the tensions between the British and the Colonists. The battles of Lexington and Concord, the Colonist defeat in Quebec. The Colonists tried to establish their rights and to fight against the British oppressive taxation and laws. They weren't exactly the best of friends.

When they met again in the Second Continental Congress, there was a lot of debate whether they should declare independence and risk a war with Britain or should they try to negotiate with King George III. The Patriots wanted to work the problems out in a reasonable fashion and had offered "The Olive Branch Petition" to try to avoid war, but King George III refused to read it and continued to goad the Colonists. Thomas Paine's Common Sense published in February 1776 convinced many who were undecided there was no choice but to declare independence.

The Patriots had pushed the British out of Boston with a buildup of artillery at Dorchester and were victorious at Charleston where they fought against Admiral Howe's navy which was trying to capture the port city. There was a lot of frustration over some of the Patriots not wanting independence at the cost of war. Finally, on June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee made a formal proposal that the Colonies declare their independence from England and King George III:

RESOLVED, That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance tot he British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

The same day Congress appointed a five-man committee led by Thomas Jefferson to write a declaration of independence for the 13 colonies. Jefferson's journal has this entry:

It appearing in the course of these debates that the colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland & South Carolina were not yet matured for falling from the parent stem, but that they were fast advancing to that state, it was thought most prudent to wait a while for them, and to postpone the final decisions to July 1, but that this might occasion as little delay as possible a committee was appointed to prepare a declaration of independence. The Commee. were John Adams, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston and myself. Committees were also appointed at the same time to prepare a plan of confederation for the colonies, and to state the terms proper to be proposed for foreign alliance.

Everyone on the committee agreed that Thomas Jefferson was the best writer among them and asked him to do the actual writing. It took two weeks (June 11 to June 28, 1776) for Thomas Jefferson to finish the declaration. Personal liberty was the basic theme, but he also listed all the things King George III did as the main reasons for the Colonies wanting independence.

It was presented to Congress and then debated on July 1st and voted for acceptance of the declaration on July 2nd. The delegates from the middle colonies thought any declaration of independence would be premature. On the first vote, only nine colonies voted in favor of declaring independence - South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York were against it. A new delegate from Delaware, Caesar Rodney, changed Delaware's vote and joined the colonies in favor of independence. Later that day twelve colonies voted for declaring independence, and New York abstained, but approved a move towards independence.

John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, and said:

...will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.

You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that prosperity will triumph in that days' transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.

On the 3rd and 4th of July, the delegates went over the Declaration many times. They made a few changes, but by the time they adjourned on July 4th, the Declaration was adopted in final form. This is why July 4th is celebrated as America's Day of Independence and not July 2nd as John Adams suggested.

As the Second Continental Congress was voting to approve a Declaration of Independence, Sir William Howe was sailing from Nova Scotia on his way to New York.

read the entire document.

The Battle of Long Island
The First Battle for New York

August 27, 1776

On March 17, 1776 when General George Washington marched his men back into the streets of Boston, he knew the British army was headed for New York. If the British captured of New York, they would have control of the Hudson River and divide the northern and southern colonies. It would also give them control of the water route to Canada. General Washington started immediately to follow General Howe and his Army to New York.

General Howe did not go directly to New York. Instead he sailed his troops to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here thousands of new troops joined his army. Some of these troops were German mercenary soldiers called Hessians. Howe now had more than 30,000 soldiers with a large navy.

General Washington spread the word that General Howe would be taking his men to New York and sent messages to the Patriots in New York. The Patriots there did what they could to fortify their city. Other New England units who had not gone to Canada with Benedict Arnold met General Washington's forces at Long Island between Brooklyn and New York City.

Henry Knox, now Colonel of the Artillery, came with the heavy cannons and mortars from Boston, which he had brought from Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. General Nathaniel Greene scouted out the area and decided what the Continentals' best defense would be. General Israel Putnam was put in charge of organizing the regiments. John Durkee brought his 20th Connecticut regiment. Loammie Baldwin came with his 26th Massachusetts unit. Blue Hen's Chickens were there. John Haslet's Delaware Continentals joined the growing collection of soldiers. William Smallwood of Maryland brought men from the wealthy families of Annapolis and Baltimore. Men from New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware were reporting to duty with a Virginia skipper leading them. There were about 25,000 Continental soldiers. Cannons lined New York Harbor. Patriot units were stationed on both sides of the East River and spread all over Manhattan Island. This was the largest army General Washington would ever command.

General Washington stayed at Abraham Mortier's house while his men carved Fort Washington out of rock on the northern part of Manhattan in the Brooklyn Heights area. It was built on the highest ground on the west side of Long Island.

General Howe entered New York Bay on June 30th and set up camp on Staten Island. He made no hostile moves towards the Continentals or Patriots living in the area. Admiral Howe, the fleet commander, remembered the British failed attack on Charleston and did not want to run his boats into the East River. He wanted to wait until Sir William Howe, his brother, would take control of the Patriot troops patrolling the harbor. Day after day more and more boats would arrive in the harbor carrying more British troops and more Hessian soldiers.

After strengthening his forces for over seven weeks on Staten Island, General Howe ordered his troops to move against the Continentals on August 22, 1776. Admiral Howe moved 88 frigates under a bridge to Gravesend Bay. General Sir Henry Clinton, Major General Charles Cornwallis, and Count von Donop landed 15,000 men in Brooklyn.

The Continental Army felt confident. They totaled 25,000 men and had the victories of Breed's Hill and Sullivan's Island in their minds. But in the end, the Patriots were outnumbered three to one. They had no navy to control the waters, so they divided their army between the mainland and the island. The army was not disciplined and poorly trained. Most men didn't have any experience with artillery.

To make matters worse, General Nathanael Greene was sick and had to be replaced by Major General John Sullivan and General Israel Putnam who were not familiar with New York and did not protect important places enough. It took only three Loyalists from Long Island to march through an important pass guarded by only five Continentals. This put British on two sides of the Continentals.

The British soldiers under Sir Henry Clinton and General Cornwallis, and the Hessians, marched onto land. In no time, the Continental Army was almost completely surrounded. The battle was a disaster for the Patriots. The Patriots lost more than 1,000 men. For some reason, General Howe stopped his men in front of the Patriot trenches.

The Continental Army waited for two days, expecting the British to attack again. Then, a fierce rainstorm from the northeast came in and Admiral Howe couldn't sail into the East River. This opened the door of escape for the Patriot Army. General Washington asked every small Patriot boat in the harbor to report to two Massachusetts regiments. During the fierce storm, all 9,500 remaining men of the Continental Army and their equipment, guns, horses and supplies crossed the East River and landed in New York City.

The escape was brilliant and saved a lot of lives. But the Patriot retreat gave control of Brooklyn to the British and now the British navy could sail all around Manhattan Island without threat from enemy Patriot forces. The British Army could land soldiers any where and cut off New York. But they didn't. General Howe and his brother, Admiral Howe, did not like Britain's policy towards the Colonies and wanted to try to find a peaceful solution.

The Continental Congress asked Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge to meet with the Howe brothers on Staten Island on September 11th. The Howe brothers didn't really have anything to offer. They were only authorized to pardon rebels who were sorry for their actions against King George. The Patriots weren't going to give something without getting something in return.

The Battle of New York
The Second Battle for New York
September 15, 1776

General Washington's troops miraculously escaped Long Island in the middle of the night and were now camped in New York City. On September 11, 1776, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge met with General Howe and his brother, Admiral Howe, but the meeting did not bring any peace.

The Continental retreat from Long Island gave the British control of all Manhattan Island and the Patriots knew it was just a matter of time before the British would attack New York City.

On September 15, 1776, just four days after he met with representatives from the Continental Congress, General Howe and his men crossed the East River in boats designed especially for assault and took New York.

There really wasn't any battle. The Patriots fled to the northern end of Manhattan called Harlem Heights. General Howe, Clinton and Cornwallis were settled in the Murray house on Murry Hill in no time.Once again, it would only be a matter of time before the British chased the Patriots from Harlem Heights.

The Battle of Harlem Heights
The Third Battle for New York

September 16, 1776

On September 15, 1776 the British troops had captured New York and pushed General Washington's troops to the north end of Manhattan Island called Harlem Heights.

At 4:00 a.m. the next day, the British and Continental armies met again at the foot of the heights. ong Island gave the British control of all Manhattan Island and the Patriots knew it was just a matter of time before the British would attack New York City.

The Burning of New York
September 20, 1776

After General Howe and his brother, Admiral Howe, took over Long Island, General Washington's troops were in New York City. They knew it was just a matter of time before General Howe and his men would come to the mainland and take New York City. The Continental Army was outnumbered and they had no fortifications in the City.

Some of the Continentals suggested they burn the City of New York and retreat to Harlem Heights. The commanding officers were against this.

On September 15, 1776, the British troops did come ashore and the Continentals retreated to Harlem Heights. There were about 22,000 residents in New York City, and all but 500 left. Most people assumed the 500 who stayed behind in New York were Loyalists.

From the diary of Ambrose Serle:

Some of them were caught with matches and fire-balls about them. One man, detected in the act, was knocked down by a grenadier and thrown into the flames for his reward. Another, who was found cutting off the handles of the water buckets to prevent their use, was first hung up by the neck till he was dead and afterwards by the heels upon a signpost by the sailors. Many others were seized, on account of combustibles found upon them, and secured, and, but for the officers, most of them would have been killed by the enraged populace and soldiery.

And British Lieutenant Mackenzie wrote in his diary:

During the time the Rebels were in possession of the town, many of them were heard to say they would burn it, sooner than it should become a nest for the Tories --- and several Inhabitants who were mostly violently attached to the Rebel cause have been heard to declare that they would set fire to their own houses sooner than they should be occupied by the King's troops.

No one really knows who started the fire of New York City. It makes sense that a Colonist did it more than a British soldier, because the British had just captured the town and were planning on using it as their headquarters.

The Battle of Trenton
December 26, 1776

In the Battle of New York the Patriots suffered heavy losses. Many men were killed or wounded and a lot of equipment was destroyed. British General William Howe had a very large army that was supported by the British Navy that controlled the seacoasts up and down the colonies.

After the Battle of New York, General George Washington and his army of only 500 men fled to the Pennsylvania countryside to get away from the British troops. They were cold and hungry. They needed new uniforms, weapons and equipment. Worse yet, they did not feel victorious. Washington desperately need to win a battle to keep his men's morales up.

On Christmas night of 1776, when General Washington and his men camped by the Delaware River, he figured out a plan he thought would bring victory to his men. They would cross the Delaware River and go into Trenton, New Jersey. Washington knew British General Howe had sent his forces away from Trenton and Trenton was now being protected by Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall.

Colonel Rall and his men were German and were being paid by the King George III to fight for the British cause in the colonies. Colonel Rall and his troops were called Hessians. They didn't care who won the War as long as they got paid. they didn't always fight as hard as they could have.

General Washington guessed that the Hessians would probably be celebrating Christmas. The weather was very cold and there was sleet, hail, and ice. The Delaware River was frozen in many places. He thought the Hessians wouldn't expect the weak Continental Army to attack in this kind of weather. He thought the Hessians probably felt protected by the frozen River.

Three groups of soldiers crossed the Delaware in boats during different times through the night. When they reached the other side, early in the morning on December 26, 1776, the Continental Army led by Washington joined together and attacked the Hessians, who were still sleeping and drunk from their celebrations.

Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851), by Emanuel Leutze

The Continental Army by using surprise as their greatest weapon captured between 900 and 1,000 prisoners and took over the Trenton. Only four Patriots were wounded and their wounds were not severe.

Feeling victorious, the Continental Army continued later that night towards Princeton, New Jersey and again took their enemy by surprise.

These two victories gave the soldiers the courage and hope to go on and they were able to take from their captives ammunition, food and other equipment that would help them survive the winter of 1777.

By the time British General Howe heard of the British defeats at Trenton and Princeton, General Washington and his men had left.

The Battle of Ticonderoga
May 10, 1775 and July 5, 1777

Fort Ticonderoga is about 100 miles north of Albany, New York and is between Lake George and Lake Champlain. It was built in the year 1775 by the French to protect themselves against the British and to protect the fur trading routes. This was the first French fort to be built in North America. The Fort sits overlooking the major route through the Hudson River Valley from the Canadian border, a popular route for fur traders. They called it Fort Carillon.

In July 1758, British General Abercrombie and his 16,000 men could not take the fort from the 4,000 French soldiers. Then in 1759, British General Jeffrey Amhurst captured the fort from the French and renamed it Fort Ticonderoga after a nearby town. Ticonderoga comes from the Iroquois language (Cheonderoga) and means "the place between two waters."

John Brown, a Patriot lawyer, had been sent to Canada to see how the French were reacting to the Colonists' rebellion. On March 29, 1775, he wrote to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety: "One thing I must mention to be kept as a profound secret: the fort at Ticonderoga must be seized as soon as possible should hostilities be commenced by the King's troops."

The Continental Army's interest in capturing the fort was to have control of the waterways from Canada. There were many British soldiers in Canada and having control of the fort would mean having control of the waterways the British could use in attacking the Colonists. They did not want to make the first offensive move. The Battles at Lexington and Concord were not offensive, as much as they were "bickering."

Colonel Samuel Parson left Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775 (the same day as the battles at Lexington and Concord) to go to Connecticut. He wanted to recruit men for the siege of Boston. He started to realize that the Continental Army did not have many cannons or artillery. Then he met Benedict Arnold, who told him that there were plenty of cannons at Ticonderoga. Benedict Arnold had heard that the fort was run-down and not well protected. Benedict Arnold went on to Cambridge and urged the Committee of Safety to allow him to seize the fort at Ticonderoga. The Committee agreed, but Benedict Arnold could only take 400 men from Massachusetts.

Colonel Parson then met up with John Brown and Colonel James Easton were leading forty men to Castleton, Vermont. They traveled together and met Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, who were marching to capture the fort at Ticonderoga.

Now there were two different armies marching toward Ticonderoga. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold met at Castleton and marched together. Both men wanted to be in charge. Benedict Arnold had the commission papers from the Committee of Safety, but Ethan Allen had the men. Finally, they decided to march side by side.

In the early morning hours of May 10, 1775, in the first offensive action of the war, the 175 Green Mountain Boys of Vermont led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen walked through the open gate at Fort Ticonderoga. When a sleeping sentry awoke, Ethan Allen hit him on the side of his head and took his weapons. The sentry motioned to the upstairs and the men climbed the stairs. All eighty-three British soldiers and two officers, Captain William Delaplace and Lieutenant Jocelyn Feltham, were all asleep. It was an easy victory for the Continental Army and there were no shots fired.

Seth Warner, a Green Mountain Boy, was sent with some men to capture Fort Crown Point which sat on the southern tip of Lake Champlain. Both forts were under the control of the Continental Army.

Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen were both ordered to take their men back to Boston with all 100 cannons. The cannons were difficult to transport, and they did not arrive in Boston until January 1776.

Later, Congress realized the important locations of these forts and sent a thousand men to guard these posts. The colonists kept control of Fort Ticonderoga until July 5, 1777 when British forces led by General Burgoyne captured the fort. Fort Ticonderoga was set on fire by the British forces and in 1909 was restored and turned into a museum that is still open today for visitors.

The Battle of Bennington
August 16, 1777

The Continental Army stored their military equipment and artillery at Bennington, New York, which is known today as Walloomsac, New York. Bennington, Vermont is a few miles east of Walloomsac.

The Battle of Bennington took place on August 16, 1777 between a British raiding party and colonialist militiamen. General John Burgoyne was the Commander of the British Army and he needed supplies. He sent a regiment of 800 soldiers, including British, Germans, Loyalists, and Indians, under Colonel Friedrich Baum, a German Hessian, to capture Bennington and bring back the supplies for the British Army.

At the same time, about 1,600 New England militiamen and Green Mountain Boys led by General John Stark were going to Bennington to get more supplies. This group of men had been recruited by Ethan Allen and Seth Warner. When they met the British on the outskirts of town, the militiamen ambushed the British soldiers.

The Hessians were surrounded by troops from New Hampsire, Vermont and Massachusetts. They fought until they ran out of ammunition and then surrendered to the Continental forces.

Both sides had called for reinforcements. Hessian Lieutenant Colonel Breymann came with 642 men and began to take control of the battle. Just when it looked like the Americans would lose, Lieutenant Colonel Seth Warner arrived with reinforcements. When Lieutenant Colonel Breymann had lost over one-third of his men, he retreated.

There were 207 British killed and 700 more taken as prisoners. Colonel Baum was killed in the battle. Only thirty Americans were killed and forty wounded.

The Continental victory at the Battle of Bennington spread through the Colonies and the morale of the Continentals was increased.

The Battles at Saratoga
September 19, 1777 and October 7, 1777

By spring of 1777, the British knew they had to something fast to keep control of the colonies. Lord George Germain was a strategist for the British. He thought the British troops in Canada under Major General John Burgoyne needed to take control of Albany, New York and the Hudson River. This would divide the New England colonies from all the other colonies at the Hudson River and make it easier for Britain to gain control.

Major General Burgoyne with 6,000 men left Montreal, Quebec in Canada in June 1777. When they went through Northern New York, they stopped at Fort Ticonderoga and took that fort over from the Americans.

The First Battle of Saratoga (Freeman's Farm)

When Major General Burgoyne and his men reached Albany in September, they found the city protected by 7,000 Patriots under Major General Horatio Gates. Because the Patriots had used the land to their advantage, they decided to sit and let the British make their move. There were some minor assaults, but finally on September 19, 1777, Major General Burgoyne and his troops attacked the Patriots at Freeman's Farm. The Patriots were reinforced by Major General Benedict Arnold's troops, but could not hold off the British.

The Patriots, who had 320 men killed or wounded, retreated to Bemis Heights. There were 600 British killed or wounded, and the survivors moved two miles north of Freeman's Farm where they set up their camp headquarters. The British continued their assaults on the Patriots.

The Second Battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights)

On October 7, 1777 Major General Burgoyne and his men staged a full assault on the Patriots at Bemis Heights. The Patriots had let the British wear themselves down with all their minor assaults and were ready for them on October 7th. The Patriot defense was made up of Major General Gates', Major General Arnold's, and Major General Daniel Morgan's troops. They were a strong defense against the British assault.

Major General Burgoyne's men had no choice but to retreat to Saratoga (which is now known as Schuylerville). They had suffered 600 losses compared to the Patriot loss of only 150 men. On October 17, 1777, Major General Burgoyne with less than 5,000 men surrendered to a Patriot Army of 20,000 men. (Some sources said that the 5,000 men who surrendered were one-fourth of the entire British Army in the Colonies.)

The Battles of Saratoga were a major turning point in the war. The British goal of taking control of the North died and they were forced to give up hope of ever regaining full authority over the northern Colonies. The French decided then to join the Patriots in the war against the British, and they were part of the victory at Yorktown, where General Cornwallis' troops also surrendered. And probably more importantly, the Patriots themselves knew they had gained control of the northern Colonies which gave them more confidence and reason to continue fighting.

There were still many battles that would be fought before the Colonies really won their independence from British rule, but this Patriot victory was a big turning point in the Revolutionary War.

From the Interpretive Prospectus for Saratoga National Historical Park:

But there is more then the military significance, the immediate significance of the time. It is here that every American can stand and truthfully say, Had General Gates not beaten Burgoyne on this spot, I might not be an American today.

It was at Concord, Independence Hall, Trenton, Yorktown and Saratoga that this Nation was assured its life. The flickering light for freedom was strengthened here and a Nation based on some of the most liberal and selfless principles of all time was assured an existence. Without this battle, without the existence of Bemis Heights with the river running close by, this Nation may never have existed. This is the real significance of Saratoga.

War in The South

When the British lost at Saratoga, General Sir Henry Clinton started to look at the South and decided he would send troops there.

In December 1778, 35,000 British troops under Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell captured Savannah, Georgia. Then on January 29, 1779, Brigadier General Augustine Prevost and his 2,000 men from Florida took control of Augusta. These two victories gave the British complete control of the Georgia Colony.

Then in May of 1780 the British continued their victories and after their loss in June of 1776 recaptured Charleston, where General Benjamin Lincoln's men were forced to surrender. General Cornwallis was able to spread his men throughout the countryside and had control of a large area.

The British had decided to act kindly to the people of the South. They let the Continentals captured in Charleston go free with just a promise not to take up arms against the British Crown again. General Clinton told General Cornwallis to let the Loyalists guard the different bases they would establish in the South. When the Patriots saw the Loyalists standing guard and ready to fight other Colonists, they formed secret vigilante groups. These groups, led by Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, and Andrew Pickens, went against their word to the British in exchange for the freedom and once again took up weapons against the British. They would harass the British soldiers and things began to change for the Continental Army.

The peace that the British wanted in the South soon became spoiled by bloody skirmishes between British forces and the vigilante groups. Lieutenant Banastre Tarleton, a French officer in the British calvary, was the most savage. He would slaughter entire units of Patriots if they refused to raise the white flag of surrender.

General Washington sent regiments from Maryland and Delaware under Major General Baron de Kalb to reinforce General Charles Lincoln's troops. General Lincoln was replaced by General Horatio Gates when Congress became worried that such a large force would be led by a foreigner. When General Gates' troops met with the regiments of General Baron de Kalb, they were ordered to march straight to Camden.

General Gates wanted to prove himself as a strong military man and was too eager. He chose a route to Camden that was swampy and filled with Tory soldiers. There was little food. The men argued with General Gates, but he refused to listen.

On August 16, 1780 troops under General Cornwallis battled the Continental forces in Camden, South Carolina. After the exhausting march to Camden, the Patriots ran in retreat when they saw that they were outnumbered. The British had taken another major city in the Carolinas. The Patriots were losing control of the South.

General Gates was replaced by General Nathanael Greene, because of his unintelligent route to Camden and because he sent exhausted soldiers into battle against a larger army. The British continued their assaults against any Continental forces in the South.

First, there was the victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780 which was won by frontiersmen led by Isaac Shelby, John Sevier, and William Campbell. They surrounded a group of British soldiers under Patrick Ferguson, who were planning to raid the Kings Mountain community. Patrick Ferguson was killed and then his men surrendered.

Three months later, on January 7, 1781, General Nathanael Greene and his lieutenants, Light-Horse Harry Lee and Daniel Morgan, defeated General Cornwallis' troops led by Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens.

General Cornwallis was forced to retreat to the north. Another battle between the Continentals and the British soldiers happed at the Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. Even though the British actually won this battle, they were forced to retreat to Wilmington, North Carolina and then to Virginia.

General Greene and his troops remained in South Carolina and worked with the vigilante groups to completely push the British out of South Carolina. They were defeated by British Lord Rawdon's regiment at Hobkirks Hill on April 25, 1781 and again by Colonel Alexander Stewart at Eutaw Springs on September 8, 1781. Each time the British technically won the battle but they were worn out and tired, so they would retreat. From Eutaw Springs, the British fell back to Charleston.

Once General Greene had all the British soldier limited to Charleston, the Continental Army could attack Yorktown, which would become the very last battle of the war.

This table lists many of the battles that took place in the Southern Colonies. I did not find information on the Battle at Hobkirks Hill and I haven't had the chance to see if there were other battles in the south. These are links to other pages with more details on the battle.

The British Take Savannah and Augusta
December 1778-January 1779

In the early 1770's Georgia was the least populated of the all the colonies. There were about 50,000 people living in Georgia. Most of them were living near the seacoast and about half of them were African slaves. When King George III started his taxation on the colonies, most of the people in Georgia were not affected. The Georgia Colony was invited to attend the First Continental Congress and they sent delegates, but the Colony was not committed to the Congress. Their delegates did sign the Declaration of Independence during the Second Continental Congress.

Until 1778, none of the southern colonies were very involved in the War. They were represented in the Continental Congress, but there were a lot of Loyalists not supporting the Colonies' fight for independence. The Southern colonies did not give many men or much money to the Continental Army.

The Continental Army didn't have the men to send to the South. There were Continental regiments in Virginia and Maryland, because there was a lot of support in those colonies for independence. The British Army was confident the Loyalists in the south would them keep control and the few people who did support the revolution would not present any threat to them.

On September 19, 1777 the British Army won the Battle of Freeman's Farm, but the victory did not last long. A little over two weeks later the Continentals were able to seriously defeat the British at Bemis Heights. Saratoga was a major loss for the British, because by taking total control of the Saratoga they would have divided the Northern Colonies from the Southern Colonies. This would have put Britain in a very good situation.

But that wasn't the situation. In 1778 General Sir Henry Clinton, the British Command In Chief, decided to take total control of the South. General Clinton believed there were a lot strong Loyalists in the South and that could basically just walk in and take over the South state by state. General Clinton started moving his ships out of New York Harbor to the South Carolina and Georgia coast.

In December 1778, Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell and 35,000 British, Hessian and Tory soldiers were sent to invade Georgia. At the same time Brigadier General Augustine Prevost and 2,000 men were moving north from Florida.

Continental General Robert Howe (not General Howe or Admiral Howe of the British Army and Navy) from North Carolina moved his regiment of 800 to 1,000 soldiers to get between Campbell's and Prevost's armies and Savannah.

Lieutenant Colonel Campbell was able to take Savannah with little resistance and the city was now in the control of the British.

Brigadier General Prevost's path to Savannah from Florida took him through Augusta. On January 29, 1779, they took control of that city. Augusta is located on the Savannah River and was an important victory for the British because it gave them control over the river and opened the doors for transporting their equipment.

British control of Savannah and Augusta gave the Red Coats control all of Georgia. In September of 1780 the Continental Army reinforced by French troops tried to take back Savannah, but they again failed.

The Story of Nancy "Warwoman" Hart

One of the first stories to be found about Nancy "Warwoman" Hart is found in the Milledgeville Southern Recorder of 1825.

One day six Tories paid Nancy a call and demanded a meal. She soon spread before them smoking venison, hoe-cakes, and fresh honeycomb. Having stacked their arms, they seated themselves, and started to eat, when Nancy quick as a flash seized one of the guns, cocked it, and with a blazing oath declared she would blow out the brains of the first mortal that offered to rise or taste a mouthful! She sent one of her sons to inform the Whigs of her prisoners. Whether uncertain because of her cross-eyes which one she was aiming at, or transfixed by her ferocity, they remained quiet. The Whigs soon arrived and dealt with the Tories according to the rules of the times."

Many historians believed this story was only a legend. Then in 1912, a work crew was grading an area near where Mary Hart lived. They uncovered the grave of six men and tests proved that they had been there since the 1700s. This has changed historians' minds and they now think this story is true. There is a county in South Carolina named Hart and it is the only county in South Carolina named after a woman. (This information was found on the State of Georgia Home Page and is put with The Battle of Savannah, because I assume Mary Hart's property was in the Georgia Colony.)

The Battle at Vincennes February 23, 1779

King George III's Proclamation of 1763 gave the Indians the land west Appalachian Mountains for their Hunting Grounds. The British used this to their advantage. Colonel Henry Hamilton of the British Army paid the Indians for any colonist scalps. This, of course, encouraged the Indians to attack the white colonists and at the same time protected the British because they did not want to lose the money they were receiving. Colonel Hamilton's nickname was "hair buyer."

Colonel Hamilton was in command of Detroit, but Kaskaskia and Vincennes were two other towns with a lot of British power. In all three towns the British would supply the Indians with arms and ammunition that would be used against the Colonists.

George Rogers Clark convinced the Virginia assembly to give him money to put a militia together to capture these three British strongholds.

On June 24, 1778, Clark and 120 men left Redstone, Virginia and arrived at Kaskaskia on July 4th. Without firing a shot, Clark was able to take control of Kaskaskia and all the French Canadians living there pledged allegiance to the Colonies.

Clark was able to convince Father Gibault, the French priest of Kaskaskia, to travel to Vincennes and ask the people there to also pledge allegiance to the Colonies. Father Gibault told the residents of Vincennes of the spiritual value in uniting with the Colonists. Somehow, he was able to get all the residents to pledge allegiance to the Colonies and soon an American flag was flying in every home.

Soon Colonel Hamilton in Detroit heard how Kaskaskia had fallen to the Colonists and then how the Vincennes' residents had turned against Britain. He left Detroit in December 1778 with thirty soldiers, fifty French volunteers and four hundred Indians and had taken back control of the Fort.

Clark was in Kaskaskia, Indiana just east of the Mississippi River. It was 240 miles almost directly eastward to reach Vincennes. The winter was cold and Clark knew that the Wabash River would probably be flooded, but in early February Clark and his men set out for Vincennes with forty-six men.

On February 23, 1779 Clark and his group were within three miles of the Fort at Vincennes. They were able to take a British prisoner who told them everything they needed to know.

Clark knew he was outnumbered, so he devised a plan to make it seem that there were a lot more men than forty-seven storming the Fort. Vincennes sat on the top of a mountain. He had his men march around in a circle around the fort. The British and the Indians thought there were thousands of soldiers outside. The Indians ran for their safety. That left about 150 British soldiers inside the fort.

Finally, Clark sent in a flag of truce and asked Colonel Hamilton to surrender. Clark would not accept Hamilton's terms, because he thought Hamilton to be a barbarian. To convince Hamilton that surrendering would be his only choice, he took two Indian prisoners and with a tomahawk killed them in front of the Fort. Colonel Hamilton and his men surrendered.

One of Clark's French volunteers from Kaskaskia, St. Croix, was put in charge of killing the prisoners sentenced to death. When St. Croix lifted the tomahawk to kill a prisoner, a boy cried out "Save me." St. Croix recognized the voice of his son, who was covered with Indian war paint. George Rogers Clark spared his life.

George Rogers Clark was a young man, who was more of a frontiersman than a soldier, but he led his little Army to a victory which would prevent the British from having control over the Midwest.

The Battle of Flamborough Head
September 23, 1779

John Paul Jones who had helped the newly formed U.S. Navy developed its regulations sailed the Ranger to France where he met and made friends with Benjamin Franklin. From there he set sail for St. Mary's Isle, Scotland, where he was to capture Earl of Selkirk in exchange for captured Colonist sailors.

After the word spread through Britain of the events at St. Mary's Isle, the local residents fled. It turned out that Earl was away on a trip.

Description not completed!!! :o)

The British take Charleston
May 12, 1780

In June 1776, the British navy tried to capture the Charleston Harbor but failed. After losing the Battles at Saratoga, the British concentrated on the Southern Colonies. The British believed there would be a lot of loyalists in the South In 1779. General Sir Henry Clinton decided it was time to make the strength of the British forces known in the South.

For the first time since being defeated in 1776, the British navy sailed toward Savannah, Georgia. They were able to force the small Continental Army there to retreat into South Carolina. After taking Augusta, the British had control of all Georgia.

This encouraged Clinton who decided on a heavier assault to take control of Charleston, South Carolina. He sent General Charles Cornwallis and 8,500 to Charleston where they landed in February of 1780. In two months they had increased their forces to 10,000 men.

The Patriots made up of both the Continental Army and militiamen only totaled about 5,000 men. They were led by General Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts.

When General Cornwallis' men attacked, the Patriots had no chance. Since the British had them surrounded, they could make no retreat and on May 12, 1780 General Lincoln surrendered to the British. The British took all the weapons, ammunition and supplies from General Lincoln. General Cornwallis let the colonists go free if they promised never to bear arms against the King or Queen of England again.

General Washington had sent the Continental Army from Delaware and Maryland to Charleston under the lead of Major General Baron de Kalb, but that group of men had only reached the northern border of North Carolina by the time General Lincoln surrendered to Sir Henry Clinton and General Cornwallis.

General Sir Clinton returned immediately to New York and left General Cornwallis in charge. The troops under Cornwallis were able to go out from the city of Charleston into the countryside. Since General Lincoln's men were the only Patriots in South Carolina, the British had no problem. They established bases in Camden, Cheraw and at Fort 96 near Greenwood.

The Battle of Monmouth
June 27, 1778

The French had decided to join with the Continental Army in their fight for freedom from Britain on February 6, 1778. In May eleven French warships led by Comte d'Estaing carrying about 4,000 French troops left France to join the war in the colonies. When they arrived, this gave the Americans a big edge against the British. This motivated the Patriots and discouraged the British.

King George III ordered General Sir Henry Clinton to send about 8,000 of his men to Florida and the West Indies. The other 2,000 were to leave Philadelphia and go by sea to New York. Because he didn't have any way to move the 3,000 horses that belonged to his troops, on June 18, 1778, General Clinton went against his orders and moved all 10,000 men to New York by land. They were well supplied and left nothing in Philadelphia that could be used by the Continental Army. Once they left Philadelphia, General Washington's 12,000 men moved into the city and then moved towards New York following General Clinton's men.

General Washington met with the Council of War to decide what action they should take against the British heading for New York. No one wanted to take any major action. Brigadier General Anthony Wayne and Major General Marquis de Lafayette wanted to attack the rear portion of the British troops as they marched toward New York. General Charles Lee had rejoined the Army at Valley Forge and thought that only minor skirmishes should be made. On June 26, 1778 General Washington sent about 6,000 men to attack the rear of the British troops.

Early on the morning of June 28th, when the British were leaving the village of Monmouth, New Jersey (today known as Freehold), these 6,000 men under General Lee attacked the British rear guard. General Clinton's men were able to react quickly and forced the Patriots to retreat. General Lee did not have good control of his men and there was much disorganization.

The Continental Army was now in the defense for any counter-attack. General Washington and Baron von Steuben with the other 6,000 men arrived and rallied the troops. The men then went back into battle with the leadership of the man who had taught them during the winter at Valley Forge. The battle lasted the whole day. During the night, the British troops realized they could not win and escaped.

In the end both sides held their same positions, but this battle proved to the Patriot men that if they used the knowledge they learned from Baron von Steuben, they could be victorious. It was the last big battle in the NOrth during the American Revolutionary War.

After the battle, General Lee was court-martialled for his lack of leadership. The legend of Molly Pitcher came from this battle.

The Battles of Eutaw Springs
September 8, 1781

The Battle of Eutaw Springs (the seige of Charleston) was the last important battle in the battles for the Carolinas. It was fought on September 8th, 1781, close to Eutawville, South Carolina. The Patriot troops with General Nathanael Greene in charge attacked British Colonel Alexander Stewart and his troops at four in the morning. This move forced the British off the field. The British troops gathered and pushed back the Continental Army. That night Colonel Stewart and his regiment retreated. This battle provoked the Battle of Yorktown, the final battle of the war.

Last important engagement in the Carolina campaign of the American Revolution (1775-1783), fought on September 8, 1781, near Eutawville, South Carolina. The American forces under General Nathanael Greene attacked at 4 AM, driving British troops under Colonel Alexander Stewart from the field. The British then rallied and repulsed the Americans. After sunset, Stewart retreated toward Charleston. The battle was an important victory for the Americans; it forced the British to remain within Charleston and prepared the way for the siege of Yorktown.

The final battle of the year took place at Eutaw Springs. General Greene's Army approached the army of Colonel Stewart located in Eutaw Springs 30 miles northwest of Charleston. Greene believed that if he could destroy Stewart he could end the British threat to the south once and for all. Early in the morning of September 8th American troops advanced on the British troops. The American attack floundered when the men stopped to plunder the camp. The British counterattacked and forced the Americans to withdraw. The end result however, was that the British were too weak to hold the field anymore.

At Eutaw Springs, South Carolina, the American forces under General Nathanael Greene were forced to withdraw after an assault upon the British under Col. Alexander Stewart.

The Battle of Yorktown
October 6-19, 1781

The Battle of Yorktown is important because it was the last battle of the Revolutionary war. Yorktown, now Williamsburg, Virginia, is a river port near the Chesapeake Bay.

The Battle of Guilford Court House took place on March 15, 1781. Even though neither the British nor the Patriots won this battle, the British troops were worn out and they were forced to retreat. British General Charles Cornwallis moved his troops to to the coast of North Carolina. British General Henry Clinton ordered him to stay in the Carolinas and support the British troops there.

General Cornwallis decided not to remain in the Carolinas and instead moved his troops to Yorktown, Virginia. There he took over the command from Loyalist General Benedict Arnold. Here the British troops were low on reinforcements and supplies, and were waiting for more to come from New York City.

At the same time, General Washington was planning to attack New York with the help of the French, who had been convinced by Benjamin Franklin to join the Patriots. Because the British knew the Patriots' plan to attack New York, they did not send reinforcements to General Cornwallis in Yorktown. Actually, General Cornwallis was ordered to bring all his men to New York, but again he did not obey orders. Instead, all 7,500 of his men stayed in Yorktown.

There was a major naval battle at Chesapeake Bay, Maryland between the French protecting the Patriots and the British in September. The British were badly beaten and retreated to New York.

On October 6, 1781, with the help of the French, the Continental Army attacked General Cornwallis and his men at Yorktown. All together the French and the colonists were over 16,000 men.

Finally, on October 17th the British sent a fleet from New York to help General Cornwallis and his men, but by that time it was too late. The British were outnumbered and had hardly any food. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton had delivered a letter from General Washington to General Cornwallis. Washington wrote that he wanted to stop the "useless effusion of blood." On the same day the British fleet left New York, General Cornwallis realized there was no hope for his army and sent this answer to General Washington's letter:

York in Virginia,
17th October 1781,
1/2 PAST 4 P.M.


I have this moment been honoured with your Excellency's letter dated this day.

The time limited for sending my answer will not admit of entering into the detail of Articles, but the basis of my proposals will be that the Garrisons of York and Gloucester shall be prisoners of War with the customary honours, and for the convenience of the individuals which I have the honour to command, that the British shall be sent to Britain and the Germans to Germany, under engagement not to serve against France, America or their Allies untill released or regularly exchanged, that all Arms and publick stores shall be delivered up to you, but that the usual indulgence of side arms to Officers and of retaining private property shall be granted to Officers & Soldiers, and that the interests of several individuals in Civil Capacities & connected with us, shall be attended to. If Your Excellency thinks that a continuance of the suspension of hostilities will be necessary to transmit your answer I shall have no objection to the hour that you propose. I have the honor to be

Your most obedient & most humble servant,


On October 19, 1781, General Cornwallis and his 7,157 men officially surrendered to General Washington. No one knew at the time, but this was the last battle of the War. There were still some minor fights in the south where there were lots of Loyalists (colonists who remained loyal to King George III) and there were other battles on the Atlantic Ocean near England.

In April 1782, the British House of Commons voted to end the war.

There is a Ebenezer Denny's journal entry about the surrender of the British.

The Paris Peace Treaty
September 3, 1783

General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1783. This would be the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. There were some small battles between the British Army and the Continental Army, but they were more skirmishes than battles. It took some time for both sides to realize that this was the end of the war. It was eight years after the "shot that could be heard around the world" was fired in Lexington on April 19, 1775.

After the battle, General Sir Henry Clinton marched with his troops to New York, General Washington returned his army to the North and the French navy returned to the West Indies.

When the news of Yorktown reached London, Lord North was really shocked. He still assumed the British Army would in the end keep control of the Colonies. He is quoted as saying: "Oh God! It is all over!" King George III wanted to continue the war, but he could not get enough financial support from the Parliament. The British Parliament never thought the war would last as long as it did and they had to raise taxes higher than ever to pay for the war. The Parliament also worried that the Colonies' relationship with France would hurt their trade with the Americas which was very profitable for the English. The Parliament would not agree with King George III to continue the war.

In March of 1782 the British Parliament said they "would consider as enemies to His Majesty and the Country all those who should advise or ... attempt the further prosecution of offensive war on the Continent of North America."

General George Washington was not convinced Yorktown would be the end of the war. He wrote "My only apprehension is lest the late important success, instead of exciting our exertions . . . should produce such a relaxation in the prosecution of the war, as will prolong the calamities of it." When he saw the British troops leaving the Colonies under General Sir Guy Carleton, who had taken over for Sir Henry Clinton as commanding officer in America, General Washington became more sure that the long war was finally over.

During the summer and fall of 1782, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay, who represented the Colonies, negotiated with the British delegates in Paris France. By the end of November, the delegates from both sides had reached an agreement, but the British delegates had to now explain everything to King George III. England also had to make peace with France and Spain before the treaty would be signed.

In February of 1783, George III finally issued his "Proclamation of Cessation of Hostilities," which opened the doors for a peace treaty between England and the American Colonies.

On September 3, 1783, in Paris France the peace treaty known as the "Paris Peace Treaty" was in effect. Benjamin Franklin and John Jay signed the treaty as representatives for the United States of America and Great Britain. The Paris Peace Treaty did many things:

Great Britain lost a lot of territory through the Peace Treaty.

In November 1783 the British troops left New York City and the Continental Army was disbanded. General George Washington went home to Mount Vernon and planned to retire to work on his plantation. The Continental Congress became the Constitutional Congress and the members started drafting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of America's fight against Great Britain. Some British troops did not leave the colonies and continued to cause problems for the Americans. Twenty-nine years later, the United States would find themselves at war with Britain again. I did a report on three different battles of the War of 1812 that explains a little about that war. Some historians say that the War of 1812 is when America really won its independence.

February 18, 1999

This project is now almost done. It has taken me hours and hours of research. What started out to be a pretty simple assignment for my 4th grade history class became an entire web site and I still don't think a lot of the information is covered. I plan to add some biographies of the important people involved in the fight for America's independence.

I found some contradictions in the sources I used. Not knowing which one was right, I used the version found in most of the sources. When I have time, I will try to figure out which version is correct. But as you surf the internet, you will see not all the information will fit together like a puzzle. If you know where I can find information to confirm something you think is not correct, please email me with the source. I do not change information given through email without some evidence.

If my next assignment in history is the Constitutional Congress, I will add pages to cover those events. Right now, I am ready to be like George Washington and retire to my Nintendo and Sega Genesis games. At least until I get another project.

I receive a lot of mail from Canadians both on this site and the War of 1812 who are upset that I don't talk about the Canadian victories.

In the War of 1812 report, I chose three songs about three different battles and it just happened that none of the three songs had anything to do with Canada. Some people point out some discrepancies in my report about how far north the American forces got. I can only say that I used the information I found in my sources. I was only in 3rd grade when I did the report and only had one week to research and write the report. I will be studying the War of 1812 again and when I do I will look closely to find Canadian victories and will include them on any web page I do. I have nothing against Canadians. My grandmother was born in Saskatchewan when her family was moving from Wales to Southern California.

There were a lot of British victories in Canada during the American Revolutionary War. I followed an outline I was given by my teacher and researched only those battles which were part of my assignment. I don't think my teacher intentionally decided not to include the Continental losses in Canada. I think it just worked out that way. I will also be studying the American Revolution a couple of more times before I graduate from high school. Since I already have a good start on a lot of battles, I will do some research on the Canadian battles.

If you are Canadian and want to see some web pages about the victories in Canada, please email me and I will help you create your own page. I will even link your site to my page!

There are no victories in war. Men and women die because we cannot sit down and compromise in disagreements. Whether the British, the Continentals or the Canadians won battles does not matter when it comes to the men from every country who were killed.

I am starting to get involved in genealogy. My mother's side of the family immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s and so there is no connection to historical America. My father's side of the family can be traced back to the early 1700s, so they were involved in the history of our nation. I was just told that they fought on both sides during the Civil War. If you have any information about the "Sidebottoms" or the "Sydebothams" from Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, please email my parents.

Green Mountain Boys

The flag of the Green Mountain Boys was green to represent the name they called themselves by and had thirteen stars to represent each of the colonies they fought for.

Most of the Green Mountain Boys came from Vermont. They were groups of men carrying arms who were led by Ethan Allen. They were vigilantes who that used threats, intimidation, and violence first to keep the New Hampshire Grants, which is now land in the State of Vermont, from becoming part of New York. They later used this strategy in the Revolutionary War.

Their first major battle of the war was on May 10, 1775 when they invaded Fort Ticonderoga in New York and under the leadership of Ethan Allen captured the fort from the British. They demanded the surrender of the sleeping British soldiers "in the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." With the fort they captured cannons and mortars that were sent to New England where they were used on the heights of Boston Harbor. These cannons and mortars played a big part in forcing the British to leave Boston Harbor.

Later in 1775, when General Schuyler and General Montgomery asked them to join the Canadian invasion, they refused. When Ethan Allen tried to convince them to go, they chose Seth Warner to be their leader.

On August 16, 1777, the Green Mountain Boys fought under General John Stark at the Battle of Bennington. This was a very important victory for the Continentals.

Benjamin Franklin
January 17, 1706 to April 17, 1790


Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706 to Josiah and Abiah-Folger Franklin, who were very religious. His father was a soap and candle maker and didn't make much money. He was the youngest son and the fifteenth child out of seventeen. Benjamin described his father's qualities as "a sound understanding and solid Judgment." He described his mother as "a discreet and virtuous Woman."

Benjamin Franklin was not an formally educated man, but his love of learning gave him much understanding of people, of science and of philosophies. His scientific experiments are stepping stones to the technology we use today.


In 1730 he married Deborah Reed. She was described as a happy person who did not enjoy reading as much as her husband, but was very devoted to him. They had three children; Mary, William and Francis. Francis died as a young child during a small pox epidemic. William became Governor of New Jersey. Mary married a merchant.


In 1718, he became a printer's apprentice for his brother, James, who was the printer of the New England Courant. The brothers didn't have a good relationship. Benjamin thought his brother didn't pay him enough money and James was difficult to get along with.

After four years when he was about 16, he wrote some letters to his brother's paper and signed them Silence Dogood. The letters were funny and sometimes made fun of the Boston authorities and society. His letters became very popular and everyone tried to figure out who Silence Dogood was.

In 1722, James was sent to prison for making statements against the Boston authorities. Benjamin took care of the newspaper while James was in prison. When he was released from prison, he continued the newspaper but put it in Ben's name. About this time, James discovered who Mrs. Silence Dogood was and Benjamin learned about the paper being printed in his name.

Finally, in 1723 Ben decided to leave Boston and traveled to Philadelphia. He soon found work at a newspaper in Philadelphia, but in 1724 he left for England, where he became a master printer. While in London he met with some of the famous English authors. He decided to return to Philadelphia in 1726 and in 1730, he started his own newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette.

He began publishing his Poor Richard's Almanac in 1732. The Almanac covered a lot of different things and was published new each year. It had a calender and yearly weather forecast, so the farmers would know best when to plant crops. It also had funny stories, jokes, and proverbs. Because Mrs. Silence Dogood did so well, he included some of his proverbs under the name Richard Sanders. Even today we hear some of his favorite sayings:

Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Fish and visitors smell in three days.

Poor Richard's Almanac was very popular in the colonies. Soon it was being translated into different languages. In France it was called Bonhomme Richard. John Paul Jones, who became a close friend of Benjamin Franklin, named one of his boats Bonhomme Richard in honor of his old friend.

His businesses were all successful. He was soon asked to do the printing for the province and it was through this job that he met printers in other colonies. He also opened a book store.

In 1727, Franklin organized a club for the local businessmen. It was called Junto and they met once a week to talk about how they could increase their businesses. They also talked about how they could make Philadelphia better. The Junta Club did a lot of good things for the citizens of Philadelphia and soon other colonies started following their example. In 1731, a lending library was opened; in 1736 the city was protected by a Fire Company. In 1749, the University of Pennsylvania was opened and its teaching was based on Franklin's philosophies of education. They even built a hospital and created an insurance company in 1751. All of these things still exist in towns all across America.


He had a strong interest in science. He was constantly developing new ideas. He created a new messenger system between cities. He took part in establishing a hospital and then the American philosophical society.

One of his greatest inventions is the Franklin Stove. In 1740 he invented a stove that sent heat out in all directions which would heat all parts of a room. The Franklin Stove today is still in use as a wood burning stove and very little modifications have been made to it.

Probably every elementary school student knows his experiment to prove the relationship between electricity and lightening. He was very interested in reading about electricity. In 1752 when he was in France his experiments proved that lightning was a form of electricity. In 1753, his conducted his famous experiment when he flew a kite with a key attached with a wire to the tail in the middle of a thunderstorm. The wet string holding the kite became a conductor. When lightening hit the kite, an electrical spark could be seen on the key.

With his knowledge from this experiment, he invented the lightning rod which protected building during lightning storms. The lightning rods were used all over the Colonies and in Europe. The theory is still being used today.

When he sailed to France for the Revolutionary cause, he would study the ocean currents and noted the varying temperatures.

He was elected to the Royal Society in 1756 and to the French Academy of Sciences in 1772. His later achievements included formulating a theory of heat absorption, measuring the Gulf Stream, designing ships, tracking storm paths, and inventing bifocal lenses.


Benjamin had a great love for learning. He only went to school for two years and had to quit when he was ten. He did not let leaving school stop him from learning. He read everything he could. He sets an example that no matter who we are or where we are or how much money we have, we can learn anything we want, can go anywhere we want, as long as we can read!

He read the books of John Bunyan, Plutarch, Daniel Defoe, and Cotton Mather. When he opened his book shop he would read every book he ordered. He never stopped learning. He studied everything he could, like algebra, geometry, navigation, grammar, logic, science and foreign languages. He tried to share everything he knew with other people.

He started the world's first subscription library so that knowledge would not cost people money. He changed the educational system in Pennsylvania so children were taught every subject. His opinions on education were used when the University of Pennsylvania was founded.

When he was in England from 1757 to 1762, he really enjoyed the learned people there. He received honorary doctorate degrees from the St. Andrews University in 1759 and from Oxford in 1762.

The Diplomat

Benjamin Franklin learned a lot and like most people who have gained knowledge, he believed in fairness. When he saw unfairness, Benjamin Franklin got involved.

When he became printer for the public documents of his province, it was his first stepping stone into public service. He became the postmaster of Philadelphia. In 1748 at the age of 42, Benjamin Franklin was able to retire from his businesses and let other people manage them for him. This gave him time to dedicate himself to his city, his colony and his people.

In 1751, he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly. This was during the time that the Penn Family controlled most of what happened in Pennsylvania. He fought against that control and for self-government, just like he would sixteen years later when he supported the Declaration of Independence.

In the beginning Benjamin Franklin believed Britain had the best government in the world and he didn't support the first movements for independence. He presented the Plan of the Union in the Albany Congress in 1754 which established some self-government in the Colonies. Franklin then convinced the Pennsylvania Assembly to pass the Colony's first militia law. He led a militia unit to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, where they built forts for frontiersmen so they could be protected from the French and the Indians.

In 1757, he was sent to England by the Pennsylvania Assembly. There he heard Lord Granville say that King George III's laws were were "the Law of the Land: for the King is the Legislator of the Colonies." This made Benjamin Franklin stop to think again about the relationship between England and the Colonies and he soon realized that England did not have the best government in the world.

He stayed in England until 1762 and worked with the British representatives. He tried to convince the British Parliament to allow the Colonies, especially Pennsylvania, to have some self-government.

He returned to Pennsylvania in 1762 and began the postal system that would serve the Colonies and later become the U.S. Postal System. He moved to a new house on Market Street in Philadelphia with his wife. His daughter, Mary, was married to Richard Bache and his son, William, has just become the Governor of the New Jersey Colony. (During the Revolution, his son, William, remained a Loyalist and his relationship with his father wasn't very good.)

In 1763 after Pontiac's Rebellion, Benjamin Franklin was against the bloodbath planned by frontiersmen. He knew that attacking innocent Indians in revenge for Pontiac's conspiracy was just as wrong as what Pontiac did. (Two wrongs don't make a right.) When they frontiersmen came to Philadelphia to get support from the townspeople, he spoke up against it.

In 1764 he lost the election for another term on the Pennsylvania Assembly. Later in the year the Assembly sent him back to England to petition King George III for Pennsylvania to become a royal colony. When King George III issued the Stamp Act in 1765

The crisis precipitated by the Stamp Act (1765), Pennsylvania becoming a royal colony was no longer important, but Benjamin Franklin stayed in England to defend the rights of the colonies. At first he thought the Colonists should just accept the Stamp Act, but when he heard how much the Colonists were against it, he argued their case to the British ambassadors.

The Townshend Acts of 1767 were "acts of oppression" to Franklin and he told the British Parliament that this would "sour the American tempers and perhaps hasten their final revolt." To oppose the Tea Act of 1773, Franklin wrote essays. ("An Edict by the King of Prussia" and "Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One.") The essays were read by the British which was his intention. He explained in a letter to his sister: "I have held up a Looking-Glass in which some of the Ministers may see their ugly faces, and the Nation its Injustice."

Thomas Hutchinson was the British Governor of Massachusetts. Somehow Benjamin Franklin got copies of some of his letters and sent them to friends in Massachusetts. In 1773, his friends published the letters which caused Franklin embarrassment and trouble with the British Parliament. He lost his title as Postmaster General of Massachusetts. He stayed in England and worked hard for a a peaceful solution for the Colonies.

In March 1775, Franklin sailed home to the Colonies and was immediately given a seat on the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety and in the Continental Congress. He was the main author of the Articles of Confederation which was a document to unite the colonies. He helped Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776 at the age of 70, he officially became a Revolutionist when he signed the Declaration of Independence.

When the Continental Congress realized it needed help from France, Benjamin Franklin and two grandsons set sail for France in October 1776. He was accepted well by the French, who called him Bonhomme Richard, French for Poor Richard. The French wanted to fight the British but were afraid to join the American Continentals unless they could be certain they would win. He made strong arguments to the French government, but it wasn't until the Continental victory in September and October of 1777 at Saratoga, that the French were ready to join the Patriots in their fight for independence.

Franklin stayed in France for seven years and acted as the first American ambassador to France. He organized the united French and Colony armies and navies and bought ammunition from the French. Here he met John Paul Jones and introduced him to the French government officials.

When the British surrendered at Yorktown on October, 1781, Benjamin Franklin met secretly with peace negotiators from London. He convinced the British that they could not win the war and that the Colonies should have their independence. He told them what the Colonies wanted to be included in any peace treaty. The demands were simple: (1) complete independence from Great Britain, (2) the right to fish the Newfoundland waters, (3) all British soldiers to leave the Colonies, and (4) a boundary west of the Mississippi. Benjamin Franklin and John Jay signed the Treaty of Paris for the Colonies on September 3, 1783.

He returned home to Philadelphia in 1785 at the age of 79. The next year he became President of Pennsylvania for three years. He also became active in the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the American Philosophical Society, and the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1787 at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was too weak to stand, but he used his life's knowledge to bring compromise to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84 years. He did a lot in those 84 years to bring "peace, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" to all Americans. He loved knowledge and he used his knowledge for good, not evil. He should be an example to all people who think that they can't contribute to making our world a better place. He was born into a poor family. He had two years of school. Yet, he did not give up on his dream or his desire to learn. When he learned, he used that knowledge for the good of America.

Nathan Hale
June 6, 1755 to September 22, 1776

Nathan Hale was born on June 6, 1755 in Coventry, Connecticut. He was the sixth of ten children who survived. His parents were very strict Puritans who taught religious devotion and work ethic in their home. His father, Richard Hale, was a successful farmer and very respected in their community. Like other children at that time, Nathan Hale received his early education from his mother, Elizabeth Strong. Then Reverend Joseph Huntington, the minister from their church, tutored him. Reverend Huntington encouraged him to continue his education.

In 1769, when Nathan Hale was fourteen years old, he went to Yale College with his brother Enoch who was two years older. While Nathan Hale was at Yale, he experienced another way of life that was different from his family's Puritan farm life. He joined a secret club, Linonia, where they would discuss astronomy, literature and the ethics of slavery. He became famous for his debating talents and graduated in 1773 with honors when he was eighteen.

At this time after graduation most men taught school as a temporary job while they decided what they wanted to do as a career. He first taught in East Haddam, Connecticut, but it doesn't look like he was real happy in this town.

He soon received an offer to teach a Union School in New London, Connecticut, where records show he seemed more happy. Here he taught thirty men Latin, writing, mathematics, and the classic literature. He even had a early morning swimming class for the young women in the summer. Most Yale graduate didn't enjoy teaching and found jobs in other fields as soon as they could. Nathan Hale totally enjoyed teaching and towards the end of 1774 accepted a permanent position as the Master of the Union School.

In 1774, the colonists were organizing local militia to protect their rights against the British soldiers who kept coming to the colonies to protect the British laws made by King George III. Nathan Hale joined immediately even though he wasn't old enough.

When news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord reached New London, Nathan Hale spoke at a town meeting. "Let us march immediately," he said, "and never lay down our arms until we obtain our independence." This is the first time that the word "independence" was used in connection with the Patriots' war against the British. Even though, local militias were traveling to Massachusetts to help their countrymen in the Siege of Boston and the Battle of Bunker Hill, Hale stayed in New London to finish his contract with the Union School that expired in June.

In July, Nathan received a letter from one of his best friends, Benjamin Tallmadge. Tallmadge had gone to Massachusetts to see the siege himself. When he returned he wrote to Nathan:

Was I in your condition...I think the more extensive Service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honour of our God, a glorious country, & a happy constitution is what we have to defend.
Nathan Hale joined the Army the day after receiving the letter and accepted a commission as First Lieutenant in Colonel Charles Webb's Seventh Connecticut regiment.

During the Siege of Boston, Nathan Hale kept a very detailed journal that gives historians today a good look at what happened there. Nathan seemed to enjoy the military life and became very committed to helping the Continentals win the war against Britain. His unit was soon sent to New York to fight against General Hale's British forces who were planning to invade and conquer that city.

In January 1776, the Continental Army was reorganized and Nathan was promoted to Captain in the new 19th Connecticut regiment. In the spring, the Continentals moved to Manhattan to stop the British from taking New York City. Nathan spent almost six months there, building fortifications and preparing for the a battle against the British.

Nathan Hale didn't see much action in the time he had been in the Army. During the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1775, his regiment protected forts but were never attacked. This gave him a lot of time to write in his journals and keep records of the events around him.

During September 1776, General George Washington knew he needed to get information about what the British were going to do next. He formed a group of soldiers who would try to get this information and called them the New England Rangers. General Washington trusted Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton and put him in charge of the Rangers. Nathan Hale was given the command of one of the four companies and assigned to patrol the shorelines around Hell Gate. Later, Hale volunteered to go behind the enemy lines and try to find out where the next invasion would be.

At that time, spying was not a respected position in the Army. They felt it was wrong for a gentleman to do. Captain William Hull was Hale's best buddy then and tried to talk him out of it, but Hale insisted that he was doing it for the good of the colonies.

He crossed the Long Island Sound from Norwalk, Connecticut disguised as a schoolmaster and carrying his Yale papers. He found out that the British were going to invade Manhattan at Kip's Bay, but before he could tell anyone, the British invaded and took control of Manhattan on September 15th and 16h. So he decided to go to New York City and see what he could learn there. General Washington and his men were behind the bluffs at Harlem Heights.

New York City was set on fire on September 20th. There was a lot of confusion and rioting, which made the British even more suspicious of things. On Nathan Hale's way back to the Long Island Sound, on September 21, 1776, he was scoped by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rogers of the Queen's Rangers and arrested.

The British found all kinds of secret information on him. Historical records show that he admitted who he was and what he was doing in New York. Some people think that his cousin, Samuel Hale, who was working for General Howe, had found out what Nathan was doing and told the British authorities. General Howe ordered that Nathan Hale be hung as a spy the next morning.

Early the next morning, September 22, 1776, British soldiers marched Nathan Hale 5 and 1/2 miles out of the city and started preparing for the hanging. Captain Montresor, an English officer, was there for the execution. General Howe allowed Nathan Hale to sit in the shade of Captain Montresor's marquee. During that time he wrote two letters, one to his mother and one to his brother, Enoch. These letters were probably destroyed by the British after the hanging. Nathan Hale's example that he would gladly give his life for something he believed in was not something the British wanted other Continental soldiers to hear. Hale asked for a Bible, but they would not give him one.

Nathan Hale was executed by hanging on September 22, 1776 in Rutgers' apple orchard at the age of 21. When asked if he had any last words, he said "I only regret I have but one life to lose to my country." This quote is a paraphrase from "Cato," a popular play by Addison. It is a quote now connected with Nathan Hale.

John Paul Jones
July 6, 1747 to July 18, 1792

John Paul Jones was born on July 6, 1747 in Arbigland, Kirkbean, Kirkcudbright, Scotland. His original name was John Paul. He entered the British merchant marines when he was 12 years old and learned to be a seaman on a brig called Friendship. In 1769 when he was 22 years old he received his first command. The name of the boat was John.

After he killed a sailor in his command in 1773, he escaped to the Americas. When he came to America, he took the last name of Jones. He settled in the Virginia colony.

On December 7, 1775, John Paul Jones became a lieutenant in the Continental Navy and served on the Alfred. He was the first person to raise the Union flag on a Continental warship.

In 1776, he was promoted to captain. His boat was the Providence, the first ship to be commissioned into the Continental Navy. It was originally a merchant vessel, but was made into a fighting ship. The Providence and its crew captured or sank forty British ships and was the most victorious American Ship of the Revolutionary War. People called the Providence 'The Lucky Sloop'. John Paul Jones said 'she was the first and she was the best.'

In 1778, John Paul Jones sailed to France. On February 14, 1778, six days after France decided to join the Patriots in their fight against the British, John Paul Jones was sailing into Quiberon Bay in France. He and Admiral La Motte Piquet of the French Navy saluted each other with gun fire. This was the first time the new flag of the Colonies had been recognized by a foreign government.

The French King gave him an old merchant ship in 1779 and John Paul Jones repaired it and named it U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard in honor of Benjamin Franklin. In August he set sail towards England on a mission to raid British ships.

On September 23, 1779, when he was fighting the British frigate Serapis at the Battle of Flamborough Head (England), the British captain asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. John Paul Jones answered, "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight."

After the American Revolution, Jones was a Rear Admiral for Empress Catherine of Russia. He returned to Paris in 1790 and died there on July 18, 1792 at the age of 45. He was buried in St. Louis Cemetery in Paris.

In 1845 Colonel John H. Sherburne wanted to have the John Paul Jones' remains returned to the United States because by then everyone thought of him as the Father of the U.S. Navy. He won approval in 1851, but some of Jones' relatives in Scotland stopped him from moving the remains. It really didn't matter, because no one really knew exactly what grave belonged to John Paul Jones.

Then in April 1905 Horace Porter discovered the exact burial place of John Paul Jones. President Theodore Roosevelt was President and he sent four ships to Paris to bring back his body. When these four ships arrived back in Chesapeake Bay they were escorted by seven more battleships to show honor to the man who created the U.S. Navy. On January 26, 1913, the remains of John Paul Jones were put in a crypt in the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland. Even today, a Marine honor guard stands duty whenever the crypt is open to the public.

Henry Knox (1750-1806)

Henry Knox was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1750. At the age of 18 he joined the militia in the colonies. He became a Major General in the Continental and fought in almost every major battle of the Revolutionary War. He was a close friend to George Washington and often gave him advice.

In January of 1776, General George Washington sent Colonel Henry Knox to bring back the cannons and mortars captured by the Continental Army at Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. He was just 25 years old. He loved to read and owned a bookstore where he read all the books on military science. Henry Knox loved guns and was the perfect person for the job.

Bringing the artillery from Lake Champlain in the middle of winter wasn't easy. There were about 50 large cannons. Henry Knox had big sleds made especially for this job and found 80 teams of oxen to pull the sleds. When he reached Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts, there were snow drifts that the oxen could not get through. Henry Knox found horses, then, to help pull the sleds through the drifts.

Henry Knox arrived with all the artillery in February and was praised for his deed. Later in the war, in appreciation for this task, General Washington gave him command of all the Continental artillery.

Henry Knox became the Secretary of War in 1785 and was paid $2,450 a year. He served as Secretary of War during all of Washington's Presidency.

He died in 1806 at the age of 56.

Thaddeus Kosciuszko
February 4, 1746 to October 1817

Kosciuszko was on February 4, 1746 in Poland. His family was in the ruling class and he received a good education at a school run by the Church. At 19 he joined the new Royal Military School in Warsaw, Poland. In 1769 at the age of 23 he graduated with honors and was made Captain. He then received a scholarship from King Stanislaw and in August went to Paris to study engineering and artillery.

He returned to Poland in 1774. His country had been at war and lost a lot of territory. Since he didn't have much to do in the military, he decided to join the Colonists cause in the New Americas. He arrived in Philadelphia in August 1776 and was the first person to come from Europe to enlist in the Continental Army.

He was made Colonel of Engineers and assigned to General Horatio Gates whose army was in the north. Many people think that it was Colonel Kosciuszko's strategy that gave the Continentals the victory at Saratoga. The victory at Saratoga convinced European countries to join the Continentals in their war for independence.

General Washington sent Kosciuszko to fortify West Point, which Washington called "the key to America." For almost two and a half years, Colonel Kosciuszko supervised the work to block the Hudson River and keep the British from moving South. West Point today is the home of the U.S. Military Academy and the first monument was built by the cadets in order to Kosciuszko.

After finishing his work at West Point, he was sent to help the Continental Army in the South. He supervised the troops as they crossed rivers and dangerous swamps. He led the Continentals into a victorious seige of Charleston harbor. After the war, Congress made him a Brigadier General.

He returned to Poland in 1784 and in 1789 enlisted in the Polish army. When it became clear that Poland could not win the war, they withdrew. This upset Kosciuszko so he left for Germany, but kept in contact with other Polish citizens who wanted their country back. In 1794 he returned to Poland and led a revolt. Since he learned in the colonies how to organize an untrained army, he was able to win an important battle at Raclawice with 7,000 untrained men. In the end Poland lost the war and Kosciuszko was a prisoner in Moscow. When Czar Paul I took over the throne, he freed Kosciuszko if he promised not to go back to Poland.

After being freed in Moscow, he traveled back to America and settled in Philadelphia. He met almost daily with his friend, Thomas Jefferson. When Kosciuszko left America for the last time, he left Thomas Jefferson in charge of his affairs. Upon his death, Thomas Jefferson was directed to use the money to buy slaves and then to free them.

He left the Americas and settled in Switzerland with some friends, where he died in October of 1817. After Poland was re-established as a nation, his body was returned to Poland and today is in a royal crypt in Cracow's Wawel Cathedral.

Kosciuszko helped to free the colonies from British rule, but could not do the same for his own country. Today he is still an important symbol to the American Poles.

At his death, Thomas Jefferson is quoted as having said:

He was a pure a son of Liberty as I have ever known, and of that liberty which is to go to all, not to the few and rich alone.

Thomas Paine
January 29, 1737 to June 8, 1809

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."

Thomas Paine was born on January 29, 1737 at Thetford, Norfolk in England. His parents were Quakers. He left school at the age of thirteen with only a basic education to work with his father who was a "stay-maker." At eighteen in 1755 he went to sea. In April 1759 he decided to stay at Sandwich to became a master stay-maker and he got married. His wife died the next year shortly after moving to Margate. In 1761 he took work in the excise office of the government, but was fired twice from his positions.

In 1771, he the daughter of his landlord, Elizabeth Ollive. In 1772 he wrote a small pamphlet, The Case of the Officers of Excise, that discussed the evils of tax collection. This was probably the cause of him being fired the second time from the excise office of the government. His wife also left him.

When he was 37, he met Benjamin Franklin in London, who suggested he try living in the American colonies. Paine landed at Philadelphia with letters of recommendation from Benjamin Franklin on November 30, 1774.

Thomas Paine became a writer for the first issue of the Pennsylvania Magazine, which was published in Philadelphia in January, 1775. He then became the editor.

When he arrived in Philadelphia, Thomas Paine saw that there was a lot of tension among the Colonists. The Boston Tea Party had already happened and the Intolerable Acts of King George III had just become effective in June. Thomas Paine strongly felt the Colonists had a right to rebel against a government that taxed them without any representation in the government that decided what would taxed and how much they would me taxed.

On January 10, 1776 Paine wrote his famous Common Sense but it was not published until February 14, 1776. He used plain, simple common sense in his writing to show the Colonists they need to declare their independence from England. 500,000 copies of Common Sense were sold and even the colonists still loyal to England were even starting to think about independence. In some ways, Common Sense was the stepping stone to the Declaration of Independence.

From August, 1776 to January, 1777, he was a volunteer soldier in the Continental Army. Thomas Paine was a volunteer in the Continental Army. Between 1776 and 1783 he wrote sixteen "American Crisis" papers. These papers encouraged the Patriot army to continue their fight for independence and Paine became very respected.

In 1777, he was named Secretary of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in Congress, but had to resign in 1779 because he had given away secret information. In November 1779 he became a clerk in the Pennsylvania Assembly and continued to work on his writings. He became a publicist. He criticized slavery as being inhumane in his African Slavery in America published in the spring of 1775. He was also co-editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine.

In 1781, he traveled to France to negotiate a loan of 6,000,000 livres for the newly formed United States. He returned on August 25. In February, 1782, he took a job with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and earned a salary of $800 a year, which was a very good salary at that time. In 1784, the State of New York gave him a house and 277 acres of land in New Rochelle. He received 500 pounds of sterling from Pennsylvania in 1785 and in October of that year Congress gave him $3,000. This made him a very rich man who really didn't have to work any more.

In 1787, he left for England to raise funds to build a bridge he had designed. When the French Revolution broke out, his philosophical nature got him involved in it. He became a citizen of France and was elected to the National Assembly. From March 1791 to February 1792, he wrote his famous work, Rights of Man. He defended the French Revolution and like in the colonies was against a strong government. The Rights of Man was banned in England, because it talked against monarchies.

In 1783 he voted against the executing King Louis XVI and was put in prison on December 28, 1793 and remained there until November 4, 1794. During this time he spent in prison he began writing his Age of Reason. It was because of this book that he is considered an atheist.

On October 30, 1802, he returned to America at the invitation of Thomas Jefferson, who respected and admired his works. His friends had taken very good care of his property and he was considered very wealthy. The people had forgotten his work as a revolutionist and he was better known as an atheist because of his book Age of Reason. He had no friends and lived a very lonely life. He concentrated on his writings and wrote a lot against the Federalists and about religious superstitions.

He died in New York City on June 8, 1809 at the age of 72. He was buried on his farm in New Rochelle, but in 1819 William Cobbett had them moved to England. Even in his death, Thomas Paine was ridiculed. The newspapers printed: "He had lived long, did some good and much harm."

Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley (aka Molly Pitcher)
October 13, 1754 to July 22, 1832

Mary Ludwig was born on October 13, 1754 near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents had come to the colonies from Germany. At the age of 15, she became a servant to Dr. William Irvine, who later became a Brigadier General in the Continental Army and led men in the Battle of Monmouth.

Later she married John Casper Hays, a barber. John Hays enlisted in the Continental Army in 1775 and Molly often traveled with him to the battlefields. She was one of the women at Valley Forge the winter of 1778. She got the nickname "Molly Pitcher" because she would bring pitchers of cool water from nearby streams or wells to the thirsty soldiers.

Her reputation really became known after the Battle of Monmouth on June 27, 1778. As cold as it had been in Valley Forge, that was as hot as it was on this June day. She brought pitcher after pitcher of cool spring water to the exhausted and thirsty men. She took care of wounded men and carried a wounded Continental soldier to safety.

When she saw her husband fall from heat stroke, she took his place and helped fire the cannon. If she hadn't have taken over for her husband, that unit would have had to retreat which may have given the British an advantage. But her determination to fight for her country during this battle became legendary and may have even saved the Continental Army from having lost this battle.

After the Battle of Monmouth, Molly Pitcher and her husband returned to Carlise, Pennsylvania, not too far from Philadelphia. John Hays died in 1789. She later married George McCauley, but it doesn't seem that they were real happy.

When General George Washington heard about her heroic acts, he made her a noncommissioned officer and she became known as "Sergeant Molly." In 1822, the Pennsylvania legislature passed an act that gave her $40 a year for the rest of her life because of what she did during the Revolutionary War.

Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley died in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on January 22, 1821. At her graveside there is a flagstaff, a cannon and a monument honoring her as a hero.

The Daughters of Liberty

This is a poem that was published anonymously in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1768. Most people think it was written by a Quaker lady who lived in Philadelphia. It was dedicated to the Daughters of Liberty:

Since the men, from a party or fear of a frown,
Are kept by a sugar-plum quietly down,
Supinely asleep--and depriv'd of their sight,
Are stripp'd of their freedom, and robb'd of their right;
If the sons, so degenerate! the blessings despise,
Let the Daughters of Liberty nobly arise;
And though we've no voice but a negative here,
The use of the taxables, let us forbear:--
(Then merchants import till your stores are all full,
May the buyers be few, and your traffic be dull!)

Stand firmly resolv'd, and bid Grenville to see,
That rather than freedom we part with our tea,
And well as we love the dear draught when a-dry,
As American Patriots our taste we deny--
Pennsylvania's gay meadows can richly afford
To pamper our fancy or furnish our board;
And paper sufficient at home still we have,
To assure the wiseacre, we will not sign slave;
When this homespun shall fail, to remonstrate our grief,
We can speak viva voce, or scratch on a leaf;
Refuse all their colors, though richest of dye,
When the juice of a berry our paint can supply,
To humor our fancy--and as for our houses,
They'll do without painting as well as our spouses;
While to keep out the cold of a keen winter morn,
We can screen the north-west with a well polished horn;
And trust me a woman, by honest invention,
Might give this state-doctor a dose of prevention.

Join mutual in this--and but small as it seems,
We may jostle a Grenville, and puzzle his schemes;
But a motive more worthy our patriot pen,
Thus acting--we point out their duty to men;
And should the bound-pensioners tell us to hush,
We can throw back the satire, by biding them blush.

Paul Revere's Ride

Map of Paul Revere's ride LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower, as a signal light, --
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison-bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the somber rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade, --
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay, --
A line of black, that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now gazed on the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When be came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British regulars fired and fled, --
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
>From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm, --
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beat of that steed,
And the midnight-message of Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1860.

The Olive Branch Petition
July 1775 in the Second Continental Congress

The Olive Branch Petition of 1775 was the drafted during the Second Continental Congress after the Battles at Concord, Lexington and Bunker (Breed's) Hill. The delegates to the Second Continental Congress disagreed about what steps should be taken. Some wanted to declare independence immediately even if it meant war. Others who are referred to as Loyalists still had a feeling of loyalty to the British Crown. To them, they felt it was their Godly duty to respect the crown of authority and even though they didn't like the taxation without representation, they weren't ready for an all out war.

So as a compromise, the delegates agreed to make one more try to work out a reasonable solution with King George III. Those who supported immediate independence at any cost thought that if King George III did not respond positively to their petition, everyone would support a war if it was necessary. The petition declared the Colonies' loyalty to the King George III and said that the Colonists only wanted peace between them and England.

It was adopted and two originals were signed by members of the Second Continental Congress in July 1775. John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Roger Sherman and Lewis Morris were some of the signatures.

In John Adam's journal, he wrote: "A petition was sent yesterday by Mr. Richard Penn in one ship and a duplicate goes in another ship this day." Richard Penn and Arthur Lee were sent to England to deliver the Petition. On August 21, 1775, another copy was sent to Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Lord Dartmouth didn't receive his copy until September 1st.

When Lord Dartmouth tried to see King George III, the King would not see him. Lord Dartmouth told the colonists: "As His Majesty did not receive the petition on the throne, no answer will be given."

On September 2, 1775, Richard Penn and Arthur Lee made this report to the Continental Congress: "On the 21st of last month, we sent to the Secretary of State for America, a copy of the Petition from the general Congress; and yesterday, the first moment that was permitted us, we presented to him the Original, which his lordship promised to deliver to his Majesty. We thought it our duty to press his Lordship to obtain an answer; but we were told that his Majesty did not receive it on the throne, no answer would be given."

When the delegates in Philadelphia heard King George III would not read the Petition, they started writing the Declaration of Independence and the Revolution War was not far behind.

In August 1775, King George III formally rejected the petition, because it was an illegal document created by an illegal congress, and then declared the colonies in rebellion.

One of the two originals of the Olive Branch Petition that were signed by the delegates to the Second Continental Congress can be found today in the Public Record Office, London. The other signed original is in the New York Public Library. The working copy that was given to Lord Dartmouth is in the Karpeles Manuscript Library in Santa Barbara with the original report of the failed missions.

Read the Olive Branch Petition in its original text.

The Olive Branch Petition
July 5, 1775

Approved by the Continental Congress on July 5, 1775

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty. Most Gracious Sovereign,

We your Majesty's faithful subjects of the colonies of New-hampshire, Massachussetts-bay, Rhode island and Providence plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the counties of New Castle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, in behalf of ourselves and the inhabitants of these colonies, who have deputed us to represent them in general Congress, entreat your Majesty's gracious attention to this our humble petition.

The union between our Mother Country and these colonies, and the energy of mild and just government, produced benefits so remarkably important, and afforded such an assurance of their permanency and increase, that the wonder and envy of other Nations were excited, while they beheld Great Britain riseing to a power the most extraordinary the world had ever known.

Her rivals observing, that there was no probability of this happy connection being broken by civil dissentions, and apprehending its future effects, if left any longer undisturbed, resolved to prevent her receiving such continual and formidable accessions of wealth and strength, by checking the growth of these settlements from which they were to be derived.

In the prosecution of this attempt events so unfavourable to the design took place, that every friend to the interests of Great Britain and these colonies entertained pleasing and reasonable expectations of seeing an additional force and extention immediately given to the operations of the union hitherto experienced, by an enlargement of the dominions of the Crown, and the removal of ancient and warlike enemies to a greater distance.

At the conclusion therefore of the late war, the most glorious and advantagious that ever had been carried on by British arms, your loyal colonists having contributed to its success, by such repeated and strenuous exertions, as frequently procured them the distinguished approbation of your Majesty, of the late king, and of Parliament, doubted not but that they should be permitted with the rest of the empire, to share in the blessings of peace and the emoluments of victory and conquest. While these recent and honorable acknowledgments of their merits remained on record in the journals and acts of the august legislature the Parliament, undefaced by the imputation or even the suspicion of any offence, they were alarmed by a new system of Statutes and regulations adopted for the administration of the colonies, that filled their minds with the most painful fears and jealousies; and to their inexpressible astonishment perceived the dangers of a foreign quarrel quickly succeeded by domestic dangers, in their judgment of a more dreadful kind.

Nor were their anxieties alleviated by any tendancy in this system to promote the welfare of the Mother Country. For 'tho its effects were more immediately felt by them, yets its influence appeared to be injurious to the commerce and prosperity of Great Britain.

We shall decline the ungrateful task of describing the irksome variety of artifices practised by many of your Majestys ministers, the delusive pretences, fruitless terrors, and unavailing severities, that have from time to time been dealt out by them, in their attempts to execute this impolitic plan, or of traceing thro' a series of years past the progress of the unhappy differences between Great Britain and these colonies which have flowed from this fatal source.

Your Majestys ministers persevering in their measures and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affection of your still faithful colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us, only as parts of our distress.

Knowing, to what violent resentments and incurable animosities, civil discords are apt to exasperate and inflame the contending parties, we think ourselves required by indispensable obligations to Almighty God, to your Majesty, to our fellow subjects, and to ourselves, immediately to use all the means in our power not incompatible with our safety, for stopping the further effusion of blood, and for averting the impending calamities that threaten the British Empire.

Thus called upon to address your Majesty on affairs of such moment to America, and probably to all your dominions, we are earnestly desirous of performing this office with the utmost deference for your Majesty; and we therefore pray, that your royal magnanimity and benevolence may make the most favourable construction of our expressions on so uncommon an occasion. Could we represent in their full force the sentiments that agitate the minds of us your dutiful subjects, we are persuaded, your Majesty would ascribe any seeming deviation from reverence, and our language, and even in our conduct, not to any reprehensible intention but to the impossibility or reconciling the usual appearances of respect with a just attention to our own preservation against those artful and cruel enemies, who abuse your royal confidence and authority for the purpose of effecting our destruction.

Attached to your Majestys person, family and government with all the devotion that principle and affection can inspire, connected with Great Britain by the strongest ties that can unite societies, and deploring every event that tends in any degree to weaken them, we solemnly assure your Majesty, that we not only most ardently desire the former harmony between her and these colonies may be restored but that a concord may be established between them upon so firm a basis, as to perpetuate its blessings uninterrupted by any future dissentions to succeeding generations in both countries, and to transmit your Majestys name to posterity adorned with that signal and lasting glory that has attended the memory of those illustrious personages, whose virtues and abilities have extricated states from dangerous convulsions, and by securing happiness to others, have erected the most noble and durable monuments to their own fame.

We beg leave further to assure your Majesty that notwithstanding the sufferings of your loyal colonists during the course of the present controversy, our breasts retain too tender a regard for the kingdom from which we derive our origin to request such a reconciliation as might in any manner be inconsistent with her dignity or her welfare. These, related as we are to her, honor and duty, as well as inclination induce us to support and advance; and the apprehensions that now oppress our hearts with unspeakable grief, being once removed, your Majesty will find your faithful subjects on this continent ready and willing at all times, as they ever have been with their lives and fortunes to assert and maintain the rights and interests of your Majesty and of our Mother Country.

We therefore beseech your Majesty, that your royal authority and influence may be graciously interposed to procure us releif [sic] from our afflicting fears and jealousies occasioned by the system before mentioned, and to settle peace through every part of your dominions, with all humility submitting to your Majesty's wise consideration, whether it may not be expedient for facilitating those important purposes, that your Majesty be pleased to direct some mode by which the united applications of your faithful colonists to the throne, in pursuance of their common councils, may be improved into a happy and permanent reconciliation; and that in the meantime measures be taken for preventing the further destruction of the lives of your Majesty's subjects; and that such statutes as more immediately distress any of your Majestys colonies be repealed: For by such arrangements as your Majesty's wisdom can form for collecting the united sense of your American people, we are convinced, your Majesty would receive such satisfactory proofs of the disposition of the colonists towards their sovereign and the parent state, that the wished for opportunity would soon be restored to them, of evincing the sincerity of their professions by every testimony of devotion becoming the most dutiful subjects and the most affectionate colonists.

That your Majesty may enjoy a long and prosperous reign, and that your descendants may govern your dominions with honor to themselves and happiness to their subjects is our sincere and fervent prayer.

The Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776)

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.



Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

[Column 1]

[Column 2]
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

[Column 3]
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

[Column 4]
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

[Column 5]
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

[Column 6]
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

American Revolutionary War Links

There are a lot of pages about the American Revolution. I have tried to list the ones I thought would be best for elementary and middle school students. But I know a lot of people who are researching their genealogy also look at these kinds of sites, so I added some links I thought would help those people.

NOTE: Wednesday, August 3, 1999
Links from Timberlake Christian School
have been removed from their website.
I have asked them to re-connect them,
because they provided valuable information.
So I am leaving the links at ""
up until they tell me that can't re-connect them!

Sites with General Information

Time Lines



Other Sites

Please report any broken links to me!
I am also looking for new links that would be good for elementary and middle school students.


As I did my research, I found some really "kewl" quotes. I have posted some of them and will post the rest as I have time.

Nothing of importance happened today.

King George III in his diary - July 4, 1776

We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hand separately.

Benjamin Franklin
At the Signing of The Declaration of Independence!

Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people ... . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.

John Adams in 1818

The Temper and character which prevail in our colonies are, I am afraid, unalterable by any human art... An Englishman is the unfittest person on earth to argue another Englishman into slavery.

Edmund Burk - March 22, 1775

I cannot but lament ... the impending Calamities Britain and her Colonies are about to suffer, from great Imprudencies on both Sides -- Passion governs, and she never governs wisely -- Anxiety begins to disturb my Rest ...

Benjamin Franklin - February 5, 1775

O God. It's all over.

Lord North

I am related to James C. Sydebotham who was born in August, 1819 on a farm in Clark County, Kentucky near the town of Winchester. James was the 16th of seventeen children born to John and Jenny Sydebotham. His father, John, was born December 11, 1750, in Prince William Country, Virginia, and served in the Revolutionary War battles of New York Island, White Plains, Brandywine and Germantown. During the battle of Trenton, he was one of the two men who carried a wounded James Monroe from the battlefield.

My dad would really like to hear from anyone who thinks they may be related! Email my Dad!