Battle in Charleston, north of Boston, which began on June 16, 1775, and resulted in a costly British victory. Just days after approving formation of the Continental army, Americans fortified the Charlestown peninsula and provoked a bold frontal assault under the leadership of General Howe. The Americans were able to repel two waves of British assault but failed when their ammunition ran out. The British had won, but at a cost of 226 dead and over 800 wounded.
Thomas Paine's revolutionary pamphlet, published in January 1776, which powerfully critiqued monarchy and advocated republican government. The pamphlet was enormously popular and made a compelling case for complete independence.
General John Burgoyne
General sent to command British troops against the colonial uprising. In 1777, he assumed command of a large army in Canada and aimed to capture Albany. He captured Fort Ticonderoga in July 1777.
Treaty of paris
the official settlement of the war that was signed nearly two years after the fighting ended. The treaty granted the United States full independence, defined its boundaries, gave creditors on both sides the right to collect unpaid debts, and specified Great Britain's military withdrawal. It failed to recognize Indians as players in the conflict, assigning their lands to the victors.
colonel in the Continental army who, with General Richard Montgomery, led a heroic but costly and unsuccessful attack on Quebec in late 1775. In 1780, it came to light that he had been engaged in treason, selling valuable strategic information to the British. His treachery drew dramatic public denunciations and helped galvanize American patriotism.
young leader of the Mohawk people who complained to King George III about American settlers' misappropriation of Indians' land. In return for protection against encroaching settlers, he pledged his support to the king. Many other Indian tribes drawn into the conflict took the British side.
a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service
German mercenaries, 8,000 of whom served under British general William Howe in New York in 1776
on December 24th, Washington and his army crossed the Delaware River and led a surprise attack on the Hessians and British.
Declaration of independence
signed on July 2nd, celebrated on July 4th; written by Thomas Jefferson, the public draft declared independence from Great Britain
Olive Branch Petition
an appeal to King George III put forward by moderates in the Second Continental Congress in July 1775. The petition affirmed loyalty to the monarchy, placed blame for current disagreements on Parliament and the king's advisors, and called on the king to recognize colonial legislatures as individual parliaments. The king rejected the petition, making reconciliation impossible.
took place in the South; hit-and-run attacks; partisan bands from both sides attacked opponents and anybody claiming to be neutral
Lord Charles Cornwallis
British general who oversaw the pacification of South Carolina after Clinton's capture of Charleston. He forcefully repelled the Americans' attack against him in the summer of 1780, exacting a devastating defeat of the Americans at the battle of Camden.
formerly French fort in New York, held by Americans at the start of the Revolutionary War, which fell to General Burgoyne's overwhelming forces without a fight in July 1777.
winter quarters in Pennsylvania for Washington's troops from December 1777 to June 1778. Troops there endured extreme hardship; some 2,000 men died from disease, and another 2,000 deserted. Washington blamed profiteering and insufficient citizen support for much of the devastation.
military encounter in which General Cornwallis commanded 7,500 troops against a combined French and American army of over 16,000. French control of the Virginia coast denied Cornwallis the reinforcements he had been expecting, leaving him and his men with a dwindling supply of food and ammunition. He surrendered on October 19, 1781.
British strategy for crushing the colonial rebellion after France joined the war. It focused on taking the southern colonies and was based on the expectation that the southern colonies were more loyalist and would therefore be easier to subdue.
derogatory term for Americans who remained loyal to Britain, including royal officials, many merchants, and some conservative urban lawyers.
Second Continental Congress
The elective body that gathered in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, and was responsible for both preparing for war and pursuing reconciliation with Great Britain
organization formed in 1780 by women from prominent Philadelphia families to collect money for Continental soldiers. It is an example of women's increasing engagement in political life during the Revolution.