Events 1760-1783
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Events 1760-1783
Events that lead up to and include the American Revolution

Revolutionary War Time Line Part Two 1763-1783

1763 The Proclamation of 1763, signed by King George III of England, prohibits any English settlement west of the Appalachian mountains. It requires people who have already settled in those regions to return east in an attempt to ease tensions with Indians.
1764 The Sugar Act is passed by the English Parliament to offset the war debt brought on by the French & Indian War (Seven Years War in Europe) and to help pay for the expenses of running the colonies and the newly acquired territories. This act increases the duties on imported sugar and other items such as textiles, coffee, wines and indigo (dye). It doubles the duties on foreign goods reshipped from England to the colonies and also forbids the import of foreign rum and French wines.
  The English Parliament passes a measure to reorganize the American customs system to better enforce British trade laws, which have often been ignored in the past. A court is established in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that will have jurisdiction over all of the American colonies in trade matters.
  The Currency Act prohibits the colonists from issuing any legal tender paper money. This act threatens to destabilize the entire colonial economy of both the industrial North and agricultural South, thus uniting the colonists against it.
May 1764 James Otis raises the issue of taxation without representation at a town meeting in Boston and urges a united response to the recent acts imposed by England.
July 1764 James Otis publishes "The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved."
Aug 1764 Boston merchants begin a boycott of British luxury goods.
Mar 1765 The Stamp Act is passed by the English Parliament imposing the first direct tax on the American colonies. Parliament implements it to offset the high costs of the British military in America and pay the debt on the Seven Years War. For the first time in the 150 year old history of the British colonies in America, the colonists will pay tax not to their own local legislatures in America, but directly to England. Under the Stamp Act, all printed materials are taxed, including; newspapers, pamphlets, bills, legal documents, licenses, almanacs, dice and playing cards. The American colonists quickly unite in opposition, led by the most influential segments of colonial society - lawyers, publishers, land owners, ship builders and merchants - who are most affected by the Act, which is scheduled to go into effect on November 1.
  The Quartering Act is passed requiring colonists to house British troops and supply them with food.
May 1765 Patrick Henry presents seven Virginia Resolutions to the House of Burgesses in Virginia claiming that only the Virginia assembly can legally tax Virginia residents, saying, "If this be treason, make the most of it." The first medical school in America is founded in Philadelphia.
July 1765 The Sons of Liberty, an underground organization opposed to the Stamp Act, is formed in a number of colonial towns. Its members use violence and intimidation to eventually force all of the British stamp agents to resign and to stop many American merchants from ordering British trade goods.
Aug 26, 1765 In Boston a mob attacks the home of Thomas Hutchinson, Chief Justice of Massachusetts. Hutchinson and his family narrowly escape.
Oct 1765 The Stamp Act Congress convenes in New York City, with representatives from nine of the colonies. This Congress prepares a resolution to be sent to King George III and the English Parliament. This petition requests the repeal of the Stamp Act and the Acts of 1764. The petition asserts that only colonial legislatures can tax colonial residents and that taxation without representation violates the colonists' basic civil rights.
Nov 1, 1765 Most daily business and legal transactions in the colonies cease as the Stamp Act goes into effect with nearly all of the colonists refusing to use the stamps. In New York City, violence breaks out as a mob burns the royal governor in effigy, harasses British troops, then loots houses.
Dec 1765 British General Thomas Gage, commander of all English military forces in America, requests the New York assembly to make colonists comply with the Quartering Act to house and supply his troops. The American boycott of English imports spreads, as over 200 Boston merchants join the movement.
Jan 1766 The New York assembly refuses to comply with General Gage's request to enforce the Quartering Act
Mar 1766 King George III signs a bill repealing the Stamp Act after much debate in the English Parliament, which included an appearance by Ben Franklin arguing for repeal and warning of a possible revolution in the American colonies if the Stamp Act was enforced by the British military. On the same day it repealed the Stamp Act, the English Parliament passes the Declaratory Act stating that the British government has total power to legislate any laws governing the American colonies in all cases whatsoever.
April 1766 News of the repeal of the Stamp Act causes celebrations in the colonies and a relaxation of the boycott of imported English trade goods.
Aug 1766 Violence breaks out in New York between British soldiers and armed colonists, including Sons of Liberty members. The violence erupts as a result of the continuing refusal of New York colonists to comply with the Quartering Act.
Dec 1766 The New York legislature is suspended by the English Crown after once again voting to refuse to comply with the Act.
June 1767 The English Parliament passes the Townshend Revenue Acts, imposing a new series of taxes on the colonists to offset the costs of administering and protecting the American colonies. Items taxed include imports such as paper, tea, glass, lead and paints. The Act also establishes a colonial board of customs commissioners in Boston.
Oct 1767 Bostonians decide to reinstate a boycott of English luxury items.
Feb 1768 Samuel Adams of Massachusetts writes a Circular Letter that opposes taxation without representation and calls for the colonists to unite in their actions against the British government. The letter is sent to assemblies throughout the colonies and instructs them on the methods the Massachusetts general court is using to oppose the Townshend Acts.
April 1768 England's Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Hillsborough, orders colonial governors to stop their own assemblies from endorsing Adams' circular letter. Hillsborough also orders the governor of Massachusetts to dissolve the general court if the Massachusetts assembly does not revoke the letter. By month's end, the assemblies of New Hampshire, Connecticut and New Jersey have endorsed the letter.
May 1768 A British warship armed with 50 cannons sails into Boston harbor after a call for help from custom commissioners who are constantly being harassed by Boston agitators.
June 1768 In June, a customs official is locked up in the cabin of the Liberty, a sloop owned by John Hancock. Imported wine is then unloaded illegally into Boston without payment of duties. Following this incident, customs officials seize Hancock's sloop. After threats of violence from Bostonians, the customs officials escape to an island off Boston, then request the intervention of British troops.
July 1768 The Governor of Massachusetts dissolves the general court after the legislature defies his order to revoke Adams' circular letter
Aug 1768 In Boston and New York, merchants agree to boycott most British goods until the Townshend Acts are repealed.
Sept 1768 At a town meeting in Boston residents are urged to arm themselves
  English warships sail into Boston Harbor, two regiments of English infantry land in Boston and set up permanent residence to keep order.
May 1769 A set of resolutions written by George Mason is presented by George Washington to the Virginia House of Burgesses. The Virginia Resolves oppose taxation without representation, the British opposition to the circular letters, and British plans to possibly send American agitators to England for trial. Ten days later, the Royal Governor of Virginia dissolves the House of Burgesses. However, its members meet the next day in a Williamsburg tavern and agree to a boycott of British trade goods, luxury items and slaves.
Mar 1769 Merchants in Philadelphia join the boycott of British trade goods
Oct 1769 The boycott of English goods spreads to New Jersey, Rhode Island, and then North Carolina.
1770 The population of the American colonies reaches 2,210,000 persons
Jan 1770 Violence erupts in January between members of the Sons of Liberty in New York and 40 British soldiers over the posting of broadsheets by the British. Several men are seriously wounded.
Mar 5, 1770 The Boston Massacre occurs as a colonial mob harasses British soldiers who then fire their muskets pointblank into the crowd, killing three instantly, mortally wounding two others and injuring six. After the incident, Thomas Hutchinson, the new Royal Governor of Massachusetts, at the insistence of Sam Adams, withdraws the British troops out of Boston to nearby harbor islands. The captain of the British soldiers, Thomas Preston, is arrested along with eight of his men and charged with murder.
Apr 1770 The Townshend Acts are repealed by the British. All duties on imports into the colonies are eliminated except for tea. Also, the Quartering Act is not renewed.
Oct 1770 The trial begins for the British soldiers who were arrested after the Boston Massacre. Colonial lawyers John Adams and Josiah Quincy successfully defend Captain Preston and six of his men, who are acquitted. Two other soldiers are found guilty of manslaughter, branded, then released.
June 1772 A British customs schooner, the Gaspee, runs aground off Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay. Colonists from Providence row out to the schooner, attack it, set the British crew ashore, then burn the ship.
Sept 1772 A 500 pound reward is offered by the English Crown for the capture of the colonists who burned the Gaspee. They are to be sent to England for trial. The announcement that they would be sent to England further upsets many American colonists.
Nov 1772 A Boston town meeting assembly is called by Sam Adams. During the meeting, a 21 member committee of correspondence is appointed to communicate with other towns and colonies. A few weeks later, the town meeting endorses three radical proclamations asserting the rights of the colonies to self-rule.
Mar 1773 The Virginia House of Burgesses appoints an eleven member committee of correspondence to communicate with the other colonies regarding common complaints against the British. Members of that committee include, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee. Virginia is followed a few months later by New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and South Carolina.
May 10, 1773 The Tea Act takes effect. It continues a six year three penny per pound import tax on tea arriving in the colonies. It also gives the near bankrupt British East India Company a virtual tea monopoly by allowing it to sell directly to colonial agents, bypassing any middlemen, and underselling American merchants. The East India Company successfully lobbied Parliament for the measure.
Sept 1773 Parliament authorizes the company to ship a half million pounds of tea to a group of chosen tea agents.
Oct 1773 Colonists hold a meeting in Philadelphia in opposition to the tea tax and the monopoly of the East India Company. A committee forces British tea agents to resign their positions.
Nov 1773 A town meeting is held in Boston endorsing the actions taken by Philadelphia colonists. Bostonians try, but fail, to get their British tea agents to resign. A few weeks later, three ships bearing tea sail into Boston harbor.
Nov 29-30, 1773 Two large meetings occur in Boston over what to do about the tea on the three ships docked in Boston harbor. Colonists decide to send the tea on the ship, Dartmouth, back to England without paying any import duties. Hutchinson, the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, is opposed to this and orders harbor officials not to let the ship sail out of the harbor unless the tea taxes have been paid.
Dec 16, 1773 About 8,000 Bostonians gather to hear Sam Adams tell them Royal Governor Hutchinson has repeated his command not to allow the ships out of the harbor until the tea taxes are paid. That night, the Boston Tea Party occurs as colonial activists disguised as Mohawk Indians board the ships and dump all 342 containers of tea into the harbor.
Mar 1774 An angry English Parliament passes the first of a series of Coercive Acts (called Intolerable Acts by the Americans) in response to the rebellion in Massachusetts. The Boston Port Bill effectively shuts down all commercial shipping in Boston harbor until Massachusetts pays the taxes owed on the tea dumped in the harbor and reimburses the East India Company for the loss of the tea.
May 12, 1774 Bostonians at a town meeting call for a boycott of British imports in response to the Boston Port Bill
May 13, 1774 British General Thomas Gage, commander of all British military forces in the colonies, arrives in Boston and replaces Hutchinson as Royal Governor. He immediately puts Massachusetts under military rule. Four regiments of British troops follow his arrival.
May 17-23, 1774 Colonists in Providence, New York and Philadelphia call for an inter-colonial congress to overcome the Coercive Acts and discuss a common course of action against the British.
May 20, 1774 The English Parliament enacts the next series of Coercive Acts, which include the Massachusetts Regulating Act and the Government Act which virtually ends any self-rule by the colonists. The English Crown and the Royal governor assumes the political power formerly exercised by colonists. Also enacted; the Administration of Justice Act which protects royal officials in Massachusetts from being sued in colonial courts, and the Quebec Act establishing a centralized government in Canada controlled by the Crown and English Parliament. The Quebec Act greatly upsets American colonists by extending the southern boundary of Canada into territories claimed by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia.
June 1774 A new version of the 1765 Quartering Act is enacted by the English Parliament that required all of the American colonies to provide housing for British troops in occupied houses and taverns and in unoccupied buildings.
Sept 1774 Massachusetts Royal Governor Gage seizes an arsenal of weapons at Charlestown.
Sept 5-Oct 26, 1774 The First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia with 56 delegates, representing every colony, except Georgia. Attendants include Patrick Henry, George Washington, Sam Adams and John Hancock.
Sept 17, 1774 The Continental Congress declares its opposition to the Coercive Acts, saying they are "not to be obeyed," and also promotes the formation of local militia units.
Oct 14, 1774 The Continental Congress adopts a Declaration and Resolves that opposes the Coercive Acts, the Quebec Act, and other measure taken by the British that undermine self-rule by the colonies. The rights of the colonists are asserted, including the rights to "life, liberty and property."
Oct 20, 1774 The Continental Congress adopts the Continental Association in which the delegates agree to boycott English imports, effect an embargo of exports to Britain, and discontinue the slave trade.
Feb 1, 1775 in Cambridge, Mass., a provincial congress is held during which John Hancock and Joseph Warren begin defensive preparations for a state of war. 
Feb 9 The English Parliament declares Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion.
Mar 23, 1775 Patrick Henry delivers a speech against British rule, in Virginia saying the famous words, "Give me liberty or give me death!"
Mar 30, 1775 The New England Restraining Act is endorsed by King George III, requiring New England colonies to trade exclusively with England. It also bans fishing in the North Atlantic.
April 14, 1775 Massachusetts' Royal Governor Gage is secretly ordered to enforce the Coercive Acts and suppress "open rebellion" among colonists by using all necessary force.
April 18, 1775 General Gage orders 700 British soldiers to Concord to destroy the colonists' weapons cache
  Paul Revere & William Dawes are sent from Boston that night to warn the colonists. Revere reaches Lexington about midnight and warns Sam Adams and John Hancock who are hiding there
April 19, 1775 At dawn on April 19 about 70 armed Massachusetts militiamen stand face to face on Lexington Green against the British advance guard. An unordered 'shot heard around the world' begins the American Revolution. A volley of British muskets followed by a charge with bayonets leaves eight Americans dead and ten wounded. The British regroup and head for the depot in Concord, destroying the colonists' weapons and supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord, a British platoon is attacked by militiamen, with 14 casualties
  British forces begin a long retreat from Lexington back to Boston. They are harassed and shot at all along the way by farmers and rebels and suffer over 250 casualties. News of the events at Lexington and Concord spreads like wildfire throughout the Colonies
April 23, 1775 The Provincial Congress in Massachusetts orders 13,600 American soldiers to be mobilized. Colonial volunteers from all over New England assemble and head for Boston. They establish camps around the city and begin a year long siege of British-held Boston
May 10, 1775 Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold lead American forces to capture Fort Ticonderoga in New York. The fort contains much needed supplies of military equipment including cannons which are then hauled to Boston for the siege by ox teams.
May 10, 1775 The Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia. John Hancock is elected its President. On May 15,  On June 15,
May 15, 1775 The Continental Congress places the colonies in a state of defense.
June 15, 1775 The Continental Congress unanimously votes to appoint George Washington General and Commander-in-Chief of the new Continental Army.
June 17, 1775 The Battle of Bunker Hill is the first major fight between British and American troops occurs at Boston. American troops are dug in along the high ground of Breed's Hill. Over 2,000 British soldiers storm up the hill in a frontal assault. The Americans forces are ordered not to fire until they can see "the whites of their eyes." When the British get within 15 paces, the Americans let loose a deadly volley of musket fire  that halted the British advance. The British regroup and attack 30 minutes later and get the same result. A third attack, succeeds when the Americans run out of ammunition and are left only with bayonets and stones to defend themselves. The British succeed in taking the hill, but at a loss of over a thousand casualties. The Americans lose about 400 militia, including General Joseph Warren, an important colonial leader.
July 3, 1775 George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts, which now has about 17,000 men.
July5, 1775 The Continental Congress adopts the Olive Branch Petition which expresses hope for a reconciliation with Britain. It appeals directly to the King for help in achieving this. In August, King George III refuses even to look at the petition and instead issues a proclamation declaring the Americans to be in a state of open rebellion
July 6, 1775 The Continental Congress issues a Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms detailing the reasons for fighting the British. It states the Americans are "resolved to die free men rather than live as slaves."
July 26, 1775 Ben Franklin is appointed Postmaster General for the first American Post Office
Nov 28, 1775 The Continental Congress establishes The American Navy.
Nov 29, 1775 The Continental Congress appoints a secret committee to seek help from European nations.
Dec 23, 1775 King George III issues a royal proclamation closing the American colonies to all commerce and trade. It is to take effect in March of 1776.
Dec 1775 Congress is told that France may offer support against the British.
Jan 5, 1776 The assembly of New Hampshire adopts the first American state constitution
Jan 9, 1776 Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" is published in Philadelphia. The 50 page pamphlet is highly critical of King George III and attacks allegiance to Monarchy in principle while providing strong arguments for American independence. It becomes an instant best-seller in America. "We have it in our power to begin the world anew...American shall make a stand, not for herself alone, but for the world," Paine states.
Mar 4-17, 1776 American forces capture Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston harbor. Captured British artillery pieces from Fort Ticonderoga are placed on the heights to aid the siege against the British in Boston. The British evacuate Boston and set sail for Halifax. George Washington then moves to New York to set up defenses, expecting the British to invade New York City
Apr 6, 1776 The Continental Congress declares colonial shipping ports open to all traffic except the British. Congress had already authorized privateer raids on British ships and also advised disarming all Americans loyal to England.
Apr 12, 1776 The North Carolina assembly is the first to empower its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence from Britain.
May 2, 1776 King Louis XVI of France commits one million dollars in arms and munitions. Spain also promises support. The Americans get the much needed foreign support they had been hoping for.
May 10, 1776 The Continental Congress authorizes the 13 colonies to form local (provincial) governments
June 28, 1776 American forces at Fort Moultrie in South Carolina, successfully defend Charleston against a British naval attack and inflict heavy damage on the fleet.
June-July 1776 In New York a massive British war fleet arrives under the command of General William Howe and his brother Admiral Lord Richard Howe. It consisted of 30 battleships with 1,200 cannon, 30,000 soldiers, 10,000 sailors, and 300 supply ships.
July 4, 1776 The Continental Congress formally adopts the Declaration of Independence taking the first major step toward establishing a new nation.
July 12, 1776 Two British frigates sail up the Hudson River firing their guns. At the request of the British, General Washington meets with Howe's representatives in New York. He listens to their vague offers of peace and clemency for the American rebels. Washington politely declines the offers and leaves.
Aug 27-29, 1776 British General Howe leads 15,000 soldiers against Washington's army in the Battle of Long Island. Washington's army is outnumbered two to one and suffers a severe defeat. His army is outflanked and scatters. Facing capture or even total surrender Washington retreats his army to Brooklyn Heights.
  At night time, the Americans cross the East River in small boats and escape to Manhattan. They then evacuate New York City and retreat up through Manhattan Island to Harlem Heights. Washington changes tactics to avoid any large scale battles with the British through a series of retreats.
Sept 11, 1776 A peace conference is held on Staten Island with British Admiral, Lord Richard Howe. The American representatives include John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The conference fails when Howe demands the colonists revoke the Declaration of Independence.
Sept 16, 1776 Washington's Colonial army repulses a British attack at the Battle of Harlem Heights in upper Manhattan. Fire engulfs New York City and destroys over 300 buildings several days later.
Sept 22, 1776 Nathan Hale is executed without a trial after he is caught spying on British troops on Long Island. His famous his last words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Sept 26, 1776 The Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and Silas Deane to negotiate treaties with European governments. Franklin and Deane travel to France seeking financial and military aid.
Oct 9, 1776 San Francisco is established by Spanish missionaries on the California coast
Oct 11, 1776 The inexperienced American Navy suffers a huge defeat on Lake Champlain at the hands of a British fleet of 87 gunships. In the seven hour Battle of Valcour Bay most of the American flotilla of 83 gunships is crippled with the remaining ships destroyed in a second engagement two days later. 
Oct 28, 1776 Washington's army suffers heavy casualties in the Battle of White Plains from Gen. Howe's forces after evacuating his main forces from Manhattan. Washington then retreats westward with his army.
Nov 1776 British General Howe captures Fort Washington on Manhattan and its precious stores of over 100 cannon, thousands of muskets and cartridges. British General Cornwallis captures Fort Lee in New Jersey.  Washington's army suffers 3,000 casualties in the two defeats. Washington abandons the New York area and moves his forces further westward toward the Delaware River. Cornwallis is in hot pursuit.
Dec 6, 1776 The naval base at Newport, Rhode Island, is captured by the British
Dec 11, 1776 Washington takes his troops across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.  Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, is among Washington's troops, he wrote these words "...These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country: but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered. Yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
Dec 12, 1776 The Continental Congress abandons Philadelphia for Baltimore concerned of a possible British attack
Dec 25-26, 1776 George Washington takes 2,400 of his men and re-crosses the Delaware River. He surprises the German Hessians who surrender after an hour long fight with nearly 1,000 taken prisoner. His army suffered only six wounded (including future president Lt. James Monroe). Washington reoccupies Trenton. The victory provides a much needed boost to the morale of the Americans.
Jan 3, 1777 Washington as his troops defeat the British at Princeton and drive them back toward New Brunswick. Washington establishes winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. During the harsh winter, Washington's army shrinks to about a thousand men as enlistments expire and deserters flee the hardships. By spring, with the arrival of recruits, Washington will have about 9,000 men.
Mar 12, 1777 The Continental Congress returns to Philadelphia from Baltimore after Washington's successes against the British in New Jersey.
Apr 27, 1777 American troops commanded by Benedict Arnold defeat the British at Ridgefield, Connecticut.
June 14, 1777 The flag of the United States with 13 stars and 13 white and red stripes is mandated by Congress; John Paul Jones is chosen by Congress to captain the 18 gun vessel Ranger with his mission to raid coastal towns of England.
June 17, 1777 General John Burgoyne commands a British force of 7,700 men to invade from Canada. They sail down Lake Champlain toward Albany, planning to link up with General Howe who will come north from New York City, cutting off New England from the rest of the colonies.
July 6, 1777 General Burgoyne's troops capture Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain. The loss of the military supplies there is a great blow to  Washington's forces. The loss of the fort is a huge blow to American morale.
July 23, 1777 British General Howe and his 15,000 men set sail from New York to Chesapeake Bay to capture Philadelphia, instead of sailing north to meet up with General Burgoyne
July 27,  1777 Marquis de Lafayette, a 19 year old French aristocrat, arrives in Philadelphia and volunteers to serve without pay. Congress appoints him as a major general in the Continental Army. Lafayette will become one of General Washington's most trusted aides.
Aug 1, 1777 General Burgoyne reaches the Hudson after a long, grueling month spent crossing 23 miles of wilderness separating the southern tip of Lake Champlain from the northern tip of the Hudson River.
Aug 16, 1777 Militia from Vermont aided by Massachusetts troops wipe out a detachment of 800 German Hessians sent by General Burgoyne to seize horses in the Battle of Bennington.
Aug 25, 1777 British General Howe disembarks at Chesapeake Bay with his troops.
Sept 9-11, 1777 General Washington and the main American Army of 10,500 men are driven back toward Philadelphia by Gen. Howe's British troops in the Battle of Brandywine Creek. Both sides suffer heavy losses. Congress then leaves Philadelphia and resettles in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Sept 26, 1777 British forces under General Howe occupy Philadelphia. Congress then relocates to York, Pennsylvania.
Oct 7, 1777 The first major American victory of the Revolutionary War as General Horatio Gates and General Benedict Arnold defeat General Burgoyne at The Battle of Saratoga resulting in 600 British casualties. American losses are only 150.
Oct 17, 1777 British General Burgoyne and his entire army of 5,700 men surrender to General Gates and his army. The British are then marched to Boston, placed on ships and sent back to England after swearing not serve again in the war against America. News of the American victory at Saratoga soon travels to Europe and boosts support of the American cause. In Paris the victory is celebrated as if it had been a French victory. Ben Franklin is received by the French Royal Court. France then recognizes the independence of America.
Nov 15, 1777 Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation as the government of the new United States of America, pending ratification by the individual states. Under the Articles, Congress is the sole authority of the new national government.
Dec 17, 1777 The Continental Army led by Washington sets up winter quarters at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania,.
Feb 6, 1778 American and French representatives sign two treaties in Paris: a Treaty of Amity and Commerce and a Treaty of Alliance. France now officially recognizes the United States and will soon become the major supplier of military supplies to Washington's army. Both countries pledge to fight until American independence is won, with neither country concluding a truce with Britain without the other's consent, and guarantee each other's possessions in America against all other powers.
  The American struggle for independence is will soon become a world war. British vessels fire on French ships and the two nations declare war. Spain will enter the conflict in 1779 as an ally of France. The following year, Britain will declare war on the Dutch who have been engaging in profitable trade with the French and Americans. So in addition to the war in America, the British will have to fight in the Mediterranean, Africa, India, the West Indies, and on the high seas. All the while facing possible invasion of England itself by the French.
Feb 23, 1778 Baron von Steuben of Prussia arrives at Valley Forge to join the Continental Army. He then begins much needed training and drilling of Washington's troops, now suffering from poor morale resulting from cold, hunger, disease, low supplies and desertions over the long, harsh winter.
Mar 16, 1778 A Peace Commission is created by the British Parliament to negotiate with the Americans. The commission travels to Philadelphia where its offers granting all of the American demands, except independence, are rejected by Congress.
May 8, 1778 British General Henry Clinton replaces General Howe as commander of all British forces in the American colonies.
May 30, 1778 A campaign of terror against American frontier settlements, instigated by the British, begins as 300 Iroquois Indians burn Cobleskill, New York.
June 18, 1778 Fearing a blockade by French ships, British General Clinton withdraws his troops from Philadelphia and marches across New Jersey toward New York City. Americans then re-occupy Philadelphia.
June 19, 1778 Washington sends troops from Valley Forge to intercept General Clinton
June 27-28, 1778 The Battle of Monmouth occurs in New Jersey as Washington's troops and General Clinton's troops fight to a standoff. On hearing that American General Charles Lee had ordered a retreat, Washington becomes furious. General Clinton then continues on toward New York.
July 2, 1778 Congress returns once again to Philadelphia
July 3, 1778 British Loyalists and Indians massacre American settlers in the Wyoming Valley of northern Pennsylvania.
July 8, 1778 General Washington sets up headquarters at West Point, New York.
July 10, 1778 France declares war against Britain.
Aug 8, 1778 American land forces and French ships attempt to conduct a combined siege against Newport, Rhode Island. But bad weather and delays of the land troops result in failure. The weather-damaged French fleet then sails to Boston for repairs.
Sept 14, 1778 Ben Franklin is appointed as the American diplomatic representative to France.
Nov 11, 1778 At Cherry Valley, New York, Loyalists and Indians massacre over 40 American settlers.
Dec 29, 1778 The British begin a major southern campaign with the capture of Savannah, Georgia, followed a month later with the capture of Augusta.
April 1-30, 1779 In retaliation for Indian raids on colonial settlements, American troops from North Carolina and Virginia attack the Chickamauga Indian villages in Tennessee.
May 10, 1779 British troops burn Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia.
June 1, 1779 British General Clinton takes his 6,000 men up the Hudson toward West Point.
June 16, 1779 Spain declares war on England, but does not make an alliance with the American revolutionary forces
July 5-11, 1779 Loyalists raid coastal towns in Connecticut, burning Fairfield, Norwalk and ships in New Haven harbor.
July 10, 1779 Naval ships from Massachusetts are destroyed by the British while attempting to take the Loyalist stronghold of Castine, Maine.
Aug 14, 1779 A peace plan is approved by Congress which stipulates independence, complete British evacuation of America and free navigation on the Mississippi River
Aug 29, 1779 Loyalists forces and their Indian allies are defeated by an American forces at Elmira, New York. After the battle, American troops head northwest and destroy nearly 40 Cayuga and Seneca Indian villages in retaliation for the campaign of terror against American settlers.
Sept 3-Oct 28 At Savannah, Georgia, the Americans suffer a major defeat while attacking the British. Among the 800 American and Allied casualties is Count Casimir Pulaski of Poland. British losses are only 140
Sept 23, 1779 American Naval Commander John Paul Jones fights a desperate battle off the coast of England with a British frigate. When the British demand his surrender, Jones responds, "I have not yet begun to fight!" Jones then captures the frigate before his own ship sinks.
Sept 27, 1779 John Adams is appointed by Congress to negotiate peace with England.
Oct 17, 1779 Washington sets up winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. His troops will suffer another harsh winter without needed supplies, resulting in low morale, desertions and attempts at mutiny.
Dec 26, 1779 British General Clinton sets sail to Charleston, South Carolina, from New York with 8,000 men. He arrives on Feb. 1.
Apr 8, 1780 The British attack begins at Charleston. Warships sail past the cannons of Fort Moultrie and enter Charleston harbor. Washington sends reinforcements
May 6, 1780 The British capture Fort Moultrie at Charleston, South Carolina
May 12, 1780 The British capture Charleston SC given the Americans their worse defeat of the Revolutionary War. 5400-man garrison (the entire southern American Army) along with four ships and a military arsenal are captured. British losses are 225.
May 25, 1780 General Washington faces a serious threat of mutiny after a severe winter camp in Morristown, New Jersey. Two Continental regiments conduct an armed march through the camp and demand immediate payment of salary (overdue by 5 months) and full rations. Troops from Pennsylvania put down the rebellion. Two leaders of the protest are hanged.
June 11, 1780 A new Massachusetts constitution is endorsed asserting "all men are born free and equal," including black slaves.
June 13, 1780 General Horatio Gates is commissioned by Congress to command the Southern Army.
June 23, 1780 American forces defeat the British in the Battle of Springfield, New Jersey.
July 11, 1780 Count de Rochambeau arrives with 6,000 French soldiers under at Newport, Rhode Island. Blockaded by the British fleet, they will remain there for almost a year, .
Aug 3, 1780 West Point is under the command of Benedict Arnold. The Americans do not know he has been secretly collaborating with British revealing General Washington's tactics.
Aug 16, 1780 American General Gates suffers a big defeat in South Carolina against the forces under British General Charles Cornwallis, resulting in 900 Americans killed and 1,000 captured.
Aug 18, 1780 The path to North Carolina is open for the British General Cornwallis's forces with an American defeat at Fishing Creek, South Carolina.
Sept 23, 1780 A British major in civilian clothing is captured near Tarrytown, New York. He is carrying plans indicating Benedict Arnold intends to turn traitor and surrender West Point. Two days later, Arnold hears of the spy's capture and flees West Point. He makes it to the British ship Vulture on the Hudson. Arnold is later named a Brigadier General in the British Army and will fight the Americans.
Oct 7, 1780 British General Cornwallis abandons his invasion of North Carolina after Americans capture his reinforcements, a Loyalist force of 1000 men
Oct 14, 1780 Washington's most able and trusted General, General Nathaneal Greene, is named as the new commander of the Southern Army, replacing General Gates. Greene then begins a strategy of rallying popular support and wearing down the British by leading General Cornwallis on a six month chase through the back woods of South Carolina into North Carolina into Virginia then back into North Carolina. The British, low on supplies, are forced to steal from any Americans they encounter, thus enraging the Americans.
Jan 3, 1781 There is a mutiny among Americans in New Jersey as troops from Pennsylvania set up camp near Princeton. They choose their own representatives to negotiate with Pennsylvania state officials. The crisis is eventually resolved through negotiations, but over half of the mutineers abandon the army.
Jan 17, 1781 American General Daniel Morgan defeats British General Tarleton at Cowpens, South Carolina.
Jan 20, 1781 American troops Mutiny at Pompton, New Jersey. The rebellion is put down seven days later by a 600-man force sent by General Washington. Two of the leaders are then hanged.
Mar 15, 1781 British General Cornwallis and his forces suffer heavy losses in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina. Cornwallis abandons plans to conquer the Carolinas and retreats to Wilmington. He begins a campaign to conquer Virginia with an army of 7,500 men.
May 21, 1781 General Washington and French General Rochambeau meet in Connecticut for a war council. General Rochambeau reluctantly agrees to Washington's plan for a joint French naval and American ground attack on New York.
June 4, 1781 Thomas Jefferson narrowly escapes capture by the British at Charlottesville, Virginia
June 10,  1781 American troops under Marquis de Lafayette, General Anthony Wayne and Baron von Steuben form a combined force in Virginia to oppose British forces under Benedict Arnold and General Cornwallis.
June 11, 1781 Congress appoints a Peace Commission made up of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay and Henry Laurens. The commission supplements John Adams who was the sole negotiator with the British.
July 20, 1781 Slaves in Williamsburg, Virginia, rebel and burn several buildings.
Aug 1, 1781 After several months of chasing General Greene's army without success, British General Cornwallis and his 10,000 worn out soldiers  seek rest at the small port of Yorktown, Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay. He establishes a base and communicates by sea with General Clinton's forces in New York.
Aug 14, 1781 General Washington abruptly changes plans and abandons the attack on New York in favor of Yorktown after receiving a letter from French Admiral Count de Grasse. de Grasse's entire 29-ship French fleet with 3,000 soldiers was heading for the Chesapeake Bay near General Cornwallis. General Washington coordinates with General Rochambeau to rush their best troops south to Virginia to destroy the British position in Yorktown.
Aug 30, 1781 Count de Grasse's French fleet arrives off Yorktown, Virginia. De Grasse lands troops near Yorktown, linking up with Lafayette's American troops to cut Cornwallis off from any retreat by land.
Sept 1, 1781 The troops of Washington and Rochambeau arrive at Philadelphia.
Sept 5-8, 1781 A major naval battle between the French fleet of de Grasse and the outnumbered British fleet of Admiral Thomas Graves occurs off Yorktown, resulting in a victory for de Grasse. The British fleet retreats to New York, leaving the French fleet in control of the Chesapeake Bay. The French fleet establishes a blockade, cutting General Cornwallis off from any retreat by sea. French naval reinforcements arrive from Newport.
Sept 6, 1781 Benedict Arnold's troops loot and burn the port of New London, Connecticut
Sept 14-24, 1781 De Grasse sends his ships up the Chesapeake Bay to transport the armies of Washington and Rochambeau to Yorktown
Sept 28, 1781  An Allied army of 17,000 men, under the command of General Washington, begins the siege of Yorktown. French cannons bombard British General Cornwallis and his 9,000 men day and night while the Allied lines slowly advance and encircle them. British supplies run dangerously low.
Oct 17, 1781 The British send out a flag of truce as Yorktown is about to be taken. General Washington and General Cornwallis work out terms of surrender.
Oct 19, 1781 The British army marches out in formation and surrenders at Yorktown, as their band plays the tune, "The world turned upside down".  With the surrender of Cornwallis all hopes for a British victory in the war against America are gone. The English Parliament will soon heed calls to bring this long costly war to an end.
Oct 24, 1781 British General Clinton and 7,000 reinforcements arrive at Chesapeake Bay but turn back on hearing of the surrender at Yorktown.
Jan 1, 1782 Loyalists begin leaving America, heading north to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Jan 5, 1782 The British withdraw from North Carolina.
Feb 27, 1781 In England, the House of Commons votes against further war in America.
Mar 5, 1782 The British Parliament empowers the King to negotiate peace with the United States.
Mar 7, 1782 American militiamen massacre 96 Delaware Indians in Ohio in retaliation for Indian raids conducted by other tribes.
Mar 20, 1782 British Prime Minister, Lord North, resigns, and is succeeded two days later by Lord Rockingham who seeks immediate negotiations with the American peace commissioners.
Apr 4, 1782 Sir Guy Carleton becomes the new commander of British forces in America, replacing General Clinton. Sir Carleton will implement the new British policy of ending hostilities and withdraw all British troops from America.
Apr 12, 1782 Peace talks begin in Paris between Ben Franklin and Richard Oswald of Britain.
Apr 16, 1782 General Washington establishes American army headquarters at Newburgh, New York.
Apr 19, 1782 The Dutch recognize the United States of America as a result of negotiations conducted in the Netherlands by John Adams.
June 11, 1782 The British evacuate Savannah, Georgia.
June 20, 1782 Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States of America.
Aug 19, 1782 Loyalist and Indian forces attack and defeat American settlers near Lexington, Kentucky.
Aug 25, 1782 Mohawk Indian Chief Joseph Brant conducts raids on settlements in Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
Aug 27, 1782 The last fighting of the Revolutionary War between Americans and British occurs with a skirmish in South Carolina along the Combahee River.
Nov 10, 1782 The final battle of the Revolutionary War occurs as Americans retaliate against Loyalist and Indian forces by attacking a Shawnee Indian village in the Ohio territory.
Nov 30, 1782 A preliminary peace treaty is signed in Paris. Terms include recognition of American independence and the boundaries of the United States, along with British withdrawal from America.
Dec 14, 1782 The British evacuate Charleston, South Carolina.
Dec 15, 1782 Strong objections are expressed by the French over the signing of the peace treaty in Paris without America first consulting them. Ben Franklin soothes their anger with a diplomatic response and prevents a falling out between France and America.
Jan 20, 1783 England signs a preliminary peace treaty with France and Spain.
Feb 3, 1782 Spain recognizes the United States of America. Shortly Sweden, Denmark and Russia do as well.
Feb 4, 1783 England officially declares an end to hostilities in America.
Mar 10, 1783 At the Newburgh, New York, military camp, an anonymous letter circulates among Washington's senior officers. The letter calls for an unauthorized meeting and urges the officers to defy the authority of the new U.S. national government (Congress) for its failure to honor past promises to the Continental Army. The next day, General Washington forbids the unauthorized meeting and instead suggests a regular meeting to be held on March 15. A second anonymous letter then appears and is circulated. This letter falsely claims Washington himself sympathizes with the rebellious officers.
Mar 15, 1783 General Washington gathers his officers and talks them out of a rebellion against the authority of Congress, and in effect preserves the American democracy.
Apr 11, 1783 Congress officially declares an end to the Revolutionary War.
Apr 26, 1783 7000 Loyalists set sail from New York for Canada, bringing a total of 100,000 Loyalists who have now fled America.
June 13, 1783 The main part of the Continental Army disbands.
June 24, 1783 To avoid protests from angry and unpaid war veterans, Congress leaves Philadelphia and relocates to Princeton, New Jersey.
July 8, 1783 The Supreme Court of Massachusetts abolishes slavery in that state.
Sept 3, 1783 The Treaty of Paris is signed by the United States and Great Britain. Congress will ratify the treaty on January 14, 1784.
Oct 7, 1783 The House of Burgesses in Virginia, grants freedom to slaves who served in the Continental Army.
Nov 2, 1783 George Washington delivers his farewell address to his army. The next day, remaining troops are discharged.
Nov 25, 1783 Washington enters Manhattan as the last British troops leave.Nov
Nov 26, 1783 Congress meets in Annapolis, Maryland.
Dec 23, 1783 Following a triumphant journey from New York to Annapolis, George Washington, victorious commander in chief of the American Revolutionary Army, appears before Congress and voluntarily resigns his commission, an event unprecedented in history.




 

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