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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Otis publishes "The
Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and
merchants begin a boycott of British luxury
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.
is passed requiring colonists to house British
troops and supply them with food.
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.
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
a mob attacks the home of Thomas Hutchinson,
Chief Justice of Massachusetts. Hutchinson and
his family narrowly escape.
Stamp Act Congress
convenes in New York City,
with representatives from nine of the colonies.
This Congress prepares a
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
Nov 1, 1765
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.
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
York assembly refuses to comply with General
Gage's request to enforce the Quartering Act
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
stating that the British government has total
power to legislate any laws governing the
American colonies in all cases whatsoever.
the repeal of the Stamp Act causes celebrations
in the colonies and a relaxation of the boycott
of imported English trade goods.
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.
York legislature is suspended by the English
Crown after once again voting to refuse to
comply with the Act.
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.
Bostonians decide to reinstate a boycott of
English luxury items.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Governor of Massachusetts dissolves the general
court after the legislature defies his order to
revoke Adams' circular letter
and New York, merchants agree to boycott most
British goods until the Townshend Acts are
||At a town
meeting in Boston residents are urged to arm
warships sail into Boston Harbor, two regiments
of English infantry land in Boston and set up
permanent residence to keep order.
||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
in Philadelphia join the boycott of British
boycott of English goods spreads to New Jersey,
Rhode Island, and then North Carolina.
population of the American colonies reaches
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Parliament authorizes the company to ship a half
million pounds of tea to a group of chosen tea
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.
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
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
Dec 16, 1773
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.
English Parliament passes the first of a series
(called Intolerable Acts by the
Americans) in response to the rebellion in
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
May 13, 1774
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
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
English Parliament enacts the next series of
Coercive Acts, which include the
Act and the
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
which protects royal officials in Massachusetts
from being sued in colonial courts, and the
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.
version of the 1765
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.
Massachusetts Royal Governor Gage seizes an
arsenal of weapons at Charlestown.
Sept 5-Oct 26, 1774
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
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
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
Continental Congress adopts the
in which the delegates agree to boycott English
imports, effect an embargo of exports to
Britain, and discontinue the slave trade.
Feb 1, 1775
Cambridge, Mass., a provincial congress is held
during which John Hancock and Joseph Warren
begin defensive preparations for a state of war.
English Parliament declares Massachusetts to be
in a state of rebellion.
Mar 23, 1775
Patrick Henry delivers a
against British rule, in Virginia saying the
famous words, "Give me liberty or give me
Mar 30, 1775
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
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
Gage orders 700 British soldiers to Concord to
destroy the colonists' weapons cache
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
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
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
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
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
Second Continental Congress convenes in
Philadelphia. John Hancock is elected its
President. On May 15, On June 15,
May 15, 1775
Continental Congress places the colonies in a
state of defense.
June 15, 1775
Continental Congress unanimously votes to
appoint George Washington General and
Commander-in-Chief of the new Continental Army.
June 17, 1775
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
takes command of the Continental Army at
Cambridge, Massachusetts, which now has about
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
declaring the Americans to be in a state of open
July 6, 1775
Continental Congress issues a
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
Franklin is appointed Postmaster General for the
first American Post Office
Nov 28, 1775
Continental Congress establishes The American
Nov 29, 1775
Continental Congress appoints a secret committee
to seek help from European nations.
Dec 23, 1775
George III issues a royal proclamation closing
the American colonies to all commerce and trade.
It is to take effect in March of 1776.
is told that France may offer support against
Jan 5, 1776
The assembly of New Hampshire adopts the first
American state constitution
Jan 9, 1776
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,"
Mar 4-17, 1776
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
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
Carolina assembly is the first to empower its
delegates to the Continental Congress to vote
for independence from Britain.
May 2, 1776
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
Continental Congress authorizes the 13 colonies
to form local (provincial) governments
June 28, 1776
forces at Fort Moultrie in South Carolina,
successfully defend Charleston against a British
naval attack and inflict heavy damage on the
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
Continental Congress formally adopts the
Declaration of Independence taking the first
major step toward establishing a new nation.
July 12, 1776
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
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
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
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
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
Sept 22, 1776
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
Sept 26, 1776
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
Oct 9, 1776
Francisco is established by Spanish missionaries
on the California coast
Oct 11, 1776
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.
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
base at Newport, Rhode Island, is captured by
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
Continental Congress abandons Philadelphia for
Baltimore concerned of a possible British attack
Dec 25-26, 1776
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
Continental Congress returns to Philadelphia
from Baltimore after Washington's successes
against the British in New Jersey.
Apr 27, 1777
troops commanded by
defeat the British at Ridgefield, Connecticut.
June 14, 1777
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
July 6, 1777
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
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
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
Aug 16, 1777
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
General Howe disembarks at Chesapeake Bay with
Sept 9-11, 1777
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,
Sept 26, 1777
forces under General Howe occupy Philadelphia.
Congress then relocates to York, Pennsylvania.
Oct 7, 1777
major American victory of the Revolutionary War
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
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
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
Continental Army led by Washington sets up
winter quarters at Valley Forge in
Feb 6, 1778
and French representatives sign two treaties in
Paris: a Treaty
of Amity and Commerce
and a Treaty
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.
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
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
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
General Henry Clinton replaces General Howe as
commander of all British forces in the American
May 30, 1778
campaign of terror against American frontier
settlements, instigated by the British, begins
as 300 Iroquois Indians burn Cobleskill, New
June 18, 1778
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
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
July 2, 1778
returns once again to Philadelphia
July 3, 1778
Loyalists and Indians massacre American settlers
in the Wyoming Valley of northern Pennsylvania.
July 8, 1778
Washington sets up headquarters at West Point,
July 10, 1778
declares war against Britain.
Aug 8, 1778
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
is appointed as the American diplomatic
representative to France.
Nov 11, 1778
Valley, New York, Loyalists and Indians massacre
over 40 American settlers.
Dec 29, 1778
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
retaliation for Indian raids on colonial
settlements, American troops from North Carolina
and Virginia attack the Chickamauga Indian
villages in Tennessee.
May 10, 1779
troops burn Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia.
June 1, 1779
General Clinton takes his 6,000 men up the
Hudson toward West Point.
June 16, 1779
declares war on England, but does not make an
alliance with the American revolutionary forces
July 5-11, 1779
raid coastal towns in Connecticut, burning
Fairfield, Norwalk and ships in New Haven
July 10, 1779
ships from Massachusetts are destroyed by the
British while attempting to take the Loyalist
stronghold of Castine, Maine.
Aug 14, 1779
plan is approved by Congress which stipulates
independence, complete British evacuation of
America and free navigation on the Mississippi
Aug 29, 1779
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
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
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
is appointed by Congress to negotiate peace with
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
Dec 26, 1779
General Clinton sets sail to Charleston, South
Carolina, from New York with 8,000 men. He
arrives on Feb. 1.
Apr 8, 1780
British attack begins at Charleston. Warships
sail past the cannons of Fort Moultrie and enter
Charleston harbor. Washington sends
May 6, 1780
British capture Fort Moultrie at Charleston,
May 12, 1780
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
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
Massachusetts constitution is endorsed asserting
"all men are born free and equal," including
June 13, 1780
General Horatio Gates
is commissioned by Congress to command the
June 23, 1780
forces defeat the British in the
Battle of Springfield,
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
Point is under the command of Benedict Arnold.
The Americans do not know he has been secretly
collaborating with British revealing General
Aug 16, 1780
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
Aug 18, 1780
to North Carolina is open for the British
General Cornwallis's forces with an American
defeat at Fishing Creek, South Carolina.
Sept 23, 1780
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
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
Jan 3, 1781
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
General Daniel Morgan
defeats British General Tarleton at
Jan 20, 1781
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
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
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
narrowly escapes capture by the British at
June 10, 1781
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
June 11, 1781
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
Williamsburg, Virginia, rebel and burn several
Aug 1, 1781
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
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
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
troops of Washington and Rochambeau arrive at
Sept 5-8, 1781
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
Arnold's troops loot and burn the port of New
Sept 14-24, 1781
sends his ships up the Chesapeake Bay to
transport the armies of Washington and
Rochambeau to Yorktown
Sept 28, 1781
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
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
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
General Clinton and 7,000 reinforcements arrive
at Chesapeake Bay but turn back on hearing of
the surrender at Yorktown.
Jan 1, 1782
begin leaving America, heading north to Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick.
Jan 5, 1782
British withdraw from North Carolina.
Feb 27, 1781
England, the House of Commons votes against
further war in America.
Mar 5, 1782
British Parliament empowers the King to
negotiate peace with the United States.
Mar 7, 1782
militiamen massacre 96 Delaware Indians in Ohio
in retaliation for Indian raids conducted by
Mar 20, 1782
Prime Minister, Lord North, resigns, and is
succeeded two days later by Lord Rockingham who
seeks immediate negotiations with the American
Apr 4, 1782
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
talks begin in Paris between Ben Franklin and
Richard Oswald of Britain.
Apr 16, 1782
Washington establishes American army
headquarters at Newburgh, New York.
Apr 19, 1782
recognize the United States of America as a
result of negotiations conducted in the
Netherlands by John Adams.
June 11, 1782
British evacuate Savannah, Georgia.
June 20, 1782
adopts the Great Seal of the United States of
Aug 19, 1782
and Indian forces attack and defeat American
settlers near Lexington, Kentucky.
Aug 25, 1782
Indian Chief Joseph Brant conducts raids on
settlements in Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
Aug 27, 1782
fighting of the Revolutionary War between
Americans and British occurs with a skirmish in
South Carolina along the Combahee River.
Nov 10, 1782
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
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
Dec 14, 1782
British evacuate Charleston, South Carolina.
Dec 15, 1782
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
Jan 20, 1783
signs a preliminary peace treaty with France and
Feb 3, 1782
recognizes the United States of America. Shortly
Sweden, Denmark and Russia do as well.
Feb 4, 1783
officially declares an end to hostilities in
Mar 10, 1783
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
Washington gathers his officers and talks them
out of a rebellion against the authority of
Congress, and in effect preserves the American
Apr 11, 1783
officially declares an end to the Revolutionary
Apr 26, 1783
Loyalists set sail from New York for Canada,
bringing a total of 100,000 Loyalists who have
now fled America.
June 13, 1783
part of the Continental Army disbands.
June 24, 1783
protests from angry and unpaid war veterans,
Congress leaves Philadelphia and relocates to
Princeton, New Jersey.
July 8, 1783
Supreme Court of Massachusetts abolishes slavery
in that state.
Sept 3, 1783
Treaty of Paris
is signed by the United States and Great
Britain. Congress will ratify the treaty on
January 14, 1784.
Oct 7, 1783
of Burgesses in Virginia, grants freedom to
slaves who served in the Continental Army.
Nov 2, 1783
Washington delivers his farewell address to his
army. The next day, remaining troops are
Nov 25, 1783
Washington enters Manhattan as the last British
Nov 26, 1783
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.