|Unit 7 – The Revolutionary War
Lesson 1: The Colonies at War
Essential Questions for Lesson 1:
Copy these and label: RAP (Reviewing and Previewing)
1) How did Washington successfully defeat the Hessians at Trenton and the British at Princeton?
2) Why was the American victory at Saratoga a turning point in the war?
3) How did the European allies help the Continental Army achieve superiority?
TERMS TO KNOW – VOCABULARY & KEY PEOPLE
- Lord George Germain
- Battle of Saratoga
- Treaty of Alliance
- Richard Montgomery
- John Paul Jones
- Benedict Arnold
- General William Howe
- Long Island
- Nathan Hale
- General John Burgoyne
- Colonel Barry St. Leger
- Fort Ticonderoga
- King Louis XVI
- Valley Forge
- Continental Dollars
- Baron Friedrich von
- Marquis de Lafayette
- Thaddeus Kosciuszko
- Casimir Pulaski
- Bernardo de Galvez
- Ohio River Valley
- George Rogers Clark
I The War in the North
Review from Unit 6
1) Gen. Thomas Gage wrote in a letter to King George III: “They are now spirited up by a rage and enthusiasm as
great as ever…”
2) Although the British were impressed w/the colonists’ DETERMINATION, they did not believe that a ragtag,
badly equipped group of rebels could beat a world power such as Gr. Britain. WRONG!!
Battles in Canada (Review from Unit 6)
1) Continental Army moved into Canada hoping to win support from the French Canadians.
2) Richard Montgomery’s (Patriot) forces marched from Fort Ticonderoga into Canada and captured Montreal
in November, 1775.
3) Benedict Arnold led his troops through the wilderness of Maine where they encountered blizzards & freezing
4) Supplies were short and they survived by eating ANYTHING they could find – BARK, CANDLES, and EVEN
5) Still, they continued toward Quebec and stormed the walled city on New Year’s Eve, 1775.
6) The attack was UNSUCCESSFUL – MONTGOMERY was KILLED & ARNOLD was WOUNDED.
7) Arnold’s troops = didn’t want to give up
aa) stayed outside Quebec for the next few months = harsh winter continued
bb) Spring = Arnold’s soldiers were tired, hungry, sick, & depressed
cc) admitted defeat in May when British reinforcements arrived, THUS LEAVING CANADA in the
HANDS OF THE BRITISH!
C) Dorchester Heights (Review from Unit 6)
1) Battle of Bunker Hill left the British short of forces and supplies
2) waited in Boston during the summer of 1775 for fresh supplies and reinforcement troops to arrive
3) Washington reached Boston = midsummer of 1775
4) began to train his troops
5) March 4, 1776, he placed the cannons from Fort Ticonderoga on Dorchester Heights and aimed them at the city!
6) British General William Howe realized he could not force the Americans to leave
7) Two weeks later, the entire British army and 1,500 Loyalists evacuated Boston by ship
8) General Howe moved his troops north to Halifax, Canada, LEAVING Boston under American control!
9) After the British RETREATED to Canada, King George set up a blockade of all the ports in the colonies, to
prevent goods and people from moving in and out of the area!
Background on British Lord George Germain
man chosen to direct the British troops
no real sense of how to defeat the rebels
never set foot in North America
didn’t know what he was up against
couldn’t be won by conquering a city or two
To end the revolution = Germain’s forces would have to crush the Patriots’ will to fight, state by state
HOWEVER: Germain kept changing plans and generals, hoping that some combination of the two would bring him an easy victory
After abandoning Boston..
spring of 1776
Germain = came up with his first plan for winning the war
British forces in America – led by General William Howe – ordered to capture New York City
from that base = British troops would then move north to destroy the rebellion at its heart: Massachusetts
Washington’s plan to block the invasion:
hurried with his army from Boston to New York
heard the good news: the Declaration of Independence was signed
by signing the Declaration of Independence, Congress had finally declared the colonies to be “free and independent states”
had the Declaration of Independence read aloud to his troop
F) African Americans and the War
Declaration of Independence = raised both hopes and questions for African Americans
Did Jefferson’s words “all men are created equal” apply to them? Would independence bring an end to slavery?
Should they join the revolution?
Even before independence was declared, a number of African Americans had joined the Patriot cause.
Black militiamen, both free and slave = fought at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill
Early in war = blacks were banned from the Continental Army
Washington = did not want the army to become a haven (safe place; refuge; sanctuary) for runaway slaves
Contrast: British promised freedom to all slaves who took up arms for the king
thousands of runaways became Loyalists = fought for Great Britain
shortage of volunteers soon forced Washington to change his mind
1779 = 15 percent of Continental soldiers = African Americans
Large numbers of black sailors = served in the Continental navy
* As black Americans joined the war effort, some whites began to question their own beliefs.
How could they accept slavery if they truly believed that all people are created equal, with the same rights to life, liberty, and happiness?
***** By the war’s end, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and
Pennsylvania had all taken steps to end slavery.
II The New York Campaign
June 1776 = Gen. Howe and his troops returned from Canada and moved into New York City
Howe thought this was the ideal location
from here = easy to march troops south to Philadelphia or north into New England
* * By overtaking New York City, he could also split the Northern and Southern colonies.
B) The Battle of Long Island
1) Washington = moved about 19,000 troops south to Long Island = to defend NY
UNTRAINED RECRUITS = no match for Howe’s professional soldiers
Washington had NO NAVY to challenge the British in the New York Harbor!
Washington = tried to predict where the British troops would come ashore
10,000 soldiers to Long Island
9,000 to Manhattan
6) August of 1776 = Howe landed at Long Island
7) During the battle, Washington’s troops fought bravely, but at least 1,500 were killed, injured, or taken
8) The Americans could not hold New York, and for weeks Washington was in danger of being captured!
aa) Washington’s quote: “I will not ask any man go further than I do. I will fight so long as I have a leg or an
9) Washington and his men = retreated to New Jersey, then crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.
10) He lost New York, but managed to escape the British.
11) Great Britain held New York for the rest of the war – SEVEN YEARS!
C) Spying on the Enemy
1) Spying = common
2) Captured spies = traitors = sentenced to death by hanging
3) dedicated Patriots = still spied for their country
4) Nathan Hale
aa) 24-yr-old American lieutenant
bb) spied for George Washington during the New York campaign
disguised himself, slipped behind enemy lines, and returned with information
British caught him
swiftly condemned him to death
Hale’s reported last words reflected his patriotic spirit: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country!”
III Victories at Trenton and Princeton
Washington and his men = now starving
never seemed to have enough clothing or food
hated having to retreat to Pennsylvania
felt America was going to lose the war
battle for New York City = first of many defeats for Americans
One Last Plan
a surprise attack on the British at Trenton, New Jersey
some = gave up and went home
some = renewed by the words of Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense:
“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 their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the
love and thanks of every man and woman.”
C) Surprise Attack – Continental Army Victory!
1) December 25, 1776 = British and Hessian soldiers camped at Trenton, NJ to celebrate Christmas
2) 2,400 Patriots = crossed the icy Delaware River unseen
3) Hessian/British troops slept – AGAIN – after partying
4) 1 ½ hrs: Brits/Hessians SURRENDERED
5) General Howe = learned of the defeat at Trenton
6) sent General Charles Cornwallis to pursue Washington and his troops
7) Washington turned the situation to his advantage and defeated the British at Princeton, New Jersey, on
January 3, 1777.
8) Washington took 868 prisoners without losing even a single man
IV Turning the Tide
GB = EMBARRASSED
Great Britain’s losses = left country’s officials puzzled, embarrassed, and frustrated
asked General John Burgoyne to stop the Americans
drew up a plan to gain control of the Hudson River Valley in New York
If successful = strategy would benefit the British by cutting New England off from the rest of the colonies.
B) The Battle of Saratoga
1) British planned out a wonderful attack to surround New England with the help of Colonel Barry St. Leger
2) failed miserably
3) the three commanders (Howe, Burgoyne, and Leger) neglected to notify each other of changes in the original
4) Benedict Arnold helped defeat St. Leger at Fort Stanwix
Burgoyne’s troops did make it to the Hudson River Valley
Brits managed to recapture Fort Ticonderoga
BUT: managed to lose around 1,000 soldiers along the way
HAD NO IDEA that Howe and St. Leger weren’t on their way to meet him
Three weeks later = Americans attacked Burgoyne in the Battle of Saratoga
Brits lost hundreds of soldiers
tried to retreat to Canada
Americans surrounded them = blocked every possible path to safety
forced Brits to surrender on October 17, 1777
14) THIS WAS THE BIGGEST AMERICAN VICTORY TO THIS POINT!!
aa) OVER 6,000 BRITISH SOLDIERS WERE TAKEN PRISONER!
bb) Gen. Burgoyne was FIRED FROM HIS POST after being defeated at the Battle of Saratoga
*COOL FACT – LITERATURE CONNECTION*
- Gen. Burgoyne had a second career to fall back on: He was a successful PLAYWRIGHT!
His comedy, The Heiress, was very popular in England & was translated into several foreign languages!
C) The Treaty of Alliance
1) Until the American victory at Saratoga, neither France nor any other country had been willing to openly
Support the colonists.
2) The victory made clear that it was possible for the Americans to succeed!!
3) February 1778 = French King Louis XVI signed the Treaty of Alliance
aa) assured the Americans the support of the FRENCH
D) Brutal Winter at Valley Forge
1) Before French aid reached America = Washington’s army had to endure the harsh winter of 1777-78 at Valley
2) soldiers = shoeless, wore rags, lived in temporary cloth tents, and had little to eat—mostly firecakes made from
thin strips of dough made from a mixture of flour and water
3) Making money during war:
aa) Troops were hungry b/c many farmers preferred to sell food to the Brits b/c they paid in GOLD, whereas
Congress paid them in paper money = Continental dollars.
bb) As for uniforms and blankets, merchants had raised the prices for these items sky-high.
cc) This desire for profits at the army’s expense outraged Washington.
dd) He said, “No punishment is too great for the man who can build his greatness upon his country’s ruin.”
3) finally = temporary 14’ by 16’ huts = each housing around 12 soldiers
4) some slept on the hard mud floors
5) others = straw, lice-infested mattresses
6) many left from sickness
7) 2,500 died from disease, exposure to cold, and/or lack of food
8) some who left = came back in the spring healthy and ready to fight
V Help from Europe
A) European Aid
1) Throughout the American Revolution, Europeans provided help in the form of money and military expertise.
aa) France and Spain became Americans’ allies: nations that join another nation in some common effort, such
as fighting a war
2) Baron Friedrich von Steuben
spent the winter at Valley Forge helping Washington train the troops
used military experience to teach the Continental soldiers how to work together as a unit
helped Patriots learn to
(1) make advances
(2) how to retreat (properly)
(3) how to use their bayonets
The comic von Steuben used his great sense of humor to keep the troops in good spirits throughout the horrid winter.
quote from soldier: “The army grows stronger every day. There is a spirit of discipline among the troops that is better than numbers.”
3) Marquis de Lafayette
aa) young French soldier
bb) fought w/Washington in Pennsylvania
cc) became an American general at the age of 19
dd) enthusiastically supported the American cause
ee) received no payment for his military service
ff) only fought out of love for America
used his expertise in building trenches and forts to fight for the American cause
aa) also from Poland
bb) trained and organized the FIRST AMERICAN CAVALRY – troops on horseback.
Bernardo do Galvez
was the governor of Spanish Louisiana
helped the Americans even before Spain entered the war
secretly provided supplies during the early years of the revolution
Spain entered the war in 1779
Galvez’s troops defeated the British at Baton Rouge and Natchez
his army then marched throughout the Gulf Coast area
captured British forts at Mobile in 1780 and Pensacola in 1781
The Battle of Monmouth
Now: Sir Henry Clinton had replaced General Howe as commander of the British forces in North America
Clinton’s view = taking over Philadelphia had gained the British nothing
ordered his army to retreat to New York City
the Royal Navy could keep them supplied by sea
Now = Washington’s turn to chase an army across New Jersey
June 28, 1778 = caught up with the retreating British near Monmouth, New Jersey
Washington seemed to be everywhere, constantly rallying his men to stand and fight
late at night: British slipped across the Hudson River to safety in New York City
Washington camped with his army nearby
Neither army knew it yet, but the war in the North was over.
VI The War in the West
Native Americans are recruited
1) Brits = recruited Nat. Ams to fight in the west while Rev. War is in east
2) at first = Nat. Ams. didn’t want to take sides
3) eventually sided w/the British
aa) thought Brits would help them keep the white settlers out of their territory
bb) fighting broke out in the Ohio River Valley
cc) British and Native American forces invaded the frontier (land between the ORV and the App. Mts.)
George Rogers Clark
led volunteers on a raid against the British in the ORV
captured British forts at Kaskaskia and Cohokia w/help from Nat.Ams. known as the Miami
February 1779 = British were weakened again = Clark = surprise attack = Brit fort at Vincennes
troops marched more than 100 miles through rain and icy weather to defeat Red Coats
damaged the British troops in the ORV
VII The War at Sea
Congress established the Continental Navy = 1775
had little effect on the outcome of the war
to protect their ports = hired armed private ships called privateers.
B) John Paul Jones
2) owned an American warship, the Bonhomme Richard
3) won a surprising victory in one of the war’s most famous sea battles
4) daring captain
5) sailed to the coast of Great Britain = attacked the British warship, Serapis, in the North Sea
6) fierce battle
7) cannonballs tore through the Bonhomme Richard
8) heavily damaged the ship = it caught fire
9) Brit commander demanded Jones to surrender
10) *** his reply: “ I have not yet begun to fight!”
11) sailors boarded the Serapis
12) fought one-on-one until the British were defeated
13) *** Later, John Paul Jones became known as the “Father of the American Navy”!
Assignment for Lesson 1
- Review what we highlighted as the important information.
- Label and answer the following questions : R.A.P (due tomorrow)
- Answer in COMPLETE SENTENCES with LOTS OF DETAIL!!!
- One or two sentences WILL NOT be enough to explain these “Below the Surface” questions.
1) Comprehension: How did the American victory at Saratoga help the Continental Army?
2) Point of View: Why would Native Americans be interested in the outcome of the American
Revolution? Include info such as what would they hope for? gain? etc.
3) Citizenship: Imagine that you had friends at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778. Make a list
10 things you would send to them to assist their struggles. REMEMBER what time
period you are in for this activity!
4) Summarizing: Re-create the diagram , and use it to give some of the important details of
the Revolutionary War battles at Trenton and Princeton – AT LEAST 3 for each side.