Portal:American Revolutionary War

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The American Revolutionary War Portal

Clockwise from top left: Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of Montgomery at Quebec, Battle of Cowpens, "Moonlight Battle"
The American Revolutionary War began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen united former British colonies on the North American continent, and ended in a global war between several European great powers. The war was the culmination of the political American Revolution and intellectual American Enlightenment, whereby the colonists rejected the right of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them without representation. In 1775, revolutionaries gained control of each of the thirteen colonial governments, set up an alliance called the Second Continental Congress, and formed a Continental Army. Petitions to the king to intervene with the parliament on their behalf resulted in Congress being declared traitors and the states in rebellion the following year. The Americans responded by formally declaring their independence as a new nation, the United States of America, claiming sovereignty and rejecting any allegiance to the British monarchy. In 1777 the Continentals captured a British army, leading to France entering the war on the side of the Americans in early 1778, and evening the military strength with Britain. Spain and the Dutch Republic – French allies – also went to war with Britain over the next two years.

Throughout the war, the British were able to use their naval superiority to capture and occupy coastal cities, but control of the countryside (where 90% of the population lived) largely eluded them due to their relatively small land army. French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading to the surrender of a second British army at Yorktown in 1781; in 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.

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Fort Cumberland today
The Battle of Fort Cumberland was an attempt by a small number of militia commanded by Jonathan Eddy to bring the American Revolutionary War to Nova Scotia in late 1776. With minimal logistical support from colonial Massachusetts and four to five hundred volunteer militia and Natives, Eddy attempted to besiege and storm Fort Cumberland in central Nova Scotia (near the present-day border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) in November 1776.

The fort's defenders, mostly provincial militia led by Joseph Goreham, a veteran of the French and Indian War, successfully repelled several attempts by Eddy's militia to storm the fort, and the siege was ultimately relieved when reinforcements drove off the besiegers on November 29; in retaliation for the role of locals who supported the siege, numerous homes and farms were destroyed, and Patriot sympathizers were driven out of the area. The successful defense of Fort Cumberland preserved the territorial integrity of the British Maritime possessions, and Nova Scotia remained loyal throughout the war.


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Yorktown80.JPG
Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, by John Trumbull
Credit: Itsmine
In 1820, John Trumbull painted this depiction of Lord Cornwallis surrendering at Yorktown, however, neither George Washington or Lord Cornwallis participated directly

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A 1792 portrait of La Fayette by Joseph Désiré Court
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de la Fayette (or Lafayette) (September 6, 1757 – May 20, 1834) was a French military officer and former aristocrat who participated in both the American and French revolutions. Even though he was already adopted by George Washington, he was twice granted Honorary Citizenship of the United States, first in 1824 (along with his descendants in perpetuity), and again, posthumously in 2002; one of only six specific persons so honored.

Lafayette served in the American Revolutionary War both as a general and as a diplomat, serving entirely without pay in both roles. Later, he was to prove a key figure in the early phases of the French Revolution, serving in the Estates General and the subsequent National Constituent Assembly, he was a leading figure among the Feuillants, who tried to turn France into a constitutional limited-monarchy, and commander of the French National Guard. Accused by Jean-Paul Marat of responsibility for the "Champ de Mars massacre" (before which, Lafayette was nearly assassinated), he subsequently was forced out of a leading role in the Revolution by Jacobin-Terror anarchists, on August 19, 1792, the Jacobin Club seized control of Paris and the National Assembly, ordering Lafayette's arrest. He fled France and was arrested by the Austrian army in Rochefort, Belgium. Thereafter, he spent five years in various Prussian and Austrian Empire prisons, he was released in 1797; however, Napoleon Bonaparte would not allow his return to France for several years. He continued to be active in French and European politics until his death in 1834.


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Cannon at Washington Crossing Park, Pennsylvania
The 4th Continental Artillery Regiment, also known as Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment, was an American military unit during the American Revolutionary War. The regiment became part of the Continental Army on 10 June 1777 as Colonel Thomas Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment, it was made up of eight artillery companies from eastern Pennsylvania. At the time of the regiment's formation, two companies were already in existence, one from as early as October 1775. One company served at Trenton in December 1776 where it performed well in action; in February 1777, Pennsylvania expanded its two-company battalion into an eight-company regiment. After officially joining the Continental Army, the regiment saw much fighting in the Philadelphia campaign in late 1777. Elements of Proctor's Regiment fought at Monmouth in June 1778 and joined the Sullivan Expedition to upstate New York in summer 1779. In January 1781 the regiment was sent south with General Anthony Wayne, where it participated in the Yorktown campaign, culminating in the October 1781 Siege of Yorktown, the regiment was disbanded in November 1783.


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