Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia between September 5, 1774, October 26, 1774; the Second Congress moved incrementally towards independence. It adopted the Lee Resolution which established the new country on July 2, 1776, it agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; the Congress acted as the de facto national government of the United States by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, making formal treaties such as the Olive Branch Petition. The Second Continental Congress came together on May 11, 1775 reconvening the First Continental Congress. Many of the 56 delegates who attended the first meeting were in attendance at the second, the delegates appointed the same president and secretary. Notable new arrivals included John Hancock of Massachusetts.
Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Henry Middleton was elected as president to replace Randolph. Hancock was elected president on May 24. Delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies were present when the Second Continental Congress convened. Georgia had not participated in the First Continental Congress and did not send delegates to the Second. On May 13, 1775, Lyman Hall was admitted as a delegate from the Parish of St. John's in the Colony of Georgia, not as a delegate from the colony itself. On July 4, 1775, revolutionary Georgians held a Provincial Congress to decide how to respond to the American Revolution, that congress decided on July 8 to send delegates to the Continental Congress, they arrived on September 13. The First Continental Congress had sent entreaties to King George III to stop the Coercive Acts; the Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775 to plan further responses if the British government had not repealed or modified the acts.
For the first few months of the war, the Patriots carried on their struggle in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner. They had seized arsenals, driven out royal officials, besieged the British army in the city of Boston. On June 14, 1775, the Congress voted to create the Continental Army out of the militia units around Boston and appointed George Washington of Virginia as commanding general. On July 6, 1775, Congress approved a Declaration of Causes outlining the rationale and necessity for taking up arms in the Thirteen Colonies. On July 8, they extended the Olive Branch Petition to the British Crown as a final attempt at reconciliation. Silas Deane was sent to France as a minister of the Congress, American ports were reopened in defiance of the British Navigation Acts; the Continental Congress had no explicit legal authority to govern, but it assumed all the functions of a national government, such as appointing ambassadors, signing treaties, raising armies, appointing generals, obtaining loans from Europe, issuing paper money, disbursing funds.
The Congress had no authority to levy taxes and was required to request money and troops from the states to support the war effort. Individual states ignored these requests. Congress was moving towards declaring independence from the British Empire in 1776, but many delegates lacked the authority from their home governments to take such a drastic action. Advocates of independence moved to have reluctant colonial governments revise instructions to their delegations, or replace those governments which would not authorize independence. On May 10, 1776, Congress passed a resolution recommending that any colony with a government, not inclined toward independence should form one that was. On May 15, they adopted a more radical preamble to this resolution, drafted by John Adams, which advised throwing off oaths of allegiance and suppressing the authority of the Crown in any colonial government that still derived its authority from the Crown; that same day, the Virginia Convention instructed its delegation in Philadelphia to propose a resolution that called for a declaration of independence, the formation of foreign alliances, a confederation of the states.
The resolution of independence was delayed for several weeks, as advocates of independence consolidated support in their home governments. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee offered a resolution before the Congress declaring the colonies independent, he urged Congress to resolve "to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances" and to prepare a plan of confederation for the newly independent states. Lee argued that independence was the only way to ensure a foreign alliance, since no European monarchs would deal with America if they remained Britain's colonies. American leaders had rejected the divine right of kings in the New World, but recognized the necessity of proving their credibility in the Old World. Congress formally adopted the resolution of independence, but only after creating three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international
The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain; the Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war. Most of the Continental Army was disbanded in 1783; the 1st and 2nd Regiments went on to form the nucleus of the Legion of the United States in 1792 under General Anthony Wayne. This became the foundation of the United States Army in 1796; the Continental Army consisted of soldiers from all 13 colonies and, after 1776, from all 13 states. When the American Revolutionary War began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the colonial revolutionaries did not have an army.
Each colony had relied upon the militia, made up of part-time citizen-soldiers, for local defense, or the raising of temporary "provincial regiments" during specific crises such as the French and Indian War of 1754–63. As tensions with Great Britain increased in the years leading to the war, colonists began to reform their militias in preparation for the perceived potential conflict. Training of militiamen increased after the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774. Colonists such as Richard Henry Lee proposed forming a national militia force, but the First Continental Congress rejected the idea. On April 23, 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress authorized the raising of a colonial army consisting of 26 company regiments. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut soon raised similar but smaller forces. On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress decided to proceed with the establishment of a Continental Army for purposes of common defense, adopting the forces in place outside Boston and New York.
It raised the first ten companies of Continental troops on a one-year enlistment, riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia to be used as light infantry, who became the 1st Continental Regiment in 1776. On June 15, 1775, the Congress elected by unanimous vote George Washington as Commander-in-Chief, who accepted and served throughout the war without any compensation except for reimbursement of expenses. On July 18, 1775, the Congress requested all colonies form militia companies from "all able bodied effective men, between sixteen and fifty years of age." It was not uncommon for men younger than sixteen to enlist as most colonies had no requirement of parental consent for those under twenty-one. Four major-generals and eight brigadier-generals were appointed by the Second Continental Congress in the course of a few days. After Pomeroy did not accept, John Thomas was appointed in his place; as the Continental Congress adopted the responsibilities and posture of a legislature for a sovereign state, the role of the Continental Army became the subject of considerable debate.
Some Americans had a general aversion to maintaining a standing army. As a result, the army went through several distinct phases, characterized by official dissolution and reorganization of units. Soldiers in the Continental Army were citizens who had volunteered to serve in the army, at various times during the war, standard enlistment periods lasted from one to three years. Early in the war the enlistment periods were short, as the Continental Congress feared the possibility of the Continental Army evolving into a permanent army; the army never numbered more than 17,000 men. Turnover proved a constant problem in the winter of 1776–77, longer enlistments were approved. Broadly speaking, Continental forces consisted of several successive armies, or establishments: The Continental Army of 1775, comprising the initial New England Army, organized by Washington into three divisions, six brigades, 38 regiments. Major General Philip Schuyler's ten regiments in New York were sent to invade Canada; the Continental Army of 1776, reorganized after the initial enlistment period of the soldiers in the 1775 army had expired.
Washington had submitted recommendations to the Continental Congress immediately after he had accepted the position of Commander-in-Chief, but the Congress took time to consider and implement these. Despite attempts to broaden the recruiting base beyond New England, the 1776 army remained skewed toward the Northeast both in terms of its composition and of its geographical focus; this army consisted of 36 regiments, most standardized to a single battalion of 768 men strong and formed into eight companies, with a rank-and-file strength of 640. The Continental Army of 1777–80 evolved out of several critical reforms and political decisions that came about when it became apparent that the British were sending massive forces to put an end to the American Revolution; the Continental Congress passed the "Eighty-eight Battalion Resolve", ordering each state to contribute one-battalion regiments in proportion to their population, Washington subsequently received authority to raise an additional 16 battalions.
Enlistment terms extended to three years or to "the length of the war" to avoid the year-end crises that deplet
Valley Forge functioned as the third of eight military encampments for the Continental Army's main body, commanded by General George Washington. In September 1777, British forces had captured the American capital of Philadelphia. After failing to retake the city, Washington led his 12,000-man army into winter quarters at Valley Forge, located 18 miles northwest of Philadelphia, they remained there for six months, from December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778. At Valley Forge, the Continentals struggled to manage a disastrous supply crisis while retraining and reorganizing their units. About 1,700 to 2,000 soldiers died due to disease exacerbated by malnutrition. Today, Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves and protects over 3,500 acres of the original encampment site. In 1777, Valley Forge consisted of a small proto-industrial community located at the juncture of the Valley Creek and the Schuylkill River. In 1742, Quaker industrialists established the Mount Joy Iron Forge. Thanks to capital improvements made by John Potts and his family over the following decades, the small community expanded the ironworks, established mills, constructed new dwellings for residents.
Surrounding the valley was a rich farmland, where Welsh-Quaker farmers grew wheat, hay, Indian corn, among other crops, raised livestock including cattle, sheep and barnyard fowl. Settlers of German and Swedish descent lived nearby. In the summer of 1777 the Continental Army's quartermaster general, Thomas Mifflin, decided to station a portion of his army's supplies in outbuildings around the forges, due to its variety of structures and secluded location between two prominent hills. Fearing such a concentration of military supplies would undoubtedly attract the British, the forge-ironmaster, William Dewees Jr. expressed concerns about the army's proposal. Mifflin established a magazine at Valley Forge anyway. After the British landing at Head of Elk, Maryland on August 25, 1777, the British Army maneuvered out of the Chesapeake basin and towards Valley Forge. Following the Battle of Brandywine and the abortive Battle of the Clouds, on September 18 several hundred soldiers under General Wilhelm von Knyphausen raided the supply magazine at Valley Forge.
Despite the best efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton and Captain Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, the two Continental army officers selected to evacuate the supplies from Valley Forge, Crown soldiers captured supplies, destroyed others, burned down the forges and other buildings. Political and environmental factors all influenced the Continental Army's decision to establish their encampment near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in the winter of 1777-1778. Washington conferred with his officers to select the site that would be most advantageous to his army. Washington first asked his generals where to quarter the Continental Army in the winter of 1777–1778 on October 29, 1777. In addition to suggestions from his officers, Washington had to contend with the recommendations of politicians. Pennsylvania state legislators and the Continental Congress expected the Continental Army to select an encampment site that could protect the countryside around Philadelphia; some members of the Continental Congress believed that the army might be able to launch a winter campaign.
Interested parties suggested other sites for an encampment, including Lancaster and Wilmington, Delaware. However, following the inconclusive Battle of Whitemarsh from December 5–8, increasing numbers of officers and politicians began to appreciate the need to defend the greater Philadelphia region from British incursions. Considering these questions, an encampment at Valley Forge had notable advantages. Valley Forge's high terrain meant, its location allowed for soldiers to be detached to protect the countryside. Proximity to the Schuylkill River could facilitate supply movements down the river. Wide, open areas provided space for training. On December 19, Washington conducted his 12,000-man army to Valley Forge to establish the encampment; the encampment was situated along the high, flat ground east of Mount Joy and south of the Schuylkill River. In addition to a concentration of soldiers at Valley Forge, Washington ordered nearly 2,000 soldiers to encamp at Wilmington, Delaware, he posted the army's mounted troops at Trenton, New Jersey, additional outposts at Downingtown and Radnor, among other places.
In the two winter encampments prior to Valley Forge, the Continental army had sheltered themselves in a combination of tents, constructed huts, civilian barns and other buildings. Valley Forge would mark the first time Washington ordered the army concentrated into a more permanent post where they constructed their own shelters; this strategic shift encouraged a whole new host of problems for the American Patriots. The Valley Forge encampment became the Continental Army's first large-scale construction of living quarters. While no accurate account exists for the exact number of log huts built, experts estimate a range between 1,300-1,600 structures. Brigadier General Louis Lebègue de Presle Duportail selected grounds for the brigade encampments and planned the defenses. Afterwards, brigadier generals appointed officers from each regiment to mark out the precise spot for every officer and all enlisted men's huts. Despite commanders' attempts at standardization, the huts varied in terms of size and construction techniques.
Military historian John B. B. Trussell Jr. writes that many squads "dug their floors two feet below ground level," to reduce
Siege of Boston
The Siege of Boston was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War. New England militiamen prevented the movement by land of the British Army, garrisoned in what was the peninsular city of Boston, Massachusetts Bay. Both sides had to deal with resource supply and personnel issues over the course of the siege. British resupply and reinforcement activities were limited to sea access. After eleven months of the siege, the British abandoned Boston by sailing to Nova Scotia; the siege began on April 19 after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, when the militia from surrounding Massachusetts communities blocked land access to Boston. The Continental Congress formed the Continental Army from the militia, with George Washington as its Commander in Chief. In June 1775, the British seized Bunker and Breed's Hills, from which the Continentals were preparing to bombard the city, but their casualties were heavy and their gains were insufficient to break the Continental Army's hold on land access to Boston.
The Americans laid siege to the British-occupied city. Military actions during the remainder of the siege were limited to occasional raids, minor skirmishes, sniper fire. In November 1775, Washington sent the 25-year-old bookseller-turned-soldier Henry Knox to bring to Boston the heavy artillery, captured at Fort Ticonderoga. In a technically complex and demanding operation, Knox brought many cannons to the Boston area by January 1776. In March 1776, these artillery fortified Dorchester Heights, thereby threatening the British supply lifeline; the British commander William Howe saw the British position as indefensible and withdrew the British forces in Boston to the British stronghold at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on March 17. Prior to 1775, the British had imposed taxes and import duties on the American colonies, to which the inhabitants objected since they lacked British Parliamentary representation. In response to the Boston Tea Party and other acts of protest, 4,000 British troops under the command of General Thomas Gage were sent to occupy Boston and to pacify the restive Province of Massachusetts Bay.
Parliament authorized Gage, among other actions. It was reformed into the Provincial Congress, continued to meet; the Provincial Congress called for the organization of local militias and coordinated the accumulation of weapons and other military supplies. Under the terms of the Boston Port Act, Gage closed the Boston port, which caused much unemployment and discontent; when British forces were sent to seize military supplies from the town of Concord on April 19, 1775, militia companies from surrounding towns opposed them in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. At Concord, some of the British forces were routed in a confrontation at the North Bridge; the British troops, on their march back to Boston, were engaged in a running battle, suffering heavy casualties. All of the New England colonies raised militias in response to this alarm, sent them to Boston. After the battles of April 19, the Massachusetts militia, under the loose leadership of William Heath, superseded by General Artemas Ward late on the 20th, formed a siege line extending from Chelsea, around the peninsulas of Boston and Charlestown, to Roxbury surrounding Boston on three sides.
They blocked the Charlestown Neck, the Boston Neck, leaving only the harbor and sea access under British control. In the days following the creation of the siege line, the size of the colonial forces grew, as militias from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut arrived on the scene. General Gage wrote of his surprise of the number of rebels surrounding the city: "The rebels are not the despicable rabble too many have supposed them to be.... In all their wars against the French they never showed such conduct and perseverance as they do now."General Gage turned his attention to fortifying defensible positions. In the south, at Roxbury, Gage ordered lines of defenses with 10 twenty-four pound guns. In Boston proper, four hills were fortified, they were to be the main defense of the city. Over time, each of these hills were strengthened. Gage decided to abandon Charlestown, removing the beleaguered forces to Boston; the town of Charlestown itself was vacant, the high lands of Charlestown were left undefended, as were the heights of Dorchester, which had a commanding view of the harbor and the city.
The British at first restricted movement in and out of the city, fearing infiltration of weapons. Besieged and besiegers reached an informal agreement allowing traffic on the Boston Neck, provided no firearms were carried. Residents of Boston turned in 2,000 muskets, most of the Patriot residents left the city. Many Loyalists who lived outside the city of Boston fled into the city. Most of them felt that it was not safe to live outside of the city, because the Patriots were now in control of the countryside; some of the men, after arriving in Boston, joined Loyalist regiments attached to the British army. Because the siege did not blockade the harbor, the city remained open for the Royal Navy, under Vice Admiral Samuel Graves, to bring in supplies from Nova Scotia and other places. Colonial forces could do little to stop these shipments due to the naval supremacy of the British fleet. American privateers were able to harass supply ships, food prices rose quickly. Soon the shortages
George Washington was an American political leader, military general and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government, he has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation. Washington received his initial military training and command with the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and was named a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he was appointed Commanding General of the nation's Continental Army. Washington allied with France, in the defeat of the British at Yorktown. Once victory for the United States was in hand in 1783, Washington resigned his commission. Washington played a key role in the adoption and ratification of the Constitution and was elected president by the Electoral College in the first two elections.
He implemented a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry between cabinet members Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. During the French Revolution, he proclaimed a policy of neutrality while sanctioning the Jay Treaty, he set enduring precedents for the office of president, including the title "President of the United States", his Farewell Address is regarded as a pre-eminent statement on republicanism. Washington utilized slave labor and trading African American slaves, but he became troubled with the institution of slavery and freed them in his 1799 will, he was a member of the Anglican Church and the Freemasons, he urged tolerance for all religions in his roles as general and president. Upon his death, he was eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." He has been memorialized by monuments, geographical locations and currency, many scholars and polls rank him among the top American presidents. Washington's great-grandfather John Washington immigrated in 1656 from Sulgrave, England to the British Colony of Virginia where he accumulated 5,000 acres of land, including Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac River.
George Washington was born February 22, 1732 at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County and was the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. His father was a justice of the peace and a prominent public figure who had three additional children from his first marriage to Jane Butler; the family moved to Little Hunting Creek to Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg, Virginia. When Augustine died in 1743, Washington inherited ten slaves. Washington did not have the formal education that his older brothers received at Appleby Grammar School in England, but he did learn mathematics and surveying, he was talented in draftsmanship and map-making. By early adulthood, he was writing with "considerable force" and "precision."Washington visited Mount Vernon and Belvoir, the plantation that belonged to Lawrence's father-in-law William Fairfax, which fueled ambition for the lifestyle of the planter aristocracy. Fairfax became Washington's patron and surrogate father, Washington spent a month in 1748 with a team surveying Fairfax's Shenandoah Valley property.
He received a surveyor's license the following year from the College of Mary. He resigned from the job in 1750 and had bought 1,500 acres in the Valley, he owned 2,315 acres by 1752. In 1751, Washington made his only trip abroad when he accompanied Lawrence to Barbados, hoping that the climate would cure his brother's tuberculosis. Washington contracted smallpox during that trip, which immunized him but left his face scarred. Lawrence died in 1752, Washington leased Mount Vernon from his widow. Lawrence's service as adjutant general of the Virginia militia inspired Washington to seek a commission, Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him as a major in December 1752 and as commander of one of the four militia districts; the British and French were competing for control of the Ohio Valley at the time, the British building forts along the Ohio River and the French doing between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. In October 1753, Dinwiddie appointed Washington as a special envoy to demand that the French vacate territory which the British had claimed.
Dinwiddie appointed him to make peace with the Iroquois Confederacy and to gather intelligence about the French forces. Washington met with Half-King Tanacharison and other Iroquois chiefs at Logstown to secure their promise of support against the French, his party reached the Ohio River in November, they were intercepted by a French patrol and escorted to Fort Le Boeuf where Washington was received in a friendly manner. He delivered the British demand to vacate to French commander Saint-Pierre, but the French refused to leave. Saint-Pierre gave Washington his official answer in a sealed envelope after a few days' delay, he gave Washington's party food and extra winter clothing for the trip back to Virginia. Washington completed the precarious mission in 77 days in difficult winter conditions and achieved a measure of distinction when his report was published in Virginia and London. In February 1754, Dinwiddie promoted Washington to lieutenant colonel and second-in-command of the 300-strong Virginia R
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain and several other monarchies, they are divided in the War of the Second Coalition. Confined to Europe, the fighting assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe; as early as 1791, the other monarchies of Europe looked with outrage at the revolution and its upheavals. Anticipating an attack, France declared war on Prussia and Austria in the spring of 1792 and they responded with a coordinated invasion, turned back at the Battle of Valmy in September; this victory emboldened the National Convention to abolish the monarchy.
A series of victories by the new French armies abruptly ended with defeat at Neerwinden in the spring of 1793. The French suffered additional defeats in the remainder of the year and these difficult times allowed the Jacobins to rise to power and impose the Reign of Terror to unify the nation. In 1794, the situation improved for the French as huge victories at Fleurus against the Austrians and at the Black Mountain against the Spanish signaled the start of a new stage in the wars. By 1795, the French had captured the Austrian Netherlands and knocked Spain and Prussia out of the war with the Peace of Basel. A hitherto unknown general named Napoleon Bonaparte began his first campaign in Italy in April 1796. In less than a year, French armies under Napoleon decimated the Habsburg forces and evicted them from the Italian peninsula, winning every battle and capturing 150,000 prisoners. With French forces marching towards Vienna, the Austrians sued for peace and agreed to the Treaty of Campo Formio, ending the First Coalition against the Republic.
The War of the Second Coalition began in 1798 with the French invasion of Egypt, headed by Napoleon. The Allies took the opportunity presented by the French effort in the Middle East to regain territories lost from the First Coalition; the war began well for the Allies in Europe, where they pushed the French out of Italy and invaded Switzerland – racking up victories at Magnano and Novi along the way. However, their efforts unraveled with the French victory at Zurich in September 1799, which caused Russia to drop out of the war. Meanwhile, Napoleon's forces annihilated a series of Egyptian and Ottoman armies at the battles of the Pyramids, Mount Tabor and Abukir; these victories and the conquest of Egypt further enhanced Napoleon's popularity back in France and he returned in triumph in the fall of 1799. However, the Royal Navy had won the Battle of the Nile in 1798, further strengthening British control of the Mediterranean. Napoleon's arrival from Egypt led to the fall of the Directory in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, with Napoleon installing himself as Consul.
Napoleon reorganized the French army and launched a new assault against the Austrians in Italy during the spring of 1800. This brought a decisive French victory at the Battle of Marengo in June 1800, after which the Austrians withdrew from the peninsula once again. Another crushing French triumph at Hohenlinden in Bavaria forced the Austrians to seek peace for a second time, leading to the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801. With Austria and Russia out of the war, the United Kingdom found itself isolated and agreed to the Treaty of Amiens with Napoleon's government in 1802, concluding the Revolutionary Wars. However, the lingering tensions proved too difficult to contain and the Napoleonic Wars began a few years with the formation of the Third Coalition, continuing the series of Coalition Wars; the key figure in initial foreign reaction to the revolution was Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, brother of Louis XVI's Queen Marie Antoinette. Leopold had looked on the Revolution with equanimity, but became more and more disturbed as the Revolution became more radical, although he still hoped to avoid war.
On 27 August and King Frederick William II of Prussia, in consultation with emigrant French nobles, issued the Declaration of Pillnitz, which declared the interest of the monarchs of Europe in the well-being of Louis and his family, threatened vague but severe consequences if anything should befall them. Although Leopold saw the Pillnitz Declaration as a non-committal gesture to placate the sentiments of French monarchists and nobles, it was seen in France as a serious threat and was denounced by the revolutionary leaders. France issued an ultimatum demanding that the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria under Leopold II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire renounce any hostile alliances and withdraw its troops from the French border; the reply was evasive and the Assembly voted for war on 20 April 1792 against Francis II, after a long list of grievances presented by foreign minister Charles François Dumouriez. Dumouriez prepared an immediate invasion of the Austrian Netherlands, where he expected the local population to rise against Austrian rule as they had earlier in 1790.
However, the revolution had disorganized the army, the forces raised were insufficient for the invasion. Following the declaration of war, French soldiers deserted en masse and in one case murdered their general, Théob
Battle of Brandywine
The Battle of Brandywine known as the Battle of Brandywine Creek, was fought between the American Continental Army of General George Washington and the British Army of General Sir William Howe on September 11, 1777. The "Redcoats" of the British Army defeated the American rebels in the Patriots' forces and forced them to withdraw northeast toward the American capital and largest city of Philadelphia where the Second Continental Congress had been meeting since 1775; the engagement occurred near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania during Howe's campaign to take Philadelphia, part of the American Revolutionary War. More troops fought at Brandywine than any other battle of the American Revolution, it was the longest single-day battle of the war, with continuous fighting for 11 hours. Howe's army departed from Sandy Hook, New Jersey across New York Bay from the occupied town of New York City on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, on July 23, 1777, landed near present-day Elkton, Maryland, at the point of the "Head of Elk" by the Elk River at the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay, at the southern mouth of the Susquehanna River.
Marching north, the British Army brushed aside American light forces in a few skirmishes. General Washington offered battle with his army posted behind Brandywine Creek - off the Christina River. While part of his army demonstrated in front of Chadds Ford, Howe took the bulk of his troops on a long march that crossed the Brandywine far beyond Washington's right flank. Due to poor scouting, the Americans did not detect Howe's column until it reached a position in rear of their right flank. Belatedly, three divisions were shifted to block the British flanking force at Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse and School, a Quaker meeting house. After a stiff fight, Howe's wing broke through the newly formed American right wing, deployed on several hills. At this point Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen attacked Chadds Ford and crumpled the American left wing; as Washington's army streamed away in retreat, he brought up elements of General Nathanael Greene's division which held off Howe's column long enough for his army to escape to the northeast.
Polish General Casimir Pulaski defended Washington's rear assisting in his escape. The defeat and subsequent maneuvers left Philadelphia vulnerable; the British captured the city two weeks on September 26, beginning an occupation that would last nine months until June 1778. In late August 1777, after a distressing 34-day journey from Sandy Hook on the coast of New Jersey, a Royal Navy fleet of more than 260 ships carrying some 17,000 British troops under the command of British General Sir William Howe landed at the head of the Elk River, on the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay near present-day Elkton, Maryland 40–50 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Unloading the ships proved to be a logistical problem because the narrow river neck was shallow and muddy. General George Washington had situated the American forces, about 20,300-strong, between Head of Elk and Philadelphia, his forces were able to reconnoiter the British landing from Iron Hill near Newark, about 9 miles to the northeast. Because of the delay disembarking from the ships, Howe did not set up a typical camp but moved forward with the troops.
As a result, Washington was not able to gauge the strength of the opposing forces. After a skirmish at Cooch's Bridge south of Newark, the British troops moved north and Washington abandoned a defensive encampment along the Red Clay Creek near Newport, Delaware to deploy against the British at Chadds Ford; this site was important as it was the most direct passage across the Brandywine River on the road from Baltimore to Philadelphia. On September 9, Washington positioned detachments to guard other fords above and below Chadds Ford, hoping to force the battle there. Washington employed General John Armstrong, commanding about 1,000 Pennsylvania militia, to cover Pyle's Ford, 5.8 miles south of Chadds Ford, covered by Major Generals Anthony Wayne's and Nathanael Greene's divisions. Major General John Sullivan's division extended northward along the Brandywine's east banks, covering the high ground north of Chadds Ford along with Major General Adam Stephen's division and Major General Lord Stirling's divisions.
Further upstream was a brigade under Colonel Moses Hazen covering Buffington's Ford and Wistar's Ford. Washington was confident; the British grouped forces at nearby Kennett Square. Howe, who had better information about the area than Washington, had no intention of mounting a full-scale frontal attack against the prepared American defenses, he instead employed a flanking maneuver. About 6,800 men under the command of Wilhelm von Knyphausen advanced to meet Washington's troops at Chadds Ford; the remainder of Howe's troops, about 9,000 men, under the command of Charles, Lord Cornwallis, marched north to Trimble's Ford across the West Branch of the Brandywine Creek east to Jefferies Ford across the East Branch, south to flank the American forces. September 11 began with a heavy fog. Washington received contradictory reports about the British troop movements and continued to believe that the main force was moving to attack at Chadds Ford. Knyphausen's Column At 5:30 a.m. the British and Hessian troops began marching east along the "Great Road" from Kennett Square, advancing on the American troops positioned where the road crossed Brandywine Creek.
The first shots of the battle took place about 4 miles west of Chadds Ford, at Welch's Tavern. Elements of Maxwell's continental light infantry skirmished with