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
The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups. Today, thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples; the peoples were prominent along the Atlantic Coast and into the interior along the Saint Lawrence River and around the Great Lakes. This grouping consists of the peoples. Before Europeans came into contact, most Algonquian settlements lived by hunting and fishing, although quite a few supplemented their diet by cultivating corn and squash; the Ojibwe cultivated wild rice. The Algonquians of New England practiced a seasonal economy; the basic social unit was the village: a few hundred people related by a clan kinship structure. Villages were mobile; the people moved to locations of greatest natural food supply breaking into smaller units or gathering as the circumstances required. This custom resulted in a certain degree of cross-tribal mobility in troubled times. In warm weather, they constructed portable wigwams, a type of hut with buckskin doors.
In the winter, they erected the more substantial longhouses, in which more than one clan could reside. They cached food supplies in more semi-subterranean structures. In the spring, when the fish were spawning, they left the winter camps to build villages at coastal locations and waterfalls. In March, they caught moving about in birch bark canoes. In April, they netted alewife and salmon. In May, they caught cod with line in the ocean. Putting out to sea, the men hunted whales, porpoises and seals.dubious The women and children gathered scallops, mussels and crabs, all the basis of menus in New England today. From April through October, natives hunted migratory birds and their eggs: Canada geese, mourning doves and others. In July and August they gathered strawberries, raspberries and nuts. In September, they moved up the streams to the forest. There, the men hunted beaver, caribou and white-tailed deer. In December, when the snows began, the people created larger winter camps in sheltered locations, where they built or reconstructed longhouses.
February and March were lean times. The tribes in southern New England and other northern latitudes had to rely on cached food. Northerners developed a practice of going hungry for several days at a time. Historians hypothesize that this practice kept the population down, according to Liebig's law of the minimum. Northerners were food gatherers only; the southern Algonquians of New England burn agriculture. They cleared fields by burning for one or two years of cultivation, after which the village moved to another location; this is the reason the English found the region cleared and ready for planting. By using various kinds of native corn and squash, southern New England natives were able to improve their diet to such a degree that their population increased and they reached a density of 287 people per 100 square miles as opposed to 41 in the north. With mobile crop rotation, southern villages were less mobile than northern ones; the natives continued their seasonal occupation but tended to move into fixed villages near their lands.
They adjusted to the change by developing a gender-oriented division of labor. The women cultivated crops, the men fished and hunted. Scholars estimate that, by the year 1600, the indigenous population of New England had reached 70,000–100,000. At the time of the first European settlements in North America, Algonquian peoples occupied what is now New Brunswick, much of what is now Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, they were concentrated in the New England region. The homeland of the Algonquian peoples is not known. At the time of the European arrival, the hegemonic Iroquois Confederacy, based in present-day New York and Pennsylvania, was at war with Algonquian neighbours. There are three "tribes" with plant uses that can be found at http://naeb.brit.org/uses/tribes/6/, http://naeb.brit.org/uses/tribes/7/, http://naeb.brit.org/uses/tribes/8/. The latter, "Tete-de-Boule," is an early European name for the Atikamekw; the French and English encountered the Maliseet of present-day Maine and New Brunswick.
Further north are the Betsiamite, Atikamekw and Innu/Naskapi. The Beothuk of Newfoundland might have been Algonquians, but as their last known speaker died in the early 19th century, little record of their language or culture remains. Colonists in the Massachusetts Bay area first encountered the Wampanoag, Nipmuck, Penobscot and Quinnipiac; the Mohegan, Pocumtuc and Narragansett were based in southern New England. The Abenaki were located in northern New England: present-day Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont in what became the United States and eastern Quebec in what became Canada, they had established trading relationships with French colonists who settled along the Atlantic coast and what was called the Saint Lawrence River. The Mahican was located in western New England and in the upper Hudson River Valley (around what was developed by Europeans as Albany
George Washington in the French and Indian War
George Washington's military experience began in the French and Indian War with a commission as a major in the militia of the British Province of Virginia. In 1753 Washington was sent as an ambassador from the British crown to the French officials and Indians as far north as present-day Erie, Pennsylvania; the following year he led another expedition to the area to assist in the construction of a fort at present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before reaching that point, he and some of his men, ambushed a French scouting party, its leader was killed. This peacetime act of aggression is seen as one of the first military steps leading to the global Seven Years' War; the French responded by attacking fortifications Washington erected following the ambush, forcing his surrender. Released on parole and his troops returned to Virginia. In 1755 he participated as a volunteer aide in the ill-fated expedition of General Edward Braddock, where he distinguished himself in the retreat following the climactic Battle of Monongahela.
He served from 1755 until 1758 as colonel and commander of the Virginia Regiment, directing the provincial defenses against French and Indian raids and building the regiment into one of the best-trained provincial militias of the time. He led the regiment as part of the 1758 expedition of General John Forbes that drove the French from Fort Duquesne, during which he and some of his companies were involved in a friendly fire incident. Unable to get a commission in the British Army, Washington resigned from the provincial militia and took up the life of a Virginia plantation owner. Washington gained valuable military skills during the war, acquiring tactical and logistical military experience, he acquired important political skills in his dealings with the British military establishment and the provincial government. His military exploits, although they included some notable failures, made his military reputation in the colonies such that he became a natural selection as the commander in chief of the Continental Army following the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775.
His successes in military and political spheres during that conflict led to his election as the first President of the United States of America. Born into a well-to-do Virginia family in Bridges Creek near Fredericksburg in 1732, Washington was schooled locally until the age of 15, his father's sudden death occurred. This eliminated the possibility of schooling in England, his mother rejected attempts to place him in the Royal Navy. Thanks to the connection by marriage of his half-brother Lawrence to the wealthy Fairfax family, Washington was appointed surveyor of Culpeper County in 1749. Washington's brother had purchased an interest in the Ohio Company, a land acquisition and settlement company whose objective was the settlement of Virginia's frontier areas, including the Ohio Country, territory north and west of the Ohio River, its investors included Virginia's Royal Governor, Robert Dinwiddie, who appointed Washington a major in the provincial militia in February 1753. The Ohio Country was occupied by a variety of Indian tribes that were nominally under the suzerainty of the Iroquois Confederacy based in what is now northwestern New York.
The area was the subject of several conflicting claims by British and French colonies. The British provinces of Virginia and Pennsylvania both claimed the area, traders from Pennsylvania had been trading with the Indians at least since the early 1740s. In 1752, representatives of the Ohio Company reached an agreement with the local Indian leaders allowing the construction of a fort and a small settlement at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, for the establishment of some settlements south of the Ohio River; the French were alarmed by these developments, in 1753 began the construction of a series of fortifications in the uppermost headwaters of the Ohio River, intending to extend the line of forts downriver and deny British traders and settlers access to the territory. When news of this reached Virginia, Governor Dinwiddie sought advice from the British government in London, he received orders to send a messenger to the French, reiterating British claims and demanding that they stop construction of their forts and quit the territory.
Governor Dinwiddie chose Major Washington 21 years old, for the trek into the Ohio Country to assess the French military situation, to deliver the British demands. He was a good choice despite his youth because he was familiar with the frontier from survey work, had good health, both government and Ohio Company leaders trusted Washington. Although he had no frontier warfare experience, neither did most other Virginians. Washington departed from Williamsburg at the end of October 1753. In Fredericksburg he picked up Jacob Van Braam, a family friend who spoke French, before heading into the Virginia highlands. There he was joined by Christopher Gist, an Ohio Company agent, familiar with the territory, a few backwoodsmen to assist with expedition logistics; when the expedition arrived at the site of the proposed fort, Washington noted that the site was well chosen, having "the entire Command of the Monongahela". The expedition proceeded on to Logstown, a large Indian settlement a short way down the Ohio River.
After parleying with the Indians, the Mingo "Half King" Tanacharison and three of his men agreed to accompany the British expedition to meet with the French. Washington learned that many of the Ohio tribes were as unhappy about the British plans for settli
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 Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown known as the Battle of Yorktown, the Surrender at Yorktown, German Battle or the Siege of Little York, ending on October 19, 1781, at Yorktown, was a decisive victory by a combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by British peer and Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. The culmination of the Yorktown campaign, the siege proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in the North American theater, as the surrender by Cornwallis, the capture of both him and his army, prompted the British government to negotiate an end to the conflict; the battle boosted faltering American morale and revived French enthusiasm for the war, as well as undermining popular support for the conflict in Great Britain. In 1780, about 5,500 French soldiers landed in Rhode Island to help their American allies fight the British troops who controlled New York City.
Following the arrival of dispatches from France that included the possibility of support from the French West Indies fleet of the Comte de Grasse and Rochambeau decided to ask de Grasse for assistance either in besieging New York, or in military operations against a British army operating in Virginia. On the advice of Rochambeau, de Grasse informed them of his intent to sail to the Chesapeake Bay, where Cornwallis had taken command of the army. Cornwallis, at first given confusing orders by his superior officer, Henry Clinton, was ordered to build a defensible deep-water port, which he began to do in Yorktown. Cornwallis' movements in Virginia were shadowed by a Continental Army force led by the Marquis de Lafayette; the French and American armies united north of New York City during the summer of 1781. When word of de Grasse's decision arrived, both armies began moving south toward Virginia, engaging in tactics of deception to lead the British to believe a siege of New York was planned. De Grasse sailed from the West Indies and arrived at the Chesapeake Bay at the end of August, bringing additional troops and creating a naval blockade of Yorktown.
He was transporting 500,000 silver pesos collected from the citizens of Havana, Cuba, to fund supplies for the siege and payroll for the Continental Army. While in Santo Domingo, de Grasse met with Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, an agent of Carlos III of Spain. De Grasse had planned to leave several of his warships in Santo Domingo. Saavedra promised the assistance of the Spanish navy to protect the French merchant fleet, enabling de Grasse to sail north with all of his warships. In the beginning of September, he defeated a British fleet led by Sir Thomas Graves that came to relieve Cornwallis at the Battle of the Chesapeake; as a result of this victory, de Grasse blocked any escape by sea for Cornwallis. By late September and Rochambeau arrived, the army and naval forces surrounded Cornwallis. After initial preparations, the Americans and French built their first parallel and began the bombardment. With the British defense weakened, on October 14, 1781, Washington sent two columns to attack the last major remaining British outer defenses.
A French column under Wilhelm of the Palatinate-Zweibrücken took Redoubt No. 9 and an American column under Alexander Hamilton took Redoubt No. 10. With these defenses taken, the allies were able to finish their second parallel. With the American artillery closer and its bombardment more intense than the British position began to deteriorate rapidly. Cornwallis asked for capitulation terms on October 17. After two days of negotiation, the surrender ceremony occurred on October 19. With the capture of more than 7,000 British soldiers, negotiations between the United States and Great Britain began, resulting in the Treaty of Paris of 1783. On December 20, 1780, Benedict Arnold sailed from New York with 1,500 troops to Portsmouth, Virginia, he first raided Richmond, defeating the defending militia, from January 5–7 before falling back to Portsmouth. Admiral Destouches, who arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in July 1780 with a fleet transporting 5,500 soldiers, was encouraged by Washington and French Lieutenant General Rochambeau to move his fleet south, launch a joint land-naval attack on Arnold's troops.
The Marquis de Lafayette was sent south with 1,200 men to help with the assault. However, Destouches was reluctant to dispatch many ships, in February sent only three. After they proved ineffective, he took a larger force of 8 ships in March 1781, fought a tactically inconclusive battle with the British fleet of Marriot Arbuthnot at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Destouches withdrew due to the damage sustained to his fleet, leaving Arbuthnot and the British fleet in control of the bay's mouth. On March 26, Arnold was joined by 2,300 troops under command of Major General William Phillips, who took command of the combined forces. Phillips resumed raiding, defeating the militia at Blandford burning the tobacco warehouses at Petersburg on April 25. Richmond was about to suffer the same fate; the British, not wanting to engage in a major battle, withdrew to Petersburg on May 10. On May 20, Charles Cornwallis arrived at Petersburg with 1,500 men after suffering heavy casualties at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
He assumed command, as Phillips had died of a fever. Cornwallis had not received permission to abandon the Carolinas from his superior, Henry Clinton, but he believed that Virginia would be easier to capture, feeling that it would approve of an invading British army. With the arrival of Cornwallis and more reinforcements from New York, the British Army numbered 7,200 men. Cornwallis wanted to push Lafayette, whose force now
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
The 1779 Sullivan Expedition known as the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, or Sullivan Campaign was an extended systematic military campaign during the American Revolutionary War against Loyalists and the four Nations of the Haudenosaunee which had sided with the British. The campaign ordered and organized by George Washington and his staff was conducted chiefly in the lands of the Iroquois Confederacy "taking the war home to the enemy to break their morale", the expedition was successful in that goal as they destroyed more than 40 Iroquois villages and stores of winter crops, breaking the power of the six nations in New York all the way to the Great Lakes, as the terrified Indian families relocated to Canada seeking protection of the British. Today this area is the heartland of Upstate New York, with the military power of the Iroquois vanquished, the events opened up the vast Ohio Country, the Great Lakes regions, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky to post-war settlements. Led by Major General John Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton, the expedition was conducted during the summer of 1779, beginning June 18 when the army marched from Easton, Pennsylvania, to October 3 when it abandoned Fort Sullivan, built at Tioga, to return to George Washington's main camp in New Jersey.
While the campaign had only one major battle, at Newtown along the Chemung River in western New York, the expedition damaged the Iroquois nations' economies by burning their crops and chattels, thus ruining the Iroquois technological infrastructure. With the Amerindians' shelter gone and food supplies destroyed, thereafter the strength of the Iroquois Confederacy was broken; the death toll from exposure and starvation dwarfed the casualties received in the Battle of Newtown, in which about 1,000 Iroquois and Loyalists were decisively defeated by an army of 3,200 Continental soldiers. Sullivan's army carried out a scorched earth campaign, methodically destroying at least forty Iroquois villages throughout the Finger Lakes region of western New York, to put an end to Iroquois and Loyalist attacks against American settlements as had occurred the previous year of 1778, such as the Cobleskill, Wyoming Valley and Cherry Valley massacres; the survivors fled to British regions in the Niagara Falls and Buffalo areas.
The devastation created great hardships for the thousands of Iroquois refugees who fled the region to shelter under British military protection outside Fort Niagara that winter, many starved or froze to death, despite strenuous attempts by the British authorities to import food and provide shelter via their limited resources. The Sullivan Expedition devastated the Iroquois crops and towns and left them dependent upon the mercy of the British for the harsh winter of 1779. With the Iroquois population decimated by disease and battle, the Indian morale never recovered, the Iroquois thereafter limited their incursions into the new United States to isolated hunting parties, the main populations having permanently migrated north of the border; when the American Revolutionary War began, British officials as well as the colonial Continental Congress sought the allegiance of the influential Iroquois Confederacy. The Six Nations divided over. Most Mohawks, Cayugas and Senecas chose to ally themselves with the British.
But the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, thanks in part to the influence of Presbyterian missionary Samuel Kirkland, joined the American revolutionaries. For the Iroquois, the American Revolution became a civil war; the Iroquois homeland lay on the frontier between the Province of Quebec and the provinces of New York and Pennsylvania. After a British army surrendered after the Battles of Saratoga in upstate New York in 1777, Loyalists and their Iroquois allies raided American Patriot settlements in the region, as well as the villages of American-allied Iroquois. Working out of Fort Niagara, men such as Loyalist commander Colonel John Butler, Mohawk military leader Joseph Brant, Seneca chief Cornplanter led the British-Indian raids. Commander-in-chief General George Washington never allocated more than minimal Continental Army troops for the defense of the frontier and he told the frontier settlements to use local militia for their own defense. On June 10, 1778, the Board of War of the Continental Congress concluded that a major Indian war was in the offing.
Since a defensive war would prove to be inadequate the board called for a major expedition of 3,000 men against Fort Detroit and a similar thrust into Seneca country to punish the Iroquois. Congress designated Major General Horatio Gates to lead the campaign and appropriated funds for the campaign. In spite of these plans, the expedition did not occur until the following year. On July 3, 1778, Loyalist commander Colonel Butler led his Rangers accompanied by a force of Senecas and Cayugas in an attack on Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley annihilating 360 armed Patriot defenders lured out of their defenses at Forty Fort. In September 1778, revenge for the Wyoming defeat was taken by American Colonel Thomas Hartley who, with 200 soldiers, burned nine to twelve Seneca and Mingo villages along the Susquehanna River in northeast Pennsylvania, including Tioga and Chemung. At the same time, Butler's Rangers attacked German Flatts in the Mohawk Valley, destroying all the houses and fields in the area. Further American retaliation was soon taken by Continental Army units under William Butler and John Cantine, burning the substantial In