Conflict and Revolution 1775 to 1776
April 14, 1775 – Massachusetts Governor Gage upheld an order by the British government to implement the Coercive Acts and prohibited any “open rebellion” among colonists by using all required force.
April 18, 1775 – General Gage ordered 700 British soldiers to Concord to destroy the weapons depot in the colonies.
That night, Paul Revere and William Dawes were sent from Boston to inform colonists. Revere came to Lexington nearly at midnight and warned Sam Adams and John Hancock who hid there.
At dawn on April 19, approximately 70 armed Massachusetts soldiers were faced with the British advance guard at Lexington Green. This collision was deemed the beginning of the American Revolution. As result of the first fight, eight American soldiers were killed, and ten other were injured. The British forces relocated to Concord and destroyed the weapons and facilities of the colonists. At the North Bridge in Concord, an English platoon was assailed by the militiamen resulting in 14 injured persons.
British forces began a long way back down from Lexington to Boston and were pursued and attacked during all the way by farmers and rebels that resulted in 250 casualties. News of the events at Lexington and Concord extended throughout all the Colonies.
April 23, 1775 – The Provincial Congress in Massachusetts ordered an act regarding the mobilization of 13,600 American soldiers. Colonial volunteers from all over New England gathered and went to Boston, then settled camps around the city and began the British-held Boston siege that continued during one year.
May 10, 1775 – Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold led American forces and captured Fort Ticonderoga located in New York. A large number of military facilities and equipment were located on the territory of the fort, like cannons that were later transferred to Boston by ox teams.
May 10, 1775 – The Second Continental Congress took place in Philadelphia, John Hancock was elected as its president by the members. On May 15, the Congress ordered to place the colonies in a state of defense against British forces. On June 15, the Congress unanimously voted for George Washington’s appointment as a general and commander-in-chief of the new Continental Army.
June 17, 1775 – The first principal fight between British and American forces took place in Boston and was named the Battle of Bunker Hill after Bunker Hill in Charlestown. American troops were delved into the high ground of Breed’s Hill (the actual location) and were assailed by a frontal attack of more that 2000 British soldiers who ascended the hill. The Americans had the order not to shot until they were able to see the enemies. The fight occurred in three stages. At first British entered within 15 paces, the Americans fired a volley of musket fire and interrupted the British advance. The British then regrouped and assaulted 30 minutes later that resulted in the same situation. The third attack was successful for British, as the American ammunition reserves ended and they had only bayonets and stones used to defend themselves. The British took the hill but as a result had a loss of half their force, more than a thousand victims, while the Americans’ side lost about 400, among them being the colonial leader, General Joseph Warren.
July 3, 1775 – At Cambridge, Massachusetts, George Washington led the Continental Army which included about 17,000 men. The military forces were authorized by a resolution of the Congress, passed on June 14, 1775, with the purpose to coordinate the military power of the Thirteen Colonies.
July 5, 1775 – The Olive Branch Petition was upheld by the Second Continental Congress as an attempt to settle the dispute with Great Britain in a non-military way. The petition confirmed American loyalty to England and was addressed to King George III. However, he didn`t consider the document and ordered a proclamation that affirmed that the Americans were in a state of open rebellion to England.
July 6, 1775 – The Continental Congress passed a Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms that reflected the colonists’ reasons to begin the fight against the British and stated the Americans are “in defense of the Freedom that is our Birthright and which we ever enjoyed until the late Violation of it”. It was written by Thomas Jefferson and finalized by John Dickinson.
July 26, 1775 – Ben Franklin was appointed as Postmaster General at the American Post Office.
November 28, 1775 – Congress ordered the organization of the American Navy. The next day, Congress established a secret committee to ask for help from European countries.
December 23, 1775 – King George III signed a royal proclamation that ceased all commerce and trade operations for American colonies. Also in December, Congress received confirmation that France offered support in the war against Britain.
January 5, 1776 – The assembly of New Hampshire, as the legislative body, established the first state constitution in America.
January 9, 1776 – The pamphlet “Common Sense” written by Thomas Paine was published in Philadelphia. The main idea reflected the appeal for independence from England for Americans and had an intention to condemn the actions of King George III. It appeared anonymously and became very popular during the time of the revolution.
March 4-17, 1776 – American forces held Dorchester Heights which overlooks Boston harbor. Occupied British artillery from Fort Ticonderoga was relocated on the heights to maintain the siege against the British in Boston. The British began evacuation from Boston and set a boat for Halifax. George Washington then returned to New York to establish defenses and to prevent the British plan to attack New York City.
April 6, 1776 – The Continental Congress considered colonial shipping ports to be opened to all vessels except the ones owned by British. The Congress had already legalized privateer raids on British boats and also recommended to disarm all Americans loyal to England.
April 12, 1776 – The North Carolina assembly empowered with capacity its representatives in the Continental Congress to vote for independence from Britain.
May 2, 1776 – The American protesters obtained the donation in one million dollars for arms munitions as the support for their side from King Louis XVI of France. The King of Spain also confirmed a probable support.
May 10, 1776 – The Continental Congress empowered all the 13 colonies with a legal capacity to establish local (provincial) governments.
June 28, 1776 – In South Carolina, at Fort Moultrie American army successfully repelled the British naval attack and kept the positions in Charleston and caused huge damage on the fleet.
June-July, 1776 – A substantive British war fleet that included 30 battleships with 1200 cannons, 30,000 soldiers, 10,000 sailors, and 300 supply ships entered in New York Harbor. The command of General William Howe and his brother Admiral Lord Richard Howe led the marine forces.
June-July, 1776 – On June 7, Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress, declared a legal resolution as an appeal for America to proclaim its independence from England. Congress upheld the decision to suspend its ruling on this till July. On June 11, Congress established a committee aimed to draft a declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Livingston and Roger Sherman were appointed as Committee members. Jefferson was resigned by the committee to write the first declaration draft, which he finished in one day. On June 28, after seventeen days after drafting Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was completed with amendments made by Adams and Franklin and presented to the Congress. On July 2, twelve of thirteen colonial delegations (New York abstains) reflected their support of Lee’s resolution for independence by the voting. On July 4, the Congress formally approved Jefferson’s Declaration and sent its copies to all of the colonies. On August 2, the document was signed resulting in that most of the 55 members of Congress put their signatures on the parchment copy.
July 4, 1776 – United States Declaration of Independence
July 12, 1776 – Two British frigates arrived at the Hudson River shooting their guns. Peace feelers, as a kind of diplomacy that intended determining whether a contrary party was prepared to terminate confrontations, were then spread to the Americans. As the British side asked, Gen. Washington conducted a meeting with Howe’s representatives in New York and received ambiguous offers of obligations for the American protesters. Washington politely refused and left the meeting.
August 27-29, 1776 – Gen. Howe was appointed as a head of 15,000 soldiers against American army led by Washington in the Battle of Long Island. Washington, outnumbered two to one, was subsequently defeated as his forces were outflanked and dispersed. The Americans troops relocated to Brooklyn Heights, as the possibility to be captured by the British or be totally surrendered increased significantly.
But at night, the Americans transferred the East River in small boats and went to Manhattan, then evacuated New York City and passed through Manhattan Island to Harlem Heights. Washington decided to change tactics, attempting to avoid large harsh battles with the British but make a series of retreats.
September 11, 1776 – A peace conference took place on Staten Island, where British Admiral, Lord Richard Howe was present and met American representatives including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The conference was terminated as Howe asked the colonists to cancel the Declaration of Independence.
September 16, 1776 – After the evacuation of New York City, Washington’s army resisted the attack of British forces during the Battle of Harlem Heights in upper Manhattan. Several days later, New York City was set on fire and this accident destroyed over 300 buildings.
September 22, 1776 – Nathan Hale was caught for spying at British troops on Long Island and was beheaded without a trial. His last statement was “I am so satisfied with the cause in which I have engaged that my only regret is that I have not more lives than one to offer in its service.”
September 26, 1776 – Congress assigned Jefferson, Franklin and Silas Deane to conclude agreements with European governments. Franklin and Deane then went to France to ask for financial and military support.
October 9, 1776 – San Francisco was founded by Spanish colonists from a Mission San Francisco de Asís on the California coast.
October 11, 1776 – American Navy faced a big loss on Lake Champlain when the British fleet of 87 gunships broke down them. Most of the American fleet of 83 gunships was damaged after Battle of Valcour Bay than lasted for 7 hours. Moreover, last ships were destroyed in a second confrontation two days later.
October 28, 1776 – Washington’s army evacuated his principal forces from Manhattan, but hard casualties resulted in the Battle of White Plains from Gen. Howe’s forces effected negatively the military capacity of the army. Then Washington pulled out in west direction.
November, 1776 – As results of victories for the British Gen. How captured Manhattan including its significant supplement of over 100 cannons, thousands of muskets and cartridges. The Gen Cornwallis intervened and kept Fort Lee in New Jersey to Gen. Cornwallis. Washington’s army was faced with 3000 casualties as consequences of two breakdowns. Gen. Washington left the New York area and passed his forces further westward toward the Delaware River. Cornwallis began to pursue American troops.
December 6, 1776 – The British apprehended the naval base at Newport, located on Rhode Island.
December 11, 1776 – Washington transferred with his troops through the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. The next day, because of chances of the British attack, the Continental Congress left Philadelphia for Baltimore.
In 1776, Thomas Paine published The American Crisis pamphlet series to give motivation and inspiration for the Americans soldiers in battles against the British army. He wrote about the war: “Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
December 25-26, 1776 – On Christmas, George Washington joined with 2400 of his men and transferred the Delaware River.
Washington then exercised a surprise raid on 1500 British-Hessians (German mercenaries) who were located in Trenton, New Jersey.
The Hessians were defeated after an hour with approximately 1000 imprisoned by Washington who was faced with only six wounded (including the future president Lt. James Monroe). Washington entered Trenton. The victory in this battle provided a so much needed boost to the motivation of all American Patriots.