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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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John Trumbull's 1786 painting, Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec
The Battle of Quebec was an attempt on December 31, 1775, by American colonial revolutionaries to capture the Canadian city of Quebec and enlist French Canadian support for the American Revolutionary War. The British commander, General Guy Carleton, could not get extensive help because the St. Lawrence River was frozen, and had to rely on the French-speaking militia of the city, who turned out in high numbers. Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery were the two primary colonial commanders in the assault, which failed. The battle was the climax of the revolutionaries' invasion of Canada and put an end to any hopes of French Canada rising in rebellion with the colonists. The battle didn't actually repulse the invasion; this occurred six months later with the arrival of 4,000 troops, who forced the Continentals to leave Quebec.


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Surrender of General Burgoyne.jpg
The Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga by John Trumbull
Credit: Davepape
After the Battles of Saratoga, John Burgoyne surrendered to Horatio Gates on October 17, 1777

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Benedict arnold illustration.jpg
Benedict Arnold V (January 14, 1741 [O.S. January 3, 1740] – June 14, 1801) was a general during the American Revolutionary War who first fought for the American Continental Army but switched sides to the British Empire in 1780. He distinguished himself early in the war through acts of cunning and bravery. His many successful actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, successful defensive and delaying tactics while losing the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776, the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to Major General), and the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that effectively ended his combat career for several years.

In spite of his success, Arnold was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress while other general officers took credit for his many accomplishments. Charges of corruption were brought by political adversaries, and Congress investigated his accounts, finding he owed it money after he had spent much of his own money on the war effort. Frustrated, bitter, and strongly opposed to the new American alliance with France, Arnold decided to change sides in 1779. In July 1780, he sought and obtained command of West Point in order to surrender it to the British. Arnold's scheme was exposed when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers that revealed the plot. Upon learning of André's capture, Benedict Arnold escaped down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of General Washington, who was arriving the same day to inspect West Point and to meet and dine with Arnold.

Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, and led British forces at Blanford, Virginia, and Groton, Connecticut, before the war effectively came to an end with the Siege of Yorktown. In the winter of 1782, Arnold moved to London with his second wife, Margaret "Peggy" Shippen Arnold. He was well received by King George III and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs. In 1787, he entered into mercantile business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick, but returned to London to settle permanently in 1791, where he died ten years later.


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Drawing of the regimental uniform by Charles Lefferts
The 2nd Canadian Regiment, also known as Congress' Own or Hazen's Regiment, was authorized on January 20, 1776, and initially raised in the province of Quebec for service with the Continental Army under the command of Colonel Moses Hazen. All or part of the regiment saw action at the Staten Island, Brandywine, Germantown and the Siege of Yorktown. Most of its non-combat time was spent in and around New York City as part of the forces monitoring the British forces occupying that city. The regiment was disbanded on November 15, 1783 at West Point, New York.


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From the American Revolutionary War task force of the Military history WikiProject:

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Quebec in the American Revolution; many existing "<State> in/during the American Revolution" articles • Hercules Mulligan
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1780 Black Camp RebellionAlbemarle BarracksBattle of Lenud's FerryBattle of Wetzell's MillCarleton's RaidCortlandt SkinnerDaniel Waters (minuteman)Fort DaytonFort Independence (Vermont)HM galley PigotJohn Swift (general)King's Royal Regiment of New YorkMatthias OgdenSamuel Holden ParsonsVolunteers of Ireland
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Battles in {{Campaignbox American Revolutionary War: Gulf Coast}} • Peter FranciscoAaron BurrCharles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess CornwallisContinental Army
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