American Revolution Almanac
American History. The subject which I started utterly
horrible in and pulled off with an 'A' at the end of the
year for worry of my final grade. I am not the most
patriotic of the Americans out there, and so this wasn't
my most favourite subject. Ironically, at the same time I
had realised that I had to pull myself together, came the
unit of American history which I never have favoured the
American side on. The American Revolution. The project
was a toughy as well. I had been doing good that year
though, and couldn't slip at that point. I was the only
one in my class who chose to do it herself. (Why? I don't
know. I do best by myself.) We were given a list of 48
names, places, battles, and the like. We had to research
a paragraph on each of these terms and use it in the
American Revolutionary War Almanac
Allen, Ethan - During the American Revolution, Ethan Allen was a Vermont Blacksmith who led a band of soldiers called the "Green Mountain Boys", in which helped him capture Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. He did this without a single gunshot. It is rumoured that Allen had previously been on the American side, but then broke his allegiance with America for Britain.
Armistead, James - James Armistead was an African-American man who was able to trick the British into making them believe that he was on there side. He was not. He was a spy for Marquis de Lafayette. The great risks and bravery taken by Armistead gained a lot of respect as well as friendship from Lafayette. Unfortunately, as Lafayette returned to France after the war, Armistead was to return to slavery. But this did not last, because after the Virginia assembly read a letter from Lafayette honouring Armistead, they bought him from his master and set him free. Lafayette later visited Armistead in 1824 in a visit back to America.
Arnold, Benedict - Benedict Arnold started as an American general in the Revolution, who helped the Americans win the Battle of Saratoga along with Horatio Gates. Arnold, like Ethan Allen, later became allied with Britain and fought against America. It is told that he did this because he did not think that he got as much pay or respect as he should have for his victory. He was planning on surrendering West Point, an American military base to the British for £20,000. His plan failed when his accessory, John André was captured. In 1781, he moved to New York, then to England. This is when he finally showed that he would no longer be fighting for America.
Articles of Confederation - The Articles of Confederation were the agreement that was used by the thirteen English colonies to become the United States. They were the main laws used in America from March 1781 to 1789, when the Constitution was adopted. The Articles of Confederation were completed on November 15th, of 1777 when they were submitted to the states. Twelve of them approved right away, but Maryland did not. In order to get Maryland's signing on the Articles, the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia had to give their western claims to the central Government.
Bonhomme Richard - The Bonhomme Richard was the ship of Captain John Paul Jones in the battle between the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis. Though the Bonhomme Richard sunk in the end, Jones did not surrender.
Boston Massacre - When the colonists of America became too upset about Parliament's taxes and laws, they went into a riot when they spotted British soldiers in 1770. The British soldiers fired their guns at five American colonists in panic, but only killed five them. The other colonists called it a "massacre", and when five were not enough killed to call this a massacre, the other colonists exaggerated the number killed to about 100 and rose the number until they could call it one.
Boston Tea Party - It was the night of December 16, 1773, and the "Sons of Liberty" were sent out by Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The Sons of Liberty were an organisation made up of politicians, lawyers, and other businessmen. That night, this secret organisation dressed up as Native Americans, and dumped boxes of tea shipped in from Britain into the Boston harbour, all to protest the King's tea tax. This incident pushed King George III to pass forth the "Intolerable Acts".
Brandywine (Creek), Battle of - The Battle of Brandywine was fought south west of Philadelphia on September 11th, 1777. Fighting for the Americans were General George Washington, and a Frenchman named Marquis de Lafayette. Meanwhile, Sir William Howe along with General Charles Cornwallis fought for the British. It started when Howe marched his troops of 18,000 men to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the capital of Pennsylvania at the time. They marched to the American Post at Brandywine Creek, and launched an attack on Washington's 11,000 men. The Americans were surprised when the British tried to cross the creek in different places. The British tried to follow Washington to Chester, PA, but were stopped by a rearguard unit. Because of this, Howe could not occupy Philadelphia until September 26. America had lost 300 more men to death and wounds along with 400 more who were taken prisoner to the British who had won the battle.
Bunker Hill, Battle of - The Battle of Bunker Hill took place in Massachusetts on June 17, 1775. The Battle was lead by British General William Howe and American Colonel William Prescott. This battle was named the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War. The battle was long and hard. In the end, the British won over the Patriots, however. The Patriots had run short of ammunition. It was told that though America lost the Bunker Hill, they gained some rather important "psychological victory". The famous quote, "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes" was formed as a result.
Battle of Bunker Hill
Chesapeake Bay, Battle of - In 1781, after constant pleads from Washington, Admiral Francois de Grasse with his French Fleet stood guard off the Cape of Chesapeake to prevent Cornwallis' retreat by sea from Yorktown, which he had been closing in that month. Washington attacked by land, and the combined operation forced Cornwallis to surrender on October 19, because of lack of supplies and also hopes.
Clark, George Rogers - Clark was a military leader as well as a frontiersman for the Americans. He led his army to many American victories, giving America the Great Lakes as well as many other Northern areas. A well-known Spanish explorer named Bernardo de Galvez gave Clark a lot of funding in return for food and equipment.
Coercive Acts (Intolerable Acts) - The "Intolerable Acts", also known as the Coercive Acts were five laws passed by King George III in 1774 as a payback for the tea that was lost in the Boston Tea Party. These laws were very strict, and like the name given to them, they were very intolerable to the Americans. One of the laws closed the Boston harbour down, preventing any ships from entering or leaving the harbour. This law would take effect until the Bostonians could pay back the money lost in the Tea Party. Along the same lines, another law had restricted the Massachusetts legislature. This was so the legislature could not do much more like this behind the King's back. These acts angered the colonists even more, however. To them, he was a dictator instead of a king any more. To resist these acts, the colonists organised the "First Continental Congress".
Continental Congress - The Continental Congress was a gathering of delegates from all colonies (except Georgia) in September and October 1774. The committee's delegates gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the First Continental Congress took place. There was also a Second Continental Congress, but by then, fighting against England had already started.
Cornwallis, Charles - Cornwallis was a commander for the British who was meant to attack the Peninsula of Maryland/Delaware. He did not listen to this order given to him by the British Parliament, however. He tried to capture Yorktown, instead. But there, he was surrounded by Washington's troops with the aid of French ships. This defeat was known to be the last battle of the Revolution.
Declaration of Independence - Under heavy inspiration of John Locke, the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson in the June of 1776, from the 11th to the 28th. On July 4th that year, a meeting of the Second Continental Congress was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to get the support of it's own states and other countries. France was especially wanted for its military assistance. It was signed by 56 members of congress total. The Continental Congress removed two sections of the draft before officially signing it. They included a derogatory statement to the English, and a section showing passion towards the slave trade. It was removed because South Carolina and Georgia wanted to continue importing slaves. But the rest was accepted, and all 56 members signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776.
Signing of the Declaration of Independence
First Continental Congress - On September 5th to October 26th in 1774, the First Continental Congress took place in Philadelphia. Its purpose was to protest the Intolerable Acts that were just passed by King George III. Though no one called for independence just yet, they all agreed to hold another meeting in May 1775 if Britain did not change the act. However, the Intolerable Acts did not change like the Americans wanted, and so they prepared for battle.
Franklin, Benjamin - Benjamin Franklin did quite a bit during the American Revolutionary War. Franklin was not only a great scientist, printer, and philosopher, but also an author, a great patriot and a wonderful husband. He was 50 years old when he entered politics. He was able to gain French help for America during the Revolutionary War, and also signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783. He later helped write and edit the Declaration of Independence.
George III, King - King George III was ruler of Great Britain when the American colonies rebelled and became independent. He was known to have a high moral. Unlike the first George, he had no intention of giving over the government to ministers. At the beginning of the Revolution, the opposition and violence to the British trade had brought repeal of the Townshend Acts. King George III did not, however, remove the tax from tea. He wanted one tax to keep up the right.
King George III
Green Mountain Boys - In the spring of 1775, a group of backwoodsman known as the Green Mountain Boys invaded England's Fort Ticonderoga. The Green Mountain Boys were lead by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen. They seized the fort and retrieved from its walls many valuable cannons and guns. They would use this to drive the British out of Boston, Massachusetts.
Greene, General Nathaniel - General Greene was a general who was in lead of the southern Patriots in the American Revolution. One well-known victory of his and his men was when they led the British Redcoats all over the countryside, the Redcoats chasing after them. Greene's men were not running from the British, however. They were tiring them out. When the Redcoats were tired enough, Greene's men turned on the British and won an easy battle against the tired Redcoats. Greene also became the quartermaster at Valley Forge prior to the rather poorly planned supplies caused over 2,000 men to die due to starvation and disease.
Hale, Nathan - Captain Nathan Hale was an American spy during the American Revolution. He joined Connecticut regiment in 1775 and became a captain the following year. Hale went with William Heath's brigade to New York and helped capture a provision sloop right beneath the guns of the British man-of-war. Upon his attempt to flee, however, he was captured while trying to return to his regiment. He had crossed the British lines onto Long Island to spy, and was hanged without a trial the day after. He was quoted for saying that his only regret was that he "had but one life to loose for his country". Then he was hanged.
Hancock, John - Hancock was known most through history for being the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was the type of man back then known to think that if anything could be done about the British, he'd be one of the men to do something. After signing the Declaration, Hancock became governor of Massachusetts for nine years. He was also a member as well as president of the Continental Congress. It was told that John Hancock wanted to make sure that King George III would not need his spectacles to read Hancock's signature. Nowadays, his name is a famous simile for "signature".
Hays, Mary Ludwig (Molly Pitcher) - Molly Pitcher was considered a heroine in the time of the Revolutionary War, at the Battle of Monmouth Court House. Pitcher's nickname, "Molly Pitcher" came about when she consistently carried water in the Battle of Monmouth Court House to cool down the soldiers of her husband's regiment as well as the cannons they used. It is said that when her exhausted husband collapsed from the heat of the battle, she took his place at the cannon and served for the rest of that battle. When her husband died ten years later, she married John McCauly who died in 1813 after which she was largely employed as a nurse. Pennsylvania awarded her a yearly pension on February 21, 1822 for her heroism.
Hessians - The Hessians were soldiers from the region of Hesse in Germany who helped the British against the Americans during the Revolutionary War. They were not interested in the political bit of the war, but were rather sold into the military service by the princes of Germany. There were only about 30,000 Hessians who fought in the American Revolution, and many of them stayed in the US after the war.
Howe, General William - British General, William Howe was the general to lead his troops in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He had many victories, including the Battle of Long Island, White Plains, and Brandywine. Unfortunately for him, he failed against the Americans and was succeeded by Sir Henry Clinton. General William Howe was also known to be the one who ordered execution on Captain Nathan Hale.
Jay, John - John Jay was a lawyer who negotiated the Treaty of Paris in 1783. He was appointed by General George Washington as Chief Justice. This was needed to set up a system of courts and pass the Judiciary Act. The act stated that the Supreme Court would have five (and later, nine) judges and a Chief Justice, which John Jay became.
Jones, Captain John Paul - Captain Jones, a commander for an American naval fleet, was known for his raid in 1779, where he went to the British coast and destroyed two British warships. His ship, the Bonhomme Richard, destroyed the smaller of the two ships. Then the larger one, the Serapis, fired a cannon at the Bonhomme, sinking it in an explosion. He was quoted for shouting, "I have not yet begun to fight!" to which point he boarded the larger warship and took it over.
King's Mountain, Battle of - The Battle of King's Mountain was known to be one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolutionary War. It took place on October 7, 1780. There were about 900 men on both sides, equaling the British (led by Major Patrick Ferguson) and the Americans out. However, only 27 of the determined Americans lost their lives, and only 68 were injured. The Americans surrounded the British atop King's Mountain and almost all of the British soldiers were killed, wounded or captured.
Lafayette, General Marquis de - Lafayette was a French General who left his country France to help the Americans win their independence. He left at age 19 and offered his services to the US without pay. It was Marquis that helped to think of the idea to combining two armies and fleets to attack Cornwallis in VA. It is thought that without the help of Lafayette, America still might be under the rule of England.
Lexington and Concord, Battle of - The Battle of Lexington and Concord took place in Massachusetts on the 19th of April 1775. It was the first battle between the British and the Americans, and it was lead by British General Thomas Gage who was sent to either take or perhaps destroy America's supply of arms and ammunition, which at the time was stored in Concord. He also wanted Samuel Adams and John Hancock who were under arrest and staying in Lexington. When Dr. Joseph Warren, the Committee leader of Boston heard about England's plans, he sent for Paul Revere along with William Dawes. They were to ride into Lexington and Concord to warn the American minutemen to be prepared. William Dawes took one road and blended in with soldiers in order to dodge the British sentries. Revere, however rode down another rode and met up with his friend. He told his friend to give instructions to hang two lanterns in the steeple of Old North Church. He then went to Charlestown, VA where those who had seen the signal gave him a horse. The lanterns were to warn the colonists if the British were coming, and if so, by land or sea. This is where we get the famous phrase, "One if by land, two if by sea." By this time, Sam Adams and John Hancock had been taken to hide in safety, and Captain Jonas Parker with his 130 men stood ready for the British. They came around 4:30 the next morning, but 60 of Parker's men had already returned home. The British on the other hand had an army of 600 men, and as they approached, Parker was quoted for saying, "Stand your grounds! Don't fire unless fired upon! If they want to have a war, it will begin here!" Parker ordered his men to scatter after realising that his chances were bad. The British still opened fire, though. Parker and seven other minutemen were killed, and it only lasted a few minutes. Around 7 AM, the British arrived in Concord. On the other side of the North Bridge were 150 waiting minutemen. They waited while 800 of Lt.. Colonel Franis Smith searched for weapons. After the townspeople rang the church bells, many men were signaled to get their muskets and get to the scene. 300 to 400 men had appeared in the end. On the other hand, the redcoats could not find many of the hidden arms and accidentally set fire to the courthouse. But the colonists thought that they were burning down their village and ran to save it. The British redcoats and American minutemen fired at each other from across the North Bridge. The redcoats then headed back to Boston, where they were ambushed on the way. Only about 300 men died on each side in the end, but this gave the Americans a chance to show the British that they were serious about independence. They also showed them that they would not be an easy country to battle.
Loyalists - The Loyalists (also known as Tories) were the American colonists who remained loyal to England during the American Revolution. Some of them were loyal because they feared the revolution, while others just plainly stood for Britain. Most of New York was made up of Loyalists, but the Carolinas as well as the cities along the Atlantic coast were strongly Loyalist.
Ludington, Sybil - Sybil Ludington was made to be known the "Female Paul Revere" of the Revolutionary War. Reason for this title is this. It was April 29, 1777, and a messenger arrived at Luddington's house with news about Governor William Tryon and his attack on Danbury, Connecticut, which was about 15 miles southeast. The equipment for the militia of the whole region was stored there. Sybil's father, Colonel Ludington started to organise the local militia right away. Because the messenger along with his horse were so exhausted, Sybil volunteered to take on the order to rouse the countryside. She rode her for horse about 40 miles to Stormville, then returned home on the same roads which she did not know well. She married Edward Ogden in 1784 and stayed in Unadilla for the rest of her life.
Marion, Francis (Swamp Fox) - Francis Marion was Patriot of South Carolina who was known for his fast strikes against the British and ability to hide immediately after. He knew the land well there and because of that, he was given the nickname, "Swamp Fox".
Morristown, NJ - Morristown was an encampment for Washington's armies during the Revolutionary War. The Ford House was Washington's headquarters. Another section of Morristown called Jockey Hollow was the site of the crude huts where Washington's soldiers stayed through the harsh winters in New Jersey.
Patriots - In the American Revolutionary terms, a patriot (or a rebel) was an American colonist who supported America's independence during the Revolutionary War. In other words, they sided with the minutemen who fought against the British. Had they not been as patriotic to their country as they were, America may never have won the war.
Prescott, Colonel William - Prescott was the leader for the Americans in the Battle of Bunker Hill. His troops occupied as well as fortified Breed's Hill on the night of June 16th. During the Battle of Bunker Hill, Prescott had issued a famous order because of the low ammunition. The order basically stated that the troops should not fire at the British until they could see the whites of their eyes.
Revere, Paul - Paul Revere is one of the most well known patriots of the American Revolution. He was a messenger sent to warn the Americans if the British were coming, and if by land or sea. Revere had told a friend that if they were coming by land, to light one lantern in the North Church steeple. If by sea, two. Two lanterns were lit that night, and because of Paul Revere, the Bostonians were as ready as the British theirself.
Rodney, Admiral - Admiral Caesar Rodney was an American Revolutionary leader. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and served as a major general in the Delaware militia.
Saratoga, Battle of - The battle of Saratoga started around the spring of 1777, when British strategist, Lord George German signed a plan to discontinue the American rebellion. These plans got the attention of Burgoyne, who then marched from Canada to New York. He knew that if England took control of Albany and the Hudson River, they could pull New England apart from the other colonies. Burgoyne left with his military from Montreal in June and in July, overtook Fort Ticonderoga. He was then delayed for about three weeks in Fort Miller where he was to refill supplies. Meanwhile the minutemen were defending their supplies in Bennington, Vermont with much success on August 16. Burgoyne moved south where he met up with 7000 Americans under Major General Gates' command. The first Battle of Saratoga took place when the British attacked the Americans at Freeman's Fall on September 13. General Benedict Arnold's men had reinforcements, but they were not strong enough to hold the British redcoats back. Burgoyne camped two miles north of Bemis Heights, where the Americans had retreated. On October 7, the war turned around in favour of the Americans. Burgoyne had less than 5000, and they would not go back. Instead, they continued to look for American positions. The second part of the Battle of Saratoga took place when Gates and Arnold attacked the British in the Battle of Bemis Heights. Burgoyne then went to Saratoga but on 17th of October, surrendered to 20,000 Americans.
Battle of Saratoga
Serapis - The Serapis was the British ship commanded by Captain Richard Pearson in the battle between the Bonhomme Richard and Serapis on September 1779. After the Bonhomme Richard had sunk, the American Captain John Paul Jones boarded his men on the Serapis and overtook it.
Sons of Liberty - Most of the Sons of Liberty were lawyers, merchants, and artisans who were affected by the Stamp Act in very negative ways. The Sons of Liberty were constantly protesting, and not always in a peaceful manor. They burned down stamped paper every chance they got, and they tarred and feathered British tax collectors. This actually caused many of them to quit because of the angry colonists. The impact was so bad, Parliament cancelled the Stamp Act in 1766. The Sons of Liberty were also responsible for the Boston Tea Party.
Townshend Act - The Townshend Acts were created and passed by Charles Townshend in 1767. These acts were Parliament's resolution to the Stamp Act that was repealed. The Townshend act was an act that placed taxes on many different imported goods. Two famous responses to the Townshend Acts were the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party.
Trenton, Battle of - The Battle of Trenton took place on Christmas night, 1776. Washington's tired, defeated army of 6000 men was staying in a camp in Pennsylvania by the Delaware River. They were very weak, discouraged, and dressed in rags. Stationed just across the river were Hessians guarding New Jersey. Knowing that the Americans were too weak to attack, General Howe sent a large amount of soldiers to Newport and New York. Because the British were relaxing and not suspicious at all, Washington decided that this would be a good time to attack. He planned to send three divisions across the Delaware, each in different times of the night. They would join together and attack the Hessians at that point. The idea was a risky one, and would require every man they could get. The weather was cold and horrible, and they had to cross the river in it. When the Americans took charge on the Hessians, they were asleep. Within only one hour, the Americans took Trenton along with 1000 Hessian prisoners. This built up the courage for the Americans for the first time that winter.
Valley Forge - Valley Forge was where Washington along with his army spent the winter from 1777 to 1778 when Howe drove him from Philadelphia. The valley got its name because of the hunger and suffering that the Patriots did while they stayed there. One fourth of the Patriots died there from cold, along the smallpox, typhoid, and starvation alone. Many of the soldiers left the army without consent from Washington or anyone, the conditions were so bad. Lafayette and Steuben had also stayed with Washington there.
Steuben, Friedrich Von - Steuben was a German who came to America to train the American troops. He taught their militia many strategies and formations from the European military. The American soldiers soon gained a great improvement in co-ordination and knowledge as well as awareness. Steuben was fired by Washington after arguing about the techniques in 1779.
Washington, George - Washington was perhaps the most important man in the American Revolutionary War. He led American troops into many battles including Brandywine, Germantown, Long Island, Princeton, Trenton, Monmouth, and Yorktown. It was very difficult for Washington to get men in his army because of the little pay; or nothing at all. Washington's troops did extremely poorly through the winters at Valley Forge. Most of them died, in fact. Even through that, Washington was determined to continue. He won the battle of Trenton when he crossed Delaware and surprised the Hessians. His troops along with the French would later surround Cornwallis at the Battle of Yorktown where Cornwallis surrendered and ended the war. Washington was soon to be the first president of the United States.
Wheatley, Phillis - Phillis Wheatley was an African-American slave who became a well-known poet during the war. Phillis was known to be America's first black female poet. She was brought to Boston at age 8. John Wheatley, a tailor, bought her as a maid for his wife. The Wheatleys treated her very kindly. She began to write poetry at age 13, and was freed after the Wheatleys died.
Yorktown, Battle of - Of the many battles in the American Revolution, the Battle of Yorktown was one of the last. It lasted 20 days until the British General, Charles Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. It actually started months before that, when Cornwallis moved north to VA unauthorised. Even though Cornwallis's redcoat troop pushed Lafayette's brigade out of Richmond, General Sir Henry Clinton had stopped the offensive, and criticised Cornwallis's decision which was still unofficial. Clinton then ordered Charles Cornwallis to go to Chesapeake Bay to set up a defensive fort. By August, the British were occupying Yorktown and Gloucester. Lafayette had a handful of Americans who were following Cornwallis to Yorktown. Lafayette then told Washington of the British troop's location. Washington later learned that a French ally, Admiral de Grasse was heading for the bay with 29 warships. Washington took 7,000 American and French soldiers toward Virginia but left 2,500 of them behind to defend forts in order to fool the British in New York on August 21. Meanwhile, de Grasse's fleet blockaded the Chesapeake Bay and made British escape impossible when they fought back a British naval unit. 3,000 more men from de Grasse's fleet would join Washington's army. Then, on September 28th, French and American troops went back to Yorktown. They were able to capture the two main redoubts on October 14. The British tried to launch a counterattack, but failed. Cornwallis soon realised that trying any more would be hopeless, and called a truce on the 17th of October. On the 19th, he signed surrender forms. Learning of the surrender, the 7,000 troops turned back to New York. After the battle had ended, and Cornwallis surrendered, British Prime Minister, Lord Frederick North resigned. The new leaders signed the Treaty of Paris on the 3rd of September in 1783. The Revolutionary War was officially over, and America had won.