The first shots of the Revolutionary War began at Lexington-Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill both in 1775. During the Second Continental Congress, George Washington was appointed Commander in Chief of newly formed Continental Army. The army itself composed farmers and urban workers, thus they were not professional soldiers and lacked discipline. A string of defeats early in the revolutionary war lead to Washington’s retreat south from Boston and New York. Washington was an amazing leader holder together the Continental Army despite many defeats, insufficient supplies and a lack of pay which caused unrest amongst the soldiers. However fortune began to change after the Battle of Trenton of 1776. It was a significant morale boost for the Continental Army. The subsequent crossing of the Delaware and victories at Trenton in 1776 and Princeton in 1777, secured enlistments for the Continental Army and Washington’s position as Commander. The Battle of Saratoga in 1777 was a significant strategic and diplomatic victory for the colonists. Saratoga stopped the British General Burgoyne from cutting off New England, whilst giving Benjamin Franklin leverage on his diplomatic mission to France, thus convincing the French king to enter into alliance with America. At Valley Forge between 1777 and 1778 the troops were running low on supplies. It was a cold winter but Washington managed to hold the troops together, whilst training them to fight like a European professional army.
The British campaign switched to southern colonies where large numbers of loyalists were located. The British seized control of main cities in South. However the British policies of allowing slaves to runaway and be granted freedom if they fought for the British and their subjugation policy in the countryside alienated theses southern loyalists. In 1778, France entered war. In 1781, with French naval support and 5000 French regulars, Washington won the Battle of Yorktown, forcing the surrender of Cornwallis’ forces. However, fighting continued between patriot and loyalist militias, while many loyalists began to leave. The war itself formally ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
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