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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An 1875 print depicting Ethan Allen demanding the fort
The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga was one of the earliest offensive military engagements by the American colonists in the American Revolutionary War. On May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold led 83 volunteer militiamen in a surprise attack on Fort Ticonderoga. The fort was held by a small garrison, just 48 men under the command of William Delaplace, which surrendered without firing a shot. The Americans followed up their success by also capturing nearby Fort Crown Point. Arnold then led 50 men on a raid on Fort Saint-Jean, north of Lake Champlain, in which they captured the only large warship on the lake.

This action made communications between parts of the British colonial and military establishment more difficult, and set the stage for the colonists' invasion of Quebec in September 1775.


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The 64th Regiment of Foot was an infantry regiment of the British Army. The regiment was created as the 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment of Foot in 1756, and redesignated as the 64th Regiment of Foot in 1758. In the American War of Independence the regiment was first station in Boston when it was besieged in 1775, and fought in major actions of the New York and New Jersey campaign of 1776-77 and the Philadelphia campaign of 1777-78. It was sent into the Southern theater in late 1779, participating in the Siege of Charleston; one of its units was surrendered at the [1781 Siege of Yorktown.

Although the 64th Foot fought in many of the major conflicts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries (including the Seven Years' War, Napoleonic Wars, Anglo-Persian War, and the Indian Rebellion of 1857, it was normally in the more minor theatres of these conflicts. The regiment took a county title as the 64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot in 1782. Following the Cardwell Reforms the regiment amalgamated with the 98th (Prince of Wales's) Regiment of Foot to become The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment) in 1881. In the new regiment the 64th Foot became the 1st Battalion due to its seniority over the 98th Foot.


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Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC, 1851.jpg
On the night of December 25–26, 1776, George Washington led a force of 2,400 across the Delaware River which surprised and captured the Hessian force located at Trenton, New Jersey

Selected biography

General Griffith Rutherford
Griffith Rutherford (c. 1721 – 10 August 1805) was an officer in the American Revolutionary War, a political leader in North Carolina, and an important figure in the early history of Tennessee. Originally from Ireland, Rutherford immigrated to Philadelphia at the age of 18 with his parents, both of whom died during the voyage. After working on a relative's farm for a period of time, he moved to Rowan County, North Carolina in 1753, where he married Elizabeth Graham. An active member of his community, Rutherford served in multiple municipal occupations such as the local sheriff and tax collector. He was also a representative of Rowan County at the North Carolina General Assembly in 1766.

Rutherford's first military experience was during the French and Indian War, when he served as a Captain of a local militia in 1760. He continued serving in the provincial militia until the start of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, when he was commissioned into the Continental Army as a Colonel. Following his appointment to Brigadier General of the "Salisbury District" by the Fourth Provincial Congress of April and May 1776, Rutherford accumulated a force of 2,400 men and participated in several conflicts with the Cherokee Indians in western North and South Carolina and Georgia. He then spent most of the war checking local Loyalist activities; in June 1780, his activities were partially responsible for the Loyalist defeat in the Battle of Ramsour's Mill. Rutherford was also involved in the Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780, when he was wounded and taken prisoner by the British. He was later exchanged in 1781. He partook in further campaigns after his release, including a second attack on the Cherokee.

Following the war, Rutherford continued to serve as a senator in North Carolina's state senate, a duty which he had first undertaken in 1779, until 1786. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1783 and became an advocate of the Antifederalist movement. He moved to Sumner County, Tennessee in 1792 and was appointed President of the Legislative Council of Tennessee in 1794. He died in Sumner County on August 15, 1805 at the age of 84. Counties in North Carolina and Tennessee bear his name.


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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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