Just this last Friday, General Cornwallis of the British army surrendered at Yorktown. As the war has now come to an end, let us look back at the important events that occurred that decided the fate of the colonies.
Battle of the Rice Boats
By: Paul Armitage
In the December of 1775, the British Army in Boston was in need of provisions. A British fleet was sent down to Savannah to gather supplies primarily consisting of rice. As the fleet reached Savannah, the rebels had arrested governor James Wright. These rebels also worked to avoid the British taking the supply ships stopped there. Some of the ships were burned, and some were successfully taken by the patriots. On the first of March, the militia of Joseph Habersham was able to clear out the deck of the ship, Hinchinbrook, using gunfire. However, then Habersham and his men lacked boats, so they could not capture the ship. On the second of March, James Grant of the British army and his men docked at Hutchinson Island, and they waited there until the early morning of the third. At this time, they took control of many ships anchored at Savannah. Actually, the majority of the ships were taken by the British by the end of the fighting. However, James Wright escaped from Georgia on one of the fleet's ships, which resulted in the end of the royal government in Georgia.
Siege of Savannah
By: Ashley Kangas
In January 1779, British Colonel Archibald Campbell took 1,044 men up the Savannah river and occupied Augusta. In Augusta he recruited 1,400 more men. He was waiting for James Boyd who was supposed to recruit 6,000 Loyalists from South Carolina to volunteer for the war. Unfortunately, he only recruited 600 men, which was much less than expected. 340 militia men from Georgia and South Carolina went to stop Boyd's men from reaching Campbell's men in Augusta. The Patriots were successful in surprise attacking the British and preventing them from reaching Campbell's troops. This was the Battle of Kettle Creek. Not only did this give them a much needed victory, it also caused Campbell to move his troops further south toward Savannah for fear of being attacked by the rebels like Boyd was.
The French and the Patriots were allies and they had 7,000 men to fight the British for Savannah. The British, on the other hand, only had 2,500 men. On October 3 the French opened fire on the city. The troops spent almost a month trying to weaken the British forces, but they didn't seem to have caused much damage. The women and children of Savannah were being harmed in these attacks, so the General asked if the women and children could be allowed to leave in the hopes that no more harm would come to them. Having suffered too many delays already, the French and the Patriots refused to let them leave. They knew they would either have to leave or attack, so they decided upon attacking the British in the night. Due to further delays and the fact that someone (a rebel deserter, cough cough) had told the British of their enemies plans, the troops lost their element of surprise. Their diversionary attacks failed and did not help them out as planned. Also because a rebel deserter had forewarned the British of the French and Rebel's plans, the British had strengthened their forces on the side they were being attacked. Therefore, the British won the Battle/Siege and on October 19 the Patriot forces retreated to Charleston.
(The button is the website I got my info from.)
Battle of Yorktown
By: Natalia Warthen
The latest and last battle to end the war, the Battle of Yorktown, has recently ended. Just a year ago, about 5,500 soldiers came to Rhode Island to help their American allies assault British-occupied New York City. These two armies met North of New York in 1781, however, the French Commander convinced the American Commander (George Washington) that an attack on New York would be too complicated, and that it would be easier to get the French Fleet to attack further south. They later both agreed to attack Lord Cornwallis and his much smaller army (9,000 men) which were stationed in Yorktown, Virginia. In early September, they defeated a British Fleet that were coming to help Cornwallis. Due to this, they had blocked any escape for the British, and they eventually surrounded them.
On September 5, 1781, the French attacked the British Navy in Chesapeake Bay. After this, French Admiral de Grass decided to bombard the forts that contained Cornwallis and his troops. They became trapped between the French and Americans, and on October 19, 1781, they eventually surrendered. Although this was only a small number of the British troops in America(one quarter), it created a devastating effect on the British government, who believed they were losing the war. They were motivated to end the war, and make The Treaty of Paris.