George Washington's Life

An Educational Site

01 The Fairfax Connection

Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
The mansion called "Belvoir" was close by. It was the home of the great English Fairfax family that was given a royal grant. Lord Fairfax owned a large portion of the colony which the Virginians were continually protesting. George regularly visited the Fairfax clan. At Belvoir George saw how the English upper class lived. William Fairfax was the insignificant son of an insignificant son. He needed the English Fairfax's to use their influence to keep his employment in ways suited to his station.

Lawrence married into the Fairfax clan. This gave George opportunities for years to come. William Fairfax was the master of Belvoir and the cousin of the Lordship. George was very popular with the Fairfax clan. His riding skills and fox hunting skills were very helpful to riding to hounds which was a Fairfax pastime. The Fairfax connection could have elevated George in the British Army but his mother was against it.
At age 16

When the Lordship visited Belvoir he was "taken" by George Washington. George at 16 went along with a surveying party that was to layout out the Fairfax land on the frontier over the Blue Ridge in the Shenandoah Vally.

He became a surveyor at age 18. He purchased land that same year.

George lost his brother Lawrence to virulent tuberculosis. George came down with smallpox but survived it. This would give him an immunity for the years later when this took many lives during the Revolutionary War. George applied to the volunteer Virginia militia company which Lawrence was the Adjutant General. He was given the rank of major at the age of twenty. His responsibility was to train the militia.

Between 1753 and 1754 England was in a "Cold War" with France and many other countries trying to claim the new world as their property for colonization. The Ohio valley was up for grabs and France was going fully out to gain Canada and as much land as possible. The Ohio Valley was being claimed by both England AND France. Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie was the highest resident crown office in Virginia. The French were coming down from the Great Lakes to claim the Virginia land.

02 The Forks of the Ohio (Pittsburgh)
With winter soon to come a plan of action was given to George Washington since he knew much of these areas and had experience in the wilderness.

The British give Washington a few translators and a few woodsmen. Their mission was to see where the French were. George found the forks of the Ohio (now PitPittsburgh) was the strategic position that would control the region. George made an alliance with the Iroquois chief "Half-King" and 3 old chiefs that accompanied their party. They also provided an able-bodied hunter to supply the party with meat.

Washington visited numerous outposts and spoke to indians and French officials. George Washington gave the ultimatum of George II (the English King) at the French Fort to Legardeur de St. Pierre, Knight of the Military Order of St. Louis. George was wearing his dress uniform of a Virginia major. The old French officer didn't care. Washington began his treck back home in mid-December. Conditions were terrible.

Washington hired an indian guide to help them but within a few hours of traveling the indian turned on them and fired at point blank range to try and kill Washington. He missed. Before he could reload he was subdued and later released. Things couldn't get much worse.
- - - A Close Call - - -

The word got back to Dinwiddie who wanted Washington to stay in the wilderness a little longer. He would send troops to build a small fort/outpost. George was now the commander of 300 men. They built a tiny semi-fort/outpost called Washington's Fort but later names Fort Necessity. It was a poorly designed fort/outpost but later would save British/Virginian lives.

Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia
A Representative of the British Government

The Mission was to build a fort
at the Forks of the Ohio River

Lieutenant Colonel at 22
He was promoted to lieutenant colonel at 22 years old. 33 men were sent to build the fort at the Forks. In April 1754 they set out with men and canon. They were surrounded by 1000 Frenchmen and Indians.
- - - A Close Call - - -
The 1000 men DID NOT ATTACK because the Half-King talked to the French and admonished them of their plans of war. The French just pointed to the road back to Virginia. George Washington eventually turned and continued his mission even though outnumbered.

03 Washington started
The French and Indian War without authorization

The Indian Half-King explained that the French had sent a party to ambush them. Washington believed the half-king and attacked a 32 man party in the early morning of the 26th before sunrise. There was little return fire but the French surrendered within minutes. The victory was quickly won with 10 Frenchmen killed and the rest taken prisoner. A diplomat, Joseph Coulon, Sieur de Jumonville, was killed who was on the same mission to tell the English that this was "their land". The prisoners explained that Washington's men just killed an "Ambassador of France".

Washington found out that a French fort called Fort Duquesne had been erected and 800 soldiers and 400 Indians were on their way to take action on Washington's small group. Washington was deserted by his Indian alliances.

A small fort was erected by Washington previously called "Fort Necessity" and they headed to it for the battle. The battle began on July 3, 1754 and Washington was outmanned by over 4 times. The battle began and it looked hopeless. Out of the 300 men trying to hide and fight from the small fort over 100 men had been killed. Miraculously Washington had not been shot. As everything looked perilous clouds began to form and a violent rain storm burst on the armies. This had to be an act of providence.
- - - A Close Call - - -

As the storm produced driving rain that made the gun powder wet, both armies stopped firing. A few continued to battle but nightfall set in and the French offered a parley. Washington's interpreter went out to meet the French. With the gun powder ruined and no food or water it was hopeless.

The interpreter came back to report that The commander of the French force, Coulon de Villiers, was a brother of the dead French Ambassador Jumonville. He said that the French would let Washington's men go as long as the French prisoners were released and a document signed expressing defeat. It was more of a gentlemen's agreement between to princesses over the death of his relative's unfortunate death by Washington's agression.

This was hard to believe. Washington's force was ready for annihilation. Washington signed a document that explained that two princess were fighting because of the assassination of their diplomat, Jumonville. It also implied that the British were the aggressors of a battle against the French.

When the information went back to France and England it was disastrous. The British were branded as the aggressor and also as a murderer of diplomats. In England Washington was hated and considered incompetent.

04 Washington resigned from the Army
In America Washington was a hero. He was considered very brave and won a victory. He expected a grand British commission but none came. No promotion came and George Washington resigned from the Army.

December, 1754, George Washington went back to the tobacco farm at "Mount Vernon" and rented it from his deceased brother's wife. Washington was in love with a married woman, Sally Cary, who was the wife of a Fairfax. They both attended a "review" of the British army for Commanding General Braddock. Braddock liked Washington and heard about his understanding of the wilderness. He offered Washington to help the British army but his mother fought against this ardently. Washington was not given a commission but he volunteered to help with procuring supplies and horses as a volunteer.

05 Washington joined the army again
as a supplies volunteer under General Broaddock

General Braddock was "taken" with Washington and promised when this war was over that he would make him a permanent colonel in the regular army. Braddock did not listen to Washington's warnings of irregular fighting in the wilderness. Washington knew that the army would not get to Fort Duquesne before winter. General Braddock would not listen. Washington got extremely ill. Washington could not leave with the troops because of his illness.

Still ill, Washington left for the troops. He noticed that they listened to his suggestions to travel lighter and move quicker. The army was 2 miles from the Monongahela and 12 from Fort Duquesne. The next day, July 9, 1755, was the most catastrophic in all Anglo-American history.

The battle began. The English soldiers did not understand how to fight in the wilderness. They kept lining up in formation and were shot dead from the enemy hiding behind trees. The British continued to stand up and line up time after time. It was devastating. The British learned the hard way that traditional war tactics didn't work in the wilderness. The officers on their horses were perfect targets.
- - - A Close Call - - -
Washington's horse was shot and he leapt on another. Washington's coat was ripped by bullets but they didn't hit him. After Braddock was wounded he ordered Washington to ride back forty miles through the night to summon reinforcements.
Washington miraculously made it out alive
and led survivors back to safety

George Washington crawled to the road and after traveling for some time found the reinforcements but they were too terrified to fight. Braddock died. What was left of the British army fled to Philadelphia. Washington barely made it back to Mountain Vernon.

Washington was expecting a position of authority in the British Army after saving them from almost complete annihilation. The the British explained that he was not needed and they would not give him a commission.

The British regulars agreed that this was wrong and that Washington should resign and return to private life due to the British governments lack of appreciation. Washington was offended with the British but continued to serve with the local Virginia militia as their commander.

Virginia was as upset as Washington. In the spring the indians were striking homes and Washington asked for more militia. But when they arrived from the south they took the food and clothing they wanted but fled whenever there was a report of battle. Washington wanted more "regular soldiers" from central Virginia. This army in Virginia would eventually become "The Continental Army".

Washington was considered a hero in America even though the British were defeated. Washington lead those that survived out of the woodlands back to safety. Washington's reputation was now known throughout the colonies. He was also admired somewhat in England, but with reservations from his previous French and Indian debacle.
"He Cannot Die In Battle"
Fifteen years later the Indian Chief that led the battle against Braddock met with George Washington along with other leaders of indians and colonists. The two groups met around a council fire. The chief said through an interpreter:

"I am a chief. and the ruler over many tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle.

It was on the day when the white man's blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, Mark yon tall and aging warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe - he hath an Indians's wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do - himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which but for him knew not how to miss - 'twas all in vain; a power mightier far than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle.

I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades; but ere I go there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies - he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!"

Reference: George Washington Parke Curtis, Recollections and private memoirs of Washington. ed. Benson J. Lossing (New York: Derby & Jackson, 1860), p 303-4.

A more in-depth analysis

06 Virginia
Washington was elected
Colonel of the Virginia Regiment
Commander in Chief of all Virginia forces
Washington became the Commander in Chief of all of the Virginia forces. Virginia created their own army. But the other armies in other states took and used up many of the supplies and food he procured for his troops saying that they had more authority than he had. Washington's troops were ordered to march his troops to Fort Cumberland, Maryland. The colonies were not cohesive and conflicted on who was in charge and who would govern the Virginia militia. Virginia should be in charge of their militia, not other colonial regents.

He left his troops and traveled to the Massachusetts Governor, William Shirley. He met with the Governor of Massachusetts to complain about the other colonies making him serve them and not Virginia. Washington was upset that the Virginia militia with their supplies and soldiers might be given to Governor Sharpe of Maryland.

Keeping an army together was very difficult. George Washington used his officers to help keep the army as stable as possible. Washington sent messages to the Governor and the legislature of their failure to provide needed supplies. They attacked back instead of supporting him.

When the word was out that a new commander from England was coming on a ship, Washington started a plan to the talk to him about the plan for the colonial armies. The Virginia legislators created a "draft law of 1757" (conscription) but very few actually came to the call. Many were marched off to other states (Loudoun, South Carolina). The fighting season had begun and the French Indians were destroying and pillaging very close to Winchester.
Illness struck
Washington became Ill in the Autumn. His previous dysentery came come back along with tuberculosis. He also had pleuritic pains. The doctor bleed him to try to help the situation.

He went back to Mount Vernon to try and recover. In January of 1758 he tried to go to Williamsburg for help but had to return. By March he was more fit than expected.

Now the British were planning another attack of Fort Duquesne. They were now using the local military to help with the battle. The officers of the local forces would lead their own troops. The British changed their rules of officer rank authority and honored the colonists officers. In the past the British didn't honor the American soldiers at all. Past experience with the British army ranking system for colonists made even the highest highest rank of the American officers below the lowest British officer. Washington was happy that the British showed some respect for the American officers.

The British officer, Brigadier General John Forbes felt that a new road through Philadelphia would be best. The Virginians were upset because there was already a road constructed through Virginia. Washington insisted that building a new road would slow down the process of getting to the battlefield before winter set in. Politics began it's fighting but Washington was ignored and even chastised.
A British & French war was officially declared.
Washington became Brigadier General (temporarily).
Now an official war was declared between England and France and England sent their war ships across the Atlantic. Many delays went on and Washington was beside himself. Forbes was smart enough to elevate Washington to a temporary rank of brigadier general. At one point the 2 Virginia fighting groups mistook each other as the enemy and began shooting.
- - - A Close Call - - -

Washington rode between the two groups and hit their guns up with he sword. 14 were killed and 26 wounded, but Washington was not touched.

As winter descended Forbes was still deep in the forest due to poor planning. They decided to camp through the winter and begin the attack in the spring. There was information that stated that the fort was being evacuated. Washington's men cut a small road for the military to advance. As Washington approached Indians were making signs of friendship and rode off. There was a large smoky area toward the fort. As they approached the fort they found out the the French had burned the fort down because their supply lines had been cut from Canada and they had to evacuate before the battle.

After 4 long years the battle was over without a shot. Now that the frontier was safe he could retire from the military and return to Mount Vernon.

07 Mount Vernon
He resigned from the militia at age 26
George Washington was engaged in the French and Indian War at age 21 to age 26. He was always a leader. He was considered Virginia's most celebrated hero. He was elected in the middle of the war the representative to the Virginia Assembly. He resigned from the military at age 26. He could finally go home to his beloved Virginia and live peacefully in "Mount Vernon".

George Washington now turned his time and energy to again being a farmer and businessman. He experimented with different crops and tried to creating items for the people of Virginia to purchase.
Marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis

He was Married January 6, 1759 to Mrs. Martha Dandridge Custis. She was a wealthy widow who inherited the many plantations her husband owned. This gave Washington a higher status in Virginia economically, politically and socially. He was already a hero and now he was involved in larger business practices than before.

By 1765 Washington grew very little tobacco and eventually by 1766 stopped tobacco production all together. He grew corn and wheat. He eventually grew his weaving operation along with his mill. He even built a commercial mill that serviced a large area in Virginia.

Washington was also responsible for a small town. He made it as self sufficient as possible. George and Martha were active in the community. Martha enjoyed having guests at "Mount Vernon".

Slaves were part of the Washington businesses. He treated them kindly and made sure that their families were not split up.

He helped others that needed help. He was helpful for those that needed financial aid. He also helped women that were being leveraged by their husbands in land ownership by using the Virginia laws. He was a model of a man that continued to show "charity" for those that needed it, including orphaned children. He invested in land grants that were difficult to manage. He continued his part as a member of "The House of Burgesses".

Washington was interested in natural justice. He considered the way England ruled repugnant". He opposed the rule of England. He was not that surprised to learn of the "Boston Tea Party". Feeling of hostility were brewing throughout the colonies regarding the many mandates by the British King George III.

08 A Politician

The Beginning of the Revolutionary War
North American Claims
Boston Massacre
Boston Tea Party
Lexington & Concord
Bunker Hill

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4/19/1775     The Battles of Lexington and Concord @ Lexington & Concord, Mass - American Win
                     > The Battles of Lexington and Concord were actually the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America. About 700 British Army regulars, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were ordered to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

George Washington was voted by the "House of Burgess" as one of members of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1774. He was 42 years old and was in his prime. When returning to Virginia he made sure the Virginia militia was ready for action. He could see that there was a dangerous future ahead and that he might be part of a different kind of battle plan.

He attended the second Continental Congress in May of 1775. By this time the battle at Lexington and Concord had created "The Shot Heard Around the World". He wore his military uniform to the sessions. He was surprised to see the meetings were closer to the crown then he presumed. The rationalization of the congress was surprising since hostilities were already in motion.

John Adams considered George Washington the best suited leader for the conflict ahead. Washington stayed away from the hall when the vote was taken. He was voted in "unanimously".
The Commander in Chief of the Continental Army

When Washington came to accept the honor he said: "I beg it may be remembered, by every gentleman in this room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with". He explained that he did not want to draw a salary, except for expenses. At this point he was the one and only member of the newly created "Continental Army". By being from Virginia this helped unify the north and south. This created an alliance for the 13 colonies. Washington now was the new "Commander in Chief".

Washington asked help of four men. They were Charles Lee, Horatio Gages, Joseph Reed and Thomas Mifflin. Lee and Gates were military men. Reed was a lawyer and Mifflin a merchant. Later, Washington began to take the lead without them, but they eventually became enemies to him and the army. They did not support him in the manner that he expected of them.

09 Washington Meeting His Army

In June of 1775 he met his army in Cambridge. He then went to New York and participated in a parade to honor his visit. He met the militia of New York. On the same day a British Governor, William Tryon, arrived in New York. Both of these events had many New Yorkers involved in greeting these two opposite dignitaries. Now from opposite sides of the coming war.

As Washington was in New York the news of the battle of Bunker Hill was received as a patriot defeat. The news did not explain to Washington the great cost of men and resources were expended by the British. Even though the patriots left the battle field, they had made a major dent in the British army. Instead of lining up for battle the patriots made fortifications and fought behind their protected enclosures. This gave the British a great surprise. They were not expecting this kind of fighting.

Washington headed to Boston to organize the troops to begin his part as the Commander in Chief. General Washington and General Lee worked together to work with the Bostonians and the militia. It was obvious to both commanders that changes need to be made. They changed the officers of the corps and began training the new ones to follow their orders and organize the troops for health and order.

The troops did not have enough gun power to proceed. He put out a hushed request to targeted resource areas. He did not want the British to know how dire the Continental Army was incapable of defending itself. Washington didn't know of a British spy that was in the Massachusetts Congress but Washington kept a low profile and kept this information confidential. The secret was not divulged to the enemy.
A Blockade of Boston

As resources began to come in from all around, Washington made a blockade that cut off the British from leaving by land. His army was falling apart. Many soldiers went home or did not follow orders as prescribed so Washington recruited for a new army. As he received new recruits, the new officers trained them as best as possible. The time was at hand for a strong military. The British were one of the strongest militaries in the world. When the first flag of the United States was hoisted the Bostonians thought it was a flag of surrender. Things were very difficult.

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5/10/1775     The Siege of Fort Ticonderoga @ Fort Ticonderoga, NY - American Win
                     > On April 19, 1775 the Revolutionary War had begun with the skirmishing at Lexington and Concord Massachusetts. Once the British detachment retreated to Boston, the Siege of Boston began. As the rebels continued to gather around Boston, they realized that they did not have the munitions or cannon to carry out successful siege or military operations. Fort Ticonderoga, which is located on Lake Champlain, became an objective for its stores of munitions and the strategic position of control that it held over the waterways to Canada. As a result, expeditions began to be planned to capture the fort.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

5/27/1775     The Battle of Chelsea Creek @ Soffolk County, Mass - American Win
                     > The Battle of Chelsea Creek was the second military engagement of the Boston campaign of the American Revolutionary War. It is also known as the Battle of Noddle's Island, Battle of Hog Island and the Battle of the Chelsea Estuary. This battle was fought on May 27 and 28, 1775, on Chelsea Creek and on salt marshes, mudflats, and islands of Boston Harbor, northeast of the Boston peninsula. Most of these areas have since been united with the mainland by land reclamation and are now part of East Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, and Revere. The British colonists met their goal of strengthening the siege of Boston by removing livestock and hay on those islands from the reach of the British regulars.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

6/16/1775     The Battle of Bunker (Breeds) Hill @ Charlestown, Mass - British win but with many lost in battle.
                     > On June 17, 1775 the Battle of Bunker Hill took place. It is one of the most important colonial victories in the U.S. War for Independence. Fought during the Siege of Boston, it lent considerable encouragement to the revolutionary cause. This battle made both sides realize that this was not going to be a matter decided on by one quick and decisive battle. When the British planned to occupy Dorchester Heights on the Boston Peninsula, the colonists became alarmed at the build up of British troops off of the coast. The colonists decided that action had to be taken so as to stop the threatening British movement in this territory to protect themselves from an attack.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

The battle of Fort Ticonderoga near Canada was won by irregular patriot forces by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen.

Washington ordered the captured canon from Ticonderoga to be brought to Boston area on custom made sleds through the snow. As the canon arrived a few weeks later they were placed on the Dorchester Heights overlooking the Boston Harbor. A major storm began and gave "cover" for this important placement of canon. This was a major strategic win for the Continental Army.

Washington was expecting the British to attack the canon placement on the heights so his troops could attack the British in the city but things changed quickly. A violent storm appeared and modified the British plan into a retreat. Again providence helped the colonists against the British superior war machine.

The British began to withdraw onto their ships. They would concede their position and threw some of their equipment into the Boston Bay in their haste to leave. The British worked out an arrangement with Washington that they would not burn the city of Boston as long as the patriots would let the ships leave peacefully.
His First Engagement of the Enemy was a "Victory"

10 The Battles of Canada and New York
Not only was this a great victory for the newly formed army but a shock to King George III. This struck anger to the king and he ordered more troops and ships to squash the tiny ungrateful colonists. He knew his massive world class force would show that the British were in control of the world scene. He had just won a war with France and all nations were watching his resolve.
The British King George III

It seemed obvious that the British would return to fight in New York since it was such an important strategic naval location. The many rivers and channels were a major part of the matrix of the British authority to rule New England. It was now 1776 and the Continental Congress was busy developing a document for the independence of the new nation while George Washington was away fighting the British invasion force.

The Continental Army was split into two parts. The battle of Canada which had won the canon used in Boston and the battle of New York.
The Battle of Canada

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12/31/1775     The Battle of Quebec @ Quebec City, Province of Quebec - American Defeat
                     > The Battle of Quebec was an attempt on December 31, 1775, by American colonial forces to capture the city of Quebec, drive the British military from the Province of Quebec, and enlist French Canadian support for the American Revolutionary War. The British governor of Quebec, General Guy Carleton, could not get significant outside help because the St. Lawrence River was frozen, so he had to rely on a relatively small number of regulars along with local militia that had been raised in the city. Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold led a force of about 1,200 American army forces and Canadian militia in a multi-pronged attack on the city, which, due to bad weather and bad timing, did not start well, and ended with Montgomery dead, Arnold wounded, and Daniel Morgan and more than 400 men captured. Following a somewhat ineffectual five-month siege, the American forces were driven to retreat by the arrival of ships from England carrying British troops in early May 1776. The battle was the first military defeat for the Continental Army.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

Washington wanted to burn the city of New York so the British could not use it's developed resources but the Continental Congress would not hear of it. They wanted to protect the people in New York and ordered Washington to do it.
He didn't see how he could take on the gigantic war power of Britain and win unless they used a solid strategy. It looked hopeless to fight them head on with his newly formed army against the professional "regular" army of the British. He proceeded to do his duty as he was ordered despite his opposition to this strategy.

New York was a perfect battle field for the British with their tremendous naval power and their professional army mixed with Hessian mercenary troops from Germany. Just their overwhelming numbers of soldiers and ships was impossible to overlook. Things looked hopeless. The enemy overwhelmed the American force, hoping that the Continental Army would see the impossible odds and surrender on the first few hours of battle.

The Battle of New York

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8/27/1776     The Battle of Long Island (Brooklyn Heights) Long Island, NY - British Win
                     > The British recognized the strategic importance of New York as the focal point for communications between the northern and southern colonies. Washington also recognized this, and in April of 1776 he marched his troops from Boston to New York. He positioned his troops on the western end of Long Island in anticipation of the British arrival. The American outpost of Colonel Edward Hand's sent word that the British were preparing to cross Long Island from Staten Island on August 22, at dawn. There were three frigates, the Phoenix, Rose, and Greyhound, and two bomb ketches named Carcass and Thunder, in Gravesend Bay    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

10/28/1776    The Battle of White Plains White Plains, NY - British Win
                     > After almost daily skirmishing, the two armies, each about thirteen thousand strong, met in battle array at the village of White Plains, on the 28th of October. The Americans were encamped behind hastily thrown up entrenchments just north of the village, with hills in the rear to retreat to, if necessary. About sixteen hundred men from Delaware and Maryland, and militia under Colonel Haslett, had taken post on Chatterton's Hill, a high eminence on the west side of the Bronx, to which point McDougall was sent with reinforcements on the morning of the 28th, with two pieces of artillery under the charge of Captain Alexander Hamilton. Howe's army approached in two divisions, the right commanded by Sir Henry Clinton, and the left by Generals De Heister and Erskine. Howe was with the latter. He had moved with very great caution since his landing, and now, as he looked upon the Americans behind their apparently formidable breast-works, he hesitated, and held a council of war on horseback    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

12/26/11/16/1776    The Battle of Ft Washington Washington Heights, Manhattan, NY - British Win
                     > Heavy rains spoiled Maj. Gen, William Howe's planned second attack on the American army near White Plains on October 31. The next day the Americans were found to be apparently well entrenched at North Castle Heights. The rebel earthworks were composed largely of cornstalks pulled from nearby fields, whose roots, full of clinging soil, faced outward. Howe may have been discouraged by these illusory defenses, but his goal remained the complete removal of American troops from Manhattan, not the annihilation of Washington's army. His attention returned to Fort Washington which the American commander in chief had left garrisoned under Col. Robert Magaw after a general rebel evacuation of the island.Synopsis:    - - Click Here to Continue - -   
The patriots made earth works and made small fortresses to hide behind. There were two forts on both sides of the Hudson with sunken skips under the water with masts sticking out to stop the British ships from heading upriver. They also put canon at three locations on the East river to stop ships from flanking them during battle.

This was going to be almost impossible to defy the greatest military power in the world at this location, but they prepared for the battle.
General Sir William Howe (British Commander)

The Americans didn't know that the British General and commander-in-chief William Howe was trying to impress the colonists enough for them to surrender and apologize for their lack of appreciation of the crown. He was intending a "shock and awe" program that would overwhelm the colonists and then stop early in the attack to have an early win.

This amazing attack did surprise many of the patriots enough for them to stop fighting and run away. Those patriots that stayed were overrun, and they had to run away to survive. Except those that were true patriots regrouped and fought again. Others just layed down their arms and were captured early in the battle.
August 21, 1776 the Invasion Began

On August 21, 1776 the invasion began. Brooklyn Heights was the main defensive position for the Continental Army. Washington also had canon placed on the Manhattan side of the east river to shut down British ships from invading.

When the British invasion began there was not only canon and rifle fire, but a full British band playing music on the battlefield. Lord Richard Howe commanded the British invasion and planned for everything. His forces overtook everything in Long Island and under the cover of darkness the Continental Army escaped across the east river into Manhattan.

Howe was surprised and followed. The earth works were paying off but the British were large in numbers and had a well trained army. But the Americans were able to make a dent in the British invasion since they were fighting behind fortifications. Even though the British routed the Americans they took heavy casualties. The British were surprised to see how well the "farmers" were able to fortify their locations which was quite different than the European style of battle etiquette.

Howe held back at times and did not take advantage of the Colonial Army to show his gracious desire of forgiveness. He was hoping for a complete surrender. This didn't happen. The Continental Army fought ferociously but were overwhelmed by the large numbers of troops that were advancing to overtake the fortifications.

The patriots had built forts and fortifications even in Manhattan. There was no stopping now. The British were overrunning everything but the patriots escaped time after time by running away and regrouping further north.

The British followed into Manhattan and challenged the Americans again and again and took heavy casualties due to their attack lines against the American fortifications in Harlem Heights. By pure numbers the British overran Washington's troops and almost cut them off from heading north to cross the Hudson River by boats, ferry, and a bridge.
- - - A Close Call - - -

At one point Washington "froze" as he watched his soldiers running away with the enemy coming fast. As he was motionless with the British moving fast to shoot or capture him Washington's aides pulled his horse away and saved his life. It seemed as though he was ready to lay down his life for his country at that time.
The Escape of the Continental Army

As the Continental Army escaped into New Jersey the Hessians were after them as they traveled southward. Howe stopped his attack in hope to win the spirit of the colonists back into favor with the British crown. This worked for awhile but eventually failed.

The militia soldiers were difficult to manage at best. They would not take orders well and used resources as fast they could get them. Enlistments were up soon for most of his troops with the war just beginning. Washington wanted to create a strong army with officers that were well trained and disciplined. He wanted men that would stand their ground. He wanted troops that could fight and then regroup in an organized and military fashion. Washington had learned how well the professional troops of the British knew the craft of warfare. He wanted his troops to be able to match them on the battlefield.

The British had a difficult time replacing their troops since Britain was so far away. The Colonists had an advantage of defending their homes and country. When the call was made to recruit a new army Washington was up for the task.

11 The Retreat through New Jersey
Heading South to Cross the Delaware

The battered army of the colonialists were very close to destruction but the will of the patriots carried them as they fled South across New Jersey and then across the Delaware river just before a freezing rain hit.

The Hessians were not taking prisoners. While chasing the Colonists the Hessians were executing American soldiers that were left behind due to injury or illness. This knowledge motivated the Americans to keep going no matter how bad the injury. A blood trail was left behind the patriots as they managed to escape.
- - - A Close Call - - -

An unusual extreme freezing rain hit the Hessians after the Americans escaped across the Delaware. Huge Ice chunks in the river were making crossing impossible. The storm was so extreme that it was impossible for the Hessians to continue their attack.
Providence aided the American army

The Hessians stopped fighting for the winter and camped at Trenton, New Jersey, nearby.

The patriots began recovering from their wounds. George Washington took up residence in a 2 story home where he could spy on the Hessians across the river. He was in sight of the Hessian barracks through a telescope from a window on the 2nd floor of the home. As he watched the Hessians he was inspired to cross the Delaware on Christmas Day and attack on the morning of the 26th. He drew up a 3 division invasion plan. But when it was put into action one group could not cross the ice jammed river downstream.

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12/26/1776   The Battle of Trenton Trenton, New Jersey - A Patriot Win
                     > A major win with the help of a storm that stopped the Hessians from continuing to follow the escape from New York. A surprise battle in horrible conditions. This began the "10 days that changed the world".    - - Click Here to Continue - -    After this decisive major win Washington organized his battered soldiers to fight again in the Battle of Princeton. The many battles in 10 days in this area gave the Americans a chance to celebrate. The moral of the American troops was exhilarated and the reputation of Washington was reinstated.

As Washington crossed the river his troops, artillery and horses formed up at a staging area north of Trenton now called "Washington's Crossing National Park". In the early morning they attacked, totally surprising the Hessians. There was return fire but the surprise attack gave way to a fairly quick surrender by the Hessians.

The battle lasted much longer than traditional stories are told regarding this battle. The Hessians were professional soldiers and they did not give up easily. Even though they were surprised by the attack both sides had casualties. The Patriots suffered 7 casualties - 2 dead and 5 wounded. One of those wounded was Lieutenant James Monroe during a courageous charge to silence two Hessian cannon. Monroe would become the fifth President of the United States in 1817.

The Hessians suffered 22 killed, 83 wounded, and 896 captured. Colonel Rall soon died of his wounds.

George Washington fought again within a few days up north at Princeton. The battle of Princeton was not a surprise attack. This was an expert accomplishment by the battered patriots in very cold conditions. The Hessians and the British were subdued. There were other battles and in 10 days the history of the revolution had changed. These battles in December and January were a major setback for the British. News of these battles by the Continental Army were broadcast throughout the world.
These Ten Days Changed the World
The Battle of Princeton (The Road from Trenton)

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1/3/1777      The Battle of Princeton Princeton, New Jersey - A major Patriot Win
                     > Many Americans do not realize that George Washington crossed and re-crossed the Delaware River a total of four times in the waning days of 1776. The first time was in early December when he left New Jersey in retreat from the British. The 2nd was when he crossed to attack Trenton(Dec.25-26). After Trenton was taken, he deemed it best to put the river between his army and the more powerful British army, and went back to Pennsylvania. When he arrived at the Pennsylvania camp he received word that General Cadwalader had crossed the Delaware and was in Trenton. Cadwalader had not crossed on Christmas due to the bad weather and mistakenly assumed that Washington would not have crossed either. Upon learning that Washington had not only crossed but had beaten the Hessians, the shame-faced Cadwalader crossed and entered the unoccupied Trenton. Washington did not want to put a negative spin on the so far victorious venture by ordering Cadwalader to retreat, and so crossed the river once again and joined the two commands together on the 29th of December. By this time Cornwallis had arrived at Princeton, New Jersey with 8,000 troops. Washington knew he could expect an attack by Cornwallis very shortly and was determined to make a fight of it. Instead of fortifying Trenton he put his lines just south of the town on the south bank of the Assunpink Creek.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   
The news of these battles generated an international impact on the positive reputation of George Washington and the "Patriot Resolve". The courage of the patriots is quite astounding even in terrible conditions.

Looking back, George Washington was right. He explained to the Continental Congress previously that New York would be a lost cause and recommended to burn the city and it's resources to stop the British from setting up a strong base of operations. The many waterways were perfect for the strong navy that could transport troops whenever they wanted.

Instead, Washington was ordered to protect the city of New York and he did his best but the outcome almost ended the war. The British knew that their size, training, resources, brute force and tactics would route the American Army and humiliate them in New York. The British even had a military band playing music on the battlefield during the New York battle. They expected the colonists to give up immediately and return to their allegiance to the King when they saw the British "shock and awe".

General Howe had a campaign to bring the colonists back to the allegiance to the crown with a signed affidavit that each person had to sign for protection by the British. If they didn't sign it there would be reparations.

But the British didn't expect an attack in Trenton, Princeton, then back to Trenton. These American wins changed the dynamics of the war. After these American wins against the British and Hessian (who were hired by the British) battles the news went everywhere and many colonists tore up their contract with the crown and became patriots again.

These wins were essential in turning the war around.

In the Princeton battle the patriots suffered 65 casualties with 25 dead and 40 wounded. The Hessians suffered 100 killed, 70 wounded and 280 captured.

General Lee was a patriot officer that had more "regular army" experience than Washington and many considered him the best pick to be Commander in Chief instead of Washington due to the fall of New York. At one point after the battle of New York General Lee was captured by the British which ended this controversy.
General Charles Lee - captured

Washington gained the confidence of the Continental Congress after the wins at Trenton and Princeton. These 10 days truly changed history. George Washington was inspired and knew that providence was with he and his troops. After the war was over the phrase "In God We Trust" was placed on coins and bills in tribute to so many saving events that made defeat become wins for the United States of America and the cause of liberty and freedom.

An overview of the War
The patriot officers would learn to fight, get beat, regroup and fight again. The British Army held the ground in battles as the patriots ran away and regrouped. The British were surprised to see so much loss of life and casualties of their own on each "win". Their reinforcements had to come from across the Atlantic unlike the 13 states which could recruit new soldiers quickly when needed. This war was a war of attrition. And the war became more and more expensive for the British.

The idea of the patriots being enticed into switching sides and going back to their allegiance of the crown was not working. Those that switched for a time, switched back. The colonists were fighting for their homes, their liberties and their new country.

Many times the British would win a battle but would loose more troops than the Americans. The hit and run tactics of the Americans worked time after time. The colonists would fight, get beat and come back and fight again. It seemed that the patriots could loose, loose and loose again but might eventually win the war. Under the direction of George Washington and his generals the patriots were doing the impossible. And they were getting better at standing up to the European forces.

The biggest problem was warm clothes, supplies and funds for the American soldiers. Washington and his generals would lead the army into battle, even though outnumbered and out supplied. Sometimes the army would even run out of gun power and have to retreat unexpectedly. Thank heaven for the French sending gunpowder and a few basic needs throughout the war. At first the needed supplies were sent in unmarked ships.

After the Trenton and Princeton wins the French were more open with their support and they sent even more supplies. Previously the French had been sending supplies and gun powder in unmarked ships. Now they were bringing the supplies and gun power in marked ships. This alliance will grow to a point that the French eventually will send men and ships to battle the British on American soil and seas.

12 The War After Trenton & Princeton
Washington made an understanding that those that gave their allegiance to the Crown could come back to the American "cause" without punishment. The patriots in New Jersey were outraged that these traitors were going to get off so easy.

He also stated that those that conspired with the British would be escorted to British lines and be released with their possessions that would not help the British.

George Washington was a diplomate and a general. He felt that the acts of kindness would help encourage an honorable image of the patriots. The British were hoping that the patriots would loose faith for their cause and quickly run back to their farms and give up their desire for independence.

George Washington was trying to make a plea to his 13 colonies and to the world that his army was "just" and "noble" and would fight for the liberties and inalienable rights that the British were taking from them. The Americans were fighting for "common sense". The rights that God gave free men and women should be something to take sides and fight for.

Washington did not ravage the countryside for clothes and food like the British and Hessians did. He treated the colonialists with respect and made his army go without. Washington felt that if the army were to invade the "peoples" homes and take what they wanted they would be no different than the British and Hessians. The Continental Congress kept encouraging Washington to take from the colonists what the army needed for food and basic necessities but George Washington felt that this was what they were fighting for. A free and independent nation, not a military state. He felt that the army and navy was there to protect "the people" not harm them. He felt that it was important to win the hearts and minds of the nation instead of abuse them.

George Washington stood for principles of engagement. He made his army go without and put the responsibility on the congress and the states to step forward and provide for their needs. Due to his philosophy and the lack of support from the Continental Congress the soldiers were usually starving and typically without proper supplies throughout the war. Washington regularly was outraged at the lack of commitment the Continental Congress gave to the men and women that were fighting for "their" freedoms and liberty.

The French were so important in shipping gun power to the Continental Army. The war would not have succeeded without their help. Benjamin Franklin was so important in this endeavor. His ability to turn the hatred of the French for the British into support of the Americans was epic. It wouldn't be until the battle of Saratoga until the French were "all in" to help beat the British.
An Oath to the
United States of America

Washington made the people swear an oath when they switched back to their American alliance. The oath used the words: "The United States of America," not the state of New Jersey. This was a controversial issue at the time. This shows historians that Washington had a clear view of the "end game". He wanted a cohesive plan of united states, not separate them.
An example of a Pennsylvania Oath
"Whereas, From sordid or mercenary motives, or other causes inconsistent with the happiness of a free and independent people, sundry persons have or may yet be induced to withhold their service or allegiance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a free and independent State, as declared by Congress:

And Whereas, Sundry other persons in their several capacities have, at the risk of their lives and fortunes, or both, rendered great and eminent services in defense and support of the said independence, and may yet continue to do the same, and as both these sorts of persons remain at this time mixed, and in some measure undistinguished from each other, and the disaffected deriving undeserved service from the faithful and well affected:

And Whereas, Allegiance and protection are reciprocal, and those who will not bear the former are not nor ought to be entitled to the benefits of the latter:

Therefore it is enacted, etc. That all white male inhabitants of the State, except of the counties of Bedford and Westmoreland, above the age of eighteen years, shall, before the 1st day of the ensuing July, and in the excepted counties before the 1st day of August, take and subscribe before some justice of the peace an oath in the following form:

I______, ________; do swear (or affirm) that I renounce and refuse all allegiance to George the Third, king of Great Britain, his heirs and successors; and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a free and independent State, and that I will not at any time do or cause to be done any matter or thing that will be prejudicial or injurious to the freedom and independence thereof, as declared by Congress, and also, that I will discover and make known to some one justice of the peace of said State all treasons or traitorous conspiracies which I now know or hereafter shall know to be formed against this or any of "The United States of America."

A letter from John Bray to Andrew Bray
When the British swept through New Jersey during the closing months of 1776, approximately 2,500 men quickly took advantage of General William Howe's proclamation of November 30 offering to pardon and protect anyone who signed a declaration of allegiance to the crown. Some signed because of Loyalist leanings, but most probably did so either because of indifference as to whether their rulers were monarchists or republicans, because of fear of the British army, or because of the apparent hopelessness of the rebellion. . . .
Changing Sides
People were taking sides depending on many factors. General Howe was surprised to see many of his Loyalists switch back to becoming avid patriots. Many were willing to sacrifice everything they had for "liberty".

The phrase "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" was a bold sentiment of the colonists. Patrick Henry was the first to use this phrase during the Virginia House of Burgesses convention to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. That day George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were there to hear this strong plea for action against the British Monarchy.

The French lost both the "French and Indian War" and the "Battle of Canada" to the British. The French wanted to get even. This gave fuel to their support for the 13 colonies. This war in America was eventually going to create a world recession which would throw France into their own Revolution in 1789. The British were already beginning to feel the pinch of their economic problems at home caused by the battles across the Atlantic.
13 Phase 2
A Financial Dilemma Worldwide
The English hope was that the colonists would change their allegiance back to the crown and again pay taxes to cover the expense of the army and navy protecting them. The feeling of providence was growing and this fledgling ragtag farming community in America was becoming "The United States of America", just as George Washington and his fellow patriots had envisioned it.

George Washington moved his army to Morristown to cut off the supply lines of the British and to block their advance to Philadelphia.

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8/6/1777   The Battle of Oriskany Oriskany, NY - A major American win
                     > A major win. Another storm was instrumental in affecting the outcome. This battle stopped the troop and supply lines of the British. The British were planning a massive three stage attack that was attempting to divide the 13 colonies. Because of the protection of Fort Stanwix the battle of Saratoga was thwarted. With the troop and supply lines blocked the British army could not survive in the wilderness. This bottleneck caused the British to retreat back to Canada.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

A Video of "The Battle of Oriskany"

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8/16/1777   The Battle of Bennington Bennington, NY - A major American win.
                     > Another major win with the help of a storm. Total German and British losses at Bennington were recorded at 207 dead and 700 captured; American losses included 30 Americans dead and 40 wounded. The battle was at times particularly brutal when Loyalists met Patriots, as in some cases they came from the same communities. The prisoners, who were first kept in Bennington, were eventually marched to Boston.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

9/11/1777   The Battle of Brandywine Near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania - A large battle - The Americans stood strong but both side lost many troops. The British proceeded to Philadelphia instead of attacking northward since their supply lines and reinforcements were cut off from the Bennington and Oriskany wins.
                     > Casualties at Brandywine were strewn across a 10-square mile area of the battlefield, making final determinations particularly difficult. General Howe in his official report to Parliament counted: 90 killed, 488 wounded and 6 missing in action. Howe, once again clearly underestimated casualty figures. Before the Battle of Germantown, an adjutant in the British army, reckoned British killed and wounded at 1,976. This is the exact same number arrived at by Jacob Hitzheimer, a civilian at Brandywine who recorded the number of British wounded in a diary entry. Some reports have the Queens Rangers losing 290 out of 480 men, while Ferguson's Riflemen suffered 46 casualties out of 80. The 2nd Light Infantry and 2nd British Guards who were involved in some of the fiercest fighting at Brandywine (including hand-to-hand combat) are listed as having lost 612 of 1,740 troops. Major General Greene estimated American losses at 1,200 men. He also reported the loss of 10 irreplaceable cannon and a Howitzer. A Hessian officer listed the American casualty and captured rate at 1,300. An American officer under Brigadier General Nash reported British losses at 1,960 and the Americans at 700.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

Highlights of the end of the battle

Greene opened his ranks to let the retreating Americans pass through and then re-formed his lines. Fierce fighting now took place in the area known as Sandy Hill. Charges and countercharges followed.

While the Americans were fighting the British near Dilworth, they could hear cannon fire from the vicinity of Chadd's Ford. Knyphausen was attacking Wayne. If Wayne gave way, the British under Knyphausen would have a clear path to Greene's troops fighting the northern attackers.

Knyphausen had begun bombarding the Americans across the creek with heavy artillery. The Prussian general was supposed to hold his attack until he heard the sound of Howe firing two cannon shots which was the signal that the the northern troops had forded the river successfully. Regardless, at 4:00 P.M., Knyphausen began a frontal attack without the signal. Fortunately for Knyphausen, American brigades under Generals Green and Nash had just been sent north to reinforce the American lines at Birmingham. Knyphausen sent his men across the Brandywine at several different fording spots, with four regiments alone crossing at Brinton's Ford. Knyphausen's main column pushed through at Chadd's Ford in the face of heavy American resistance. A smaller British force moved south, and crossed the creek probably at Gibson's Ford, which threatened the American militia posted farther south at Pyle's Ford.

The Americans fought with verve -- despite being outnumbered. They might have been able to endure the attack had not another British regiment -- who had gotten lost earlier in the day at Birmingham Hill -- entered the fray. These British Guards and Grenadier Brigades were supposed have part of the British force that attacked Sullivan's second line of defense at Battle Hill. Instead, they became tangled and lost in the thickets of Wistar's Woods, which allowed Sullivan's men to hold their ground longer than they might have. After a couple hours, these lost troops emerged serendipitously to the rear of Wayne's artillery position. Now, Wayne had to shift some of his men to defend against this new menace.

The British pushed the outflanked Americans back to the Chad House where the Widow Chads remained -- and staunchly defended her property. Ultimately, the British got the best of Wayne's men in a spirited duel. Besieged by the bayonets of the British 71st Battalion and the Queens Rangers, the Americans turned tail toward Chester, leaving their artillery behind. Eleven guns were abandoned by the Americans including two cannon which had been captured from the Hessians during Washington's surprise attack of Trenton after crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Day 1776.

Among those besieging the British was Patrick Ferguson of Ferguson's Rifleman. It was near the Chadd House that the inventor of the breech-loading rifle was wounded, which may have an effect on the war. Edward Hector, a Negro private in the 3rd Pennsylvania Artillery, valiantly saved a few wagon loads of ammunition and arms in the tumult. But most of the equipment was left behind. Fortunately, Washington had ordered the baggage removed to Chester the day before, so at least that was safe. Wayne posted a small brigade armed with four cannon, at Painter's Crossroads to cover the troops retreating toward Chester. They kept the main road to Chester open not only for Wayne's retreating men, but Nash's North Carolinians, and the rear guard of Sullivan's troops who were falling back from Dilworth.

Greene's men held the Sandy Hollow area. Fighting under Greene was brigadier General, Peter Muhlenberg, a Lutheran minister who had once served in the Prussian army. As he rode along the defensive line rallying the Virginia troops, he was recognized by some Hessians who called him by his nickname, "Devil Pete." Though the Americans fought well they were forced back. An aide-de-camp to General Howe wrote, "By six o'clock our left wing still had not been able to advance. Here the rebels fought very bravely and did not retreat until they heard in their rear General Knyphausen's fire coming nearer....The Rebels found themselves between two fires. This probably caused them to leave their strong post and retreat from their right wing on the Road to Chester. After warring for nearly two hours the outnumbered Americans began to give way.

At about 7:30, some of General Weedon's men and North Carolina troops under Brigadier General Nash surprised Howe's troops and put a damper on the British victory party. They had come on in the rear and drew up in a semicircle just north and west o the Dilworth Crossroads. Here they surprised Howe's victorious troops who had just taken the field from Greene: "The heat of the Action fell chiefly on the 64th Regt who suffered considerably, enduring with the utmost steadiness a very heavy fire, which lasted till Dark, when the Rebels retreated in great Panick taking the road to Chester." Many of the Tories (colonists that made an allegiance to the crown) in New York were also switching to the patriot "cause". The cleansing oath of New Jersey and New York was not just to their individual states, but also to "The United States".

As many French officers were traveling to America to receive a commission, Washington was slow at receiving them at face value. He needed to know if they were impostors or truly trained officers of France. One of them was Thomas Conway who was an Irishman, but also a French Officer. He was a problem from the start.
Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de Lafayette was a different story. He did not have any military experience but was honored throughout Europe. He was only 20 and was given the title of honorary lieutenant general. He was eager to learn English and was almost like a son to Washington.

In June of 1777 the British in New York received reinforcements from England. On June 17, 1777 they were on their way to Philadelphia. Howe was moving his troops with his ships and occasionally marched in New Jersey trying to draw out Washington to fight on the plains. Washington didn't take the bate and stayed near Morristown.

As the British began the march on Philadelphia the Continental Army made a stand behind the Brandywine River. This didn't work very well and eventually Philadelphia fell to the British. Prior to this attack the Congress moved the government to York, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In September of 1777 the Continental Congress, under threat of the advancing British, moved the location of the colonies' central government from Philadelphia to Lancaster. Since the State of Pennsylvania's Government was also located in Lancaster, officials decided that a move across the Susquehanna would separate the two sufficiently and the Continental Congress set up shop in the Town of York.


It was in York that the Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving, and signed the French Treaty of Alliance. All of these events occurred in the nine months York remained Capital of the United States - until June 27, 1778.

Washington's reputation was again tarnished by another loss. General Gates reputation was very high at this point. The battle in the north was perfect for the irregular army since the fighting was in a forest setting. The British were not well equipped in this environment. And when the woods became extremely dense their caravan of canon and supplies were being cut off. As he fought on it was obvious that the British troops could not make it to Albany before the winter hit and it was too difficult to turn and go back to Canada. The elements were agains them and Gates had a victory due to good leadership and the right elements.

Washington was at a disadvantage of trying to fight the British in open fields. The Colonists were not trained for European warfare. But that would change after their training at York Town in the coming winter.

General Thomas Conway

The "Conway Cabal", as it was called by historians, was difficult for General Washington. Washington's reputation was taking a beating with so many defeats. The French officer "General Thomas Conway" wanted Washington to step down and let him take over as Commander in Chief. As his suggestion hit the public eye it backfired. When this went public almost everyone came to the rescue of their "hero", George Washington. Conway ended up resigning.

As General Horatio Gates won so much praise for his win in the north he also criticized Washington's ability to lead effectively. He felt that his leadership in the north was far superior to Washington's. As this also became public Gates was forced to apologize.

General Horatio Gates

General Gates had received reinforcements that Washington had sent him while fighting in the north. While all the criticisms were being broadcast the noble acts of Washington by supporting Gates army with reinforcements showed another side of the debate. This also was difficult for Washington's forces since they had fewer soldiers on the field of battle.

These criticisms took awhile to develop but when Washington was hinting at stepping down his true followers came forward and ended these challenges. George Washington was the icon of "heroism" for the American people. The war was difficult and Washington was criticized but the people still believed in him and the cause for liberty and freedom.
Washington tried a complicated surprise attack in Germantown that started out fine but ended in a confusing fashion as dense fog created a difficult situation for both armies. The Continental Army was making a great stand when communications and mis-information caused a retreat. General Greene was making the best of the attack until everything changed. Some of the soldiers also ran out of gun power and had to retreat. This ended as another defeat. But the northern army, led by General Gates, was successful against Burgoyne at Saratoga. The win at Saratoga would encourage the French to join the fight against their nemeses, the British.

14 "The Battle of Saratoga"
(A number of battles combined)
Fort Ticonderoga
Freeman's Farm
Breymann's Redoubt
Philadelphia Campaign

3 of 6 - Revolutionary War - Things Begin to Go Well

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9/19/1777    The Battle of Saratoga (Freeman's Farm) Saratoga County, NY - A Patriot Win.
                     > In December General Burgoyne concerted with the British ministry a plan for the campaign of 1777. A large force under his command was to go to Albany by way of Lakes Champlain and George, while another body, under Sir Henry Clinton, advanced up the Hudson. Simultaneously, Colonel Barry St. Leger was to make a diversion, by way of Oswego, on the Mohawk river. In pursuance of this plan, Burgoyne, in June began his advance with one of the best-equipped armies that had ever left the shores of England. Proceeding up Lake Champlain, he easily forced the evacuation of Crown Point, Ticonderoga, and Fort Anne. But, instead of availing himself of the water-carriage of Lake George, at the head of which there was a direct road to Fort Edward, he advanced upon that work by land, consuming three weeks in cutting a road through the woods and building bridges over swamps.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

10/4/1777    The Battle of Germantown Germantown, Pennsylvania - A Draw.
                     > The campaign in Philadelphia had begun quite badly for the American forces. Washington and the Continental Army had suffered successive defeats at the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Paoli that left Philadelphia defenseless. After the seizure of the revolutionary capital by Charles Cornwallis on September 26, 1777, William Howe left 3,462 men to defend it and moved 9,728 [3] men to Germantown, 5 miles (8.0 km) north, determined to locate and destroy the American forces. Howe established his headquarters at Stenton, the former country home of James Logan. With Howe's forces thus divided, Washington saw an opportunity to confront the British. He decided to attack the British garrison in Germantown as the last effort of the year before the onset of winter.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

10/7/1777    The Battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights) Saratoga County, NY - A Major Patriot Win
                     > A very aggressive battle by the Patriots. They took on the many professional soldiers of the "regular" army and took over the field. Over 5,900 of the British were captured. The culmination of many wins by the Patriots along with this decisive win brought the French into a strong alliance with the Americans that would change the outcome of the war in the coming battles.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

The French made an Alliance
after the battles of Saratoga
Valley Forge

Even though Valley Forge was a difficult location for the winter it served the army well. The congress was supporting them badly. The men were starving and were half naked, even in the middle of a harsh winter. Congress seemed to be doing nothing.
Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

A soldier, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, from Germany applied to join the Continental Army claiming that he had a high rank and social status (a baron). As Washington researched his background he was neither, but he did well enough to drill his soldiers so they could face the British on the open battlefield.
General Sir Henry Clinton (British)

Howe stepped down to his second-in-command, Sir Henry Clinton. The word came in from spies that the British were leaving Philadelphia in a rush. Orders had been sent the British to leave quickly and head to New York. One of Washington's detractors, General Lee, who had been captured earlier in the war had been released.

On the 18th of June the British had crossed the Delaware and was heading to New York. General Lee was not impressed with how the army was insufficiently ready to fight face to face with the British.

15 The Battle of Monmouth

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6/28/1778     The Battle of Monmouth Monmouth, New Jersey
                     > Though Washington has failed to destroy the British column, he had inflicted damage to their troops, and proven that Americans can stand against the regulars, without the advantage of surprise.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

The battle at Monmouth Court House (now Freehold) began with General Lee hesitating and causing his troops to retreat almost immediately. As General Washington arrived he rallied the Americans along a hilltop hedgerow to stand up to the British. Cornwallis pressed his attack. Washington used his artillery under Major General Nathanael Greene's command to attack the British from afar. As nightfall came, both armies held the field. General Clinton withdrew at night to continue his march to New York.

This was the first time the Continental Army was able to stand head to head to the British in a European battle style. Washington's reputation was climbing due to the hard work by Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, General Nathanael Green, and Major General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. General Lee would face court martial at Englistown.

Once the British made it to New York they hid behind their fortifications.

Washington gave his troops a time to rest. The French fleet under Count d'Estaing appeared in Philadelphia.

The French were difficult to pin down. One minute they were ready to help and promised to do so and then they departed without warning. It was difficult for Washington to prepare a plan of action because the french were not dependable.

The finances of the colonies was terrible. There was no way to raise funds for the army. The army was needed but the soldiers were not getting paid. The only thing keeping the army together was the officers good leadership and their patriotism. Inflation was making money almost useless. Things were getting desperate financially. Washington and Alexander Hamilton were suggesting ways for printed money that would have value. There were many proposals but were considered too novel. Nothing happened. The army was not taken care of properly.

It was getting so difficult, communications were nearly stopped because of the cost of feed for the horses making the trips.

16 The Battle of Morristown

The Continental Army camped at Morristown Heights. In May of 1780 the French fleet was on its way to North America!!!
The British Attacked the South
The British began to attack the South and took South Carolina quite easily. The British were convinced that the southern colonialists would be ready to give their allegiance back to the crown. The south had very few soldiers to defend the American colonists.

The British had heard that there were many Tories that were ready to joint the fight against the colonist forces. Even though the British were able to take Savannah and Charleston fairly easily the patriots in the south were still very upset with George III and his attempted rule of North America. The Colonists were forced into surrender. The British set up a base of operations in Charleston until the war ended. Because of many troops ordered to the southern campaign it made it more difficult to hold ground in the north.

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12/29/1778     The Capture of Savannah Savannah, Georgia - British Win
                     > The American commander Brigadier General Robert Howe of North Carolina, with only 700 men, made a feeble attempt to defend the city. But with troops in their rear, the American defense was broken. With the loss of well over 550 men, and all the artillery, Howe was forced to retire into South Carolina.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

3/29/1780     The Siege of Charleston Charleston, South Carolina - British Win
                     > This was a severe blow to the colonies. It was the greatest loss of manpower and equipment of the war for the Americans and gave the British nearly complete control of the Southern colonies.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

July 10, 1780 the French showed up with men and ships. But the French were difficult to work with. They considered Washington a novice compared to their experience.
July 15, 1780 Benedict Arnold was selling West Point to the British Admiral John Andre.

Washington visited Benedict Arnold at Fort West Point to evaluate the fort's preparedness. Instead of finding Benedict Arnold giving an inspection of the fort, Arnold had taken off to join the British ships that were on their way up the Hudson to attack the Fort. He left his wife at the fort stranded and went down in history as a traitor instead of being a great patriot.
The wind stopped and
halted the attack on West Point
The wind stopped and the attack was thwarted due to providence. It was impossible for the British ships to channel up the Hudson to the Fort to attack without wind power.

Part of the book online

But Benedict Arnold was on Washington's mind to capture him at all costs. It was difficult to capture Arnold because he made it safely to the ships but Washington would try to bring this traitor to justice if he could.

17 The Battle of Yorktown
The war was dragging on.
The end seemed eminent. Washington felt that there might be a peace without victory. The British were having a difficult time funding their navy and army across the Atlantic and the Americans were not giving up.
French Ships fighting the British
The Naval Battle of "The Virginia Capes"
September 5, 1781

The following battles continued on for another year.

The Continental Army was becoming more unified and were able to cause many casualties of the British and Hessian armies. The weight of the cost of the war to Britain was taking it's toll. Even though many of these battle were British wins, the American were wearing down the British spirit and resolve.

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8/16/1780     The Battle of Camden North of Camden, South Carolina - British Victory
                     > The Battle of Camden was a major victory for the British in the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War. On August 16, 1780, British forces under Lieutenant General Lord Charles Cornwallis routed the American forces of Major General Horatio Gates about 10 km (six miles) north of Camden, South Carolina, strengthening the British hold on the Carolinas.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

10/7/1780    The Battle of King's Mountain Near Blackburn, SC and King's Mtn, NC - American Win
                    > "The turning point in the South" in America's War for Independence. During the battle, Patrick Ferguson commanded his men with the use of a silver whistle. Many Patriot fighters later recalled hearing the sound of Ferguson's whistle over the sound of the rifle fire. The whistle and the checkered hunting shirt he wore over his uniform made the Scottish commander quite noticeable on the battlefield. After nearly an hour of fighting, Ferguson suddenly fell from his horse. One foot was hanging in his stirrup -- several, perhaps as many as eight bullets were in his body. Some accounts say he died before he hit the ground. Other accounts say that his men propped him against a tree, where he died. Ferguson was the only British soldier killed in the battle -- all others were Americans, either Loyalist or Patriot. Ferguson's second in command then ordered that a white flag of surrender be hoisted. Despite the call for surrender by the Loyalists, the Patriots could not immediately stop their men from shooting. Many Patriots remembered that the infamous Colonel Tarleton had mowed down Patriot troops at Waxhaw despite the fact that the troops were trying to surrender. Eventually, the fighting at Kings Mountain stopped. In all, 225 Loyalists were killed, 163 were wounded, 716 were taken prisoner. 28 Patriots were killed and 68 were wounded. Among the Patriot dead: Colonel James Williams of South Carolina.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

1/17/1781    The Battle of Cowpens Cowpens, South Carolina - major American win
                     > Daniel Morgan, known affectionately as "The Old Waggoner" to his men, had fought a masterly battle. His tactical decisions and personal leadership had allowed a force consisting mainly of militia to fight according to their strengths to win one of the most complete victories of the war.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

3/15/1781    The Battle of Guilford Courthouse Guilford Courthouse, North - British Win but many casualties
                     > On the bright, late winter day of March 15, 1781, the Revolutionary War came to a remote county seat in north central North Carolina. Guilford Courthouse, with its population of considerably fewer than 100, was on this day the temporary residence of 4,400 American soldiers and their leader, Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene. The British had overrun Georgia and South Carolina and showed every indication of ripping the stars and stripes of North Carolina and Virginia from the new American flag. From the ragged remnants of a defeated southern army, Greene had raised a new force comprising 1,700 Continentals (three-year enlistees in the regular army) and about 2,700 militia (mostly farmers who were nonprofessional temporary soldiers called up for short periods of service during an emergency). Early on the morning of March 15, General Greene deployed his men in three lines of battle across the Great Salisbury Wagon Road that led off to the southwest toward the camp of the British army commanded by Lord Charles Cornwallis. Although grossly outnumbered, Cornwallis nonetheless was certain that his redcoats, victors on scores of battlefields, could overcome the rebels. A pyrrhic victory.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

9/8/1781      The Battle of Eutaw Springs Near present-day Eutawville, South Carolina< - British win tactically but loss strategically.
                     > Despite winning a tactical military victory the British lost strategically. Their inability to stop Greene's continuing operations forced them to abandon most of their conquests in the South, leaving them in control of a small number of isolated enclaves at Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah. The British attempt to pacify the south with Loyalist support had failed even before Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

The French were ready to attack the British. Washington wanted to attack the New York base of operations. He wanted revenge for the horrible loss that had struck early in the war. The French were concerned of the tactical problems with New York and chose a smaller battle that would surprise the British. The French wanted to go after Cornwallis at Yorktown. The French insisted and the planning went forward.

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10/9/1781    The Battle of Yorktown Yorktown, Virginia
                     > The Articles of Capitulation were signed on October 19, 1781. Cornwallis' British men were declared prisoners of war, promised good treatment in American camps, and officers were permitted to return home after taking their parole. At 2:00 pm the allied army entered the British positions, with the French on the left and the Americans on the right. The British and Hessian troops marched between them, while according to legend the British drummers and fifers played to the tune of "The World Turn'd Upside Down". The British soldiers had been issued with new uniforms hours before the surrender and until prevented by General O'Hara some threw down their muskets with the apparent intention of smashing them. Others wept or appeared to be drunk. 8,000 troops, 214 artillery pieces, thousands of muskets, 24 transport ships, wagons and horses were captured. Cornwallis refused to meet formally with Washington, and also refused to come to the ceremony of surrender, claiming illness. Instead, Brigadier General Charles O'Hara presented the sword of surrender to Rochambeau. Rochambeau shook his head and pointed to Washington. O'Hara offered it to Washington, but he refused to accept it, and motioned to his second in command, Benjamin Lincoln, who had been humiliated by the British at Charleston, to accept it. The British soldiers marched out and laid down their arms in between the French and American armies, while many civilians watched. At this time, the troops on the other side of the river in Gloucester also surrendered.    - - Click Here to Continue - -   

The British were hemmed in without escape due to the French ships creating a blockade. The battle went as the French planned with their new style of extra large canon that could fire rounds further than the British. The engineers dug an extremely distant trench to fire these long range canon. This tactic worked as planned and the first canon attack destroyed the British canon and earthworks without taking any hits from the British. The French gave George Washington the honor of firing the first canon.

As the French continued to build a closer trench system for more canon fire both the American and French troops were digging fortifications and new trenches for the 2nd phase of the siege. The British tried to escape at night but a storm stopped them.

The battle of Yorktown was a success for the Americans and French and won the war in the hearts and minds of all involved even though it would take some time for the British to leave. The British surrendered at Yorktown for the battle but not the war. It would take some time for the British to meet with the Americans in Paris for the official documents to be signed.

The traitor Benedict Arnold was one of the British Generals that was defeated as he lead a British army battle group.

18 The Farewell
The end of the war was not easy. The army had not been paid for some time and the officers and troops were expected to be ready to fight if the British began hostilities again. The war was not officially over. But the Congress had no way of generating funds for the army.

The congress authorized new soldiers to get money up front as incentive to join up. Some brigades were requesting to retire and then re-up to get paid. The army was disbanded with very angry soldiers demanding what was owed them. Some soldiers were organizing to attack the congress and its members. The army was disbanded before the British had left. Things were very tense. The King was ordering his troops and navy to leave for more prosperous ventures.

George Washington made an assurance to his troops after the Yorktown victory that congress would pay them what they were due. This assurance helped keep the army in place even though the congress did not provide the funds.

Then when the congress would not back up Washington's assurance hard feeling grew. This was the last straw. The army was beyond angry.

The painting of Washington saying farewell looked quite friendly, but their meeting started with great frustration and anger of betrayal. At the end of Washington's prepared statements he remembered a important letter that he wanted to read to them. He looked a little rattled while he feebly found the note. He explained that the war had taken his eyesight and some of his health too.

After this demonstration of Washington's physical infirmaries the officers began to show their emotions to the man that did everything he could. Their appreciation began to show despite the difficult circumstances that they were in.
The Farewell to General George Washington
And His Officers

It wasn't until September 3, 1783 that the Treaty of Paris was signed to officially end the conflict. The British could have stayed and continued the battle but the frustrations against the war in England by the population had gained enough strength that King George III was ready to move on and put this behind him.
September 3, 1783

As the British King, George III sent his ships south to the Caribbean the British navy won a battle against the French for control of the territory in the sugar producing areas in the West Indies.

George Washington became the 1st President of the United States

After two terms Washington stepped down

Later the French posed a threat to possibly invade The United States of America due to a problem with diplomates from America to France. This elevated situation almost brought George Washington out of retirement to assume his Commander-in-Chief status again. This was after he had stepped down as President.

It eventually worked itself out and the French and American alliance continued. Washington was happy to stay in Mount Vernon and enjoy his retirement with Martha and others.

He Died December 14, 1799 (age 67)

19 Battles of the
Revolutionary War
Date Battle Location
4/19/1775 The Battles of Lexington and Concord Lexington and Concord Massachusetts
5/10/1775 The Siege of Fort Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga, New York
5/27/1775 The Battle of Chelsea Creek Suffolk County, Massachusetts
6/16/1775 The Battle of Bunker (Breeds) Hill Charlestown, Massachusetts
12/31/1775 The Battle of Quebec Quebec City, Province of Quebec
8/27/1776 The Battle of Long Island (Brooklyn Heights) Long Island, New York
10/28/1776 The Battle of White Plains White Plains, New York
11/16/1776 The Battle of Fort Washington Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York
12/26/1776 The Battle of Trenton Trenton, New Jersey
1/3/1777 The Battle of Princeton Princeton, New Jersey
8/6/1777 The Battle of Oriskany Oriskany, New York
8/16/1777 The Battle of Bennington Bennington, New York
9/11/1777 The Battle of Brandywine Near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
9/19/1777 The Battle of Saratoga (Freeman's Farm) Saratoga County, New York
10/4/1777 The Battle of Germantown Germantown, Pennsylvania
10/7/1777 The Battle of Saratoga (Bemis Heights) Saratoga County, New York
6/28/1778 The Battle of Monmouth Monmouth, New Jersey
12/29/1778 The Capture of Savannah Savannah, Georgia
3/29/1780 The Siege of Charleston Charleston, South Carolina
8/16/1780 The Battle of Camden North of Camden, South Carolina
10/7/1780 The Battle of King's Mountain Near Blackburn, SC and King's Mountain, NC
1/17/1781 The Battle of Cowpens Cowpens, South Carolina
3/15/1781 The Battle of Guilford Courthouse Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina
9/8/1781 The Battle of Eutaw Springs Near present-day Eutawville, South Carolina
10/9/1781 The Battle of Yorktown Yorktown, Virginia

Timeline of George Washington's Life
1732 (February 22) Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia
1749 Official Surveyor for Culpeper County, Virginia
1751 Washington goes to Barbados
1753 Major Washington carried British ultimatum to the French in the Ohio River Valley
1754 Colonel Washington surrendered Fort Necessity in the French and Indian War
1755 (July 9) Colonel Washington was with General Edward Braddock when ambushed by the French and Indians.
1755-1758 Colonel Washington commanded Virginia's frontier troops.
1759 (January 6) Married Mrs. Martha Dandridge Custis
1774 Elected delegate to the First Continental Congress
1775 Elected delegate to the Second Continental Congress
1775 (June 15) Elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army
1776 (July 4) The Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress.
1781 (October 19) Victory at Yorktown
1787 (May 25) Elected President of the Constitutional Convention
1789 Elected first President of the United States - the United States flag had 13 stars
1789 (June 1) Washington signed the first act of Congress concerning the administration of oaths.
1789 Congress established the Department of Foreign Affairs (now the Department of State)
1789 North Carolina becomes a state.
1789-1799 The French Revolution ended absolute monarchy in France.
1790 Washington approved plans for the U.S. Capitol.
1790 The first national census took place - 3,929,214 people were counted over a period of nine months.
1790 Rhode Island becomes a state.
1791 (December 15, 1791) The Bill of Rights became law. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States guarantee basic liberties to Americans.
1791 The Cabinet held its first recorded meeting.
1791 Congress chartered the Bank of the United States.
1791 Congress established the District of Columbia.
1791 Vermont becomes a state.
1792 Congress established a national mint.
1792 Rival national political parties began developing in the United States.
1792 Kentucky becomes a state.
1793 Re-elected President of the United States
1793 (April 22) Washington issued the Neutrality Proclamation to keep the United States out of the war between France and Great Britain.
1793 (September 18) Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
1793 The cotton gin was invented. Led to mass production and increase of slave labor.
1794 The Whisky Rebellion brought the first test of Federal power. Washington sent troops to crush an uprising by Pennsylvania farmers who refused to pay a federal whisky tax.
1795 Washington signed the unpopular Jay Treaty to maintain trade with Great Britain.
1796 Tennessee becomes a state.
1796 Published his Farewell Address, refusing a third term.
1797 U.S. population was 4,900,000 in 1797 when Washington retired.
1797 The French Army under Napoleon drove the Austrians from Italy.
1798 (July 4) Commissioned Lieutenant General and Commander in Chief of the new United States Army
1799 (Dec 14) Died at Mount Vernon at the age of 67
20 After the Revolutionary War
Early 1800s
The British and French continued hostilities against each other after the Revolutionary War.   As the French began a conquest to overthrew other countries, Napoleon replaced the monarchs and aristocrats with assigned diplomats and local dignitaries. The rise of the Napoleonic Era was a major change to European stability.   The British were throwing everything they had at Napoleon's Army in the early 1800's.

The new "Napoleonic Code" was an innovation of the Enlightenment that stood for "liberty", "freedom", and the concept of "we the people".

The British knew that America would supply the French with supplies just as the French did for them during their revolution. The British created a blockade in the Atlantic to make it more difficult for supplies to get to the French. It was an international siege concept upon the seas. American trade to France was almost brought to a halt. The British in one year captured over 1000 American ships due to this blockade. This hurt the American economy enormously and inflamed the resentment again for the English Crown, George III.

The British were causing havoc on the open seas for Americans. They would illegally board American ships and take the American sailors as prisoners, turning them into slaves on the British ships. This practice was called impressment, or removing seamen from U.S. merchant vessels and forcing them to serve on behalf of the British.

This overt action created a fire storm in America. The Americans were so outraged that they declared war on the British and invaded Canada. This became known as the War of 1812.
The War of 1812

From Wikipedia

The War of 1812 was a 32 month military conflict between the United States and the British Empire and their allies which resulted in no territorial change, but a resolution of many issues remaining from the American War of Independence. The United States declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions brought about by Britain's ongoing war with France, the impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy, British support of American Indian tribes against American expansion, outrage over insults to national honor after humiliations on the high seas, and possible American desire to annex Canada.

The war was fought in three principal theaters. Firstly, at sea, warships and privateers of both sides attacked each other's merchant ships, while the British blockaded the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and mounted large-scale raids in the later stages of the war. Secondly, both land and naval battles were fought on the American–Canadian frontier, which ran along the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River. Thirdly, the American South and Gulf Coast also saw major land battles in which the American forces defeated Britain's Indian allies and repulsed a British invasion force at New Orleans. Both sides invaded each other's territory, but these invasions were unsuccessful or temporary. At the end of the war, both sides occupied parts of the other's land, but these areas were restored by the Treaty of Ghent.

Tied down in Europe until 1814, the British at first used defensive strategy, repelling multiple American invasions of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. However, the Americans gained control over Lake Erie in 1813, seized parts of western Ontario, and ended the prospect of an Indian confederacy and an independent Indian state in the Midwest under British sponsorship. In the Southwest, General Andrew Jackson destroyed the military strength of the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. With the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 on April 6, the British adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large invasion armies.

The Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 allowed them to capture and burn Washington, D.C.
American victories in September 1814 and January 1815 repulsed all three British invasions in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans.

In the United States, victories at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and in the Battle of Baltimore of 1814 (which inspired the lyrics of the United States national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner") produced a sense of euphoria over a "second war of independence" against Britain.

Peace brought an "Era of Good Feelings" in which partisan animosity nearly vanished. Canada also emerged from the war with a heightened sense of national feeling and solidarity, having repelled multiple American invasions. Battles such as the Battle of Question Heights and the Battle of Crysler's Farm became iconic for English-speaking Canadians.

In Canada, especially Ontario, memory of the war retains national significance, as the invasions were largely perceived by Canadians as an annexation attempt by the United States, seeking to expand its territory. In Canada, numerous ceremonies are scheduled in 2012 to commemorate a Canadian victory.

The war is scarcely remembered in Britain today; as it regarded the conflict as sideshow to the much larger Napoleonic Wars raging in Europe. As such it welcomed an era of peaceful relations and trade with the United States.

The battle of York (27 April 1813) was one of the first American victories on land during the War of 1812. The Parliament Buildings were burnt on 30 April, possibly by American sailors acting without official authority. Dearborn ordered the destruction of the remaining military buildings in York and the Government House on 1 May before the departure of the expedition.

Consequently, the British a year later (1814) burned the buildings in Washington DC to get even. The Battles of Fort McHenry and Baltimore were decisive events that ended the conflict. The Star Spangled Banner lyrics, written by Frances Scott Key, were a product of the early morning sighting of the large American flag posted over the fort. The flag signaling to all that could see that the fort had fended off the attack and had stood up to the aggressors.

A storm in the morning was beginning to form which reminded the British of the Hurricane and Tornado that touched down in Washington DC a few days earlier.

This international scene was more stable after the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 at Waterloo. France was the victim of a series of coalitions which aimed to destroy the ideals of the Revolution.

Napoleon was responsible for overthrowing multiple Ancient Régime-type monarchies in Europe and spreading the official values of the French Revolution to other countries.

In particular, Napoleon's French nationalism had the effect of influencing the development of nationalism elsewhere—often inadvertently. German nationalism of Fichte rose to challenge Napoleon's conquest of Germany. Napoleon was also responsible for inventing the green-white-red tricolour basis of the flag of Italy during the period when Napoleon ruled as King of Italy alongside his position as French Emperor.

The Napoleonic Code is a codification of law including civil, family and criminal law that Napoleon imposed on French-conquered territories. After the fall of Napoleon, not only was Napoleonic Code retained by many such countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, parts of Italy and Germany, but has also been used as the basis of certain parts of law outside Europe including the Dominican Republic, the US state of Louisiana and the Canadian province of Quebec.

The memory of Napoleon in Poland is highly favorable, for his support for independence and opposition to Russia, his legal code, the abolition of serfdom, and the introduction of modern middle class bureaucracies.

A number of leaders have been influenced by Napoleon. Muhammad Ali of Egypt sought alliance with Napoleon's France and sought to modernize Egypt along French governmental lines.

The Enlightenment thinking of this age challenges the "Divine Right of Kings" and embraces equality. Rousseau, Diderot and Voltaire were influential in developing the ideas of freedom and liberty. Rousseau wrote in his book "The Social Contract" received his power from the will of the people, not from God. This implies that the people can take away his power.

An Age of Overthrowing Kings

In England in the 1600s Oliver Cromwell led the Parliament to victory over Charles I and eventually had the King executed. Then the Americans defied King George III that claimed the land for England. The French created their "Declaration of the Rights of Man" as their stand for their right to lead themselves and not rely on a King or Lord to rule them. To be a King, Queen or aristocrat in France during the French Revolution was a death sentence to the fate of the guillotine.