War of Independence AMERICA

History AS - Unit 2

Washington's Problems (1777-78)

  • Washington's army had issues in Valley Forge - lacked food, fuel + shelter - over 3000 men died + many more deserted
  • he was criticised/questioned for his military ability - 'weak general' + Gates was probably trying to plot against Washington (but the army survived)
  • spring of 1778 - Continental Army had increased + been re-equipped + Von Steuben (German soldier) ensured that American soldiers were better trained (+ many other foreign military 'experts' to help him)

Clinton's Problems (1778-79)

  • February 1778 - (Howe's resignation was accepted) - replaced by Clinton - he was told that British war effort should be focused mainly on France
  • ordered to send 5000 troops for an expedition against St Lucia + another 3000 to support the Floridas (+ told to abandon Philadelphia + concentrate on New York)
  • mid-June 1778 - Clinton left for New York (10,000 troops + 12 mile baggage train)
  • 28 June - American attack on the British rearguard failed - Washington blamed failure on General Charles Lee (second-in-command) - found guilty of disobeying orders + banned from command for one year
  • Clinton arrived in New York + a French fleet (under Admiral d'Estaing) arrived days later off Sandy Hook - d'Estaing had 16 ships + 4000 French troops
  • July + August - America + France surrounded Newport - British troops held out (massively outnumbered - only 3000 troops) - d'Estaing sailed to the West Indies
  • autumn 1778 - British forces raided the New England coast + Clinton wanted Washington to send his troops to New Jersey (Washington refused) - he wanted him to fight a major battle (feared French navy might attack New York)
  • Clinton asked to resign twice (denied both times) - claimed shortage of troops + neglect by the government - General Cornwallis (July 1779) arrived in New York (second-in-command) - they did not get on





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American Problems (1779-81)

  • 1779 - Washington faced difficulties - lack of troops (deserted/refused to re-enlist) - the French did little to help America (5000 French troops (1780) - inactive for a year)
  • 1780 - Benedict Arnold planned to turn over the fortress of West Point to Britain for £20,000 - Clinton's messenger was captured but Arnold escaped to fight for Britain
  • January 1781 - Pennsylvania Line troops mutinied - discontent with conditions (insufficient food + clothing AND pay lost value as American currency decreased) - refused to return to duty until their outrage was cured (the promise was given)
  • the success of this mutiny encouraged the New Jersey Line to mutiny too - ringleaders were executed (by Washington) + in February Massachusetts + New Jersey troops clashed in a serious riot at Princeton
  • 1781 - Continental Army remained badly supplied + paid - financial problems of Congress + most Americans were war-weary (there seemed no end in sight)

War in the West

  • racial conflict between whites + Indians (most of the 100,000 Indians who lived south of the Great Lakes + East of the Mississippi River chose to fight with Britain) - opportunity to drive the Americans back (+ prevent settlers from supporting rebels)

South-west

  • May 1777 - Indians surrendered considerable territory - South-west frontier was relatively peaceful after
  • Chickamaugas + Chickasaws occasionally attacked Tennessee - strong enough to defend themselves

Kentucky + Illinois

  • after Indian attacks only 3 forts were under American control = Kentucky
  • Virginia sent out George Clark (+ 175 militia) - seize British forts in North-west
  • summer 1778 - Clark controlled the old settlements of Kaskaskia + Cahokia - announced it part of Virginia
  • December 1778 - Hamilton (+ less than 100 men) fought back + occupied Vincennes - Clark captured it back (+ Hamilton) after a 320km march in February 1779
  • 1780 - Britain - campaign to break Clark's hold on Illinois country + Kentucky + to stop Spanish control of the Mississippi
  • Captain Hesse (+ 1000 men) marched through Wisconsin + down the Mississippi WHILE Colonel Bird (similar force) marched south through Ohio country + Kentucky
  • Hesse failed to capture Spanish base at St Louis - forced to retreat
  • Bird's Indian forces - attacked settlements - Licking river - killing many Americans - BUT realised he was losing control of Indians - returned to Detroit
  • August 1780 - Clark (+ 1000 men) crossed the Ohio - defeated Shawnee Indians at the Battle of Piqua

New York + Pennsylvania

  • 1778 - brutal Iroquois raids on New York + Pennsylvania
  • Washington sent General Sullivan (2500 Continentals + several thousand NY militiamen) to punish the Iroquois
  • 29 August 1779 - Sullivan caught mix of Indians + Loyalist at Newtown
  • Indian returned to Niagara - Americans caused havoc in Indian settlements BUT Sullivan was unable to take Niagara
  • October 1781 - 1200 Indians + British troops raided American settlements in Mohawk Valley - defeated by Americans at Battle of Jonson (25 October)

Indian Impact

  • state governments - constantly needed aid against Indian attacks
  • HOWEVER for the British they COULD BE:
  • unreliable
  • divided
  • brutal attacks often angered neutralists + loyalists

Southern Phase

  • Britain wanted control of Georgia + the Carolinas + advance northward - reclaiming colonies one by one (many loyalists in the south)

Georgia

  • late 1778 - Clinton sent Campbell (+ 3000 men) to Georgia (thinly populated colony)
  • December - he captured Savannah (lost 3 dead - took over 500 American prisoners) - Augusta fell in January 1779 and rest of Georgia followed
  • troops treated Georgians well - joined a newly organised loyalist militia
  • March 1779 - British defeated patriot forces at Briar Creek - Americans lost 400 casualties + all (but 450) survivors went home (didn't rejoin General Lincoln's army)
  • September 1779 - D'Estaing returned from West Indies to Georgia - Franco-American force trapped Savannah
  • mid-October - siege collapsed (after 1500 F-A casualties) - D'Estaing sailed away + Lincoln return to Charlestown








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South Carolina

  • 26 December 1779 - Clinton (+ 7600 men) sailed from New York - for Charlestown
  • terrible storm - forced to stop (repair) at Savannah - didn't start until February 1780
  • Lincoln - poor reinforcements - forced to defend it anyway - 12 May he surrendered
  • British Gains: 5000 prisoners, 343 munitions, 6000 muskets, 376 gunpowder barrels (worst American military disaster of the war)
  • 29 May - Tarleton (+ 300 soldiers) defeated 350 Virginians at Waxshaw Creek - they murdered many Virginians (even after they'd tried to surrender) - Tarleton's Quarter
  • South Carolina - state government fled + patriots swore to be faithful to the crown
  • Clinton - proclamation - all adult males are openly loyalists or treated as rebels - neutrality was impossible - forced to choose sides
  • Clinton then feared French-American attack on New York (+ returned north) - left Cornwallis in charge of 4000 men in the South
  • rebel resistance in South Carolina + Georgia had almost ended
  • HOWEVER - inside of Carolinas - anticipated British attack on North Carolian = fierce war between loyalists (Germans) + patriots (Scots-Irish) - summer 1780 - loyalist forces beaten at Ramsour's Mill (20 June), Williamson's Plantation (12 July), Flat Rock (20 July) + Thicketty Fort (30 July)
  • August - Gates (+ 3000 men) went to South Carolina (want to defeat Cornwallis)
  • 16 August - Gates - beaten at Camden by a 2000-strong British force - his army had 1800 casualties (Britain had 300)
  • 18 August - Tarleton's men defeated patriot militia at Fishing Creek - over 500 American casualties (Britain had 22)

North Carolina

  • early September - Cornwallis begins his invasion of North Carolina - patriot militia intimidated British foraging parties - Cornwallis abandoned it and retreated south
  • 7 October - 1000-strong loyalist force wiped out by patriots at King's Mountain
  • winter 1780-81 - patriot + loyalist militias turned Georgia + Carolinas into wasteland of slaughter + destruction: torturing prisoners + hanging enemies (no reason)
  • Cornwallis needed loyalists to make up his army BUT loyalists were heavily dependent on British military support

General Greene

  • late 1780 - took command of the Continental Army in the South - decided to divide his forces + rely on hit + run attacks to weaken British strength
  • sent Daniel Morgan (+ 700 men) to examine British defences South Carolina + others to cooperate with militia attacks along the coast (the rest stayed with Greene)
  • Greene lost every battle he fought in the South (but praised for his military skill)
  • 17 January 1781 - Tarleton defeated at Cowpens by Morgan - Cornwallis wanted to drive Greene out of North Carolina
  • 15 March - Greene + Cornwallis' forces fought at Guildford Court House
  • Cornwallis (outnumbered my 2 to 1) won a costly victory - lost 500 men (25%) - needed to recover
  • 25 April - Lord Rawdon (left in command in South Carolina) defeated Greene at Hobkirk's Hill BUT patriot forces continued to capture British posts

Virginia

  • April - Cornwallis (less than 1500 men) headed to Virginia - 20 May - Petersburg
  • 1780-81 - Benedict Arnold led a series of raids in Virginia (much physical damage)
  • March - General Phillips (+ 2000 more men) arrived - Cornwallis then had 7000 men
  • Cornwallis (after failing to destroy an American detachment by Lafayette) moved towards the sea to continue communications with Clinton in New York
  • August - began constructing a base at Yorktown - Royal Navy needed to maintain Chesapeake Bay - Clinton told Cornwallis that they would be superior to the French
  • French fleet (under Admiral de Grasse) now appeared in American waters

Yorktown

  • May 1781 - Washington found that de Grasse's fleet was on it way + Rochembeau persuaded Washington that Cornwallis was a better target (than New York)
  • early September - combined French-American army (16,000 strong) reached Virginia + trapped Cornwallis in Yorktown (they had double his force)
  • 5 September - British fleet failed + French got control of Chesapeake Bay - Cornwallis was very passive (expecting Clinton to send aid/transport his fleet) - Clinton sent his relief expedition from New York too late
  • October - Cornwallis (army - weak position + short of supplies) - trapped
  • 19 October 1781 - Cornwallis (army of 7200 men + 804 seamen) surrendered
  • Morning of Cornwallis' surrender - Clinton sailed from New York with a relief force of 7000 men (arrived at Chesapeake Bay on 24 October) - 5 days too late
  • Clinton + Graves returned to New York (+ Britain was in shock)

Results of Yorktown

  • Britain still controlled NY, Charlestown + Savannah (+ had 30,000 troops in America)
  • America + France forces failed to cooperate an attack on Charlestown
  • November - de Grasse sailed for the West Indies (Americans were helpless without French) - still widespread loyalism in the South (+ guerrilla activity on both sides)
  • after Cornwallis' surrender - British stooped offensive operations in America - British public were doubtful about continuing the war