The American History Company



Books for Study and Reading

References.--Fiske's War of Independence; Higginson's Larger History, 249-293; McMaster's With the Fathers.

Home Readings.--Scudder's Washington; Holmes's Grandmother's Story of Bunker Hill; Cooper's Lionel Lincoln (Bunker Hill); Cooper's Spy (campaigns around New York); Cooper's Pilot (the war on the sea); Drake's Burgoyne's Invasion; Coffin's Boys of '76; Abbot's Blue Jackets of '76; Abbot's Paul Jones, Lossing's Two Spies.



Advantages of the British.

133. Advantages of the British.--At first sight it seems as if the Americans were very foolish to fight the British. There were five or six times as many people in the British Isles as there were in the continental colonies. The British government had a great standing army. The Americans had no regular army. The British government had a great navy. The Americans had no navy. The British government had quantities of powder, guns, and clothing, while the Americans had scarcely any military stores of any kind. Indeed, there were so few guns in the colonies that one British officer thought if the few colonial gunsmiths could be bribed to go away, the Americans would have no guns to fight with after a few months of warfare.

Hoisted at Cambridge, January, 1776. The British Union and thirteen stripes.

Advantages of the Americans.

134. Advantages of the Americans.--All these things were clearly against the Americans. But they had some advantages on their side. In the first place, America was a long way off from Europe. It was very difficult and very costly to send armies to America, and very difficult and very costly to feed the soldiers when they were fighting in America. In the second place, the Americans usually fought on the defensive and the country over which the armies fought was made for defense. In New England hill succeeded hill. In the Middle states river succeeded river. In the South wilderness succeeded wilderness. In the third place, the Americans had many great soldiers. Washington, Greene, Arnold, Morgan, and Wayne were better soldiers than any in the British army.

The Loyalists.

135. Disunion among the Americans.--We are apt to think of the colonists as united in the contest with the British. In reality the well-to-do, the well-born, and the well-educated colonists were as a rule opposed to independence. The opponents of the Revolution were strongest in the Carolinas, and were weakest in New England.


Boston and neighborhood, 1775-76.
Importance of Dorchester and Charlestown.

136. Siege of Boston.--It was most fortunate that the British army was at Boston when the war began, for Boston was about as bad a place for an army as could be found. In those days Boston was hardly more than an island connected with the mainland by a strip of gravel. Gage built a fort across this strip of ground. The Americans could not get in. But they built a fort at the landward end, and the British could not get out. On either side of Boston was a similar peninsula. One of these was called Dorchester Heights; the other was called Charlestown. Both overlooked Boston. To hold that town, Gage must possess both Dorchester and Charlestown. If the Americans could occupy only one of these, the British would have to abandon Boston. At almost the same moment Gage made up his mind to seize Dorchester, and the Americans determined to occupy the Charlestown hills. The Americans moved first, and the first battle was fought for the Charlestown hills.


Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775. Higginson, 183-188; McMaster, 129-130.

137. Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775.--When the seamen on the British men-of-war waked up on the morning of June 17, the first thing they saw was a redoubt on the top of one of the Charlestown hills. The ships opened fire. But in spite of the balls Colonel Prescott walked on the top of the breastwork while his men went on digging. Gage sent three or four thousand men across the Charles River to Charlestown to drive the daring Americans away. It took the whole morning to get them to Charlestown, and then they had to eat their dinner. This delay gave the Americans time to send aid to Prescott. Especially went Stark and his New Hampshire men, who posted themselves behind a breastwork of fence rails and hay. At last the British soldiers marched to the attack. When they came within good shooting distance, Prescott gave the word to fire. The British line stopped, hesitated, broke, and swept back. Again the soldiers marched to the attack, and again they were beaten back. More soldiers came from Boston, and a third time a British line marched up the hill. This time it could not be stopped, for the Americans had no more powder. They had to give up the hill and escape as well as they could. One-half of the British soldiers actually engaged in the assaults were killed or wounded. The Americans were defeated. But they were encouraged and were willing to sell Gage as many hills as he wanted at the same price.


Washington takes command of the army, 1775. Higginson, 188-193.
Seizure of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
Evacuation of Boston, 1776.

138. Washington in Command, July, 1775.--The Continental Congress was again sitting at Philadelphia. It took charge of the defense of the colonies. John Adams named Washington for commander-in-chief, and he was elected. Washington took command of the army on Cambridge Common, July 3, 1775. He found everything in confusion. The soldiers of one colony were jealous of the soldiers of other colonies. Officers who had not been promoted were jealous of those who had been promoted. In the winter the army had to be made over. During all this time the people expected Washington to fight. But he had not powder enough for half a battle. At last he got supplies in the following way. In the spring of 1775 Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, with the help of the people of western Massachusetts and Connecticut, had captured Ticonderoga and Crown Point. These forts were filled with cannon and stores left from the French campaigns. Some of the cannon were now dragged by oxen over the snow and placed in the forts around Boston. Captain Manley, of the Massachusetts navy, captured a British brig loaded with powder. Washington now could attack. He seized and held Dorchester Heights. The British could no longer stay in Boston. They went on board their ships and sailed away (March, 1776).

[Illustration: SITE OF TICONDEROGA.]

The Canada expedition, 1775-76.
Assault on Quebec.

139. Invasion of Canada, 1775-76.--While the siege of Boston was going on, the Americans undertook the invasion of Canada. There were very few regular soldiers in Canada in 1775, and the Canadians were not likely to fight very hard for their British masters. So the leaders in Congress thought that if an American force should suddenly appear before Quebec, the town might surrender. Montgomery, with a small army, was sent to capture Montreal and then to march down the St. Lawrence to Quebec. Benedict Arnold led another force through the Maine woods. After tremendous exertions and terrible sufferings he reached Quebec. But the garrison had been warned of his coming. He blockaded the town and waited for Montgomery. The garrison was constantly increased, for Arnold was not strong enough fully to blockade the town. At last Montgomery arrived. At night, amidst a terrible snowstorm, Montgomery and Arnold led their brave followers to the attack. They were beaten back with cruel loss. Montgomery was killed, and Arnold was severely wounded. In the spring of 1776 the survivors of this little band of heroes were rescued--at the cost of the lives of five thousand American soldiers.


Strength of Charleston.
Fort Moultrie.
Attack on Fort Moultrie, 1776.
Success of the defense

140. British Attack on Charleston, 1776.--In June 1776 a British fleet and army made an attack on Charleston, South Carolina. This town has never been taken by attack from the sea. Sand bars guard the entrance of the harbor and the channels through these shoals lead directly to the end of Sullivan's Island. At that point the Americans built a fort of palmetto logs and sand. General Moultrie commanded at the fort and it was named in his honor, Fort Moultrie. The British fleet sailed boldly in, but the balls from the ships' guns were stopped by the soft palmetto logs. At one time the flag was shot away and fell down outside the fort. But Sergeant Jasper rushed out, seized the broken staff, and again set it up on the rampart. Meantime, General Clinton had landed on an island and was trying to cross with his soldiers to the further end of Sullivan's Island. But the water was at first too shoal for the boats. The soldiers jumped overboard to wade. Suddenly the water deepened, and they had to jump aboard to save themselves from drowning. All this time Americans were firing at them from the beach. General Clinton ordered a retreat. The fleet also sailed out--all that could get away--and the whole expedition was abandoned.

[Illustration: GENERAL MOULTRIE.]

Defense of New York, 1776.
Battle of Long Island, 1776.
Escape of the Americans.

141. Long Island and Brooklyn Heights, 1776.--The very day that the British left Boston, Washington ordered five regiments to New York. For he well knew that city would be the next point of attack. But he need not have been in such a hurry. General Howe, the new British commander-in-chief, sailed first to Halifax and did not begin the campaign in New York until the end of August. He then landed his soldiers on Long Island and prepared to drive the Americans away. Marching in a round-about way, he cut the American army in two and captured one part of it. This brought him to the foot of Brooklyn Heights. On the top was a fort. Probably Howe could easily have captured it. But he had led in the field at Bunker Hill and had had enough of attacking forts defended by Americans. So he stopped his soldiers--with some difficulty. That night the wind blew a gale, and the next day was foggy. The British fleet could not sail into the East River. Skillful fishermen safely ferried the rest of the American army across to New York. When at length the British marched to the attack, there was no one left in the fort on Brooklyn Heights.

Retreat from New York.
Washington crosses the Delaware.

142. From the Hudson to the Delaware, 1776.--Even now with his splendid fleet and great army Howe could have captured the Americans. But he delayed so long that Washington got away in safety. Washington's army was now fast breaking up. Soldiers deserted by the hundreds. A severe action at White Plains only delayed the British advance. The fall of Fort Washington on the end of Manhattan Island destroyed all hope of holding anything near New York. Washington sent one part of his army to secure the Highlands of the Hudson. With the other part he retired across New Jersey to the southern side of the Delaware River. The end of the war seemed to be in sight. In December, 1776, Congress gave the sole direction of the war to Washington and then left Philadelphia for a place of greater safety.

Battle of Trenton, 1776. Higginson, 203; Hero Tales, 45-55

143. Trenton, December 26, 1776.--Washington did not give up. On Christmas night, 1776, he crossed the Delaware with a division of his army. A violent snowstorm was raging, the river was full of ice. But Washington was there in person, and the soldiers crossed. Then the storm changed to sleet and rain. But on the soldiers marched. When the Hessian garrison at Trenton looked about them next morning they saw that Washington and Greene held the roads leading inland from the town. Stark and a few soldiers--among them James Monroe--held the bridge leading over the Assanpink to the next British post. A few horsemen escaped before Stark could prevent them. But all the foot soldiers were killed or captured. A few days later nearly one thousand prisoners marched through Philadelphia. They were Germans, who had been sold by their rulers to Britain's king to fight his battles. They were called Hessians by the Americans because most of them came from the little German state of Hesse Cassel.

[Illustration: Battle of Trenton.]

[Illustration: Battle of Princeton.]

Battle of Princeton, 1777. Source-Book, 149-151.

144. Princeton, January, 1777.--Trenton saved the Revolution by giving the Americans renewed courage. General Howe sent Lord Cornwallis with a strong force to destroy the Americans. Washington with the main part of his army was now encamped on the southern side of the Assanpink. Cornwallis was on the other bank at Trenton. Leaving a few men to keep up the campfires, and to throw up a slight fort by the bridge over the stream, Washington led his army away by night toward Princeton. There he found several regiments hastening to Cornwallis. He drove them away and led his army to the highlands of New Jersey where he would be free from attack. The British abandoned nearly all their posts in New Jersey and retired to New York.



Rising spirit of independence, 1775-76.

145. Growth of the Spirit of Independence.--The year 1776 is even more to be remembered for the doings of Congress than it is for the doings of the soldiers. The colonists loved England. They spoke of it as home. They were proud of the strength of the British empire, and glad to belong to it. But their feelings rapidly changed when the British government declared them to be rebels, made war upon them, and hired foreign soldiers to kill them. They could no longer be subjects of George III. That was clear enough. They determined to declare themselves to be independent. Virginia led in this movement, and the chairman of the Virginia delegation moved a resolution of independence. A committee was appointed to draw up a declaration.

[Illustration: FIRST UNITED STATES FLAG. Adopted by Congress in 1777.]

The Great Declaration, adopted July 4, 1776. Higginson, 194-201; McMaster, 131-135; Source-Book, 147-149.
Signing of the Declaration, August 2, 1776.

146. The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.--The most important members of this committee were Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Of these Jefferson was the youngest, and the least known. But he had already drawn up a remarkable paper called A Summary View of the Rights of British America. The others asked him to write out a declaration. He sat down without book or notes of any kind, and wrote out the Great Declaration in almost the same form in which it now stands. The other members of the committee proposed a few changes, and then reported the declaration to Congress. There was a fierce debate in Congress over the adoption of the Virginia resolution for independence. But finally it was adopted. Congress then examined the Declaration of Independence as reported by the committee. It made a few changes in the words and struck out a clause condemning the slave-trade. The first paragraph of the Declaration contains a short, clear statement of the basis of the American system of government. It should be learned by heart by every American boy and girl, and always kept in mind. The Declaration was adopted on July 4, 1776. A few copies were printed on July 5, with the signatures of John Hancock and Charles Thompson, president and secretary of Congress. On August 2, 1776, the Declaration was signed by the members of Congress.

[Illustration: Battle of Brandywine.]

Battle of Brandywine 1777. McMaster, 137-138.
Battle of Germantown, 1777.

147. The Loss of Philadelphia, 1777.--For some months after the battle of Princeton there was little fighting. But in the summer of 1777, Howe set out to capture Philadelphia. Instead of marching across New Jersey, he placed his army on board ships, and sailed to Chesapeake Bay. As soon as Washington learned what Howe was about, he marched to Chad's Ford, where the road from Chesapeake Bay to Philadelphia crossed Brandywine Creek. Howe moved his men as if about to attempt to cross the ford. Meantime he sent Cornwallis with a strong force to cross the creek higher up. Cornwallis surprised the right wing of the American army, drove it back, and Washington was compelled to retreat. Howe occupied Philadelphia and captured the forts below the city. Washington tried to surprise a part of the British army which was posted at Germantown. But accidents and mist interfered. The Americans then retired to Valley Forge--a strong place in the hills not far from Philadelphia.

The army at Valley Forge, 1777-78.

[Illustration: "The Glorious WASHINGTON and GATES." FROM TITLE-PAGE OF AN ALMANAC OF 1778. To show condition of wood-engraving in the Revolutionary era.]

Baron Steuben.

148. The Army at Valley Forge, 1777-78.--The sufferings of the soldiers during the following winter can never be overstated. They seldom had more than half enough to eat. Their clothes were in rags. Many of them had no blankets. Many more had no shoes. Washington did all he could do for them. But Congress had no money and could not get any. At Valley Forge the soldiers were drilled by Baron Steuben, a Prussian veteran. The army took the field in 1778, weak in numbers and poorly clad. But what soldiers there were were as good as any soldiers to be found anywhere in the world. During that winter, also, an attempt was made to dismiss Washington from chief command, and to give his place to General Gates. But this attempt ended in failure.

Burgoyne's campaign, 1777. Eggleston, 178-179; McMaster, 139-140; Source-Book, 154-157.
Schuyler and Gates.

149. Burgoyne's March to Saratoga, 1777.--While Howe was marching to Philadelphia, General Burgoyne was marching southward from Canada. It had been intended that Burgoyne and Howe should seize the line of the Hudson and cut New England off from the other states. But the orders reached Howe too late, and he went southward to Philadelphia. Burgoyne, on his part, was fairly successful at first, for the Americans abandoned post after post. But when he reached the southern end of Lake Champlain, and started on his march to the Hudson, his troubles began. The way ran through a wilderness. General Schuyler had had trees cut down across its woodland paths and had done his work so well that it took Burgoyne about a day to march a mile and a half. This gave the Americans time to gather from all quarters and bar his southward way. But many of the soldiers had no faith in Schuyler and Congress gave the command to General Horatio Gates.

Battle of Bennington, 1777. Hero Tales, 59-67.

150. Bennington, 1777.--Burgoyne had with him many cavalrymen. But they had no horses. The army, too, was sadly in need of food. So Burgoyne sent a force of dismounted dragoons to Bennington in southern Vermont to seize horses and food. It happened, however, that General Stark, with soldiers from New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts, was nearer Bennington than Burgoyne supposed. They killed or captured all the British soldiers. They then drove back with great loss a second party which Burgoyne had sent to support the first one.

Battle of Oriskany, 1777.

151. Oriskany, 1777.--Meantime St. Leger, with a large body of Indians and Canadian frontiersmen, was marching to join Burgoyne by the way of Lake Ontario and the Mohawk Valley. Near the site of the present city of Rome in New York was Fort Schuyler, garrisoned by an American force. St. Leger stopped to besiege this fort. The settlers on the Mohawk marched to relieve the garrison and St. Leger defeated them at Oriskany. But his Indians now grew tired of the siege, especially when they heard that Arnold with a strong army was coming. St. Leger marched back to Canada and left Burgoyne to his fate.

First battle of Freeman's Farm, 1777.
Second battle of Freeman's Farm, 1777.
Surrender of the British at Saratoga, 1777.

152. Saratoga, 1777.--Marching southward, on the western side of the Hudson, Burgoyne and his army came upon the Americans in a forest clearing called Freeman's Farm. Led by Daniel Morgan and Benedict Arnold the Americans fought so hard that Burgoyne stopped where he was and fortified the position. This was on September 19. The American army posted itself near by on Bemis' Heights. For weeks the two armies faced each other. Then, on October 7, the Americans attacked. Again Arnold led his men to victory. They captured a fort in the centre of the British line, and Burgoyne was obliged to retreat. But when he reached the crossing place of the Hudson, to his dismay he found a strong body of New Englanders with artillery on the opposite bank. Gates had followed the retiring British, and soon Burgoyne was practically surrounded. His men were starving, and on October 17 he surrendered.

The Treaty of Alliance, 1778.

153. The French Alliance, 1778.--Burgoyne's defeat made the French think that the Americans would win their independence. So Dr. Franklin, who was at Paris, was told that France would recognize the independence of the United States, would make treaties with the new nation, and give aid openly. Great Britain at once declared war on France. The French lent large sums of money to the United States. They sent large armies and splendid fleets to America. Their aid greatly shortened the struggle for independence. But the Americans would probably have won without French aid.

The British leave Philadelphia 1778.
Battle of Monmouth, 1778.

154. Monmouth, 1778.--The first result of the French alliance was the retreat of the British from Philadelphia to New York. As Sir Henry Clinton, the new British commander, led his army across the Jerseys, Washington determined to strike it a blow. This he did near Monmouth. The attack was a failure, owing to the treason of General Charles Lee, who led the advance. Washington reached the front only in time to prevent a dreadful disaster. But he could not bring about victory, and Clinton seized the first moment to continue his march to New York. There were other expeditions and battles in the North. But none of these had any important effect on the outcome of the war.

[Illustration: Clark's Campaign 1777-1778]

Clark's conquest of the Northwest, 1778-79. Hero Tales, 31-41.

155. Clark's Western Campaign, 1778-79.--The Virginians had long taken great interest in the western country. Their hardy pioneers had crossed the mountains and begun the settlement of Kentucky. The Virginians now determined to conquer the British posts in the country northwest of the Ohio. The command was given to George Rogers Clark. Gathering a strong band of hardy frontiersmen he set out on his dangerous expedition. He seized the posts in Illinois, and Vincennes surrendered to him. Then the British governor of the Northwest came from Detroit with a large force and recaptured Vincennes. Clark set out from Illinois to surprise the British. It was the middle of the winter. In some places the snow lay deep on the ground. Then came the early floods. For days the Americans marched in water up to their waists. At night they sought some little hill where they could sleep on dry ground. Then on again through the flood. They surprised the British garrison at Vincennes and forced it to surrender. That was the end of the contest for the Northwest.

[Illustration: WEST POINT IN 1790.]

Benedict Arnold.
His treason, 1780 Higginson, 209-211; McMaster, 144

156. Arnold and André, 1780.--Of all the leaders under Washington none was abler in battle than Benedict Arnold. Unhappily he was always in trouble about money. He was distrusted by Congress and was not promoted. At Saratoga he quarrelled with Gates and was dismissed from his command. Later he became military governor of Philadelphia and was censured by Washington for his doings there. He then secured the command of West Point and offered to surrender the post to the British. Major André, of Clinton's staff, met Arnold to arrange the final details. On his return journey to New York André was arrested and taken before Washington. The American commander asked his generals if André was a spy. They replied that André was a spy, and he was hanged. Arnold escaped to New York and became a general in the British army.



Invasion of the South.
Capture of Charleston, 1780.

157. Fall of Charleston, 1780.--It seemed quite certain that Clinton could not conquer the Northern states with the forces given him. In the South there were many loyalists. Resistance might not be so stiff there. At all events Clinton decided to attempt the conquest of the South. Savannah was easily seized (1778), and the French and Americans could not retake it (1779). In the spring of 1780, Clinton, with a large army, landed on the coast between Savannah and Charleston. He marched overland to Charleston and besieged it from the land side. The Americans held out for a long time. But they were finally forced to surrender. Clinton then sailed back to New York, and left to Lord Cornwallis the further conquest of the Carolinas.

Battle of Camden, 1780.

158. Gates's Defeat at Camden, 1780.--Cornwallis had little trouble in occupying the greater part of South Carolina. There was no one to oppose him, for the American army had been captured with Charleston. Another small army was got together in North Carolina and the command given to Gates, the victor at Saratoga. One night both Gates and Cornwallis set out to attack the other's camp. The two armies met at daybreak, the British having the best position. But this really made little difference, for Gates's Virginia militiamen ran away before the British came within fighting distance. The North Carolina militia followed the Virginians. Only the regulars from Maryland and Delaware were left. They fought on like heroes until their leader, General John De Kalb, fell with seventeen wounds. Then the survivors surrendered. Gates himself had been carried far to the rear by the rush of the fleeing militia.

Battle of King's Mountain, 1780. Hero Tales, 71-78.

159. King's Mountain, October, 1780.--Cornwallis now thought that resistance surely was at an end. He sent an expedition to the settlements on the lower slopes of the Alleghany Mountains to get recruits, for there were many loyalists in that region. Suddenly from the mountains and from the settlements in Tennessee rode a body of armed frontiersmen. They found the British soldiers encamped on the top of King's Mountain. In about an hour they had killed or captured every British soldier.


General Greene.
Morgan's victory of the Cowpens, 1781.

160. The Cowpens, 1781.--General Greene was now sent to the South to take charge of the resistance to Cornwallis. A great soldier and a great organizer Greene found that he needed all his abilities. His coming gave new spirit to the survivors of Gates's army. He gathered militia from all directions and marched toward Cornwallis. Dividing his army into two parts, he sent General Daniel Morgan to threaten Cornwallis from one direction, while he threatened him from another direction. Cornwallis at once became uneasy and sent Tarleton to drive Morgan away, but the hero of many hard-fought battles was not easily frightened. He drew up his little force so skillfully that in a very few minutes the British were nearly all killed or captured.


Greene's retreat.
The Battle of Guilford, 1781.

161. The Guilford Campaign, 1781.--Cornwallis now made a desperate attempt to capture the Americans, but Greene and Morgan joined forces and marched diagonally across North Carolina. Cornwallis followed so closely that frequently the two armies seemed to be one. When, however, the river Dan was reached, there was an end of marching, for Greene had caused all the boats to be collected at one spot. His men crossed and kept the boats on their side of the river. Soon Greene found himself strong enough to cross the river again to North Carolina. He took up a very strong position near Guilford Court House. Cornwallis attacked. The Americans made a splendid defense before Greene ordered a retreat, and the British won the battle of Guilford. But their loss was so great that another victory of the same kind would have destroyed the British army. As it was, Greene had dealt it such a blow that Cornwallis left his wounded at Guilford and set out as fast as he could for the seacoast. Greene pursued him for some distance and then marched southward to Camden.

Greene's later campaigns, 1871-83.

162. Greene's Later Campaigns.--At Hobkirk's Hill, near Camden, the British soldiers who had been left behind by Cornwallis attacked Greene. But he beat them off and began the siege of a fort on the frontier of South Carolina. The British then marched up from Charleston, and Greene had to fall back. Then the British marched back to Charleston and abandoned the interior of South Carolina to the Americans. There was only one more battle in the South--at Eutaw Springs. Greene was defeated there, too, but the British abandoned the rest of the Carolinas and Georgia with the exception of Savannah and Charleston. In these wonderful campaigns with a few good soldiers Greene had forced the British from the Southern states. He had lost every battle. He had won every campaign.

Lafayette and Cornwallis, 1781.

163. Cornwallis in Virginia, 1781.--There were already two small armies in Virginia,--the British under Arnold, the Americans under Lafayette. Cornwallis now marched northward from Wilmington and added the troops in Virginia to his own force; Arnold he sent to New York. Cornwallis then set out to capture Lafayette and his men. Together they marched from salt water across Virginia to the mountains--and then they marched back to salt water again. Cornwallis had called Lafayette "the boy" and had declared that "the boy should not escape him." Finally Cornwallis fortified Yorktown, and Lafayette settled down at Williamsburg. And there they still were in September, 1781.

The French at Newport, 1780.
Plans of the allies, 1781.

164. Plans of the Allies.--In 1780 the French government had sent over a strong army under Rochambeau. It was landed at Newport. It remained there a year to protect the vessels in which it had come from France from capture by a stronger British fleet that had at once appeared off the mouth of the harbor. Another French fleet and another French army were in the West Indies. In the summer of 1781 it became possible to unite all these French forces, and with the Americans to strike a crushing blow at the British. Just at this moment Cornwallis shut himself up in Yorktown, and it was determined to besiege him there.


The Siege of Yorktown.

The march to the Chesapeake.
Combat between the French and the British fleets.
Surrender of Yorktown, October 19, 1781. Higginson, 211-212.

165. Yorktown, September-October, 1781.--Rochambeau led his men to New York and joined the main American army. Washington now took command of the allied forces. He pretended that he was about to attack New York and deceived Clinton so completely that Clinton ordered Cornwallis to send some of his soldiers to New York. But the allies were marching southward through Philadelphia before Clinton realized what they were about. The French West India fleet under De Grasse reached one end of the Chesapeake Bay at the same time the allies reached the other end. The British fleet attacked it and was beaten off. There was now no hope for Cornwallis. No help could reach him by sea. The soldiers of the allies outnumbered him two to one. On October 17, 1781, four years to a day since the surrender of Burgoyne, a drummer boy appeared on the rampart of Yorktown and beat a parley. Two days later the British soldiers marched out to the good old British tune of "The world turned upside down," and laid down their arms.

Treaty of Peace, 1783.

166. Treaty of Peace, 1783.--This disaster put an end to British hopes of conquering America. But it was not until September, 1783, that Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay brought the negotiations for peace to an end. Great Britain acknowledged the independence of the United States. The territory of the United States was defined as extending from the Great Lakes to the thirty-first parallel of latitude and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Spain had joined the United States and France in the war. Spanish soldiers had conquered Florida, and Spain kept Florida at the peace. In this way Spanish Florida and Louisiana surrounded the United States on the south and the west. British territory bounded the United States on the north and the northeast.



§§ 134-136.--a. Compare the advantages of the British and the Americans. Which side had the greater advantages?

b. Explain the influence of geographical surroundings upon the war.

c. Why were there so many loyalists?

§§ 137-139.--a. Mold or draw a map of Boston and vicinity and explain by it the important points of the siege.

b. Who won the battle of Bunker Hill? What were the effects of the battle upon the Americans? Upon the British?

c. Why was Washington appointed to chief command?

d. What were the effects of the seizure of Ticonderoga on the siege of Boston?

§§ 140, 141.--a. Why did Congress determine to attack Canada? b. Follow the routes of the two invading armies. What was the result of the expedition?

c. Describe the harbor of Charleston. Why did the British attack at this point?

d. What was the result of this expedition?

§§ 142, 143.--a. What advantage would the occupation of New York give the British?

b. Describe the Long Island campaign.

c. Why did Congress give Washington sole direction of the war? Who had directed the war before?

§§ 144, 145.--a. Describe the battle of Trenton. Why is it memorable?

b. Who were the Hessians?

c. At the close of January, 1777, what places were held by the British?


§§146, 147.--a. What had been the feeling of most of the colonists toward England? Why had this feeling changed?

b. Why was Jefferson asked to write the Declaration?

c. What great change was made by Congress in the Declaration? Why?

d. What truths are declared to be self-evident? Are they still self-evident?

e. What is declared to be the basis of government? Is it still the basis of government?

f. When was the Declaration adopted? When signed?

§§ 148, 149.--a. Describe Howe's campaign of 1777.

b. What valuable work was done at Valley Forge?

§§ 150-153.--a. What was the object of Burgoyne's campaign? Was the plan a wise one from the British point of view?

b. What do you think of the justice of removing Schuyler?

c. How did the battle of Bennington affect the campaign? What was the effect of St. Leger's retreat to Canada?

d. Describe Arnold's part in the battles near Saratoga.

§§ 154, 155.--a. What was the effect of Burgoyne's surrender on Great Britain? On France? On America?

b. What were the results of the French alliance?

c. Describe the battle of Monmouth. Who was Charles Lee?

§ 156.--a. Describe Clark's expedition and mark on a map the places named. b. How did this expedition affect the later growth of the United States?

§ 157.--a. Describe Arnold's career as a soldier to 1778. b. What is treason? c. Was there the least injustice in the treatment of André?

Chapter 16

§§ 158, 159.--a. Why was the scene of action transferred to the South? b. What places were captured? c. Compare the British and American armies at Camden. What was the result of this battle?

§§ 160-163.--a. Describe the battle of King's Mountain. b. What was the result of the battle of the Cowpens? c. Follow the retreat of the Americans across North Carolina. What events showed Greene's foresight? d. What were the results of the battle of Guilford? e. Compare the outlook for the Americans in 1781 with that of 1780.

§§ 164-166. a. How did the British army get to Yorktown? b. Describe the gathering of the Allied Forces. c. Describe the surrender and note its effects on America, France, and Great Britain.

§ 167.--a. Where were the negotiations for peace carried on? b. Mark on a map the original territory of the United States. c. How did Spain get the Floridas?

General Questions

a. When did the Revolution begin? When did it end? b. Were the colonies independent when the Declaration of Independence was adopted? c. Select any campaign and discuss its objects, plan, the leading battles, and the results. d. Follow Washington's movements from 1775-82. e. What do you consider the most decisive battle of the war? Why?

Topics For Special Work

a. Naval victories. b. Burgoyne's campaign. c. Greene as a general. d. Nathan Hale. e. The peace negotiations.


The use of map or molding board should be constant during the study of this period. Do not spend time on the details of battles, but teach campaigns as a whole. In using the molding board the movements of armies can be shown by colored pins.

The Declaration of Independence should be carefully studied, especially the first portions. Finally, the territorial settlement of 1783 should be thoroughly explained, using map or molding board.

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