The feisty frontier militiamen he had relied upon to bolster the Continental army came and went as they pleased, in part because they resented and resisted traditional forms of military discipline.
The American commander's genius was to learn from his mistakes and use resilience and flexibility as weapons.
With soldiers deserting every day, Washington modified his top- down approach in favor of more democratic opportunities for soldiers to tell him their concerns and offer suggestions.
He changed his strategy because of what he heard.
The Americans were unable to defeat the British in large battles.
The British fell into his trap.
In December 1776, General William Howe, commander in chief of the British forces in North America, decided to wait out the winter in New York City, which became the headquarters of British military operations and a strong hold of Loyalist activity.
Howe had a chance to end the Revolution if he had pursued the Americans into Pennsylvania.
He settled down with Elizabeth Loring, the wife of a New England Conservative, to wait out the win ter in New York City.
George Washington was not ready for winter.
After the devastating defeats around New York City, he decided that the Revolutionary cause needed some good news.
He hatched a plan to surprise the British forces before they decided to return home.
On a fearful Christmas night in 1776, Washington secretly led 2,400 men into New Jersey from Pennsylvania in forty foot long boats.
The weather and river currents made it even riskier.
The Americans were almost defeated by the storm.
On the third try, they made it to the New Jersey shore.
It had taken nine hours to get the men and equipment across the river, and the howling winds, sleet, and blinding snow slowed their progress as they marched inland in the predawn darkness.
The Americans surprised 1,500 sleeping Hessians at dawn.
James Monroe, the future president, was wounded and two of Washington's men were killed.
900 people were captured.
Commissioned for a soldier.
Washington was portrayed by Charles Willson Peale as the hero of the Battle German captives back across the river, of Princeton.
After crossing the frozen Delaware River, the Americans won another battle at Trenton, and then headed north to attack British forces around Princeton before taking shelter in winter quarters in northern New Jersey.
Washington hoped that the American victories at Princeton and Trenton would save the cause of independence.
The American commander regained the confidence of his men after they saw his boldness, calmness, and courage under fire, as a new wave of patriots signed up to serve in Washington's army.
Although the "dark days" of the autumn of 1776 were over, unexpected challenges quickly chilled the excitement of the people.
The diseases caused more casualties than combat.
On any given day, a fourth of the American troops are deemed unsuitable for duty because of small pox.
Washington kept a secret from the British because he ordered a mass inoculation.
Inoculating an entire army was not easy, but it paid off.
Washington's greatest strategic accomplishment of the war was the successful inoculation.
Only a small number of people stayed with Washington during the winter.
With the spring thaw, recruits began arriving to claim the bounty of $20 and 100 acres of land offered by Congress to those who would serve for three years or less.
Washington cobbled together some 9,000 regular troops and began fighting the British in northern New Jersey.
General Howe was making his own plans.
He wanted to get the American army to fight a single battle that the British would win and end the war.
George Washington refused to be baited.
The fighting around New York City showed him that his outmanned army could not defeat the British in an open battle.
He decided that the only way to beat them was to avoid the main British army and wear down the enemy forces.
Britain could only win if it destroyed the American will to resist.
It became more and more difficult for the British to supply their large army and navy in America.
The British government and people would tire of the human and financial toll of war over time.
The Revolution was a long and bitter civil war between the American people and Great Britain, and it was allied with the Native American peoples.
Families and friends were divided by the necessity of choosing sides.
William, the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin, was the governor of New Jersey.
He supported Great Britain in the war.
His father removed him from his home.
In 1774, Bostonian Lucy Flucker disobeyed her Loyalist father's wishes.
When the British army left Boston in 1776, Lucy's family fled with them.
She wrote that she had lost her father, mother, brother and sister.
The white men of Massachusetts met in June 1776 to vote on whether or not to separate from Britain.
The final taly was thirty for independence, thirty-five against, and sixty-five abstentions.
The colonists were divided into three groups, one of which formed the Continental army and fought in state militias.
20 percent of the American population were Loyalists, but they were not the largest of the three groups.
Benedict Arnold was one of the Americans who switched sides as many as four or five times.
When the British took control of a city, they would often require the residents to swear an oath of loyalty to them.
John Stevens, a Loyalist, was dragged behind a canoe by a rope in Pennsylvania because he refused to sign a loyalty oath.
The Revolution was viewed as an act of treason by the Loyalists, who were against the monarchy.
They felt that the British Empire was more likely to protect them from foreign enemies and allow them to prosper.
"They call me a brainless Tory, but tell me," the Reverend Byles said.
There was no love lost between the two groups.
One Delaware Loyalist was sentenced to death but not until he was dead.
Loyalists came from all walks of life and were most abundant in the seaport cities of New York City and Philadelphia.
Governors, judges, and other royal officials were almost all Loyalists.
Many small farmers who were unaffected by the British efforts to tighten colonial regulations rallied to the British side.
More men from New York joined the Loyalist army than joined the Continental army.
Loyalists feared that the Revolution would lead to mob rule.
The Declaration of Independence demanded that the Loyalists "dissolve the political bands" with Britain.
In a few places, Loyalists were able to assume control of areas without the presence of British troops.
A black soldier, a New England militiaman, a frontiersman, and a French soldier are depicted in an illustration drawn by a French lieutenant.
British troops left the American Revolution's strength and the apse of Loyalist militia units.
Loyalists in the region were faced with a difficult choice: either join the British and leave behind their property or stay and face the consequences of their actions.
The British officer said that the Loyalists committed every species of rapine and plunder and converted potential friends to enemies.
Moderates and radicals supported the war because they realized that the only way to protect their liberty was to separate themselves from British control.
"We have it in our power to start the world over again," wrote Thomas Paine.
The British launched an attack on the state of New York.
The plan called for a British army to be based in Canada and led by General John Burgoyne to move southward from Quebec to the Hudson River.
In western New York, another British force would move eastward.
General William Howe would lead a third British army up the Hudson River.
The armies would converge in New York and wipe out the remaining resistance.
The British armies failed in their communication with one another.
Howe decided to move his army south from New York City to attack Philadelphia at the last moment.
General Washington withdrew most of his men from New Jersey to meet the British threat in Pennsylvania, while other American units banded together in upstate New York to deal with the British troops there.
The largest and wealthiest American city was occupied by the British on September 11, 1777.
The Continental Congress was caught up in the fighting.
Battered but still intact, Washington and his army withdrew to winter quarters eighteen miles upriver at Valley Forge, while Howe and his men remained in the relative comfort of Philadelphia.
General Burgoyne led his army southward from Canada through dense forests and across rivers and creek to build forty bridges.
In June 1777, the army reached Lake Champlain.
Burgoyne tried to cross the wooded, marshy terrain in upstate New York.
The British had to make a desperate attempt to reach Albany because they ran out of food and provisions.
The Americans were able to spring a trap because the advance slowed to a snail's pace in the dense forests and swamps.
The slow pace of the British advance enabled them to gather a formidable force.
General Gates faced Burgoyne's redcoats.
He and Burgoyne were both officers in the British army.
They were leading armies.
Burgoyne brought his forces back to the vil age of Saratoga, where the American army surrounded the British.
On October 17, 1777, Bur goyne surrendered his army.
Burgoyne gave over 5,800 troops, 7,000 muskets, and 42 cannons to the Americans.
The news from New York.
He heard the account of Burgoyne's surrender and fell into agonies.
Britain's northern forces had suffered from the commander of the British.
Burgoyne would never recover from it.
Most of William's troops surrendered to the Americans.
The American victory at Sara toga was a turning point.
Canada and other British possessions will not be sought by France on the mainland of North America.
The outcome of the war was determined by the French intervention.
The British and French both sent ships and soldiers to the Caribbean to defend their colonies against the United States.
The Americans formed alliances with the Spanish and the Dutch, but neither provided as much support as the French.
After the news of the French alliance with the United States, Parliament tried to end the war by giving all the demands the Americans had made before they had declared independence.
The Continental Congress would not negotiate until Britain recognized American independence.
King George said no.
By February 1778, some 7,000 troops were sick.
More than 2,500 soldiers died at Valley Forge.
Many people lost limbs to the cold.
Fifty officers resigned on December 1st.
Fortunately for the Revolutionaries, their nemesis, General Howe, was content to ride out the winter in Philadelphia, not the least of which was his charming evening companion, Mrs. Loring.
He lay warm in bed with Mrs. Loring.
There wasn't much singing among the Americans at Valley Forge.
Desperate to find relief for his soldiers, Washington sent troops across New Jersey, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland to seize horses, cattle, and hogs in exchange for "receipts" promising future payment.
In the spring of 1778, Washington tried to boost soldiers' spirits by organizing a pro gram.
He turned to an energetic, heavy- set, short- legged Prussian soldier of fortune, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, who volunteered without rank or pay.
Steuben reported being shocked at the "horrible conditions" he found at the camp, with some of the men naked in the cold.
Steuben used an interpreter as he stomped and raged instructions to the haggard Americans, teaching them how to march, shoot, and attack in formation.
Steuben yelled for his translator, "These fellows won't do what I tell them."
Steuben was one of the foreign volunteers who joined the American army.
Gilbert du Motier was a nineteen- year- old red haired French orphan.
Lafayette offered to serve in the Continental army for no pay in exchange for being named a major general because he was excited by the American cause.
He left behind his pregnant wife and daughter to join the "grand adventure" in America after giving $200,000 to the war effort.
The commander in charge of the Revolutionary War was Charles Willson Peale, who was portrayed in this colored mezzotint ette.
Lafayette had a large from 1757 to 1834.
The two people respected each other.
Lafayette wrote to his friends in France that George was destined for greatness.
There are forty cities, seven counties, and a private college named for Lafayette across the United States, and the young French general proved to be an able diplomat in helping to forge the military alliance with France.
The Continental Congress promised extra pay and bonuses after the war, and the news of the military alli ance with France brought about a rise in patriotism.
The British withdrew from Pennsylvania to New York City in the spring of 1778, with the American army in pursuit.
The combat in the north went on for a long time.
Two wars were created by the Revolution.
In addition to the conflict between armies in the east, there was a war of vengeance between Indians and Loyalists on the frontier.
In the Ohio Valley, as well as western New York and Pennsylvania, the British urged frontier Loyalists and their Indian allies to raid farm settlements.
George Rogers Clark took 175 frontiersmen on flatboats down the Ohio River to end the English attacks.
The Americans captured English- controlled Kaskaskia in the evening of July 4.
Clark prepared his men to attack the British garrison at Vincennes by taking them across icy rivers and flooding them.
In 1786, the British took a picture of the Indians in front of the fort to show them what was to come.
The leader who fought against the British surrendered after watching the terrible executions.
Clark's Rangers were in the Indiana Territory.
The attacks by the Mohawks had killed hundreds of militiamen.
The power of the Iroquois Confederacy was broken on August 29, 1779, when Sullivan's soldiers destroyed about forty vil ages in New York.
The Indians were raped, and the warriors they had killed were also raped.
Several soldiers skinned dead Indians to make boots.
In 1778, a group of men, aided by their wives and children, held off an attack by more than 400 Indians.
He was twice shot and captured.
Two of his sons and a brother were killed by indians.
A brother was wounded four times and his daughter was captured.
In early 1776, a delegation of northern Indians talked the Cherokees into attacking frontier settlements in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Dozens of Cherokee vil ages were burned by Carolina militiamen.
The American Revolution allowed white settlers to seize Indian lands after the war because of the weakening of the major Indian tribes along the frontier.
Large numbers of Loyalists in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia would join the British cause in the late 17th century.
The United States would be pinched between Canada and a British controlled South once the British gained control of the southern colonies.
In December 1778, General Sir Henry Clinton, the new commander in chief of British forces in America, sent 3,000 redcoats, hesians, and Loyalists to take the port city of Savannah, on the southeast Georgia coast.
Clinton's southern strategy worked well.
Within twenty months, the British and their allies had defeated three American armies, captured and killed thousands of American soldiers, and occupied Georgia and much of South Carolina.
First, the Loyalist strength in the South was weaker than anticipated, second, the British effort to unleash Indian attacks convinced many undecided backcountry settlers to join thePatriot side, and third, Germain's optimistic prediction fell victim to three developments.
British forces bottled up the entire American army on the Charleston Peninsula for six weeks during the Carolina campaign.
Lincoln and his Continental army were prevented from escaping the British invasion by prominent South Carolina leaders.
Lincoln surrendered Charleston and its defenders on May 12, 1780.
It was the greatest loss of the war.
General Cornwallis, in charge of the British troops in the South, defeated a larger American force at Camden, South Carolina.
The British leader wanted to intimidate the Revolutionaries by hanging them.
Georgia and most of South Carolina were under British rule by 1780.
He made a mistake by sending lieutenants into the Carolina countryside to organize Loyalist fighters.
They burned homes and killed surrendering rebels.
Poor rural folk were offended by their behavior.
The lower sort of people, who were in many parts, were warned by Francis Kinlock, a Loyalist.
A series of hit- and- run raids were launched in the swamps and forests of South Carolina in the mid- 1780s.
The Patriot guerril displayed tactical genius and outrageous tenacity in wearing down the British.
The British commanders were forced to admit that South Carolina was in an absolute state of rebellion against them by August 1780.
In the Carolinas, warfare was brutal.
Loyalists were neighbors of the patriots.
Both sides tortured and executed prisoners.
Families are divided over their loyalties.
Brothers were killed by their fathers.
Edward Lacey had to tie his father to a bedstead to prevent him from telling the British where he was.
There was violence on both sides.
In Virginia, Charles Lynch set up courts to punish Loyalists by "lynching" them.
Others were covered with hot tar and feathers.
In the backcountry of the Carolinas and Georgia, British commanders encouraged their poorly disciplined Loyalist allies to wage a war of terror.
The militiamen of the American Revolution took hostages, tortured and executed prisoners, and stole property.
They responded in kind.
When Thomas "Burnfoot" Brown refused to join the Revolutionary side, a mob of people beat him, tarred his legs, and held his feet over a fire.
Brown launched a personal war of vengeance.
After a battle near Augusta, Georgia, Brown ordered Loyalists to hang some of the prisoners from the staircase banister.
Cornwallis's two most cold blooded cavalry officers, Sir Banastre Tarleton and Major Patrick Ferguson, who were in charge of training Loyalist militiamen, eventually overreached themselves.
Tarleton was hated for his brutality.
The British allow their men to destroy farms and slaves.
Instead, the feisty "over the mountain men" from south western Virginia and western North and South Carolina (including "Tennesseans"), all experienced hunters and riflemen who had often fought Cherokees, went hunting for Ferguson and his army of Carolina Loyalists in late September 1780.
On October 7, the two sides clashed near Kings Mountain, a heavily wooded ridge along the border between North Carolina and South Carolina.
The Loyalist troops were devastated in a ferocious hour- long battle that was told by an officer to "shout like hell and fight like devils".
The eccentric Major Ferguson boasted that "all the rebels in hell could not push him off" Kings Mountain.
He was dead at the end of the battle and his arms were broken.
Nine of the seven hundred Loyalists were hanged.
An American officer wrote to one of General Washington's aides that the division among the people was much greater than he had thought.
He said that the Loyalists and thePatriots "persecute each other".
During the war in the South, the Battle of Kings Mountain resembled an extended family feud.
Sixty four sets of brothers fought on one side, and twenty nine sets of fathers and sons fought on the other side.
Family ties were often broken when choosing sides in the war.
After the battle, James Withrow refused to help his brother- in- law, who had been badly wounded, and left him to die on the battlefield.
Withrow's wife asked for a separation when she found out how her husband treated her brother.
The war was often a bitter family feud according to others.
Brandon was forced by his father to join the Loyalists at Kings Mountain.
His father was killed in the battle and his brother joined the patriots.
Five brothers from the Goforth family were excellent marksmen and all fought at Kings Mountain.
Two of the brothers, John andPreston, fighting on opposite sides, shot at each other, killing each other.
The British strategy in the South was undermined by the American victory in the Battle of Kings Mountain.
After Kings Mountain, the British forces retreated to South Carolina and were unable to recruit more Loyalists.
In late 1780, the Continental Congress chose a new commander for the American army in the South: General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island.
A former blacksmith with unflagging persistence, he was well suited to a drawn out war.
He knew that if he couldn't create a victorious army, the South would be annexed to Britain.
Washington adopted a hit- and- run strategy.
He moved his army eastward from Charlotte and sent General Daniel Morgan, one of the heroes of the Battles of Saratoga, with about 700 riflemen on a sweep to the west of Cornwallis's head quarters.
On January 17, 1781, Morgan's force took up positions near Cowpens, an area of cattle pastures in northern South Carolina about twenty five miles from Kings Mountain.
Tarleton rushed his men forward, only to be attacked by Morgan's cavalry.
More than 700 British soldiers were taken prisoner.
Cowpens was the most complete victory for the American side in the Revolution and was one of the few times that the two sides were even.
Morgan's army moved into North Carolina after the victory at Cowpens.
On March 15, 1781, the British army was attacked by the redcoats at the Guilford Courthouse.
After the Americans lost the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Cornwallis left his wounded men behind and marched his weary men to the North Carolina coast to get supplies from the British.
He wanted to force the British to give up the state or draw Cornwallis after him.
The bands led by Francis, Andrew, and Thomas were connected by Greene.
By targeting outlying British units and picking them off one by one, the guerrilla forced the British back into Charleston and Savannah.
The Americans held the advantage in time, men, and supplies during the Revolutionary War.
They knew they could win if they avoided a catastrophic defeat.
"We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again," General Greene said.
By September 1781, the Americans had narrowed the British's control in the South to Charleston and Savannah, but the local Loyalists would continue to battle each other for more than a year in the wilderness.
Cornwallis pushed his army northward.
Before the Carolinas could be subdued, he decided that Virginia should be a source of American reinforcements and supplies.