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First American Revolt (1775-76) was a rebellion attempted by angry colonists from eight colonies to gain independence from Great Britain.
The war was a result of the political First American Revolution. The Stamp Act of 1765 was declared by colonists as unconstitutional, though the British Parliament insisted it had a right to tax colonies. The colonies then declared that because they had the rights of an Englishman, taxation without representation was illegal. An American boycott of British taxed tea led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The British responded by ending self-government in Massachusetts and putting it under control of the British Army with General Thomas Gage as governor. This and other laws known as the "Intolerable Acts" led to the threat of an American rebellion. The British, hoping to keep her colonies, did not pass the Quebec Act of 1774 and gave the colonies representation in British Parliament. This lessened the anger of the colonies, but with the Battle of Lexington and Concord the revolt had begun.
Following the Siege of Boston the Continental Army under George Washington head to New York to defend it from the British. They arrived their battered and tired, which allowed the British to defeat them in battle. With the capture of George Washington led to the end of the revolt. American ideas of independence still continued, and would to the Ohio War of 1801 and the Second American Revolt of 1807.
Course of the War
MassachusettsBefore the war, Boston had been the seen of much revolutionary actions that resulted in the Massachusetts Government Act in 1774 that ended the local government. Resistance occurred to these acts, though Boston was still firmly under British control. General Thomas Gage ruled from Boston, and had 4000 British regulars under his control. On the night of April 18th, 1775, Gage sent 700 troops to seize munitions stored by militias at Concord. When the British entered Lexington they fought 77 militiamen, who were forced to retreat after several gunshots. The colonists then pushed the British back at Concord, and guerrillas inflicted hundreds of casualties while heading back to Boston. The rebellion had now begun.
Soon after, the militia men surrounded Boston. British reinforcements arrived to the city, and they seized the Charleston Peninsula in the Battle of Bunker Hill. The rebels had inflict severe casualties on the British, and they could not follow up on their advance. The blockade continued, and General Gage was replaced by General Howe.
In July 1775, George Washington showed up and took control of the situation. Realizing the army's need for gunpowder, he raided several arsenals and attempted to manufacture some. 90% of the gunpowder was imported from France. Other patriots in New Hampshire captured gunpowder and other supplies and sent them to Boston. Eventually, the patriots captured Fort Ticonderoga, and had sent the heavy cannons they got there to Boston, and were placed on Dorchester Heights. Because of the new threat the British fled to Halifax, Nova Scotia. General Washington then went to fortify New York.
Following the British withdrawal from Boston, Washington's troops marched towards New York. Loyalists located in Connecticut reported this to governor William Tryon of New York, and took an army to fight George Washington. Tryon force landed on the coast and headed toward Ridgefield, where they set up defenses. In April 1, colonial forces under Daniel Wooster fought the British and were forced to retreat. Washington's main force also attempted to get by, but several casualties and British artillery pieces. Washington then set up barricades on the opposite side of the city.
The inexperienced Tryon decided to attack Washington's force, and around 800 soldiers attacked. While this was happening, 700 soldiers under Wooster flanked British positions and attacked them from behind. They captured several artillery pieces and used them against Tryon. The British were now caught in between the two sides. Tryon retreated to the coast, and was harassed by patriots. Though the campaign was a failure, the British cost Washington several troops and delayed his arrival in the city.
Washington troops arrived battered and bloodied, and had only found the city's defenses half done. Few workers had contributed to this, as well as Loyalist militias. New York had not yet declared its independence, so Loyalist crowds often gathered to taunt and yell at the rebels. Howe's 22,000 troops landed on Long Island on August 27, 1776, and fought the rebels at Guiana Heights. Using an undefended Jamaica Pass, British troops flanked the Americans at the pass and inflicted severe casualties. American forces retreat across Gowanus Creek, during which General Howe was shot in the leg. Injured and enraged, he forced the British on.
The Americans, who now had their backs to the East River, fought desperately. The reinforcements they expected had been intercepted by Loyalists. The disorganized American forces were eventually defeated, though the British had suffered many casualties. With several rebel leaders captured, the rebellion was defeated.