Struggling Toward Saratoga

Battles of the American Revolution and
the Effects on the Colonies
The British retreated from Boston
in March 1776 and moved the war
to the Middle states.
The focused their efforts on New
York, New Jersey, and
General William Howe and Admiral
Richard Howe (Brothers) joined
forces in Staten Island.
The brothers sailed into NY
harbor with the largest British
force ever assembled… 32,000
soldiers with thousands of
German mercenaries.
Washington assembled
23,000 men to defend
NY, but he was
outnumbered and under
prepared for the massive
British forces.
Washington was forced to
retreat, and by fall he was
pushed across the Delaware
River into Pennsylvania.
George Washington faced
several challenges with the
Continental Army.
Also, the terms of the remaining
men’s enlistment were due to end
on New Year’s Eve of 1776.
Many of the militiamen were
inexperienced and without the
training that many of the
British Regulars had.
Washington needed a major
victory to keep the morale and
enrollment up.
After the retreat at NY, many
of Washington’s men had
deserted, been killed, or
captured. Only 8,000 of the
23,000 remained
Washington makes a bold
move to gain a victory for the
Continental forces.
On Christmas night, 1776, he
crossed the Delaware River in
row boats with 2,400 men to
attack a garrison in Trenton,
The Hessian forces in
Trenton were still sleeping
from a night of drinking.
Washington’s surprise attack
was a success.
The Americans killed 30 German
mercenaries and took 918 captive,
as well as taking six Hessian
In the spring of 1777, General
Howe began his campaign to
seize the American capital of
The British now occupied the
capital, leaving Washington’s
forces at Valley Forge for the
harsh winter to come.
The Continental Congress fled
the city while Washington’s forces
unsuccessfully tried to stop
Howe’s forces at Brandywine
General John “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne
plans a complex attack to split New England
from the rest of the colonies.
He sets out with 4,000 redcoats, 3,000
mercenaries, and 1,000 Mohawk Indians
under his command from Canada to Albany.
The plan is stifled by the American General
Horatio Gates, who attacked Burgoyne in
Bennington, VT and then surrounded him in
Saratoga, NY.
Burgoyne was forced
to surrender at
Saratoga. How did
this surrender impact
the British battle
The French were still bitter
about their defeat in the Seven
Year’s War, and they had been
sending weapons to patriot
forces since 1776.
The victory at Saratoga
bolstered the French opinion of
the American forces, and led to
an alliance or treaty of
cooperation between the
French and Americans in 1778.
The French agreed to not
make peace with Britain until
it recognized the
independence of America.
While the British wintered comfortably
in Philadelphia, Washington and his
troops faced the harsh winter in a camp
in Valley Forge, PA.
Soldiers suffered from exposure and
frostbite. Many soldiers lost their
limbs to the elements. 2,000 men
died of exposure, hunger, and
How did these conditions
and obstacles embody the
American spirit?
The revolution effected all levels
of society, especially the
The Congress ran out of gold and
silver and had to borrow money
through selling bonds to
investors and foreign
They printed paper money, called
Continentals, to pay troops.
Equipment was also in short
supply due to the naval blockade,
and some agencies engaged in
Congress appointed Robert Morris
as superintendent of finance and
he, with the help of Haym Salomon,
raised money from a variety of
sources to pay the troops in specie
(gold coin).
Wives were left at home to manage farms,
businesses, and raise children.
Women also volunteered their services by
mending and washing clothes, and making
ammunition out of silverware.
And some brave women went to war to support
their husbands. The most famous was “Molly
Pitcher” who was a noncommissioned officer.
Many African Americans
escaped to freedom,
while others joined the
Native Americans
remained neutral for the
most part, while some
fought for the British.
The American’s faced several
obstacles against the British. They
were outnumbered, less equipped,
and less prepared.
The war was not only fought on
the battlefields, but also on the
home front. Many women
stepped up to run the nation as
well as show their bravery in
The war was still not over, but the
scales were beginning to tip in
favor of the colonists. The French
aid and morale boosting victories
would lead to an American victory.
But the American’s did have a
resilient and persevering spirit
which would be a defining and
lasting quality for years to
HW: Make up work / Test corrections
Leave the classroom better than you found it
and have a great day!