Major Riots and Military Engagements of the American Revolution

Boston Massacre
Major Riots and Military Engagements of the American Revolution
Date & Location
Basic Summary
March 5, 1770
Colonists threw rocks and insults at British troops stationed
Boston, MA
at the customs house; Troops fired leaving 5 Americans
dead, incl. Crispus Attucks (a black freeman)
Boston Tea Party
December 16, 1773
Boston, MA
A group disguised as Mohawk Indians stormed ships in
Boston Harbor and dumped 340 chests of tea worth L10,000
in Boston Harbor
Battle of Lexington
and Concord
April 18-19, 1775
Lexington & Concord,
British tried to capture Concord militia’s arms supply but
were fired on in Lexington by colonial militia—British killed
8; Minutemen responded by confronting British at Concord
and firing volleys at them all the way back to Boston
Battle of Bunker
June 17, 1775
Boston, MA
Colonial militiamen held Breed’s Hill bravely until British
finally took it
Battle of Long
August 27, 1776
Long Island, NY
Washington moved on General Howe’s army to prevent
them from occupying New York City but suffered a
blistering defeat
Battles of Trenton
and Princeton
December 25, 1776
and January 3, 1777
Trenton & Princeton,
Washington’s forces secretly crossed the Delaware River on
Christmas night from PA into NJ and surprise attacked 900
Hessian mercenaries; Another sneak attack allowed them to
take the British outpost at Princeton
Incident was used as propaganda
to fuel tension between colonists
and Britain; Showed first evidence
of a mass armed movement; Paul
Revere’s famous engraving
Coercive Acts / Intolerable Acts
passed, which closed Boston
Harbor, restricted town meetings,
troops quartered in Boston; further
escalation of tensions
Famously called the “Shots Heard
Around the World”; First official
battle of the American Revolution;
British win Lexington / Colonists
win Concord
British suffered 40% casualties
against a much smaller force;
British victory
Howe forced Washington to
retreat into New Jersey but did not
take advantage of the opportunity
to destroy the Continental Army;
British victory
Two much-needed colonial
victories after a year of many
defeats bolstered colonial spirits
before the winter
Battles of
Bennington and
August 16, 1777
Bennington, NH
October 17, 1777
Saratoga, NY
Gen. Burgoyne led forces south from Canada in hopes Gen.
Howe would lead his forces up from NY and cut the colonies
off from each other; Howe did not get the communication in
time and the NH militia defeated Burgoyne at Bennington,
NH: Burgoyne regrouped and tried to head south into NY but
was forced to surrender to General Horatio Gates
Two colonial victories bolstered
spirits again before winter;
Victory convinced France that
rebels were fortified and serious
enough for them to join on the
colonial side
Washington and the Continental
Army lost Philadelphia and
dejectedly set up camp at Valley
Forge where 2,500 men died from
starvation and disease; Turning
point in Washington’s future
Cornwallis surrendered his army
of 6,000 men; proved to be the last
major battle of the war and led to
the peace treaty with Britain
ending the war in 1783
Battles of
Brandywine Creek,
Paoli, and
September 11, 1777
Paoli, PA
September 20, 1777
Brandywine, PA
October 4, 1777
Germantown, PA
After Gates’ win at Saratoga, Washington felt pressured to
score a major victory before the winter and prevent British
troops from occupying Philadelphia; all three battles showed
colonial inexperience and the inferior size of the colonial
Battle of Yorktown
October 9. 1781
Yorktown, VA
Gen. Cornwallis sought to establish a base on the Virginia
coast to play out his southern strategy at Yorktown;
Washington’s familiarity with the region played into his
hands and in coordination with the French fleet surrounded
Cornwallis’s army
How were they able to pull this off?
British supply lines and communication lines were too far to resupply and communicate effectively
Conventional military methods were not effective in capturing vast American land
Depth of American commitment to ideological cause
The French Alliance turned the conflict into a global war and distracted Britain
Washington realized that he could not win a conventional war, so he resolved to maintain his army and only engage on terms that were
most favorable to the colonial cause. He also sought to control the countryside where a majority of the people lived.
Civil war broke out and wreaked more havoc than British had planned.