Portal:American Revolutionary War

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Clockwise from top left: Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of Montgomery at Quebec, Battle of Cowpens, "Moonlight Battle"
The American Revolutionary War began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen united former British colonies on the North American continent, and ended in a global war between several European great powers. The war was the culmination of the political American Revolution and intellectual American Enlightenment, whereby the colonists rejected the right of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them without representation. In 1775, revolutionaries gained control of each of the thirteen colonial governments, set up an alliance called the Second Continental Congress, and formed a Continental Army. Petitions to the king to intervene with the parliament on their behalf resulted in Congress being declared traitors and the states in rebellion the following year. The Americans responded by formally declaring their independence as a new nation, the United States of America, claiming sovereignty and rejecting any allegiance to the British monarchy. In 1777 the Continentals captured a British army, leading to France entering the war on the side of the Americans in early 1778, and evening the military strength with Britain. Spain and the Dutch Republic – French allies – also went to war with Britain over the next two years.

Throughout the war, the British were able to use their naval superiority to capture and occupy coastal cities, but control of the countryside (where 90% of the population lived) largely eluded them due to their relatively small land army. French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading to the surrender of a second British army at Yorktown in 1781. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.

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The moonlight Battle off Cape St Vincent, 16 January 1780 by Francis Holman, painted 1780, shows the Santo Domingo exploding, with Rodney's flagship Sandwich in the foreground.
The naval Battle of Cape St Vincent took place off the coast of Portugal on 16 January 1780 during the American War of Independence. A British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney defeated a Spanish squadron under Don Juan de Lángara. The battle is sometimes referred to as the Moonlight Battle, because it was unusual for naval battles in the Age of Sail to take place at night. It was also the first major naval victory for the British over its European enemies in the war, and proved the value of copper sheathing the hulls of warships.

Admiral Rodney was escorting a fleet of supply ships to relieve Gibraltar with a fleet of about 20 ships of the line when he encountered Lángara's squadron south of Cape St. Vincent, the southwestern tip of Portugal. When Lángara saw the size of the British fleet, he attempted to make for the safety of Cadiz, but the copper-sheathed British ships chased his fleet down. In a running battle that lasted from mid-afternoon until after midnight, the British captured four Spanish ships, including Lángara's flagship. Two other ships were also captured, but their final disposition is unclear: some Spanish sources indicate they were retaken by their Spanish crews, while Rodney's report indicates the ships were grounded and destroyed.


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Holman, Cape St Vincent.jpg
The moonlight Battle off Cape St. Vincent
Credit: Ctrl-Z
The moonlight Battle off Cape St Vincent, 16 January 1780 by Francis Holman, painted in 1780 shows the Santo Domingo exploding, with Rodney's flagship

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Chappel Montgomery full length.jpg
Richard Montgomery (December 2, 1738 – December 31, 1775) was an Irish-born soldier who first served in the British Army. He later became a brigadier-general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and he is most famous for leading the 1775 invasion of Canada.

Montgomery was born and raised in Ireland. In 1754, he enrolled at Trinity College, Dublin, and two years later joined the British army to fight in the French and Indian War. He steadily rose through the ranks, serving in North America and then the Caribbean. After the war he was stationed at Fort Detroit during Pontiac's Rebellion, following which he returned to Britain for health reasons. In 1773, Montgomery returned to the Thirteen Colonies, married Janet Livingston, and began farming.

When the American Revolutionary War broke out, Montgomery took up the Patriot cause, and was elected to the New York Provincial Congress in May 1775. In June 1775, he was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. After Philip Schuyler became too ill to lead the invasion of Canada, Montgomery took over. He captured Fort St. Johns and then Montreal in November 1775, and then advanced to Quebec City where he joined another force under the command of Benedict Arnold. On December 31, he led an attack on the city, but was killed during the battle. His body was found by the British, who gave it an honorable burial. His remains were moved to New York City in 1818.


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Cannon at Washington Crossing Park, Pennsylvania
The 4th Continental Artillery Regiment, also known as Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment, was an American military unit during the American Revolutionary War. The regiment became part of the Continental Army on 10 June 1777 as Colonel Thomas Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment. It was made up of eight artillery companies from eastern Pennsylvania. At the time of the regiment's formation, two companies were already in existence, one from as early as October 1775. One company served at Trenton in December 1776 where it performed well in action. In February 1777, Pennsylvania expanded its two-company battalion into an eight-company regiment. After officially joining the Continental Army, the regiment saw much fighting in the Philadelphia campaign in late 1777. Elements of Proctor's Regiment fought at Monmouth in June 1778 and joined the Sullivan Expedition to upstate New York in summer 1779. In January 1781 the regiment was sent south with General Anthony Wayne, where it participated in the Yorktown campaign, culminating in the October 1781 Siege of Yorktown. The regiment was disbanded in November 1783.


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From the American Revolutionary War task force of the Military history WikiProject:

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East Indies campaignCentral American campaignsQuebec in the American RevolutionMaritime provinces in the American Revolution
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Battle of Monmouth • Battles in {{Campaignbox American Revolutionary War: Gulf Coast}}
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