American Revolution Timeline


January 3, 1777 – A second victory for General George Washington as his troops defeat the British at Princeton and drive them back toward New Brunswick.

Winter, 1777 – General George Washington establishes winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. During the harsh winter, Washington’s army shrinks to about a thousand men as enlistments die and deserters flee the hardships. By spring, with the arrival of recruits, Washington will have 9,000 men.

March 12, 1777 – The Continental Congress returns to Philadelphia from Baltimore after Washington’s successes against the British in New Jersey.

Benedict Arnold by John Trumbull, 1894.

Benedict Arnold by John Trumbull, 1894.

April 27, 1777 – American troops under Benedict Arnold defeat the British at Ridgefield, Connecticut.

May 20, 1777 – The Cherokee sued for peace and lost most of their land east of the mountains in the Treaty of DeWitt’s Corner, South Carolina.

June 14, 1777 – The flag of the United States consisting of 13 stars and 13 white and red stripes is mandated by Congress.

June 14, 1777 – John Paul Jones is chosen by Congress to captain the 18 gun vessel Ranger with a mission to raid coastal towns of England.

June 17, 1777 – A British force of 7700 men under General John Burgoyne invades from Canada, sailing down Lake Champlain toward Albany, planning to link up with General William Howe who will come north from New York City, thus cutting off New England from the rest of the colonies.

July 6, 1777 – General John Burgoyne’s troops surprise the Americans with the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, New Yorkon Lake Champlain. Its military supplies are greatly needed by Washington’s forces. The loss of the fort is a tremendous blow to American morale.

July 23, 1777 – British General William Howe, with 15,000 men, sets sail from New York for Chesapeake Bay to capture Philadelphia, instead of sailing north to meet up with General John Burgoyne.

July 27, 1777 – Marquis de Lafayette, a 19 year old French aristocrat, arrives in Philadelphia and volunteers to serve without pay. Congress appoints him as a major general in the Continental Army. Lafayette will become one of General Washington’s most trusted aides.

August 1, 1777 – General John Burgoyne reaches the Hudson River after a grueling month spent crossing 23 miles of wilderness separating the southern tip of Lake Champlain from the northern tip of the Hudson River.

August 6, 1777 – British column with Iroquois warriors attack Oriskany,New York from Oswego. rescue troops ambushed.

August 16, 1777 – British General John Burgoyne detached Hessians, British regulars, Loyalists and Iroquois against Bennington, Vermont. American militia attacked and defeated the British. Known as the Battle of Bennington.

August 23, 1777 – Benedict Arnold intended to siege Fort Stanwix, New York but the Indians and Loyalists deserted and the British retired.

August 25, 1777 – British General William Howe disembarks at Chesapeake Bay with his troops.

September 9-11, 1777 – At Brandywine, Pennsylvania, General George Washington and the main American Army of 10,500 men are driven back toward Philadelphia by General William Howe’s British troops. Both sides suffer heavy losses.

September 11, 1777 – Once again worried about an attack, Congress leaves Philadelphia and resettles in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

September 26, 1777– British forces under General William Howe occupy Philadelphia. Congress relocates again to York, Pennsylvania.

October 17, 1777 – General John Burgoyne surrendered his British Army to American Major General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York. It is the first major American victory of the Revolutionary War.

September 21, 1777 – British troops attack with bayonets and surprised Americans at Paoli, Pennsylvania. Americans called it the “Paoli Massacre.”

October 4, 1777 – At Germantown, Pennsylvania, an American attack on British positions failed.

November 15, 1777 – Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation as the government of the new United States of America. Conditions are terrible for the soldiers.

December 17, 1777 – At Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the Continental Army led by General George Washington sets up winter quarters.


February 6,  1778 – France signed a treaty with the Continental Congress which would provide troops, ships and supplies to America.

February 23, 1778 – Baron von Steuben of Prussia arrives at Valley Forge to join the Continental Army. He then begins much needed training and drilling of Washington’s troops, now suffering from poor morale resulting from cold, hunger, disease, low supplies and desertions over the long, harsh winter.

March 16, 1778 – A Peace Commission is created by the British Parliament to negotiate with the Americans. The commission then travels to Philadelphia where its offers granting all of the American demands, except independence, are rejected by Congress.

May 8, 1778 – British General Henry Clinton replaces General William Howe as commander of all British forces in the American colonies.

May 30, 1778 – A campaign of terror against American frontier settlements, instigated by the British, begins as 300 Iroquois Indians burn Cobleskill, New York.

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