American Revolution Timeline

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 7,700 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 York on 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.

Continental Army by Henry Ogden

Continental Army by Henry Ogden

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 occupied Philadelphia. Congress relocates again to York, Pennsylvania.

Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga New York

Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga New York

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.

George Washington at Valley Forge in 1777 by P. Haas

George Washington at Valley Forge in 1777 by P. Haas

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.

June 18, 1778 – Fearing a blockade by French ships, British General Henry Clinton withdraws his troops from Philadelphia and marches across New Jersey toward New York City. Americans then re-occupy Philadelphia.

June 19, 1778 – General George Washington sends troops from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to intercept General Henry Clinton.

June 27-28, 1778 – The Battle of Monmouth occurs in New Jersey as Washington’s troops and General Henry Clinton’s troops fight to a standoff.

July 2, 1778 – Congress returns once again to Philadelphia.

July 3, 1778 – British Loyalists and Indians massacre American settlers in the Wyoming Valley of northern Pennsylvania.

Illinois Campaign during the American Revolution.

Illinois Campaign during the American Revolution.

July 4, 1778 – Kaskaskia, Illinois is captured by Colonel George Rogers Clark.

July 8, 1778 – General George Washington sets up headquarters at West Point, New York.

July 10, 1778 – France declares war against Britain.

September 14, 1778 – Benjamin Franklin is appointed to be the American diplomatic representative in France.

August 8, 1778 – American land forces and French ships attempt to conduct a combined siege against Newport, Rhode Island. But bad weather and delays of the land troops result in failure. The weather-damaged French fleet then sails to Boston for repairs.

December 29, 1778 – The British begin a major southern campaign with the capture of Savannah, Georgia, followed a month later with the capture of Augusta.

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