American Revolution Timeline

May 8-12, 1781 – At Fort Motte, South Carolina, Light Horse Harry Lee and Francis Marion forced the British out of the post by setting it on fire.

May 10, 1781 – Lord Rawdon evacuated Camden, South Carolina. It was leave or starve.

May 11, 1781 – Thomas Sumter took Orangeburg, South Carolina.

May 15, 1781 – Light Horse Harry Lee captured Fort Granby, South Carolina without resistance

May 19, 1781 – Light Horse Harry Lee’s Legion captured Fort Galphin, South Carolina with all the Indian goods confiscated.

May 21, 1781 – General George Washington and French General Jean Baptiste Rochambeau meet in Connecticut for a war council. General Rochambeau reluctantly agrees to Washington’s plan for a joint French naval and American ground attack on New York.

May 22-June 19, 1781 – Major General Greene’s Siege of Ninety-Six in South Carolina was terminated by the arrival of British reinforcements.

June 4, 1781 – A surprise raid by Banastre Tarleton captured seven members of the Virginia legislature in Charlottesville, Virginia. Governor Thomas Jefferson barely escaped.

June 5, 1781 – Lieutenant Colonel Light Horse Harry Lee, Patriot leaders Elijah Clarke and Andrew Pickens forced the British to surrender the fort at Augusta, Georgia.

June 10, 1781 – American troops under Marquis de Lafayette, General Anthony Wayne and Baron von Steuben begin to form a combined force in Virginia to oppose British forces under Benedict Arnold and General Cornwallis.

June 11, 1781 – Congress appoints a Peace Commission comprised of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay and Henry Laurens. The commission supplements John Adams as the sole negotiator with the British.

June 26, 1781 – The Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia was indecisive. American troops were commanded by French Marquis Lafayette.

July 6, 1781 – Marquis Lafayette attacked a superior British force at Green Springs Plantation, Virginia and was defeated.

July 16, 1781 – At Biggin Church, South Carolina, British forces attacked Thomas Sumter but the attack was broken and the British retreated.

July 17, 1781 – Quinby Bridge, South Carolina, Thomas Sumter, Francis Marion and Light Horse Harry Lee engaged British but were unable to force a retreat.

July 20, 1781 – Slaves in Williamsburg, Virginia, rebel and burn several buildings.

August 1, 1781 – After several months of chasing General Greene’s army without much success, General Charles Cornwallis and his 10,000 tired soldiers arrive to seek rest at the small port of Yorktown, Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay. He then establishes a base to communicate by sea with General Henry Clinton’s forces in New York.

August 2, 1781 – A British raiding party landed at Georgetown, South Carolina and burned several houses.

August 4,  1781 – The British hanged Colonel Isaac Hayne in Charleston, South Carolina as a warning to patriots. It had the opposite effect.

August 14, 1781 – General George Washington abruptly changes plans and abandons the attack on New York in favor of Yorktown after receiving a letter from French Admiral Count de Grasse indicating his entire 29-ship French fleet with 3000 soldiers is now heading for the Chesapeake Bay near British General Charles Cornwallis. General George Washington then coordinates with French General Jean Baptiste Rochambeau to rush their best troops south toVirginia to destroy the British position in Yorktown.

August 19, 1781 – General George Washington moves to combine American and French forces. French Naval Fleet engages British Fleet on the Chesapeake Bay. This leaves General Charles Cornwallis stranded at Yorktown.

August 30, 1781 – Count Francois de Grasse’s French fleet arrives off Yorktown, Virginia. De Grasse then lands troops near Yorktown, linking with Lafayette’s American troops to cut General Charles Cornwallis off from any retreat by land.

September 1, 1781 – The troops of General George Washington and French General Jean Baptiste Rochambeau arrive at Philadelphia.

September 5-8, 1781 – Off the coast of Yorktown, Virginia, a major naval battle occurs between the French fleet of Francois de Grasse and the outnumbered British fleet of Admiral Thomas Graves results in a victory for de Grasse. The British fleet retreats to New York for reinforcements, leaving the French fleet in control of  Chesapeake Bay. The French fleet establishes a blockade, cutting General Charles Cornwallis off from any retreat by sea. French naval reinforcements then arrive from Newport.

September 6, 1781 – Benedict Arnold’s troops loot and burn the port of New London, Connecticut.

September 8, 1781 – Greene’s Continental Army with the addition of militia fight a bloody battle at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina. Although not victorious, the Americans inflicted and sustained heavy losses.

September 12, 1781 – North Carolina Loyalists captured 200 American prisoners including North Carolina Governor Thomas Burke at Hillsboro, North Carolina. Loyalist leader, MacNeil, was killed in the raid.

September 14-24, 1781 – De Grasse sends his ships up the Chesapeake Bay to transport the armies of General George Washington and General Jean Baptiste Rochambeau to Yorktown.

September 28-October 17, 1781 – General George Washington conducts a siege at Yorktown, Virginia.

Oct.3, 1781 – At Gloucester, Virginia, Tarleton’s last action was protecting a British foraging party.

October 17, 1781 – As Yorktown is about to be taken, the British send out a flag of truce. General George Washington and General Charles Cornwallis then work out terms of surrender.

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