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Desperate Days and New
The Course of Revolution
The Redcoats Arrive in Force
• Even though the Continental Army had seen
some success early on in the war, by mid1776 the tide turned in favor of the British.
• The Arrival of Gen. Howe’s army in New York
marked a turning point in the war.
The Redcoats Arrive in Force
• The heavy fighting shifted to the middle
states, where the Continental Army saw some
seriously hard times.
New York, New Jersey, and Paine
• Gen. Howe landed his troops on Long Island
in August. Throughout the autumn of 1776,
Washington fought a series of battles with
Howe’s army from New York into New Jersey.
The Battle of Long
British troops advance on the Americans
at the Battle of Long Island.
New York, New Jersey, and Paine
• After losing a string of battles, Washington
retreated across the Delaware River into
New York, New Jersey, and Paine
• Things were grim. By December,
Washington’s soldiers were sick, dirty, and
hungry. Everyday, soldiers fled camp to go
• To help inspire people to support the
Continental Army, Thomas Paine wrote The
New Hope
• Washington knew it would take more than
words to stay in the game. He decided to
launch a surprise attack on Trenton, New
• On Christmas night he led his troops across
the Delaware in secret. Washington took
Trenton in less than an hour.
New Hope
George Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851
Emanuel Leutze
The surrender to General George Washington of the dying
Hessian commander, Colonel Rahl, at the Battle of
New Hope
• British General Cornwallis immediately moved
to capture Washington at Trenton, but
Washington outsmarted the redcoats, and
slipped behind British lines and attacked and
took Princeton.
The Empire Strikes Back
• After the British losses at Trenton and
Princeton, they came up with a new strategy:
capture Albany, New York.
• This would cut New England off from the rest
of the colonies.
The Empire Strikes Back
• The Continental Army suffered serious losses
at Philadelphia, Brandywine, and
Germantown in 1777.
• The Continental Army won a major victory in
October of 1777 by defeating Gen. Burgoyne
at Saratoga while he was on his way to
• Surrounded, Burgoyne surrendered his army.
General Burgoyne surrenders to General
Effects of Saratoga
• The victory at Saratoga was a turning point in
the war for the colonists. It had three major
It ended the British threat to New England.
It boosted American morale when they desperately
needed it.
o Most importantly, it won the support of France and,
later, Spain.
Effects of Saratoga
• The French hated the British, but they were
afraid to help the Americans unless they knew
they could win. Saratoga was proof enough.
• In February 1778, France became the first
nation to sign a treaty with the United States.
Valley Forge
• The French aid did not come soon enough to
help the Continental Army in the winter of
• Washington’s men set up winter camp at
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where they
suffered severe hardships.
Valley Forge
General George Washington and Lafayette survey the troops camped at Valley
Forge, Pa.,
in the winter of 1777–78, as depicted in a 19th-century lithograph.
Valley Forge
• After help from Americans and better training,
the Continental Army got back on its feet and,
by spring, was ready to face the British again.
Baron Friedrich Von
Baron von Steuben (left) walks
with Gen. George Washington
through the Continental Army
camp at Valley Forge in 1778,
shown in an engraving
after Howard Pyle.
The Battle of Yorktown
• By 1781, the Patriots were still having a rough
time of it. Washington was looking for a way
to end the war.
• Cornwallis moved his redcoats to Yorktown to
tighten his already strong hold on the South.
The Battle of Yorktown
• With the help of a French naval force, who cut
off the Chesapeake Bay from the British, the
Continental Army was free to attack.
The Battle of Yorktown
• With the help of other Continental Army
groups already in the area, Washington
surrounded the British on the peninsula. The
redcoats were trapped.
• Washington kept Yorktown under siege for
The Battle of Yorktown
• Finally, in October 1781, Cornwallis
The Treaty of Paris 1783
• After more than two years of negotiations, the
Americans and British finally signed a peace
The Treaty of Paris 1783
• The British agreed to formally recognize the
United States as a country, and it defined the
new nation’s borders. (See page 215).
• The war was over and Americans began
moving west.