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War of Independence Timeline: Military Dates

Many historians accept a distinction made by John Adams between the American Revolution and the War for Independence. The major events of the armed conflict are summarized in the table below. The events that transformed colonists into an independent people are summarized in the American Revolution timeline.

Main Theater
Secondary Theater

Virginia assembly suspended; Patrick Henry "liberty or death" speech
April 18
Revere and Dawes alert countryside

April 19
Battle of Lexington and Concord

May 10

Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga; Crown Point falls May 12 Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia
May 25
Henry Clinton, Charles Cornwallis and John Burgoyne arrive in Boston

May 31

Mecklenburg Resolves (N.C.)
June 15

Washington named commander-in-chief; assumes command July 3
June 17
Battle of Bunker Hill

July 5

Olive Branch Petition
July 6

Declaration of Causes of Taking up Arms
August 23

George III declares colonies in rebellion

Congress authorizes naval construction
October 4

Court-martial of Benjamin Church
November 13

Montgomery at Montreal
November 16

Edmund Burke pleads American case in Parliament
November 29

Committee of Secret Correspondence formed
December 9

Battle of Great Bridge (Va.)
December 22

Parliament passes American Prohibitory Act
December 31

Arnold fails at Quebec
Campaigns of 1776
January 15

Paine's Common Sense published
February 27

Loyalist loss at Moore's Creek Bridge (N.C.)
March 3

Continental Navy victory in Bahamas
March 17
British evacuate Boston

June 7

Richard Henry Lee introduces independence resolution in Congress
June 28

Battle of Sullivan's Island (S.C.)
June 29
William Howe to New York harbor; occupies Staten Island on July 2

July 2

Independence resolution approved by Congress
July 4

Jefferson's version of Declaration approved
July 12
Adm. Richard Howe to New York harbor

August 2

Declaration of Independence signed
August 27
British victory at Long Island

Washington escapes disaster at Brooklyn Heights

September 11

Staten Island Peace Conference
September 15
British occupy New York City

September 16
Rare American victory at Harlem Heights

September 21

New York City fire;
Nathan Hale captured
October 11

Arnold at Valcour Island
October 28
British victory at White Plains

November 16
British victory at Fort Washington

November 20
Fort Lee abandoned

December 20

Congress relocates in Baltimore
December 24
Washington war council with generals

December 26
Patriot surprise victory at Trenton

1777 Campaigns of 1777
January 3
Patriot victory at Princeton

January - May
Washington winters at Morristown

March 4

Congress returns to Philadelphia
July 5

British take Fort Ticonderoga
August 6

Tactical draw at Oriskany
August 16

Stark over Hessians at Bennington
September 11
British victory at Banndywine

September 16
Battle of the Clouds

September 19

Gates victory at Freeman's Farm
September 21
Paoli Massacre

September 26
Howe occupies Philadelphia

September 27

Congress convenes in Lancaster, Pa.
October 4
American loss at Germantown

October 7

Burgoyne loss at Bemis Heights
October 17

Burgoyne surrender at Saratoga
October 22
Americans hold Fort Mercer

November 15

Congress adopts Articles of Confederation; sent to states for approval
November 16
Fort Mifflin falls to British

December 19
American winter camp at Valley Forge opens

February 6

U.S.-French Alliance signed
May 20
Battle of Barren Hill

June 28
Battle of Monmouth

July 4

Clark takes Kaskaskia
August 8

Siege of Newport, R.I.
December 29

British occupy Savannah
February 14

Loyalists lose at Kettle Creek
February 25

Clark takes Vincennes
April 24

John Paul Jones captures the Drake
June 21

Spain enters war against Britain
July 2

Congress returns to Philadelphia
July 3

Wyoming Valley attacks
July 4

G.R. Clark takes Kaskaskia

Connecticut cities raided by British
July 16

Wayne takes Stony Point
August 19
Lee strikes Paulus Hook

September 23

John Paul Jones takes Serapis
September 28
Tappan Massacre

November 11

Cherry Hill Massacre
February 23

Clark victory at Vincennes
May 12
Charleston falls to British

May 29
British victory at Waxhaw Creek

June 20
Loyalists defeated at Ramseur's Mill

July 11

Arrival of first French toops
August 6
Loyalists defeated at Hanging Rock

August 16
British victory at Camden under Tarleton

September 23

Arrest of John Andre
September 25

Arnold's West Point plot unearthed
October 7
American victory at King's Mountain


Pennsylvania troop mutiny
January 17
Morgan victorious at Cowpens

March 2

Articles of Confederation adopted by 13th state
March 15
Costly British victory at Guilford Courthouse

June 6
Americans take Augusta

July 6
Wayne defeated at Green Springs Farm

September 5
Battle of the Capes

September 6

Arnold raid on New London, Conn.
September 8
Greene defeated at Eutaw Springs

October 19
Cornwallis surrender at Yorktown

March 20

Lord North resigns
July 11
British evacuate Savannah

November 30

Preliminary peace signed between Britain and U.S.
December 14
British evacuate Charleston

April 19

Congress ratifies treaty
September 3

Treaty of Paris signed
November 16

Congress convenes at Annapolis, Md.
November 25

British evacuate New York City
December 4

Washington's farewell dinner with officers
December 23

Washington resigns commission at Annapolis