One of the most important events in the Common Era history is the secession of the United States of America from the British. This did not happen instantly. It happened over a period of ten years, with much carnage, bloodshed, and flying lead in between. From the Lexington Skirmish to the naval Battle of Yorktown, the British and Colonies were neck-and-neck in a race over boundaries.
The groundwork was laid when Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense in 1773. This was when the first ideas of secession started. When the colonists read this pamphlet, they started stockpiling arms in the nearby Concord, Massachusetts. When the British got wind of these stockpiles in 1774, they decided to make an example of Concord, and marched a troop to search Concord for weapons. Outside the town, the Concord militia had gathered to oppose the British on the Concord town green, and there, whether by the British or by the Colonists nobody knows, the “shot heard round the world” was fired. This marked the unofficial start of war between Britain and Colonies, as well as the Battle of Lexington.
After a 15-minute skirmish, the Colonists retreated and let the British into Concord. Neither side took more than 20 losses. The British found the cannons and destroyed them, but the rest of the hidden stockpile managed to escape the British wrath. Meantime, the colonists’ nearby militias had gathered together outside Concord, waiting for the British to exit Concord. When they started to see smoke go up and the British taking a really long time, they decided to march in and check it out. So they marched really calmly up to the bridge to pass over. As the Colonists approached, some of the British soldiers fired on the colonists without an order, surprising the colonists. The colonist commanders immediately told their men to return fire, and the battle was on. The Colonists quickly overpowered the British forces and chased them all the way back to Boston.
As the Siege of Boston took place, the British inside decided to capture the nearby Breed’s and Bunker hills. The news of this was leaked to the colonists outside though, who immediately put up earthworks at night to prevent the British from taking them the following morning. When the British advanced to take the hills, to their surprise the hills were already entrenched and occupied by Colonial forces. Nevertheless, the British pushed on, to the bottom of the hill. This was where the massacre began. The British charged up the hill, as the Colonists let loose a rain of lead on the British. The Brits were pushed back down the hill with heavy losses, while the colonists only lost a little more than a quarter of the British losses. The colonists lost approximately 367, compared to the British 1054 at the Battle of Bunker Hill. At the end, both sides claimed a victory, as the British captured the hill as intended, while the Colonists learned they could stand up to the best trained army in the world at the time.
As the war raged on, Benedict Arnold captured stores of supplies on his venture into Quebec, greatly aiding the Colonies in their war efforts. When the Battle of Valcour Island struck, the same thing applied as Bunker Hill, but in marine warfare. The British also lost that time, instilling the Colonists with great hopes for winning the war. The British retook New York, Boston, and Philadelphia eventually, but never really had much success afterwards. The Colonies then gained a triple win, at Trenton with Washington’s midnight Delaware crossing, Princeton with a British fail, and finally Saratoga, probably the biggest colonial win in the war. After the battle of Saratoga, nearly 5,700 British troops surrendered to Horatio Gates, greatly weakening the British forces in the colonies.
After this, the year ended in the harsh winter of 1777, also when Baron von Steuben arrived and trained up the colonial militias in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Wen spring of 1778 arrived, the British were on the move, immediately capturing Savannah, Georgia and starting up the second half of the war. Charleston was a fail for the colonists, and under Horatio Gates again, the disastrous battle of Camden broke loose. Underestimating general Cornwallis, Gates’ army was crushed. Some say that Gates himself rode 60 miles away from the scene in fear of his life. This gained him so much discredit among the colonists that he was permanently dropped from command and replaced by Nathanael Greene.
Greene was an excellent commander, forcing Cornwallis to change tactics and travel light, and at the same time forcing him north towards Washington’s much larger detachment. Meantime he wore Cornwallis’ men out, softening them up for what was to come. Then, when Cornwallis refused to go no further, the Battle of Guilford Court House happened. This was a second Bunker Hill, to a much larger extent. Cornwallis’ army was decimated, and he was forced to move to the nearby Yorktown on the Chesapeake Bay. The British reinforcements were nearly there by that time. However, when the reinforcements arrived, there happened to be a French navy detachment in the bay, unloading cargo to the Colonists. As the British ships approached, the French were caught on surprise. The British weren’t fast enough to take advantage of the French confusion though, and slowly maneuvered into attack position. The French fleet was in position by the time the British were finished, and from that point on the British were finished. The reinforcements were not able to be taken to land, and so Cornwallis was completely cut off. The French fleet was much stronger, and more battle ready than the British, and the French quickly took out six of the most powerful ships. The British had no choice but to retreat before the mighty French navy. This forced Cornwallis to surrender, and the war was pretty much over.
By this time, the only person willing to keep the war going was king George III himself, as everybody else was kind of starting to feel pity for the colonists. Thus, England no longer worked to extend the war. In 1783, ten years after the beginning of the war, the peace treaty declaring the United States as a Sovereign Nation, was declared, and the war was officially over.