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A Guide to the American Revolution, 1763-1783

Qualifying for a campain [sic]
Qualifying for a campain [sic].
1 print : etching, hand-colored.
London : Printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett, 1777 June 4.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

Today in History

January 12

January 12 marks the birth of John Hancock (1737-1793), often remembered for his bold signature to the Declaration of Independence. President of the Second Continental Congress, Hancock was the first to sign the document.

January 14

The Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784, officially establishing the United States as an independent and sovereign nation.

January 17

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts.

February 6

On February 6, 1778, France and the fledgling United States of America signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris, France.

February 22

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

February 25

On the morning of February 25, 1779, Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark, elder brother of explorer William Clark, accepted British Lt. Gov. Henry Hamilton's unconditional surrender of Fort Sackville at Vincennes, Indiana.

March 5

Late in the afternoon of March 5, 1770, British sentries guarding the Boston Customs House shot into a crowd, killing four civilians. Surrounded by jeering Bostonians slinging hard-packed snowballs, the small group of soldiers lost control when one of their number was struck.

March 16

James Madison, "Father of the Constitution" and fourth president of the United States, was born on March 16, 1751.

March 24

On March 24, 1776, one week after the British troops under General William Howe evacuated Boston, General George Washington wrote a letter to the Continental Congress. General Washington expressed his "surprize and disappointment" that the British fleet had not departed the harbor and described its various exploits while still in the region.

April 12

On April 12, 1776, North Carolina's Provincial Congress authorized its delegates to the Second Continental Congress to vote for independence. The first formal call for American sovereignty, the "Halifax Resolves," not only guided North Carolina representatives, but also encouraged the Continental Congress to champion independence.

April 13

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at Shadwell in Albemarle County, Virginia.

April 15

The Continental Congress ratified preliminary articles of peace ending the Revolutionary War with Great Britain on April 15, 1783.

April 19

On April 19, 1775, British and American soldiers exchanged fire in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord.

May 29

Patrick Henry was born on May 29, 1736, in Studley, Virginia. He was a brilliant orator and an influential leader in the opposition to British government.

June 14

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag.

June 16

On June 16, 1775, during the Siege of Boston, the Second Continental Congress authorized the preparation of fortifications. Thus, at the ensuing Battle of Bunker Hill, colonists fired at the British from a redoubt at the top of the hill and from behind fences reinforced with vegetation and brush. The engineers' work proved so valuable to the Revolutionary forces that Congress created the Corps of Engineers four years later.

June 17

On June 17, 1775, American troops displayed their mettle in the Battle of Bunker Hill during the siege of Boston, inflicting casualties on nearly half the British troops dispatched to secure Breed's Hill (the actual site of the battle).

July 4

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence.

July 13

John Parker was born in Lexington, Massachusetts on July 13, 1729. Parker would play a prominent role in the first battle of the American War for Independence, as leader of the volunteer American militia known as the Minutemen.

July 18

John Paul Jones, naval hero of the American Revolution, died in Paris on July 18, 1792.

August 7

Revolutionary war hero Nathanael Greene was born on August 7, 1742, in Potowomut, Rhode Island. Appointed to the rank of major general in 1776, Greene is best known for his astuteness as commander-in-chief of the southern army, a position he assumed in 1778.

September 3

On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, bringing the Revolutionary War to its final conclusion.

September 19

After a series of discouraging military defeats, on September 19, 1777, continental soldiers fighting under American General Horatio Gates defeated the British at Saratoga, New York.

September 22

On September 22, 1776, American patriot Nathan Hale was hanged for spying on British troops. As he was lead to the gallows, Hale proclaimed his famous last words —"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

September 26

On September 26, 1777, British troops marched into Philadelphia and occupied the city, forcing the Continental Congress, meeting in the Pennsylvania State House (later renamed Independence Hall), to flee to the interior of Pennsylvania.

October 2

On October 2, 1780, British intelligence officer Major John André was hanged as a spy in Tappan, New York. Captured on his return to New York City by American militiamen fighting in the War of Independence, Major André was found to have papers hidden in his boot concerning West Point, New York.

October 19

On October 19, 1781, British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, giving up almost 8000 men and any chance of winning the Revolutionary War.

October 25

Abigail Smith married a young lawyer by the name of John Adams on October 25, 1764.

November 13

General Richard Montgomery led American troops in the capture of Montreal on November 13, 1775. The American presence in Canada proved short-lived. Just weeks later, British victory at Quebec forced a hasty retreat to New York.

November 15

On November 15, 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation.

December 4

On December 4, 1783, General George Washington received the officers of the victorious Continental Army in the Long Room of Fraunces Tavern, on the corner of Pearl and Broad Streets, in lower Manhattan.

December 23

George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783, in the senate chamber of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where the Continental Congress was then meeting.

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  July 30, 2010
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