Conflict began with orders given to General Gage to disarm the rebels and capture the leaders. British soldiers were sent to capture the leaders and seize arms and ammunition. The rebel leaders were able to escape due to warnings from Paul Revere and two other messengers, and they managed to defeat the British forces. The significance of the battle was that it an unexpected victory against the British and it gave the colonists confidence in their ability to win further victories.
Lexington was the first battle of the Revolutionary War. Although it is not known who fired the first shot, some accounts say it was one of the 100 spectators who gathered to watch. The British forces outnumbered the colonists, resulting in colonial retreat and ending the battle in favour of the British.
The British troops that survived the battles of Lexington and Concord found refuge under the protection of British war ships. The American patriots camped out at Cambridge and began the siege of Boston. Fort Ticonderoga contained firearms and cannons and was strategically important, as it controlled the waterways to Canada. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British in an early morning raid while they slept. The significance of this battle was that the cannons and supplies from the fort were used by the American forces to end the stand-off at the siege of Boston.
The British attacked the Americans on Bunker Hill, a strategic hill overlooking Boston harbour. The first two attacks were repelled by the Americans, however the third was a victory for the British when the Americans withdrew due to a shortage of gunpowder. This battle determined who controlled the area around Boston and was the first important battle of the revolution.
The Battle of Long Island was the first battle to take place after the the signing of the Declaration of Independence. American forces (the Continental Army) were positioned on the outskirts of New York with intent of defending it from British attack. General William Howe, who took charge of the British forces during the battle at Bunker Hill, led his soldiers onto Long Island, attacking with cannonfire. He was able to divide the Continental Army in two and captured one part. Washington retreated and British troops set fire to the city of New York. The main forces of the Continental Army retreated, but a group of American sharpshooters remained on the main trail and shot several British officers on horseback. The British soldiers retreated back to New York, however this was still considered a British victory.
British general William Howe decided to avoid a direct assault against the Continental Army and instead attacked Fort Washington. An American deserter, William Demont, provided the the British with information on the American defences and plans of the fort. Three British ships sailed up the Hudson, slipped past the forts and managed to avoid American obstacles in the river. British troops attacked the fort and the commander of the fort, Colonel Mcgaw had no alternative but to surrender. The Americans were forced to retreat, but survived to fight again at the Battle of Trenton.
Washington learns from intelligence sources that 1,500 Hessian German mercenaries (Professional soldiers) had been mobilized to Trenton, New Jersey. During a snowstorm, Washington and a division of his army crossed the Delaware and surprised the Hessians, capturing or killing almost the entire army. The raid crushed the Hessian mercenaries and the Americans were encouraged by their easy victory.
The reason for the battle was due to the French government landing an army at Newport. Another French fleet was waiting in the West Indies with another army aboard. British commander Cornwallis fortified Yorktown and in the summer of 1781, French forces united with the Americans to besiege Cornwallis at Yorktown. The British forces were weakened when some of their soldiers were sent to New York under the impression that Washington was going to attack there, and were outnumbered 2:1 by the French and American forces. The British were forced to surrender after the French fleet defeated the British navy and blockaded Chesapeake Bay, preventing British reinforcements from reaching Yorktown. This was the battle that ended the Revolutionary war.