The Critical Impact of Early War Victories for Both the British and the Colonists

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    In a war where Britain thought they would swiftly stomp out the American insurrection, it’s valuable to consider the ways that early major victories (both British and American) helped shaped the future of the war.

    For example, the American victory at Concord showed they could repel the highly trained British forces. This gave them confidence. They then held the British in the Siege of Boston for nearly a year before the British moved out to Canada – another big victory for the Americans. Did the confidence gained in victories like these give them too much confidence entering future battles? Did they think they might be stronger than they were and then face large tactical defeats?

    Also, key victories were important in securing additional support from the Continental Congress, and in formally gaining the support of France and Spain. Were some of these wins more important than others? How close do you think the Americans were at times to losing all fighting chance of continuing a war effort?


    The shot heard around the world shocked not only the world but America as well. Here was militia besting regulars, and at Breed’s hill, though through their overconfidence lost their ground, stood three heavy attacks and artillery bombardment before being forced to retreat. When Boston fell it must have seemed that with a little discipline the war might be won quickly. I think Washington knew better, his entire strategy seemed to hang on keeping the army together long enough that he could train it sufficiently to take on the British head to head without fortifications..
    At Long Island they were defeated, almost too easily in fact, and had it not been for Trenton and Princeton it might have ended there. Next year they lost Philadelphia, but the saving grace was Saratoga. Each time the cause looked like falling apart someone pulled it out of the hat. British bungling and clever American generals hungry for victory and looking out for it played no small part in this. I think that the danger years were ’75 to 77 because when the French decided to help, things changed drastically.



    Indeed. The French navy helped in a significant way as it in some part slowed the flow of supplies from Britain and helped the colonies defend some of their port cities more strongly.

    Also, Britain’s desire to be a global power also aided the American victory towards the later years of the war (as it was spread thinly fighting a few enemy countries at once around the world). I believe the war was mostly won a few years before 1783, and the latter part more the formality of Britain growing tired spending resources to support the fighting, politically convincing Parliament of the need to end things, and then negotiating formal peace with the US, France, and Spain.

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