A timeline of how thirteen colonies became an independent nation

With all due respect to the Civil War’s importance in our nation’s history, there would have been no nation to preserve had thirteen colonies had not somehow defeated the British almost ninety years previously. Most historians agree that the key period extended from April in 1775 until September 1777.

Here is a timeline for those who have a special interest in the critical events that enabled thirteen colonies to achieve their independence from what was then the most powerful nation in the western world:


April:  Revere and Dawes Ride; Battles of Lexington and Concord, MA
May:  Ethan Allen and Green Mountain Boys seize Fort Ticonderoga, Second Continental Congress meets
June:  George Washington appointed commander-in-chief; Battle of Bunker Hill; and Washington assumes command of the Army outside Boston
July: Congress approves the Olive Branch Petition, a final attempt to avoid war with Britain
October: The U.S. Navy is established
November:  First Siege of Ninety Six, SC; Colonials take Montreal
December:  Battle of Great Bridge, VA; Battle of Great Canebreak, SC; Snow Campaign, SC; and Battle of Quebec


January: Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense
February:  Battle of Moore’s Creek, NC
March: Continental Navy captures New Providence Island, Bahamas; British evacuate Boston
April:  Halifax Resolves, NC—First colony to authorize its delegates to vote for independence
June:  Lee Resolution: Richard Henry Lee proposes independence to the Second Continental Congress; Battle of Sullivan’s Island, SC
July:  Cherokee attack the southern frontier; Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence
August:  Battle of Brooklyn, NY; Battle of Harlem Heights, NY
September:  British execute Nathan Hale, a soldier in the Continental Army
October:  Battle of Valcour Island, Lake Champlain; Battle of White Plains, NY; British capture Fort Lee, NJ
December:  Thomas Paine publishes The American Crisis; Battle of Trenton, NJ


January:  Battle of Princeton, NJ
January-May:  Continental Army winters at Morristown, NJ
April:  Battle at Ridgefield, CT
June:  Flag Resolution- Congress declared “That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field”
July:  British capture Fort Ticonderoga
August:  Battle of Oriskany, NY; Battle of Bennington, VT (Walloomsac, NY)
September: Battle of Brandywine, PA; Battle of Saratoga, NY (Freeman’s Farm); Battle of Paoli, PA; and British take Philadelphia; British surrender at Saratoga; and Battle of Fort Mercer, NJ

Twelve years later, a new nation adopted its Constitution and Bill of rights. The greatest challenge then, after having won the war, was to win the peace (i.e. survive) during the perilous years that followed.

To be continued….

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Here are two sources that I highly recommend:

Rick Atkinson’s The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (The Revolution Trilogy Book)

John Ferling’s Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781





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