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American Revolution: 1776–1783


Abigail Adams

wife of Patriot and eventual president John Adams. She was a firm believer in women's rights.


formal agreement between two or more countries to support their common best interests, often in times of conflict or war

Battle of Brandywine

battle fought at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, between the troops of General George Washington and British commander General William Howe. The British defeated the Americans and forced their retreat.

Battle of Kings Mountain

small-scale battle in South Carolina fought between Loyalist forces led by Major Patrick Ferguson and American Patriot militiamen led by Colonel William Campbell. The Patriot forces defeated the Loyalists.

Battle of Quebec

unsuccessful attempt led by Americans Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery to capture the Canadian city of Quebec

Battle of Trenton

surprise attack led by General George Washington on Hessian soldiers stationed in Trenton, New Jersey

Battles of Saratoga

two battles fought between British troops led by General John Burgoyne and American forces led by General Benedict Arnold and General Horatio Gates. The Saratoga conflicts ended with the surrender of Burgoyne and his troops.


isolation of an enemy area to prevent passage of people or supplies

Bonhomme Richard

American naval ship commanded by Captain John Paul Jones and named for Jones's mentor, Benjamin Franklin—author of Poor Richard's Almanack. The Bonhomme Richard is best known for its capture of the British ship Serapis.


soldiers or civilians who are severely wounded or killed during a war

Charles Gravier

French statesman who helped shape the alliance that brought France into the American Revolution as an ally of the Patriots


forced to move from one's original location. Displacement of Native Americans was a common effect of white settlement in North America.

First Rhode Island Regiment

mixed-race regiment of soldiers in the Continental Army that included several companies of African Americans led by white commanders. They fought at the Battle of Newport and the Siege of Yorktown and were known for their skill and bravery.


shallow places in a creek, stream, or river that is easy to cross by walking or driving

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

German military leader who aided the Patriots in the American Revolution. He helped train the Continental Army during the winter at Valley Forge.

guerrilla warfare

military action using small groups of soldiers to mount surprise attacks or sabotage against opposing forces


German soldiers from the region of Hesse. The British hired Hessians as mercenary soldiers to fight in the American Revolution.

Marquis de Lafayette

French sympathizer who aided the Patriots during the American Revolution.


professional soldiers paid to fight in a foreign war. The British paid Hessian soldiers to fight in their army.

Mercy Otis Warren

author of numerous satirical poems and plays that rallied Patriot support during the American Revolution

Siege of Yorktown

final major battle of the American Revolution, fought in Yorktown, Virginia. It was a decisive victory for the Patriots.

Treaty of Paris

formal agreement signed between the United States, Great Britain, and France in 1783 that ended the American Revolution

Valley Forge

Continental Army’s winter encampment site from December 1777 to June 1778. It is located northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.