Happy 239th Birthday United States of America!
On this day 239 years ago, the thirteen United States of America pass the Declaration of Independence. Over the next seven years, the newly formed United States would repel the British forces and secure their independence. The war took place all over the thirteen colonies. Here are 10 Revolutionary War Landmarks every United States Citizen should visit at least once.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
~~~~United States Declaration of Independence
Boston Harbor ~ Boston, Massachusetts
The British Parliment passed the Tea Act of 1773. It created a tea monopoly for the British East India Trading Company. It placed a tax on all tea imported to the American Colonies. Many colonists were upset since this tax was passed by the British Parlament, where they had no representation. This led to the formation of the Sons of Liberty. A group to raise awareness about the tax and organized resistance to it. Samuel Adams and a group on men dressed as Mohawk Indians and boarded the ship carrying tea. They threw all 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor.
Today, one can visit the Boston Tea Party Ship Museum provides an interactive look at the event and reenactments.
Old North Church ~ Boston, Massachusetts
“One if by land, and two if by sea” so the poem about Paul Reeve’s “Midnight Ride.” The poem didn’t get history correct. But, Reeve did have a part in the events 18 April 1775. Reeve told Robert Newman the sexton of the North Church to hang lanterns to alert Charlestown of British Troop movements. Two lanterns were hung and Reeve and William Dawes set out to warn Lexington and Concord. They were detained by a British patrol and didn’t complete their ride. They did warn other patriots who helped spread the message throughout Middlesex County.
Battle of Lexington and Concord ~ Middlesex County, Massachusetts
The Battles of Lexington and Concord was the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. The battle occurred on April 19, 1775. The British regular army marched on the towns of Lexington and Concord in search of supplies. The colonial militiamen responded to the threat. Just outside of Lexington, the two armies were in a standoff. Who fired the first shot is subject to much debate but Ralph Waldo Emerson described it as the “Shot heard round the world.” The battle for the American Colonies was on.
Today these historic sites are part of the Minute Man National Historical Park.
Bunker Hill ~ Charlestown, Massachusetts
On the 17 June 1775, the colonials were defeated by the British in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Most of the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on the adjustment Breed’s Hill. The colonials under command of Colonel William Prescott built artillery placement on Breed’s Hill. Breed’s Hill was chosen since it was closer to Boston than Bunker. The British discovered the colonials preparations and prepared to attack. No one is sure which colonial commander said the famous phrase “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” The battle is considered a loss for the colonials, but the British suffered significantly heavier causality. One British Officer stated “We have … learned one melancholy truth, which is, that the Americans, if they were equally well commanded, are full as good soldiers as ours. ”
The Bunker Hill Monument is part of the Boston National Historic Park.
Independence Hall ~ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Independence Hall was built for the Pennsylvania Colonial Legislature in 1753. The lowest chamber of the steeple was the original home of the Pass and Snow Liberty Bell. The building was used as the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress. It was in the Assembly Room where George Washington was named commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved and read to the public in Independence Square.
It is possible to visit and tour this historic site.
Deleware River Crossing ~ Titusville, New Jersey and Yardley, Pennsylvania
In the late evening hours of 25 December 1776, General George Washington staged a daring attack on the British Hessen mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey. In the dead of night, he had his army across the icy Deleware River. On the morning of the 26 December 1776, Washington’s troops surprised the Hessians and captured over 1,000 men. This battle would become known as the Battle of Trenton.
Today this historic landmark is part of Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Valley Forge ~ King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
In late December 1777, General George Washington choose to set-up his winter camp in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The site was selected since it was about 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia. It would help keep the Brtish in Philadelphia. After the long march to Valley Forge, the colonial army had to build huts for shelter. Over 2,000 hunts were built. The army was ill-equipped for winter and supplies were in short supply. The army was undernourished and poorly clothed. Disease ran rampant through the army and combined with other factors, over 2,500 soldiers died.
Former Prussian General Staff Officer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrive in February 1778. He immediately became the camps drill instructor. He trained the soldiers to aim muskets, charge with bayonets, and maneuver together. During this time, he wrote the first American army training manual.
This site is part of the Valley Forge National Historic Park.
Battle of Saratoga ~ Stillwater, New York
Over the course of a month, the American army and the British would have two engagements in Stillwater, New York. On 19 September 1777, the first engagement was at Freeman’s Farm. It was considered a loss for the American armies. The next battle occurred on 7 October 1777, the British army was trapped by a superior American forces. The British surrendered their entire force. The Battle of Saratoga is considered the turning point of the Revolutionary War.
This landmark is part of the Saratoga National Historic Park.
Jockey Hollow ~ Morristown, New Jersey
Jockey Hollow near Morristown, New Jersey was used as the 1779 winter encampment. The winter of 1779 was the “cruelest” winter of the war. It was the coldest winter on record at the time. Like Valley Forge, the soldiers build their own hunts. Jockey Hollow was situated in a mountains region and the surrounding area was sympathetic to the cause. The location was again used for the winter of 1780.
Today this historic landmark is park of Morristown National Historical Park.
Siege of Yorktown ~ Yorktown, Virginia
Between Septemeber 28 and October 19, 1781, the last major battle in the American Colonies occurred. The United States with the help of the French forced the surrender of Lord George Cornwallis. The United States forced Cornwallis on the Yorktown, Virginia peninsula. The French navy prevented the British navy from reinforcing or rescuing Cornwallis. Realizing he was trapped, Cornwallis had no choice but to surrender. He got “sick” and was unable to attend the surrender ceremony. The defeat lead to the start of negotiations between the United States and Great Britain and the 1783 Treaty of Paris.
The Seige of Yorktown is part of the Colonial National Historical Park.
Last but not least . . .
Battle of Springfield ~ Springfield Township, New Jersey
I am aware there are 11 places on this list. I was required to included the Battle of Springfield on this list. My father grew up in a house built on one of the canon battlement. He required that I include this battlefield on this list.
The Battle of Springfield occurred on 23 June 1780. Major General Nathanael Greene of the Continental Army and his 1,500 colonials and militia successfully repelled Prussian Major General Wilhelm von Knyphausen and his 6,000 British and Hesse-Kassel. The battle helped end the Revolutionary War in the north.
Around Springfield, NJ there are many landmarks from the battle.