The United States Army is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for land-based military operations

October 26, 2010 4:03 am
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The United States Army is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services. The modern Army has its roots in the Continental Army which was formed on 14 June 1775,before the establishment of the United States, to meet the demands of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress of the Confederation officially created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 after the end of the revolutionary war to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The Army considers itself to be descended from the Continental Army and thus dates its inception from the origins of that force The primary mission of the Army is to “provide necessary forces and capabilities … in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies.

The Army is a military service within the Department of the Army, one
of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The
Army is headed by the Secretary of the Army, and the highest ranking
military officer in the department is the Chief of Staff of the Army. In
fiscal year 2009, the Regular Army reported a strength of 549,015
soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) reported 358,391 and the United
States Army Reserve (USAR) reported 205,297 putting the combined
component strength total at 1,112,703 soldiers.
The United States
Army serves as the land-based branch of the U.S. military. §3062 of
Title 10 US Code defines the purpose of the Army as:
* preserving
the peace and security, and providing for the defense, of the United
States, the Commonwealths and possessions, and any areas occupied by the
United States
* supporting the national policies
* implementing the national objectives
* overcoming any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States

Da Pam 10-1 – Figure 1-2 Small.svg
Values
In
the mid to late 1990s, the Army officially adopted what have come to be
known as “The 7 Army Core Values.” The Army began to teach these values
as basic warrior traits. The seven Army Core Values are as follows:

1. Loyalty – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and fellow Soldiers.
2. Duty – Fulfill your obligations.
3. Respect – Treat others as they should be treated.
4. Selfless Service – Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
5. Honor – Live the Army Values.
6. Integrity – Do what’s right, both legally and morally.
7. Personal Courage – Face fear, danger, or adversity, both physical and moral.

The values were arranged to form the acronym LDRSHIP (leadership).
Origins
Storming of Redoubt #10 during the Siege of Yorktown.

The Continental Army was created on 14 June 1775 by the Continental Congress as a unified army for the states to fight Great Britain, with George Washington appointed as its commander.
The Army was initially led by men who had served in the British Army or colonial militias and who brought much of British military heritage with them. As the Revolutionary war progressed, French aid, resources, and military thinking influenced the new army, while Prussian assistance and instructors, such as Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, had a strong influence.

George Washington used the Fabian strategy and used hit-and-run tactics, hitting where the enemy was weakest, to wear down the British forces and their Hessian mercenary allies. Washington led victories against the British at Trenton and Princeton, and then turned south. With a decisive victory at Yorktown, and the help of the French, the Spanish and the Dutch, the Continental Army prevailed against the British, and with the Treaty of Paris, the independence of the United States was acknowledged.

After the war, though, the Continental Army was quickly disbanded as part of the American distrust of standing armies, and irregular state militias became the new nation’s sole ground army, with the exception of a regiment to guard the Western Frontier and one battery of artillery guarding West Point’s arsenal. However, because of continuing conflict with Native Americans, it was soon realized that it was necessary to field a trained standing army. The first of these, the Legion of the United States, was established in 1791.
19th century

The War of 1812, the second and last American war against the British, was less successful than the Revolution had been. An invasion of Canada failed, and U.S. troops were unable to stop the British from burning the new capital of Washington, D.C.. However, the Regular Army, under Generals Winfield Scott and Jacob Brown, proved they were professional and capable of defeating a British army in the Niagara campaign of 1814. Two weeks after a treaty was signed, though, Andrew Jackson defeated the British invasion of New Orleans. However this had little effect; as per the treaty both sides returned to the status quo.

Between 1815 and 1860, a spirit of Manifest Destiny was common in the U.S., and as settlers moved west the U.S. Army engaged in a long series of skirmishes and battles with Native Americans that the settlers uprooted. The U.S. Army also fought and won the Mexican–American War (1846–1848), which was a defining event for both countries.The U.S. victory resulted in acquisition of territory that eventually became all or parts of the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming and New Mexico.
The Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of the American Civil War

The Civil War was the most costly war for the U.S. in terms of casualties. After most states in the South seceded to form the Confederate States of America, CSA troops opened fire on the Union-held Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, starting the war. For the first two years Confederate forces solidly defeated the U.S. Army, but after the decisive battles of Gettysburg in the east and Vicksburg in the west, combined with superior industrial might and numbers, Union troops fought a brutal campaign through Confederate territory and the war ended with a Confederate surrender at Appomatox Courthouse in April 1865. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North and 18% in the South.
Following the Civil War, the U.S. Army fought a long battle with Native Americans, who resisted U.S. expansion into the center of the continent. By the 1890s the U.S. saw itself as a potential international player. U.S. victories in the Spanish-American War and the controversial and less well known Philippine-American War, as well as U.S. intervention in Latin America and the Boxer Rebellion, gained America more land.
20th century
Soldiers from the U.S. Army 89th Infantry Division cross the Rhine River in assault boats, 1945.

Starting in 1910, the Army began acquiring Fixed-wing aircraft.The United States joined World War I in 1917 on the side of Britain, France, Russia, and other allies. U.S. troops were sent to the front and were involved in the push that finally broke through the German lines. With the armistice in November 1918, the Army once again decreased its forces.

The U.S. joined World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On the European front, U.S. Army troops formed a significant portion of the forces that captured North Africa and Sicily. On D-Day and in the subsequent liberation of Europe and defeat of Nazi Germany, millions of U.S. Army troops played a central role. In the Pacific, Army soldiers participated alongside U.S. Marines in capturing the Pacific Islands from Japanese control. Following the Axis surrenders in May (Germany) and August (Japan) of 1945, Army troops were deployed to Japan and Germany to occupy the two defeated nations. Two years after World War II, the Army Air Forces separated from the Army to become the United States Air Force in September 1947 after decades of attempting to separate. Also, in 1948 the Army was desegregated.

However, the end of World War II set the stage for the East-West confrontation known as the Cold War. With the outbreak of the Korean War, concerns over the defense of Western Europe rose. Two corps, V and VII, were reactivated under Seventh United States Army in 1950 and American strength in Europe rose from one division to four. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops remained stationed in West Germany, with others in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, until the 1990s in anticipation of a possible Soviet attack.During the Cold War, American troops and their allies fought Communist forces in Korea and Vietnam. The Korean War began in 1950, when the Soviets walked out of a U.N. Security meeting, removing their possible veto. Under a United Nations umbrella, hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops fought to prevent the takeover of South Korea by North Korea, and later, to invade the northern nation. After repeated advances and retreats by both sides, and the Peoples’ Republic of China ‘s entry into the war, a cease-fire returned the peninsula to the status quo in 1953.The Vietnam War is often regarded as a low point in the Army’s record due to the use of drafted personnel, the unpopularity of the war with the American public, and frustrating restrictions placed on the Army by US political leaders. While American forces had been stationed in the Republic of Vietnam since 1959, in intelligence & advising/training roles, they did not deploy in large numbers until 1965, after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. American forces effectively established and maintained control of the “traditional” battlefield, however they struggled to counter the guerrilla hit and run tactics of the communist Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. On a tactical level, American soldiers (and the US military as a whole) did not lose a sizable battle.
The Total Force Policy was adopted by Chief of Staff of the Army General Creighton Abrams in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and involves treating the three components of the Army – the Regular Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve as a single force.
Believing that no U.S. president should be able to take the United States (and more specifically the US Army) to war without the support of the American people, General Abrams intertwined the structure of the three components of the Army in such a way as to make extended operations impossible, without the involvement of both the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.
The 1980s was mostly a decade of reorganization. The Army converted to an all-volunteer force with greater emphasis on training and technology. The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 created Unified Combatant Commands bringing the Army together with the other four military under unified, geographically organized command structures. The Army also played a role in the invasions of Grenada in 1983 (Operation Urgent Fury) and Panama in 1989 (Operation Just Cause).

By 1989 Germany was nearing reunification and the Cold War was coming to a close. The Army leadership reacted by starting to plan for a reduction in strength. By November 1989 Pentagon briefers were laying out plans to reduce Army endstrength by 23%, from 750,000 to 580,000.A number of incentives such as early retirement were used. In 1990 Iraq invaded its smaller neighbor, Kuwait, and U.S. land forces, led by an Airborne Division, quickly deployed to assure the protection of Saudi Arabia. In January 1991 Operation Desert Storm commenced, a U.S.-led coalition which deployed over 500,000 troops, the bulk of them from U.S. Army formations, to drive out Iraqi forces. The campaign ended in total victory for the Army, as Western coalition forces routed the Iraqi Army, organized along Soviet lines, in just one hundred hours.

After Desert Storm, the Army did not see major combat operations for the remainder of the 1990s but did participate in a number of peacekeeping activities. In 1990 the Department of Defense issued guidance for “rebalancing” after a review of the Total Force Policy,[15] but in 2004, Air War College scholars concluded the guidance would reverse the Total Force Policy which is an “essential ingredient to the successful application of military force.”
21st centuryAfter the September 11 attacks, and as part of the Global War on Terror, U.S. and NATO combined arms (i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, Special Operations) forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001, displacing the Taliban government.

The Army led the combined U.S. and allied Invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003. In the following years the mission changed from conflict between regular militaries to counterinsurgency, with large numbers of suicide attacks resulting in the deaths of more than 4,000 U.S. service members (as of March 2008) and injuries to thousands more.The lack of stability in the theater of operations has led to longer deployments for Regular Army as well as Reserve and Guard troops.

The Army’s chief modernization plan was the FCS program. Many systems were canceled and the remaining were swept into the BCT modernization program.
Army components
The task of organizing the U.S. Army commenced in 1775.During World War I, the “National Army” was organized to fight the conflict.It was demobilized at the end of World War I, and was replaced by the Regular Army, the Organized Reserve Corps, and the State Militias. In the 1920s and 1930s, the “career” soldiers were known as the “Regular Army” with the “Enlisted Reserve Corps” and “Officer Reserve Corps” augmented to fill vacancies when needed.In 1941, the “Army of the United States” was founded to fight World War II. The Regular Army, Army of the United States, the National Guard, and Officer/Enlisted Reserve Corps (ORC and ERC) existed simultaneously. After World War II, the ORC and ERC were combined into the United States Army Reserve. The Army of the United States was re-established for the Korean War and Vietnam War and was demobilized upon the suspension of the Draft.
Currently, the Army is divided into the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard.
The Army is also divided into major branches such as Air Defense Artillery, Infantry, Aviation, Signal Corps, Corps of Engineers, and Armor. Prior to 1903 members of the National Guard were considered state soldiers unless federalized by the President. Since the Militia Act of 1903 all National Guard soldiers have held dual status: as National Guardsmen under the authority of the governor of their state and as a reserve of the U.S. Army under the authority of the President.

Since the adoption of the total force policy, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, reserve component soldiers have taken a more active role in U.S. military operations. Reserve and Guard units took part in the Gulf War, peacekeeping in Kosovo, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Various State Defense Forces also exist, sometimes known as State Militias, which are sponsored by individual state governments and serve as an auxiliary to the National Guard. Except in times of extreme national emergency, such as a mainland invasion of the United States, State Militias are operated independently from the U.S. Army and are seen as state government agencies rather than a component of the military.

Although the present-day Army exists as an all volunteer force, augmented by Reserve and National Guard forces, measures exist for emergency expansion in the event of a catastrophic occurrence, such as a large scale attack against the U.S. or the outbreak of a major global war.

The final stage of Army mobilization, known as “activation of the unorganized militia” would effectively place all able bodied males in the service of the U.S. Army. The last time an approximation of this occurred was during the American Civil War when the Confederate States of America activated the “Home Guard” in 1865, drafting all males, regardless of age or health, into the Confederate Army.
Structure

The United States Army is made up of three components: the active component, the Regular Army; and two reserve components, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. Both reserve components are primarily composed of part-time soldiers who train once a month, known as Battle Assembly or Unit Training Assemblies (UTAs), and conduct two to three weeks of annual training each year. Both the Regular Army and the Army Reserve are organized under Title 10 of the United States Code, while the National Guard is organized under Title 32. While the Army National Guard is organized, trained and equipped as a component of the U.S. Army, when it is not in federal service it is under the command of individual state and territorial governors, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia. However the National Guard can be federalized by presidential order and against the governor’s wishes.
The Army is led by a civilian Secretary of the Army, who has the statutory authority to conduct all the affairs of the Army; under the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of Defense
The Chief of Staff of the Army who is the highest ranked military officer in the Army has dual roles; one as the principal military adviser and executive agent for the Secretary of the Army, i.e. its service chief; and secondly as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a body composed of the service chiefs from each of the four military services belonging to the Department of Defense who advise the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council on operational military matters, under the guidance of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.In 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols Act mandated that operational control of the services follows a chain of command from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the Unified Combatant Commanders, who have control of all armed forces units in their geographic or function area of responsibility. Thus, the Secretaries of the military departments (and their respective service chiefs underneath them) only have the responsibility to organize, train and equip their service components. The Army provides trained forces to the Combatant Commanders for use as directed by the Secretary of Defense.
Transformation of the United States Army
Through 2013, the Army is shifting to six geographical commands that will line up with the six geographical Unified Combatant Commands (COCOM):

* United States Army Central headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia
* United States Army North headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas
* United States Army South headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas
* United States Army Europe headquartered at Heidelberg, Germany
* United States Army Pacific headquartered at Fort Shafter, Hawaii (eventually to be merged with the Eighth Army).
* United States Army Africa headquartered at Vicenza, Italy

Each command will receive a numbered army as operational command, except U.S. Army Pacific, which will have a numbered army for U.S. Army forces in the Republic of Korea.

The Army is also changing its base unit from divisions to brigades. When finished, the active army will have increased its combat brigades from 33 to 48, with similar increases in the National Guard and Reserve forces. Division lineage will be retained, but the divisional HQs will be able to command any brigades, not just brigades that carry their divisional lineage. The central part of this plan is that each brigade will be modular, i.e. all brigades of the same type will be exactly the same, and thus any brigade can be commanded by any division. There will be three major types of ground combat brigades:

* Heavy brigades will have around 3,700 troops and be equivalent to a mechanized infantry or tank brigade.
* Stryker brigades will have around 3,900 troops and be based on the Stryker family of vehicles.
* Infantry brigades will have around 3,300 troops and be equivalent to a light infantry or airborne brigade.

In addition, there will be combat support and service support modular brigades. Combat support brigades include Aviation brigades, which will come in heavy and light varieties, Fires (artillery) brigades, and Battlefield Surveillance Brigades. Combat service support brigades include Sustainment brigades and come in several varieties and serve the standard support role in an army.
Regular combat maneuver organizations
The U.S. Army currently consists of 10 active divisions as well as several independent units. The force is in the process of growth, with four additional brigades scheduled to activate by 2013, with a total increase of 74,200 soldiers from January 2007. Each division will have four ground maneuver brigades, and will also include at least one aviation brigade as well as a fires brigade and a service support brigade. Additional brigades can be assigned or attached to a division headquarters based on its mission.

Within the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve there are a further eight divisions, over fifteen maneuver brigades, additional combat support and combat service support brigades, and independent cavalry, infantry, artillery, aviation, engineer, and support battalions. The Army Reserve in particular provide virtually all psychological operations and civil affairs units.
Training

Training in the United States Army is generally divided into two categories – individual and collective.

Basic training consists of 10 weeks for most recruits followed by AIT (Advanced Individualized Training) where they receive training for their MOS (military occupational specialties) with the length of AIT school varying by the MOS, some individuals MOS’s range anywhere from 14–20 weeks of One Station Unit Training,(OSUT) which counts as basic and AIT. Support and other MOS hopefuls attend nine to eleven weeks of Basic Combat Training followed by Advanced Individual Training in their primary (MOS) at any of the numerous MOS training facilities around the country. The length of time spent in AIT depends on the MOS of the soldier. (ex. 25B- IT Specialist MOS is 24 Weeks, 11B- Infantry 15–17 weeks) Depending on the needs of the Army BCT is conducted at a number of locations, but two of the longest running are the Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky and the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. For officers this training includes pre-commissioning training either at USMA, ROTC, or OCS. After commissioning, officers undergo branch specific training at the Basic Officer Leaders Course, (formerly called Officer Basic Course) which varies in time and location based on their future jobs.

Collective training takes place both at the unit’s assigned station, but the most intensive collective training takes place at the three Combat Training Centers (CTC); the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Joint Multinational Training Center (JMRC) at the Hohenfels Training Area in Hohenfels, Germany.
Weapons
A M16, an AR-10 and a semi-automatic AR-15 “Sporter” along with other Vietnam War era rifles.

The Army employs various individual weapons to provide light firepower at short ranges. The most common weapons used by the army are the M16 series assault rifle
and its compact variant, the M4 carbine,which is slowly replacing selected M16 series rifles in some units and is primarily used by infantry, Ranger, and Special Operations forces.
Soldiers whose duties require a more compact weapon, such as combat vehicle crew members, staff officers, and military police, are also issued the M4. The most common sidearm in the U.S. Army is the 9 mm M9 pistol
which is issued to the majority of combat and support units.

Many combat units’ arsenals are supplemented with a variety of specialized weapons, including the M249 SAW (squad automatic weapon), to provide suppressive fire at the fire-team level,the M1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun or the Mossberg 590 Shotgun for door breaching and close-quarters combat, the M14EBR for long-range marksmen, and the M107 Long Range Sniper Rifle, the M24 Sniper Weapon System, or the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle for snipers. Hand grenades, such as the M67 fragmentation grenade and M18 smoke grenade, are also used by combat troops.

The Army employs various crew-served weapons to provide heavy firepower at ranges exceeding that of individual weapons.

The M249 is the Army’s standard light machine gun. The M240 is the Army’s standard medium machine gun.
The .50 Cal. BMG. M2 heavy machine gun is used as an anti-materiel and anti-personnel machine gun. The M2 is also the primary weapon on most Stryker variants and the secondary weapon system on the M1 Abrams. The 40 mm MK 19 grenade machine gun is mainly used by motorized units.It is commonly employed in a complementary role to the M2.

The Army uses three types of mortar for indirect fire support when heavier artillery may not be appropriate or available. The smallest of these is the 60 mm M224, normally assigned at the infantry company level.At the next higher echelon, infantry battalions are typically supported by a section of 81 mm M252 mortars.The largest mortar in the Army’s inventory is the 120 mm M120/M121, usually employed by mechanized battalions, Stryker units, and cavalry troops because its size and weight require it to be transported in a tracked carrier or towed behind a truck.Fire support for light infantry units is provided by towed howitzers, including the 105 mm M119A1[45] and the 155 mm M777 (which will replace the M198).
The Army utilizes a variety of direct-fire rockets and missiles to provide infantry with an offensive and defensive anti-armor capability. The SMAW and AT4 are unguided rockets that can destroy armor and fixed defenses (e.g., bunkers) at ranges up to 500 meters. The FGM-148 Javelin and BGM-71 TOW are anti-tank guided missiles. The Javelin can utilize top-attack profiles to avoid heavy frontal armor. The Javelin and TOW are heavier missiles effective past 2,000 meters that give infantry an offensive capability against armor.
VehiclesThe U.S. Army spends a sizable portion of its military budget to maintain a diverse inventory of vehicles.

The Army’s most common vehicle is the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), which is capable of serving as a cargo/troop carrier, weapons platform, and ambulance, among many other roles.While they operate a wide variety of combat support vehicles, one of the most common types centers on the family of HEMTT vehicles. The M1A2 Abrams is the Army’s primary main battle tank,while the M2A3 Bradley is the standard infantry fighting vehicle.Other vehicles include the M3A3 cavalry fighting vehicle, the Stryker,and the M113 armored personnel carrier,and multiple types of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.

The U.S. Army’s principal artillery weapons are the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzerboth mounted on tracked platforms and assigned to heavy mechanized units.

While the U.S. Army operates a few fixed-wing aircraft, it mainly operates several types of rotary-wing aircraft. These include the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter,the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance/light attack helicopter,the UH-60 Black Hawk utility tactical transport helicopterand the CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift transport helicopter.and the CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift transport helicopter.
and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
Uniforms of the United States Army
The Army Combat Uniform (ACU) features a digital camouflage pattern and is designed for use in woodland, desert, and urban environments. Soldiers operating in Afghanistan will soon be issued an fire-resistant ACU with the more appropriate “MultiCam” pattern.
The standard garrison service uniform is known as Army Greens or Class-As and has been worn by all officers and enlisted personnel since its introduction in 1956 when it replaced earlier olive drab (OD) and khaki (and tan worsted or TW) uniforms worn between the 1950s and 1985. The Army Blue uniform, dating back to the mid-19th century, is currently the Army’s formal dress uniform, but in 2014, it will replace the Army Green and the Army White uniforms (a uniform similar to the Army Green uniform, but worn in tropical postings) and will become the new Army Service Uniform, which will function as both a garrison uniform (when worn with a white shirt and necktie) and a dress uniform (when worn with a white shirt and either a necktie for parades or a bow tie for after six or black tie events). The beret will continue to be worn with the new ACU for garrison duty and with the Army Service Uniform for non-ceremonial functions. The Army Blue Service Cap, formerly allowed for wear by all enlisted personnel, are now only allowed for wear by any soldier ranked CPL or above at the discretion of the commander.

Personal armor in most units is the Improved Outer Tactical Vest and the MICH TC-2000 Combat Helmet.
Tents
The Army has relied heavily on tents to provide the various facilities they need while on deployment. The US Department of Defense has strict rules on tent quality and tent specifications. The most common tent uses for the military are temporary barracks (sleeping quarters), DFAC buildings (dining facilities), Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), After Action Review (AAR), Tactical Operations Center (TOC), Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facilities, and security checkpoints. Furthermore, most of these tents are set up and operated through the support of Natick Soldier Systems Center. One of the most popular military designs currently fielded by the US DoD is the TEMPER Tent. TEMPER is an acronym for Tent Expandable Modular PERsonnel.

The U.S. military is beginning to use a more modern tent called the deployable rapid assembly shelter or DRASH. In 2008, DRASH became part of the Army’s Standard Integrated Command Post System.
Branch establishment
The U.S. Army was officially founded on 14 June 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. Each branch of the Army has a different branch insignia.Basic branches

* Infantry, 14 June 1775

Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress on 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army infantry regiment, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, was constituted on 3 June 1784, as the First American Regiment.

* Adjutant General’s Corps, 16 June 1775

The post of Adjutant General was established 16 June 1775, and has been continuously in operation since that time. The Adjutant General’s Department, by that name, was established by the act of 3 March 1812, and was redesignated the Adjutant General’s Corps in 1950.

* Corps of Engineers, 16 June 1775

Continental Congress authority for a “Chief Engineer for the Army” dates from 16 June 1775. A corps of Engineers for the United States was authorized by the Congress on 11 March 1789. The Corps of Engineers as it is known today came into being on 16 March 1802, when the President was authorized to “organize and establish a Corps of Engineers … that the said Corps … shall be stationed at West Point in the State of New York and shall constitute a Military Academy.” A Corps of Topographical Engineers, authorized on 4 July 1838, was merged with the Corps of Engineers on March 1863.

* Finance Corps, 16 June 1775

The Finance Corps is the successor to the old Pay Department, which was created in June 1775. The Finance Department was created by law on 1 July 1920. It became the Finance Corps in 1950.

* Quartermaster Corps, 16 June 1775

The Quartermaster Corps, originally designated the Quartermaster Department, was established on 16 June 1775. While numerous additions, deletions, and changes of function have occurred, its basic supply and service support functions have continued in existence.

* Field Artillery, 17 November 1775

The Continental Congress unanimously elected Henry Knox “Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery” on 17 November 1775. The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776.

* Armor, 12 June 1776

The Armor branch traces its origin to the Cavalry. A regiment of cavalry was authorized to be raised by the Continental Congress Resolve of 12 December 1776. Although mounted units were raised at various times after the Revolution, the first in continuous service was the United States Regiment of Dragoons, organized in 1833. The Tank Service was formed on 5 March 1918. The Armored Force was formed on 10 July 1940. Armor became a permanent branch of the Army in 1950.

* Ordnance Corps, 14 May 1812

The Ordnance Department was established by act of Congress on 14 May 1812. During the Revolutionary War, ordnance material was under supervision of the Board of War and Ordnance. Numerous shifts in duties and responsibilities have occurred in the Ordnance Corps since colonial times. It acquired its present designation in 1950. Ordnance soldiers and officers provide maintenance and ammunition support.

* Signal Corps, 21 June 1860

The Signal Corps was authorized as a separate branch of the Army by act of Congress on 3 March 1863. However, the Signal Corps dates its existence from 21 June 1860, when Congress authorized the appointment of one signal officer in the Army, and a War Department order carried the following assignment: “Signal Department–Assistant Surgeon Albert J. Myer to be Signal Officer, with the rank of Major, 27 June 1860], to fill an original vacancy.”

* Chemical Corps, 28 June 1918

The Chemical Warfare Service was established on 28 June 1918, combining activities that until then had been dispersed among five separate agencies of Government. It was made a permanent branch of the Regular Army by the National Defense Act of 1920. In 1945, it was redesignated the Chemical Corps.

* Military Police Corps, 26 September 1941

A Provost Marshal General’s Office and Corps of Military Police were established in 1941. Prior to that time, except during the Civil War and World War I, there was no regularly appointed Provost Marshal General or regularly constituted Military Police Corps, although a “Provost Marshal” can be found as early as January 1776, and a “Provost Corps” as early as 1778.

* Transportation Corps, 31 July 1942

The historical background of the Transportation Corps starts with World War I. Prior to that time, transportation operations were chiefly the responsibility of the Quartermaster General. The Transportation Corps, essentially in its present form, was organized on 31 July 1942. The Transportation Corps is headquartered at Fort Eustis, Virginia under the mantra “Spearhead of Logistics” and command of Brigadier General Brian R. Layer.

* Military Intelligence Corps, 1 July 1962

Intelligence has been an essential element of Army operations during war as well as during periods of peace. In the past, requirements were met by personnel from the Army Intelligence and Army Security Reserve branches, two-year obligated tour officers, one-tour levies on the various branches, and Regular Army officers in the specialization programs. To meet the Army’s increased requirement for national and tactical intelligence, an Intelligence and Security Branch was established in the Army effective 1 July 1962, by General Order No. 38, on 3 July 1962. On 1 July 1967, the branch was redesignated as Military Intelligence.

* Air Defense Artillery, 20 June 1968

The Air Defense Artillery separated from the Field Artillery and was established as a basic branch on 20 June 1968, per General Order 25, 14 June 1968.

* Aviation, 12 April 1983

Following the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service in 1947, the Army began to develop further its own aviation assets (light planes and rotary wing aircraft) in support of ground operations. The Korean War gave this drive impetus, and the war in Vietnam saw its fruition, as Army aviation units performed a variety of missions, including reconnaissance, transport, and fire support. After the war in Vietnam, the role of armed helicopters as tank destroyers received new emphasis. In recognition of the growing importance of aviation in Army doctrine and operations, Aviation became a separate branch on 12 April 1983.

* Special Forces, 9 April 1987

The first Special Forces unit in the Army was formed on 11 June 1952, when the 10th Special Forces Group was activated at Fort Brag, North Carolina. A major expansion of Special Forces occurred during the 1960s, with a total of eighteen groups organized in the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. As a result of renewed emphasis on special operations in the 1980s, the Special Forces Branch was established as a basic branch of the Army effective 9 April 1987, by General Order No. 35, 19 June 1987. Special Forces are part of U.S. Special Operations Forces

* Civil Affairs Corps, 16 October 2006

The Civil Affairs/Military Government Branch in the Army Reserve Branch was established as a special branch on 17 August 1955. Subsequently redesignated the Civil Affairs Branch on 2 October 1955, it has continued its mission to provide guidance to commanders in a broad spectrum of activities ranging from host-guest relationships to the assumption of executive, legislative, and judicial processes in occupied or liberated areas. Became a basic branch effective 16 October 2006 per General Order 29, on 12 January 2007.

* Psychological Operations, 16 October 2006

Established as a basic branch effective 16 October 2006 per General Order 30, 12 January 2007. Name will change to Military Information Support Operations at a date TBD.

* Logistics, 1 January 2008

Established by General Order 6, 27 November 2007. Consists of multi-functional logistics officers in the rank of captain and above, drawn from the Ordnance, Quartermaster and Transportation Corps.
Special branches
* Army Medical Department, 27 July 1775

The Army Medical Department and the Medical Corps trace their origins to 27 July 1775, when the Continental Congress established the Army hospital headed by a “Director General and Chief Physician.” Congress provided a medical organization of the Army only in time of war or emergency until 1818, which marked the inception of a permanent and continuous Medical Department. The Army Organization Act of 1950 renamed the Medical Department as the Army Medical Service. In June 1968, the Army Medical Service was redesignated the Army Medical Department. The Medical Department has the following branches:

* Medical Corps, 27 July 1775
* Army Nurse Corps, 2 February 1901
* Dental Corps, 3 March 1911
* Veterinary Corps, 3 June 1916
* Medical Service Corps, 30 June 1917
* Army Medical Specialist Corps, 16 April 1947

* Chaplain Corps, 29 July 1775

The legal origin of the Chaplain Corps is found in a resolution of the Continental Congress, adopted 29 July 1775, which made provision for the pay of chaplains. The Office of the Chief of Chaplains was created by the National Defense Act of 1920.

* Judge Advocate General’s Corps, 29 July 1775

The Office of Judge Advocate of the Army may be deemed to have been created on 29 July 1775, and has generally paralleled the origin and development of the American system of military justice. The Judge Advocate General Department, by that name, was established in 1884. Its present designation as a corps was enacted in 1948.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) or American War of Independence began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and concluded in a global war between several European great powers.

The war was the culmination of the political American Revolution, whereby many of the colonists rejected the legitimacy of the Parliament of Great Britain to govern them without representation, claiming that this violated the Rights of Englishmen. The First Continental Congress met in 1774 to coordinate relations with Great Britain and the by-then thirteen self-governing and individual provinces, petitioning George III of Great Britain for intervention with Parliament, organizing a boycott of British goods, while affirming loyalty to the British Crown. Their pleas ignored, and with British soldiers billeted in Boston, Massachusetts, by 1775 the Provincial Congresses formed the Second Continental Congress and authorized a Continental Army. Additional petitions to the king to intervene with Parliament resulted in the following year with Congress being declared traitors and the states to be in rebellion. The Americans responded in 1776 by formally declaring their independence as one new nation — the United States of America — claiming their own sovereignty and rejecting any allegiance to the British monarchy. France’s government under King Louis XVI secretly provided supplies, ammunition and weapons to the revolutionaries starting in 1776, and the Continentals’ capture of a British army in 1777 led France to openly enter the war in early 1778, which evened the military strength with Britain. Spain and the Dutch Republic – French allies – also went to war with Britain over the next two years, threatening an invasion of Great Britain and severely testing British military strength with campaigns in Europe — including attacks on Minorca and Gibraltar — and an escalating global naval war. Spain’s involvement culminated in the expulsion of British armies from West Florida, securing the American colonies’ southern flank.

Throughout the war, the British were able to use their naval superiority to capture and occupy American coastal cities, but control of the countryside (where 90% of the population lived) largely eluded them because of the relatively small size of their land army. French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading at Yorktown in 1781 to the surrender of a second British army. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.
American armies and militias
At the outset of the war, the thirteen colonies lacked a professional army or navy. Each colony provided for its own defenses with local militia. Militiamen were lightly armed, had little training, and usually did not have uniforms. Their units served for only a few weeks or months at a time, were reluctant to go very far from home, and were thus generally unavailable for extended operations. Militia lacked the training and discipline of soldiers with more experience, but were more numerous and could overwhelm regular troops, as at the battles of Concord, Bennington and Saratoga, and the siege of Boston. Both sides used partisan warfare but the Americans were particularly effective at suppressing Loyalist activity when British regulars were not in the area.Seeking to coordinate military efforts, the Continental Congress established (on paper) a regular army on the 14th of June 1775, and appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief. The development of the Continental Army was always a work in progress, and Washington used both his regulars and state militia throughout the war. The United States Marine Corps traces its institutional roots to the Continental Marines of the war, formed at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, by a resolution of the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775, a date regarded and celebrated as the birthday of the Marine Corps. At the beginning of 1776, Washington’s army had 20,000 men, with two-thirds enlisted in the Continental Army and the other third in the various state militias.At the end of the American Revolution in 1783, both the Continental Navy and Continental Marines were disbanded. About 250,000 men served as regulars or as militiamen for the Revolutionary cause in the eight years of the war, but there were never more than 90,000 total men under arms at one time. Armies were small by European standards of the era, largely attributable to limitations such as lack of powder and other logistical capabilities on the American side By comparison, Duffy notes that Frederick the Great usually commanded from 23,000 to 50,000 in battle. Both figures pale in comparison to the armies that would be fielded in the early nineteenth century, where troop formations approached or exceeded 100,000 men.
Loyalists
Historians have estimated that approximately 40–45% of the colonists actively supported the rebellion while 15–20% of the population of the thirteen colonies remained loyal to the British Crown. The remaining 35–45% attempted to remain neutral.At least 25,000 Loyalists fought on the side of the British. Thousands served in the Royal Navy. On land, Loyalist forces fought alongside the British in most battles in North America. Many Loyalists fought in partisan units, especially in the Southern theater.The British military met with many difficulties in maximizing the use of Loyalist factions. British historian Jeremy Black wrote, “In the American war it was clear to both royal generals and revolutionaries that organized and significant Loyalist activity would require the presence of British forces.”In the South, the use of Loyalists presented the British with “major problems of strategic choice” since while it was necessary to widely disperse troops in order to defend Loyalist areas, it was also recognized that there was a need for “the maintenance of large concentrated forces able” to counter major attacks from the American forces. In addition, the British were forced to ensure that their military actions would not “offend Loyalist opinion”, eliminating such options as attempting to “live off the country”, destroying property for intimidation purposes, or coercing payments from colonists (“laying them under contribution”)
British armies and auxiliaries
Early in 1775, the British Army consisted of about 36,000 men worldwide, but wartime recruitment steadily increased this number. Great Britain had a difficult time appointing general officers, however. General Thomas Gage, in command of British forces in North America when the rebellion started, was criticized for being too lenient (perhaps influenced by his American wife). General Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst turned down an appointment as commander in chief due to an unwillingness to take sides in the conflict.Similarly, Admiral Augustus Keppel turned down a command, saying “I cannot draw the sword in such a cause.” The Earl of Effingham very publicly resigned his commission when his 22nd Regiment of foot was posted to America, and William Howe and John Burgoyne were both members of parliament who opposed military solutions to the American rebellion. Howe and Henry Clinton both made statements that they were not willing participants in the war, but were following orders.
Over the course of the war, Great Britain signed treaties with various German states, which supplied about 30,000 soldiers. Germans made up about one-third of the British troop strength in North America. Hesse-Kassel contributed more soldiers than any other state, and German soldiers became known as “Hessians” to the Americans. Revolutionary speakers called German soldiers “foreign mercenaries,” and they are scorned as such in the Declaration of Independence. By 1779, the number of British and German troops stationed in North America was over 60,000, although these were spread from Canada to Florida. About 10,000 Loyalist Americans under arms for the British are included in these figures.
African Americans
African Americans—slave and free—served on both sides during the war. The British actively recruited slaves belonging to Patriot masters. Because of manpower shortages, George Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776. Small all-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many slaves were promised freedom for serving. Another all-black unit came from Haiti with French forces. At least 5,000 black soldiers fought for the Revolutionary causeand almost 20,000 black soldiers fought on the British side (although more than 100,000 freedmen were with the British at war’s end).
Native Americans
Most Native Americans east of the Mississippi River were affected by the war, and many communities were divided over the question of how to respond to the conflict. Though a few tribes were on friendly terms with the Americans, most Native Americans opposed the United States as a potential threat to their territory. Approximately 13,000 Native Americans fought on the British side, with the largest group coming from the Iroquois tribes, who fielded around 1,500 men.The powerful Iroquois Confederacy was shattered as a result of the conflict; although the Confederacy itself did not take sides, the Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, and Cayuga sided with the British, while many Tuscarora and Oneida sided with the colonists. The Continental Army sent the Sullivan Expedition to cripple the Iroquois tribes which had sided with the British. Both during and after the war friction between the Mohawks Joseph Louis Cook and Joseph Brant, who had sided with the Americans and the British respectively, further exacerbated the split.Gender, race, class

Pybus (2005) estimates that about 20,000 slaves defected to or were captured by the British, of whom about 8,000 died from disease or wounds or were recaptured by the Patriots, and 12,000 left the country at the end of the war, for freedom in Canada or slavery in the West Indies.
Baller (2006) examines family dynamics and mobilization for the Revolution in central Massachusetts. He reports that warfare and the farming culture were sometimes incompatible. Militiamen found that living and working on the family farm had not prepared them for wartime marches and the rigors of camp life. Rugged individualism conflicted with military discipline and regimentation. A man’s birth order often influenced his military recruitment, as younger sons went to war and older sons took charge of the farm. A person’s family responsibilities and the prevalent patriarchy could impede mobilization. Harvesting duties and family emergencies pulled men home regardless of the sergeant’s orders. Some relatives might be Loyalists, creating internal strains. On the whole, historians conclude the Revolution’s effect on patriarchy and inheritance patterns favored egalitarianism.McDonnell, (2006) shows a grave complication in Virginia’s mobilization of troops was the conflicting interests of distinct social classes, which tended to undercut a unified commitment to the Patriot cause. The Assembly balanced the competing demands of elite slaveowning planters, the middling yeomen (some owning a few slaves), and landless indentured servants, among other groups. The Assembly used deferments, taxes, military service substitute, and conscription to resolve the tensions. Unresolved class conflict, however, made these laws less effective. There were violent protests, many cases of evasion, and large-scale desertion, so that Virginia’s contributions came at embarrassingly low levels. With the British invasion of the state in 1781, Virginia was mired in class divisiveness as its native son, George Washington, made desperate appeals for troops.
War in the north, 1775–1780
Massachusetts
Before the war, Boston had been the scene of much revolutionary activity, leading to the punitive Massachusetts Government Act in 1774 that ended local government. Popular resistance to these measures, however, compelled the newly appointed royal officials in Massachusetts to resign or to seek refuge in Boston. Lieutenant General Thomas Gage, the British North American commander-in chief, commanded four regiments of British regulars (about 4,000 men) from his headquarters in Boston, but the countryside was in the hands of the Revolutionaries.
On the night of April 18, 1775, General Gage sent 700 men to seize munitions stored by the colonial militia at Concord, Massachusetts. Riders including Paul Revere alerted the countryside, and when British troops entered Lexington on the morning of April 19, they found 77 minutemen formed up on the village green. Shots were exchanged, killing several minutemen. The British moved on to Concord, where a detachment of three companies was engaged and routed at the North Bridge by a force of 500 minutemen. As the British retreated back to Boston, thousands of militiamen attacked them along the roads, inflicting great damage before timely British reinforcements prevented a total disaster. With the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the war had begun.

The militia converged on Boston, bottling up the British in the city. About 4,500 more British soldiers arrived by sea, and on June 17, 1775, British forces under General William Howe seized the Charlestown peninsula at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Americans fell back, but British losses were so heavy that the attack was not followed up. The siege was not broken, and Gage was soon replaced by Howe as the British commander-in-chief.
In July 1775, newly appointed General Washington arrived outside Boston to take charge of the colonial forces and to organize the Continental Army. Realizing his army’s desperate shortage of gunpowder, Washington asked for new sources. Arsenals were raided and some manufacturing was attempted; 90% of the supply (2 million pounds) was imported by the end of 1776, mostly from France.
The standoff continued throughout the fall and winter. In early March 1776, heavy cannons that the patriots had captured at Fort Ticonderoga were brought to Boston by Colonel Henry Knox, and placed on Dorchester Heights. Since the artillery now overlooked the British positions, Howe’s situation was untenable, and the British fled on March 17, 1776, sailing to their naval base at Halifax, Nova Scotia.Washington then moved most of the Continental Army to fortify New York City.
Invasion of Canada (1775)
Three weeks after the siege of Boston began, a troop of militia volunteers led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga, a strategically important point on Lake Champlain between New York and the Province of Quebec. After that action they also raided Fort St. John’s, not far from Montreal, which alarmed the population and the authorities there. In response, Quebec’s governor Guy Carleton began fortifying St. John’s, and opened negotiations with the Iroquois and other Native American tribes for their support. These actions, combined with lobbying by both Allen and Arnold and the fear of a British attack from the north, eventually persuaded the Congress to authorize an invasion of Quebec, with the goal of driving the British military from that province. (Quebec was then frequently referred to as Canada, as most of its territory included the former French Province of Canada.)

Two Quebec-bound expeditions were undertaken. On September 28, 1775, Brigadier General Richard Montgomery marched north from Fort Ticonderoga with about 1,700 militiamen, besieging and capturing Fort St. Jean on November 2 and then Montreal on November 13. General Carleton escaped to Quebec City and began preparing that city for an attack. The second expedition, led by Colonel Arnold, went through the wilderness of what is now northern Maine. Logistics were difficult, with 300 men turning back, and another 200 perishing due to the harsh conditions. By the time Arnold reached Quebec City in early November, he had but 600 of his original 1,100 men. Montgomery’s force joined Arnold’s, and they attacked Quebec City on December 31, but were defeated by Carleton in a battle that ended with Montgomery dead, Arnold wounded, and over 400 Americans taken prisoner. The remaining Americans held on outside Quebec City until the spring of 1776, suffering from poor camp conditions and smallpox, and then withdrew when a squadron of British ships under Captain Charles Douglas arrived to relieve the siege.

Another attempt was made by the Americans to push back towards Quebec, but they failed at Trois-Rivières on June 8, 1776. Carleton then launched his own invasion and defeated Arnold at the Battle of Valcour Island in October. Arnold fell back to Fort Ticonderoga, where the invasion had begun. While the invasion ended as a disaster for the Americans, Arnold’s efforts in 1776 delayed a full-scale British counteroffensive until the Saratoga campaign of 1777.

The invasion cost the Americans their base of support in British public opinion, “So that the violent measures towards America are freely adopted and countenanced by a majority of individuals of all ranks, professions, or occupations, in this country.”It gained them at best limited support in the population of Quebec, which, while somewhat supportive early in the invasion, became less so later during the occupation, when American policies against suspected Loyalists became harsher, and the army’s hard currency ran out. Two small regiments of Canadiens were recruited during the operation, and they were with the army on its retreat back to Ticonderoga.
New York and New Jersey
Having withdrawn his army from Boston, General Howe now focused on capturing New York City. To defend the city, General Washington spread about 20,000 soldiers along the shores of New York’s harbor, concentrated on Long Island and Manhattan.
While British and recently hired Hessian troops were assembling on Staten Island for the campaign, Washington had the newly issued Declaration of American Independence read to his men.No longer was there any possibility of compromise. On August 27, 1776, after landing about 22,000 men on Long Island, the British drove the Americans back to Brooklyn Heights, securing a decisive British victory in the largest battle of the entire Revolution. Howe then laid siege to fortifications there. In a feat considered by many historians to be one of his most impressive actions as Commander in Chief, Washington personally directed the withdrawal of his entire remaining army and all their supplies across the East River in one night without discovery by the British or significant loss of men and materiel.After a failed peace conference on September 11, Howe resumed the attack. On September 15, Howe landed about 12,000 men on lower Manhattan, quickly taking control of New York City. The Americans withdrew to Harlem Heights, where they skirmished the next day but held their ground. When Howe moved to encircle Washington’s army in October, the Americans again fell back, and a battle at White Plains was fought on October 28.Again Washington retreated, and Howe returned to Manhattan and captured Fort Washington in mid November, taking about 2,000 prisoners (with an additional 1,000 having been captured during the battle for Long Island). Thus began the infamous “prison ships” system the British maintained in New York for the remainder of the war, in which more American soldiers and sailors died of neglect than died in every battle of the entire war, combined.Howe then detached General Clinton to seize Newport, Rhode Island, while General Lord Cornwallis continued to chase Washington’s army through New Jersey, until the Americans withdrew across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania in early December.With the campaign at an apparent conclusion for the season, the British entered winter quarters. Although Howe had missed several opportunities to crush the diminishing American army, he had killed or captured over 5,000 Americans.The outlook of the Continental Army was bleak. “These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine, who was with the army on the retreat.The army had dwindled to fewer than 5,000 men fit for duty, and would be reduced to 1,400 after enlistments expired at the end of the year.Congress had abandoned Philadelphia in despair, although popular resistance to British occupation was growing in the countryside.Washington decided to take the offensive, stealthily crossing the Delaware on Christmas night and capturing nearly 1,000 Hessians at the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776.Cornwallis marched to retake Trenton but was first repulsed and then outmaneuvered by Washington, who successfully attacked the British rearguard at Princeton on January 3, 1777.Washington then entered winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey, having given a morale boost to the American cause. New Jersey militia continued to harass British and Hessian forces throughout the winter, forcing the British to retreat to their base in and around New York City. At every stage the British strategy assumed a large base of Loyalist supporters would rally to the King given some military support. In February 1776 Clinton took 2,000 men and a naval squadron to invade North Carolina, which he called off when he learned the Loyalists had been crushed at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge. In June he tried to seize Charleston, South Carolina, the leading port in the South, hoping for a simultaneous rising in South Carolina. It seemed a cheap way of waging the war but it failed as the naval force was defeated by the forts and because no local Loyalists attacked the town from behind. The Loyalists were too poorly organized to be effective, but as late as 1781 senior officials in London, misled by Loyalist exiles, placed their confidence in their rising.Saratoga and Philadelphia
Mohawk leader Joseph Brant led both Native Americans and white Loyalists in battle.
“The surrender at Saratoga” shows General Daniel Morgan in front of a French de Vallière 4-pounder.
Washington and Lafayette look over the troops at Valley Forge.

When the British began to plan operations for 1777, they had two main armies in North America: Carleton’s army in Quebec, and Howe’s army in New York. In London, Lord George Germain approved campaigns for these armies which, because of miscommunication, poor planning, and rivalries between commanders, did not work in conjunction. Although Howe successfully captured Philadelphia, the northern army was lost in a disastrous surrender at Saratoga. Both Carleton and Howe resigned after the 1777 campaign.
Saratoga campaign
The first of the 1777 campaigns was an expedition from Quebec led by General John Burgoyne. The goal was to seize the Lake Champlain and Hudson River corridor, effectively isolating New England from the rest of the American colonies. Burgoyne’s invasion had two components: he would lead about 8,000 men along Lake Champlain towards Albany, New York, while a second column of about 2,000 men, led by Barry St. Leger, would move down the Mohawk River Valley and link up with Burgoyne in Albany, New York.Burgoyne set off in June, and recaptured Fort Ticonderoga in early July. Thereafter, his march was slowed by the Americans who literally knocked down trees in his path, and by his army’s extensive baggage train. A detachment sent out to seize supplies was decisively defeated in the Battle of Bennington by American militia in August, depriving Burgoyne of nearly 1,000 men.

Meanwhile, St. Leger—more than half of his force Native Americans led by Sayenqueraghta—had laid siege to Fort Stanwix. American militiamen and their Native American allies marched to relieve the siege but were ambushed and scattered at the Battle of Oriskany. When a second relief expedition approached, this time led by Benedict Arnold, St. Leger’s Indian support abandoned him, forcing him to break off the siege and return to Quebec.

Burgoyne’s army had been reduced to about 6,000 men by the loss at Bennington and the need to garrison Ticonderoga, and he was running short on supplies.Despite these setbacks, he determined to push on towards Albany. An American army of 8,000 men, commanded by the General Horatio Gates, had entrenched about 10 miles (16 km) south of Saratoga, New York. Burgoyne tried to outflank the Americans but was checked at the first battle of Saratoga in September. Burgoyne’s situation was desperate, but he now hoped that help from Howe’s army in New York City might be on the way. It was not: Howe had instead sailed away on his expedition to capture Philadelphia. American militiamen flocked to Gates’ army, swelling his force to 11,000 by the beginning of October. After being badly beaten at the second battle of Saratoga, Burgoyne surrendered on October 17.

Saratoga was the turning point of the war. Revolutionary confidence and determination, suffering from Howe’s successful occupation of Philadelphia, was renewed. What is more important, the victory encouraged France to make an open alliance with the Americans, after two years of semi-secret support. For the British, the war had now become much more complicated.
Philadelphia campaign
Having secured New York City in 1776, General Howe concentrated on capturing Philadelphia, the seat of the Revolutionary government, in 1777. He moved slowly, landing 15,000 troops in late August at the northern end of Chesapeake Bay. Washington positioned his 11,000 men between Howe and Philadelphia but was driven back at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. The Continental Congress again abandoned Philadelphia, and on September 26, Howe finally outmaneuvered Washington and marched into the city unopposed. Washington unsuccessfully attacked the British encampment in nearby Germantown in early October and then retreated to watch and wait.

After repelling a British attack at White Marsh, Washington and his army encamped at Valley Forge in December 1777, about 20 miles (32 km) from Philadelphia, where they stayed for the next six months. Over the winter, 2,500 men (out of 10,000) died from disease and exposure. The next spring, however, the army emerged from Valley Forge in good order, thanks in part to a training program supervised by Baron von Steuben, who introduced the most modern Prussian methods of organization and tactics.

General Clinton replaced Howe as British commander-in-chief. French entry into the war had changed British strategy, and Clinton abandoned Philadelphia to reinforce New York City, now vulnerable to French naval power. Washington shadowed Clinton on his withdrawal and forced a strategic victory at the battle at Monmouth on June 28, 1778, the last major battle in the north. Clinton’s army went to New York City in July, arriving just before a French fleet under Admiral d’Estaing arrived off the American coast. Washington’s army returned to White Plains, New York, north of the city. Although both armies were back where they had been two years earlier, the nature of the war had now changed.
An international war, 1778–1783
n 1778, the war over the rebellion in North America became international, spreading not only to Europe but to European colonies in the West Indies and in India. From 1776 France had informally been involved, with French admiral Latouche Tréville having provided supplies, ammunition and guns from France to the United States after Thomas Jefferson had encouraged a French alliance, and guns such as de Valliere type were used, playing an important role in such battles as the Battle of Saratoga.[43] George Washington wrote about the French supplies and guns in a letter to General Heath on 2 May 1777. After learning of the American victory at Saratoga, France signed the Treaty of Alliance with the United States on February 6, 1778, formalizing the Franco-American alliance negotiated by Benjamin Franklin. Spain entered the war as an ally of France in June 1779, a renewal of the Bourbon Family Compact. Unlike France, Spain initially refused to recognize the independence of the United States, because Spain was not keen on encouraging similar anti-colonial rebellions in the Spanish Empire. Both countries had quietly provided assistance to the Americans since the beginning of the war, hoping to dilute British power. So too had the Dutch Republic, which was formally brought into the war at the end of 1780.

In London King George III gave up hope of subduing America by more armies while Britain had a European war to fight. “It was a joke,” he said, “to think of keeping Pennsylvania.” There was no hope of recovering New England. But the King was determined “never to acknowledge the independence of the Americans, and to punish their contumacy by the indefinite prolongation of a war which promised to be eternal.” His plan was to keep the 30,000 men garrisoned in New York, Rhode Island, Quebec, and Florida; other forces would attack the French and Spanish in the West Indies. To punish the Americans the King planned to destroy their coasting-trade, bombard their ports; sack and burn towns along the coast (as Benedict Arnold did to New London, Connecticut in 1781), and turn loose the Native Americans to attack civilians in frontier settlements. These operations, the King felt, would inspire the Loyalists; would splinter the Congress; and “would keep the rebels harassed, anxious, and poor, until the day when, by a natural and inevitable process, discontent and disappointment were converted into penitence and remorse” and they would beg to return to his authority.The plan meant destruction for the Loyalists and loyal Native Americans, an indefinite prolongation of a costly war, and the risk of disaster as the French and Spanish assembled an armada to invade the British Isles. The British planned to re-subjugate the rebellious colonies after dealing with the Americans’ European allies.
Widening of the naval war
When the war began, the British had overwhelming naval superiority over the American colonists. The Royal Navy had over 100 ships of the line and many frigates and smaller craft, although this fleet was old and in poor condition, a situation which would be blamed on Lord Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty. During the first three years of the war, the Royal Navy was primarily used to transport troops for land operations and to protect commercial shipping. The American colonists had no ships of the line, and relied extensively on privateering to harass British shipping. The privateers caused worry disproportionate to their material success, although those operating out of French channel ports before and after France joined the war caused significant embarrassment to the Royal Navy and inflamed Anglo-French relations. About 55,000 American sailors served aboard the privateers during the war.The American privateers had almost 1,700 ships, and they captured 2,283 enemy ships.The Continental Congress authorized the creation of a small Continental Navy in October 1775, which was primarily used for commerce raiding. John Paul Jones became the first great American naval hero, capturing HMS Drake on April 24, 1778, the first victory for any American military vessel in British waters.
France’s formal entry into the war meant that British naval superiority was now contested. The Franco-American alliance began poorly, however, with failed operations at Rhode Island in 1778 and Savannah, Georgia, in 1779. Part of the problem was that France and the United States had different military priorities: France hoped to capture British possessions in the West Indies before helping to secure American independence. While French financial assistance to the American war effort was already of critical importance, French military aid to the Americans would not show positive results until the arrival in July 1780 of a large force of soldiers led by the Comte de Rochambeau.

Spain entered the war as a French ally with the goal of recapturing Gibraltar and Minorca, which it had lost to the British in 1704. Gibraltar was besieged for more than three years, but the British garrison stubbornly resisted and was resupplied twice: once after Admiral Rodney’s victory over Juan de Lángara in the 1780 “Moonlight Battle”, and again after Admiral Richard Howe fought Luis de Córdova y Córdova to a draw in the Battle of Cape Spartel. Further Franco-Spanish efforts to capture Gibraltar were unsuccessful. One notable success took place on February 5, 1782, when Spanish and French forces captured Minorca, which Spain retained after the war. Ambitious plans for an invasion of Great Britain in 1779 had to be abandoned.
West Indies and Gulf Coast
There was much action in the West Indies, especially in the Lesser Antilles. Although France lost St. Lucia early in the war, its navy dominated the West Indies, capturing Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Montserrat, Tobago and St. Kitts. Dutch possessions in the West Indies and South America were captured by Britain but later recaptured by France and restored to the Dutch Republic. France successfully conquered the Turks and Caicos archipelago. At the Battle of the Saintes in April 1782, a victory by Rodney’s fleet over the French Admiral de Grasse frustrated the hopes of France and Spain to take Jamaica and other colonies from the British.
On the Gulf Coast, Count Bernardo de Gálvez, the Spanish governor of Louisiana, quickly removed the British from their outposts on the lower Mississippi River in 1779 in actions at Manchac and Baton Rouge in British West Florida. Gálvez then captured Mobile in 1780 and stormed and captured the British citadel and capital of Pensacola in 1781. On May 8, 1782, Gálvez captured the British naval base at New Providence in the Bahamas; it was recovered by British Loyalists in 1783. Gálvez’ actions led to the Spanish acquisition East and West Florida in the peace settlement, denied the British the opportunity of encircling the American rebels from the south, and kept open a vital conduit for supplies to the American frontier. The Continental Congress cited Gálvez in 1785 for his aid during the revolution.Central America was also subject to conflict between Britain and Spain, as Britain sought to expand its influence beyond coastal logging and fishing communities in present-day Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Expeditions against San Fernando de Omoa in 1779 and San Juan in 1780 (the latter famously led by a young Horatio Nelson) met with only temporary success before being abandoned due to disease. The Spanish colonial leaders, in turn, were unable to completely eliminate British influences along the Mosquito Coast. Except for the French acquisition of Tobago, sovereignty in the West Indies was returned to the status quo ante bellum in the peace of 1783.
India and the Netherlands
When word reached India in 1778 that France had entered the war, British military forces moved quickly to capture French colonial outposts there, capturing Pondicherry after two months of siege.The capture of the French-controlled port of Mahé on India’s west coast motivated Mysore’s ruler Hyder Ali (who was already upset at other British actions, and benefited from trade through the port) to open the Second Anglo-Mysore War in 1780. Ali, and later his son Tipu Sultan, almost drove the British from southern India but was frustrated by weak French support, and the war ended status quo ante bellum with the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore. French opposition was led in 1782 and 1783 by Admiral the Baillie de Suffren, who recaptured Trincomalee from the British and fought five celebrated, but largely inconclusive, naval engagements against British Admiral Sir Edward Hughes.
France’s Indian colonies were returned after the war.
Suffren meeting with ally Hyder Ali in 1783. J.B. Morret engraving, 1789

The Dutch Republic, nominally neutral, had been trading with the Americans, exchanging Dutch arms and munitions for American colonial wares (in contravention of the British Navigation Acts), primarily through activity based in St. Eustatius, before the French formally entered the war.The British considered this trade to include contraband military supplies and had attempted to stop it, at first diplomatically by appealing to previous treaty obligations, interpretation of whose terms the two nations disagreed on, and then by searching and seizing Dutch merchant ships. The situation escalated when the British seized a Dutch merchant convoy sailing under Dutch naval escort in December 1779, prompting the Dutch to join the League of Armed Neutrality. Britain responded to this decision by declaring war on the Dutch in December 1780, sparking the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War.The war was a military and economic disaster for the Dutch Republic. Paralyzed by internal political divisions, it was unable to effectively respond to British blockades of its coast and the capture of many of its colonies. In the 1784 peace treaty between the two nations, the Dutch lost the Indian port of Negapatam and were forced to make trade concessions.The Dutch Republic signed a friendship and trade agreement with the United States in 1782, and was the second country (after France) to formally recognize the United States.
Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War
During the first three years of the American Revolutionary War, the primary military encounters were in the north, although some attempts to organize Loyalists were defeated, a British attempt at Charleston, South Carolina failed, and a variety of efforts to attack British forces in East Florida failed. After French entry into the war, the British turned their attention to the southern colonies, where they hoped to regain control by recruiting Loyalists. This southern strategy also had the advantage of keeping the Royal Navy closer to the Caribbean, where the British needed to defend economically important possessions against the French and Spanish.
The British Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton. Painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1782.

On December 29, 1778, an expeditionary corps from Clinton’s army in New York captured Savannah, Georgia. An attempt by French and American forces to retake Savannah failed on October 9, 1779. Clinton then besieged Charleston, capturing it and most of the southern Continental Army on May 12, 1780. With relatively few casualties, Clinton had seized the South’s biggest city and seaport, paving the way for what seemed like certain conquest of the South.

The remnants of the southern Continental Army began to withdraw to North Carolina but were pursued by Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, who defeated them at the Waxhaws on May 29, 1780. With these events, organized American military activity in the region collapsed, though the war was carried on by partisans such as Francis Marion. Cornwallis took over British operations, while Horatio Gates arrived to command the American effort. On August 16, 1780, Gates was defeated at the Battle of Camden, setting the stage for Cornwallis to invade North Carolina.

Cornwallis’ victories quickly turned, however. One wing of his army was utterly defeated at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780, and Tarleton was decisively defeated by Daniel Morgan at the Battle of Cowpens on January 17, 1781. General Nathanael Greene, who replaced General Gates, proceeded to wear down the British in a series of battles, each of them tactically a victory for the British but giving no strategic advantage to the victors. Greene summed up his approach in a motto that would become famous: “We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again.” By March, Greene’s army had grown to the point were he felt that he could face Cornwallis directly. In the key Battle of Guilford Court House, Cornwallis defeated Greene, but at tremendous cost, and without breaking Greene’s army. He retreated to Wilmington, North Carolina for resupply and reinforcement, after which he moved north into Virginia, leaving the Carolinas and Georgia open to Greene.

In January 1781, a British force under the turncoat Benedict Arnold landed in Virginia, and began moving through the Virginia countryside, destroying supply depots, mills, and other economic targets. In February, General Washington dispatched General Lafayette to counter Arnold, later also sending General Anthony Wayne. Arnold was reinforced with additional troops from New York in March, and his army was joined with that of Cornwallis in May. Lafayette skirmished with Cornwallis, avoiding a decisive battle while gathering reinforcements. Cornwallis was unable to trap Lafayette, and upon his arrival at Williamsburg in June, received orders from General Clinton to establish a fortified naval base in Virginia. Pursuant to these orders he fortified Yorktown, and, shadowed by Lafayette, awaited the arrival of the Royal Navy.
Northern and western frontier
West of the Appalachian Mountains and along the border with Quebec, the American Revolutionary War was an “Indian War”. Most Native Americans supported the British. Like the Iroquois Confederacy, tribes such as the Cherokees and the Shawnees split into factions.

The British supplied their native allies with muskets and gunpowder and advised raids against civilian settlements, especially in New York, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Joint Iroquois-Loyalist attacks in the Wyoming Valley and at Cherry Valley in 1778 provoked Washington to send the Sullivan Expedition into western New York during the summer of 1779. There was little fighting as Sullivan systematically destroyed the Native American winter food supplies, forcing them to flee permanently to British bases in Quebec and the Niagara Falls area.

In the Ohio Country and the Illinois Country, the Virginia frontiersman George Rogers Clark attempted to neutralize British influence among the Ohio tribes by capturing the outposts of Kaskaskia and Cahokia and Vincennes in the summer of 1778. When General Henry Hamilton, the British commander at Detroit, retook Vincennes, Clark returned in a surprise march in February 1779 and captured Hamilton himself.

In March 1782, Pennsylvania militiamen killed about a hundred neutral Native Americans in the Gnadenhütten massacre. In retaliation for the Gnadenhutten massacre, Colonel William Crawford, who wasn’t involved with the massacre, was tortured and burnt at the stake by American Indians a notorious incident near the end of the American Revolution. In one of the last major encounters of the war, a force of 200 Kentucky militia was defeated at the Battle of Blue Licks in August 1782.
Yorktown and the surrender of Cornwallis
The northern, southern, and naval theaters of the war converged in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia. Cornwallis, having been ordered to occupy a fortified position that could be resupplied (and evacuated, if necessary) by sea, had settled in Yorktown, on the York River, which was navigable by sea-going vessels. Aware that the arrival of the French fleet from the West Indies would give the allies control of the Chesapeake, Washington began moving the American and French forces south toward Virginia in August. In early September, French naval forces defeated a British fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake, cutting off Cornwallis’ escape. When Washington arrived outside Yorktown, the combined Franco-American force of 18,900 men began besieging Cornwallis in early October. For several days, the French and Americans bombarded the British defenses, and then began taking the outer positions. Cornwallis’ decided his position was becoming untenable, and he surrendered his entire army of over 7,000 men on October 19, 1781.

With the surrender at Yorktown, King George lost control of Parliament to the peace party, and there were no further major military activities in North America. The British had 30,000 garrison troops occupying New York City, Charleston, and Savannah.[55] The war continued elsewhere, including the siege of Gibraltar and naval operations in the East and West Indies, until peace was agreed in 1783.
Treaty of Paris
In London, as political support for the war plummeted after Yorktown, Prime Minister Lord North resigned in March 1782. In April 1782, the Commons voted to end the war in America. Preliminary peace articles were signed in Paris at the end of November, 1782; the formal end of the war did not occur until the Treaty of Paris and Treaties of Versailles were signed on September 3, 1783. The last British troops left New York City on November 25, 1783, and the United States Congress of the Confederation ratified the Paris treaty on January 14, 1784.

Britain negotiated the Paris peace treaty without consulting her Native American allies and ceded all Native American territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River to the United States. Full of resentment, Native Americans reluctantly confirmed these land cessions with the United States in a series of treaties, but the fighting would be renewed in conflicts along the frontier in the coming years, the largest being the Northwest Indian War.The British would continue to support the Indians against the New American nation especially when hostilities resumed 29 years later
Historical assessment
Advantages/disadvantages of the opposing sides

During the war the Americans benefited greatly from international assistance. In addition, Britain had significant military disadvantages. Distance was a major problem: most troops and supplies had to be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. The British usually had logistical problems whenever they operated away from port cities, while the Americans had local sources of manpower and food and were more familiar with (and accustomed to) the territory. Additionally, ocean travel meant that British communications were always about two months out of date: by the time British generals in America received their orders from London, the military situation had usually changed.Suppressing a rebellion in America also posed other problems. Since the colonies covered a large area and had not been united before the war, there was no central area of strategic importance. In Europe, the capture of a capital often meant the end of a war; in America, when the British seized cities such as New York and Philadelphia, the war continued unabated. Furthermore, the large size of the colonies meant that the British lacked the manpower to control them by force. Once any area had been occupied, troops had to be kept there or the Revolutionaries would regain control, and these troops were thus unavailable for further offensive operations. In addition, despite the professionalism and discipline of the British troops, unfamiliar guerrilla warfare and skirmishing greatly hindered their gains early on. The British had sufficient troops to defeat the Americans on the battlefield but not enough to simultaneously occupy the colonies. This manpower shortage became critical after French and Spanish entry into the war, because British troops had to be dispersed in several theaters, where previously they had been concentrated in America.The British also had the difficult task of fighting the war while simultaneously retaining the allegiance of Loyalists. Loyalist support was important, since the goal of the war was to keep the colonies in the British Empire, but this imposed numerous military limitations. Early in the war, the Howe brothers served as peace commissioners while simultaneously conducting the war effort, a dual role which may have limited their effectiveness. Additionally, the British could have recruited more slaves and Native Americans to fight the war, but this would have alienated many Loyalists, even more so than the controversial hiring of German mercenaries. The need to retain Loyalist allegiance also meant that the British were unable to use the harsh methods of suppressing rebellion they employed in Ireland and Scotland. Even with these limitations, many potentially neutral colonists were nonetheless driven into the ranks of the Revolutionaries because of the war.
Costs of the war
Casualties

The total loss of life resulting from the American Revolutionary War is unknown. As was typical in the wars of the era, disease claimed more lives than battle. Between 1775 and 1782, a smallpox epidemic raged across much of North America, killing more than 130,000 people. Historian Joseph Ellis suggests that Washington’s decision to have his troops inoculated against the smallpox epidemic was one of his most important decisions.
Approximately 25,000 American Revolutionaries died during active military service. About 8,000 of these deaths were in battle; the other 17,000 deaths were from disease, including about 8,000 – 12,000 who died while prisoners of war,most in rotting prison ships in New York. The number of Revolutionaries seriously wounded or disabled by the war has been estimated from 8,500 to 25,000. The total American military casualty figure was therefore as high as 50,000.[62]

About 171,000 sailors served for the British during the war; about 25 to 50 percent of them had been pressed into service. About 1,240 were killed in battle, while 18,500 died from disease. The greatest killer was scurvy, a disease known at the time to be easily preventable by issuing lemon juice to sailors. About 42,000 British sailors deserted during the war.Approximately 1,200 Germans were killed in action and 6,354 died from illness or accident. About 16,000 of the remaining German troops returned home, but roughly 5,500 remained in the United States after the war for various reasons, many eventually becoming American citizens. No reliable statistics exist for the number of casualties among other groups, including Loyalists, British regulars, Native Americans, French and Spanish troops, and civilians.
Financial costs

The British spent about £80 million and ended with a national debt of £250 million, which it easily financed at about £9.5 million a year in interest. The French spent 1.3 billion livres (about £56 million). Their total national debt was £187 million, which they could not easily finance; over half the French national revenue went to debt service in the 1780s. The debt crisis became a major enabling factor of the French Revolution as the government was unable to raise taxes without public approval.
The United States spent $37 million at the national level plus $114 million by the states. This was mostly covered by loans from France and the Netherlands, loans from Americans, and issuance of an increasing amount of paper money (which became “not worth a continental.”) The U.S. finally solved its debt and currency problems in the 1790s when Alexander Hamilton spearheaded the establishment of the First Bank of the United States.

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