What Do You Know About the Major Turning Points of the American Revolution?

HISTORY

Nathan

6 Min Quiz

Image: H. Charles McBarron,

About This Quiz

As Britain’s New World colonies grew in size, they also grew in economic potential – and King George’s men intended to wring every bit of revenue from their subjects across the Atlantic. In reaction, colonists' resentments grew irrepressible, and the American Revolution exploded with rage. But the Patriots were outnumbered and outgunned against the world’s best army. In this rebellious quiz, what do you know about the major turning points of the American Revolution?

At first, British regular troops were amused by disorganized colonial militiamen, who had little training and no battlefield experience. It wasn’t long, though, before the British realized that the Patriots weren’t going to “fight fair,” that is, in traditional pitched battles with long, straight lines of troops marching toward one another. Instead, the rebels had the gall to hide behind rocks and fences, fire a shot or two … and then run away. What do you know about American fighting tactics in the face of overwhelming British forces?

The fighting began when the British set off to the disarm colonial upstarts. But with a cry of, “the British are coming,” everything changed. Blood was shed, and there was no turning back for the Patriots.

Follow George Washington and his general into the fray of the Battle of Bunker Hill, and hold fast at the Battle of Saratoga! Take this turning points of the American Revolution quiz now!

What ignited the first battle of the American Revolution?

Aware that tensions were building, British troops set out to seize a stash of weapons from the colonists. But the locals knew danger was afoot.

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What was the name of the Revolution's first shooting battle?

On April 19, 1775, the colonists and redcoats clashed over a cache of weapons. The Battles of Lexington and Concord marked the outbreak of serious violence.

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At the Battles of Lexington and Concord, how did the British fare with their objective of capturing the colonists' weapons?

By the time the British reached Concord, the colonists had already moved or destroyed most of the weapons the British had hoped to seize. The British found themselves under fire from every direction.

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At the Battles of Lexington and Concord, how did the British fare with their objective of capturing the colonists' weapons?

By the time the British reached Concord, the colonists had already moved or destroyed most of the weapons the British had hoped to seize. The British found themselves under fire from every direction.

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Notably, which fighting style did the colonists demonstrate at the Battles of Lexington and Concord?

With hit-and-run guerrilla warfare tactics, the colonists showed that they weren't afraid to fight … and that they weren't dumb enough to try to take on the powerful redcoats in open-field fighting.

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The Battle at Bunker Hill took place near which city?

On June 17, 1775, right outside of Boston, colonial forces set siege to the British army. The British sent an overwhelming number of troops to break the siege, but things went south for them in a hurry.

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What happened when the British tried to smash the colonial forces at the Battle of Bunker Hill?

The British won the day, but at a great cost, suffering immense casualties​ compared to the colonists. It was the first moment where the inexperienced men of the colonies realized that they might have a fighting chance against the British.

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What lesson did the British learn at the Battle of Bunker Hill?

The British were so certain of their superiority that they charged right into enemy lines at the Battle of Bunker Hill. They lost 19 officers -- a fact that indicated maybe they should re-evaluate their tactics.

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In December 1775, the Patriots tried to ______ in Quebec.

At the Battle of Quebec, the colonists attempted to capture a British fort. They failed, marking their first major defeat of the war.

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What was a significant outcome of the Battle of Quebec?

During the Battle of Quebec, General Richard Montgomery charged into the fray ahead of his men. He was cut down by British fire, a major casualty in a terrible defeat.

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In March 1780, the British set siege to which major city?

At the end of March 1780, the British laid siege to Charleston. The siege dragged on until May, when the city finally fell. It was yet another blow to the Patriot cause.

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At the Siege of Charleston, how many Patriot troops became prisoners?

It was a loss of manpower that the Patriots could not afford. More than 5,000 troops were captured at the Siege of Charleston, drastically weakening the rebels' forces.

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What was the first battle that the Americans fought after issuing their Declaration of Independence?

In the wake of the Declaration, the new Americans sought a big win against the British. At the August 27, 1776, Battle of Long Island, they clashed with a huge British force consisting of 20,000 troops.

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What happened at the Battle of Long Island?

At the Battle of Long Island, the wily British conducted a major flanking manuever and took the Patriots completely by surprise. One-fifth of the Patriot force was decimated.

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What important accomplishment did the Patriots achieve at the Battle of Long Island?

At the Battle of Long Island, George Washington conducted a retreat -- one that saved many of his men from death or capture. Those troops would prove invaluable later in the conflict.

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In the autumn of 1777, the two sides clashed at the Battle of Saratoga. Which side won?

The Americans triumphed at Saratoga, giving them a signature victory. Hundreds of British troops died -- thousands were captured.

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What was one reason the Patriots won the critical Battle of Saratoga?

For days, more and more reinforcements arrived for the Patriots, swelling their ranks from 9,000 to 15,000 in a matter of days. Their greater numbers marked a huge shift in their ability to attack the British.

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Why was the American win at Saratoga so important?

The Americans had been pleading in vain with the French for help in the war. After Saratoga, the French finally relented, convinced that the rebels could perhaps actually defeat the British.

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In the fall of 1776, how did the Americans fare in one battle after another?

One defeat after another, slowly crushed the American will to fight. The fall of 1776 was a horrible time to be a Patriot -- and the British knew it, using their skill and size to dominate rebel forces.

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The Americans suffered horrible defeats in late 1776. Then came the Battle of Trenton, on December 26, 1776. What events transpired?

On Christmas night, George Washington decided to play Santa for the British mercenaries at Trenton, launching a surprise attack across and icy river at night. His generous gift to the enemy? A hail of lead.

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Before Washington's surprise attack at the Battle of Trenton, the war seemed ______.

Reeling from continual defeat, the Patriots had begun to think they would lose the war to the British. But Washington's brilliance at Trenton girded their hopes for future battles.

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How did French officer Marquis de Lafayette alter the war's momentum?

French officer Marquis de Lafayette became a close friend of George Washington and fought side-by-side with the rebels. He returned to France a hero, and lobbied for greater support of the American cause.

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Which side won the Battle of Camden?

At the August 1780 Battle of Camden, the Americans held numerical superiority … and lost in humiliating fashion. The outcome gave British forces a stranglehold on parts of the South.

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What role did Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben play in the war effort?

Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was a Prussian army officer who whipped American troops into shape during their winter at Valley Forge. His drills made the men into a much more effective fighting force.

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At the Battle of Rhode Island, French troops joined the fray with the Americans for the first time. What happened?

At the Battle of Rhode Island, American and French troops outnumbered the British. And they lost. Suddenly, the rebellion seemed on shaky ground once again.

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What were the circumstances prior to the Battle of Cowpens?

Just prior to the Battle of Cowpens, the British had all of the momentum, smashing the Patriot forces in the south. At Cowpens, the Americans conducted a retreat. But it wasn't over.​

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What happened when the Americans counterattacked at the Battle of Cowpens?

At the Battle of Cowpens, the Americans retreated, and then counterattacked, capturing most of the British troops. It marked a sudden shift in momentum in the southern theater.

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What sort of fight was the 1781 Battle of Yorktown?

On September 28, 1781, the Americans laid siege to a British stronghold at Yorktown, Virginia. The Siege of Yorktown was on -- and the war's outcome hung in the balance.

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Which force assisted the Americans at the Battle of Yorktown?

The hard-won Patriot alliance with the French paid immense dividends at Yorktown, where France contributed 8,000 troops and dozens of warships -- a bigger force than the Americans themselves could muster.

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How did British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis react to the Siege of Yorktown, where he was in command?

At Yorktown, there was no way out. Cornwallis was forced to surrender his forces, losing nearly 8,000 men in the process. It was essentially the end of the American Revolution.

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