American Revolution Timeline

To help you place the stories on this website in context with the rest of the American Revolution, this timeline lists all significant war-related events from the first British act directed at the colonies through the treaty ending the war. Please note:
  • Red rows show North Carolina events, as indicated in the “L” column (for “Location”); blue happened elsewhere in today’s United States or the world (W).
  • The year-long concentration of red starting in Fall 1780 illustrates that N.C. was the primary theater of the war during that time.
Date L Name Description
3/24/1765 W Stamp Act passed British Parliament places a tax on paper in North America
11/16/1765 NC Stamp Act protest Protestors force Wilmington tax collector to resign
2/19/1766 NC Sons of Liberty confront Tryon Protestors confront Royal Gov. Tryon on the Stamp Act in Brunswick Town
3/18/1766 W Stamp Act repealed British Parliament bows to ongoing protests to remove the tax on paper
4/28/1768 NC Anson Regulators Protest Paper First complaint about taxation without representation sent to British
11/2/1769 NC Assembly blocks imports Provincial Assembly meets against governor’s orders to block British imports
3/5/1770 MA “Boston Massacre” British troops fire in self-defense on a civilian mob
9/24/1770 NC Regulators in Hillsborough 500 Regulators interrupt court proceedings and attack corrupt officials
5/16/1771 NC Battle of Alamance Royal Gov. William Tryon’s militia army ends the Regulators War
6/4/1771 NC Tryon’s army in Bethabara After defeating the Regulators, the royal governor’s army camps
12/16/1773 MA Boston Tea Party Sons of Liberty dump tea to protest the tax placed on it
5/20/1774 W Coercive (“Intolerable”) Acts King George III approves four laws to punish Boston
6/1/1774 MA Blockade of Boston British Navy blockades Boston Harbor per Coercive Act
8/8/1774 NC Rowan Resolves Rowan County petition is first in N.C. to support Mass. vs. British
8/25/1774 NC First Provincial Congress Delegates meet illegally in New Bern to elect Continental Congress reps
9/5/1774 PA First Continental Congress opens Colony delegates meet in Philadelphia to coordinate response to British actions
10/25/1774 NC Edenton Tea Party The ladies of Edenton tell the king they will not buy English tea or cloth
3/23/1775 VA Patrick Henry speech Henry delivers his “give me liberty, or give me death” speech in Richmond
4/19/1775 MA Lexington & Concord Volunteer soldiers drive off British army after it destroys war supplies
5/10/1775 NY Battle of Fort Ticonderoga Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys capture a Lake Champlain fort
5/31/1775 NC Mecklenburg Resolves Mecklenburg petition recognizes Provincial Congress authority vs. the royal government
6/2/1775 NC Governor escapes to Ft. Johnston Royal Gov. Josiah Martin takes refuge from Patriot militia
6/17/1775 MA Battle of Bunker Hill British capture heights north of Boston
6/20/1775 NC Liberty Point Resolves Cumberland County petition against British use of force drafted
7/19/1775 NC Burning of Ft. Johnston Patriot militia burn Fort Johnston to block British use
8/14/1775 NC Tryon Resolves Tryon County petition against British use of force signed
11/28/1775 W Montréal (Canada) occupied An American rebel army takes Montréal without a fight
12/11/1775 VA Norfolk falls Patriot militia from NC and VA drive out Loyalists and burn the town
12/31/1775 W Battle of Québec (Canada) An assault by a Continental army fails, and it begins a siege
1/16/1776 PA Morristown camp George Washington’s army camps for the winter
1/28/1776 NC British fail to get past Wilmington Two warships try to bypass the town but are foiled by militia
2/27/1776 NC Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge Patriots destroy a Tory army, preventing a British invasion
3/3/1776 W Raid on Nassau, Bahamas American marine action captures much-needed military supplies
3/14/1776 NC British army arrives Army arrives at Fort Johnston from New York on 20 ships
3/17/1776 MA Siege of Boston ends The British leave after months of siege by George Washington’s army
4/6/1776 NC Raid on Brunswick Town British foragers with naval support raid the town
4/12/1776 NC Halifax Resolves N.C. becomes the first colony to declare independence from England
5/9/1776 W Siege of Québec ends Americans abandon their four-month siege
5/17/1776 NC Destruction of Brunswick Town The British burn down Brunswick Town
5/22/1776 NC Salem declares neutrality Moravians decide they will not pay bounties in lieu of getting drafted
5/29/1776 NC British abandon N.C. The British fleet and army give up the first invasion of N.C.
6/1/1776 NC Battle of Round Mountain (Exact day unknown) A Cherokee raiding party is surprised and destroyed
6/28/1776 SC Charleston defended British Navy fails to take Sullivan’s Island outside the city
7/1/1776 US Cherokee attacks A Cherokee faction coordinates attacks on the frontier (VA, NC, SC, GA)
7/4/1776 PA Declaration of Independence Document creating the United States adopted by the Continental Congress
9/1/1776 NC Militia depart Davidson’s Fort Rutherford’s militia army marches out to attack Cherokee towns
9/10/1776 NC Militia arrive at Nĭkwăsĭ´ Detachment of Rutherford’s militia scout the Cherokee town
9/11/1776 NC Village of Cowee burned Patriot militia burn a Cherokee trade center
9/15/1776 NY British occupy New York City After defeating George Washington on Long Island, they force a U.S. retreat
9/19/1776 NC Battle of the Black Hole Cherokees ambush and nearly defeat a South Carolina army
9/22/1776 NY Nathan Hale executed Patriot caught for spying by the British hung on Manhattan
11/1/1776 NC Burning of Stecoah Patriot militia scalp two Cherokees and burn their town
12/26/1776 PA Crossing of the Delaware George Washington wins the Battle of Trenton (NJ) over Hessian mercenaries
4/24/1777 NC Articles of Confederation ratified The General Assembly approves the first U.S. constitution in New Bern
5/20/1777 SC Cherokee treaty Defeated Cherokees sign Treaty of DeWitt’s Corner ceding land
6/13/1777 SC Lafayette arrives The Marquis lands in Charleston, before heading north to volunteer for the US
8/16/1777 VT Battle of Bennington American militia defeat British troops
9/11/1777 PA Battle of Brandywine British defeat George Washington’s army
9/26/1777 PA British occupy Philadelphia Army from New York takes over the city where the Continental Congress met
10/27/1777 NY Battle of Saratoga Continentals under Horatio Gates force British Gen. Burgoyne to surrender
12/19/1777 PA Valley Forge camp George Washington’s army camps for the winter in difficult conditions
3/7/1778 W Loss of the U.S.S. Randolph During a battle with a British ship, the Randolph explodes off Barbados
4/19/1778 GA Frederica Naval Action Three Georgia galleys and Continental troops capture 3 of 4 British ships
6/18/1778 PA British leave Philadelphia Army returns to New York City
6/28/1778 NJ Battle of Monmouth Court House Washington’s army attacks British rear guard and battle ends in draw
7/10/1778 W France enters the war Already allied to the Patriots, French King Louis XVI declares war on England
8/8/1778 RI Siege of Newport Americans and French attack naval port in Rhode Island after siege, are defeated
8/21/1778 W Siege of Pondicherry (India) British begin siege of French colony, ending in victory 10 weeks later
12/29/1778 GA Battle of Savannah British take the city in their first step to quell rebellion in the southern colonies
2/24/1779 IN Fort Vincennes Americans under George Rogers Clark capture British fort in the Northwest
9/21/1779 LA Battle of Baton Rouge Spanish and native troops force a British surrender in West Florida
9/23/1779 W Bonhomme Richard vs. Serapis Continental Capt. John Paul Jones declares “I have not yet begun to fight” and wins
10/9/1779 GA Siege of Savannah fails Americans are defeated, giving control over Georgia to British
12/1/1779 PA Morristown camp #2 George Washington’s army camps there again, for the worst winter of the war
5/12/1780 SC Fall of Charleston British capture the city
6/20/1780 NC Battle of Ramsour’s Mill Outnumbered Patriots destroy a Loyalist army the British badly needed
7/11/1780 RI French troops arrive The first French troops land in Newport
7/18/1780 NC Continentals at Wilcox’s Iron Works Continental Army units arrive, too late to save Charleston, S.C.
7/21/1780 NC Battle of Colson’s Mill Patriot militia defeat a larger Tory force despite a serious wound to their colonel
8/9/1780 W Action of 9 August 1780 A Spanish/French fleet of 37 ships captures 55 British cargo ships off Portugal
8/16/1780 SC Battle of Camden British under Lord Cornwallis crush the Continental army under Horatio Gates
9/7/1780 NC Ferguson arrives in Gilbert Town Becomes base for the British raids that anger the Overmountain Men
9/12/1780 NC Battle of Cane Creek Patriot militia ambushes the army of Maj. Patrick Ferguson
9/12/1780 GA Siege of August British, helped by Cherokees, fend off Patriot militia after four days
9/23/1780 NY Benedict Arnold defects Plans to surrender West Point to British exposed, Arnold flees
9/26/1780 NC Battle of Charlotte British overwhelm stiff militia resistance
9/30/1780 NC Quaker Meadows rendezvous The Overmountain Men reunite and join with eastern units
10/3/1780 NC Battle of the Bees Patriots drive off a British foraging party
10/7/1780 SC Battle of King’s Mountain Patriot militia destroy a Loyalist army under British Maj. Patrick Ferguson
10/14/1780 NC Battle of Shallow Ford Patriots break up a Tory force trying to join Cornwallis
10/14/1780 NC Hangings at Bickerstaff’s Old Fields An impromptu court martial results in 9 hangings of Loyalists
1/7/1781 W Battle of Jersey French fail to capture a British privateer base off their coast
1/17/1781 SC Battle of Cowpens Continental Gen. Daniel Morgan defeats Lt. Col. Benastre Tarleton’s army
1/29/1781 NC British occupy Wilmington Forces under Maj. James Craig march in unopposed
1/30/1781 NC 1st Battle of Heron’s Bridge Craig’s corps scatters Patriot militia guarding the first drawbridge in N.C.
2/1/1781 NC Battle of Cowan’s Ford The British force their way across the Catawba River
2/1/1781 NC Skirmish at Torrence’s Tavern British cavalry push through Patriot militia and destroy refugees’ wagons
2/2/1781 NC Greene in Salisbury The Continental commander arrives in Salisbury alone during the Race to the Dan
2/9/1781 NC British in Bethania The British army camps in Bethania during the Race to the Dan
2/11/1781 NC Skirmish near Bruce’s Crossroads A Continental bugler is killed when forced to trade his horse
2/14/1781 VA Crossing of the Dan Continental army escapes the British across the Dan River
2/24/1781 NC Pyle’s Defeat Continental cavalry tricks and destroys a Tory force
3/1/1781 NC Destruction of Tuckaseegee (Exact day unknown) A Patriot militia takes Cherokee families prisoner
3/1/1781 NC High Rock Ford camp Greene camps here the first time, playing cat-and-mouse with Cornwallis
3/2/1781 NC Battle of Clapp’s Mill Continentals try but fail to draw the British into a trap
3/2/1781 US Articles of Confederation First American constitution loosely binds the 13 independent states
3/5/1781 NC Kirkwood raid Raid on British camp at Alamance battleground led by Delaware captain captures a sentinel
3/9/1781 NC 2nd Battle of Heron’s Bridge Mistakes prevent Patriot defeat of British corps
3/11/1781 NC Caldwell outwits Tories Rachel Caldwell helps Patriot neighbors escape approaching Tories
3/13/1781 NC Trouble at Troublesome Creek Continental cavalry hold off British for Greene
3/14/1781 AL Fall of Mobile Spanish army from New Orleans defeats British and Native Americans
3/15/1781 NC 1) Battle of New Garden A detachment slows the British advance against Guilford Court House
3/15/1781 NC 2) Battle of Guilford Court House Climactic battle of the Southern Campaign, a British victory that wounds its army
3/22/1781 NC British camp at Dixon’s Mill Cornwallis pauses to resupply around Cane Creek Meeting House
3/28/1781 NC Cornwallis crosses Deep River After camping two days at Ramsey’s Mill, the British hurry to escape Continentals
3/30/1781 NC British army in Cross Creek Finding few supplies, Cornwallis decides to go on to Wilmington
4/15/1781 NC Rescue at Wolf’s Den Patriot militia rescue Col. Benjamin Cleveland
4/25/1781 SC Battle of Hobkirk Hill Continental army under Nathanael Greene defeated
5/6/1781 NC Skirmish at Peacock’s Bridge Militia attack Tarleton’s Legion near Wilson as Cornwallis marches to Virginia
5/10/1781 FL Surrender of Pensacola British and Choctaws surrender to 7,800 Spanish troops after a two-month siege
6/2/1781 W Fall of Tobago French troops force the surrender of British militia
6/6/1781 GA Recapture of Augusta Patriots under Andrew Pickens and “Light Horse” Harry Lee win siege
6/18/1781 SC Siege of Ninety Six ends Greene breaks off after three weeks as British relief force approaches
7/18/1781 NC Chatham Court House Raid Fanning captures 53 Patriots heading to try Tories
7/29/1781 NC House in the Horseshoe Tories attack a Patriot leader in his home
8/2/1781 NC Battle of Rockfish Creek The British land a blow on coastal Patriots, causing many casualties
8/4/1781 NC 1st Battle of Beattie’s Bridge Patriots punish a Tory unit for killing a boy
8/19/1781 NC British raid New Bern Maj. James Craig’s force kills an old man and burns ships
8/27/1781 NC Battle of Elizabethtown Patriot militia free prisoners from many more Tories, helped by a female spy
9/1/1781 NC 2nd Battle of Beattie’s Bridge Tory militia defeat a larger Patriot force
9/5/1781 VA Battle of the Capes The French fleet drives off the British near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay
9/8/1781 SC Battle of Eutaw Springs Continental army drives British back to Charleston (last regular army battle in the Carolinas)
9/12/1781 NC Hillsborough Raid Tories under David Fanning kidnap the governor, 200 others
9/13/1781 NC Battle of Lindley’s Mill Patriots fail to free Fanning’s prisoners
9/15/1781 VA British fleet leaves Chesapeake Outgunned by the French, the British fleet sails for New York
10/15/1781 NC Battle of Raft Swamp A Patriot army scatters the last Tory army in N.C.
10/19/1781 VA British surrender at Yorktown Lord Cornwallis forced to surrender by American and French forces
11/18/1781 NC British evacuate Wilmington After learning of Cornwallis’ surrender in Virginia, Maj. Craig’s forces leave
1/25-26/1782 W Battle of St. Kitts British fleet defeats French, though island falls 2/13
3/8/1782 OH Gnadenhutten Massacre Militia massacres 96 Native American Moravian converts for raids they did not commit
3/22/1782 KT Battle of Little Mountain Wyandot natives defeat Patriot militia
4/4/1782 NC Beaufort Raid Militia resist but cannot stop a British supply raid
4/9-12/1782 W Battle of the Saintes British navy drives off the French between Dominica and Guadeloupe
4/19/1782 KT Battle of the Blue Licks Shawnees trap and soundly defeat Kentucky militia
5/10/1782 NC Balfour’s Murder A Patriot is killed in front of his child
6/4/1782 OH Crawford’s Defeat Natives/Tories defeat William Crawford’s Patriots, torture him to death
8/27/1782 SC Battle of the Combahee River Patriot militia fails to stop British foraging party
9/13/1782 W Grand Assault on Gibralter American allies France and Spain fail to remove British
9/22/1782 NC Faith Rock escape A Patriot makes a daring escape on David Fanning’s horse
11/14/1782 SC Battle of James Island 300 British drive off 70 attacking Patriots, causing last Continental battle death in the South
3/10/1783 FL Last Naval Battle 3 British ships fail to capture 2 American money transports off Cape Canaveral
4/17/1783 AR Battle of Arkansas Post British attack on fort of American ally Spain fails
9/3/1783 W Treaty of Paris Britain and the U.S. sign the treaty that formally ends the Revolutionary War