What Cities Did the British Occupy During the Revolutionary War?
During the Revolutionary War, the British occupied many American cities and sent troops to establish military control along the East coast. They focused on major cities where political power, commerce and trade were most important. Nonetheless, their military presence was often short-lived as American troops forced the British to evacuate and relocate. It wasn't until November 25, 1783 when the last of the British troops left New York City, signifying the end of the American Revolution.
1 Boston, Massachussets
During the onset of the American Revolution, British troops occupied Boston and used it as a major sea port to receive supplies from Great Britain. General George Washington realized Boston was a pivotal city in the struggle for independence and devised a strategic military attack to trap the British between Cambridge and Dorchester Heights. A snow storm prevented British Commander General William Howe from issuing a counterattack against the American soldiers, so he promptly pulled his troops out of Boston and headed to New York City.
2 New York City, New York
Shortly after signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, a British fleet of nearly 500 ships and 35,000 men descended on New York City, led by General Howe. The British had regrouped after their loss and departure from Boston and planned to occupy New York City. In August, Howe quickly and successfully pushed back American troops, forcing them to withdraw from Long Island. One month later, Washington was forced to evacuate Manhattan or burn it to the ground. The Continental Congress advised Washington not to burn it, so he and his troops fled to New Jersey, marking a huge success for the British forces.
3 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The British captured Philadelphia on September 26, 1777, after defeating Washington at the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of the Clouds. The British enjoyed nine months of comfort in wealthy American homes in Philadelphia as the American troops suffered long winter months at Valley Forge. European military strategists came to Washington's aid and helped him devise a plan to defeat the British. British troops were no match for the larger French fleets that arrived to support the Americans' fight for independence. U.S. General Benedict Arnold reclaimed Philadelphia without bloodshed and the Continental Congress returned to the city after temporarily relocating to York, Pennsylvania.
4 Savannah, Georgia
In December 1778, British Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell and his more than 2,500 troops issued a surprise attack on Savannah, Georgia. American forces were outnumbered, so American Major General Robert Howe ordered an evacuation of the city. It was a devastating loss for the patriots as 483 soldiers were captured and 83 died. The British lost three soldiers and 10 were wounded. The British occupied Savannah until the Redcoats left the city by their own will on July 11, 1782.