Was there really any Continental tactical victories?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by 4His_glory, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
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    For all my fellow history buffs out there, does any one know of any real tactical victory by the Continentals in the War of Independence. Other than Cowpens I really can't think of any were the British were out-generaled.

    Saratoga was a mess but fortunatly turned into a victory. Yorktown would have never been if the French had not blockaded the British from fleeing by sea.

    IMO I really don't see any other than Cowpens. It seems that most Continental victories came not because of superior battle field leadership, but because of Providence.
     
  2. rsr

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    You could add Bennington, Trenton and Princeton to the list, as well as some other militia actions.

    I would not discount Saratoga because it was "a mess." Messes count as victories too.

    I also would not discount Yorktown because the French were involved; in fact, it was about time. Washington had tried to launch a united American-French attack at Newport in 1778 that ended as a fisco.

    Yorktown was the culmination of Greene's Southern Strategy, which drew Cornwallis away from his lines of supply and friendly territory into a series of disastrous engagements with the Americans. (Even when the Americans were tactically the losers, such as at Guilford Court House, the victories were pyrrhic for Cornwallis.)

    Washington certainly credited Providence for the survival of the American cause.

    Of course, he felt his primary duty was to keep the Revolution going by maintaining an army in the field; tactical losses meant little so long as the British could not gain an absolute victory. The Vietnamese had a similar strategy ...
     
  3. just-want-peace

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    Assuming that by "PROVIDENCE" you are referring to Jehovah God, then I'll give up field leadership anytime to allow "PROVIDENCE" to lead!

    The more I watch the History channel and the battles of WWII, I become more & more convinced that Providence is most definitely in control! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. 4His_glory

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    rsr,

    I hear what you are saying, by tactical though I mean field manuvers and generalship. Trenton was a good victory, but it did little more than boost the confidence of the Continental Army.

    Saratoga was IMHO not the result of superior field tactics on the part of General Gates, it is true that Saratoga seasawed back and forth fro a little bit.

    If you include Yorktown in with Greens southern stragegy I will then credit that as a Continental victory.

    Greens strategy was rather well excecuted even though he did loose the majortiy of the battles he fought. I think Daniel Morgan's involvement in the South played a significant role in an ultimate Colonial victory.
     
  5. rsr

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    I think you can put Monmouth into the "victory" category. It worked for Washington ...
     
  6. 4His_glory

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    Yes I forgot Monmouth. Also the winter at Valley Forge was like a "victory". Though difficult it allowed the Continental Army to drill and drill to the point that they were an effective European styled fighting force.
     
  7. NiteShift

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    There is the battle at Vincennes in 1779, though it didn't involve any regular US troops. But definately a victory.
     
  8. rsr

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    I had considered listing Vincennes but thought it was too small an engagement to make a case for. But since Rogers' expedition helped secure the Northwest Territory and the U.S. Navy has seen fit to name a cruiser for the battle, I say it counts.
     
  9. NiteShift

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    Exactly!
     
  10. Serpent Slayer

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    Here are few tactical victories you could add to the list...Battle of Eutaw Springs, Battle of King's Mountain(fought prior to Cowpens), and the Battle for Sullivan's Island to name a few.

    I believe there were more battles fought in South Carolina during the war for independence than any where else in the colonies. I also believe that the movie The Patriot with Mel Gibson in it was based on Francis Marion also known as the Swamp Fox.
     
  11. 4His_glory

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    Mel Gibson's character in "The Patriot" is based loosely on Francis Marion, just as the British Dragoon officer was inspired by Banstre Tarleton. There was a lot of fiction in that movie.
     
  12. Serpent Slayer

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    Well like I said..."based" :D Didn't say it was factual.....This is hollywood we are dealing with.
     
  13. Window Wax

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    I was born and raised only minutes from the Cowpens Battlefield... It is an amazing feeling walking those historic grounds!

    J Babb
     
  14. 4His_glory

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    Right, I wish Hollywood would let history be history sometimes. I guess then though all we would have woudl be documentaries.
     
  15. Serpent Slayer

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    Only when it pertains to history 4His_glory. I enjoy comedies, dramas, sci-fi, and the like from hollywood. But I also know that most historical pieces made by hollywood only have about 10% fact to them. Very few people know or care enough to make movies as accurante as possible.

    I mean look at the number of movies that are based on books by Stephen King, John Grisham, and even JRR Tolkien. The books are easily available but hollywood always changes alot or takes out alot from said movies that are "based" on the books.
     
  16. robycop3

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    The entire British strategy in North America was like a Slobbovian daycare center. First, they appointed the brave-but-incompetent General Thomas Gage as CoC, North America. They replaced him with the highly-competent Gen. Wm. Howe, but never gave him sufficient forces to win complete victory. It must be noted that Howe won every battle he fought against the Americans; he just couldn't apply the knockout.

    British Gen Burgoyne cooked up a fine plan to surround and crush the Continental Army, but Gen. Horatio Gates didn't follow script. His forces hammered at Burgoyne's men as they advanced southward along the Hudson River. Now, the British plan involved a column under Howe coming from the South toward Albany, NY, and a third column coming west to east under Gen. Barry St.Leger A thousand men under Benedict Arnold smashed & repelled St. Leger, removing his force from Burgoyne's plan. Howe became distracted, choosing to conquer and occupy Philadelphia, thus leaving the Americans free maneuvering space.

    Burgoyne was unaware Howe wasn't coming, and thus he marched boldly South, into the teeth of Gates' army. At Bennington, Gates crushed a Hessian force seeking supplies for Burgoyne.

    At the first battle of Saratoga, 9/19/1777,Burgoyne held the field ONLY because the Americans' ammo supply was low & they withdrew. But the British had been badly mauled, and their own supplies were low. They took refuge in a fortified camp on Saratoga heights, while more and more soldiers were arriving to reinforce Gates. As Gates prepared to storm the British position, Burgoyne was informed he had only 6K men against the Americans' fully-supplied 20 K. Therefore Burgoyne wisely surrendered. This was a HUGE fillip to the downtrodden Patriots, brought about by the incompetence of St.Leger & the "independence" of Howe who wanted another feather in his cap while letting Burgoyne fend for himself. Howe knew nothing of Burgoyne's troubles till several days after Burgoyne's surrender.

    BTW, Burgoyne had had a lustrous military record in Europe, and he laid the blame for his defeat on Howe, who decided to sail for England to save his reputation. This left the incompetent General Clinton in charge.

    It was Clinton's lethargy, incompetence, and dislike of Cornwallis that led to Yorktown. Corny had perforemed well until he tried to subdue the South with an inadequate force. Clinton ordered him to select and occupy a coastal town to serve as a resupply base, promising to not only resupply him but reinforce him from New York. Corny selected Yorktown, and when Washington found out, he conceived a plan to trap the British, with the help of Lafayette and the French navy. You know what happened!

    What became of the British generals involved? The best of the lot, Howe, returned to England to resume his seat in Parliament. He had always been an advocate of dealing with the colonists, and now his views had a much-larger audience. He continued to garner honors until his death in 1814. Clinton sailed home in disgrace, but finally cleared his name enough to be appointed Governor of Gibraltar in 1794. He died late in 1795. Cornwallis managed to clear his name, placing much of the blame for his having to surrender on Clinton; he was appointed Governor-general of India in 1786, serving with great distinction. After serving a brief stint in Ireland to quell rebel forces, he returned to India in 1805, but died soon after he arrived. He was so highly-respected by the Indians that its govt. maintains his grave to this day. Burgoyne worked to clear his name from his surrender at Saratoga. He fought this fight for 12 years, finally partially succeeding, then retiring from public life. Many of his descendants have served England with distinction as soldiers, poets, and authors.

    One other British soldier deserves mention...BANASTRE TARLETON. He was called "The Butcher" for his alleged killing of men trying to surrender at Waxhaws. The TRUTH is that SOME men appeared to surrender; the British bypassed them & continued to attack those still fighting, and soon after, most of those who'd surrendered began to fight again & Tarleton ordered his troops to quickly kill all of them. However, the "butcher" rep came back to haunt tarleton at Cowpens. Here, he was out-commanded by the fearsome Daniel Morgan, whose men kept on killing the beaten British, yelling "Tarleton's Quarter!" tarleton was put in command of another forse, but fought in no more major battles. He surrendered when Cornwallis did. Upon return to England, he was acclaimed as a hero, serving several terms in parliament, dying in 1833. Truth is, he was no more a "butcher" than several other British-and American-commanders.

    The American revolt against England was roughly equivalent to having Hawaii revolt against the other 49 states. But GOD WAS ON THE PATRIOTS' SIDE, and we'd better not forget it, as God could have Monaco or Andorra defeat us if He so chose!
     
  17. 4His_glory

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    Your last statemnet sums it up so well. It was a sovereign God who determined that the United States of America come into existence.

    There was no reason in the world that the colonies should have defeated the most powerful nation on earth, other than God enabled them to do so.
     
  18. robycop3

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    While I'm by no means a "British Israelite", one cannot ignore some facts:

    1.) The younger broke away from the older and became much more powerful, while retaining most of the language and ways of the older.

    2.) God has saved England from being conquered three times, with the USA figuring prominently in two of the rescues.

    3.) The USA has far more Jews than any other nation, including Israel NYC alone has more Jews than any other NATION outside Israel! Generally, the Jews have historically fared well for the most part in the UK and USA. One of England's greatest PMs(Disraeli) was a Jew, while our federal govt. is, and has been, PACKED with Jews. (Secy. Cohen, Justice R.B. Ginsberg, Kissinger, Berger, etc,etc.)

    4. The USA, UK, and Israel are as near a "tripartite" as has been seen in modern times.

    5. At one time, the USA and UK together owned about 80% of ALL the world's resources of every kind.

    6. The world's best-known Bible versions of the last several hundred years have come from the UK and the USA. (one exception might be the 1517 Luther's.)

    I believe this is part of God's "nation(USA) and company of nations.(British Empire-Commonwealth)"

    The Bible SPECIFICALLY speaks in prophecy about ISRAEL as well as Judah. The Ten Tribes still DO exist, but who they are now remains a mystery.
     
  19. NiteShift

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    I personally think that may be the case, but there's probably no way to prove or disprove it. It would be very interesting if large-scale DNA testing could be done re: Israel and Britain.
    There is one fascinating clue that I have read about; that is that most of the world's racial or ethnic groups are lactose intolerant, yet that is not the case with Jews and Anglo-Americans. Hmmm.
     

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