Surveys by Year: 1777
Declaration of Independence


Following his victory at Trenton, General George Washington capitalized on his momentum and defeated Lt. General Charles Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey on January 3, 1777. Washington then went into winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. On May 28, 1777, Washington emerged from winter quarters. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. On July 5, Fort Ticonderoga was recaptured by the British, all but ending any American notions of invading Canada.

In July 1777, Maj. General William Howe left New York, this time by sea, with the intention of capturing the rebel capital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On September 11, 1777, Howe defeated General Washington at the Battle of Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania. Howe then occupied Philadelphia as the Continental Congress fled the city. At the Battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania on October 4, 1777, Washington nearly had Howe beat, but the British managed to rally and win the day. Because the American army had performed so well, the battle still boosted morale.

Meanwhile in upstate New York, the Hero of Saratoga was being born. The newly named Commander of the Northern Department Maj. General Horatio Gates, was carrying on the Saratoga Campaign against Maj. General John Burgoyne. On September 19, Burgoyne won the Battle of Freeman's Farm (First Battle of Saratoga) at a heavy price. On October 7, Gates won the Battle of Bemis Heights (Second Battle of Saratoga). On October 17, General Burgoyne surrendered after his retreat failed. It was largest British loss of the war until Yorktown. Colonels Benedict Arnold and Daniel Morgan played important supporting roles in the Saratoga Campaign.

The Continental Congress had fled to York, Pennsylvania just before the British occupied Philadelphia. While in York, on November 15, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, which was the first governing charter of the United States. Meanwhile, General Washington and General Howe maneuvered and skirmished in Pennsylvania and New Jersey without major engagement following the Battle of Germantown. On December 19, 1777, Washington entered winter quarters with his army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Howe quartered at Philadelphia.







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