The War in the South and West. The war had now been going on for more than three years, and the British could not defeat the American Patriots.
So, the British decided to come up with a new strategy. They thought that in the South, there were far more Loyalists than in the North.
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The British were hoping that these southern Loyalists would help them, so they invaded the South.
At first, this new strategy did work. By mid-1780, the British soldiers had conquered South Carolina and Georgia. Many of the Loyalists had helped them.
One of the Loyalists was the famous Patriot Benedict Arnold, who had secretly changed sides to become a British general. Today, he is still seen as a traitor.
In the South, the British were winning many battles, but the Patriots were fighting back fiercely. One of the officers was using surprise attacks. His troops would sneak up on the British soldiers, attack them, to retreat quickly. Hit and run.
Another Patriot, named Nathanael Greene, would force the British to come and chase his small Patriot army, a method that tired the British forces and exhausted their supplies.
The Patriot forces were fighting back the West as well and captured a few British forts in the Ohio River Valley. Spain then also joined the war and was also capturing some British forts.
The War Ends
The Patriots were fighting the last major battle against the British forces around Yorktown, Virginia. Washington was marching his troops from New York all the way to Virginia, where the British forces, headed by Cornwallis, were located.
French ships were also helping the Patriots and Washington’s army, together with the French navy, succeeded in trapping the British army.
Cornwallis had good hopes that the British army, including soldiers and ships stationed in New York, would come to help him, but the British were not able to defeat the ships of the French.
After fighting for a week, Cornwallis realized his men would not win at Yorktown, so in 1781, on October 19th, the British army surrendered. The war actually went on for another two years, but fighting took hardly any place.
In September of 1783, Britain and the United States signed the important “Treaty of Paris,” which states that from now on, America was an independent country. This also meant that Americans were in need of a government to lead the new country.