OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS BLOG
Based on the complete National Park list of American Revolution sites and landmarks, from battlefields to meeting houses, Frances Kennedy, editor of The American Revolution: A Historical Guidebook, created a list of the top 10 most historic places to remark on how America won its independence.
#1 Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord, Lincoln and Lexington, Massachusetts
In April 1775, the royal governor of Massachusetts ordered British soldiers to march from Boston to Concord to seize military supplies being stored by the Minute Men. This is where they fired “the shot heard around the world,” the first shot of the American Revolutionary War.
While men on both sides were killed in Lexington and Concord, more British soldiers were killed while marching back to Boston as the revolting colonists brought fire down from behind walls and trees in warfare unfamiliar to the Royal Army.
#2 Boston National Historical Park, Dorchester Heights in South Boston, Massachusetts
In early March 1776, General Washington surprised the British forces occupying Boston by fortifying Dorchester Heights, set above British ships in Boston Harbor.
Bookseller Henry Knox dragged 60 pieces of artillery more than 200 miles from Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, making the siege a success.
#3 Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The State House of the Province of Pennsylvania, now Independence Hall, was where the Second Continental Congress began meeting in 1775.
This is where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1976, and then Congress edited it and accepted it on July 4th.
#4 Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
General George Washington famously crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 in raging snow, winning the battle of Trenton, N.J., the following day.
Boston bookseller, Colonel Henry Knox, was again Washington’s right hand, overseeing the crossing. Under his command was Colonel John Glover’s Massachusetts regiment, which included Native American, black and white militia men.
#5 Saratoga National Historical Park, Stillwater, New York
In 1977, the British army followed the Hudson River and fought the colonists at the battles of Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights before 6,800 surrendered after a 10-day American siege on October 17th.
#6 Valley Forge National Historical Park, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
After a grueling winter where the Americans lost 2,000 soldiers, Gen. Washington sent former Prussian officer Baron von Steuben to train the army. Four months later the soldiers marched out of Valley Forge ready for battle.
#7 Kings Mountain National Military Park, Blacksburg, South Carolina
In 1780, the The Overmountain Men from Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina were joined by riflemen from South Carolina. The 2,000-strong militia attacked British Major Patrick Ferguson, killing him and one-third of his army and capturing 650 loyalists.
#8 Cowpens National Battlefield, Gaffney, South Carolina
Regarded as a tactical masterpiece, General Daniel Morgan attacked Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton’s British Legion on January 17, 1781. Morgan’s battle plan began with sharpshooters followed by a wave of the American infantry, followed by cavalry. The British suffered 1,000 casualties and 500 soldiers captured in one hour.
#9 Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Greensboro, North Carolina
On March 15, 1781, General Nathanael Greene followed General Morgan’s strategy at Cowpens pasture, greatly reducing British General George Cornwallis’ numbers. Cornwallis then retreated, joining the British forces in Virginia.
#10 Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, Virginia
After the French Army defeated the British in a naval battle off of Chesapeake Bay, the French and the American armies joined to face Gen. Cornwallis on October 19, 1781, where he surrendered in the last major battle of America’s War for Independence.