When did the colonialists start 'winning' the American Revolution?

Jun 2019
3
Los Angeles, CA
Is there a decisive battle that can described as the point when the colonialists could be said to have gained the winning advantage in the American Revolution? Or was it a series of battles perhaps? (Or does this way of looking at the tide of the entire war even make sense?)
 
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MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,193
Kansas
Is there a decisive battle that can described as the point when the colonialists could be said to have gained the winning advantage in the American Revolution? Or was it a series of battles perhaps? (Or does this way of looking at the tide of the entire war even make sense?)
Without a doubt crossing the Delaware.

It was less a material turning point as emotional. Up to this point there was hope the Americans might get some concessions, the rebels might even survive with their livers. After this battle they began to think more in terms of.......Hey we might just pull this off
 
Jul 2019
813
New Jersey
Washington's victories at Trenton and Princeton stemmed the tide of defeat which had engulfed the Revolution since the British landed in New York. So in that sense the victories there staved off near certain defeat. However, the rebels were still in an extremely precariuos situation at the beginning of Spring 1777 (many Americans glumly referred to 1777 as 'the year of the hangman' due to the shape of the sevens and the colonists' precarious position). The American victory at Saratoga decisively put an end to any major British offensives in the north and persuaded the French to enter the war on the American side. So it's a bit of a combination: Trenton ended the string of defeats, while Saratoga really marked the beginning of the end for the British.

In the south, Cowpens was a pretty significant victory as well.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,741
Dispargum
Saratoga was a major victory. At the same time Washington was losing at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown, but the turn around between the three battles (less than four weeks) was major disappointment for the British. The Americans just were not giving up. Germantown was followed by the winter at Valley Forge where Washington's army learned to march in formation followed by the Battle of Monmonth the following summer. At that point the British saw the writing on the wall. The Americans were getting better and were not going to give up.

Timeline:
Summer and fall of '76: Numerous British victories around New York City cause Washington to retreat to Pennsylvania.
Dec '76-Jan '77: Washington crosses Delaware to win the Battles of Trenton and Princeton and regain most of New Jersey
Fall of '77: Saratoga, Brandywine, and Germantown
Winter of '78: Valley Forge, British decide to concede the mid-Atlantic region and concentrate on recapturing the southern colonies/states
Summer '78: British abandon Philadelphia, Battle of Monmouth
 
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Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
In truth the war was lost once the shooting started.
Most would probably site Saratoga as a turning point..

Fact is though that Britain was too far away and too small to rule such a vast territory that didn’t accept it.

Long Island was probably the real turning point... largest concentration of British military power, if that Victory had been crushing enough to wipe out or capture the entire rebel force and kill or capture Washington then maybe, and I’d stress that it’s still not certain, maybe the collapse of rebel morale and the strong display of might, would be enough to quash any desire for fighting or independence.

On the other hand pretty much every factor is in the rebel’s favor-
Popular Support- rebels.
International support - rebels.
Logistics- rebels
Supply- rebels.
Demographics - rebels.
Terrain- rebels.

America was just too big, too populated and too far for the tiny British army to ever hope to achieve success in. While they might be able to achieve localised superiority enough to convince them Victory was possible... fact was that rebels had pretty much everywhere the British army wasn’t.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,141
Portugal
Is there a decisive battle that can described as the point when the colonialists could be said to have gained the winning advantage in the American Revolution? Or was it a series of battles perhaps? (Or does this way of looking at the tide of the entire war even make sense?)
“When did the colonialists start 'winning' the American Revolution?”

My English fails me often, but don’t you mean “loosing”? Or “colonials” instead of “colonialists”? After all the “colonialists” were the British while the “colonials” were the ones on the side of the future USA. Or is my English failing me again?
 
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Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,709
Eastern PA
Long Island was probably the real turning point... largest concentration of British military power, if that Victory had been crushing enough to wipe out or capture the entire rebel force and kill or capture Washington then maybe, and I’d stress that it’s still not certain, maybe the collapse of rebel morale and the strong display of might, would be enough to quash any desire for fighting or independence.

.
The Battle of Long Island was a missed opportunity for the British to completely destroy the rebel military forces. While it is impossible to predict the ensuing events following the hypothetical elimination of the rebel army, the most likely result would have been the end of that round. A rematch in a decade or two would also be likely, but again, uncertain.

After that battle, the British seemed to operate on the basis that they were destined to win and never exerted enough effort to crush the rebellion. I will never understand why the main British Army failed to march the 20 miles to Valley Forge in what had to be a second opportunity to eliminate the enemy army.
 
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