Within weeks Boston is surrounded by an army of New England militia.
As news of the first victory spreads, other Americans take action.
In May, a group of men who call themselves the Green Mountain Boys seize Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York.
In June, the British attack an American position near Boston, a rise known to the locals as Bunker Hill. As the Red Coat battle lines approach an American commander tells his men not to fire until you see the whites of their eyes. The British are slaughtered. Although the British capture the hill, American morale rises as British morale plummets. Despite these early successes, American leaders know that they will need more than enthusiastic militia to win the conflict.
The Continental Congress, in session in Philadelphia, creates the Continental Army, and appoints George Washington, a member of the VA delegation, to lead it. Washington rushes to join the army at Cambridge, MA telling congress that he will need heavy artillery to drive the British out of Boston. In January he orders Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, Common Sense, which advocates independence to GB to be read to soldiers in order to strengthen their resolve for the cause.
Washington is aided by 25-year-old Henry Knox, who spends the winter removing cannons from Fort Ticonderoga and bringing them to Boston. Despite having to sled across frozen rivers and scale snowy mountains Know doesn’t lose a single gun.
By March of 1776, the American artillery is in place. Unwilling to suffer a bombardment or risk another attack, the British evacuate the city. Washington watches as the fleet sails away – he knows the enemy will soon return in even greater numbers. The question is where!