On May 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. The Congress dealt with the military crisis the colonies were in with England. It organized forces around Boston into the Continental Army and appointed George Washington to commander-in-chief.
The Battle of Bunker Hill was the first major battle fought in the war. The colonists had made a fort on Bunker and Breeds Hills to fire on English ships approaching Boston. Thomas Gage ordered his British troops to attack the hills. He believed the task to be an easy one, but met great resistance. It took two British attempts to capture the two hills, which lead to many British casualties. The second attempt did run the colonists off the hills, but resulted in a greater colonial victory. Of the original 2500 Redcoats, only 1500 had survived the attack while only 400 of the Patriots had met with death.
Although war had begun, the colonies still wanted to make peace with England. Only 1/3 of the colonists wanted to wage war with England. The people were afraid that if a major war was fought with England, that all traitors would be executed. The motives for the war were not against King George III. The colonies were rebelling against Parliament, not against the crown. The Olive Branch Petition was created in an attempt to persuade King George III to mediate for the colonies. King George ignored the petition and said to use full force against the colonies to crush the resistance to English government. Then in January 1776, Thomas Paine published “Common Sense” with stated that the American Colonies should be independent from England. This along with the King’s refusal to support the colonies caused the creation of the Declaration of Independence.
The devastation caused by the Battle of Bunker Hill caused General Gage to be replaced with General William Howe. Howe ordered his troops to evacuate Boston and sailed his men to Nova Scotia to wait for...