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The Continental Army was the armed forces of the United States from the Second Continental Congress of 14 June 1775 to the Treaty of Paris on 3 September 1783, fighting in the American Revolutionary War. Led by General George Washington, the Continental Army was commanded mostly by veterans of the French and Indian War and consisted of everyday people, from farmers, brewers, and craftsmen to librarians, plantation owners, and wealthy people. The soldiers were as diverse in ethnic background as they were in occupation; New England Yankees initiated the revolution at the Battle of Lexington; up to 1/3 of the Continental Army was Irish (especially Scots-Irish; including 1,500 officers, 22 generals, and over 12 sea captains - the British even estimated that half of the army was Irish); an all-African-American Rhode Island regiment was raised by Christopher Greene, and several foreign volunteers from France, Poland, and Sweden fought alongside the Americans. After the war's end in 1783 and the adoption of the US Constitution in 1787, the Continental Army became the US Army.

History

Continental troops marching in Williamsburg, Virginia

The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress on 14 June 1775 just three days before the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Congress named the Virginia plantation owner George Washington as its commander-in-chief due to his military experience during the French and Indian War. The Continental Army was made up of average colonists who wanted to oust the British from the Thirteen Colonies and make the United States an independent nation, and it gained the support of people from all backgrounds. Even some freed African-Americans decided to join the army, fighting at the Battle of Newport and elsewhere.

More Continental troops marching

General Washington commanded the army during its war against the British Army, and the Continentals were considered to be the regular American army while militias and partisans gave support to them. They were used in the main battles of the war, with their first test being at the Battle of Quebec in late 1775 when Benedict Arnold launched an invasion of Canada. The battle was a devastating loss, and 1776 brought more defeats in New York at the Battle of Long Island and the Battle of White Plains. However, Washington won surprise attacks at the Battle of Trenton on 24 December 1776 and the Battle of Princeton in January 1777, turning the tide of the war. France sent aid to the Continentals, and they were assisted by foreigners such as the Marquis de Lafayette, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, and Casimir Pulaski. The Continental Army was disbanded in 1783 after their final victory at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781 and the surrender of the British two years later. In 1796, it was replaced by the US Army, which took up most of the Continental Army's old traditions.


Gallery

Continental troops Williamsburg 2.jpg Continental troops Williamsburg.jpg Continental Dragoons.png|Continental dragoons Continentals 2.png|Continental line infantry Washington Continental.png|George Washington with his army Continentals 1.png Continental officer.png|A Continental officer

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