Siege of Boston
Siege of Boston can be defined as the military phase that began or opened the American Revolutionary war. This siege took place between 19th April 1775 and 17th March 1776. During this time, the militiamen from the New England prevented the land movement of the British Army that was garrisoned in what at that time was the Peninsular Boston city, Massachusetts. The two sides had personnel and resource supply issues to deal with at the time of the siege. British reinforcement and resupply activities had the limitation of sea access. However, the British sailed to the Nova Scotia abandoning Boston after a siege that lasted for eleven months.
Causes of the Siege of Boston
For over a decade before the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, there was building tensions between the British authorities and the American colonists. The British government had made attempts to tax colonies in order to raise revenue but this was protested against by many colonists. The colonists resented the absence of representation in the parliament and they demanded equal rights with the other subjects of the British authorities. In 1770, violence broke out due to colonial resistance when the British soldiers fired at colonists’ mob killing 5 men. This came to be called the Boston Massacre.
In December 1773, a Bostonians band boarded the British ships dressed like Indians and dumped hundreds of tea chests at the Boston Harbor. This led to the passing of measures for reasserting imperial authority by the outraged parliament. In response, colonial delegates met in September 1774 in Philadelphia to voice their grievances. The Continental Congress, which was the first one, denounced absence of representation yet they were being taxed and the presence of British army within the colonies yet their consent had not been sought about the issue.
The congress issued a declaration that every citizen has rights to liberty, life, property, trial and assembly. It was also voted that the congress would meet in May 1775 in order to determine the further action to take. However, there was already violence going on at the time of the meeting of the congress. On 19th April, there was a clash between the local militiamen and British soldiers in Concord and Lexicon. This marked the initial shots that were fired during the American Revolutionary War.
Where the siege happened and who it affected
The siege happened in Boston where the American militiamen contained the British troops effectively and to some extent, in the Peninsula of Charleston after the Battle of Bunker Hill. The siege affected the Provincial, or American armed forces, initially known as the New England Army after their establishment in 19th April 1775 before becoming part of a Continental Army that was formed in June 1775. The siege also affected residents who were moved from Boston. Some Loyalists were also affected because they were moved to town. People who remained in the area faced harsh conditions despite the Boston Harbor being patrolled by the British. There were dwindling provisions due to limited supplies.
How the siege of Boston was addressed
The siege persisted until Dorchester Heights was fortified after being seized by the Continental Army’s commander, George Washington, on 4th March 1776. Dorchester Heights is located outside Boston and it was seized at night. The expedition that captured Dorchester Heights used artillery and it was under the leadership of Henry Knox. From Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, Washington forces targeted the British ships cannons that were anchored at the harbor. The forces forced the British to abandon Boston on 17th March.
Although General Howe, the leader of British troops, had considered continuing the assault, he opted to retreat after considering the events of Bunker Hill. British troops realized that they could not mount effective defense because they were surrounded by the American forces. They made a proposal to Washington that he allow them to leave Boston without causing destruction. In return, Washington had to ensure that the British were not attacked while leaving Boston. Washington agreed to their proposal and the British troops sailed away bringing the siege to an end. Americans regained Boston and kept it during the entire period of the American Revolutionary War.
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