World War Context
of the
American Revolution

world map of American Revolution
Timeline Illustrating French World-Wide
Involvement in the American War for Independence
  • Dec '75 French secret envoy meets with American 'Secret Committee of Correspondence' in Philadelphia to determine patriots' intention and needs.
  • Apr '76, Silas Deane sent to Paris to obtain military supplies and skilled military engineers for the Continental Army.
  • Apr '76, King Louis XVI decides to assist American revolted and launches vast French navy refitting.
  • Jun '76, Hortalez Cie. received million livres from French Covernment, and another million from Spain, via the French Minister.
  • Feb, Duportail, one of the first of many French volunteers, joined the Continental Army. He became the �Father of the American Army Corps of Engineers'.
  • By Sep. '77, Hortalez Cie. (Beaumarchais) already shipped 5 million livres worth of cargo to America.
  • 6 Feb, French-American alliance treaty signed in Paris.
  • 4 May, French treaty recognizing American independence ratified by US Congress.
  • 17 Jun, first naval engagement of the war between French and British.
  • 11 Jul-31 Aug, D'Estaing's unsuccessful naval operations at New York and at Newport.
  • 27 Jun, naval battle off Ile d'Ouessant [Ushant] -- indecisive engagement between Fr. and Br. (La Manche) proves new French Royal navy capacity to challenge the British navy.
  • 7 Sep, Fr. capture Dominica (WI).
  • 14 Sep, Br. capture St. Pierre-et-Miquelon Ils. (N. Atlantic).
  • 1 Oct, Br. capture Pondichery (India).
  • 13 Dec, Br. capture St. Lucia (WI).
  • January, Fr. capture St. Louis (Senegal). [Lauzun and Vaudreuil's expedition had departed France in December 1778]
  • 1 May, Fr. unsuccessful raid on Jersey Ils. (La Manche).
  • 18 Jun, Fr. capture St. Vincent (WI).
  • 4 Jul, Fr. capture Grenada (WI).
  • 23 Sep-20 Oct, D'Estaing and American unsuccessful siege of Savannah (GA).
  • 23 Sep, Fr. troops at naval battle of Flambourgh Head (La Manche) -- (Bonhomme Richard vs HMS Serapis).
  • 21 Feb-12 May, Fr. military engineers at unsuccessful defense of Charleston (SC).
  • 17 Apr, 15 & 19 May, Br. and Fr. engage in naval battles off Martinique (WI).
  • 11 Jul, Rochambeau's corps arrived at Newport (RI).
  • 5 Jan, Fr. unsuccessful raind on Jersey Ils. (La Manche).
    [During the year, British capture Dutch possessions in WI, South America, Ceylon and India.]
  • 16 Mar, Br. & Fr. naval battle of the Chesapeake Bay (1st 'Battle of the Virginia Capes').
  • 16 May, Br & Fr. naval battle of Porto Praya, Cape Verde islands.
  • 10-12 May, Fr. raid on St. Lucia (WI).
  • 26 May, Spanish and Fr. capture Pensacola (Flordia).
  • 4 Jun, Fr. capture Tobago (WI).
  • 12 Jul, Fr. raid Tory fort at Loyd Neck, Long Island (NY).
  • 5 Sep, Br. & Fr. naval battle off the Chesapeake Bay (2nd 'Battle of the Virginia Capes').
  • 28 Sep-19 Oct, Am. & Fr. siege of Yorktown (VA).
  • 26 Nov, Fr. capture St. Eustatius (WI).
  • 6 Jan-5 Feb, Fr. & Sp. capture Ft. St. Philip at Mahon, Minorca.
  • 22 Jan, Fr recapture Dutch colonies of Surinam.
  • 13 Feb, Fr. capture St. Kitts (WI).
  • 18 Feb. Br. & Fr. naval battle off Madras (India).
  • 20 Feb, Fr. capture Nevis (WI).
  • 22 Feb, Fr. capture Monserrat (WI).
  • 12 Apr, at Saints (WI), Br. disperse large Fr. naval force enroute to attack Jamaica.
  • 6 Jul, Br. & Fr. naval battle off Negapatan (India).
  • Jul through Mar, Sp. & Fr. unsuccessful siege and blockade of Gibraltar.
  • 25-30 Aug, Fr. besiege and capture Trincomalee (Ceylon).
  • 8-31 Aug, Fr. capture and destroy Fort Prince of Wales, York factory and Severn in Hudson Bay (Canada).
  • Mar-Jul, Fr. participate in capture of Voloze, Bednor (3 May); Onor, siete of Mangalore from 6 May to Jul (India).
  • 20 Jun, Br. & Fr. naval battle off Cuddelore (India).
  • 13-29 Jun, Fr. repulse Br. at Cuddelore (India).
  • 3 Sep, Peace Treaty signed in Paris.
This chart emphasizes French military and naval operations during the War for American Independence. Significant number of additional actions were undertaken by Spanish and Dutch forces against the British. Material in this chart was taken mainly from The American Revolution, A Global War by R.E. Dupuy, G. Hammerman, and G. Hayes (1977); and The French Army in the American War of Independence by René Chartrand (1991).

The Yorktown Campaign (1781)

Impact of French World-Wide Involvement in the War for American Independence.

French Regiments in the American War for Independence.

The Exp�dition Particuli�re Commemorative Cantonment Society.

Page posted 11 November 2001; revised 26 Augsut 2010.