Climate Analysis-18th Century North America

The environment of a battlefield

The environment of a battlefield is crucial because it affects how easily the army can carry out its orders. Extreme weather can make the army feel lost, particularly if the soldiers are accustomed to the local climate. Climate issues during the American Revolutionary War in 1776–1777 had a major impact on the outcome. The soldiers at this time did not have access to contemporary technology to help them deal with the challenges brought on by the weather. During the Revolutionary War, they lacked access to armored vehicles and other helpful equipment that would have facilitated their operations. They were rendered helpless by the extreme weather in many ways, including the ruin of their gun powder by precipitation. The unfavorable climate resulted into the British recapturing the New Jersey and New York. The Washington’s army began a mission to win back the two regions and restore confidence among the American patriots who needed America to sustain her independence.

Research Question

How did the weather effect the New York-New Jersey campaign? The research seeks to establish the relationship between the weather and the outcome of the American Revolutionary War of 1776-1777. During this time, the New York and the New Jersey were key battlefields and the effectiveness of the battle in the two regions would determine the fate of Washington, American Army and the patriots. The research will investigate the outcomes of three strings of battle to determine whether the outcome would be the same if the weather were different.

Sources of Information

A historical research requires extensive reading from the ancient writings that give a clear picture of the occurrences during the American Revolution. As such, the study will utilize primary sources of information including books and journal articles. The credibility of the sources will be evaluated by ensuring the use of authoritative and current sources.

Analysis of Climate during the 1776-1777 American Revolution

America experienced a mixed set of weather patterns during the revolution. The weather was, however, primarily chilly, foggy and misty. As Washington led various attacks on the Hessian and the British Armies, the soldiers encountered difficulties due to the freezing and destruction of their gun powder. The weather shaped the dynamics of the war and probably, if the war took part in weather as today, the results would be different. While people had adapted to the weather by wearing warm clothing, the soldiers were left with no option but to remain in the battlefield and experience situations that exposed them to the cold such as the crossing of Delaware River.

Compared with the present day American weather, there is a sharp contrast indicating climate change. The winters are relatively warmer than the 1770’s and the snow, ice, fog and mist is not as intense as it were during the revolutionary war.

Effects of Climate on Three Revolutionary battles

Battle of Long Island

The battle took place on August, 1776, a few months after America declared their independence. The British first used a small army to attack the Long Island as a diversionary tactic. While Washington and the continental army were busy countering the attack, a bigger force of the British army attacked the east almost entirely surrounding the Americans. The situation was hopeless for Washington since he had been caught off guard and the only option that the American Army had was to retreat. The General ordered his troops to retreat to Brooklyn Heights as several men from Maryland guarded them. Majority of the men were later killed by the British soldiers.

Effect of Weather on the Battle

Although Washington lost the battle to the British, there were only a few fatalities. The prevailing weather conditions enabled the soldiers to retreat to safe areas without being spotted by the British soldiers. The fog and mist conditions created blurred environment for the soldiers to be targeted. Were it not for the fog, it is likely that more soldiers would have been spotted and killed by the adversaries.

The Battle of Trenton

The battle took place on 26th December, 1776 where Washington crossed the frozen Delaware River in pursuit of the Hessian and British armies under the Colonel Johann Rall. The battle was significant since the continental army had previously suffered humiliating defeats in New York and New Jersey. A win over Trenton would restore the confidence of the army as well as that of the American Patriots. The weather was chilly and River Delaware was frozen and icy; there was a storm that made the battle complicated for the continental army.

How did the weather effect this battle?

The Continental Army had been weakened by several losses; the harsh weather conditions did not make the situation any better. Washington knew that the patriots relied on a victory at Trenton to restore the hope of an independent America. On December, the general decided to strike the Hessian army when they least expected. The British and Hessian leaders knew that the army was demoralized and would not attack in the frozen and icy weather conditions. Washington took advantage of this and crossed the stormy, frozen and extremely cold Delaware River into Trenton. Some of his soldiers succumbed to the cold and the remaining had difficulties shooting on target. The Hessian army were, however, unprepared to handle the Americans and they captured 900 Hessians. This was the turning point for the American quest for independence. The weather contributed to the unpreparedness of the Hessian soldiers as they assumed that the Continental Army were weak and could not attack in that kind of weather. While the cold reduced their efficacy, the Americans were enthusiastic to overcome the handles and deliver a victory to the American patriots.

The Battle of Princeton

The fight was a success for Washington and the Continental Army. The American patriots regained the momentum of maintaining the independence after a string of defeats they encountered from the British and the Hessian Armies. A larger part of the New Jersey was recaptured from the British after their soldiers freed to regions near the Hudson River.

Historical Significance

It is clear that the climate contributed to the outcome of the battles in the Revolutionary war of 1776-1777. The weather exerted a pervasive influence on the activities of the soldiers during the war. Natural phenomena including precipitation, temperature, clouds and winds imposed difficulties that affected the armies. The battle, however, is significant as Washington managed to protect the independence of America despite the difficulties.

Would the Revolutionary War Results be different in the 21st Century?

Today, the weather is relatively warm in North America, if the battle took place under an environment similar to the current weather, the results would probably be different. The soldiers would not suffer from extreme conditions which would boost their morale. The British would probably not have conquered New York and New Jersey easily which would prevent the protracted battles.

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