General Howe-American Revolution Essay

1522 WordsMay 7, 20137 Pages
Introduction/Thesis Paragraph When the British landed and took New York, they could not have fulfilled General William Howe’s political objective of ending the rebellion in 1776. The primary reasons behind him being unable to bring this objective to fruition are because 1) he became reluctant to attack fortified enemy positions and 2) his belief that a decisive action would crush the will of the people was overblown. Reluctance of Attack At the conclusion of the Battle of Bunker Hill, although it was a victory for the British, General Howe sustained heavy casualties. These losses weighed heavily on General Howe and made his decision making much more conservative. For the rest of the war, Howe avoided a direct frontal attack on any American position, preferring to use flanking maneuvers instead. Despite his critics charges, fear and lethargy were not elements in why Howe did not again frontally assault American positions. The flanking maneuvers come from Howe's understandable reluctance to again endure such massive casualties. In addition, Howe was well aware that, "His troops, highly trained and at the end of a pipeline stretching all the way across the Atlantic could not be replaced quickly, if at all." This change afforded the Continental Army many respites when the British had them on the ropes in subsequent battles during the campaigns in New York and New Jersey. In planning his offensive in New York, Howe ignored his own often-stated belief that the quickest way to end the war was to destroy the Continental Army. A bloody victory now would not serve his purpose. Instead, he adopted a strategy of conquering ground rather than killing colonists. His strategy was to discourage the rebels by mounting a steady, irresistible advance through their farms and fields. When General Howe defeated General Washington at the Battle of Long Island, falling back to

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