The fighting in the American Revolution lasted from April 19, 1775, to October 19, 1781. During these six-plus years, both sides won some battles and lost some battles.
The British concentrated their efforts on conquering population centers because that was how wars were won in Europe—you took control of the major city or cities and the country surrendered. But that did not work in the American colonies. At one time or another, the British occupied every major American city (including New York from September 15, 1776, to November 25, 1783), and still the war went on.
The colonials, under the leadership of George Washington, just tried to survive. While trying to win military engagements, Washington realized that the most important goal was for the Continental army to continue to function. As long as the army existed the war would go on. Washington tried to reduce major losses in men and supplies by avoiding major battles. Only when the circumstances were almost perfect at Yorktown, with Cornwallis holed up on a peninsula and the French fleet threatening to defeat the British navy, did Washington commit the bulk of his forces to a single battle.
Throughout the conflict, the newspapers worked to keep their readers informed and to put the best face on the results of various military engagements. Thus, the paper’s side—be it Patriot or Loyalist—always came out on top, no matter what the actual outcome had been.
The documents below are divided into five sections by the battles that are discussed: Trenton, Germantown, Saratoga, Camden, and Yorktown. In each section, both Patriot and Loyalist views of what happened at the battle are included. And, in each case, the winners emphasize the glories of victory while the losers downplay or almost ignore the losses of defeat.