Greater Casablanca Travel on Although Congress attempted to resolve the matter diplomatically, Britain refused to negotiate while violence continued. A year later, in July 1776, Congress declared the colonies to be free and independent states. At the time Washington took command, the British troops were concentrated in Boston, with American troops in the surrounding hills. The British had captured the nearby hills at great cost in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
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The two sides had reached a standoff. Washington needed artillery to take on the British effectively. Fortunately for Washington, a small contingent of patriots under Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold had captured Fort Ticonderoga in northern New York.
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