American Revolution

The War For Independence

Important dates and events

1770 Through 1785  

Events and dates during the American Revolution Era That have been excerpted From A Portrait of The Stars and Stripes, Seniram Publishing, Glenside, Pennsylvania. 19038  

Copyright 1989

Seniram@usmilitaryhistory.com

These excerpts and the cover story are intended to act only as a timeline for the various conflicts and to give the reader a sense of  the context of the volume. The material included in this sample may be used and reprinted by students and for non-commercial use by the individual; however, no part of this sample may be reproduced or transmitted  in any manner whatsoever, except those aforementioned  without written permission of the publisher.   

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The Road To The Stars and Stripes

Many of us, to be quite candid, merely take this grand Republic of ours for granted; too busy to acknowledge that our present day existence is the masterwork of a distinguished group of unselfish Americans, whom we call Patriots.

We assume America is always going to be here; fortunately, that assumption is true, but only because of countless extraordinary Americans, who took their responsibility seriously, risking their lives to preserve this special place we call home.

Our precious foundations, written on a few small pieces of paper: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been defended by that distinguished long blue line of Americans, starting at Lexington and Concord, through Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, Tripoli, the Alamo and Gettysburg; changing otherwise common places into hallowed ground. Their line continued to Belleau Wood, the Meuse Argonne and Chateau Thierry. With relentless fury, they proved to be a unique assembly of the finest men this world could produce.

On that infamous day, December 7th, 1941, the line was tested again. In those dark moments when the world was stunned, and our Country was facing insurmountable odds, this unparalleled group of Americans held firm and pressed forward to ensure our liberty. They proceeded through ominous war clouds over the vast Pacific to Wake Island, Guam, Guadalcanal, and the Philippines. Who can ever forget the unsung heroes of Iwo Jima or those sacred crosses left behind in Normandy? They answered the call once more in Korea, and again in the jungles of Vietnam; brave men who cared for more than just themselves, unabashedly claiming title to being an American Soldier willing to die for his country that the ideals of which we all believe might live forever.

America's yesterday, totally consumed by valor, bravery, sacrifice and proud determination, has provided Americans of this generation with the privilege of enjoying as free citizens the greatest nation on earth. These valiant Americans will continue to inspire us to cherish our freedom and to protect and defend America from the clutches of tyranny; be it from our adversaries on the outside of our national perimeter, or from the more inconspicuous elements within our very precious shores; thus ensuring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all future generations of Americans. They too will share in our great American heritage with the knowledge that tomorrow will come, even better than today, and the legacy left us will be handed down until the end of time.

Our proud American tradition of being the most outstanding example of what free men can accomplish is, and forever will be, inspired by the actions of all American Patriots, past, present and future; guided by the grace of God and the magnificent Flag that represents our nation, the Stars and Stripes of these United States of America.

Refresh your memory, travel through Virginia, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Hear the Patriots speak boldly. Listen to the bell proclaim freedom and follow Old Glory from her birth in 1776 to her present state. The fairest of the fair, the grandest of the grand, and the strongest of them all.

Recall "One Giant Step for Mankind" as gallant Americans placed the American Flag on the moon. Where will Old Glory fly tomorrow? It is up to you, you are Old Glory. Your dreams are her dreams. Think of your proud American heritage, treat it as a sacred trust and hand it on to our posterity with honor and dignity.

The Cannons, Muskets and Men Which Forged Our Destiny.

The bell has yet to ring. The shot is neither fired nor even contemplated. Colonists strive to maintain what they believe to be a common bond between England and their new home, America, but in addition to all the usual hardships such as hostile Indians, sickness and uncooperative weather, they must also learn to deal with the political differences of England and France, both of which seek to control North America.

The French and Indian War (1754) will finally determine who would dominate America. England, which fared badly at the onset of the war, would turn events in its favor after 1757. France sensing imminent disaster before them, would hastily proceed to Paris to sign a peace treaty with England. The most prominent condition of the treaty was that France would relinquish nearly all her North American Territory. This made evident that England would now control America. Obviously, this situation would not last forever. America was destined to be a free and independent nation.

In Richmond, on March 23rd, 1775, during a stormy session of the Virginia legislature, Patrick Henry, a fiery orator and outspoken Patriot, spoke boldly; "THERE IS NO RETREAT BUT IN SUBMISSION IN SLAVERY, OUR CHAINS ARE FORMED, THEIR CLANKING MAY BE HEARD IN THE PLAINS OF BOSTON. THE WAR IS INEVITABLE, AND LET IT COME ... I REPEAT SIR, LET IT COME ... I KNOW NOT WHAT COURSE OTHERS MAY TAKE, BUT FOR ME, GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH:"

The peaceful, rolling hills between Lexington and Concord were experiencing unusual sounds, proclaiming imminent danger. "TO ARMS, TO ARMS, THE BRITISH ARE COMING." This chant continued throughout the night, as Paul Revere and William Dawes galloped from farmhouse to farmhouse, alerting the Patriots of approaching danger. The British, in forced march, were en route to seize the gunpowder at Concord.

The Minutemen, a courageous group of farmers, would intercept the British troops at Lexington. American Captain John Parker issued this order to his men: "STAND YOUR GROUND, DON'T FIRE UNLESS FIRED UPON, BUT IF THEY MEAN TO HAVE A WAR, THEN LET IT BEGIN HERE.' At that time a single shot was fired, then more. The shot was heard 'round the world. The British, after the brief skirmish, would regroup and move towards Concord, harassed by defiant Patriots, firing from the woods and behind rocks along the route. The Minutemen suffered eight men dead and ten wounded, but had struck our initial blow for independence.

On May 10th 1775, the American Colonists fortified Breeds Hill, located just under Bunker Hill, and prepared to do battle with the British under General Gage. The British attacked twice, unsuccessfully, but on the third attempt with a frontal charge, overpowered the Patriots. The cost of this British victory was extremely high. They lost over 1,000 dead or wounded. It was at this battle that the American William Prescott issued the general order "DON'T FIRE UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES." The British occupied Boston, which would become a city under siege.

In an attempt to prevent the British from using Canada as a base for attack, two American armies were dispatched, one under General Richard Montgomery who would advance on Montreal, the other under Benedict Arnold, with the purpose of capturing Quebec City. The attack on Montreal was successful, however the invasion of Quebec failed. Montgomery was mortally wounded during this campaign. Arnold, took command of the majority of American troops remaining in Canada. He would remain in Canada until the Spring of 1776, and then begin his precarious retreat to New York, by way of Lake Champlain, relentlessly pursued by the British under General Sir Guy Carleton. General Arnold managed to assemble an improvised Naval force, which would engage the British on Lake Champlain. The Americans were badly defeated, but their actions delayed the British almost until the onset of winter, preventing their joining the main British force on Staten Island.

The Continental Army in March, 1776, decides to invade Boston. The Patriots, secretly and under cover of darkness, fortified Dorchester Heights with an impressive amount of heavy artillery. The unsuspecting British awoke to the startling revelation that American cannons were in position and prepared to annihilate the fortifications and harbor. Instinctively, General Gage dispatched boats to attack the Colonials, but harsh weather aborted the mission. The much superior British Army was humbled and forced to abandon the city. The Americans allowed the British to flee in ships under the watchful eyes of silent but armed artillery. The Patriots had taken Boston without firing a single shot. This day, "Evacuation Day", is still celebrated in Boston on March 17th, which coincides with another popular day, St. Patrick's Day.

The British fared badly in the South as well. A contingent of Patriots intercepted a 1,500 man Loyalist force en route to the coast to join a British Fleet, totally devastating them, forcing them to scatter. The British Fleet arrived a short time later, but found no Loyalist Army, and immediately changed course for Charleston, South Carolina. The British, under General Clinton, assaulted the Fort at Charleston, on June 28th, 1776, bombarding it with all the fire power they could muster, but to no avail. The Fort held, sustaining little damage. The British Navy had been humbled and to make matters worse, one of their ships was stranded on a sandbar. As they sailed off in defeat, the British set this stranded ship afire to prevent capture by the Patriots.

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. It was signed by John Hancock, the President of the Congress, with the additional signatures added gradually. On this day, our nation was born and reconciliation with England was now impossible.

Battles raged throughout New York. The seasoned British Army, backed by an extremely superior Navy, severely damages the Continental Army. The Colonists were humiliated at the Battle of Long Island. Only George Washington's keen mind would save the cause. His uncanny ability to continuously outwit the British, even in defeat, would earn him the title "the Old Fox."

On the 29th of October, Washington, using darkness to his advantage, withdrew from Long Island to Manhattan. The British would pummel the Patriots again at the Battle of White Plains; yet Washington would forestall disaster by slipping away once more. The American Garrison, left at Fort Washington, was overwhelmingly defeated, making the situation even more grave; forcing the Patriots to abandon New York in desperation, heading southwest through New Jersey, hoping for temporary sanctuary in Pennsylvania. The Continental Army, during its escape from New Jersey, had the foresight to burn all boats as they crossed the Delaware River, preventing the British from pursuing and affording the Americans the luxury of living to fight another day.

On Christmas Day 1776, George Washington, in an absolutely brilliant surprise attack, crossed the near-frozen Delaware River to engage the joint British-Hessian troops at Trenton, New Jersey. The following morning in a swift, well-planned assault, the British were quickly over-powered. After approximately one hour of fighting, 1,000 British and Hessian troops surrendered. The Patriots had suffered only 8 casualties during the operation.

The victory at Trenton further bolstered American confidence. They moved northeast, winning another impressive victory at Princeton, on January 3rd, 1777, when they overpowered the British troops, forcing their retreat towards New York. In the meantime, the Americans set up winter quarters in Morristown, New Jersey.

The forces of British General John Burgoyne launched an attack on the Colonies from Canada, in June, 1777, easily capturing Fort Ticonderoga on July 6th, while British General Howe embarked from New York with 15,000 men to capture Philadelphia. On August 3rd, 1777, the British launched an attack on Fort Stanwix in the Mohawk Valley. During this engagement, another British force, under Burgoyne's command, attacked the Militia at Bennington, Vermont. Both attacks by the British were unsuccessful, further boosting American morale.

The British were driving through Pennsylvania, pushing the Colonials toward Philadelphia, defeating them at the Battle of Brandywine near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania on September 9th, 1777, and again at the Battle of Germantown in Philadelphia on October 4th, 1777. The British forces now occupied the city of Philadelphia.

The fate of the Colonies was still unclear, but the Patriots had not given up hope. The British were devastated at the first and second battles of Saratoga on September 19th and October 7th, forcing Burgoyne to surrender 5,700 British Soldiers to the American Gates. On November 2nd, 1777, John Paul Jones set sail on the Ranger, his mission to attack the English coastal towns. As he set sail, George Washington was preparing to move into Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for the winter, hoping to revitalize his beleaguered Army. Morale was terrible, pay almost non-existent, and the weather becoming intolerable. Somehow, Washington overcame these obstacles, to prevail during these trying times at Valley Forge. France would officially recognize our independence. This coupled with the arrival of Prussian Baron von Steuben greatly enhanced our chances of victory. The Baron intensified the training of the troops, molding them into a well-disciplined fighting force.

On June 27th, 1778, The Continental Army and the British fought to a stand-off at the Battle of Monmouth. British General Clinton disengaged his Army and continued his retreat to New York, while General Washington advanced to West Point, New York, where he would set up headquarters on July 8th.

The ensuing months saw intensified troop maneuvers on both sides. The French Fleet was badly damaged by a violent storm at Newport, Rhode Island, and the British make inroads to the south, capturing Savannah and Augusta, Georgia. Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia, would be burned to the ground by the British.

On June 1st, 1779, British Commander Henry Clinton captured the unfinished Colonial Forts at Stony Point and Verplanck Point on the Hudson River. The Americans would regroup and retake Stony Point, with a surprise bayonet attack on July 15th. And on August 19th, the American Henry "Lighthorse" Lee, drives the British from their last major position in New Jersey, their Garrison at Paulus Hook.

The British ordered the evacuation of Newport, Rhode Island, during October, to concentrate all their efforts on the southern campaign. Once again, the British were on the move and General Washington was readying his winter quarters in Morristown, New Jersey. During early April, 1780, the British would defiantly sail past the guns at Fort Moultrie, entering Charleston harbor. The siege lasted until the 6th of May, culminating with the Fort falling to the British. By the 12th of May, the British, with a loss of 255 men, accepted the surrender of Charleston, and its 5,400 man American Army. This was the most devastating defeat America would suffer through the entire war.

In August, 1780, Benedict Arnold, who had been secretly conspiring with the British, is appointed Commander of West Point. A short time later, a British major was captured carrying plans for Arnold's surrender of West Point. The Major, John Andre', was apprehended in civilian clothes and executed; however, Arnold escaped to a British ship, the Vulture, and was appointed a Brigadier General in the British Army.

During October 1780, a contingent of Patriots under Colonel Isaac Selby, captured an 1,100 man Loyalist force at King's Mountain, North Carolina. This victory would force General Cornwallis to call off his impending attack on North Carolina allowing the forces of General Nathanael Greene an opportunity to harass the Army of Cornwallis using guerrilla tactics.

In January of 1781, a decisive victory is gained by the Colonists at the Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina, after defeating the British forces under Colonel Banastre Tarleton. As spring approached, the British would win the battle at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, but at heavy cost to General Cornwallis. His forces were forced to retreat to Wilmington, North Carolina to await reinforcements from General Clinton.

On April 25th, 1781, Cornwallis, his Army increased to 7,500 men, was beginning a campaign to invade and occupy Virginia. Americans would immediately react and aggressively engage the British, repelling their offensive raids. Finally, the American forces, under the command of LaFayette, joined by the combined forces of General Anthony Wayne, and Baron Von Steuben, force the British into Yorktown, Virginia; where Cornwallis could maintain communications by sea with General Clinton's force in New York and await reinforcements by ship.

An American Naval force, under the command of Captain John Barry, had great success during April and May of 17~. Barry's ship, The Alliance, en route from France to America, would encounter two British Privateers; outmaneuvering the superior attack force, capturing both British vessels on April 26th. Towards the end of May, Captain Barry's force engages and captures two more British vessels, both men of war, the Atlanta and the Trepassy

The French Fleet is coming was the news an ecstatic George Washington received in New England. Washington immediately changed his strategy. Instead of attacking the British at New York, he could now secretly divert both his Army and the French, under Rochambeau, to Philadelphia; bringing them closer to the Southern campaign and eventual victory. The Americans reached Philadelphia to await the arrival of the French Fleet on September, 1st, 1781.

September and October saw the tide turn in the struggle for American independence. Benedict Arnold's British troops looted and burnt the port of New London, Connecticut, while the French Naval forces engaged the British Fleet off Yorktown, with a decisive victory for the French, under the command of the Comte de Grasse. In addition, Comte de Barras would arrive in Yorktown with reinforcements.

On September 8th, 1781, American General Greene's forces at Utah Springs, South Carolina, are defeated by the British. Undaunted by this and other defeats, the Americans are still able to push the British towards Charleston, regaining the majority of South Carolina Territory for the Americans.

A French Fleet is dispatched from Yorktown to transport the Allied forces from Philadelphia to initiate the siege of Yorktown, held by Cornwallis' Army. The joint forces of Washington and Rochambeau, 16,000 men strong, attack Yorktown on September 28th, 1781, forcing the unconditional surrender of 8,000 British troops on October 19th, 1781. This most devastating British defeat would insure American independence. As the British marched out of Yorktown, their Regimental Band played the tune: "The World Turned Upside Down."

A Naval force, transporting British General Clinton's forces, 7,000 men strong, arrived at Yorktown on October 24th, to reinforce Cornwallis, but too late. Learning of the British surrender at Yorktown, the British Fleet immediately sets sail back to New York.

The French forces of Rochambeau wintered at Yorktown, while de Grasse would return his Fleet to the West Indies. The Continental Army, under George Washington, advanced towards New York to finish the campaign, although it would not prove necessary.

During the winter of 1782, many Loyalists, fearing reprisals, would leave the rebellious Colonies. British forces evacuated North Carolina and Sir Guy Carleton would replace General Clinton as Commander of all British forces in America. His duties were to end hostilities with America, and to evacuate all British troops from the country.

On February 4th, 1783, Great Britain officially declared an end to the war. America had won her independence, and proudly accepted her role as a new nation, The United States of America.

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American Revolution

The War For Independence

1770 Through 1785  

Red White and Blue Bar

Important dates and events

1770 Through 1785  

-December 16th 1773- The Boston Tea Party.

-April 19th 1775- The Skirmish at Lexington and Concord.

-May 10th 1775- Patriots capture the British Garrison at Fort Ticonderoga.

-June 17th 1775- The Battle of Bunker Hill (Breeds Hill).

-July 3rd 1775- George Washington takes command of the Continental Army.

-October 13th 1775- Congress authorizes establishment of a Naval Committee. This is essentially the beginning of the U.S. Navy. During November Congress creates the American Navy.

-November 10th 1775-The United States Marine Corps is founded.

-December 30th 1775- The Battle of Quebec.

-March 3rd 1776- Marines land in Bahamas to execute their first military expedition. This is the first time the American Flag would fly over a foreign country.

-July 4th 1776- The Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence.

-August 27th 1776- Battle of Long Island.

-October 11th 1776- The Battle of Lake Champlain.

-October 28th 1776- The Battle of White Plains.

-December 25th-26th 1776-The Battle of Trenton.

-January 13th 1777- The Battle of Princeton.

-May 23rd-25th 1777-The Battle of Sag Harbor.

-June 14th 1777- The American Flag is officially mandated by Congress.

-August 3rd-6th 1777- Americans at Ft. Stanwix in the Mohawk Valley come under attack by British troops.

-August 6th 1777- The Battle of Oriskany.

-August 16th 1777- The Battle of Bennington.

-September 9th-11th 1777- The Battle of Brandywine.

-September 19th 1777- The First Battle of Saratoga.

-October 4th 1777- The Battle of Germantown.

-October 7th 1777- The Second Battle of Saratoga.

-October 21st 1777- Patriots at Fort Mercer, N. J. repulse Hessian attack.

-November 16th-20th 1777- The Attack on Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania..

-December 7th 1777- The Battle of Edge Hill, Pennsylvania.

-December 19th 1777- The Continental Army arrives at Valley Forge.

-February 6th 1778- France signs "Treaty of Aid" with America.

-February 14th 1778- John Paul Jones, aboard the Ranger sails in to Quiberon Bay, France. The French Fleet fire a nine-gun salute, accepting the Stars and Stripes as a national ensign.

-April 24th 1778- The American Warship Ranger engages the British Vessel Drake off the coast of Northern Ireland.

-June 27th 1778- The Battle of Monmouth.

-July 4th 1778- George Rodgers Clark's American Force attacks the British Garrison at Kaskaskia at the junction of the Mississippi and the Kaskaskia Rivers.

-July 10th 1778- France declares war on England.

-December 9th 1778- The Colony of Virginia annexes all territory captured by George Rodgers Clark, naming it Illinois.

-December 29th 1778- Savannah, Georgia falls to the British.

-January 6th 1779- The British attack Fort Sunbury, Georgia.

-January 10th 1777- John Paul Jones receives an old French Vessel. It is renamed The Bonhomme Richard.

-February 25th 1779- G. R. Clark recaptures Ft. Sackville which had been taken by the British on December 17th, 1778.

-June 1st 1779- A British Force of 6,000 men attacks and seizes Stony Point and Verplanck Point, but the Americans prevent them from capturing West Point the primary objective.

-July 15th 1779- The Americans attack British positions at Stony Point.

-August 19th 1779- The Americans assault the British Garrison at Paulus Hook, New Jersey.

-August 29th 1779-American troops defeat British force and Indians at Newton (Elmira), N.Y.

-September 23rd 1779- Battle between Bonhomme Richard and the H.M.S. Serapis.

-September 3rd-October 9th 1779- Battle of Savannah.

-October 17th 1779- The Continental Army establishes winter quarters at Morristown, N.J.

-February-May 1780- A British Fleet traps an American Fleet in Charleston Harbor and lays siege to Charleston and Fort Moultrie.

-May 10th 1780 Fort Moultrie falls to the British.

-May 12th 1780- Charleston falls. This is the most devastating defeat of the Americans during the entire war.

-May 25th 1780- American troops at Morristown attempt mutiny.

-May 29th 1780-British Cavalry defeat a Virginia Regiment near Waxhaw, S.C. The Americans then attempt to surrender, but they are slaughtered.

-July 12th 1780- American troops defeat British forces at York County, S.C. and at Cedar Springs, near Spartansburg.

-August 3rd 1780- Washington, unaware that Benedict Arnold has turned traitor, appoints him Commander of West Point.

-August 6th 1780- Americans victorious over British force at Hanging Rock Creek, S.C.

-August 16th 1780- The Battle of Camden, South Carolina.

-August 18th 1780- Americans engage a British force at Fishing Creek, S.C.

-September 4th 1780- Patriots under Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox engage a force of Tories at Gallivan's Ferry Bridge, S.C.

-September 25th 1780- Benedict Arnold escapes from America and becomes a Brigadier General in the British Army.

-October 7th 1780- Battle of King's Mountain, North Carolina.

-December 11th 1780-Patriot force engages Loyalists at Long Cane, S.C.

-January 3rd 1781- British Fleet under Arnold enters Richmond unopposed, but plot to kidnap Governor Jefferson fails.

-January 17th 1781 -Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina.

-March 15th 1781-Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Wilmington, N.C.

-March 15th 1781- British and French Fleets clash off the Chesapeake Cape. The British, although beaten escape through fog . The French move to Newport to make repairs.

-May 31st-June 5th 1781- British-held Fort Cornwallis, Georgia surrenders.

-April 15th 1871- Marion the "Swamp Fox" and his men lay siege to the British Garrison at Fort Watson, S.C.

-May 11th 1781- General Sumter attacks the British Garrison at Orangeburg, S.C.

-May 15th 1781- The Americans assault Fort Granby, S.C.

-May 21st 1781- The Americans assault British-held Fort Galphin, S.C.

-May 22nd-June 17th 1781- The British at Fort Ninety Six in S.C. come under attack by an American force.

-September 5th-11th 1781- The French Fleet defeats the British Fleet of Yorktown. On the 11th another French Fleet arrives prompting remainder of British Fleet to sail for New York.

-September 6th, 1781- British take Fort Griswold, Connecticut after heavy fighting. British troops kill many of the Americans after they surrender.

-September 8th 1781- The British heavily engage an American force at Eutaw Springs, S.C.

-September 28th 1781- George Washington's 9,000 troops and 7,000 French troops under Rochambeau begin the siege of Yorktown.

-October 19th 1781- The siege of Yorktown ends as 8,000 British Soldiers surrender.

-October 24th 1781- A British Fleet arrives off Yorktown, but it is too late.

-November 5th 1781-John Hanson is elected President of the United States in Congress, holding the office for one year as presiding officer of Congress.

-April 4th 1782- Br. General Sir Guy Carleton replaces General Clinton. He is to cease all military action with America.

-February 14th 1783- This day marks the end of the war as England officially declares an end to all hostilities with America.

-March 10th 1781-The U.S.S. Alliance, commanded by Captain John Barry and a French Vessel, the Duc de Luzon engage two British Sloops in what is the final Naval Battle of the war.

-April 1st 1783- Thirty-three of the remaining 41 Marines are mustered out of the service. Six months later, Lt. Elwood becomes the final Marine to muster out. The Marines are totally disbanded after seven years of fighting the British.

-September 3rd 1783- The U.S. and England sign the Treaty of Paris.

-September 24th 1783-Congress directs General Washington to decrease the Army. The Army is disbanded except for 600 men who will guard West Point. Only one Regiment and 1 Artillery Battalion remain in the American Army.

-December 23rd 1783-George Washington officially resigns his commission and retires to private life.

-June 17th 1784- Congress authorizes the establishment of a new Regiment which is to be the beginning of the new Regular Army.

-June 3rd 1785- The U.S.S. Alliance, the solitary remaining Vessel in the American Navy is sold for scrap. Within one month, Algiers begins hostilities against the U.S., a nation without any Naval Ships.

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