There had been little military activity in the south since the British attack on Charleston had been repulsed in 1776. Southerners had seen action, but only if they fought with the Continental army in the north. The widening of the war with the Franco American alliance of 1778 forced the British to reevaluate their strategy and limit their objectives. The British turned to the south, believing that there they could reclaim colonies for the Crown. They achieved a great measure of success. The American Revolutionary cause saw dark days in 1779 and 1780.