The British Take Savannah

Clinton waited before dispatching an expeditionary force to the south. He wanted to be certain that Washington would not make a move against New York City. He also prudently marked time until Admiral d'Estaing's fleet left Boston for the West Indies. Had either Clinton or his superiors in London thought more deeply about the implications of d'Estaing's presence, they might not have sent an army south. The British did not have the power to prevent French fleets from operating off the American coast. British armies in America remained dependent upon supplies brought in by sea. Potentially a French fleet could cut off a British army. In fact, such a catastrophe would happen to the British in 1781, with disastrous consequences. The habits born of long-term naval supremacy kept the British from recognizing the danger inherent in their new strategy.

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