How did American colonists view the Revolutionary war?
with great trepidation
First, you have to accept that this was a civil war in every sense of the word. That means those leading the rebellion were subject to the harshest penalties under English law, death. That was easily extendible to those who followed the revolutionaries.
Next, this was more a war of middle class merchants against the English government. The common man, mostly farmers and their families, were not all that interested in who ruled them as long as they were left alone. The English infringed on this groups rights by the "quartering act" and the prohibition against their having a local armed militia.
When hostilities broke out with only a few exception, no one really knew which side most people were on. And as it turned out, a goodly number of high ranking militia officers turned out to be loyalists. Benjamin Franklin's own son, who was governor of New Jersey, was a loyalist.
And so the majority of the population found itself caught between warring factions. In the early days of the revolution there was not much hope of an eventual American victory. After each defeat, Washington experienced large numbers of his soldiers deserting.