American Revolution Timeline - Major Battles
For seven years from 1775-1783, battles were waged around the eastern seaboard of the United States, a revolution among the citizens of America, the nascent United States of America, against the British Empire, colonies rising up against the tyranny of their oppressors and seeking freedom. Led by George Washington in battles fought from New England to the Carolinas, it would be a war of liberty, of men fighting for their homeland, of a nation being born. Many of these battles have been shortchanged in the annuls of history; some unknown in the areas where they were fought, but at the end of a decade, a new nation would be hatched from the bravery of the men and women of the American Revolution. The battles listed below are considered the major battles of the American Revolution by the staff of americasbesthistory.com, some protected by National Park Service sites, state parks, and others still to be protected.
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- Battle Timeline
March 11, 1778 - Battle of Barbados
Troops: Continental Army 1 frigate, 1 brig; British 1 ship.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Continental Army 301 plus frigate, 1 captured; British 17.
USS frigate Randolph is sunk by British ship HMS Yarmouth while escorting American ships in the West Indies. Largest loss of American lives in a Naval battle during the war and up until the loss of the USS Arizona in 1941 at Pearl Harbor.
March 18, 1778 - Battle of Quinton's Bridge, New Jersey
Troops: Continental Army 300; British 1,200.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Continental Army 30-40; British 1.
Minor attack beginning the campaign of 1778 when British trap New Jersey militia in a fake retreat.
May 1, 1778 - Battle of Crooked Billet, Pennsylvania
Troops: Continental Army 300-500; British 800.
Casualties: Continental Army 34, 58 captured; British 7.
British under Colonel Simcoe launch a surprise attack on sleeping Pennsylvania militia west of Philadelphia during the British occupation of the city.
May 21, 1778 - Battle of Barren (Lafayette) Hill, Pennsylvania
Troops: Continental Army 2,200; British 16,000.
Casualties: Continental Army 3; British 0.
Washington sends Lafayette from Valley Forge. camp to check British intention half way to Philadelphia. British discover movement, surround the troops, but Lafayette retreats on a small road back to camp.
May 25/30, 1778 - Mount Hope Bay Raids, Rhode Island
Troops: Continental Army/Militia 500/40; British 500 plus frigate/100-150.
Casualties: Continental Army 0, 70 captured during two raids; British 18, plus 2 captured.
British and Hessian soldiers from Newport land between Bristol and Warren, destroy property, towns, boats, and supplies meant for Continental plans against Newport.
May 30, 1778 - Battle of Cobleskill, New York
Troops: Continental Army 45-60; British 200-300, including Iroquois.
Casualties: Continental Army 30, 5 captured; British 25.
One of the first raids by Loyalists and Indian forces against western American settlements. Would prompt Sullivan Expedition next year.
June 28, 1778 - Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey
Troops: Continental Army 11,000; British 14-15,000.
Casualties: Continental Army 399; British 358.
With French support now on the side of the Continental Army and a French fleet on the way, British abandon Philadelphia on June 18 without a fight; Washington follows from Valley Forge, catches up to the main British force, and attacks the rear guard. Lead elements of the attack by the Continental Army fails, but Washington rallies his troops and forces Cornwallis to withdraw. Although a draw by military terms, it proved the effectiveness of the new training of troops at Valley Forge.
July 3, 1778 - Wyoming Massacre, Pennsylvania
Troops: Continental Army/Militia 360; British 110, Indians 464.
Casualties: Continental Army 340, 5-20 captured; British/Indians 11.
Recruited to engage a frontier war on the western edge of the colonies, Loyalists and Iroquois (Seneca) forces loyal to the British engage the Connecticut militia, killing and torturing many prisoners and escaping soldiers once the contest had been won. In all, 340 of 360 patriot combatants were killed. State of Wyoming is named after this battle.
July 27, 1778 - Battle of Ushant, English Channel
Troops: French (allies to Continental Army) 32 ships; British 29 ships.
Casualties: French 539; British 1,196.
First major naval battle of the Anglo-French War coincides with French support for the American Revolution. Diversion of resources to theatres of the Anglo-French cause significant problems with the British holding off Continental forces over the next three years. Battle itself indecisive.
August 29, 1778 - Battle of Rhode Island
Troops: Continental Army/Allies 10,100; British 6,700.
Casualties: Continental Army 211; British 261.
First cooperation between French and Continental forces is thwarted at the Siege of Newport and followed by an engagement several days later during the Continental withdraw from its siege lines. After the battle, a British victory, the American forces left Aquidneck Island (Newport) in British control.
September 7, 1778 - Siege of Boonesborough, Kentucky
Troops: Continental Army/Allies 165-175; British/Indian Allies 456.
Casualties: Continental Army/Allies 6; British/Indian Allies 37.
Shawnee leader Blackfish, allied with the British and desiring the eviction of settlements from their hunting grounds, had captured Daniel Boone several months prior. Boone escaped on June 16, leading the settlers/patriots against the Shawnee siege of ten days despite reservations of his allegiance. Siege failed and the Shawnee dispersed.
October 15, 1778 - The Affair at Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey
Troops: Continental Army/Militia 50; British 250.
Casualties: Continental Army/Militia 30-50, 5 captured; British 6.
One of a series of raids (such as the Battle of Chestnut Neck one week earlier) by British troops to tamp down harassment of British ships in the area. Attack became a massacre when British killed American forces while they slept.
November 11, 1778 - Cherry Valley Massacre, New York
Troops: Continental Army/Militia 250; British/Loyalists/Indians 521.
Casualties: Continental Army/Militia 44, captured 41; British/Allies 5.
Frontier aspect of the war in the second half of 1778 continues when a combination of British loyalists, soldiers, and Indian allies attack and massacre an unprepared mixture of militia and settlers. Many non-combatants were killed and captured, and the brutal aspect of the frontier battles, including Cherry Valley, would lead to retaliation during the Sullivan Expedition.
December 29, 1778 - Battle of Savannah, Georgia
Troops: Continental Army 850; British 3,100.
Casualties: Continental Army 94 plus 453 captured; British 24.
Opening move in British southern stategy begins with invasion by Lt. Colonel Archibald Campbell and British forces dispatched from New York City against Patriot militia and army units. Lightly defended forces flanked and the city of Savannah fell to the British.
Note: Photo above: Molly Pitcher firing a cannon at the Battle of Monmouth, painting by Percy Moran, 1911. Courtesy Library of Congress. Casualty and troop strength numbers from Wikipedia Commons via various sources.