Soldiers of the Continental Army lithograph by Henry Alexander Ogden, 1897. Courtesy Library of Congress.
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
April 18-19, 1775 - Battles of Lexington
Troops: Patriot Militia 77; British 400.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Patriot Militia 18; British 1.
Paul Revere's ride on the night of the 18th to warn the patriots of the oncoming British soldiers leads to the first battle of the war of Revolution one day later. Once confronted, the Continental Army engages in a small battle or skirmish before retreating.
April 19, 1775 - Battle of Concord/Retreat to Boston
Troops: Patriot Militia 400, End of Battle 3,500; British 100, End of Battle 1,500.
Casualties (Killed/Wounded/Missing): Patriot Militia 75; British 299.
British soldiers continue to Concord, destroying supplies and cannon before defeat at the North Bridge by four hundred patriot militia. British retreat in a tactical withdraw to Boston, harrassed by an increasing number of militia from other town. Tactical american victory leading to a siege of Boston until March 17, 1776.
May 10, 1775 - Capture of Fort Ticonderoga
Troops: Patriot Militia 168; British 78.
Casualties: Patiot Militia 2; British (all captured).
Green Mountain Boys under Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold capture the New York State fort, plus Fort Crown Point and Fort Saint-Jean during the next week. Armanents are transferred to fortify the siege at Boston, eventually forcing their withdraw from the city.
June 17, 1775 - Battle of Bunker Hill
Troops: Continental Army 2,400; British 3,000.
Casualties: Continental Army 450; British 1,054.
British attempt to occupy the hills (Bunker and Breed's) surrounding Boston Harbor during the siege of Boston, but encounter a constructed redoubt by the Continental forces. Three assaults led to a British victory when the Continental soldies ran out of ammunition. However, casualty losses for the British were high, causing caution approaches to front assaults in the future.
September 17 to November 3, 1775 - Siege of Fort Saint-Jean, Quebec
Troops: Continental Army 1,850-2,350; British 832.
Casualties: Continental Army 20-100, 900 sick; British 43, 700 captured.
Continental Army returns to the fort with troops under Robert Montgomery and begin a siege against the reinforced fort. British defend fort until nearby Fort Chamby falls on October 3, and reinforcements are thwarted from arriving. Lack of food and supplies causes surrender; surrender leads to the fall of Montreal to the Continental Army without a fight ten days later.
November 19-21, 1775 - First Siege of Ninety-Six, South Carolina
Troops: Continental Army 560; British 1,900.
Casualties: Continental Army 13; British 24.
First major conflict in South Carolina of the war ends in stalement when Loyalists withdraw first, followed by the Patriots, who wished to sieze a shipment of gunpowder and ammunition sent to the Cherokee, but taken by the Loyalists. Battle would lead to additional battles to rid the area of Loyalists.
December 9, 1775 - Battle of Great Bridge (Chesapeake), Virginia
Troops: Continental Army 861; British 409.
Casualties: Continental Army 1; British 62-102.
Continental Army repulses attack across Great Bridge by Governor Lord Dunmore and British loyalists, causing the departure of the Governor and control of Virginia early in the war for Federal sympathizers.
December 31, 1755 - Battle of Quebec
Troops: Continental Army 1,200, including militia; British 1,800.
Casualties: Continental Army 84, 431 captured; British 19.
Heavy losses for Continental troops occur in first major defeat of the war. General Montgomery is killed. Benedict Arnold wounded.
Note: Photo above: Image of the Battle of Lexington, Amos Doolittle. Date unknown, late 1700s, early 1800s. Image courtesy Library of Congress. Casualty and troop strength numbers from Wikipedia Commons via various sources.