Battles leading to the Revolutionary War

Main

The Battles of Lexington and Concord

4/19/1775

Where: Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
When: 4/19/1775
Importance: The British found out the colonists were stockpiling weapons and ammo. Their orders were to secure them. They marched from Boston, but ahead of them Paul Revere and William Dawes rode to warn the colonists. The battles were short with few British but several American casualties. The Americans removed the weapons before the British could find them. The British returned to Boston, but along the way they were ambushed by the militia (Minutemen) where almost 200 were killed or wounded. The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.

Americans:
49 killed,
39 wounded,
5 missing

Great Britian:
73 killed,
174 wounded,
53 missing

Battle of Bunker Hill

6/17/1775

Where: Charlestown, Massachusetts.
When: 6/17/1775
Importance: Gen. Prescott held control of the hill overlooking Boston. From there he could maintain control of Boston Harbor. The British could not allow that, so they charged the hill. They were repelled twice, but on the third charge they took the hill because the Americans were low on bullets. Many British casualties, but the British won. This battle showed how serious both sides were. “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes”.

United Colonies:
115 killed,
305 wounded,
30 captured (20 POWs died)
Total: 450

Great Britian:
226 killed,
(including 19 officers)
828 soldiers wounded,
(including 62 officers)
Total: 1,054

Battle of Quebec

12/31/1775

Where: Quebec City
When: 12/31/1775
Importance: The Americans were led by Arnold and Morgan. They wanted to break British control of the land and get help from French Canadians in the war. Arnold’s tactics failed and he was wounded. Morgan was captured along with 400 Americans. This was America’s first defeat of the war.

United Colonies:
about 50 killed
34 wounded
431 captured

Great Britain:
5 killed
14 wounded

Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge

2/27/1776

Where: Near Wilmington.
When: 2/27/1776
Importance: Col. Moore led a Patriot force against Col. McLeod’s Loyalist force. The British were counting on using loyalist forces to help them fight the war. NC was known for its large number of loyalists, so the British hoped to establish a base here. Moore’s utter defeat of the loyalists caused the British to change their plans and stay away from NC for almost 4 years.

Americans:
1 killed,
1 wounded[1] 30–50 killed or wounded

British:
850 Loyalists were captured by Patriot forces after the battle and over the next few days.[1]

Battle of Trenton

12/26/1776

Where: Trenton, New Jersey.
When: 12/261776
Importance: This battle followed the victory of the Battle of Trenton (Washington crossing the Delaware). Washington tricked Cornwallis into thinking he was attacking his full army. Washington sent Gen. Mercer with some troops to attack Cornwallis at Princeton. Cornwallis defeated this group and captured Mercer. The British thought this was Washington and brutally executed him. The real Washington showed up in time to rally the troops and push the British out of NJ. A great morale victory for America.

American's:
2 dead (of exposure during march)
5 wounded[3]
Additional non-combat casualties likely, see Casualties section

Great Britian:
22 killed
83 wounded
896 captured

Battle of Princeton

1/2/1777

Where:Princeton, New Jersey
When: 1/2/1777
Importance: This battle followed the victory of the Battle of Trenton (Washington crossing the Delaware). Washington tricked Cornwallis into thinking he was attacking his full army. Washington sent Gen. Mercer with some troops to attack Cornwallis at Princeton. Cornwallis defeated this group and captured Mercer. The British thought this was Washington and brutally executed him. The real Washington showed up in time to rally the troops and push the British out of NJ. A great morale victory for America.

American's:
25-44 killed
40 wounded

British:
18-100 killed
58-70 wounded
194-280 captured[5

Battle of Brandywine

9/11/1777

Where: Present day West Chester, Pennsylvania.
When: 9/11/1777
Importance: Benedict Arnold wanted to command, but had to share command with Ethan Allen. The Green Mountain Boys (militia) would only follow Allen. They sneaked into the fort and called the sleeping officers out of their quarters. When the commander saw them, he surrendered the fort. The cannons were taken to Boston to defend the city.

American's:
Total: 1,300
300 killed
600 wounded
400 captured

Great Britian:
Total: 587
93 killed
488 wounded
6 missing

Battle of Saratoga

10/17/1777

Where:9 miles south of Saratoga, New York.
When: 10/17/1777
Importance: Clinton and Burgoyne had a plan to divide the American forces. Clinton would go north from NYC and Burgoyne would come south from Canada. They would meet in Albany and cut off New England from the rest of the colonies. Burgoyne was a vain man. He had many wagon loads of his own personal clothes, food, wine, etc. It took him weeks to travel through the wilderness with so many wagons giving the Americans time to prepare for his arrival. Burgoyne was defeated and many British soldiers and supplies were captured. This victory convinced the French to openly support American Independence.

American's:
9,000 (first battle)[1]
over 12,000 (second battle)
over 15,000 (at time of surrender)

British:
7,200 (first battle)
6,600 (second battle)

Battle of Savannah

9/16/1779

Where: Savannah Georgia.
When: 9/16/1779
Importance: Gen. Howe (from NC) was greatly outnumbered. He was unable to defend his position and was forced to retreat to SC. The British commanded by Campbell lost very few soldiers, but captured almost 500 Americans.

American's:
244 killed,
584 wounded,
120 prisoners
Total:
948

British:
40 killed,
63 wounded,
52 missing
Total:
155

Battle of Charlestown

3/29/1780

Where: Charleston, South Carolina.
When: 3/29/1780
Importance: Clinton took personal command of British forces. He positioned troops and ships around the city and cut off all supplies and information. The American Southern Army eventually surrendered. This was the WORST defeat for the Americans of the entire war.

American's:
452 (22 killed, 50 wounded, 382 captured)

British:
61 (40 killed and wounded, 21 captured)

Battle of Camden

8/16/1780

Where: North of Camden, South Carolina.
When: 8/16/1780
Importance: Cornwallis faces Gates. This is an serious American defeat. This was almost the end of the American Army in the South. Gates is stripped of his command.

Great Britian:
69 killed
245 wounded
11 missing

American's:
900 killed and wounded
1,000 Captured

Battle of Charlotte

9/26/1780

Where: Charlotte, North Carolina.
When: 926/1780
Importance: Cornwallis had divided his army and sent some to the west to suppress support for the Patriots. He led a smaller army against Gen. Davie (William R.). Cornwallis eventually drove Davie back. Some of Cornwallis’ men were attacked by bees during a battle where beehives were overturned. Cornwallis later said that “Mecklenburg Co. was a hornet’s nest of rebellion”.

American's:
6 killed

Great Britain:
12 killed
47 wounded

Battle of King's Mountain

10/7/1780

Where: Kings Mountain, South Carolina.
When: 10/7/1780
Importance: Ferguson and some loyalists travelled the countryside of western NC & SC threatening that if anyone helped the Patriots, their houses and barns would be burned, women and children would be killed. This angered the colonists so much, that a militia formed (called Over Mountain Men). They attacked Ferguson’s army and killed him and many of his men, They urinated on Ferguson’s body before they buried him.

Patriot Militia:
29 killed
58 wounded

Britain:
290 killed
163 wounded
668 captured

Battle of Cowpens

1/17/1781

Where: Cowpens, South Carolina
When: 1/17/81
Importance: Tarleton had followed Morgan’s troops north. Morgan set up camp and waited for Tarleton to arrive. Tarleton arrives and sets up camp, but attacks the next day without giving his men a chance to rest. This is a decisive American victory because Tarleton underestimates Morgan’s men and leadership.

American's:
25 killed
124 wounded

Great Britain:
110 killed
200 wounded
712 captured
2 guns lost

Guilford Courthouse

3/15/1781

Where: Greensboro, North Carolina.
When: 3/15/1781
Importance: Greene allowed Cornwallis to chase him. Cornwallis kept dividing his army, sending men to try to flank Greene. Greene travelled into Va, then turned south and charged back toward Cornwallis. Cornwallis was unprepared and only had ¼ of his army. Cornwallis suffered heavy losses. Greene retreated to protect his army, giving Cornwallis a technical victory.

American's:
79 killed
185 wounded
75 wounded prisoners
971 missing

Great Britain:
93 killed
413 wounded
26 missing or captured

Battle of Yorktown

10/19/1781

Where: Yorktown, Virginia.
When: 10/19/1781
Importance:
Cornwallis was surrounded and trapped on a peninsula. Washington came from the north, Greene from the south, and the French Navy had him blocked from escaping by sea. Cornwallis surrendered and this loss convinced GB to end the war.

American's:
88 killed
301 wounded

Great Britain:
142–309 killed;
326–595 wounded prisoners;
7,416–7,685 captured