<Standard 5.16.......................................................................................................Standard 5.18>

Describe the major battles of the Revolution and explain the factors leading to American victory and British defeat.

major battles.jpg
Visual of where the major battles were fought.

Topics on the Page
  • Lexington and Concord (1775)
  • Battle of Bunker Hill (1775)
  • Saratoga (1777)
  • Valley Forge (1777-1778)
  • Yorktown (1781)
African Americans during the Revolution
  • First Rhode Island Regiment
Women during the Revolution
  • Sybil Ludington
  • Margaret Corbin
  • Betsy Dowdy

rotating gif.gifFor more on the Revolutionary War, see United States History I.4 and I.5

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis 1781 (French Engraving, 1784)
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis 1781 (French Engraving, 1784)

Focus Question: How did major battles impact the course of the war for American and British troops?

external image 200px-Hebrew_timeline2_rus.svg.pngClick here for a Revolutionary War timelinefrom the National Park Service.


external image Red_apple.jpgClick here for a Lesson Plan on Emanuel Leutze's famous painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, with a podcast narration from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

game_icon.svg.pngMission US: A Revolutionary Way to Learn History from Channel 13 and PBS is a multimedia project featuring free interactive adventure games set in different eras of U.S. history.
  • The first game, Mission 1: "For Crown or Colony?," puts the player in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printer's apprentice in 1770 Boston.

primary_sources.PNGLink to the national archives of pictures from the Revolutionary ones. Includes a lot of great images of prelude to war, victory in the south, important figures, and shots from both perspectives.

Massachusetts_state_seal.pngBattles of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775)external image North_Bridge_Fight.jpeg

The battles of Lexington and were the first major battles of the Revolutionary War and were known as "the shot heard round the world." This was the first time American and British troops met in battle. The British had planned to move into Concord to seize American troops' military supplies.

The Battle of Lexington and Concord: Who Fired the First Shot?

primary_sources.PNGHowever, the American troops were expecting the British after having been warned by Paul Revere (see Paul Revere's Midnight Ride, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). It was a decisive, yet unexpected victory for the American troops.

Biography of Isaac Davis
Isaac Davis was a Puritan Gunsmith and the elected Captain of Acton's Company of Minutemen during the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Due to his trade, his company was the best equipped unit among the American forces and were therefore placed at the front lines. Davis was among the first to die in the battle.

Massachusetts_state_seal.pngBattle of Bunker Hill: June 17, 1775

external image Battle_of_bunker_hill_by_percy_moran.jpg
The Battle of Bunker Hill was another Massachusetts battle. It was in the village of Charlestown on June 17, 1775.
  • The battle wasn't fought on Bunker Hill but on Breed's Hill which was a neighboring hill.

external image Red_apple.jpgClick here for a lesson plan on the Battle of Bunker Hill from the National Park Service.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.33.19 AM.pngShort clip summarizing the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Valley Forge

Valley Forge was a decisive battle in the war that took place in the Pennsylvania area know as Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78.
  • General George Washington and his troops had to camp at the site for the whole winter. That winter was very harsh with little food or shelter for all the troops.
  • The British gave up trying to advance into the camp and returned to Philadelphia.
external image Washington_and_Lafayette.jpg
Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.33.19 AM.pngHistory Channel Special on Valley Forge

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 4.03.33 PM.pngExcerpts from the Diary of a Surgeon at Valley Forge

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 11.31.08 AM.pngConditions at Valley Forge


  • Yorktown was the last major battle in the American war for freedom. The battle started in August of 1781. General Cornwallis of Britain wanted to make the village of Yorktown, VA a navel base. On Oct. 19th 1781 General Cornwallis surrendered to the American forces at Yorktown.

game_icon.svg.pngLiberty! The Road to Revolution is an interactive game for students to test their knowledge of the Revolution from PBS.

Other Key Revolutionary War Battles

  • The Battle of Saratoga took place in upstate New York in 1777. During the battle the British tried to take over three locations that had American troops. This however failed causing one major branch of the British army to give up.

Rotating_globe-small.gifAfrican Americans during the Revolution

Crispus Attucks
Crispus Attucks

Go here information on the contributions of African Americans, including the 5000 Blacks who served in the Continental Army and Black seamen who served on ships during the war.

rotating gif.gifSee United States History I.4 and Grade 3.5 for information about African Americans and the Revolutionary War.

Image to the right shows a facsimile of the Marquis de Lafayette's original certificate commending James Armistead's service on behalf of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Armistead was a highly effective double agent spy during the war.

external image Marquis_de_Lafayette_James_Armistead_Lafayette.jpeg
external image Beautiful_red_apple.jpgAfrican Americans during the American Revolution--Teacher Reference Sheet from Colonial Williamsburg (2006).

First Rhode Island Regiment
The Almost Forgotten. . . First Rhode Island Regiment, a colonial military unit soldiers that included several companies of all-Black soldiers. It unit also included Native American soldiers fighting for the colonial side.

external image 200px-Hebrew_timeline.svg.pngFor a complete timeline from the American Revolution to the present day, see African Americans in the U.S. Army.

List of Famous African Americans who served during the American Revolution

Female_Rose.pngWomen and the Revolutionary War

Margaret "Molly" Corbin's gravesite historical marker, U. S. Military Academy Cemetery.
Margaret "Molly" Corbin's gravesite historical marker, U. S. Military Academy Cemetery.

rotating gif.gifGo to Grade 5.18 for more on women's participation in the Revolution.

Statue of Sybil Ludington.  Photo on Wikimedia Commons by Anthony22.
Statue of Sybil Ludington. Photo on Wikimedia Commons by Anthony22.

Women's Service with the Revolutionary Army an essay from Colonial Williamsburg discusses the roles of women, including women soldiers, during the war.

Margaret Corbin

Biography icon for wiki.pngMargaret Cochran Corbin was the first woman to receive a military pension.

Quill_and_ink.pngSybil Ludington

10 Amazing Women of the Revolutionary War, including Sybil Ludington, known as the female Paul Revere who at 16 years-old rode through the Connecticut countryside the warn settlers of the arrival of British troops.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 11.29.04 AM.pngSybil's Night Ride. Karen B. Winnick, Calkins Creek, 2009. A picture book recounting the event

Betsy Dowdy

American Patriot and Paul Revere of North Carolina

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 11.29.04 AM.pngThe Ride: The Legend of Betsy Dowdy

Other Revolutionary War Women

Clandestine Women: Spies in American History--The American Revolution from the National Women's History Museum.

More information on women involved in the Revolutionary war efforts. Including Abigail Adams and Betsy Ross.
200px-Podcast-icon.pngClick here for an NPR interview with Cokie Roberts on her children and young adult book, Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies.

Go here for information on Catharine Littlefield Greene, wife of General Nathanael Greene and collaborator with Eli Whitney in the invention of the cotton gin.

See also Revolutionary War Women

  • This is a resource that offers historical information in regards to the contribution of many incredible women during the American Revolution.

Image IDs from left to right

1. Battle at the North Bridge Wikimedia Commons, "North Bridge Fight".
2. Battle of Bunker Hill Wikimedia Commons, "Battle of bunker hill by percy moran".
3. Valley Forge Wikimedia Commons, "Washington and Lafayette".