Grade 5.17 Describe the major battles of the American Revolution

Focus Question: How did each battle affect the course of the war for the Americans as well as the British troops?

For more on the Revolutionary War, see USI.4 and USI.5

Multimedia.pngClick 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.


Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775)

The battles of Lexington and Concord 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.
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.
Paul Revere's Ride

Massachusetts_state_seal.pngBattle of Bunker Hill: June 17, 1775

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.


The Battle of Saratogatook 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.

Valley Forgewas 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 would 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. To learn more, see Valley Forge Encampment: A Winter of Suffering from the National Park Service.

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.