The Top 10 Most Important Battles in the Revolutionary War

As we take a look back many years ago to the War that gained Independence from British rule for the United States, we realize that every battle and skirmish had importance. The goal in today’s post is to provide a studied opinion of what we consider to be the top 10 most important battles in the Revolutionary War.

There are a wide variety of opinions about this subject. I will provide my reasoning as to why I put each battle within this top 10 list. If you disagree, or agree for that matter, we would love to hear your opinion. You will find the comment section at the end of this article.

Scroll down now and see the the top 10 most important battles during the Revolutionary War. These are in no particular order.

1: The Battles of Lexington and Concord.

This was the first military battle during the Revolutionary War. This was essentially one battle broken into many segments. It was fought throughout Middlesex County in Massachusetts. The British had been given orders to destroy supplies the rebel militia had stored in Concord. The patriots had received word of this action and had moved their supplies to other locations. Shots were fired before the Redcoats reached Concord, but the Rebels were outnumbered, so the British made it to Concord, but they did not find the supplies. They had to return under heavy gunfire. They only made it to Charlestown. This is when the siege of Boston started. Leaders during this Patriot victory were:


  • Francis Smith

  • John Pitcairn

  • Hugh Percy


  • John Parker

  • James Barrett

  • John Buttrick

  • William Heath

  • Joseph Warren

  • Isaac Davis

2: The Battle of Bunker Hill.

The city of Boston is on a peninsula. Both Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill were prime locations during the siege of Boston. Boston had been controlled by the British, and the Patriots had a goal of taking the city back. The Patriots had gained control of both hills. The Redcoats knew that they must capture these hills back, so they attacked. It took them a total of 3 attacks to finally take Bunker Hill. The Patriots lost the battle, but the British lost many lives. If the Patriots would have held these hills, the war may have ended much sooner. Key leaders in this battle were:


  • William Howe

  • Sir Robert Pigot

  • James Abercrombie

  • Henry Clinton

  • Samuel Graves

  • John Pitcairn


  • Israel Putnam

  • William Prescott

  • Joseph Warren

  • John Stark

3. The Battle of Quebec.

The Patriots held this Northern city for quite some time. British forces knew they had to have it and they made their attack. They overwhelmed the Americans. It was a major victory for the British, and we often wonder how much of Canada would be the United States if the Patriots would have successfully defended Quebec. This battle drew much support from leaders in France. The leaders during this British victory were:


  • Guy Carleton

  • Allen Maclean


  • Richard Montgomery

  • Benedict Arnold

  • Daniel Morgan

  • James Livingston

4: Battle of Fort Sullivan.

Charleston, South Carolina was an important commerce center for the Americans to bypass British taxing structures. As a stronghold for the Patriots, the British knew that to capture Charleston would hurt the Patriot’s attempt at freedom. Landing on Long Island (Long Island off South Carolina; not New York), the British planned to attack the Fort on Sullivan Island. The British attempted to come at them by land and sea, but the Patriot defenses were too strong. The Patriots held them off and killed many British Soldiers. The leaders were:


  • Peter Parker

  • Henry Clinton


  • William Moultrie

5: The Battles of Saratoga.

In a move that seemed like a virtual chess game, British forces had a strategy in which they would divide the New England colonies from the Southern allies. British General John Bugoyne moved his troops Southward from Canada, while he assumed other troops were moving Northward. At the first battle of Saratoga, at Freeman’s Farm Burgoyne’s troops ran havoc over the Patriots. Looking back, it seems the Patriots were sacrificing a pawn for the ultimate goal. Patriots realized Burgoyne’s goal and the 2nd Saratoga Battle turned out much different. Burgoyne’s troops were surrounded at the Battle of Bemis, and he finally had to surrender after heavy casualties. Leaders during these two battles were:


  • John Burgoyne

  • Simon Fraser

  • Friedrich Adolf Riedesel


  • Horatio Gates

  • Benedict Arnold

  • Benjamin Lincoln

  • Enoch Poor

  • Ebenezer Learned

  • Daniel Morgan

6: The Battle of Wyoming or The Wyoming Massacre.

The British had seen that with France becoming allies with the Patriots, they were losing, but they would not give in so easily. The British realized they could befriend the natives of the land. Using Loyalists, they gained warriors from the Iriquois Indian Nation. The Loyalists and Indians attacked the Wyoming valley in Pennsylvania. It was devastating as they scalped Patriots alive. Many Patriots died that day and the realization that the majority of Iriquois had sided with the British changed the course of the war. General George Washington did attempt to lure native Americans to the Patriot side. Leaders in this battle were:


  • John Butler

  • Chief Sayenqueraghta

  • Chief Cornplanter


  • Zebulon Butler

  • Nathan Dennison

  • George Dorance

7: The First Battle of Savannah.

The Southern part of the United States was holding the Patriots together. The British knew they had to step on the Southern pride and rebelliousness. They planned to attack the city of Savannah. It was a wise choice and harmed the Patriots. The Continental Army tried to hold this city, but the 3,100 troops that the British sent were too strong. The Brits took Savannah that day. If the British were losing the war, they gained ground with this victory. Leaders of this battle were:


  • Archibald Campbell


  • Robert Howe

8: The Battle of Stony Point.

Stony Point was a key area in crossing the Hudson River. With the British in control of this fort, General George Washington had troops scattered in surrounding areas, and he viewed the fort through his telescope and devised a plan. It would be a nighttime attack. Washington put his best leader in charge of this daring move. It worked when Washington chose the great Anthony Wayne in leading this attack! The Patriots took Stony Point which is just 30 miles away from New York City. This turned the tide against the British, and many think that Stony Point was the move that won the war for independence. The leaders were:


  • Henry Johnson


  • Anthony Wayne

9: The Battle of Baton Rouge.

Not one Patriot fought in this battle, but it was a key battle in clearing the Mississippi River of British troops. Spain had joined France in allying with the Patriots. Seeing that the British controlled this important city, the Spanish forces attacked and took Baton Rouge. While not many died, it gave an important stop to British movement along the Mississippi. As was seen later on, the Spanish did have ulterior reasons in doing this. They wanted a large part of the new land for themselves. The leaders of this battle were:


  • Alexander Dickson


  • Bernardo de Gálvez

10: Battle of Delaware Bay.

This battle showed the British that the American Patriots could also use a smaller force of boats to defeat a superior naval force. When British ships attacked the group of three Patriot ships that were escorting supply ships to port, the Americans reacted. Three American Privateers defeated a highly superior British Naval force that consisted of one frigate, one brig and one sloop-of-war. If the British would have won this battle, the war may had carried on for a much longer time. The leaders in this engagement were:


  • Christopher Mason

  • Josias Rodgers


  • Joshua Barney

Final Words

As I stated at the first part of this article, all the battles during the Revolutionary War were important. It is these ones that I believe turned many tides on the outcome of the war.

The British went on to win many battles, but with other nations such as France and Spain drawing them into battles away from the mainland United States, they were overwhelmed. They had to give up the mainland United States just to keep from losing in many other zones.

When you use your search engine and find the opinions of others, you will find a large contrast in what I stated. I researched this article in depth. My opinion does not coincide with many others, and I would be more than willing to undertake them in a game of chess.

The Revolutionary War was a game of chess, and the American Patriots forced the British to knock their King over and resign the game. We often wonder what this country would be like if the English Monarchy still ruled.

I am curious about each and every thought and opinion on this subject. What battles in this war do you feel were the most important? Please comment below and give your thoughts. The Revolutionary War was the key to the freedoms we all hold dear. Use your freedom of speech now and tell us your thoughts.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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