Weird History
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The Most Important Battles in US History

Updated February 1, 2021 32.0k votes 4.3k voters 232.7k views67 items

List RulesVote simply on how impactful a given battle was to the course of US history, regardless of whether you were happy with the outcome, etc.

The most significant major battles in American history, ranked by everyone. Anyone can vote on this list, making these rankings a good way to determine how important these battles were to the development of the United States. Therefore, your votes should be based on how crucial you feel these battles were, not whether you are a fan of the outcome or how much you agree with the reasons for fighting.

The course of US history was significantly altered by each of these famous battles in American history. There may be obscure wars in US History, but these famous American battles helped the US become the country it is today, for better or worse. There's no denying that, whether or not you agree with the politics of war, these important battles were fought during some of the most important wars in history and left their mark on many countries, not just the United States. Many even rank among the most important historical events in US history, or even world history.

Bear in mind, these results are not limited to battles fought within the territory of the United States. Feel free to include any other battles that you think directly impacted the future course of events in the United States.

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    Part ofOperation Overlord, World War II, Normandy Campaign

    EventsBattle of Carentan, Operation Spring, Operation Martlet, Sword Beach Landings, Battle of Verrières Ridge

    CombatantsNetherlands, Kingdom of Greece, Nazi Germany, Free French, New Zealand

    CommandersDwight D. Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Omar Bradley

    The Invasion of Normandy was the invasion by and establishment of Western Allied forces in Normandy, during Operation Overlord in 1944 during World War II; the largest amphibious invasion to ever...  more
  • 2
    1,490
    393

    Battle of Gettysburg

    Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Part ofAmerican Civil War, Gettysburg Campaign

    EventsBattle of Gettysburg, Second Day, Battle of Gettysburg, First Day, Anderson's assault

    CombatantsConfederate States of America, United States of America, Union

    CommandersGeorge Meade, Robert E. Lee

    The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest...  more

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  • 3
    1,205
    237

    Battle of Midway

    Midway Atoll, United States of America

    Part ofPacific War, World War II

    CombatantsUnited States of America, Empire of Japan

    CommandersIsoroku Yamamoto, Chūichi Nagumo, Chester W. Nimitz, Tamon Yamaguchi, Raymond A. Spruance

    The Battle of Midway was a crucial and decisive naval battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and one month...  more

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  • 4
    952
    228

    Siege of Yorktown

    Virginia, United States of America

    Part ofAmerican Civil War, Peninsula Campaign

    EventsBattle of Lee's Mills

    CombatantsConfederate States of America, United States of America, Union

    CommandersJoseph E. Johnston, George B. McClellan

    The Battle of Yorktown or Siege of Yorktown was fought from April 5 to May 4, 1862, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War. Marching from Fort Monroe, Union Maj. Gen. George B....  more
  • 5
    669
    159

    Battles of Saratoga

    New York, United States of America

    Part ofAmerican Revolutionary War

    CombatantsKingdom of Great Britain, Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Hanau, United States of America

    CommandersBenedict Arnold, John Burgoyne

    The Battles of Saratoga marked the climax of the Saratoga campaign giving a decisive victory to the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War. British General John Burgoyne led a...  more
  • 6
    860
    241

    Battles of Lexington and Concord

    Massachusetts, United States of America

    Part ofAmerican Revolutionary War

    CombatantsProvince of Massachusetts Bay, United Kingdom

    The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay,...  more
  • 7
    906
    334

    Attack on Pearl Harbor

    Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

    Part ofPacific War, World War II

    CombatantsUnited States of America, Empire of Japan

    CommandersIsoroku Yamamoto, Chūichi Nagumo

    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The...  more

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  • 8
    758
    263

    Battle of the Bulge

    Ardennes, Belgium

    Part ofWorld War II

    EventsLosheim Gap, Operation Bodenplatte, Siege of Bastogne, Battle of St. Vith, Elsenborn Ridge

    CombatantsUnited States of America, United Kingdom, Nazi Germany

    CommandersGeorge S. Patton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Josef Dietrich

    The Battle of the Bulge was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end...  more

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    #40 of 49 The Most Incredible Sieges of All Time#7 of 7 Pivotal Battles of World War 2 (European Front)

  • 9
    651
    218

    Battle of Trenton

    Trenton, New Jersey

    Part ofNew York and New Jersey campaign, American Revolutionary War

    EventsGeorge Washington's crossing of the Delaware River

    CombatantsKingdom of Great Britain, Hesse, Patriot, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel

    CommandersJohann Rall, George Washington

    The Battle of Trenton was a small but pivotal battle during the American Revolutionary War which took place on the morning of December 26, 1776, in Trenton, New Jersey. After General George...  more
  • 10
    588
    219

    Battle of Bunker Hill

    Charlestown, Boston

    Part ofAmerican Revolutionary War

    CombatantsProvince of Massachusetts Bay, Kingdom of Great Britain, Connecticut Colony, Patriot

    CommandersHenry Clinton, William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe

    The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775, during the Siege of Boston in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. The battle is named after the adjacent Bunker Hill, which was...  more
  • 11
    534
    208

    Battle of Antietam

    Sharpsburg, Maryland

    Part ofMaryland Campaign, American Civil War

    CombatantsConfederate States of America, United States of America, Union

    CommandersRobert E. Lee, George B. McClellan

    The Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, particularly in the South, fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek as part of the Maryland...  more
  • 12
    475
    173

    Vicksburg Campaign

    Vicksburg, Mississippi

    Part ofWestern Theater of the American Civil War

    EventsGrant's Operations Against Vicksburg, Yazoo Pass Expedition

    CombatantsConfederate States of America, Union

    The Vicksburg Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War directed against Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fortress city that dominated the last...  more
  • 13
    657
    293

    Battle of Iwo Jima

    Iwo Jima, Japan

    Part ofPacific War, World War II

    CombatantsUnited States of America, Empire of Japan

    CommandersMarc Mitscher, Holland Smith, Graves B. Erskine, Tadamichi Kuribayashi, Alexander Vandegrift

    The Battle of Iwo Jima was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces landed and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The...  more
  • 14
    466
    220

    Guadalcanal Campaign

    Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

    Part ofPacific War, World War II

    EventsBattle of Edson's Ridge

    CombatantsAllies of World War II, Empire of Japan

    CommandersIsoroku Yamamoto, William Halsey, Jr.

    The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by Allied forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and...  more
  • 15
    455
    173

    Battle of Okinawa

    Okinawa Island, Japan

    Part ofPacific War, World War II

    EventsCactus Ridge, The Pinnacle, Battle of Okinawa

    CombatantsUnited States of America, Empire of Japan, United Kingdom

    CommandersSeiichi Itō, Minoru Ōta, Joseph Stilwell, Roy Geiger, Mitsuru Ushijima

    The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and included the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War during World War II. The 82-day-long...  more

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  • 16
    354
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    Battle of Shiloh

    Tennessee, United States of America

    Part ofAmerican Civil War

    CombatantsConfederate States of America, United States of America, Ulysses S. Grant, Union

    CommandersUlysses S. Grant, P. G. T. Beauregard, Don Carlos Buell, Albert Sidney Johnston

    The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6-8, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union...  more
  • 17
    381
    200

    Battle of Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter, Charleston

    Part ofAmerican Civil War

    CombatantsConfederate States of America, Union

    CommandersRobert Anderson, P. G. T. Beauregard

    The Battle of Fort Sumter was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern...  more
  • 18
    304
    160

    Capture of Fort Ticonderoga

    Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga

    Part ofInvasion of Canada, American Revolutionary War

    CombatantsProvince of Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Kingdom of Great Britain, Connecticut Colony

    CommandersEthan Allen, Benedict Arnold, William Delaplace

    The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga occurred during the American Revolutionary War on May 10, 1775, when a small force of Green Mountain Boys led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold overcame a...  more
  • 19
    329
    183

    Battle of New Orleans

    Chalmette, United States of America

    Part ofWar of 1812

    CombatantsIndigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands, United States of America, United Kingdom

    CommandersJohn Coffee, John Lambert, Edward Pakenham, Alexander Cochrane, William Carroll

    The Battle of New Orleans was a series of engagements fought between December 24, 1814, through January 8, 1815, and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American combatants, commanded by...  more
  • 20

    Part ofPacific War, World War II

    EventsInvasion of Tulagi

    CombatantsAllies of World War II, Empire of Japan

    CommandersDouglas MacArthur, Thomas C. Kinkaid

    The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces from the United...  more
  • 21
    502
    325

    Battle of the Alamo

    San Antonio, Texas

    Part ofTexas Revolution

    CombatantsMexico

    The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo...  more
  • 22
    165
    67

    Part ofWorld War II, Italian Campaign

    EventsBattle of Gela, Operation Ladbroke, Battle of Troina, Operation Fustian, Operation Chestnut

    CombatantsAllies of World War II, Kingdom of Italy, Axis powers, Nazi Germany

    CommandersGeorge S. Patton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Harold Alexander

    The Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky, was a major World War II campaign, in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis Powers. It was a large scale amphibious and airborne...  more
  • 23
    184
    85

    Part ofAmerican Revolutionary War

    CombatantsEarly modern France, Kingdom of Great Britain

    CommandersFrançois Joseph Paul de Grasse

    Decided the American Revolution, allowed the Siege of Yorktown. A rare strategic defeat for the Royal Navy.
    The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the...  more
  • 24
    211
    109

    Battle of Fort McHenry

    Baltimore, Maryland

    Part ofWar of 1812

  • 25
    376
    238

    Part ofVietnam War

    EventsBattle of Hue, Battle of Saigon, Battle of Khe Sanh

    CombatantsSouth Korea, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Viet Cong, United States of America

    CommandersWilliam Westmoreland, Vo Nguyen Giap

    The Tet Offensive was one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War, launched on January 30, 1968 by forces of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam against the...  more