Weird History

The Most Important Battles in US History 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated November 5, 2019 37.6k votes 4k voters 224.3k views 67 items

List Rules Vote 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. 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.
list ordered by
1
Invasion of Normandy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Normandy

Part of: Operation Overlord, World War II, Normandy Campaign

Events: Battle of Carentan, Operation Spring, Operation Martlet, Sword Beach Landings, Battle of Verrières Ridge, + more

Combatants: Netherlands, Kingdom of Greece, Nazi Germany, Free French, New Zealand

Commanders: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Omar Bradley, + more

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 ...more
2
Battle of Midway is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Midway Atoll, United States of America

Part of: Pacific War, World War II

Combatants: United States of America, Empire of Japan

Commanders: Isoroku 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
3
Battle of Gettysburg is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Pennsylvania, United States of America

Part of: American Civil War, Gettysburg Campaign

Events: Battle of Gettysburg, Second Day, Battle of Gettysburg, First Day, Anderson's assault, + more

Combatants: Confederate States of America, United States of America, Union

Commanders: George 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 ...more

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Is Gettysburg Haunted To This Day? There's Compelling Evidence That It Is Why Did The South Lose Gettysburg, The Most Decisive Battle Of The Civil War? #1 of 30 Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History

4
Siege of Yorktown is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Virginia, United States of America

Part of: American Civil War, Peninsula Campaign

Events: Battle of Lee's Mills

Combatants: Confederate States of America, United States of America, Union

Commanders: Joseph 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 ...more
5
Battles of Lexington and... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Massachusetts, United States of America

Part of: American Revolutionary War

Combatants: Province 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 ...more
6
Attack on Pearl Harbor ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States of America

Part of: Pacific War, World War II

Combatants: United States of America, Empire of Japan

Commanders: Isoroku 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, ...more

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What It Was Like To Experience The Attack On Pearl Harbor Firsthand 7 Facts That Will Challenge Everything You Think You Know About Pearl Harbor #8 of 18 Historical Events That Happen In The 'Watchmen' Universe

7
Battles of Saratoga is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
New York, United States of America

Part of: American Revolutionary War

Combatants: Kingdom of Great Britain, Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Hanau, United States of America

Commanders: Benedict 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 ...more

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#22 of 30 Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History #14 of 14 The 14 Bloodiest Battles Ever Fought On American Soil

8
Battle of the Bulge is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Ardennes, Belgium

Part of: World War II

Events: Losheim Gap, Operation Bodenplatte, Siege of Bastogne, Battle of St. Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, + more

Combatants: United States of America, United Kingdom, Nazi Germany

Commanders: George S. Patton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Josef Dietrich, + more

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 ...more

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

9
Battle of Trenton is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Trenton, New Jersey, United States of America

Part of: New York and New Jersey campaign, American Revolutionary War

Events: George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River

Combatants: Kingdom of Great Britain, Hesse, Patriot, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel

Commanders: Johann 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
Battle of Bunker Hill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Charlestown, Boston, Massachusetts

Part of: American Revolutionary War

Combatants: Province of Massachusetts Bay, Kingdom of Great Britain, Connecticut Colony, Patriot

Commanders: Henry 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 ...more
11
Battle of Iwo Jima is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Iwo Jima, Japan

Part of: Pacific War, World War II

Combatants: United States of America, Empire of Japan

Commanders: Marc 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

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#3 of 30 Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History #1 of 18 Historical Events That Happen In The 'Watchmen' Universe

12
Battle of Antietam is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Sharpsburg, Maryland, United States of America

Part of: Maryland Campaign, American Civil War

Combatants: Confederate States of America, United States of America, Union

Commanders: Robert 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
13
Vicksburg Campaign is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Vicksburg, Mississippi, United States of America

Part of: Western Theater of the American Civil War

Events: Grant's Operations Against Vicksburg, Yazoo Pass Expedition

Combatants: Confederate 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
14
Battle of Okinawa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Okinawa Island, Japan

Part of: Pacific War, World War II

Events: Cactus Ridge, The Pinnacle, Battle of Okinawa

Combatants: United States of America, Empire of Japan, United Kingdom

Commanders: Seiichi Itō, Minoru Ōta, Joseph Stilwell, Roy Geiger, Mitsuru Ushijima, + more

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 ...more

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#3 of 12 The 12 Most Consequential Final Battles In The History of Warfare #65 of 65 Naval Battles of World War II #194 of 212 List of Naval Battles

15
Guadalcanal Campaign is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

Part of: Pacific War, World War II

Events: Battle of Edson's Ridge

Combatants: Allies of World War II, Empire of Japan

Commanders: Isoroku 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 ...more
16
Battle of Shiloh is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Tennessee, United States of America

Part of: American Civil War

Combatants: Confederate States of America, United States of America, Ulysses S. Grant, Union

Commanders: Ulysses 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 ...more

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#13 of 30 Modern Photos Of The Deadliest Battles In History #8 of 14 The 14 Bloodiest Battles Ever Fought On American Soil

17
Battle of Fort Sumter is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina

Part of: American Civil War

Combatants: Confederate States of America, Union

Commanders: Robert 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 ...more
18
Battle of the Alamo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Battle of the Alamo San Antonio, Texas, United States of America

Part of: Texas Revolution

Combatants: Mexico

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 ...more

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#6 of 49 The Most Incredible Sieges of All Time #3 of 12 Historical Events You Most Wish You Could Learn About In Song

19
Capture of Fort Ticonder... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga, New York

Part of: Invasion of Canada, American Revolutionary War

Combatants: Province of Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Kingdom of Great Britain, Connecticut Colony

Commanders: Ethan 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 ...more
20
Battle of New Orleans is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Chalmette, United States of America

Part of: War of 1812

Combatants: Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands, United States of America, United Kingdom

Commanders: John Coffee, John Lambert, Edward Pakenham, Alexander Cochrane, William Carroll, + more

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 ...more
21
Tet Offensive is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Vietnam

Part of: Vietnam War

Events: Battle of Hue, Battle of Saigon, Battle of Khe Sanh

Combatants: South Korea, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Viet Cong, United States of America, + more

Commanders: William 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
22
Allied invasion of Italy... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Calabria, Italy

Part of: World War II, Italian Campaign

Events: Operation Avalanche, Operation Baytown, Operation Slapstick

Combatants: Kingdom of Italy, Canada, Italy, United States of America, United Kingdom, + more

Commanders: Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis, Mark W. Clark, + more

The Allied Invasion of Italy was the Allied landing on mainland Italy on 3 September 1943, by General Harold Alexander's 15th Army Group during the Second World War. The operation followed the ...more
23
First Battle of Bull Run... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Virginia, United States of America

Part of: American Civil War, Manassas Campaign

Combatants: Confederate States of America, United States of America, Union

Commanders: Joseph E. Johnston, P. G. T. Beauregard, Irvin McDowell

The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas, was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the city of Manassas, not far from Washington, D.C. It was the ...more
24
Battle of San Jacinto is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
JacobCuellar added Deer Park, Texas, United States of America

Part of: Texas Revolution

Combatants: Mexico

The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and ...more
25
Battle of Inchon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Battles in US History
Incheon, South Korea

Part of: Korean War

Commanders: Douglas MacArthur, Choi Yong-kun, Kim Il-sung

The Battle of Inchon was an amphibious invasion and battle of the Korean War that resulted in a decisive victory and strategic reversal in favor of the United Nations. The operation involved ...more