American Revolution Battles: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Philip McMurry

Philip has taught college history, English, and political science, and he has a doctorate in American history.

The American Revolution lasted for many years and there were many battles between American colonists and the British. Witness a handful of important battles, learn where they were fought, and who was the victor in each battle. Updated: 12/27/2021

Fighting with a Giant

Have you heard the story of David and Goliath? It is the tale of a young boy who fought and defeated a giant. Well, the United States was like a young boy taking on the giant that was the British Empire during the American Revolution, which was the war fought by the American colonists to secure their independence from Great Britain. Though the British had many advantages in this war, it was the ability of the Americans to use their knowledge of the land that helped them succeed.

It is important to note that at the time of the American Revolution, Great Britain was indeed a giant. It was one of the most powerful nations in the world. They had the greatest navy on the planet and a well-trained army. The successful British economy kept their soldiers equipped with the best weapons and supplies in existence at that time. Their military officers were experts in organizing and leading men in combat. In terms of its giant status, Britain was a true military giant.

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  • 0:04 Fighting with a Giant
  • 1:01 The Revolutionary War Battles
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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The Revolutionary War Battles

The newly formed United States didn't have any of these advantages. Its army was mostly made up of part-time militia who had only limited training. American military forces were often short on weapons and supplies, and the young nation had no real navy to speak of. However, the U.S. did have one very important advantage: the majority of the fighting took place on American soil.

In most cases, when the U.S. tried to go ''head-to-head'' with the British, things did not go well for the Americans.

There was the Battle of Brooklyn Heights (August 1776). General George Washington wanted to protect the largest city in the colonies: New York. A British force attacked the city's defenders from three different directions at once, causing the poorly trained Americans to retreat in confusion. The British then took control of New York City.

There was also the Battle of Brandywine (September 1777). The British wished to take the city of Philadelphia, which was symbolically very important. British forces were able to move much more quickly than American officers believed possible, and they caught the continental forces unprepared. Under heavy fire, the American soldiers retreated, and Philadelphia was captured.

The Americans had their greatest successes when they were able to use their expert knowledge of the territory to take the British by surprise.

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