World Famous Wars and Battles

This page lists some of the most famous wars, battles, and commanders in European and American History between 500 B.C. and 1900 A.D. Only a few of many important wars are listed below. Much more information and many more wars are listed in the Civilization specific resources pages.

Click on red links to see Descriptions of important Wars in World History.
Click on light blue links for lists of battles. Key battles are indicated in blue.
Most of the battle summaries listed below are taken from
Harbottle's Dictionary of Battles published by Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1904.
English/American WarsAncient/European Wars
Norman Conquest ~1066     Battles       Greco Persian Wars ~500-480 B.C.     Battles      
Scottish Independence ~1300-1330     Battles       Peloponnesian War ~430-404 B.C.     Battles      
Hundred Years War ~1350-1450     Battles       Macedonian Conquest ~335-325 B.C.     Battles      
English Civil Wars ~1640-1650     Battles       Punic Wars ~264-146 B.C.     Battles      
American Revolution ~1775-1783     Battles       Caesarean Civil War ~49-45 B.C.     Battles      
War of 1812 ~1812-1814     Battles       Crusades ~1100-1250     Battles      
Texas Revolt ~1836     Battles       French Revolutionary Wars ~1792-1802     Battles      
American Civil War ~1861-1865     Battles       Napoleonic Wars ~1803-1815     Battles      

Norman Conquests — 1066 to 1106     to top

Rise of the French Normans and their Conquests in Italy and Britain.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Hastings (Invasion of France ) Normans victory
Fought October 14, 1066, a fortnight after the landing of William the Conqueror. The English, under Harold, fought entirely on the defensive, at first with success, but were at last lured from their position by a feigned flight of the Normans, and were then totally routed. Harold was among the fallen. This battle is also known as the Battle of Senlac.

Short Biography
William the Conqueror Claimed the crown of England and won it at the Battle of Hastings. Ruled forcefully but justly.
Harold Godwinson Son of Godwin. Ascended to the Saxon throne when Edward the Confessor died childless.

Hundred Years War — 1340 to 1453     to top

The Plantagenet claim to the French crown sparks a long term conflict between England and France.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Cressy (Edwardian ) English victory
Fought August 26, 1346, when a very inferior force of English under Edward III defeated the French under Philip VI. The battle is notable as being the first in which the English army was mainly composed of infantry, and as proving the powerlessness of mounted men against the English archers. The French losses were 11 princes, 1,200 knights, and 30,000 of lesser ranks, a total exceeding the whole English force.
Battle of Poitiers (Edwardian ) English victory
Fought September 19, 1356, between 8,000 English, under Edward the Black Prince, and 80,000 French, under King John of France. The English occupied a strong position behind lanes and vineyards, in which their archers were posted. The French cavalry, charging up the lanes, were thrown into confusion by the bowmen, and were then taken in flank by the English knights and men-at-arms, who completely routed them, with a loss of 8,000 killed, and numerous prisoners, including the King, The English losses were very small.
Battle of Agincourt (Lancastrian ) English victory
Fought October 25, 1415, between the French, numbering 50,000, under the Constable d'Albret, and about 15,000 English, mostly archers, under Henry V. The archers protected their front with a palisade of stakes, which broke the charge of the French men-at-arms, and the French army was routed with a loss of 10,000 slain, including the Constable and the Dukes of Alenšon, Brabant and Bar, and 15,000 prisoners, including the Duke of Orleans and Marshal Boucicaut. The English lost only 1,600, among whom were the Duke of York and the Earl of Oxford.
Siege of Orleans (Lancastrian ) French victory
This city was besieged by the English, under the Regent, the Duke of Bedford, in October, 1428. In April, 1429, a French force, 7,000 strong, under Dunois and Joan of Arc, succeeded in entering, it having been found impossible to invest the place completely. After various successful attacks on the batteries erected by the besiegers, Joan, on the 6th and 7th of May, led the garrison to victory against the English lines, and on the 8th Bedford was compelled to raise the siege.

Short Biography
Edward III Reigned for nearly 50 years. Invaded France, and won the Battles of Crecy and Calias.
The Black Prince Excellent general and leader who ruled alongside his father, Edward III. Victor at the Battle of Poitiers.
Henry V Led a victorious army of longbowmen against France at Agincourt.
Joan of Arc Led the French Army to Victory at the Siege of New Orleans. Burned at the stake by English.

Scottish Wars of Independence — 1296 to 1327     to top

Against great odds Scotland wins its independence from England.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Stirling (First ) Scots victory
Fought September 1297, between the Scots, under Sir William Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray, and the English, 50,000 strong, under the Earl of Surrey. Wallace fell upon the English army as it was crossing a narrow bridge over the Forth, and practically annihilated it. This battle is also called the Battle of Cambuskenneth.
Battle of Bannockburn (First ) Scots victory
Fought June 24, 1314, between the Scots' under Robert Bruce, and the English invaders under Edward II. Bruce's position was partly covered by a marsh, and further strengthened by pitfalls, in which the English cavalry were entrapped, and defeated with great loss. The king escaped with difficulty and the invasion was abandoned.

Short Biography
Edward I Competent and decisive king of England. Reformed government, pacified Wales and Scotland. Ruled 35 years.
William Wallace Commoner who led resistance to Edward I's conquest of Scotland.
Robert the Bruce Scottish nobleman who claimed the crown and led resistance to England at Bannockburn.

War of the Roses — 1453 to 1485     to top

Civil War in England between the Yorks and Lancasters for control of the crown.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Barnet   Yorks victory
Fought April 14, 1471, between the Yorkists under Edward IV, and the Lancastrians under the Earl of Warwick. Warwick prepared to attack the king as he issued from Barnet, but Edward came out during the night and took up a position opposite Warwick unseen. The left of the Yorkists was outflanked and beaten, but their right outflanked and defeated the Lancastrian left, and then fell upon and routed the centre. Warwick was slain. The losses on the two sides are said to have amounted in all to 1,100 killed.
Battle of Bosworth Field   Tudors victory
Fought August 21, 1485, between Richard III and Henry Duke of Richmond (Henry VII). Richmond had received a promise from Lord Stanley and his uncle that they would desert during the battle, and, after holding aloof for some time, they came over, with their followers, at a critical moment of the engagement, and Richard was routed and slain. He fought to the end, and among others who fell with him were the Duke of Norfolk and Lord Ferrers.

Short Biography
Earl of Warwick Primary figure in war of the Roses. Changed sides from York to Lancaster. Killed at Barnet.
Margaret of Anjou Ruled in stead of her weak husband, Henry VI. Led armies against Yorks. Deposed after the York victory at Hexham.
Henry VII Descendent of John of Gaunt (a Lancaster) who fought Richard the Usurper for the throne.
Richard III On death of his brother Edward IV, he killed his nephews and usurped the throne.

English Civil Wars — 1639 to 1651     to top

Civil Wars in England, Scotland and Ireland led by Parliament, which curtailed the power of the English King.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Naseby (First ) Roundheads victory
Fought June 14, 1645, between 14,000 Parliamentarians, under Fairfax, and 7,500 Royalists, under Charles I, with Prince Rupert in actual command. Rupert's first charge broke the Parliamentary left wing, but, as usual, the pursuit was carried too far, and before the cavalry returned, Cromwell on the right had turned the scale, and the battle was over. The Royalist infantry, overwhelmed by superior numbers, was almost annihilated, 5,000 prisoners, and all the artillery and munitions of war being captured.
Siege of Drogheda (Rebellion of 1798 ) Parliament victory
On September 3, 1649, siege was laid to the place by the Parliamentary army under Cromwell, the garrison of 2,500 English regulars being under Sir Arthur Aston. An assault on the 10th was repulsed, but on the 12th the town was stormed, and the garrison put to the sword. Four thousand soldiers and inhabitants, including Aston, are said to have perished.
Battle of Worcester (Third Scotland ) Roundheads victory
Fought September 3, 1651, between 12,000 Royalists, under Charles II, and about 30,000 Parliamentarians, under Cromwell. Charles attacked Cromwell's wing, and was repulsed and driven into Worcester, where he was met by the other wing of the Parliamentary army, under Fleetwood. The Royalists were utterly routed and dispersed, losing 3,000 killed, among whom was the Duke of Hamilton, and a large number of prisoners, including Lords Derby, Lauderdale and Kenmure, and five generals. Charles himself escaped with difficulty. This was the last pitched battle of the Civil War.

Short Biography
Charles II Restored to the throne after death of Cromwell. Presided over the great fire and plague of London.
Oliver Cromwell Military leader of Parliament who headed the Commonwealth government after death of Charles I.

American Revolutionary War — 1775 to 1783     to top

American colonies rebel from British rule with the help of the French.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Lexington (Boston ) drawn battle victory
Fought April 19, 1775, between the Royal troops, under General Gage, and the Americans. After a brief engagement the Americans were defeated, and retired. The losses on both sides were very small.
Battle of Bunker's Hill (Boston ) British victory
Fought June 17, 1775, when 2,000 British troops, forming a portion of General Gage's army, dislodged the Americans holding Breeds Hill and Bunker's Hill, on the outskirts of Boston. The position was stubbornly contested, the assailants losing 800 men.
Battle of Trenton (New York ) Colonists victory
Fought Dec 26, 1776 when 2400 colonists under George Washington crossed the Delaware and surprised and 1400 Hessians under Johann Rall. The battle, fought early in the morning after a snowstorm was a route. The colonists captured over 900 prisoners and lost only two.
Battle of Saratoga (Saratoga ) Colonists victory
Fought October 7, 1777, between the British, 6,000 strong, under General Burgoyne, and the Americans, under General Gates. The Americans occupied a strongly entrenched position, which was attacked by Burgoyne. After a severe encounter, the attack was repulsed at all points, and the British driven back upon their camp at Saratoga, with heavy loss, including General Fraser, mortally wounded. The Americans followed up their success by an assault upon the British camp, in which they succeeded in effecting a lodgement, and on the following day, Burgoyne withdrew, and took up a fresh position on the heights near the Hudson. On October 15, Burgoyne, surrounded by the Americans, and finding that no aid could reach him, surrendered with 5,790 men, his total losses during the campaign having amounted to 4,689.
Siege of Yorktown (Southern ) Colonists victory
The entrenched position of Lord Cornwallis, with 6,000 British troops at this place, was invested by Washington, with 7,000 French and 12,000 Americans, in September, 1781. The British held out until October 19, when, surrounded and outnumbered, Cornwallis surrendered, having lost during the operations, 12 officers and 469 rank and file, killed and wounded.

Short Biography
George Washington Leader of the Continental Army of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, and first President.
Benedict Arnold Hero of the Revolutionary War, but tragically turned traitor. He escaped to the British before discovery.
General Cornwallis British leader defeated at Yorktown in Revolutionary War. Later served as governor in India.
Lafayette French soldier who fought in American Revolution, and early leader of French Revolution.
Anthony Wayne Bold and popular Revolutionary War Hero. Well known for victory at Stony Point.

American Civil War — 1861 to 1865     to top

Northern Union defeats the Southern Confederacy

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Gettysburg (eastern ) Federals victory
Fought July 1, 2 and 3, 1863, between the army of the Potomac under General Meade, and the army of Virginia under General Lee. On the 1st, Meade's position in front of Gettysburg was attacked by A. P. Hills' corps, and the Federals driven in confusion into the town. On the 2nd, Meade took up a fresh position behind Gettysburg, where he repulsed all the Confederate attacks, though at a heavy cost. On the 3rd, Meade succeeded in driving back the Confederate left, but Lee's main attack succeeded in driving the Federals from the ridge. They rallied and retook it, but had lost too heavily to assume the offensive. Lee again offered battle on the 4th, but the Federals declined it, and Lee retired unmolested, having lost about 20,000 men in the three days. The Federal losses were about the same.
Siege of Vicksburg (western ) Federals victory
This city, held by a Confederate garrison, was invested June 24, 1862, by a fleet of 13 Federal gunboats, under Admiral Farragut, aided by a land force of 4,000 men, under General Williams. After a bombardment which made no impression on the defenses, Farragut re-embarked the troops, and withdrew, July 24. In the course of the siege Captain Brown with the Arkansas, a small river steamer, coated with iron, and carrying eight guns, attacked the Federal flotilla, which mounted 200 guns, and ran the gauntlet successfully, losing 14 men killed and wounded. The Federals lost 82.

On January 9, 1863. the city was again invested by two Federal corps, under General M'Clernand, aided by a flotilla of gunboats, under Admiral Porter. It was defended by a garrison of 3,000 Confederates, under General Churchill. On the 11th an attack by the combined forces overpowered the garrison of the fort, but the town defenses still held out, and the siege was not pressed. On May 18, the siege was renewed by three army corps of General Grant's army, the garrison being now commanded by General Pemberton. On the 22nd an unsuccessful assault cost the Federals 2,500, and a regular siege commenced, with the result that on July 4, Pemberton surrendered with 25,000 men and 90 guns.

Siege of Atlanta (atlanta ) drawn battle victory
Fought July 22, 1864, between 34,000 Federals under General Sherman, and 40,000 Confederates under General Hood during the siege of Atlanta. Sherman was able to defeat general Hoods army that was raised to defend the city, but the siege continued until September 2, 1864. Once Sherman took and destroyed Atlanta, he continued on his march to Savannah, unopposed.
Battle of Richmond (richmond ) Federals victory
In the neighbourhood of this place were fought the final actions of the war, when Lee, with the army of Virginia, endeavoured to break through the ring of Grant's troops by which he was surrounded, and being everywhere repulsed, was compelled to surrender March 8, 1865, on which date he had but 10,000 effectives under his command.

Short Biography
Robert E. Lee General of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
Stonewall Jackson Leading Confederate General of the American Civil War, especially notable at Bull Run. Died at Chancellorsville.
Ulysses Grant Commander and Chief of the Union forces in the Civil War, and President of the United States.
William Sherman American Civil War General. Marched "From Atlanta to the Sea."

Texas War of Independence — 1835 to 1836     to top

Texas rebels against the Mexican government and declares itself an independent republic.

DateBattle Summary
Siege of Alamo   Mexicans victory
On February 22, 1836, General Santa Anna, with the advance guard of the Mexican army, appeared before the walls of the Alamo, a fortified mission station held by 145 Texans under Colonel Travis, who replied to a summons to surrender by a cannon shot. On March 1 the garrison was reinforced by 30 men, Santa Anna's force at this date being 4,000. On the 6th 2,500 Mexicans assaulted the fort, and at the third attempt effected an entrance. The building was defended room by room, the church within the enclosure being the last building captured, when all the survivors were put to the sword. The victory cost the Mexicans 400 killed and many wounded. "Remember the Alamo" became the watchword of the Texans.
Battle of San Jacinto   Texans victory
Fought April 2, 1836, when the Mexican army, under Santa Anna, about 5,000 strong, was routed and almost destroyed by the Texans, under General Houston. The survivors, with Santa Anna and his staff, were taken prisoners, and Texas was freed from the Mexican yoke.

Short Biography
Davy Crockett Tennessee Frontiersman and congressman. Involved with Texas independence. Died at the Alamo.
Santa Anna Fought for Mexican independence and against Texas, then served as president on and off, over twenty turbulent years.
Sam Houston Founder of the state of Texas, and first governor.
Stephen F. Austin Helped found the state of Texas by leading 300 families to settle in the region.

Greco Persian Wars — 499 to 450 B.C.     to top

Greeks repel Persia's invasion of Greece and win freedom for Ionian colonies.

DateBattle Summary
490 BC  
Battle of Marathon (Third Invasion ) Athenians victory
Fought September 490 B.C., between the Athenians and Plataeans, 10,000 and 1,000 strong respectively, under Miltiades, and the army of Darius Hystaspes, about 100,000 in number, under Datis. Being greatly outnumbered, Miltiades altered the usual arrangement of the Greek line, so as to extend his wings across the whole width of the valley in which the battle was fought, and thus escape being outflanked. To effect this he was forced to weaken his centre, which was repulsed, but both his wings drove back the invaders, and then fell upon and routed the victorious Persian centre. The Persians fled in confusion to their ships, which they succeeded in launching, and escaped with a loss of 6,400. The Athenians lost 192 only.
480 BC  
Battle of Thermopylae (Third Invasion ) Persians victory
Fought 480 B.C., when 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians, under Leonidas, defended the pass of Thermopylae, leading southwards out of Thessaly, against the Persian host, under Xerxes. They kept the Persians at bay until a considerable force having passed the mountains by another part, they were attacked in the rear. They then retired to a hillock, and fought till the last man fell.
480 BC  
Battle of Salamis (Third Invasion ) Greeks victory
Fought 480 B.C. between the Greek fleet of 370 sail, under Themistocles, and the Persian fleet, of over 1,000 galleys. The Greeks at first hesitated to attack in face of the overwhelming numbers of the Persian ships, but an Athenian trireme, commanded by Aminias, dashed in, and being followed by the rest of the Athenians and the Aeginetans in good order, the Persians were, after a hard struggle, totally defeated, with the loss of more than half their fleet. Xerxes and his army witnessed the rout from the shores of Salamis.

Short Biography
Leonidas Spartan King whose whole army died defending the pass of Thermopylae.
Themistocles Athenian hero of the Battle of Salamis. He masterminded Athenian naval supremacy.
Xerxes Raised an enormous army for Persian invasion of Greece. Defeated at Battle of Salamis.

Peloponnesian War — 459 to 404 B.C.     to top

Civil war in Greece between the allies of Sparta and Athens

DateBattle Summary
213 BC  
Siege of Syracuse (Second-Sicily ) Romans victory
In 213 B.C. Syracuse, then in the hands of the pro-Carthaginian faction, was besieged by the Romans, 25,000 strong, under M. Marcellus, and a fleet under Appius Claudius. The city was defended by a garrison under Hippocrates. The siege is specially notable for the presence in the city of Archimedes, whose military engines played an important part in the defense, especially against the fleet. During the winter, the revolt of other Sicilian towns drew off a portion of the besiegers, and during the spring and early summer of 212, only a partial blockade could be maintained. Then however, taking advantage of a festival in the city, Marcellus stormed and captured the upper portion of the town. An attempt to force the Roman lines by a Carthaginian relieving force, under Himilco, was repulsed, and shortly afterwards the rest of the city was captured by assault.
405 BC  
Battle of Aegospotami (Sicilian Expedition ) Spartans victory
Fought B.C. 405, between 180 Athenian triremes, under Conon, and 180 Peloponnesian ships under Lysander. The Athenian fleet was lying at Aegospotami, opposite Lampsacus, where Lysander was stationed. For four days in succession the Athenian admiral crossed the straits, and endeavoured, but in vain, to bring on a general action. On the fifth day Lysander waited till the Athenians had returned to their anchorage, and then, making a sudden dash across the straits, caught them unprepared, and seized all but twenty ships, putting to death all the Athenians who were captured. This disaster destroyed the naval power of Athens, and was soon followed by the end of the Peloponnesian War.

Short Biography
Pericles Athenian statesman during Golden Age of Athens. Made Athens cultural center of Greece.
Thucydides Historian of Peloponnesian War. An Athenian general sent into exile after he failed a mission.
Alcibiades Controversial statesman and general of Athens, who betrayed the city, then returned as hero.
Lysander Spartan naval Commander who defeated Athens in Peloponnesian War.

Macedonian Conquest of Persia — 334 to 327 B.C.     to top

Alexander the Great's wars of conquest in Persia

DateBattle Summary
338 BC  
Battle of Chaeronea (Revolt of Athens ) Macedonians victory
Fought August B.C. 338 between the Macedonians under Philip, and the Athenians and Thebans under Chares and Theagenes respectively. Philip had 30,000 foot and 2,000 horse, the latter led by Alexander, then a lad of eighteen; the allies were slightly fewer in number. Philip reinforced his right wing, which was opposed by the Athenians, and sent his heavy cavalry against the Thebans, on the allied right. Their charge broke the Theban ranks, and they then attacked the Athenians in flank and rear. A hopeless rout ensued, the Theban "Sacred Band" dying where they stood. The Athenians lost 6,000 killed and 2,000 prisoners. The Thebans were almost annihilated.
334 BC  
Battle of Granicus (Conquest of Persia ) Macedonians victory
Fought May, 334 B.C., between 35,000 Macedonians, under Alexander the Great, and 40,000 Persians and Greek mercenaries, under Memnon of Rhodes, and various Persian satraps. Alexander crossed the Granicus in the face of the Persian army, leading the way himself at the head of the heavy cavalry, and having dispersed the Persian light horse, he brought up the phalanx, which fell upon and routed the Greek mercenaries. The Persians lost heavily, while the Macedonians' loss was very slight.
333 BC  
Battle of Issus (Conquest of Persia ) Macedonians victory
Fought B.C. 333, between 35,000 Macedonians, under Alexander the Great, and a vast horde of Asiatics, with 30,000 Greek mercenaries, under Darius, King of Persia. The Persians were drawn up on the right bank of the Pinatas, which crosses the plain of Issus. Alexander, led his heavy cavalry to the attack on the left, crossing the river, and routing the Persian cavalry. The phalanx in the centre was opposed to the Greek mercenaries, and after heavy fighting, the Macedonians made good their footing on the right bank. Alexander meanwhile led his squadrons against the bodyguard of Darius, who fled from the field, followed by the whole of the Asiatics, and the victory was complete.
331 BC  
Battle of Gaugamela (Conquest of Greece ) Macedonians victory
Fought October 31, 331 B.C., between 47,000 Macedonians under Alexander the Great, and the Persian army, three or four times as numerous, under Darius Codomannus. Alexander, who led the Macedonian right wing, forced a passage between the Persian left and centre, and attacked the centre on the flank. After a stubborn resistance, and though meanwhile the Macedonian left had been hard pressed, the Persians gave way, and Darius taking to flight, the whole army fled in confusion, and was routed with enormous loss, especially at the passage of the Lycas, which barred their retreat. This victory made Alexander master of Asia.

Short Biography
Philip of Macedonia Used statesmanship as well as military force to bring Greece under sway of Macedonia.
Alexander the Great Greatest general of ancient times. Conquered Persian Empire with 40,000 soldiers.

Punic Wars — 260 to 152 B.C.     to top

Wars between Carthage and Rome for control of the Western Mediterranean.

DateBattle Summary
216 BC  
Battle of Cannae (Second ) Carthagians victory
Fought August 2, B.C. 216, between 90,000 Romans under Varro, and about 50,000 Carthaginians under Hannibal. Hannibal, though outnumbered in infantry, was much superior in cavalry. The Romans were drawn up with the sea in their rear, and were attacked and broken by the Carthaginian horse. The infantry followed up the attack, and, flight being impossible, the Romans were slaughtered where they stood, 80,000 falling, including the Consul Aemilius, 25 superior officers, and 80 senators. The Carthaginians lost 6,000.
202 BC  
Battle of Zama (Second-Iberia ) Romans victory
Fought B.C. 202, between the Carthaginians, under Hannibal, and the Romans, under Scipio Africanus. The Carthaginians began to attack with their elephants, 80 in number, but some of these became unmanageable, and fell back upon the cavalry, throwing them into disorder, while the legionaries opened out and allowed the others to pass down the lanes between their ranks. The infantry then closed, and after severe fighting, the Romans gained a complete victory, 20,000 Carthaginians falling, while as many more were made prisoners. Hannibal escaped from the field at the end of the day.
152 BC  
Siege of Carthage   Romans victory
In B.C. 152 siege was laid to this city by a Roman consular army under Manius Manilius, aided by a fleet under L. Censorinus. The Carthaginian army under Hasdrubal was encamped outside the walls, and greatly hindered the operations of the Romans, who would have made little progress but for the efforts of Scipio Aemilianus, then a military tribune. In B.C. 148, Scipio was made consul, and appointed to the command, and he succeeded in completely blockading the city, which, after an obstinate resistance lasting six years, was captured B.C. 146 and razed to the ground.

Short Biography
Hamilcar Carthage's most able general in first Punic War; father of Hannibal.
Hannibal Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Regulus Captured by Carthage in first Punic war; urged Rome keep fighting at cost of his own life.
Fabius Cunctator Elected dictator to resist Hannibal; counseled delay, not direct assault.
Scipio Africanus Roman hero of second Punic War. Led armies in Spain and Africa. Defeated Hannibal at Zama.

Caesarean Civil War — 49 to 31 B.C.     to top

Civil war between triggered by Caesar's return to Rome; continuing through the early reign of Augustus Caesar

DateBattle Summary
48 BC  
Battle of Pharsalus (Caesar vs Pompey ) Caesareans victory
Fought August 9, B.C. 48, between the Pompeians, 60,000 strong, under Pompey, and Caesareans, 25,000 strong, under Caesar. The Pompeian cavalry drove back that of Caesar, but following in pursuit, were thrown into confusion by the legionaries, whereupon they turned and fled from the field; the infantry followed and the battle became a rout, in which 15,000 Pompeians, and only 200 Caesareans fell. After the battle, 20,000 Pompeians surrendered.
48 BC  
Battle of Alexandria (Alexandrian War ) Caesareans victory
Fought summer of B.C. 48 between a small force of Romans under Caesar on behalf of Cleopatra, against the Egyptian forces of Ptolemy XIII. Cleopatra's cause prevailed and her brother and rival was drowned.
42 BC  
Battle of Philippi (Second Triumvirate ) Triumvirs victory
Fought B.C. 42, between the Republicans, under Brutus and Cassius, 100,000 strong, and the army of the Triumvirs, about equal in numbers, under Octavius and Mark Antony. Brutus on the right repulsed the legions of Octavius, and penetrated into his camp. Cassius, however, was overthrown by Antony, and would have been overwhelmed but for the arrival of aid from the successful right wing. The action was renewed on the second day, when the Triumvirs were completely victorious, and the Republican army dispersed. Brutus committed suicide on the field of battle.
31 BC  
Battle of Actium (Second Triumvirate ) Octavius victory
Fought September 2, B.C. 31, between the fleet of Antony, 460 galleys, and that of Octavius, about 250 sail, but much lighter and less well manned than those of Antony. The battle was fiercely contested, with varying fortune; but at a critical moment Cleopatra ordered the Egyptian admiral to make sail, and with 60 galleys withdrew from the fight. She was followed by Antony, and his fleet, discouraged by his flight, surrendered after ten hours' fighting. The Octavians captured 300 galleys, and 5,000 Antonians fell in the action. A few days later Antony's land army of 120,000 men laid down their arms.

Short Biography
Julius Caesar Conquered Gaul, prevailed in civil war. Mastermind of Roman empire. Killed by senators.
Pompey Very renowned general. Defeated pirates. Led opposition to Caesar in civil war.
Antony With Octavius, led empire after Caesar's death. Liaison with Cleopatra caused downfall.
Augustus Caesar First emperor. Reigned for over fifty years. Established the Imperial system.
Marcus Brutus Leader of conspirators to assassinate Caesar. Committed suicide at Philippi.

French Revolutionary Wars — 1785 to 1800     to top

Wars following the French Revolution.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Valmy (Belgium ) French victory
Fought September 20, 1792, between the French, 70,000 strong, under Dumouriez, and the Prussians, under the Duke of Brunswick. The battle consisted in the main of an artillery duel, in which the French had the upper hand, and after nightfall the Prussians retired, recrossing the frontier two days later.
Battle of Bridge of Lodi (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought May 10, 1796, during Napoleon's pursuit of the retiring Austro-Sardinian army, under Beaulieu. The bridge over the Adda was defended by the Austrian rear-guard, with some 20 guns, commanding passage. Napoleon sent a force of cavalry round by a ford to take the defenders in rear, and then rushed the bridge, the stormers being led by Berthier and Massena, while Napoleon himself was in the thick of the fighting. The French loss is said not to have exceeded 400, while the Austrians lost in the action and subsequent pursuit, 2,000 killed and wounded, 1,000 prisoners, and 20 guns.
Battle of Pyramids (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) French victory
Fought July 21, 1798, when the Mameluke army, under Murad Bey, endeavoured to arrest Napoleon's march on Cairo. The Mameluke infantry, numbering about 20,000, took no part in the fight, but their cavalry, perhaps at that time the finest in the world, charged the French squares with the utmost gallantry. They were, however, repulsed time after time, with great slaughter, and were eventually driven into the Nile, where the shattered remnants escaped by swimming.
Battle of Copenhagen (Naval ) British victory
Fought April 2, 1801, between the British fleet of 20 sail of the line, besides frigates, under Admirals Hyde Parker and Nelson, and the Danish fleet of to line of battleships, aided by the shore batteries. Nelson attacked with 12 ships, Parker remaining in reserve, but three of Nelson's vessels running aground, he met the Danish line with 9 only. The Danes offered a strenuous resistance, and Parker hoisted the signal to retire, but Nelson put the telescope to his blind eye, and refused to see the signal. The action continued until the Danish fire was silenced. The British lost 1,200 men, and had six vessels seriously damaged. The Danes had one ship destroyed, and the rest of their fleet completely disabled. The result of this victory was the dissolution of the league of the Northern Powers.

Short Biography
Napoleon Victorious general who rose to power during the French Revolution. Crowned himself Emperor and restored France to greatness.
Horatio Nelson Great Naval hero of his age; victor at the Battle of the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.

Napoleonic Wars — 1801 to 1814     to top

Rise and fall of Napoleon's French Empire in Europe.

DateBattle Summary
Battle of Trafalgar (Naval Wars-4th ) British victory
Fought October 21, 1805, between the British fleet of 27 sail of the line and 4 frigates, under Nelson, with Collingwood second in command, and the combined French and Spanish fleets, numbering 33 sail of the line and 7 frigates, under Admiral Villeneuve. Nelson attacked in two lines, and destroying the enemy's formation, completely defeated them, 20 ships striking their colours. Nelson fell in the moment of victory, while the Spanish Admiral was killed, and Villeneuve captured. Most of the prizes were lost in a heavy gale which sprang up after the battle, but the destruction of Villeneuve's fleet put an end to Napoleon's scheme for an invasion of England. The British lost 1,587 killed and wounded, the losses of the allies being far heavier.
Battle of Austerlitz (Campaign of the Danube ) French victory
Fought December 2, 1805, between 50,000 Russians and 25,000 Austrians under Kutusoff, and 75,000 French under Napoleon. An attempt to turn the French flank failed, and led to the left of the allies being entirely cut off from their centre. Their left and centre were thus beaten in detail, and the right, which had at first held its own, was surrounded, and driven in disorder across a partially frozen lake, where many perished. The allies lost 20,000 killed, wounded, and prisoners, and a large number of guns. The French lost about 5,000. The battle is called the Battle of the Three Emperors, those of Russia, Austria, and France being all present with their respective armies.
Battle of Jena (Campaign of Friedland ) French victory
This name is generally given to the two battles fought October 14, 1806, by the two wings of the French army under Napoleon, at Auerstadt and Jena. At Auerstadt the Prussian left, 70,000 strong, under the Duke of Brunswick, was encountered by the French right, under Davoust, with slightly inferior numbers, and after very severe fighting, were defeated, the Duke of Brunswick being killed. Napoleon, on the left, with 100,000 men, attacked the Prince of Hohenlohe with 70,000 Prussians, and after a sternly fought engagement, drove him from the field. The two defeated armies, retiring by converging routes upon Weimar, the retreat became a rout, and Napoleon's pursuing cavalry caused them further heavy losses. The Prussians in the two actions lost 22,000 killed and wounded, 18,000 prisoners and 300 guns. Twenty generals were killed, wounded or captured. The French lost 11,000 killed and wounded, 7,000 of whom fell at Auerstadt.
Battle of Borodino (Moscow Campaign ) drawn battle victory
Fought September 5, 1812, between 120,000 Russians under Kutusoff, and the French in equal force under Napoleon. The Russians, who were entrenched in a very strong position, were attacked soon after daybreak, and their first line of redoubts was carried and held by the French till the end of the day, but the victory was far from decisive, as at nightfall Napoleon retired to his original position, leaving the Russians in possession of the field. The French lost 10,000 killed, including 8 generals, and 20,000 wounded, including 30 generals. The Russians lost about 45,000. This battle is also called the Battle of the Moskowa.
Battle of Waterloo (Hundred Days ) Allies victory
Fought June 18, 1815, between 24,000 British, and 43,500 Dutch, Belgians and Nassauers, in all 67,655 men, with 156 guns, under the Duke of Wellington, and the French, 71,947 strong, with 246 guns, under Napoleon. Wellington posted his troops along the line of heights covering the road to Brussels, with advanced posts at the farms of Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte. Napoleon attacked this position with the utmost resolution, but the British squares held their ground against the French cavalry and artillery throughout the day, and though the French captured La Haye Sainte, and obtained a footing in Hougoumont, the arrival of Blucher, with the Prussian army, on the French right, enabled Wellington at last to assume the offensive, and drive the enemy headlong from the field, utterly routed. The British lost about 15,000, the Prussians 7,000 in the battle. The losses of the Dutch and Belgians were very small, as they left the field early in the day. The French loss was never officially stated, but it was doubtless enormous, and the army practically ceased to exist as an organized force.

Short Biography
Napoleon Victorious general who rose to power during the French Revolution. Crowned himself Emperor and restored France to greatness.
Michel Ney One of Napoleon's most trusted generals and hero of many French battles. Executed for treason after Waterloo.
Horatio Nelson Great Naval hero of his age; victor at the Battle of the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.
Duke of Wellington Napoleonic war general who fought in Spain and Portugal. Defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.
Marshal Blucher Prussian Field Marshall who opposed Napoleon at Leipzig and Waterloo. (At age 72!)

Copyright © Heritage History 2014
All rights reserved