Special Report

Most Disastrous Battles in US History

One of the most difficult facts that the American military must face is that it has not won a major war since WWII. Korea is generally considered a draw. Vietnam was certainly a loss. The long-term evaluation of America’s involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq – though it’s impossible to say they were U.S. victories.

Even in wars that are won, there are military disasters. The most famous of these is Pearl Harbor. And, wars that are lost are often a string of disasters, one after another. See, for instance, the Vietnam War and the Tet Offensive in early 1968 was the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in the region. 

24/7 Wall St. consulted numerous military, historical, and general interest websites to compile a list of disastrous U.S. battles, spanning almost 175 years, from the Revolutionary War through the Korean War. We made choices based on the magnitude of the disaster itself, and how it affected the course of the war in which it was fought. In some cases, the U.S. (or specifically the Union Army in the case of Civil War battles) was ultimately the victor in the engagement but suffered catastrophic losses in the course of winning. (These are the deadliest battles in U.S. history.)

Click here to see the most disastrous battles in U.S. history

Note that casualties aren’t necessarily deaths. In military parlance, casualties are those killed, wounded (whether or not they subsequently die of their wounds), taken prisoner, or listed as missing. 

The causes of military disasters often fall into two categories: those due to bad planning before a battle is even fought and those caused by mistakes made by military leaders once the conflict has started. This list includes examples of both. (Win or lose, these are the most pivotal battles that made American what it is today.)

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