Test Your Knowledge of America’s Famous War Heroes

By: Julia | Published: Apr 02, 2024

In the last few centuries, the United States has seen many great war heroes come and go. From the American Revolutionary War to World War II, these men and women have changed the course of history through their bravery, intelligence, and courage.

Do you believe you know all there is to know about legendary American war heroes? Test your own knowledge of America’s greatest war heroes with this quiz. 

Before the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which began the American Revolutionary War, who rode by horse to warn American Minutemen that the British forces were approaching “by sea”?

  • A) Charles Lee
  • B) John Hancock
  • C) William Dawes
  • D) Paul Revere
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An 1885 engraving depicting the Battle of Lexington during the American Revolution.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Answer:

Paul Revere

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A 1900s painting by Grant Wood that shows Paul Revere’s ride around town.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

This general is best known for his work in the Revolutionary War. However, he got his start during the French and Indian War, where he first commanded troops. Who is this American war hero?

  • A) Thomas Jefferson
  • B) Benjamin Franklin
  • C) Alexander Hamilton
  • D) George Washington
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An old painting depicting a ship battle between American and British forces during the Revolutionary War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Answer:

George Washington

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Gilbert Stuart’s famous portrait painting of George Washington.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Which future United States president was one of the leaders of the Rough Riders, an all-volunteer U.S. Army unit, during the Spanish-American War?

  • A) Thomas Jefferson
  • B) Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • C) Teddy Roosevelt
  • D) William McKinley
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A photo of a group of men known as the Rough Riders after a successful Battle of San Juan.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Teddy Roosevelt

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An old portrait photograph of Theodore Roosevelt.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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During the Vietnam War, which U.S. Senator was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese, becoming a POW and enduring torture before he was released?

  • A) Mitt Romney
  • B) John McCain
  • C) George W. Bush
  • D) Beau Biden
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U.S. soldiers running to a helicopter during the Vietnam War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

John McCain

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A black and white photo of John McCain in a hospital bed after being a POW during the Vietnam War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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During the Civil War, Union Admiral David Farragut was attacking Mobile, Alabama when he was warned that the area was full of mines, which were then called torpedoes. What was the admiral’s response to this warning?

  • A) Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
  • B) Damn the torpedoes! Find another way around!
  • C) Damn the torpedoes! Attack by land!
  • D) Damn the torpedoes! We’ll go through them!
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A portrait photograph of Union Admiral David Farragut during the Civil War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

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A statue of David Farragut seen underneath a clear blue sky.

Source: David Washington, DC/Wikimedia Commons

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What famous quote is said to be the last words of James Lawrence, the captain of the USS Chesapeake, after he was mortally wounded during the War of 1812?

  • A) I have no doubt but we shall succeed in this great struggle for national rights and independence. 
  • B) It’s a trap!
  • C) We have met the enemy and they are ours.
  • D) Don’t give up the ship!
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An old engraving of James Lawrence’s death during the War of 1812.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Don’t give up the ship!

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A painting of James Lawrence.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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This French aristocrat greatly helped the American rebels during the Revolutionary War — even though he wasn’t American. Who was he?

  • A) Charles De Gaulle
  • B) John Laurens
  • C) Marquis De Lafayette
  • D) Alexander Hamilton
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An early 1900s painting of the Battle of Lexington during the Revolutionary War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Marquis De Lafayette

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An 1800s Joseph-Désiré Court painting of Gilbert Motier the Marquis De La Fayette.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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The Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War saw Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, commander of the 20th Maine regiment, run out of ammo. What did Chamberlain and his regiment do to try to throw back the Confederates?

  • A) Conduct a sneak attack
  • B) Try to halt the battle
  • C) Stop for the day, to resume tomorrow
  • D) A bayonet charge
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A painting depicting the Battle of Gettysburg by Thure de Thulstrup.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

A bayonet charge

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An old portrait photograph of Joshua Chamberlain during the Civil War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Texas rebels gained their independence from Mexico in 1836. Who was the Texas leader from this time who later served as the President of Texas and a U.S. Senator?

  • A) Andrew Jackson
  • B) Sam Houston
  • C) David Crockett
  • D) James Knox Polk
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An 1800s painting by Henry Arthur McArdle depicting the Battle of San Jacinto.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Sam Houston

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A portrait photograph of Sam Houston.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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During World War II, the 101st Airborne Division became trapped behind enemy lines during the Battle of the Bulge. When the Germans requested their surrender, what did Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe say in response?

  • A) Surrender? Attack!
  • B) Over my dead body.
  • C) You’d like us to surrender, wouldn’t you?
  • D) Nuts!
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Two rows of soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division walking out of a town in the snow during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Nuts!

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A portrait photograph of Anthony McAuliffe in the 1950s.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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In World War II, a future famous Hollywood actor managed to stop a German advance in 1945 all by himself. To do this, he climbed atop an impaired tank destroyer while using a .50 caliber machine gun. Who was this Medal of Honor hero?

  • A) James Stewart
  • B) Audie Murphy
  • C) Charlton Heston
  • D) Marlon Brando
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Actresses Patricia Morison and Merle Oberon posing with World War II soldiers.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Audie Murphy

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Audie Murphy in a 1950s black and white movie still.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Many Civil War heroes got their start in the Mexican-American War. Which future Confederate general was a heavily promoted officer and scout during the Mexican-American War?

  • A) Stonewall Jackson
  • B) Jefferson Davis
  • C) George B. McClellan
  • D) Robert E. Lee
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A painting depicting a battle during the Mexican-American War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Robert E. Lee

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An 1800s sepia photo of Robert E. Lee.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Both Confederate and Union leaders gained a lot of knowledge during the Mexican-American War. Before they became foes on opposite sides of the Civil War, which Union general and future president worked alongside his Confederate enemies such as Robert E. Lee?

  • A) Andrew Johnson
  • B) Ulysses S. Grant
  • C) Rutherford B. Hayes
  • D) James A. Garfield
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A black and white engraving depicting a battle during the Mexican-American War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Ulysses S. Grant

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A black and white photo of Ulysses S. Grant.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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During the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant was tasked with capturing a city on the Mississippi River. If the Union captured this city, they would successfully cut the Confederacy in half. What was this city?

  • A) Gettysburg
  • B) Raymond
  • C) Champion Hill
  • D) Vicksburg
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A portrait photograph of Ulysses S. Grant.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Vicksburg

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An engraving by George W. Peters showing the Confederate Army in Vicksburg.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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What historically famous last-stand battle resulted in the death of frontiersman Davy Crockett, as well as many Texas rebels a part of a garrison?

  • A) The Battle of the Alamo
  • B) The Battle of Agua Dulce
  • C) The Battle of San Jacinto
  • D) The Battle Of Coleto
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A portrait painting of David Crockett.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

The Battle of the Alamo

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A 1903 painting by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk of the Battle of the Alamo.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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When a British ship asked John Paul Jones, a naval captain during the Revolutionary War, if he wanted to give up and surrender, what was John Paul Jones’ response?

  • A) I think I’ll have you surrender instead!
  • B) What do you mean, surrender?
  • C) I have not yet begun to fight!
  • D) In your dreams.
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A 1900s painting by Cecilia Beaux of John Paul Jones.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

I have not yet begun to fight!

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A 1700s artwork of John Paul Jones by Jean-Michel Moreau.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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This war hero led the 10th Cavalry, also known as the “Buffalo Soldiers”, during the Spanish-American War. He also chased Pancho Villa, the Mexican guerilla fighter. Eventually, this hero would then lead U.S. armies in France throughout World War I. Who was this American hero?

  • A) John Pershing
  • B) George Catlett Marshall, Jr.
  • C) George S. Patton
  • D) Douglas MacArthur
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An 1800s photograph of many soldiers in the Spanish-American War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

John Pershing

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A 1923 black and white photo of John Pershing.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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African-American servicemen could only serve in segregated units throughout World War II. Which of these African-American squadrons achieved the most successful combat records of any of the other U.S. Army Air Corps squadrons?

  • A) Red Tails
  • B) Gold Squadron
  • C) Tuskegee Airmen
  • D) Grim Reapers
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An old black and white photo of the Tuskegee Airmen in front of a plane during World War II.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Tuskegee Airmen

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The Tuskegee Airmen sitting and standing around planes while talking.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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In World War I, the Germans gave the U.S. Marines what nickname during the Battle of Belleau Wood?

  • A) Ferocious Dogs
  • B) Devil Dogs
  • C) Flying Devils
  • D) Strong Ones
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Shell-torn trees after World War I’s Battle of Belleau Wood.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Devil Dogs

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A 1900s painting depicting the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War II by Frank Schoonover.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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At the start of World War II, the Japanese successfully pushed the U.S. and General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines. What famous promise did MacArthur make after this?

  • A) I shall return.
  • B) I shall return and have vengeance.
  • C) I will destroy you.
  • D) I will wait — and then, I will attack.
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General Douglas MacArthur in 1945 in Manila.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

I shall return.

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General Douglas MacArthur seen in 1945 in a black and white photo.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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What famous quote is attributed to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman?

  • A) War is profitable.
  • B) War is necessary.
  • C) War is hell.
  • D) War is terrible.
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A portrait photograph of William Tecumseh Sherman during the Civil War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

War is hell.

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A Civil War era photograph of William Tecumseh Sherman.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Who is best known for being a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape to freedom, yet also for being a spy for the Union behind Confederate lines during the Civil War?

  • A) Frederick Douglass
  • B) Harriet Tubman
  • C) Sojourner Truth
  • D) John Brown
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An 1893 painting by Charles T. Webber of the Underground Railroad.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

Harriet Tubman

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An old portrait photograph of Harriet Tubman.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Before the United States joined World War II, some Americans took part in the overseas fighting by joining the “Flying Tigers,” which was an all-volunteer American fighter pilot squadron that fought against the Japanese. What country did these American volunteers fight for?

  • A) Brazil
  • B) China
  • C) South Korea
  • D) India
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An old picture of the Flying Tigers squadron during World War II.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

China

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A WWII-era photograph showing a Chinese soldier standing guard in front of Flying Tigers planes.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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The Union Army eventually allowed black soldiers to fight in the Civil War, which resulted in these troops forming their own fighting units. What all-black unit became well-known thanks to its attack at Fort Wagner on the Confederate Army?

  • A) 61st Alabama Infantry
  • B) 54th Massachusetts Infantry
  • C) 101st Louisiana Regiment
  • D) 1st South Caroline Infantry
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An 1800s painting of the storming of Fort Wagner during the Civil War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

54th Massachusetts Infantry

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A 1943 mural by Carlos Lopez of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry during their Fort Wagner battle in the Civil War.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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What famous World War II Army general was considered a well-dressed, very aggressive, and determined leader with a sailor’s mouth, who also had a popular Hollywood film created about him?

  • A) George W. Bush
  • B) George S. Patton
  • C) Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • D) Douglas MacArthur
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George Patton sitting alongside other military leaders during World War II.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

George S. Patton

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A colorized portrait photograph of George S. Patton during WWII.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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