Battle of the Cowshed
File:Animal Farm.jpg
Screenshot from 1954 animated film adaptation
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Canon information
Date October 12, year unspecified.
Location Animal Farm
Animalist Rebellion
Result Decisive Animalist victory
Abandonment of Jones' claim to Animal Farm.
File:Animalism flag.svg Animal Farm Manor Farm

Foxwood volunteers
Pinchfield volunteers

Snowball Jones
35 pigeons

One flock of geese
One goat
One herd of sheep
One donkey
Five cow
Three horse
10 pig
One cat
Possibly more unspecified animals

Five Manor men

Six Foxwood/Pinchfield volunteers

One dead sheep

One injured pig

One injured

This article is about the fictional battle in the novel Animal Farm. It is not to be confused with the Battle of Cowpens in the American Revolution.

The Battle of the Cowshed is a fictional battle from the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell. With events in Animal Farm mirroring those of the Soviet Union, the battle represents the allied invasion of 1918[1] and defeat of the White Russians in the Russian Civil War.[2]

At the beginning of the book, the animals of the Manor Farm succeeded in turning the farm owner, Mr. Jones, out of the farm. Humans believed that the farm wouldn't last long, but the farm worked being animal controlled.

The animals believed that the humans would try to retake the farm as foreseen by Snowball (a pig) who was the leader at the time. Indeed, on one October 12, Mr. Jones and several other men arrived and attacked the farm. Snowball sent pigeons and geese to cause disorder. In the confusion, Snowball led an attack with the sheep, Muriel, and Benjamin. They then feigned to retreat, drawing the men farther into the farm. The rest of the animal forces then appeared and cut the men off from escaping. After this, the animals charged. One of the sheep died from a shotgun blast, and Snowball was injured from the same shot. However, the men were driven off. One stable boy had been hit by Boxer, a horse, and appeared dead, but it turned out he had only been stunned and promptly fled.


This incident became known as the Battle of the Cowshed in the animals' history. The animals held a funeral for the dead sheep and declared her an "Animal Hero, Second Class". Snowball and Boxer were declared "Animal Hero, First Class". The animals found Mr. Jones' gun and kept it as a victory token to be fired on the anniversary of the Rebellion (Midsummer Day) and on the anniversary of the Battle of the Cowshed.

Before the pig Napoleon's coup d'etat, his propaganda machine would attempt to rewrite history to make Napoleon the perpetual champion and savior of the animals, i.e. saying that it is Napoleon, not Snowball, who was responsible for the victory. Snowball was eventually said to have fought on Jones' side, and the battle was said to have be won by Napoleon, according to Napoleon's propaganda.


  1. Peter Hobley Davison, George Orwell (1996), 161.
  2. Peter Edgerly Firchow, Modern Utopian Fictions from H.G. Wells to Iris Murdoch (2008), 102.

da:Slaget ved Kostalden (Kammerat Napoleon)