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In 2277, NCR forces defeated Caesar's Legion during the Battle of Hoover Dam. The NCR has held Hoover Dam since then but the Legion has not made it easy for them.Fallout: New Vegas loading screen

The First Battle of Hoover Dam is the name of the first offensive mounted by Caesar's Legion against New California Republic forces stationed at Hoover Dam in 2277.[5]


With the discovery of the Hoover Dam by Ulysses,[6] Caesar focused the Legion on taking it, as a symbolic Rubicon to be crossed on the way to conquering the republic, while conquering the city of New Vegas for his "Rome." His army of enslaved tribes undertook preparations for the battle, which included deep raids on NCR territory by small groups of skirmishers and sabotage campaigns by the frumentarii.[7]

After three years of occupying the Mojave, the NCR still had a tenuous grasp on the region, in no small part due to skirmishes with local tribes and the dramatic Operation: Sunburst, which broke the Brotherhood of Steel strength in the Mojave. These problems were further amplified by weak supply lines: the delivery of a package from Navarro to The Divide activated the nuclear missile silos in Hopeville and Ashton, triggering their launch. The resulting cataclysmic event literally tore the earth apart, turning the entire region into a killing zone. Reinforcements and traders could no longer take the 127 to reach Vegas.[8][9][10]

As such, the Legion has faced a severely weakened NCR force at Hoover Dam. To further exploit this weakness, Caesar launched flanking attacks against Camp Golf[11] and other NCR outposts along the Colorado River, although the bulk of the Legion's forces was focused on the dam itself.


The Legion, under the Malpais Legate, opted for a direct attack. After the first contact was made and casualties manifested on both sides, General Lee Oliver ordered his troops back to the middle of the dam. Graham responded by pushing all his forces onto the dam, raw recruits upfront, veterans at the back, in accordance with the Legion military doctrine.[12]

Oliver's entrenched troops put up fierce resistance, refusing to give a single foot to the enemy. With the Legionaries halted, the sharpshooters of First Recon and the New California Republic Rangers were given the order by Hanlon to pick off Legion veteran officers. After a minute of such an attack, with officer casualties mounting and chaos sown among the front ranks, Graham ordered the rear guard veterans to push through to the front and rush the ridge, where the sharpshooters were located.[12][13]

This move caused further chaos among the younger legionaries and a total breakdown in the chain of command. Oliver's troops fell back to the side walkways, letting the veterans pass through to the ridge. By the time the legionaries reached the ridge, the sharpshooters were already in Boulder City. The veterans pursued them, but when they reached Boulder City, First Recon and Rangers already pulled out.[12] The entire city was a trap, filled with explosives. The blast killed most of the legionaries within, while those that did not die, were in no shape to defend themselves. Without officers, the legionaries at the dam were disorganized and disoriented, which allowed NCR forces to rout them. The legate withdrew the remaining legionaries and retreated back to Caesar.[12][13][14]



When Graham returned to Caesar, the latter had no choice but to punish him, to show that failure will not be tolerated, even at the highest levels. The praetorian guards were ordered to cover Graham in pitch, set him ablaze, and throw the ex-legate into the Grand Canyon. The sentence was carried out.[15] Graham was replaced by the brutal Legate Lanius,[16][17] who temporarily changed the focus of the Legion, expanding eastwards to claim further tribes for Caesar, before another attempt at taking Hoover Dam would be made.[18] Despite the defeat, the Legion continued to harass NCR forces on both sides of the Colorado River, eventually securing its eastern bank for themselves, after the Battle of Willow Beach and Arizona Spillway. However, it was not until 2282, five years later, that the strengthened Legion, bolstered with 14 additional conquered tribes, attempted to conquer the dam, Vegas, and Mojave again during the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.[19][20]

New California Republic[]

BC Memorial

The Rangers lured the best of Caesar's Legion into Boulder City before laying the town to ruin.[21] However, it came at a cost, as the battle and subsequent explosion claimed the lives of over 104 soldiers and Rangers. Some of the dead deliberately chose sacrifice: Private Kowalski's elder brother held the Legion back to allow for the wounded to be evacuated.[22][21] Another group (Ranger Teresa Lutz, Private Jeffery Hui, and Corporal Marcus Christensen) were blocked by advancing Legion troops, deciding to held off as many legionnaires as possible before the detonation.[23] Despite the losses, the victory was celebrated throughout the Republic, although many of the fallen were not recovered from the ruins, preventing a proper burial.[Non-game 1]

To honor the dead, a memorial was placed at the entrance to Boulder City.[Non-game 1][3] Each of the fallen are listed by name and rank on the side facing the Colorado River, while the inscription and the insignia of the Army and the Rangers are carved into the side facing New California.

On this spot in the year 2277, rangers and soldiers of the New California Republic turned back the forces of Caesar's Legion during the Battle of Hoover Dam. Over one hundred men and women gave their lives on Nevada soil to defend local civilians and the principles of the Republic. May this humble stone be an enduring memorial to their valor and sacrifice.Boulder City Memorial

Rangers received credit for the battle's success, a fact that irritates General Lee Oliver and affected his choice of strategy for the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.[24][25]

The NCR missed its opportunity to destroy the Legion completely at Hoover Dam: If the Republic would've pursued Caesar's army, the aftermath could have been even worse for Caesar. The Divide disaster and ensuing destruction of NCR units and supply routes passing through it limited the ability to reinforce, and NCR military command decided against pursuit.[8]


The First Battle of Hoover Dam is mentioned in Fallout: New Vegas and its add-on Honest Hearts.


  1. The Courier: "What was your rank?"
    Arms merchant: "Staff sergeant, Third Platoon, Bravo Company. I was at the Dam when the Legion hit us, three years back. That was a shitstorm, and don't let anybody tell you different. The brass try to play it down, but most of them were back at McCarran."
    (Arms merchant's dialogue)
  2. The Courier: "How did the NCR defeat the Legion at Hoover Dam before?
    Lucius: "We had the numbers, but not the tactics. I know - I was there at Boulder City when we were defeated. We relied too much on veteran Legionaries for direction and leadership, and the Rangers exploited our weakness by killing our best from afar."
    (Lucius' dialogue)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Boulder City Memorial
  4. The Courier: "Tell me about the Burned Man."
    Vulpes Inculta: "Ah, yes - we are forbidden from speaking his true name. He was a shaman of some kind before he met Caesar, a holy man from out of the Utah. The Burned Man proved dangerous, unpredictable, and impossible to kill. He helped Caesar form the Legion but almost led it to destruction."
    (Vulpes Inculta's dialogue)
  5. Fallout: New Vegas loading screen: "In 2277, NCR forces defeated Caesar's Legion during the Battle of Hoover Dam. The NCR has held Hoover Dam since then but the Legion has not made it easy for them."
  6. Ulysses' final message
  7. The Courier: "On the High Road, you mentioned NCR and Legion fought here... before and after the Divide?"
    Ulysses: "The two-headed Bear made its claim, dug its claws into the trail you made. For once, it seemed like it might succeed - cut a route to the Mojave. Couldn't let NCR stay in the Divide. Trade route, road the military could use... can't have two roads into the Mojave. Not after the work we'd done to cut off New Canaan, other routes, killing caravans... all we'd done to make the West bleed."
    (Ulysses' dialogue)
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Courier: "I'm guessing you don't like Caesar very much."
    Joshua Graham: "Love the sinner, hate the sin. With Caesar, it's often very difficult to see through all of that sin to the person inside. I can say that we were both lucky that NCR's supply lines and land routes north of Mojave Outpost were destroyed before the Battle of Hoover Dam. Something bad happened near Death Valley, at a place called the Divide. NCR couldn't cut across anymore and it slowed down their reinforcements. Terrible storms ripped entire companies apart before they even got to Nevada soil. The aftermath of Hoover Dam could have been even worse for Caesar."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  9. The Courier: "The Divide blocked all of their northern land routes?"
    Joshua Graham: "Not all of them. But they couldn't take 127 north to get around the mountains. As if Death Valley weren't enough, they had the Divide and Big Empty to deal with. From what the Legion's explorers reported, the Big Empty may as well have been a wall to any living thing approaching it."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  10. The Courier: "What's at the Divide?"
    Joshua Graham: "I don't know for certain, and I don't think NCR knows, either. Whatever happened at the Divide was too much for them to handle. Our frumentarii told us what they saw. Only fools and madmen would march into a place like that. All roads wind down to the same spot, the grave. They said all that's left there is a gaping wound cut into the Earth, cursed and damned. No place for God-fearing folk."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  11. The Courier: "What was Camp Golf like?"
    Craig Boone: "It was on the front line for a while. The only resort in New Vegas no one wanted to get sent to. Doesn't have that kind of importance anymore, though. They pulled most of the troops out of there after we took the Hoover Dam."
    (Craig Boone's dialogue)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 The Courier: "So what happened at Hoover Dam and Boulder City?"
    Hanlon: "In big battles, Caesar deploys his legionaries in waves. Recruits up front, prime soldiers behind the recruits, old guard bringing up the rear. Opponents wear themselves out dealing with the first two waves if they survive that long. When the veterans step up, there's not much fight left. Caesar can adapt, though, and when required, he can run any mix of legionaries as skirmishers and still retain order in the ranks."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "Joshua Graham, Caesar's old legate, he's wasn't so flexible. When the Legion attacked Hoover Dam, General Oliver ordered his troopers back to the middle ground just after the first contact. Graham pushed all of the legionaries onto the dam, filling the east side with recruits up front and veterans in the back, by the book."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "But once they were in, they were stuck there. Oliver's troopers were entrenched and wouldn't give a foot. That's when we ordered the rangers and 1st recon sharpshooters to start picking off veteran legion officers from a high ridge west of the dam. That only lasted about a minute before Graham ordered the back ranks to push through to the front and rush the ridge."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "Caused total chaos among the younger legionaries, and Oliver's troopers fell back to the side walkways and stayed out of the veterans' way. By the time the veterans got to the ridge, we were already in Boulder City. They followed us down there, but we were out before they realized what was happening."
    The Courier: [Continue]
    Hanlon: "We had packed the old city with C4 and dynamite. Crude, but it did the job. Those who didn't die in the blast were in no position to mount a defense. The ones left on the dam didn't know what to do. The troopers routed them. Graham pulled the remaining legionaries back, but the battle was over. He went south, back to the Grand Canyon, back to Caesar. And that was the last we saw or heard from Joshua Graham."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Courier "Tell me about the first battle."
    Alex Richards: "The Legion attacked in full force. Chief Hanlon had the troopers fall back pulling the enemy in, before entrenching into secure positions. The Legion got bogged down and Rangers and 1st Recon sharpshooters started taking out the Legion officers. They sent their best men to stop the Rangers and 1st Recon, but the Rangers pulled them into a trap at Boulder City and blew them all to hell. After that the Legion's forces were in disarray and tried to retreat. However, our forces advanced rapidly and routed them. And that was that."
    (Alex Richards' dialogue)
  14. Fallout: New Vegas loading screens: "At the Battle of Hoover Dam, the tide turned for the NCR when Rangers and First Recon sharpshooters lured Caesar's soldier into the booby-trapped ruins of Boulder City."
  15. The Courier: "What happened to Graham after Hoover Dam?"
    Hanlon: "Losing the dam was the worst defeat the Legion ever suffered. Graham had been with Caesar since the beginning, but he had to set an example. The praetorians covered Graham in pitch, lit him on fire, and down into the Grand Canyon he went."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)
  16. The Courier: "Are you the Legion's second-in-command?"
    Lucius: "No, Legate Lanius is Caesar's second. The Legate replaced the Burned Man after the Legion's defeat at the Dam several years ago."
    (Lucius' dialogue)
  17. The Courier: "Are you the Legion's second-in-command?"
    Lucius: "Legate Lanius has not chosen anyone to be his second yet. It would be an honor to be selected, though."
    (Lucius' dialogue)
  18. The Courier: "Move forward? The Legion spent years trying to take Hoover Dam."
    Lanius: "[SUCCEEDED] Hoover Dam has never seen the massed strength of the East. Only Legates such as Graham... who deserved the fire Caesar blessed him with. Now I am here, and make markers of your people as the Legion carves its way West."
    (Lanius' dialogue)
  19. Events of Fallout: New Vegas
  20. The Courier: "Who is this Legatus you mention?"
    Vulpes Inculta: "Legatus Lanius, Monster of the East! Quite a man, if man he be. Caesar prides himself on selecting the right tool to overcome each new obstacle. In Lanius, he found his hammer. He's never been defeated in battle. 14 tribes have laid down arms at his boots. Another five, rendered extinct. His latest campaign in the wilds of the Utah has concluded, and he is en route. When he arrives, your doom arrives with him."
    (Vulpes Inculta's dialogue)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Private Kowalski: "It commemorates the Battle of Hoover Dam. The rangers lured the best of Caesar's Legion into Boulder City, then blew the whole town up. The NCR still lost a bunch of troops in the fighting, though. My older brother sacrificed himself so they could evacuate some of the wounded."
    (Private Kowalski's dialogue)
  22. Fallout: New Vegas message box transcriptions; Boulder City Memorial
  23. Ranger holodisk message
  24. The Courier: "But you're inventing your own intelligence reports. I've seen the logs and talked to the rangers."
    Hanlon: "You have, have you? Misdirection. When you're pinned down, outnumbered, and two days from any help, it's just about the best friend you can have. Misdirection's what's saved me all these years. It's what saved us at Hoover Dam. But it's been five years now and Caesar's right across that lake. He's closer now than he ever was before. I was a young man once. I know what it's like to want to fight for your home, but this isn't it."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)
  25. The Courier: "What will you do if I don't turn you in?"
    Hanlon: "Oliver can't stand that rangers got credit for victory at Hoover. Whatever I recommend, he does the opposite. I said I wanted them on the ridge. He put them right on the western part of the dam itself. We don't have enough firepower to hold that spot. If the troopers fall back, and they will, the rangers will advance to cover Oliver's retreat. We lose the dam, Oliver and the senate are ruined."
    (Hanlon's dialogue)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide p. 458: "Important Dates"
    "2277 Legion forces under the command of the Malpais Legate fail to wrest control of Hoover Dam from the NCR. Despite heavy casualties, the NCR's victory is celebrated back home."
    (Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide/Behind the Bright Lights & Big City)