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This is a difficult question to answer, as the line between long battles, sieges, and what are now known as campaigns is a blurry one - often times, the distinction between them is merely an arbitrary line drawn by historians.

Theoretically, a battle should be a discrete event in time, location, and scope. That is, it should happen over a set period of time, with combat experiencing only very short pauses, though the intensity of combat may vary. It should happen in a well-defined geographic area that is not too large (how large is too large, is, once again, a matter of opinion). And, it should generally concern a relatively fixed number of combatants - that is, the participants of the battle should be those already in the geographic location, with some reinforcements coming from those forces in relative proximity to the battle area when the battle began.

Sieges aren't battles, because they violate the restrictions on time and scope - that is, a siege generally happens over a very long time, with huge gaps in actual fighting. Sieges also generally can encompass a wide variety of forces not initially near or engaged at the start of the siege.

Campaigns are what modern historians generally label a series of battles - that is, once combat exceeds the time, scope, and location constrictions of a battle, then the entire timeframe is considered a campaign, which is then broken down into battles or sieges.

Using the above definitions, one can see that looking for the "longest battle" becomes a real problem, as once combat exceeds more than a couple of days, the pauses become longer (reinforcing the tendency to break the "main" battle into a series of shorter battles), and the limits on scope blur rapidly, as forces further afield are brought in to fight.

In order to maintain a relatively drawn-out combat situation which fits the definition of battle, logistics become key, as maintaining constant combat is something that really has only become possible since the Industrial Revolution. Thus, any long-term "battle" prior to about 1850 should properly be labeled a siege or campaign; the two major American Revolutionary "battles": Saratoga and Yorktown, are more properly defined as a campaign and a siege.

Likewise, many WW1 and WW2 named battles ("Battle of Stalingrad", "Battle of the Bulge", "Battle of Britain", and "Battle of the Atlantic") aren't in any way battles, but in most cases, campaigns (Leningrad and Stalingrad being the exceptions, being sieges).

To get back to the original question: there is no good answer. Once a battle goes beyond a week or so, it generally can't be labeled a battle anymore, and belongs in one of the other two categories. Perhaps the great battles of WW1 might still be considered battles, but even there, months-long combat really was broken up into an initial effort, succeeded by a cycle of pauses, counteroffensives, and renewed offenses each which may have lasted a week or so, which made combat appear to last months. They're thus really just campaigns over a smaller-than-usual locality.

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Q: What was the longest battle ever fought in world history?
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