Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is a mosquito-transmitted alphavirus with a high case mortality rate in humans. EEEV is a biodefence concern because of its potential for aerosol spread and the lack of existing countermeasures. Here, we identify a panel of 18 neutralizing murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the EEEV E2 glycoprotein, several of which have ‘elite’ activity with 50 and 99% effective inhibitory concentrations (EC50 and EC99) of less than 10 and 100 ng ml−1, respectively. Alanine-scanning mutagenesis and neutralization escape mapping analysis revealed epitopes for these mAbs in domains A or B of the E2 glycoprotein. A majority of the neutralizing mAbs blocked infection at a post-attachment stage, with several inhibiting viral membrane fusion. Administration of one dose of anti-EEEV mAb protected mice from lethal subcutaneous or aerosol challenge. These experiments define the mechanistic basis for neutralization by protective anti-EEEV mAbs and suggest a path forward for treatment and vaccine design.