Sunday, August 2, 2020

ARP160 The Paoli Massacre

Last week, we followed the Continental Army as it crossed the Schuylkill river, and sat on what was then the eastern border of Philadelphia, awaiting the British Army’s final push to take the city.  General Howe had defeated Washington at Brandywine.  After the rained out battle of the clouds, he faced virtually no military opposition as his army advanced toward Philadelphia.

British Delay Advance

General Howe, though, seemed in no particular hurry to enter the city.  After the Battle of Brandywine, the bulk of his army remained in camp for five days.  After learning that the Continentals were advancing toward him, Howe finally marched out his army to do battle, only to see the Continentals withdraw under a heavy thunderstorm.

Battle of Paoli (from Wikimedia)
The British advanced northward, but made no attempt to cross the Schuylkill River and enter the city.  On September 18th, Colonel Alexander Hamilton warned Congress that the British could be in Philadelphia, that very night.  Hamilton’s letter and those of other officers set off a panic within the city.  The President of Congress, John Hancock, reportedly passed along the alarm to the rest of Congress, then loaded everything he could into a collection of wagons and carriages, leaving the city at 3:00 AM the next morning.  Most other delegates did the same.

Two days later, the expected arrival of the British army in Philadelphia was still -- just an expectation.  The British Army camped patiently along the west bank of the Schuylkill River. On September 21, John Adams, who had fled to Trenton, NJ, wrote in his diary “It was a false alarm which occasioned our Flight from Philadelphia. Not a Soldier of Howes has crossed the Schuylkill.”  Adams went on to speculate that General Howe would wait for his brother Admiral Howe to bring the fleet up the Delaware River before entering the city.

Instead, the British were moving further upstream along the Schuylkill, in an apparent attempt to flank the Continentals as they had done on the Brandywine.  Washington also moved his army further upstream to contest any crossing and prevent just such a flanking maneuver.

Continental Deployments

To further vex the British, Washington deployed divisions of soldiers on the west bank and behind enemy lines.  One division was a force of about 1500 soldiers under the command of General Anthony Wayne.  General William Maxwell commanded a second force working in cooperation with Pennsylvania Militia General James Potter.  The goal of these units was to keep a low profile in the enemy’s rear, then harass and attack the enemy when the opportunity presented itself.

Gen. William Smallwood
(from Wikimedia)
Washington also ordered General William Smallwood to bring up his Maryland regiments and attack the rear as well.  Smallwood had been in Baltimore when the British landed in Northern Maryland.  In the following weeks, he had mustered more Maryland soldiers and marched them north toward the rear of Howe’s army.

Washington anticipated that these actions would be similar to the hit and run raids of the forage war that they had conducted in New Jersey the previous winter and spring.  Those actions had left the British frustrated and distracted.  Each of these divisions had a large contingent of 1500-2000 soldiers, as well as a few cannons.  Smallwood’s division had marched to Sadsbury Township, which was probably still a day’s march from the main British force.  Maxwell and Potter deployed out near Valley Forge, north of the main British force and ready to pounce on the British left flank if it tried to cross the Schuylkill.  Wayne deployed near Paoli Tavern, just a few miles south of the main British army and was prepared to attack the British right flank.


On September 19th British outposts at Valley Forge came under attack from General Maxwell’s soldiers.  Howe sent General Cornwallis with two grenadier battalions and a light infantry battalion to engage the enemy and reinforce the outpost at Valley Forge.  By the time Cornwallis arrived, there were no enemy soldiers to engage, although he reported that he could see elements of Washington’s Army across the Schuylkill river in the hills dotting the eastern bank.  Those were Maxwell’s and Potter’s divisions who were tasked with harassing the enemy but avoiding large direct engagements.  As during the forage war, they would attack the outposts, but then fade away when larger armies marched out to engage them.

Anthony Wayne (Wikimedia)
To the south, General Wayne saw Cornwallis’ troops on the march toward Valley Forge and thought that the British might have been alerted to his presence.  He moved his soldiers a few miles away into some hills that provided more protection.

The British detected the American movements and received intelligence from local Tories that these men were under the command of General Wayne.  General Wayne was born and raised in Chester County and was well known to the locals.  The British deployed a brigade of light infantry, along with Ferguson’s riflemen to launch a surprise raid.  However, Wayne’s pickets alerted the main force to the British approach.  The Continentals retreated before the British could engage them.  The British did not pursue them into the hills.

The following day, the British intercepted a letter from Washington to Wayne, confirming that Wayne was in command of a force in their rear.  Wayne was staying a few miles from the British camp, close enough to keep tabs on them, but able to slip away again if the British attacked in force.  Wayne’s hope was that General Smallwood’s Marylanders would link up with his force and that the combined force of about 3500 could attack the British rear when they tried to cross the river and advance on Philadelphia.

General Charles Grey

The British army opted to dispatch Wayne’s small and isolated force before it could become a bigger problem for them.  Howe tasked Major General Charles Grey to lead the attack.

Gen. Charles Gray
(from Ocean's Bridge)
General Grey deserves a brief introduction here.  Grey was born in 1729 to the 1st Baronet of Harwick.  Because Charles was the fourth son, he was not in line to inherit lands or title so dad thought he should have a career in the military.  At age fourteen, his family purchased an ensign’s commission for him.  Young Charles traveled to Scotland in time to be a part of the British massacre of the Scots at Culloden as one of his earliest military experiences.

During the Seven Years War, Grey served as an aide to the Duke of Brunswick.  He was wounded at the Battle of Minden and again in another battle a few months later.  He continued in active service though, participating in several more European battles as well as the invasion of Cuba.  By the end of the war he had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The end of the war saw the end of active service for Colonel Grey, who had to go on half pay.  Fortunately, family money and connections kept him living the life of a proper English gentleman.  In 1772, he received a promotion to full colonel and served as aide-de-camp to King George III.  When the King sent General Howe to capture New York in 1776, Grey went along and within a year had risen to major general, most recently serving as a brigade commander at the Battle of Brandywine.

For the present mission, General Grey had to dispatch the American forces in the British rear.  Otherwise, General Howe could not cross the Schuylkill without fear of attack from both sides.

Paoli Massacre

In order to surprise the Americans, who seemed to run away whenever they saw the British advancing on their position, Grey ordered his forces camped at Tredyffrin to march out for a night time raid.  After dark on September 20th, 1200 men from the Second Light Infantry Brigade, along with two regiments of regulars and Ferguson’s rifles marched out of camp in search of the enemy.  Grey, however, was not interested in rifle fire, or musket fire. He ordered all of his soldiers to keep their guns unloaded and remove the flints to prevent firing.  He wanted complete silence and use of the bayonet against the enemy.

Paoli Map (from British Battles)
Grey’s brigade moved out into the night, knowing that Wayne’s force was in the area but not knowing their exact position.  As they got closer, Grey’s officers were able to compel a local to give up Wayne’s location nearby.

Some time shortly after midnight, the British ran into Continental camp pickets and dispatched them with bayonets.  The pickets, however, alerted the camp which began to form into lines.  Before they could get organized, the British light infantry charged the camps and bayoneted everyone they could find.  Some Americans mounted a brief defense.  Officers attempted to form their men into lines, but the British light infantry was on top of them before most could react.  Without sufficient time to organize a defense, the surviving Americans fled into the woods.  The British set the camp on fire, again bayoneting any soldier who tried to escape from a burning tent.

The same darkness that gave the British cover in their advance also gave the Americans cover in their retreat.  General Wayne was able to escape and bring with him the artillery and some of his wagons.  Several others, however, fell into enemy hands.

British Attack at Paoli (from British Battles)
American reports from the attack said that British soldiers mercilessly bayoneted the wounded and those trying to surrender.  In truth though, the British did capture about 70 or 80 prisoners, about half of whom were seriously wounded.  Estimates of Americans killed range from around 53 to 120, although that higher estimate almost certainly includes wounded who died after the fact. The British reported only five killed and seven wounded among the attackers.

During the attack on Wayne’s division, General Smallwood’s 2000 Marylanders were camped only about a mile away.  They heard the battle as it erupted.  Had they marched to the aid of Wayne’s brigade, they would have outnumbered the British considerably.  However, these were mostly inexperienced newly-recruited soldiers.  Instead of organizing a counter-attack, most of them fled into the woods themselves, never engaging with the enemy.  Half of Smallwood’s force deserted that night and returned home to Maryland.


The British considered the raid a great victory.  General Grey got the nickname Charles “no flints” Grey for his command to remove the flints from their guns before the battle.  He would continue on in the war with his reputation enhanced, and we will hear more about his later exploits in future episodes.

Wayne Carried from field
(from British Battles)
Most of the surviving Continentals were able to cross the river and join up with the rest of Washington’s main force.  General Wayne took much of the blame for the loss.  Several accusers, including some of his own officers, accused Wayne of failing to deploy sufficient camp guards to warn of the attack.  There was no time to hear these accusations for the next few weeks.

In October, the army assembled a court martial to question whether Wayne was guilty of neglect of duty.  Wayne’s defense laid out that he was well aware of the possibility of an attack based on a civilian tip.  He had increased the pickets and taken other precautions.  Wayne, in turn, accused one of his subordinates and accusers, Colonel Richard Humpton, of failing to react quickly enough to the attack and mount a proper defense.  In the end the court martial acquitted Wayne and did not seek to pin blame for the success of the attack on anyone.

British Enter Philadelphia

Having dispatched the enemy in their rear, the British prepared to advance once again. Howe moved various divisions further up the Schuylkill river toward Reading.  From that movement, he could either attack the depot at Reading, or cross the river further upstream and then descend on Washington’s flank, just as he had done at Brandywine.  Washington was determined not to let that happen.  He kept his own army moving upstream to confront the British wherever they attempted to cross

As Washington moved his army upstream to block Howe’s next movement, Howe simply turned his army around, went back downstream, and crossed the river at the fords Washington had just abandoned.  Only a few local militia defended the fords.  They turned and ran at the first sight of the British advance.  With the Continentals out of position, there was nothing to prevent the British from entering Philadelphia.
Philadelphia, 1777 Schuylkill on left, Delaware on right
(from Journal of Am Rev)

Howe crossed his army on the night of September 22 and the morning of September 23.  He marched his army to a camp in Norristown, a little less than twenty miles northwest of Philadelphia.  He was now between the Continental Army and the city.

Howe spent the next day in camp, neither attacking Washington’s Continentals nor marching into the city.  His army plundered and burned the homes of known rebels.  Many locals fled with whatever they could carry, but others greeted the army as liberators.  A great number of area loyalists had remained silent for years for fear of incurring the wrath of patriots. These families saw the British as saviors, returning law and order to the region.

The next day, the British marched to Germantown, which today is part of the city of Philadelphia, but at that time was a few miles outside the city limits.  As you might guess from the name, most of the population of this area were German speaking colonists.  Even so, the German speaking Hessian soldiers found the local population rather hostile to them.  Most of the inhabitants were members of a pacific sect that had emigrated from the Palatine region of what is today Germany.  They had hoped to escape the continual warfare of many of their neighbors, including Hesse.  Many saw this as a return of the military oppression that they had tried to leave behind in Europe.  Because they were pacifists, most of them did not take up arms, but they did greet the invaders with a cold hostility.

General Howe paused to see if the Continentals would attempt some sort of desperate counterattack to defend the city.  When that did not happen, Howe left the bulk of his army in Germantown, about 10,000 soldiers, and deployed General Cornwallis to march into Philadelphia with about 3500 men.  On the morning of September 26, Philadelphians saw the redcoats march through their streets, taking control of the city.

British Enter Philadelphia (from Pintrest)
Cornwallis led a triumphant march down Second street, then turning west to march through town, past Independence Hall where the rebels had declared independence just a year earlier.  By his side was General William Erskine, along with several leading loyalists from the city, Joseph Galloway and two of the Allen brothers (from the family for whom Allentown is named).  Governor John Penn probably would have liked to have joined them, but he was being held prisoner by the patriots in New Jersey.

The conquering army received a rather muted response.  The majority of Philadelphia's residents had fled the city.  A few weeks earlier the town had a population of 40,000.  As Cornwallis entered the city, an estimated 10,000 -15,0000 remained.  Congress had ended its session and moved to Lancaster eight days earlier.  Patriots had taken the State House bell, what we today call the Liberty Bell, out of the city to be hidden in Allentown.  Thousands of patriot refugees, many the families of men fighting, had fled the city with only what they could carry.

Those who remained did not know what to expect.  Even loyalists had their concerns. Those with finer homes might find them confiscated for use as officer’s residences.  Many remembered a year earlier when the British occupied New York and half the city was burned in order to deny it to the enemy.  Despite capturing Philadelphia, the British still had not opened up the Delaware River.  The British were without access to food and supplies.  There was the possibility that the patriots might besiege the city and attempt to starve out the occupants.  No one was quite sure what the next step would be.

The British believed that the capture of Philadelphia was the decisive victory they had long sought.  Traditionally, the capture of an enemy capital marked its surrender and ended the war.  It had been just over a month since the British had landed at Head of Elk, Maryland.  The British Army had overcome every obstacle in its path with relative ease.  General Howe had taken his time, avoiding any sorts of ambushes or traps that could surprise his army.  His faith in the professionalism of his officers and soldiers against an ill-trained rebel army seemed well-founded.

For the patriots, of course, the loss of Philadelphia was a setback, but not a fatal one.  As Thomas Paine had written a couple of weeks earlier, they were fighting for a cause, not for a couple of acres of ground.  Although Philadelphia had been the seat of Congress, it was not the home of some single leader who could offer surrender.  Congress could simply move to another town and continue its business, as it had a year earlier when it moved to Baltimore.

When Benjamin Franklin received the news in Paris a few weeks later that Philadelphia had fallen, he rhetorically asked: “Has Howe captured Philadelphia, or has Philadelphia captured Howe?”  One could easily dismiss this as Franklin’s attempt to spin some very bad news.  But his point was that Howe’s capture of the city had not ended anything.  Howe would be stuck in this inland area forced to defend it against attack and unable to move his armies elsewhere.

This had immediate consequences.  Remember, London had hoped that Howe would capture Philadelphia early in the summer, recruit local Tories to garrison the city, and move the bulk of his army north to assist with General Burgoyne’s march through the Hudson Valley.  By the time Howe finally took Philadelphia, it was practically October.  He was still not in any position to redeploy soldiers northward to New York. Shortly after taking Philadelphia, he received word that General Burgoyne had suffered a setback in New York and that his army could be in real trouble.

- - -

Next Episode 161 Battle of Freeman's Farm (Available August 9, 2020).

Previous  Episode 159 Battle of the Clouds

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Further Reading


John Adams Diary: “1777 Septr. 21. Sunday.,”

Charles “no-flint” Grey:

The 1st Earl Grey

Paoli Massacre:

Fyers, Evan W. H. “GENERAL SIR WILLIAM HOWE'S OPERATIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA, 1777. The Battle on the Brandywine Creek—11 September—and the Action at Germantown—4 October.” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 8, no. 34, 1929, pp. 228–241.

Futhey, J. Smith “The Massacre of Paoli.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 1, no. 3, 1877, pp. 285–319.

Pleasants, Henry. “The Battle of Paoli.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 72, no. 1, 1948, pp. 44–53.

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Lisle, Clifton Diamond Rock A Tale of the Paoli Massacre, Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920 (this is a fictional novel based on the events of the Paoli Massacre) (Google Books).

Pennypacker, Samuel W. Anthony Wayne, J.B. Lippincott company, 1908.

Reed, John Ford Campaign to Valley Forge, July 1, 1777-December 19, 1777, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1965 (borrow only)

Futhey, J. Smith “The Massacre of PaoliThe Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 1, no. 3, 1877, pp. 285–319,

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Brownlow, Donald G. A Documentary History of the Paoli Massacre, Kessinger Publishing, 2010.

McGuire, Thomas J. Battle of Paoli, Stackpole Books, 2000 (book recommendation of the week).

McGuire, Thomas J. The Philadelphia Campaign Vol. 1, Stackpole Books, 2006.

Nelson, Paul D. Anthony Wayne: Soldier of the Early Republic, Indiana Univ. Press, 1985

Reed, John Ford Campaign to Valley Forge, July 1, 1777-December 19, 1777, Pioneer Press, 1980 (orig. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1965).

Taaffe, Stephen R. The Philadelphia Campaign, 1777-1778, Univ. Press of Kansas, 2003

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

ARP159 Battle of the Clouds

Last week I covered the Battle of Brandywine, which was the major battle both sides had hoped would be decisive.  General Washington had hoped to halt the British advance on Philadelphia.  General Howe hoped to wipe away the American rebels and take their capital.  Howe won the battle and forced the Continentals to retreat, but he did not capture the enemy army.  Washington and the bulk of his soldiers escaped to fight another day.

Brandywine Aftermath

Following the battle, General Howe made no real effort to follow up and crush his opponent.  Instead, the British and Hessian soldiers remained in camp near Brandywine Battlefield for five days.  Remember, the British had only landed in Maryland a little over two weeks earlier.  Most of the soldiers were sick or out of shape after being kept aboard ship for six weeks. Most of their horses had died, and the remainder were in terrible condition.  After fighting a major battle, Howe did not want to push his men too hard.

Gen. William Howe
(from Wikimedia)
Although Howe had tried to put a stop to looting in hopes of winning over the local populace, he was fighting a losing battle.  At least two British soldiers were executed in the days after the battle for looting and marauding.  The British army did spend its time looking for American soldiers in hiding and for stashed supplies.  They also commandeered necessary food, horses, and anything else the army needed from the local population.

Howe deployed General James Grant with a couple of regiments, to look for American stragglers during the Continental retreat.  Grant's men scoured the area, finding little. Without horses, the soldiers on the march could cover little ground.  The feeble horses they had to pull their cannons could barely make it up some of the hills.

The British also had a large number of their own wounded, as well as several hundred wounded American prisoners.  Howe sent a message under a flag of truce inviting him to send doctors to care for the wounded prisoners held by the British.  Several Philadelphia surgeons, including Dr. Benjamin Rush (as signer of the Declaration of Independence) entered British lines under a flag of truce to care for the wounded prisoners.  While there, Rush met with a number of British officers, and spoke with an old friend, Joseph Galloway, who had also been a delegate to the Continental Congress at one time.  Rejecting independence, Galloway had thrown in his lot with the British and was assisting General Howe.  The two men, now enemies, spoke cordially and respectfully to each other.

Continental Retreat

The Continental Army had retreated from Brandywine in relatively good order.  The men were exhausted, but did not panic.  Most of the army marched into the village of Chester for the night.  The next morning, Washington moved his soldiers up to the Schuylkill River where they crossed a pontoon bridge and entered Philadelphia.  Fearing an imminent attack on the city, Washington removed his wounded to Trenton and to other towns north of Philadelphia.  The wounded General Lafayette went to Bethlehem.

George Washington
(from Wikimedia)
The Schuylkill River was the last major barrier separating the British from Philadelphia.  It took the army two days to move across the narrow bridge to the east bank of the Schuylkill.  If the Continentals removed that bridge, there would be no way for the British to cross in the face of the enemy.

Of course, Washington knew that Howe could also move north further upstream and cross where it was easier further up river.  Then Howe could march down and turn Washington’s flank just as he had done on the banks of the Brandywine.  Washington could easily find himself pinned in Philadelphia and forced to surrender his army along with the city.

Washington’s other concern about this position was that his position left Reading exposed.  Reading was a village to the west where the Continental Army had stored a great quantity of food and supplies.  The British would undoubtedly receive intelligence about this supply depot.  Howe could send an army to capture the supplies that his own army needed and deny them to the Continental Army.

So, on September 14, while the British continued to camp near Brandywine for days after the battle, and after Washington had given his army one day’s rest, he provided his soldiers with more ammunition and crossed back over the Schuylkill River.  He crossed further upstream across one of the fords, near what is today called Conshohocken.  Washington put the Continental army in a position where they could contest any British movement to the north, either toward Reading, or to move upstream where the regulars might ford the Schuylkill and take Philadelphia.

British Take Wilmington

With the Continentals on the march, the British remained in camp.  The British spent much of September 12 burying the dead from both sides and tending to the wounded.  They sent out foraging parties to collect food for the army.  On September 13, Howe sent a detachment to capture Wilmington, Delaware.  The local militia there put up no fight, and fled, abandoning their cannons without a shot fired.  The British captured Delaware’s President John McKinly, who had remained in town to oversee the town’s so-called defense.  After taking the town, Howe moved his wounded and his American prisoners to Wilmington as well.

As planned, at least a few ships from Admiral Howe’s navy also reached Wilmington about this time and helped to remove the wounded.  The Continentals still had forts and other defenses that prevented the navy from sailing further upstream to Philadelphia.  But the lower part of the Delaware was relatively open to the British.

Philadelphia Threatened

Although the British Army took its time and Washington prepared to put up another defense once it started to march again, most people feared that Philadelphia would fall within days.  On September 12, Thomas Paine penned his Crisis #4 where he began by noting the loss at Brandywine:
The event of yesterday was one of those kind of alarms which is just sufficient to rouse us to duty, without being of consequence enough to depress our fortitude. It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause, that we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the consequences will be the same.
Paine went on to point out that with Howe’s limited number of soldiers, being reduced with every battle, he must eventually fail, no matter how many field victories he had.

Thomas Paine
(from Wikimedia)
The Continental Congress began in inquiry into the loss at Brandywine.  It ordered General Washington to open a court of inquiry against General Preudhomme du Boore for his actions at Brandywine.  As you may recall from last week, the Continental general from France had been in command of the left wing on Birmingham Heights.  The soldiers were out of position and ran when attacked.  The fall of the left flank led to the general retreat of all the divisions on Birmingham Hill and could have proven much more disastrous, but for the rear guard action led by General Nathanael Greene.

When informed that he would face a court of inquiry, General de Borre instead submitted his resignation on September 13, blaming his failure on ill-trained and incompetent soldiers.  Congress accepted his resignation the next day.  That would be the end of de Borre’s career in the Continental Army, but not his end in the Revolution.  De Borre returned to France and to his commission as a colonel in the French Army.  A few years later, he would return to America with the French Army after France entered the war.  But that is getting ahead of our story.  For now, de Borre was going home.

Congress also requested General Sullivan, who was supposed to be commanding the division on Birmingham Hill, also be recalled from duty until there could be a court of inquiry.  On this request, Washington demurred.  He needed Sullivan to remain commander of the Maryland troops.  He told Congress that he could not afford to suspend Sullivan or conduct an inquiry at that time because he anticipated another battle within days.  Sullivan would retain his command.  He would face a court martial later that year, not only for Brandywine but also for his actions on Staten Island a month earlier and for other things.  The court martial would acquit Sullivan of all charges and cleared him to return to duty.

Casimir Pulaski

Congress was not just looking for leaders to blame.  They also had praise for many of the commanders at Brandywine.  The Marquis de Lafayette’s battlefield wound only improved the young general’s reputation.  The other foreign hero from Brandywine was Casimir Pulaski.  On September 15, Congress granted Pulaski a commission as a brigadier general in the Continental Army.

Gen. Casimir Pulaski
(from Wikimedia)
I mentioned Pulaski last week when he organized a cavalry charge to halt the British advance and give the rest of the army time to retreat.  Congress had been debating whether to give him a commission since he had arrived in America in late July.  His leadership and daring at Brandywine was enough to convince the delegates that he was the man for the job.

Pulaski had been born in Warsaw in 1745.  At the time, Warsaw was capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.  It had a king who was elected by the nobles.  Coming from a noble family, Pulaski was a member of the national elite.  He served as a cavalry officer and grew in reputation.  The King, Stanislaw II Augustus, allied himself with the Russians and sought to turn the country into a Russian protectorate.  Stanislaw cut off alliances with France and Austria, leading to war.  The war went bad for Poland.  Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned the country in 1772.

During the war that led to the partition, Pulaski was part of a conspiracy to kidnap the King.  This led to charges of attempted regicide and made him a wanted man throughout Europe.  Pulaski had to flee his homeland, first to Prussia, then to the Ottoman Empire, and then again to France.  He attempted to join other armies, but the criminal charges against him meant that no other king would offer him a commission.

Facing debtors prison, Pulaski heard that American agents in Paris were looking for officers to go fight in America.  He met with Benjamin Franklin and impressed him with his military experience and zeal for liberty.  French officials strongly encouraged Franklin to give Pulaski a commission, and even offered to pay his travel costs to America.  France was eager to get him to leave the country before his presence created an international incident.

Pulaski took Franklin’s recommendation and boarded a ship for America in June 1777.  He arrived in Boston in late July, studying English during his voyage.  After presenting his credentials to Congress in August, he rode off to join the Continental Army without waiting for Congress to act.  He served as an unofficial gentleman volunteer to George Washington in the weeks leading up to Brandywine.

Along with his commission as general, Pulaski served as the Continental Army’s first Cavalry commander with the title “Commander of the Horse.”

Baron de Kalb

Also, on September 15, the same day Congress granted a commission to Pulaski, it also granted a commission as major general to Baron Johannes de Kalb.  Remember that de Kalb had traveled with Lafayette and several other would-be generals to America months earlier, but got caught up in the political dispute over having too many French generals.

Gen. Johann de Kalb
(from Wikimedia)
Congress had offered Lafayette a commission as major general after Lafayette agreed to serve without pay.  Congress left de Kalb and others cooling their heels in Philadelphia while they decided what to do.  In the weeks leading up to Brandywine, Congress had voted not to accept de Kalb’s offer of service.  Delegates then took a few weeks to debate how much to pay for his travel expenses and costs of returning home to France.

In the meantime, de Kalb did a little sightseeing, visiting the Continental medical facilities in Bethlehem.  Lafayette’s performance at Brandywine raised the reputation of French officers generally, and is credited in part with Congress’ change of heart.  It was probably also Lafayette’s strong support for de Kalb, who had been his superior and mentor in the French Army, that contributed to the change.

Congress voted to make de Kalb a major general. When de Kalb received the news of his appointment the following day, he sent a letter rejecting the offer.  Two days later, he had a change of heart and requested several conditions before he would accept his appointment.  One was the request that Congress back date his commission to the date of Lafayette’s.  That way de Kalb would not suffer the indignity of ranking below his former subordinate.  He also wanted the option to return to France if he determined his superiors disapproved of his service in the Continental Army.  He wanted his aide to be commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel, that he receive a pension, and that his wife receive a pension if he was killed in service.

As a result of these negotiations, de Kalb did not join the army immediately, but remained in Bethlehem, where he remained with the wounded General Lafayette.  He would not accept his commission and join the army until well after the British occupied Philadelphia.

Battle of the Clouds

As Congress debated about officers, General Washington prepared for round two in the British Army’s advance toward Philadelphia.  As I said, the Continentals had retreated across the Schuylkill River.  When the British remained in camp near Brandywine, the Continentals moved back toward the British and prepared to contest any advance.

Troop Movements 
On September 15, General Howe learned that the Continentals had advanced toward his camp and were about ten miles north of his army.  Washington seemed to be daring him to fight another direct battle on open fields, something the British thought they would win every time.  Further, Washington’s forces had fallen to around 10,000 after Brandywine, so Howe had a numerical advantage.

In the early pre-dawn hours of September 16, General Howe assembled his army and began a march to meet the Americans near White Horse Tavern a few miles to the north.  Around 9:00 AM, Washington received word from Pulaski’s cavalry that the British were on the march.  Rather than take up an immediate defensive position, Washington marched his army three miles toward the advancing British.

Around 1:00 PM, General Cornwallis reported that his British regulars had encountered Pulaski’s cavalry and a few hundred militia, who fled as the first shots were fired.  Next, General Knyphausen’s Hessian jaegers ran into Continentals under General Anthony Wayne and William Maxwell.  An American charge unnerved the jaegers, and almost led to the capture of Hessian Colonel von Donop.  British grenadiers provided support to the jaegers and stopped the American advance.

The British formed a line of battle as General Matthews joined Knyphausen in a preparation to attack the Americans.  The Continentals were forced onto muddy ground which made maneuverability of their cannons difficult and was not an advantageous defensive position.  Washington ordered a withdrawal to higher ground, but it looked as though the British would be able to charge the American position before the Ameircans could withdraw.

Then, just as things were looking bleak, the sky darkened and a driving thunderstorm unleashed across the region.  One Hessian officer said that the rain  "came down so hard that in a few moments we were drenched and sank in mud up to our calves."  The wet powder prevented either side from being able to fire their guns.  The thick mud and driving rain made it impossible even to order a bayonet charge.

With the loss of their powder, and given the relatively weak defensive position, General Washington gave the order to withdraw as the worst nor’easter many had ever seen flooded everything.  The Continentals slogged north through the mud and rain, marching about five miles before reaching camp around 10:00 PM.  There, the soldiers spent a miserable wet night in the field before marching back to the Schuylkill River the next day.

The British march north, attempting to get around the American right flank and push the Continentals back against the flooded Schuylkill River.  The two camps eyed each other the next day, but neither seemed ready to re-engage.  By the following day, Friday September 19, the Schuylkill water levels had fallen enough that the Continentals could move across the fords and take up positions on the other side of the river.

Thus, thanks to the weather, what could have become a decisive major battle at White Horse Tavern was called on account of rain.  Both sides suffered about 100 casualties in the early fighting, but no full battle could play out.  The event became known as the Battle of the Clouds.

The British advanced as the Americans tried to remove supplies stored at Valley Forge and other areas around the region.  With their powder destroyed by the rain, it was not clear if the Americans even could put up a defense at the Schuylkill river. Washington directed Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton as one of many officers instructed to remove or destroy supplies that might fall to the enemy.  Hamilton was in the process of doing so when his small unit fell under enemy fire.  The team fled back to a flat bottom boat on the Schuylkill river, exchanging fire with the enemy as they polled back across to the American side.  The British Army was poised to cross the Schuylkill.  Hamilton wrote to President of Congress John Hancock that day: “If Congress have not yet left Philadelphia, they ought to do it immediately without fail, for the enemy have the means of throwing a party this night into the city.

With most of the Continental Army along the east bank of the Schuylkill, Washington left one contingent of soldiers under General Anthony Wayne in the field  on the west bank to harass the enemy and delay their advance.  Wayne’s army camped at a small village called Paoli.

- - -

Next Episode 160 The Paoli Massacre

Previous  Episode 159 The Battle of Brandywine

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Further Reading


Virtual Marching Tour, Battle of the Clouds:

Paine, Thomas Crisis #4:

Casimir Pulaski

Johann de Kalb:

Letter From Alexander Hamilton to John Hancock, [18 September 1777]:

Itinerary of George Washington:

Fyers, Evan W. H. “GENERAL SIR WILLIAM HOWE'S OPERATIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA, 1777. The Battle on the Brandywine Creek—11 September—and the Action at Germantown—4 October.” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 8, no. 34, 1929, pp. 228–241.

Ecelbarger, Garry “Aggressive Minded Gamblers: Washington, Howe, and the Days between Battles, September 12-16, 1777, Journal of the American Revolution, March 10, 2020:

Sullivan, Thomas. “Before and after the Battle of Brandy-Wine. Extracts from the Journal of Sergeant Thomas Sullivan of H.M. Forty-Ninth Regiment of Foot.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 31, no. 4, 1907, pp. 406–418.

Battle of the Clouds Battlefield

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Kapp, Friedrich, The life of John Kalb, Major-General in the Revolutionary Army,
New York: H. Holt and Co. 1884.

Manning, Clarence A. Soldier Of Liberty Casimir Pulaski, Philosophical Library, 1945.

Reed, John Ford Campaign to Valley Forge, July 1, 1777-December 19, 1777, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1965 (borrow only)

Smith, John S. Memoir of the Baron de Kalb, Baltimore: J.D. Toy 1858.

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Harris, Michael C. Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777, Savis Beatie, 2014.

Kauffman, Gerald J. and Michael R. Gallagher The British Invasion of Delaware, Aug-Sep 1777,, 2013.

McGuire, Thomas J. The Philadelphia Campaign Vol. 1, Stackpole Books, 2006.

Reed, John Ford Campaign to Valley Forge, July 1, 1777-December 19, 1777, Pioneer Press, 1980 (orig. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1965).

Taaffe, Stephen R. The Philadelphia Campaign, 1777-1778, Univ. Press of Kansas, 2003 (book recommendation of the week).

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

ARP158 Battle of Brandywine

Last week, I left off with the British Army commanded by General Howe, having landed in Maryland, skirmished with the continentals in Delaware, and then moved westward into Pennsylvania in a march toward Philadelphia.  The Continentals under General Washington pivoted from Delaware into Pennsylvania.  They deployed along Brandywine Creek, prepared to confront the British advance there.

Brandywine Creek is a relatively small waterway that begins with the merger of two smaller creeks about thirty miles west of Philadelphia.  It then flows down to Wilmington, Delaware, before merging with the Christiana Creek and then into the Delaware River.  It is not big enough to sail ships, but was deep enough in most places during this era to prevent men from fording across.

Continental Defenses

That said, there were a number of fords along the creek where an army could cross. The Continentals deployed around those fords and planned to force the enemy to cross that water in the face of enemy fire if it wanted to advance.

Battle of Brandywine
General Washington believed the most likely crossing point would be at Chadds Ford, a small village in Pennsylvania, about two miles north of the border with Delaware.  By September 9, 1777, his Continentals had secured the Chadds Ford, as well as two other fords just upstream from Chadds.

They also secured Pyle’s Ford to the south in Delaware.  This left flank of the Continental Army included divisions commanded by Major Generals Anthony Wayne and Nathanael Greene, along with Pennsylvania militia.  Major Generals John Sullivan, Adam Stephen, and Lord Stirling took command of the heights above Chadds Ford which covered the army’s right flank.  Beyond their divisions further north, Colonel Moses Hazen covered two smaller fords further upriver, Buffington’s Ford and Wistar’s Ford (aka Shunk’s Ford).  In the event of enemy movement toward those fords, the nearby reinforcements of the army’s right flank could be deployed there.  Buffington’s Ford was actually north of the place where the Brandywine splits into two smaller branches. To reach that, the enemy would have to ford both the west branch and the east branch of the creeks to reach the Continental’s side.

British Lines

On the British side General Wilhelm von Knyphausen and marched his Hessians to Kennett Square, only a few miles from Chadds Ford where the Americans were already deployed.  General Howe did not realize that Knyphausen would move so quickly and expected him to camp several miles further back.

Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen
(from Wikimedia)
By the time Knyphausen received Howe’s orders, he had already set up camp in Kennett Square and had no interest in marching backward several miles that night.  Instead, he ordered his army to camp without campfires in hopes of keeping their position a secret from the enemy.  By the morning of September 10, Howe’s Regulars also reached Kennett Square.  The entire army of about 15,000 Regulars and Hessians was united and ready.

General Howe was not going to charge into battle without getting the lay of the land.  Although he landed in Maryland with few detailed maps or intelligence about the area, He had been working with local Tories to get what he needed.

Joseph Galloway, who had opted to confirm his loyalty to the King after attending the First Continental Congress, had fled from his home near Philadelphia to join the British in New York City.  He had traveled with Howe to Maryland and served as a local guide. Howe also received guidance from other local residents, including many Quakers, who lived in the area and knew the area well.  On top of that, Howe sent out scouts to determine enemy positions.  So the two armies sat on September 10, as Howe gained intelligence and finalized his plans.

The Battle Begins

On the morning of September 11, General von Knyphausen marched an army of about 6800 mostly Hessian soldiers toward Brandywine Creek.  Although the day would be a hot one, the morning was still chilly and a dense fog hid much of the two armies from each other.  The hilly terrain also made it difficult to track the enemy.  Leading the column was Ferguson’s riflemen and the Queen’s Rangers, a loyalist militia regiment.  Both Ferguson’s riflemen and the Queen’s Rangers wore green coats, resulting in them being mistaken for Hessians during much of the battle.

Brandywine Battle map (from Wikimedia)
That same morning, as the British and Hessians began their march, American General William Maxwell had sent scouts across the Brandywine to track enemy movements.  An American company was eating some breakfast at Welch’s Tavern when Ferguson’s riflemen and the Queens Rangers approached. The two sides exchanged fire as the Americans withdrew. These first shots were fired around 9:00 AM.

Maxwell’s Continentals continued to harass the advancing British in a series of ambushes as the column moved toward the Brandywine.  The few hundred Americans could not halt the British advance.  Their intent was to harass the enemy until they reached the Brandywine, where the Americans would make their stand.  As the battle moved slowly toward the creek, both sides took casualties.  Ferguson’s riflemen proved their worth as they picked off retreating Americans.  Among those wounded was a young captain from Virginia named John Marshall, the future Chief Justice.

By around 10:30 AM, Knyphausen’s main column had reached Brandywine Creek.  Rather than attempt to cross, he brought up his artillery and simply fired across the creek at the enemy.

General Washington was observing the battle through a telescope from a house a short distance from the battle.  It became clear that the force attacking them was not the entire British Army.  Many of his generals feared that the army in front of them was simply meant to amuse them while another force marched around in a flanking maneuver to attack them from a different direction. This was exactly the same tactic Howe had used against them on Long Island.

Washington sent out scouts in search of another enemy column, but received frustratingly inconclusive intelligence.  In fact, General Howe had left camp before dawn and before General Knyphausen began his march.  Howe moved his regulars north.  Washington considered several options.  One was that Howe was attempting a flanking maneuver on the Continental right flank. Another was that Howe was simply keeping the Continentals busy while he marched his army out to Lancaster to seize food and supplies that were stored there.  A third possibility was that Howe had marched north in order to get Washington to send part of his own army north to find Howe.  Then, Howe could double back, join Knyphausen, and crush Washington’s divided army.

By noon, Washington had decided that if Howe’s army really had marched north, they would not participate in the day’s battle.  It would take them too long to find an unguarded ford upstream and march back south.  Washington maintained a strong right flank in case they did show up there, but also began to send regiments across the Brandywine to engage with the enemy.  If he could defeat Knyphausen’s division before Howe arrived, he could then focus all of his army on Howe’s division and defeat the divided army in detail.

Before he could commit his army to the attack, General Sullivan sent intelligence which he received from Major Spear, that there was no sign of the enemy to the north.  If that was true, Howe was likely doubling back to meet up with Knyphausen.  Fearing that, Washington opted not to commit his army to an attack across the creek, but held in his defensive positions.  Washington also recalled Lord Stirling and General Stephen’s divisions to move from the right flank back to the center so that the army could be united against an expected full-on British assault across the creek.

Howe’s Flanking Maneuver

Washington’s intelligence, however, proved incorrect.  General Howe had, in fact, marched more than half of his army north, leaving in the pre-dawn hours before von Knyphausen began his march to the Brandywine.  As many officers guessed, von Knyphausen’s attack was a feint to distract the Continentals while Howe’s larger force could move into position to attack the American right flank.

Washington, Lafayette at Brandywine (from British Battles)
Howe took advantage of local information from Tories to march his army six miles to the north on back roads.  He crossed the Brandywine north of where it forked into two branches.  He crossed both the west branch and east branch of the Brandywine at unguarded fords.  One of the Hessian officers leading his column, Johann Ewald, noted that the army had to pass through a narrow ravine where a few hundred defenders could have held the army at bay for hours.  He was concerned about a possible ambush as he marched his men through.  But the Americans were nowhere to be found.  General Howe had moved his entire division of about eight thousand soldiers onto the east bank and prepared to attack the American right flank from the north.  Howe had marched north about eight miles north to get around the army.

By the time Howe had gotten his army across the Brandywine, it was a little after 1:00 PM.  A local, who supported the patriots, spotted the army and galloped down to inform General Washington.  At first, Washington was convinced of his earlier intelligence that said the British were not to his north, and brushed off the information as an excited local who was exaggerating what he saw.  However, after receiving several more reports, Washington realized he was in trouble, that Howe was about to crash into his right flank and crush the. Continental Army.

Washington redeployed the divisions under Stephen and Stirling to move back to the north and reinforce the right flank.  He ordered General Sullivan to advance on Howe’s army and engage the enemy.  The Continental divisions that had been recalled earlier, had to run back to their positions to the north in order to meet the enemy.  Stephen and Stirling marched their men over three miles in less than half an hour.

The American defenses were still in chaos when the British advance corps came within eyesight of the Americans, less than a mile away.  General Howe could have ordered a charge and scattered the disorganized Continentals.

Regulars rest before going into battle (from history on net)
Instead though, Howe ordered his army to rest and have lunch.  Howe sat with his officers for half an hour to an hour.   They enjoyed tea and talked over their options.  Instead of taking advantage of the surprised and disorganized American defenses, Howe gave them time to organize their lines.  This is just another example of General Howe taking a pause just when he is about to deliver the death blow, and why some of his detractors argue that Howe had no intention of winning this war.

Again, I don't think Howe deliberately sabotaged the British cause.  His men had just marched a grueling seventeen miles and were tired and hungry.  Giving them a short rest before charging into battle might help them to fight better.  Further, it is unclear whether Howe appreciated how disorganized the American lines were, and how much that time would give them to set their defenses.

Birmingham Hill

Taking advantage of the short reprieve, the Americans deployed a defensive line along Birmingham Hill.  General Stephen commanded the right flank.  General Lord Stirling commanded the center.  General Sullivan commanded the left flank.  Stephen and Stirling got their men into place relatively easily.

Brandywine Battlefield (from British Battles)
Sullivan’s division had to march through heavily forested and rocky terrain, meaning that it took the soldiers longer to get into position and could not see the other divisions’ positions as they were forming.  By the time Sulllivan had established his line, he realized he was too far forward and had left a large gap between his division and the Stirling’s center.  Sullivan rode off to meet with Stirling and make sure they were coordinated in their defense.  He left his second in command, the French General Preudhomme de Borre in command of his division.  General de Borre did not speak English and did not really command the respect of his subordinates, leading to further command problems.

While Sullivan was still away from his division, General Howe launched his attack around 4:30 PM.  Stirling and Stephen’s divisions stood firm and repelled several assaults on their positions over the next hour and a half of intense fighting.  Howe had left most of his artillery with Knyphausen, meaning that this had to be primarily an infantry assault.  British grenadiers and others among Howe’s best regiments pushed back the soldiers from Sullivan’s division and threatened the American left flank.

During the fighting, General Washington, along with General Lafayette arrived on the scene and assessed the situation.

British Take the Field

At the same time Howe’s forces were storming Birmingham Hill, General Knyphausen, who had been distracting the Americans all day near Chadd’s Ford, heard the distant gunfire and understood that Howe was attacking.  With that, Knyphausen ordered his division, which was nearly half of the entire British Hessian force, to storm across the Brandywine and take the American position.  Since Washington had moved most of the defenders to Birmingham Hill, Knyphausen only had to contend with a smaller force, composed mostly of militia.  This force, under the command of General Anthony Wayne, and supported by Generals Maxwell and John Armstrong, could not hold off Knyphausen’s assault.

General Washington realized that the two pronged attack meant that both lines were about to fail.  He had held in reserve General Greene’s division to reinforce whichever line needed it.  But even if he deployed Green to one of these two lines, the other would certainly fall.  Instead, Washington ordered Green to move into a defensive position where he could form a rear guard action for the retreating army.  Greene rushed his men into position, marching about three miles in just over half an hour.

Continental lines at Brandywine (from British Battles)
As the American divisions defending Birmingham Hill gave way and retreated, Howe’s forces advanced.  At the same time, Wayne’s defenders along the Brandywine also retreated, giving Knyphausen control of the battlefield there.

As Howe continued his advance, hoping to capture the American army, he ran into Greene’s line, which had been reinforced by many of the soldiers retreating from Birmingham Hill.  Howe attempted to roll up the right flank of Greene’s defensive line as the soldiers put up a solid defense.  Casimir Pulaski, the Polish officer with the Continentals, saw this and organized an impromptu American cavalry charge into the British infantry advance, thus forcing the British to halt their attack.  Pulaski had only arrived in America a few months earlier.  Congress was still debating whether to give him a commission, so technically, he had no command authority.  But at Washington’s request, he organized and led this critical cavalry charge anyway.

With the surprisingly strong American defensive line and with dusk approaching, Howe called off his offensive and allowed the Continentals to retreat from the field.


With nightfall, the Battle of Brandywine ended.  With about 30,000 soldiers engaged on both sides, this would be one of the largest battles of the American Revolution.  The British reported nearly 600 casualties, which is probably an under count.  The Americans estimated they inflicted over 2000 British casualties, which is probably an over count.  The true number is probably closer to the British number, but likely a little higher.

Especially hard hit was Ferguson’s regiment and the loyalist regiment of Queen’s Rangers.  These units had led Knyphausen’s column and took the brunt of the American ambushes as the column advanced.  Captain Ferguson himself was shot in the arm and risked amputation for several weeks.  His arm never fully recovered.

There are no good records of the American casualties.  Most estimates are that they were about double that of the British, about 1200-1300.  About a third of those were captured prisoners, although almost all of those captured were also wounded on the field.  Thanks to General Greene’s rearguard action, almost all of the Americans who were able to walk, or run, were able to escape capture.  The Americans did lose quite a few cannons, including several that they had captured from the enemy at Trenton a few months earlier.

Wounding of Lafayette (from British Battles)
General Lafayette took a ball in the leg late in the day.  It proved to be a relatively minor wound that would allow him to return to duty rather quickly.  After the battle, Captain Ferguson reported that he had seen two American officers on the field whom we could have shot from his position with his rifle.  However, since the officers had their backs turned toward him, he considered the shot to be dishonorable and did not take it.  Later, from the description and known position in the battle, Ferguson became convinced that he had had General Washington in his sights, possibly while conferring with Pulaski.  Even so, he said later he did not regret his decision not to shoot.  Sniping at officers was considered murder by many officers at the time.

The highest ranking officer who died over the encounter was not even on the field.  On the day before the battle, French General Philippe du Coudray, who sought to become the Continental commander of artillery, jumped on a horse in Philadelphia and rode out to join the Continental Army in the field.  As he crossed the Schuylkill River, either on a ferry or a pontoon bridge, accounts differ, his horse got spooked and jumped into the river.  With du Coudray caught in the horse’s stirrups, both horse and rider drowned.  Later, his body was recovered and buried in Philadelphia.

With the battle at an end, General Howe and General Knyphausen made camp near the battlefield and rested their army.  General Washington and the Continentals spent another sleepless night making their escape from the British Army.  Despite the loss, Washington put the best face on the day, reporting to Congress: "despite the day's misfortune, I am pleased to announce that most of my men are in good spirits and still have the courage to fight the enemy another day."

- - -

Next Episode 159 Battle of the Clouds

Previous Episode 157 Head of Elk & Cooch's Bridge

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American Revolution Podcast is distributed 100% free of charge. If you can chip in to help defray my costs, I'd appreciate whatever you can give.  Make a one time donation through my PayPal account.

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Further Reading


Virtual Marching Tour, Brandywine:

Battle of Brandywine:

Battle of Brandywine Creek:

Letter From Washington To John Hancock, 11 September 1777:

Casimir Pulaski:

MontrĂ©sor, John, and G. D. Scull. “Journal of Captain John MontrĂ©sor, July 1, 1777, to July 1, 1778, Chief Engineer of the British Army.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 5, no. 4, 1881, pp. 393–417.

Fyers, Evan W. H. “GENERAL SIR WILLIAM HOWE'S OPERATIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA, 1777. The Battle on the Brandywine Creek—11 September—and the Action at Germantown—4 October.” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 8, no. 34, 1929, pp. 228–241.

“COUNT CASIMIR PULASKI AT THE BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE.” The American Catholic Historical Researches, vol. 7, no. 4, 1911, pp. 381–383.

ESLING, CHARLES H. A. “WASHINGTON'S HEADQUARTERS AT THE BATTLE OF BRANDYWINE, IN THE HOUSE OF JOHN HOLAHAN, A CATHOLIC.” The American Catholic Historical Researches, vol. 3, no. 4, 1907, pp. 356–358. JSTOR,

Sanborn, Paul J. “The Battle of Brandywine: An Intelligence Evaluation of General George Washington's Tactical Operations During The Battle Along The Brandywine, 11 September 1777.” American Intelligence Journal, vol. 16, no. 2/3, 1995, pp. 69–80. JSTOR,

Sullivan, Thomas. “Before and after the Battle of Brandy-Wine. Extracts from the Journal of Sergeant Thomas Sullivan of H.M. Forty-Ninth Regiment of Foot.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 31, no. 4, 1907, pp. 406–418.

Free eBooks
(from unless noted)

Hooton, Francis C.The Battle of Brandywine with its lines of battle, Wm. Stanley Ray, 1900.

Lewis, Charlton Thomas Lafayette at Brandywine, Chester County Historical Society, 1896.

Reed, John Ford Campaign to Valley Forge, July 1, 1777-December 19, 1777, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1965 (borrow only)

Townsend, Joseph Some account of the British army, under the command of General Howe; and of the battle of Brandywine, on the memorable September 11th, 1777, and the adventures of that day, Townsend Ward, 1846.

Trussell, John B.B. Jr. The Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1992.

Books Worth Buying
(links to unless otherwise noted)*

Harris, Michael C. Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777, Savis Beatie, 2014 (book recommendation of the week).

Kauffman, Gerald J. and Michael R. Gallagher The British Invasion of Delaware, Aug-Sep 1777,, 2013.

McGuire, Thomas J. The Philadelphia Campaign Vol. 1, Stackpole Books, 2006.

Mowday, Bruce September 11, 1777: Washington's Defeat at Brandywine Dooms Philadelphia,  White Mane, 2002.

Reed, John Ford Campaign to Valley Forge, July 1, 1777-December 19, 1777, Pioneer Press, 1980 (orig. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1965).

Taaffe, Stephen R. The Philadelphia Campaign, 1777-1778, Univ. Press of Kansas, 2003

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.