Thursday, September 7, 2017

Battle of Brandywine

9/11 is overwhelmingly remembered by Americans for that tragic day in 2001 when Al Qaeda hijackers transformed commercial airliners into weapons and attacked the Twin Towers and Washington DC.

Brandywine Battlefield
Chadd's Ford, PA 

But 9/11 was a fateful day in American history long before the 21st Century.  On September 11, 1777 the Battle of Brandywine Creek near Philadelphia was fought.   11,000 soldiers of the Continental Army led by George Washington were defeated by about 18,000 Redcoats and German troops led by Lord Howe.
Continental & Redcoat
Brandywine Battlefield Museum
In the Pennsylvania chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil (www.americainvaded.comwe noted...

"Pennsylvania was, of course, to play a central role in the American Revolution, including hosting the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, in 1776. Later that
year, it saw Washington launch his famous Crossing of the Delaware to surprise Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey. It was also the site of the hugely significant Philadelphia Campaign. A British landing in Chesapeake Bay led to Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Brandywine Creek on September 11, 1777, and the British capture of Philadelphia, seat of the Continental Congress and capital of the Revolution. Another British victory at the Battle of Germantown in October left Philadelphia in British hands and Washington’s forces wintering at Valley Forge. In 1778, though, as the French more determinedly entered the war, the British forces in Philadelphia were forced to withdraw to defend New York City."

Today a visitor to the beautiful rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania will find the Brandywine Battlefield Historic site ( just off of old highway 1.

Washington's HQ
Benjamin Ring House
In the 18th Century this part of Pennsylvania was home to many Quaker families.  The battle was principally fought on the land belonging to the Gilpin and Ring families.  Benjamin Ring was a fighting Quaker who supported the patriot cause and lent his own farmhouse out to George Washington who used it as his headquarters.

Gilpin Farm and Brandywine Sycamore
Gideon Gilpin was a Quaker farmer and a pacifist who opposed the war.  He lost 10 "milch" cows, 48 sheep and 28 pigs on account of the fighting and looting that took place on his property.  As a result of the damage done to his farm he was unable to continue farming and turned his Home into a Tavern which operated until 1789.

Many of the Pennsylvania residents of the area were Quakers with Tory sympathies.  Some still blame these Quaker locals for having betrayed Washington's army at the Battle of Brandywine by supplying local intelligence to the British.
Marquis de Lafayette
1757 - 1834
Washington's French aide de camp, the Marquis de Lafayette, was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Brandywine.  His leg was attended to by surgeons under the Sycamore tree (now over 400 years old) which still stands by the Gilpin farm.  This ancient Sycamore has been painted by Andrew Wyeth among many others.   Lafayette, on his 1825 return to the United States, re-visited the Gilpin farm.

George Washington
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia
As a direct result of the Battle of Brandywine (and another British victory at Germantown on October 4), the Continental capital was occupied by the British. Washington and his men were compelled to spend the winter of 1777 in the frigid camp at Valley Forge.

In the Virginia chapter of America Invaded ( we noted...

"Washington was an imperfect military commander—he lost more battles than he won. He was, however, a tremendous motivator of men, who endured their hardships while on campaign at Valley Forge and elsewhere. He was a paragon of integrity. Moreover, he won the really important battles of the war. Washington became the “indispensable man” of the American Revolution."

Revolutionary Ales
Yards Brewing Co, Philadelphia, PA
The Battle of Brandywine reminds us that the goal of American Independence was not achieved easily or without cost (See;postID=2772337472807857904;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=link).

The author as Redcoat
Brandywine Battelfield Museum
Signed copies of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil can now be found at the Brandywine Battlefield gift shop and on this web

The author as Patriot
Brandywine Battlefield Museum

1 comment:

Gerald said...

Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.