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American Revolution: Battle of Brandywine Creek (1777)

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Scope of Project

This project will gather together in one place those soldiers, American, English or Hessian, who fought at the Battle of Brandywine, on September 11, 1777.


The Battle of Brandywine, also known as the Battle of Brandywine Creek, was fought between the American army of Major General George Washington and the British-Hessian army of General Sir William Howe on September 11, 1777. The British defeated the Americans and forced them to withdraw toward the rebel capital of Philadelphia. The engagement occurred near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania during Howe's campaign to take Philadelphia, part of the American Revolutionary War. Howe's army sailed from New York City and landed near Elkton, Maryland in northern Chesapeake Bay. Marching north, the British-Hessian army brushed aside American light forces in a few skirmishes. Washington offered battle with his army posted behind Brandywine Creek. While part of his army demonstrated in front of Chadds Ford, Howe took the bulk of his troops on a long march that crossed the Brandywine beyond Washington's right flank. Due to poor scouting, the Americans did not detect Howe's column until it reached a position in rear of their right flank. Belatedly, three divisions were shifted to block the British-Hessian flanking force near a Quaker meeting house.

After a stiff fight, Howe's wing broke through the newly-formed American right wing which was deployed on several hills. At this point Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen attacked Chadds Ford and crumpled the American left wing. As Washington's army streamed away in retreat, he brought up elements of Nathanael Greene's division which held off Howe's column long enough for his army to escape to the northeast. The defeat and subsequent maneuvers left Philadelphia vulnerable. The British captured the city on September 26, beginning an occupation that would last until June 1778.

Brandywine order of battle

Commanders and Leaders

Colonial Forces

  • George Washington
  • Nathaniel Greene
  • Francis Nash
  • Peter Muhlenberg
  • Anthony Wayne

English/Hessian Forces

  • William Howe
  • Charles Cornwallis
  • Wilhelm von Knyphausen
  • James Agnew
  • William Medows

Helpful Sources and Links to Additional Material: