The Battle of Brandywine was the largest and longest battle of the American Revolution
· At 4 am, September 11, 1777, British troops marched from Kennett Square towards the colonial capital of Philadelphia.
· Gen. Washington positioned many of his 13,000 troops along the eastern side of the Brandywine Creek at Chadds Ford to defend the main road north to Chester and Philadelphia.
· As Gen. Howe's 15,000 troops approached the American front, Cornwallis' division marched 8 miles north to cross the Brandywine at Jefferis Ford and attack Washington's position from the flank and rear from Osborne Hill.
· 2pm: Responding to reports of Gen. Howe's division to the north, Gen. Washington ordered the divisions of Stirling and Stephen to move toward the Birmingham Meeting House. The Americans tried to form a solid defensive line. The Civil War Naval cannon at the intersection of Wylie and Birmingham roads represents the position of four 3-lb cannons of the Continental Army.
· Across the field to the left is the large hill a half-mile in the distance that Sullivan's division climbed from the Brandywine River. As they attempted to close the gap on Stirling's flank, the British Guards' artillery and musket opened fire.
· You are positioned near the left flank of Marshall's regiment. Imagine no trees across the field to Street Road and the Grenadier Battalions marching at arms length apart, toward you with fixed bayonets, while the Brigade of Guards move forward.
· The Continental artillery fired on the Grenadiers and the British Light Infantry on Birmingham Road. British artillery responded. Smoke layered the fields. Parts of the American line were in disarray. The British Guards charged up the hill and Sullivan's Continentals fled with the Guards in pursuit. The Grenadiers charged Stirling's troops. Five times the Grenadiers drove them from the hill and the Continentals regained it. The American left flank finally gave way and a fighting retreat began.
· There were substantial casualties. The Birmingham Meeting served as a hospital for both American and British wounded. Many of the dead on both sides were buried near where they fell and in the Birmingham burying ground.
The colonists lost the battle but proved to the British their ability and determination to fight.