The Battle of Brandywine involved 28,000 soldiers in combat and was the largest and longest battle of the American Revolution
· After marching 17 miles in 9 hours from Kennett Square, Gen. Howe's army took a break for tea, to rest and refresh in the vicinity of Osbourne Hill. This allowed Gen. Washington to reposition many of his troops from the eastern side of the Brandywine Creek to form a defensive line near the Birmingham Meeting.
★ You are positioned in the vicinity of Stephen's regiment. Imagine columns of redcoats, across a half mile, descending the south side of Osbourne Hill in the distance; battalion flags flying; drums beating.
5pm, Sandy Hollow: The Second American Defense
· The first line of Colonial defense broke in confusion under heavy fire. The most significant fighting took place along Birmingham and Wylie Roads in the vicinity of the Birmingham Meeting and what is now Sandy Hollow Heritage Park.
· The Continental Army fought valiantly, reforming on high ground in a wavering but often amazingly courageous defense. It was "disputed muzzle to muzzle". The line gave way five times, reforming and pushed farther back.
· The high ground of Sandy Hollow Heritage Park marks the "sunset stand" as slowly the Colonials were driven back by overwhelming forces and firepower, dusk was closing in, ammunition was low, and many of the three and four pounder cannons had been lost.
· Both sides were exhausted by long marches and a nearly two-hour battle. The Continental left flank finally gave way and Greene's men held the Sandy Hollow area, while a fighting retreat began toward Dilworthtown.
· There were substantial casualties. Many of the dead on both sides were buried near where they fell and in the Birmingham burying grounds.
While the battle was a significant loss for Gen. Washington's army, it was a turning point in the war because of the strong resolve it fostered among the Continentals to carry on the fight for freedom .