Josiah Rhinehart Sypher.

School history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time online

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Tlie British Army in Pennsylvania. — Battle of Brandy'
wine. — Occupation of Philadelphia.

1. The army at Morristown did not leave its winter quar-
ters until near the last of May, 17^7; it then numbered
about 10,000 men, strong, well-disciplined, and prepared for
active service. Early in June, the British general (Howe)
began to manceuver his army so as to draw the Americans
from their fortified camps ; but failing to entrap Washington,
he retreated to New York, and thus yielded the whole State
of New Jersey to the friends of freedom.

2. A large number of troops had been sent from Eng-
land to Canada, and these, under General Burgoyne, now
began a campaign in the north. General Howe embarked

Chapter XXI Y. — 1. When did Washington's army leave its
winter quarters? What was its strength? What did the British
general attempt to do ?

2. What movements were undertaken by the enemy? What did
Washington do?


liis army at New York, sailed round into Chesapeake bay,
and landed near the village of Elkton, in Maryland, on the
25th of August. The object of this expedition was the cap-
ture of Philadelphia. Washington was fully aware of the
movements of the enemy, and made preparations to meet
him with his whole force at Chadd's Ford, on the banks of
Brandywine creek.

3. On the morning of the 11th of September, soon after
daybreak, the British troops were in motion, advancing on
the direct road to Chadd's Ford. The Americans were im-
mediately under arms, and placed in order of battle to meet
them and resist their passage of the creek. Skirmishing
soon began between the advanced parties, and at ten o'clock,
General Maxwell's corps, which had been sent across the
stream to watch the movements of the enemy, was driven
back over the Brandywine below the ford. Knyphausen, who
commanded the advance corps of the British, paraded his
forces on the opposite heights and prepared to cross the

4. At this time (about eleven o'clock) Colonel Ross, of
Pennsylvania, who was operating with a small force in the
rear of the British army, sent word to Washington that a
large column of the enemy, with a heavy train of artillery,
was marching on a road leading to the fords farther up the
Brandywine. This was the division under Cornwallis, which,
after marching by a circuitous route, crossed the west branch
of the creek at Trimble's Ford, and the east branch at Jef-
feries Ford, and then moved down to attack the American
army on the right flank.

3. What battle was fought to save Philadelphia? When, where,
and how was the battle of Brandywine begun?

4. What word d'" Washington receive?


5. As soon as Washington learned of this movement of
the enemy, he made a change in the disposition of his forces.
Three divisions, commanded by Generals Sullivan, Sterling,
and Stephens, advanced up the Brand^^wine and faced the
British column that was coming down upon the right flank.
General Anthony Wayne* and General Maxwell remained at
Chadd's Ford, to watch the enemy under Knyphausen ; and
General Greene's division, accompanied by Washington, took
a central position, and was held in reserve.

6. The battle on the right was opened near the Birming-
ham Quaker meeting-house, by General Stirling's men, who
first received the attack of the British. The advance guard
of the Americans posted themselves in a graveyard sur-
rounded by a stone wall, where they made a most obstinate
resistance, and held the enemy in check until the line of bat-
tle had been formed, when they fell back and joined the
main division. It was now four o'clock in the afternoon, and
the battle opened vigorously along the whole front; but so

* Anthony Wayne, the " farmer boy," was born in Chester county,
Pa., in the year 1745. He was elected a member of the Assembly in
1773, and soon distinguished himself as a firm friend to the cause of
American liberty. In 1775, he was appointed colonel of a regiment,
raised in his own county. He was sent with the Northern army into
Canada, where he proved himself a brave and gallant soldier, and
was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. He afterward rose
to the rank of major-general, and occupies a conspicuous and honor-
able place among the heroes and patriots of the American Kevolution.
In 1794, he led a powerful army into the Indian country in the West,
where he subdued the savages and established peace, He died in the
old fort at Presque Isle, in 1796.

5. How did Washington arrange his troops?

6. How was the battb, fought on the right?



great was the power of the enemy, that the American line
Avas soon broken, and Washington was compelled to fall
back in order to save his army. The British rushed forward
in hot pursuit, eager for the total destruction of the American

7. Washington saw that the pursuit must be checked,
or his army would be destroyed; he therefore posted
Colonel Walter Stewart, with the 13th Pennsylvania regi-
ment and the 10th Virginia, on rising ground by the
side of the road taken by the defeated troops. Howe's ad-
vance was sharply resisted by these regiments; and mean-
time. General Muhlenberg's brigade was formed as a rear
guard, and charged the enemy with such spirit that it caused
Howe to move with greater caution; and finally, after re-
ceiving a severe check by General Greene's division, he
abandoned the pursuit.

8. While the battle was raging on the right, Knyphauscn
attempted to cross the creek, but was steadily resisted by
Wayne and Maxwell; when, however, these officers learned
of the defeat of the right wing, they withdrew, and fell back
to join the troops under Washington. The whole army re-
treated to Chester, where the several divisions arrived by
different roads during the night. In this battle, the loss on
the American side was 900 killed and wounded, and among
the wounded was General La Fayette ; the British loss was
100 killed and 400 wounded.

9. The day after the battle, the army marched through
Darby to Philadelphia. The British troops advanced to Yil-

7. How did Washington save his army ?

8. What took place on the left? Where did the army concen-
trate ? What were the losses ?


lage Green, in Delaware county, where they formed an en-
campment. The foreign troops had not before been in a
district so rich and attractive as was the southeastern part
of Pennsylvania. Here the farmers' houses were well
stocked with the best quality of provisions, and upon these
the soldiers preyed, with the most heartless disregard of the
rights and necessities of the inhabitants. The people were
plundered of every article that could be discovered by the
British and Hessian freebooters; even women's clothes were
stolen, and furniture was carried to the camp and destrovcd,
so that the people were soon left in utter destitution of food,
clothing, and proper shelter.

10. One day two young ladies w^ent to General Howe, and
complained of the brutish conduct of three Hessian soldiers,
who had plundered their fathers' houses ; the general gave
orders that the troops should be formed into line, and when
the robbers had been pointed out by the girls, they were ar-
rested, tried by court-martial, and hung, as a solemn warning
to the whole army, that the commander had determined to
put an end to the outrages practiced by the soldiers.

11. When Washington retreated to Philadelphia, the main
body of his army encamped at Germantown; about 500 of
the wounded were sent to Ephrata, in Lancaster county,
where many of them died. The resting-place of these patriotic
dead is now marked by a plain monument of sandstone.

12. Four days after the battle of Brandy wine, the Amer-
icans withdrew from Philadelphia and Germantown, crossed

9. Where did the enemy form an encampment? How did the
soldiers treat the people?

10. How were the soldiers warned against this conduct?

11. Where did the Continental army go?

12. What movement was made? Why?


the Schuylkill, and marched toward Goshen; for the com-
mander-in-chief had determined to risk another battle before
abandoning the city to the enemy.

13. The two armies confronted each other on the morning
of the 16th; the skirmishers in front of the picket lines began
firing, when suddenly a violent rain-storm set in and sepa-
rated the hostile forces. Washington, learning that the am-
munition of his men had become so wet as to be unfit for
use, withdrew the army to Warwick Furnace, where it ob-
tained a new supply.

14. General Wayne, with a division numbering 1500 men,
was sent out to join General Smallwood, who commanded a
body of militia in the rear of the British army. On the even-
ing of the 20th of September, Wayne encamped near Paoli.
That night a strong detachment of British from Howe's army,
led by the tories residing in the neighborhood, fell upon the
division with fixed bayonets, expecting to kill or capture the
general and all his men. At the first alarm from the picket
line, Wayne formed his troops, and received the fierce assault
of the enemy with his right, and then withdrew by the left
flank, fighting desperately against a superior force. The loss
of the Americans was estimated at about 200 ; the British
loss was very small. ''Paoli monument," erected in com-
memoration of this conflict, marks the battle-field.

15. At this time there was a large quantity of military
supplies stored at Reading; fearing that General Howe
might attempt to destroy these, Washington withdrew his
army from Philadelphia and took a position at Pottsgrove,

13. What prevented a battle ?

14. Who was attacked at night, and what took place?

15. Where did Washington take his army? What did the British
do? When did the enemy enter Philadelphia?


thirty-five miles up the Schuylkill. On the 23cl of Septem-
ber, the British army crossed the Schuylkill near Norristown,
and, three days later, marched into Philadelphia. Howe
ordered the main body of his army to encamp at German-
town, but established his headquarters in the city.

16. The forts on the Delaware, below Philadelphia, were
defended by the American garrisons with a tenacity that
greatly perplexed the commander of the British. The enemy's
fleet of war vessels had sailed from the Chesapeake round into
the Delaware, but could not approach the city without first
reducing Fort Mifflin, on the Pennsylvania, and Fort Mercer,
on the New Jersey side of the river. Nearly two months
were consumed, and heavy losses were sustained, in vain
efforts to capture these forts. On the 22d of October, over
2000 Hessian grenadiers, under Donop, assailed Fort Mer-
cer; they were repulsed with heavy loss, including their
commander ; this little garrison, numbering less than 600
brave men, was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Christo-
pher Greene.

n. While this battle was raging, the enemy's war vessels
came up to aid the land forces ; but twelve galleys and two
floating batteries from the little Pennsylvania navy, attacked
the royal ships with such vigor that two of the largest boats
were driven aground, and blown to pieces by the explo-
sion of their magazines. These disasters made the British
general more cautious in his operations ; he surrounded the
forts with batteries of heavy guns, and kept up a fierce bom-
bardment day and night.

18. The heroic garrisons defended their posts with match-

16. What took place on the Delaware below the city?

17. What naval battle was fought? How did it result? What did
the British do ?


less courage, until the block-houses were reduced to heaps of
ruins, the palisades broken down, the guns dismounted, and
the men, worn down by incessant labor and loss of sleep,
were unable to continue the defense ; therefore, on the night
of the 15th of November, the troops in Fort Mifflin set
fire to the barracks and moved off, carrying away their can-
non and stores. Three days later. Fort Mercer was evacu-
ated, and the little fleet on the Delaware sailed by the city
at night and escaped up the river. Thus, after a long and
disastrous contest, the British army and fleet succeeded in
forming a i unction at Philadelphia.

18. How were the forts defended, and how evacuated ?



The Battle of Germantown.— Winter Quarters at Valley

1. While General Howe's attention was directed to the
capture of the forts below Philadelphia, Washington seized
a favorable opportunity and fell upon the British camp at
Germantown. Early on the morning of the 4th of October,
the battle was opened by Wayne's men, who rushed on the
enemy crying, "Pvevenge! Revenge I" and in a terrible
charge broke the British line and swept it from the field.
Washington, with the whole of the right wing of his army,
pressed forward, certain of gaining a complete victory.

2. Unfortunately, the left wing of the line, numbering two-
thirds of the army, under General Greene, failed to come up
in time to engage the enemy's right, and thus the advantage
gained over the left was not swiftly followed by success in
other parts of the field. Before Washington could repair the

Chapter XXY. — 1. What battle was fought, and how did it

2. Why was the battle lost ?


damage occasioned by the delay of Greene's troops, the
enemy's reinforcements arrived from Philadelphia, and thus,
with victory snatched from their almost victorious arms, the
Americans were compelled to retreat.

3. Washington withdrew his army and encamped near
Whitemarsh. General Howe planned a surprise attack, and
hoped by a sudden stroke to destroy the remnant of the
American army in Pennsylvania. On the 4th of December
the British, by a forced march, came in front of Washington's
camp, but finding it strongly fortified, with cannon all mounted
and the troops in line of battle ready to receive them, they
feared to make the attack, and hence marched back to Phila-
delphia crestfallen and disappointed^

4. The secret of General Howe's failure was afterward
explained by the following circumstance: Some of his staff
officers used a room in the house of William Darrach, in
Philadelphia, w^here they held their official conferences.
Lydia, the wife of William, overheard the order read for the
surprise of Washington on the night of the 4th, and managed,
at the peril of her life, to convey the intelligence to an
American officer. She obtained permission to cross the
lines to purchase flour at Frankford, and meeting Colonel
Craig, whom she knew, told him the secret. Hence came
the unexpected preparations which the British army encount-
ered, and the defeat of the intended surprise.

5. On the 11th, the American army went into winter quar-
ters at Yalley Forge. The men moved toward the wooded hill-

3. Where did Washington go ? What was planned, and how did
it end ?

4. How did Washington learn of Howe's plans?

5. When and where did the army go into winter quarters? What
was the condition of the men? How did they prepare for the


sides selected for their resting-place, many without clothing to
cover their nakedness, without blankets to lie on, without
tents to sleep under, without shoes to protect their bleeding
feet from the ice and frozen ground of midwinter. The forest
trees were soon converted into huts, which were plastered
with mud and covered with boughs and bark; the untiring
vigilance of Washington secured the camp against surprise;
love of country and affectionate attachment to their general
sustained the troops under hardships that would have dis-
heartened and dispersed weaker and less patriotic men.

6. There is no spot in America where the people of the
United States can more appropriately erect monuments, and
carve inscriptions to that devoted patriotism which inspired
our fathers to labor, suffer, and die, that we might be an in-
dependent nation, than on the slopes at Valley Forge, on the
banks of the Schuylkill, twenty miles north of Philadelphia.
The world affords no record of a purer devotion to principle,
a nobler love of country, or a more pious, self-sacrificing de-
termination to endure the extremity of hardship, rather than
give up the cause of human liberty.

7. The winter was colder and longer than usual; the
men were thinly clad; had not so much as bare straw to
lie down upon at night ; often half starved for want of even
the meanest food; yet that freezing and starving little army
of patriots knew that its cause was just, and that its labors
and sufferings would end in victory.

8. At one time Washington was compelled to send out
among the farmers and seize grain and other provisions to
furnish his men with food; also straw and blankets to keep

6. What is said of Valley Forge ?

7. How did the troops pass the winter ?

8. How did Washington provide for the men ?



them from freezing. He gave orders that all the farmers
within seventy miles of his camp should thresh out one-half
of their grain before the first of February, and the other half
before the first of March, so that the army could be supplied
with bread.

9. While the great general labored day and night to pro-
tect his men from cold, hunger and the British troops, by
the most earnest appeals to Congress and the people, he also
most devoutly prayed to the great God of nations that vic-
tory and peace might speedily end the war. A Quaker, at
whose house Washington had his headquarters, once found
the general in the woods praying earnestly to God for help ;
the man went home to his wife and said, with tears in his
eyes, " If there is any one man on earth to whom the Lord
will listen, it is George Washington."

10. Thus the army struggled for life and existence, until
the winter wore away, and the warm rays of spring gave
strength and hope to the patriot soldiers. On the 1st of May,
1178, glorious news reached the camp. Benjamin Franklin,
who had been sent to France to represent the American
States, had labored long and earnestly to persuade the king
to aid the people in their struggle against English oppression,
and now tidings reached the army that the efforts of Franklin
had been crowned with success.

11. King Louis not only recognized the Independence of
America, but also agreed to send a fleet of war ships and an
army, to aid the United States in the struggle for its estab-
lishment. Shouts of joy and loud "hazzas for the king
of France" broke from every camp, and rolled and re-echoed

9. What incident is related of Washington?

10. What occurred in the spring?

11. What did the king of France do?


along the mountains. The future now seemed bright, and
the patriots were sure of success.

12. Two brigades of Pennsylvania, commanded by General
Wayne, passed the winter at the village of Mount Joy, in
Lancaster county. These troops suffered terrible hardships:
they were destitute of proper clothing; without sufficient
food even to prevent sickness from hunger ; they had neither
shoes nor stockings to protect their feet from snow and ice
while they gathered wood for their fires, nor blankets to
cover their shivering bodies at night; not even a change of
shirts could be obtained, but the men were compelled to
wear their filthy garments until they hung in tattered rags
upon their backs. Many took sick and died from starva-
tion and exposure. Yet such was the patient endurance
of the noble men who, through much suffering and severe
labors, won the freedom of America, that nothing but death
could turn them from their high purpose.

12. Where did Wayne's troops winter, and what was their con-
dition ?




Campaign of ll^S. — Dest7mction of Wyoming Settlement.

1. The French government sent a squadron of twelve ships
and four large frigates to America, with orders to proceed to
the mouth of the Delaware and blockade the British in that

bay. Fortunately for Gen-
eral Howe, he had left Phila-
delphia and sent his fleet to
New York before the arrival
of the French. The British
evacuated Philadelphia on
the 18th* of June, 1718, and
marched across New Jersey
toward New York.

2. Washington had closely
watched the movements of
the enemy, and, breaking up
his camp at Yalley Forge,
crossed the Delaware with
about 12,000 men, and pur-
suing the British, now com-
manded by General Clinton, finally, on Sunday, the 28th of
June, overtook them on the plains of Monmouth, where he
forced them to give battle.

3. The two armies were astir at one o'clock in the morn-


Chapter XXVI. — 1. How did the French aid the colonies? When
was Phihidelphia evacuated by the British?

2. What did Washington do? What battle was fought?


ing, preparing for the terrible work that was before them.
The troops joined in deadly conflict at nine o'clock, and from
that time until dark, during- the sultry hours of the hottest day
in the year, the battle raged with unabated fury. In addition
to those slain by sword, bullets, and bayonets, many fell from
the excessive heat of the long summer day, and when night
came both armies were glad to rest.

4. The Americans slept on their arms, determined to renew
the battle at daylight next morning; but during the night,
the British deserted their camp and quietly withdrew, so that
at daybreak not a "red coat" was in sight. This battle
drove the enemy from New Jersey, and ended the invasion
of Pennsylvania, for the soil of our State was never again
pressed by the march of foreign troops.

5. The British government was now greatly alarmed, and
determined to offset the French aid to the Americans by em-
ploying the savages in the north and west against the unpro-
tected settlements on the frontiers of the States. One of the
most terrible blows inflicted by this inhuman policy fell upon
the Wyoming settlement in Pennsylvania.

6. The history of this beautiful valley, in Luzerne county,
abounds with stories of adventure, excitement, contention, and
blood. Long before the discovery of America by Europeans,
the Indians had fought many sanguinary battles for the pos-
session of Wyoming. One of the first white men who visited
this valley of contention was Count Zinzendorf, a Moravian
missionary, who came from Germany to Pennsylvania in

3. How was this battle fought?

4. How did the battle end? What was the effect of this victory?

5. What cruel policy did the British adopt? Where did the first
blow fall ?

6 and 7. What do you know of the history of Wyoming Valley?



IHl, and in the following year visited the Indian settlements
on the north branch of the Susquehanna, in the hope of win-
ning the unlettered savages to the principles of Christianity.
These ignorant dwellers in the forests. could not believe that
any one would come so far, and endure so much without
compensation, for the sole purpose of doing good to others.
They therefore regarded the missionary as an enemy in dis-
guise, and resolved to assassinate him. For this purpose a
party of warriors approached his tent, on a cold night in
September. As they stealthily drew aside the curtain, they
saw the count lying on a bundle of dry weeds, writing by
the light of a small fire ; at the same moment, a large rattle-
snake, attracted by the heat, crawled slowly into the tent,
over the missionary's legs, and then stretched itself by the
side of the burning wood to enjoy the warmth.

T. The Indians were appalled at the sight, and, shrinking
back, returned to their chief and informed him that the Great
Spirit protected the stranger, for he slept with only a blanket
for the door of his tent, and a great snake had crawled over
his legs without attempting to hurt him. Zinzendorf was
soon joined by another white man, who knew the Indians,
and explained to them the true character of the distinguished
visitor ; thus he was enabled to carry on his work of love
without fear of danger.

8. In 1762, about two hundred persons from Connecticut
settled in Wyoming, believing that it was within the limits
of the charter of that Province. This settlement was de-
stroyed by the Indians, and the people fled for safety to the
banks of the Delaware.

8. When and by whom was the first settlement made in this
valley ? What became of it ?

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Online LibraryJosiah Rhinehart SypherSchool history of Pennsylvania, from the earliest settlements to the present time → online text (page 12 of 24)