Stories from PA History
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The Philadelphia Campaign
After the Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in 1776, British and Continental Armies met in a series of crucial battles throughout the Philadelphia Region. Washington's daring crossing of the Delaware River to defeat British and Hessian forces and his troops' rugged determination to survive their difficult winter at Valley Forge rallied the spirit of the American people at a critical moment in their struggle for independence.

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Overview: Philadelphia Campaign
Chapter One: Crossing the Delaware
Chapter Two: The Battle of Brandywine
Chapter Three: Occupation of Philadelphia
Chapter Four: Valley Forge

Historical Markers In the Story
marker icon Battle of Germantown (Philadelphia) marker icon Benjamin Rush [New Nation] (Philadelphia)
marker icon Fort Mifflin (Philadelphia) marker icon Gen. Anthony Wayne (Chester)
marker icon General Sir William Howe (Chester)

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Story Bibliography

Original Documents
icon full text Dr. Benjamin Rush Reports on Conditions Following the Battle of Brandywine, October 1, 1777.

1776 British win major victory over Washington's Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island
1776 Driven out of New York and New Jersey by Howe's forces, George Washington establishes temporary headquarters at Summerseat in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
1776 Reacting to a threatened British invasion of Pennsylvania, Congress leaves Philadelphia for Baltimore
1776 Washington's forces cross the Delaware River, surprising Hessian soldiers guarding Trenton, New Jersey
1777 Outnumbered Continental troops meet Royal forces at Trenton for the second time but escape and the next morning win another surprising victory in a skirmish at Princeton
1777 General Howe begins sailing over 14,000 troops from New York toward the South in a campaign to capture Philadelphia
1777 Howe decides against landing his troops in Delaware and proceeds to the head of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland
1777 Washington's troops march through Philadelphia on their way to meet the British forces then passing through the Chesapeake
1777 British forces land at Head of Elk (Elkton, Maryland)
1777 Battle of Brandywine. The two sides engage along Brandywine Creek, which crosses the Nottingham Road (Baltimore Pike), the main route into Philadelphia. Howe's troops secure victory
1777 Paoli Massacre. British troops surprise forces led by Gen. Anthony Wayne using fixed bayonets in a brutal late night assault
1777 British enter the city of Philadelphia
1777 Battle of Germantown. Washington's ambitious plan to break the British occupation of Philadelphia fails principally as the result of stubborn British resistance at Cliveden or the Chew Mansion
1777 Battle of Saratoga (New York). British General John Burgoyne surrenders over 9,000 Royal troops to Continental commander Horatio Gates in the war's most decisive early battle. The victory at Saratoga, coupled with Washington's continued aggressiveness in Pennsylvania, helps secure an American alliance with the French.
1777 Fall of Fort Mifflin, one of the last remaining American strongholds on the Delaware River, guarantees British access to sea routes for re-supply efforts to uphold their occupation of Philadelphia
1777 General Howe begins a final two-day campaign to oust the American forces at Whitemarsh on the outskirts of Philadelphia. After several attempts, he orders British troops back to winter encampment in the city.
1777 American troops arrive for winter encampment at Valley Forge
1778 Franco-American Treaties of Commerce and Alliance signed in Paris
1778 Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge and soon begins improved drill instruction for infantry soldiers
1778 General Henry Clinton replaces William Howe as commander in chief of the British forces in the American colonies
1778 Pennsylvania militia forces under Brig. Gen. John Lacey defeated by British troops at Crooked Billet, on the outskirts of Philadelphia
1778 American forces begin to break camp at Valley Forge
1778 British forces evacuate Philadelphia
1778 Last American troops leave Valley Forge
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