Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777

 

Learn new facts about the Battle of Brandywine and the impact that battle had on America. Presented by Michael Harris. Click here for more detail.

2015 Paoli Battlefield Heritage Day

 
Heritage Day Paoli Battlefield Sept 19 2015

Join us on Saturday, September 19th, 2015 as we enjoy our 3rd annual Paoli Battlefield Heritage Day.  We will have as our centerpiece the American Military Timeline starting at the French and Indian War and going through to present day.  With the help of our friends from Historical Military Impressions  see re-enactors from the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, The Civil War, The Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the National Guard representing today’s troops in camps and displaying the dress and items they carried into battle.  Interact with the soldiers, see the weapons they used and learn about the clothing and other gear that these soldiers needed to outfit themselves on the battlefield.  Live firing exercises will take place throughout the day, as well as many other programs.

Join the soldiers as they march into camp at 11:00am and then visit each of the camps.  Learn about many of our local historical sites, learn crafts with special demonstrations, and buy goods from the craftspeople that will be at the battlefield.  Author Bruce Mowday and Michael Harris will be signing their books for purchase and donating their proceeds to the battlefield.  See Ben Franklin demonstrate his great inventions.  We’d like to thank our food vendor Cafe Buno which will be selling food and drinks to everyone.  Our good friends at the  Colonial Plantation and East Goshen Township will have kids crafts and games to share with the family.  Take a family keepsake photo at the battlefield. Register your kids with our Paoli Passport.  This program will have your children tour each of the camps and asked questions to the re-enactors to get the answers needed to win prizes.  Everyone entered will win a prize pack, but we will have a larger prize drawing near the end of the day. Tour the Paoli Battlefield and learn all about the battle that took place here and why it was coined the “Paoli Massacre” by the patriots.  Stop by and see Randy Brown of the Valley Forge Blackpots, as he demonstrates cooking near his replica wagon. Experience a Duel between a loyalist and a patriot and have your kids participant in our children’s musket drills.

To close out the day we will have a veterans recognition ceremony.  State Representative Duane Milne and others will talk about the history and sacrifice our fighting men and women have faced keeping our country free.  Our re-enactors will march out of camp and will then lay wreaths at the mass grave site of the 52 patriots who perished during the Battle of Paoli on September 20-21, 1777.    A bugler will play taps,  which will then be followed by a firing salute by our re-enactors.

Admission is by a donation of $8.00 per person, children are $5.00, and a special family rate is $20.00 (up to 5 people).

May 202015
 

Who were the British soldiers that the Americans faced during the Revolutionary War? What of the soldiers that were at the Paoli Battlefield that fateful night of September 20th, 1777?  Were they the dregs of society, criminals, or perhaps conscripts?  What motivated them to serve in the British Army?  Join us on Monday, April 11th, 2016, as we welcome Don N. Hagist the author of British Soldiers, American War Voices of the American Revolution who will show a rare and fascinating first person profiles of soldiers who fought for the British crown, including those who fought here at Paoli.

Our lectures have proved to be very popular and we strongly recommend that you book your seat now. 

Click here to go to the booking page.

The all inclusive admission price is $49 per person which includes the 18th century American Fare Buffet, all soft beverages and coffee, family style sweets during the question and answer session, all tax and gratuities, the lecture, and a donation to help support the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park.

Your admission also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win a night’s stay at the General Warren Inne. There will be one winner drawn at each lecture.

British Soldiers
Much has been written about the colonists who took up arms during the American Revolution and the army they created. Far less literature, however, has been devoted to their adversaries. The professional soldiers that composed the British army are seldom considered on a personal level, instead being either overlooked or inaccurately characterized as conscripts and criminals. Most of the British Redcoats sent to America in defense of their government’s policies were career soldiers who enlisted voluntarily in their late teens or early twenties. They came from all walks of British life, including those with nowhere else to turn, those aspiring to improve their social standing, and all others in between. Statistics show that most were simply hardworking men with various amounts of education who had chosen the military in preference to other occupations. Very few of these soldiers left writings from which we can learn their private motives and experiences.

British Soldiers, American War: Voices of the American Revolution is the first collection of personal narratives by British common soldiers ever assembled and published. Author Don N. Hagist has located first-hand accounts of nine soldiers who served in America in the 1770s and 1780s. In their own words we learn of the diverse population—among them a former weaver, a boy who quarelled with his family, and a man with wanderlust—who joined the army and served tirelessly and dutifully, sometimes faithfully and sometimes irresolutely, in the uniform of their nation. They were volunteers, who’d enlisted for a mix of reasons. Some were seeking economic advantage; others were just in search of adventure. Each soldier had his own hopes and fears and aspirations. “It was an all-volunteer force of people who joined the army as a profession.”

“There’s a tendency to look at historical wars strictly in terms of good guys and bad guys,” adds Hagist. “And so you assume that if America’s enemy were the bad guys, then the people fighting in the army must have been bad somehow. So we lose sight of the fact that the armies are made up of individual people and they all had lives, they all had reasons for joining the army.” The common British soldier of the American Revolution has a certain image in the popular imagination, the kind of mindless automaton you can see in movies like “The Patriot.”

Don Hagist

Don Hagist

That doesn’t fit Hagist’s research, which collects most of the written first-hand accounts of common soldiers from the period, together with years of archival research among military and public records. Nor does the impression of constant brutal discipline. “There were brutal punishments, but most soldiers had pretty clean records, but the most surprising thing is the simple humanity of these people, in contrast to most of the literature.”

Don’s other books are Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls: A Selection of Advertisements for Female Runaways in American Newspapers, 1770 to 1783 (2008), General Orders, Rhode Island: December 1776 – January 1778 (2009), Journal of the American Revolution by Todd Andrlik, Hugh T. Harrington and Don N. Hagist (2013), and The Revolution’s Last Men: The Soldiers Behind the Photographs (2015)

Don N. Hagist, editor of Journal of the American Revolution, is an independent researcher specializing in the demographics and material culture of the British Army in the American Revolution. He maintains a blog about British common soldiers (http://redcoat76.blogspot.com) Besides several books, he has published numerous articles on the subject. He gives lectures in America and Great Britain, and is available for speaking engagements.  Don is an engineering consultant, and also writes humor material for cartoonists whose work appears in national magazines and newspapers. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island. He can be contacted at dhagist@cox.net.

 

ppbf lecture series

Click here to view all of our July 2015-July 2016 Lecture Series

 

 

Seized in September – The Revolutionary War in Delaware

 

For more detailed information Click Here.

Each attendee will be entered in a drawing for a free night’s stay at the General Warren Inne.

Our lectures have proved to be very popular and we strongly recommend that you book your seat now

Mar 042015
 

Did a messenger relay a bad intelligence or did he lie when he told General Sullivan about seeing no enemy on the road to the ford which the British Crossed the Brandywine Creek?  Find out which foreign commander lead Sullivan’s troops in a long march that could have prevented the disaster at Birmingham Hill.  The bitter fighting on Birmingham Hill drove the Americans from the field, but their heroic defensive stand saved Washington’s army from destruction and proved that the nascent Continental foot soldiers could stand toe-to-toe with their foe.  Learn new facts about the Battle of Brandywine and the impact that battle had on America on Monday, October 12th as author Michael Harris presents his book Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777.

Our lectures have proved to be very popular and we strongly recommend that you book your seat now.
Register NOW

Click here to go to the booking page

The all inclusive admission price is $49 per person which includes the 18th century American Fare Buffet, all soft beverages and coffee, family style sweets during the question and answer session, all tax and gratuities, the lecture, and a donation to help support the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park.

Your admission also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win a night’s stay at the General Warren Inne. There will be one winner drawn at each lecture.

Michael did 7 years of research as park ranger at the Brandywine Battlefield.  He spent 9 years writing and compiling all of this research into this book.

Battle of Brandywine (harris)

In his book Michael Harris exposes a lot of long held myths about the Battle of Brandywine and why the American’s lost this battle and who really should shoulder the blame.  Michael will detail about the common myths of Squire Chaney’s ride, the first battle with the “Betsy Ross” flag, Casmir Pulaski’s famous charge, Reverend Trout’s famous sermon, Washington’s ride to the endangered flank, and other myths that persist to this day of the biggest land battle of the Revolutionary War.
Michael C. Harris is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and the American Military University. He has worked for the National Park Service in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Fort Mott State Park in New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at Brandywine Battlefield. He has conducted tours and staff rides of many east coast battlefields. Michael is certified in secondary education and currently teaches in the Philadelphia region. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Michelle and son Nathanael.
Michael is available to speak to your group or organization and he offers guided tours of the Brandywine Battlefield. Contact him directly for details: mharris28thpa@gmail.com.  Please visit his website at https://revwarramblings.wordpress.com
ppbf lecture series

Click here to view all of our July 2015-July 2016 Lecture Series

Jun 172014
 

The British are coming!!  The British are coming!!

Have you ever wondered what happened in Delaware during the Revolutionary War? How did the British get from the Head of the Elk River to Chadds Ford for the Battle of the Brandywine? What happened to residents of New Castle County when two competing armies–the Americans and the British–occupied the county? Join us on Monday, March 9, 2015 as Kim Burdick presents Seized in September, the Revolutionary War in Delaware.  Hear the letters and writings by colonial Delawareans describing the arrival of the British army and the social upheaval it brought to our colony.

Our lectures have proved to be very popular and we strongly recommend that you book your seat now

Register NOW

Click here to go to the booking page.

The all inclusive admission price is $49 per person which includes the 18th century American Fare Buffet, all soft beverages and coffee, family style sweets during the question and answer session, all tax and gratuities, the lecture, and a donation to help support the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park.

Your admission also includes a raffle ticket for a chance to win a night’s stay at the General Warren Inne. There will be one winner drawn at each lecture.

Kim Burdick is a Cooperstown Graduate with an MA in American Folk Culture and Museum Studies, She also holds an MPA in Agency Management from the College of Urban Affairs. Founder & Chairman of the American Revolution Round Table of Delaware, life member of American Friends of Lafayette, and is also the former National Chairman Emeritus of Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R-US), Kim is the first (and only) woman to have been elected to the Board of Delaware’s George Washington Society. She is Chairman Emeritus of the Delaware Humanities Council and a member of the Delaware Humanities Forum’s Speakers Bureau. Kim teaches History at two local community colleges, one in Pennsylvania, the other in Wilmington. Kim is the Currently Curator of the Hale-Byrnes House and Delaware advisor emeritus for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

May 142014
 

The Battle of Paoli is the 9th deadliest battle in the American Revolutionary War. In fact there are three battles mentioned here that make up the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777.

One of the most comprehensive sources of casualty figures is Howard Peckham’s The Toll of Independence (The University of Chicago Press, 1974). Despite its age and shortage of British totals, historians still often point to this volume for American loss data.

Based on records for 1,331 military and 218 naval engagements, Peckham concludes that 7,174 were killed and 8,241 were wounded during the eight-year war.

Beyond these summaries, Peckham’s book is loaded with figures that would make any statistician drool and, of course, many historians debate.  With such a resource at my fingertips, I thought it would be interesting to list the Revolutionary War’s 25 deadliest battles, looking at engagements both on land and at sea. After all, the Revolutionary War is second only to the Civil War in deaths relative to population. This list is based exclusively on Peckham’s figures of Americans killed and wounded, which are totaled in (parentheses) and sorted in order of most killed and wounded to least. Then, for perspective, I included British killed and wounded totals from multiple sources, which are in {braces} and cited to their respective sources.

Based on Peckham’s casualty figures:

  • Camden comprises nearly 37 percent of all the Americans killed and wounded during military engagements in 1780.
  • Bunker Hill comprises 54 percent of all the Americans killed and wounded during military engagements in 1775.
  • Germantown and Brandywine, combined, account for 35 percent of all Americans killed and wounded during military engagements in 1777.

Interestingly, the 25 deadliest battles total 7,696 Americans killed and wounded, which accounts for 50 percent of all Americans killed and wounded during the entire eight-year war (using Peckham’s Americans killed/wounded war total of 15,415). That means that the other 50 percent, or 7,719 Americans, were killed and wounded during the remaining 1,524 military and naval engagements! So, the Revolutionary War’s 80-20 rule was closer to a 50-2 rule with nearly 50% of the American killed and wounded casualties occurring in 1.6 percent of the military and naval engagements.

Of course, this is all based on a numbers game and new casualty sources are regularly added and subtracted. As Peckham summarized, “If we cannot offer the final word on casualties of the American Revolution, we hope that we can at least elevate the discussion of those losses by the addition of figures that have heretofore been unknown or unavailable.”

EDITOR NOTE: To focus on the “deadliest battles,” casualties were limited to killed and wounded, but missing and captured could increase the totals or raise additional questions. As demonstrated in the introduction, war casualty figures during the Revolutionary War were often used as propaganda. Casualty data continues to be disputed and debated today. As such, we welcome all arguments against Peckham’s American casualty numbers to unfold in the comments below.

[FEATURED IMAGE AT TOP: Xavier della Gatta’s Battle of Paoli painting (1782). Source: American Revolution Center Collection]

Read the full article below…

 

“Now prepare thyself, Pennsylvania”

 
Thomas McGuire

We are pleased to announce that our friend Thomas McGuire has agreed to take the May speaker slot.  Tom’s presentation is called “Now prepare thyself, Pennsylvania!” a series of lesser-known episodes of the Revolution which happened outside the Valley Forge encampment. They mostly center in Chester County and many of them involve the Lancaster Road September 1777-Spring 1778.

“Now prepare thyself, Pennsylvania!”, the title, comes from Rev. Henry Muhlenberg, who wrote it after hearing of the defeat at Brandywine, “Now prepare thyself, Pennsylvania, to meet the Lord thy God!” Scrounge around the county with British, Hessian, and Continental foraging parties; patrol the Lancaster Road with Col. Daniel Morgan and Captain Johann Ewald, and experience how they connected; share the grief of Gen. Nathanael Greene, who told Washington in February, “Like Pharaoh, I harden my heart,” while foraging to feed a desperate army; engage in spying with local patriots and loyalists; learn where Captain Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee fended off a 200-strong British dragoon force, using only eight men and his wits; share the tragedy of Rev. William Currie, Anthony Wayne’s pastor at St. David’s, who lost his family during the Valley Forge encampment. Reserve your spot now!