George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 5 October 1777

To John Hancock

Camp near Pennibeckers Mill [Pa.] Octr 5: 1777.

Sir

Having received intelligence through Two intercepted Letters, that Genl Howe had detached a part of his force for the purpose of reducing Billingsport and the Forts on Delaware,1 I communicated the Accounts to my Genl Officers, who were unanimously of Opinion, that a favourable Opportunity offered to make an Attack upon the Troops, which were at & near German Town. It was accordingly agreed, that it should take place Yesterday morning and the following dispositions were made. The Divisions of Sullivan & Wayne, flanked by Conways Brigade were to enter the Town by the way of Chesnut Hill, while Genl Armstrong with the Pensylvania Militia should fall down the Manatawny Road by Vandeerings Mill and get upon the Enemy’s left and Rear. The Divisions of Greene & Stephen flanked by McDougals Brigade were to enter by taking a circuit by way of the Lime Kiln Road at the Market House & to attack their Right wing, & the Militia of Maryland & Jersey under Genls Smalwood & Foreman were to march by the Old York road and fall upon the rear of their Right. Lord Stirling with Nash & Maxwell’s Brigades was to form a Corps de Reserve.2 We marched about Seven OClock the preceding Evening, and Genl Sullivans advanced party drawn from Conways Brigade attacked their picket at Mount Airy or Mr Allens House about Sun rise the next Morning,3 which presently gave way, and his Main body, consisting of the right Wing, following soon engaged the Light Infantry and Other Troops encamped near the picket which they forced from their Ground, leaving their Baggage.4 They retreated a considerable distance, having previously thrown a party into Mr Chews House, who were in a situation not to be easily forced, and had it in their power from the Windows to give us no small annoyance, and in a great measure to obstruct our advance.5

The Attack from our left Column under Genl Greene began about three Quarters of an Hour after that from the Right, and was for some time equally successfull. But I cannot enter upon the particulars of what happened in that Quarter, as I am not yet informed of them, with sufficient certainty and precision.

The Morning was extremely foggy, which prevented our improving the advantages we gained so well, as we should otherwise have done. This circumstance, by concealing from us the true situation of the Enemy, obliged us to act with more caution and less expedition than we could have wished, and gave the Enemy time to recover from the effects of our first impression; and what was still more unfortunate, it served to keep our different parties in ignorance of each Others movements, and hindered their acting in concert.6 It also occasioned them to mistake One another for the Enemy, which, I believe, more than any thing else contributed to the misfortune which ensued. In the midst of the most promising appearances7—when every thing gave the most flattering hopes of victory, the Troops began suddenly to retreat; and intirely left the Feild in spite of every effort that could be made to rally them.8

Upon the whole, it may be said the day was rather unfortunate, than injurious. We sustained no material loss of Men and brought off all our Artillery, except One peice which was dismounted; The Enemy are nothing the better by the event, and our Troops, who are not in the least dispirited by it, have gained what All young Troops gain by being in Actions. We have had however several valuable Officers killed and wounded—particularly the latter. Genl Nash is among the Wounded and his life is despaired of. As soon as it is possible to obtain a return of our loss, I will transmit it.9

In justice to Genl Sullivan and the whole right wing of the Army, whose conduct I had an Opportunity of observing, as they acted immediately under my eye, I have the pleasure to inform you, that both Officers & Men behaved with a degree of Gallantry that did them the highest honor. I have the Honor to be with great respect Sir Your Most Obed. Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. As I have observed, I have not received a Return of ⟨our⟩ loss, but from what ⟨I have⟩ just now learnt from Genl Greene, I fear it is more considerable than I at first apprehended in Men. The Cannon mentioned above is said to have been brought off in a Waggon.

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, M-Ar Revolution Letters; LB, Nc-Ar; copy, PPAmP: Franklin Papers; copy, anonymous donor (1971); copy (photocopy), DLC: St.James School Collection; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The mutilated parts of the postscript on the LS are supplied within angle brackets from the draft. For changes in wording on the draft, see notes 3, 4, and 6. GW franked the addressed cover of the LS. Congress read this letter on 8 Oct. (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 9:782).

During the battle GW followed Sullivan’s column along Germantown Road, but he did not go beyond Benjamin Chew’s house at the northern edge of Germantown although some of Sullivan’s troops advanced to the center of the town before retreating (see Pickering and Upham, Life of Pickering description begins Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 vols. Boston, 1867–73. description ends , 1:168, and Pickering’s letter, 23 Aug. 1826, in North American Review description begins North American Review. Boston, 1815—. description ends , 23 [1826], 425–30).

Sullivan gives a detailed account of the battle from his perspective in his letter to Meshech Weare of 25 Oct.: “Our Army Left their own Encampment at Metuchen Hill at nine in the Evening marched all night & at Day Break the Right wing [Sullivan’s column] arrived on Chesnut Hill when one Regiment from Conways Brigade & one from the 2d Maryland Brigade were Detached to Mount Airey followed by Conways Brigade to attack the Enemys Picket at Allen House—my own Division followed in the Rear of Conways & Wains Division in the Rear of mine—the Picket was soon attacked & were Suddenly reinforced by all their [2d] Light Infantry. This Compelled General Conway to form his Brigade to Sustain the attacking Regiments & to Repulse the Light Infantry—they maintained their ground with great Resolution till my Division was formed to support them.

“The Enemy Endeavoring to flank us on the Left I ordered [Lt.] Colo [Benjamin] Fords [6th Maryland] Regiment to the other side the [Germantown] Road to Repulse them till General Wains Division arrived & upon finding that our Left wing [Greene’s column] (which had over four miles further to march than the Right[)] had not arrived) I was oblidged to form General Wains Division on the East [side] of the Road to attack the Enemys Right. I then Directed General Conway to Draw off Such part of his Brigade as were formed in the Road & in front of our Right & fall into my Rear & file off to the Right to flank my Division but the morning being too Dark to Discover the Enemys movements & no Evidence being given of General [John] Armstrongs arrival I was oblidged to Send a Regiment from Wains & another from my own Division to keep the Enemy from Turning our Right. I also Detached Colo. [Stephen] Moylands Regiment of Light Horse to watch their motions in that Quarter.

“This being Done my Division were ordered to advance which they Did with Such Resolution that the Enemys Light Infantry were soon Compelled to Leave the field & with it their Encampment. They However made a Stand at Every Fence wall & Ditch they passed which were numerous—we were Compelled to Remove Every Fence as we past which Delayed us much in the pursuit—we were Soon after met by the Left wing of the British Army when a Severe Conflict Ensued but our men being ordered to march up with Sholdered arms they obeyed without Hesitation & the Enemy retired.

“I then Detached my Aid De Camp Major [Lewis] Morris [Jr.] to Inform his Excellencey [GW] who was in the main Road that the Enemys Left wing had given way & to Desire him to order General Waine to advance against their Right—his Excellency immediately Detached part of the Reserve on my Right & part on the Left of the Road & Directed Wains Division to advance which they did with great Bravery & Rapidity; at Chews House a mile & a half from where the attack began Wains Division came abreast with mine & past Chews House while mine was advancing on the other side the main Road: Though the Enemy were Routed yet they took advantage of every yard House & Hedge in their retreat which kept up an Incessant fire Through the whole pursuit.

“At this time which was near an Hour & a Quarter after the attack began General Stephens Division [from Greene’s column] fell in with Wains on our Left & Soon after the firing from General Greens was heard still farther to the Left. The Left wing of our Army [Greene’s column] was Delayed much by General Greens being oblidged to Countermarch one of his Divisions before he could begin the attack as he found the Enemy were in a Situation very Different from what we had before been Told.

“The Enemy had Thrown a Large Body of Troops into Chews House which occasioned [Gen. William] Maxwells Brigade to halt there with Some artillery to reduce them—this was found very Difficult as the House being Stone was almost impenetrable by Cannon & Sufficient proof against musketry. The Enemy Defended themselves with great Bravery & annoyed our Troops much by their fire. This unfortunately Halted Many of our Troops & brought back General Wains Division who had advanced far beyond the House as they were apprehensive that The firing proceeded from the Enemys having Defeated my Division on the Right. This Totally uncovered the Left Flank of my Division who were Still advancing against the Enemies Left.

“The firing of General Greens Division was very Heavy for more than Quarter of an hour but then Decreased & Seemed to Draw further from us. I am not Sufficiently acquainted with the Facts to Determine with precision what was Done in that Quarter—a Regiment Commanded by Colo [George] Mathews [the 9th Virginia Regiment] advanced with Rapidity near The Town but not being supported by Some other Regiments who were Stoped by a Breast work near Lucas’s [Luken’s] mills The brave Colo After having performed great feats of Bravery & being Dangerously wounded in Several places was oblidged with about a hundred of his men to Surrender themselves prisoners of war.

“My Division with a Regiment of North Carolinians Commanded by Colo [James] Armstrong [the 8th North Carolina Regiment] & assisted by part of Conways Brigade having Driven the Enemy a mile & a half below Chews House & finding themselves unsupported by any other Troops[,] Their Cartridges all Expended[,] the force of the Enemy on the Right Collecting to the Left, to oppose them[,] being alarmed by the firing at Chews House So far in their Rear & by the Cry of a Light Horse man on the Right that the Enemy had got round us & at the Same time Discovering Some Troops flying on our Right[,] retired with as much precipitation as they had before advanced against Every effort of their officers to Rally them—when the Retreat took place they had been Engaged near three Hours which with the march of the Preceeding night rendered them almost unfit for fighting or retreating—we however made a Safe retreat Though not a Regular one—we brought off all our Cannons & all our wounded. . . . The misfortunes of this Day were principally owing to a Thick Fog which being rendered still more So by the Smoke of the Cannon & musketry prevented our Troops from Discovering the motions of the Enemy or Acting in Concert with Each other.

“I cannot help observing That with great Concern I saw our brave Commander [GW] Exposing himself to the hottest fire of the Enemy in such a manner that regard to my Country oblidged me to ride to him & beg him to retire—he to gratify me & Some others withdrew a Small Distance but his anxiety for the fate of the Day Soon brought him up again where he remained till our Troops had retreated” (Hammond, Sullivan Papers description begins Otis G. Hammond, ed. Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army. 3 vols. Concord, 1930-39. In Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society, vols. 13–15. description ends , 1:542–47).

Lt. James McMichael, who was with Greene’s column, says in his diary entry for 4 Oct.: “At 5 after 5 o’clock the attack began from right to left. We drove the enemy for near 3 miles with the utmost precipitation, but the Maryland militia under the command of Gen. Smallwood, not coming to flank us in proper time, together with the cowardice of the 13th Virginia regiment, gave the enemy an opportunity of coming round our left flank. When their main body attacked our left, we advanced into a field and put every party to retreat that attacked us in front; but by this time we sustained a fire from front, left and part to the rear, when Gen. Stephen ordered Col. [Walter] Stewart to evacuate the ground from the right of subdivisions by files. It was disagreeable to have to leave the field, when we had almost made a conquest, if the Virginians had stood to our aid. Agreeably to orders, we retreated regularly a short distance, but the enemy taking a different route, we were obliged to march the road from whence we came, in order to head them, but did not fall in with any part of them afterwards. We then marched up the Skippack road to Pennybecker’s [Pennypacker’s] Mill, where we betook ourselves to rest at 9 P.M.” ((“McMichael’s Diary,” description begins William P. McMichael. “Diary of Lieutenant James McMichael, of the Pennsylvania Line, 1776–1778.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 16 (1892): 129–59. description ends 152–53; see also Adam Stephen to GW, 9 Oct.).

General Howe wrote George Germain on 10 Oct. that Gen. James Grant in command of the British right wing pursued Greene’s column “through a strong country between four and five miles” and that Cornwallis, who came from Philadelphia and took command of the left wing, “followed the enemy eight miles on the Skippack road, but such was the expedition with which they fled he was not able to overtake them. . . . They saved all their cannon by withdrawing them early in the day” (Davies, Documents of the American Revolution description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends , 14:202–9; see also Wayne to GW, 4 Oct.).

For the controversy about the attack on the Chew house, see note 5. For the effects of the fog and smoke, see note 7. For GW’s efforts to halt the American retreat, see note 8. For the casualties on both sides, see note 9.

For other American accounts of the battle, see John Armstrong to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 5 Oct., in Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 5:645–46; William Beatty, Jr., to William Beatty, Sr., 6, 13 Oct., in “Beatty Correspondence,” 148; Asher Holmes to Sarah Holmes, 6 Oct., in N.J. Hist. Soc. Proceedings description begins Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society. 84 vols. Newark, N.J., 1845–1966. description ends , new ser., 7 (1922), 34–35; letter of an American officer, 6 Oct., in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 11 (1887), 330–32; Armstrong to Horatio Gates, 9 Oct., NHi: Gates Papers; Henry Miller to his family, 10 Oct., in Watts, “Memoir of Henry Miller,” 12:426–27; T. Will Heth to John Lamb, 12 Oct., in Commager and Morris, Spirit of ’Seventy-Six description begins Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds. The Spirit of ’Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants. 2 vols. Indianapolis and New York, 1958. description ends , 629–30; James Wallace to Michael Wallace, 12 Oct., in “Old Virginia Line,” 134–35; Elias Dayton, “Notes on the Battle of Germantown,” in Dayton, “Papers,” 183–85; Markland, “Revolutionary Services,” 107–8; Lacey, “Memoirs,” 26:105–6; Tallmadge, Memoir description begins Memoir of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge, Prepared by Himself, at the Request of his Children. 1858. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 22–24; Lee, Memoirs description begins Henry Lee. Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States. New ed. New York, 1869. description ends , 95–97; Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to Henry Johnson, 14 Nov. 1820, in Historical Magazine description begins Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries concerning the Antiquities, History, and Biography of America. 23 vols. Morrisania, N.Y., 1857–75. description ends , 10 (1866), 202–4; John Eager Howard to Timothy Pickering, 29 Jan. 1827, in Md. Mag. description begins Maryland Historical Magazine. Baltimore, 1906—. description ends , 4 (1909), 314–20; and Chastellux, Travels in North America description begins Marquis de Chastellux. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782. Translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, Jr. 2 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. description ends , 1:137–41.

For other British and German accounts, see André, Journal description begins John André. Major André’s Journal: Operations of the British Army under Lieutenant Generals Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton, June 1777 to November 1778. 1930. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 55–57; Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 38–39; Lydenberg, Robertson Diaries description begins Harry Miller Lydenberg, ed. Archibald Robertson, Lieutenant-General Royal Engineers: His Diaries and Sketches in America, 1762–1780. New York, 1930. description ends , 151–52; Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 119–22; Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 92–96; letter of a British officer, 10 Oct., in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 11 (1887), 112–14; “Morton Diary,” description begins “The Diary of Robert Morton, Kept in Philadelphia While That City Was Occupied by the British Army in 1777.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 1 (1877): 1–39. description ends 14–15; Moore, Diary description begins Frank Moore. Diary of the American Revolution from Newspapers and Original Documents. 2 vols. New York, 1859–60. description ends , 1:504–5; Whinyates, Services of Francis Downman description begins F. A. Whinyates, ed. The Services of Lieut.-Colonel Francis Downman, R.A., in France, North America, and the West Indies, between the Years 1758 and 1784. Woolwich, England, 1898. description ends , 39; Burgoyne, Diaries of Two Ansbach Jaegers description begins Bruce E. Burgoyne, ed. and trans. Diaries of two Ansbach Jaegers: Lieutenant Heinrich Carl Philipp von Feilitzsch and Lieutenant Christian Friedrich Bartholomai. Bowie, Md., 1997. description ends , 21; and Burgoyne, Enemy Views description begins Bruce E. Burgoyne, ed. Enemy Views: The American Revolutionary War as Recorded by the Hessian Participants. Bowie, Md., 1996. description ends , 183–84.

1These intercepted letters have not been identified, but see Samuel Smith’s second letter to GW of 3 October.

3At this place on the draft, which is partly in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing and partly in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, Harrison first wrote and then struck out the following phrase: “(the time when a Genl Attack was expected).”

4At this place on the draft Harrison first wrote and then struck out the following text: “They retreated, as far as Mr Chews House, which they occupied and from the Windows did us considerable damage. during this time, I waited with great anxiety to hear from Genls Greene and Armstrong, but received no intelligence, and it was impossible to discover their movements or firing on account of a thick—heavy Fog which prevented our seeing more than Fifty yards.”

5When Sullivan’s column began the battle by attacking the British 2d Light Infantry at Mount Airy and Mount Pleasant, Lt. Col. Thomas Musgrave marched his 40th Regiment forward from its post near Benjamin Chew’s two-and-a-half-story stone house Cliveden to support them, and he subsequently covered the light infantry’s retreat to the rear past Chew’s house. Finding himself surrounded near the house by the pursuing Americans, Musgrave occupied it with 100 to 120 men from his regiment, hoping to hold out until he could be rescued by troops from Howe’s main line. “Musgrave,” an anonymous British officer says, “immediately ordered all the window-shutters of the ground floor to be shut, as the enemy’s fire would otherwise have been too heavy upon them there: he placed, however, a certain number of men at each window, and at the hall doors, with orders to bayonet every one who should attempt to come in; he disposed of the rest in the two upper stories, and instructed them how to cover themselves, and direct their fire out of the windows” (letter of a British officer, 10 Oct., in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 11 [1887], 112–14).

Adj. Gen. Timothy Pickering wrote in 1826 that he participated in GW’s battlefield discussion with various officers about how to deal with Musgrave’s force. “In the march of the army,” Pickering says, “General Washington, following Sullivan’s column, kept in the road leading to and through Germantown to Philadelphia. When we had entered the northern part of the village, we heard, in advance of us (I was riding by the General’s side), a very heavy fire of musketry. General Sullivan’s divisions, it was evident, were warmly engaged with the enemy; but neither was in sight. This fire, brisk and heavy, continuing, General Washington said to me; ‘I am afraid General Sullivan is throwing away his ammunition; ride forward and tell him to preserve it.’”

After delivering that message to Sullivan, Pickering says, “I rejoined General Washington, who, with General Knox and other officers, was in front of a stone house . . . , next northward of the open field in which Chew’s house stood. I found they were discussing, in Washington’s presence, this question; Whether the whole of our troops then behind should immediately advance, regardless of the enemy in Chew’s house, or first summon them to surrender? General Knox strenuously urged the sending of a summons. Among other things, he said, ‘it would be unmilitary to leave a castle in our rear.’ I answered, ‘Doubtless that is a correct general maxim; but it does not apply in this case. We know the extent of this castle (Chew’s house); and to guard against the danger from the enemy’s sallying, and falling on the rear of our troops, a small regiment may be posted here to watch them; and if they sally, such a regiment will take care of them. But,’ I added, ‘to summon them to surrender will be useless. We are now in the midst of the battle; and its issue is unknown. In this state of uncertainty, and so well secured as the enemy find themselves, they will not regard a summons; they will fire at your flag.’ However, a flag was sent with a summons. Lieutenant [Colonel William] Smith of Virginia, my assistant in the office of adjutant general, volunteered his service to carry it. As he was advancing, a shot from the house gave him a wound of which he died” (Pickering’s letter, 23 Aug. 1826, in North American Review description begins North American Review. Boston, 1815—. description ends , 23 [1826], 425–30; see also Pickering and Upham, Life of Pickering description begins Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 vols. Boston, 1867–73. description ends , 1:168–69).

Capt. Henry Lee of the light dragoons, who also was present at the discussion, says in his memoirs that “many junior officers, at the head of whom were Colonel Pickering and Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton, urged with zeal the propriety of passing the house. Brigadier Knox opposed the measure with earnestness, denouncing the idea of leaving an armed force in the rear; and, being always high in the general’s [GW’s] confidence, his opinion prevailed” (Lee, Memoirs description begins Henry Lee. Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States. New ed. New York, 1869. description ends , 96; see also Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to Henry Johnson, 14 Nov. 1820, in Historical Magazine description begins Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries concerning the Antiquities, History, and Biography of America. 23 vols. Morrisania, N.Y., 1857–75. description ends , 10 [1866], 202–4). Another cavalry officer who was present, Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge, says in his memoirs that “through the importunity of Gen. Knox (which I distinctly heard), Gen. Washington permitted him to bring his field artillery to bear upon it [Chew’s house], but without effect” (Tallmadge, Memoir description begins Memoir of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge, Prepared by Himself, at the Request of his Children. 1858. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 23).

The four small field cannon that the Americans had available smashed the windows and doors of Chew’s house, but they were not powerful enough to demolish its stone walls (see Chastellux, Travels in North America description begins Marquis de Chastellux. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782. Translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, Jr. 2 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. description ends , 1:138–41). Infantry attacks against the house by the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment and the 1st and 3d New Jersey Regiments were beaten back with heavy losses (see Markland, “Revolutionary Services,” 107–8; Elias Dayton, “Notes on the Battle of Germantown,” in Dayton, “Papers,” 185; and Asher Holmes to Sarah Holmes, 6 Oct., in N.J. Hist. Soc. Proceedings description begins Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society. 84 vols. Newark, N.J., 1845–1966. description ends , new ser., 7 [1922], 34–35). “To do them justice,” a British officer said of the Americans, “they attacked with great intrepidity, but were received with no less firmness; the fire from the upper windows was well directed and continued; the rebels nevertheless advanced, and several of them were killed with bayonets getting in at the windows and upon the steps, attempting to force their way in at the door” (letter of a British officer, 10 Oct., in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 11 [1887], 112–14; see also Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 120). Hessian jäger captain Ewald, who visited Chew’s house the day after the battle, says that he “counted seventy-five dead Americans, some of whom lay stretched in the doorways, under the tables and chairs, and under the windows, among whom were seven officers. The rooms of the house were riddled by cannonballs, and looked like a slaughter house because of the blood splattered around” (Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 96; see also “Morton Diary,” description begins “The Diary of Robert Morton, Kept in Philadelphia While That City Was Occupied by the British Army in 1777.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 1 (1877): 1–39. description ends 14–15). Musgrave’s regiment, which left Chew’s house when the Americans retreated and joined in the pursuit, had 4 men killed, 29 officers and men wounded, and 3 men missing in the battle (Kemble Papers description begins [Stephen Kemble]. The Kemble Papers. 2 vols. New York, 1884-85. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 16–17. description ends , 1:137).

“The usually so-called ‘Clever Washington,’” Captain Ewald wrote in retrospect, “should have used a battalion for [attacking Chew’s house] and continued his advance” (Ewald, Diary description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends , 93). Most officers on both sides who critiqued the battle agree that GW paid far too much attention to Musgrave’s stubbornly defended bastion, thereby breaking the momentum of the American advance and giving Howe time to organize a counterattack with the brigades from his main line (see particularly Henry Miller to his family, 10 Oct., in Watts, “Memoir of Henry Miller,” description begins Henry Miller Watts. “A Memoir of General Henry Miller.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 11 (1887): 341–45; 12 (1888): 425–31. description ends 12:426–27; Lacey, “Memoirs,” 105–6; Tallmadge, Memoir description begins Memoir of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge, Prepared by Himself, at the Request of his Children. 1858. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 23; and Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 38). Many accounts of the battle, however, also support GW’s view that the confusion caused by the heavy fog and smoke on the battlefield was a crucial factor in delaying and disrupting the American attack (see note 7). Other reasons cited for the American failure at Germantown include the slowness with which Sullivan’s brigades deployed, the delay in the beginning of Greene’s attack, the exhaustion of the troops and their ammunition, and the disorganization of the American formations resulting from men breaking rank to assist the wounded off the field and the necessity of crossing numerous man-made and natural obstacles (see particularly Sullivan’s account in the source note; Pickering and Upham, Life of Pickering description begins Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 vols. Boston, 1867–73. description ends , 1:170–71; and Pickering’s letter, 23 Aug. 1826, in North American Review description begins North American Review. Boston, 1815—. description ends , 23 [1826], 425–30).

Henry Lee discerned four “deeper causes” of the turn of events at Germantown: “the yet imperfect discipline of the American army,” the lack of adequate logistical support of the Continental army during the months preceding the battle, “the inexperience of the tribe of generals,” and “the complication of the plan of assault—a complication said to have been unavoidable” (Lee, Memoirs description begins Henry Lee. Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States. New ed. New York, 1869. description ends , 26:96; see also Chastellux, Travels in North America description begins Marquis de Chastellux. Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782. Translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, Jr. 2 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963. description ends , 1:140–41, and André, Journal description begins John André. Major André’s Journal: Operations of the British Army under Lieutenant Generals Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton, June 1777 to November 1778. 1930. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 57).

6At this place on the draft Hamilton first wrote and then struck out the following phrase: “which was essential to the Success of the enterprise.”

7During the fighting at Chew’s house, Col. Elias Dayton later wrote, “came on perhaps the thickest fog known in the memory of man, which, together with the smoke, brought on almost midnight darkness, it was not possible at one time (I believe for the space of near half an hour) to distinguish friend from foe five yards distance. This obliged all our parties to give over the pursuit, as they were in danger of firing upon their friends, and probably did several times before the fire ceased” (Dayton, “Notes on the Battle of Germantown,” in Dayton, “Papers,” 185). “The foggy, still morning,” Pickering says in his journal, “and the body of smoke from the firing, absolutely prevented our seeing the enemy till they had advanced close upon us. This also prevented the two wings, and even the different brigades of the same wing, from seeing each other and coöperating in the best manner; nay, I am persuaded they sometimes fired on each other, particularly at Chew’s house, where the left wing supposed the cannon-balls fired by the right [wing] at the house came from the enemy. In a word, our disaster was imputed, chiefly to the fog and the smoke, which, from the stillness of the air, remained a long time, hanging low and undissipated. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered, that the fog blinded the enemy as well as ourselves, though it certainly injured us most” (Pickering and Upham, Life of Pickering description begins Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 vols. Boston, 1867–73. description ends , 1:169–70; see also General Orders, 5 Oct.; GW to Benjamin Harrison, 5 Oct.; letter of an American officer, 6 Oct., in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 11 [1887], 330–32; Henry Miller to his family, 10 Oct., in Watts, “Memoir of Henry Miller,” 12:426–27; T. Will Heth to John Lamb, 12 Oct., in Commager and Morris, Spirit of ’Seventy-Six description begins Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris, eds. The Spirit of ’Seventy-Six: The Story of the American Revolution as Told by Participants. 2 vols. Indianapolis and New York, 1958. description ends , 629–30; Muenchhausen, At General Howe’s Side description begins Friedrich von Muenchhausen. At General Howe’s Side, 1776–1778: The Diary of General William Howe’s Aide de Camp, Captain Friedrich von Muenchhausen. Translated by Ernst Kipping. Annotated by Samuel Smith. Monmouth Beach, N.J., 1974. description ends , 38–39; and letter of a British officer, 10 Oct., in Pa. Mag. description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 138 vols. to date. 1877—. description ends , 11 [1887], 112–14).

8Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge of the 2d Continental Light Dragoons says in his memoir that “notwithstanding all our attempts to rally the retiring troops, it seemed impossible to effect it, even by the presence of the Commander-in-Chief. I threw my squadron of horse across the road, by order of Gen. Washington, repeatedly to prevent the retreat of the infantry; but it was ineffectual” (Tallmadge, Memoir description begins Memoir of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge, Prepared by Himself, at the Request of his Children. 1858. Reprint. New York, 1968. description ends , 23; see also Pickering’s letter, 23 Aug. 1826, in North American Review description begins North American Review. Boston, 1815—. description ends , 23 [1826], 425–30).

9The return of American casualties at Germantown that GW enclosed in his letter to Hancock of 7 Oct. has not been identified. In his letter to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., of 7 Oct., GW estimated the number of American killed and wounded in the battle as “upwards of three hundred,” and in his letter to William Heath of 8 Oct. he increased that number to “near four hundred.” On 18 Oct. GW wrote his brother John Augustine Washington that “our loss in the late action was, in killed, wounded, and Missing, about 1,000.” The Board of War reported American losses at Germantown as 152 men killed and 521 men wounded, and as many as 400 men were captured or missing (see Gordon, History description begins William Gordon. The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States of America: Including an Account of the Late War; and of the Thirteen Colonies, from Their Origin to That Period. 4 vols. New York, 1788. description ends , 2:234, and Howe to Germain, 10 Oct. 1777, in Davies, Documents of the American Revolution description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends , 14:202–9). Gen. Francis Nash, who was wounded in the thigh by a cannonball, died three days after the battle, and he was buried on 9 Oct. (see General Orders, 9 Oct.; see also John Armstrong to Thomas Wharton, Jr., 5 Oct., in Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 5:645–46, and Elias Dayton, “Notes on the Battle of Germantown,” in Dayton, “Papers,” 183–85).

Howe’s army had 70 officers and men killed, 450 officers and men wounded, and 14 officers and men missing (Kemble Papers description begins [Stephen Kemble]. The Kemble Papers. 2 vols. New York, 1884-85. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 16–17. description ends , 1:137). Gen. James Agnew and Lt. Col. John Bird of the 15th Regiment were among the four British officers who were killed at Germantown (see Howe to Germain, 10 Oct. 1777, in Davies, Documents of the American Revolution description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends , 14:202–9).

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