"Our Troops Went On In A Trott ..."
Brigadier General George Weedon's
Correspondence Account of the Battle of Brandywine
Transcription by Bob McDonald
Sepr. Ye 11th 1777
The American Army drawn up as above opposite to Chad’s Ford; & General Maxwell posted on the Enemy’s Side in a wood with 800 light Infantry – at ½ past 8, The Enemy appeared & formed on the high Grounds in Front, they soon engaged Maxwell & he with great Firmness repulsed them twice with much Loss; they were reinforced & he retreated in good Order about 10, crossed & formed on the Banks of the River – the rest of the Army were Spectators of the Gallantry of this little Corps, who frequently crossed & skirmished with the Enemy in the Course of the Day – Our Battery was on an Eminence which commanded the Ford, & in the Cannonading made the Enemy retire several Times, it was better served than theirs – About 11 O’Clock, the General received Intelligence that a considerable Part of the Enemy’s Army had filed off to our right & supposing that they meant to cross Jones’s Ford; Gen. Sterling’s & Stephens’s Divisions were ordered to march to Birmingham meeting House (4 Miles) by Different Routs – they had gone about 1 ½ Mile when the General had Intelligence that the Enemy had not gone up, & ordered the advanced Divisions to halt, which they did for two Hours, & then received Orders to march as quickly as possibly – Intelligence from the Front, repeated the Account of the rapid Progress of the Enemy said to be about 1500 or 2000 & our Troops went on in a Trott to gain the Meeting House Hills before them, which they did, but then discovered The Enemy’s Main Body there amounting to about 6000 – However they formed in an agreeable Manner. General Woodford’s being to the right, he
Detached Col. Marshall with his Regiment (only 170 Men) to a fine wood on the right to cover his Field Pieces & right Flank – Thus prepared they discovered General Sullivan’s Division marching up, & the Brigidiers rode to him to receive Orders, when he directed them to move all to the right to make room for his Division on the left – In making this Alteration, unfavorable Ground, made it necessary for Woodford to move his Brigade 200 Paces back of the Line & threw Marshall’s Wood in his front – The Enemy came on rapidly, Scott, who was next to Woodford, was removed to bad Ground, & from his Brigade to the left of the whole Line appeared in some Confusion – Woodford’s Brigade stood firm & in good Order. Marshall had orders to hold the Wood as long as it was tenable, & then retreat to the right of the Brigade – he received the Enemy with a Firmness which will do Honor to him & his little Corps, as long as the 11th of Sepr. Is remembered – He continued there ¾ of one Hour, & must have done amazing Execution – he was called off for fear of being surrounded & retreated in good Order – The Action became general – Woodford was wounded & more than half of his Men killed, but his two field Pieces would have been saved by the Extraordinary Exertions of the remaining Lieuts. with Lieut. Col. Febiger, Majr. Day, & Sergeant Majr. Broughton, but that the Horses were shot down, & they obliged to quit them – About 6 General Green’s Division arrived to cover the Retreat, one of his Brigades (Weedon’s) gave the Enemy such a check as produced the desired effect – Nash’s Brigade also marched but too late to be of any Service – Lincoln’s Division under the command of Brigadr. Genl. Wayne, & Maxwell’s Corps, remained at Chad’s Ford, where the Enemy made several violent Attacks, & were gallantly repulsed, & great Numbers of them killed, but at last they got Possession of the Battery, & these Troops joined in the general Retreat in the Evening to Chester, where they arrived at 12 At Night – they crossed the Schuylkill & encamped at the Falls & German Town, recruited from the Hospitals a Number equal to their Loss & on the 14th recrossed the Schuylkill in high Spirits – Our Loss in the Battle not more than 600 killed & missing. The Enemys Even more! Such another Victory would establish the Rights of America, & I wish them the Honor of the Field again tomorrow on the same terms
Source: Original manuscript letter within the collections
of the Chicago Historical Society.