Free at Noon and Three

Two hundred and thirty years ago, General George Washington led a campaign to liberate British occupied Philadelphia. But his plan, to mount an early morning surprise attack on the thousands of British soldiers who had set up camp in Germantown, failed.

Washington divided his 12,000 troops into four segments, each moving through Germantown along different routes. One group of Americans forced the outnumbered British soldiers to retreat into Cliveden, the vacant, stone summer home of the wealthy Loyalist Benjamin Chew. One hundred and twenty British troops barricaded themselves inside as the Continental Army let loose with cannons at the stone walls. The battle-scarred Cliveden stands today, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Ultimately, the unfamiliar terrain, combined with the morning’s heavy fog and the smoke from the cannon and muskets, proved disorienting to the American soldiers. After suffering the loss of 152 killed, 521 wounded, and over 400 captured, all four American divisions were forced to retreat to Montgomery County. British casualties: 71 killed, 450 wounded, and 14 missing. Here’s a full account.

Every year, there are two re-creations of the battle on the Saturday nearest the anniversary. This year, it’s October 6th at noon and again at 3PM. Admission to the re-enactment is free.

See our Experience video on the Battle of Germantown.

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