Philadelphia Campaign | American Battlefield Trust
Tall Woodgrain Header

Philadelphia Campaign

You are here


With Philadelphia sitting as the seat of the revolutionary American government, British General Sir William Howe looked to take the pivotal city. General George Washington prepared for Howe’s advance but was defeated at the Battle of Brandywine, on September 11, 1777. Howe occupied Philadelphia on September 26, 1777. Undeterred, Washington attacked at Germantown on October 4, in the hopes of striking a blow against Howe's divided force. Initially successful, the American effort was turned back by the British. Howe and Washington continued to maneuver for the next several weeks until the Continentals entered winter quarters on December 19 at Valley Forge. While the British took control of Philadelphia, they lost control of a strategic advantage with a defeat at Saratoga. The following spring, Howe was replaced by General Sir Henry Clinton. The new commander opted to abandon Philadelphia and consolidate at his base in New York City. The Continental Congress reentered Philadelphia on June 24. Four days later, rested and revitalized, Washington attacked Clinton at Monmouth Courthouse. Although the battle ended in a draw, the Americans performed exceptionally well. Clinton eventually reached his destination and the area of operations shifted to the north.

Battlefields Today
Many battlefields are already preserved and restored to their 18th and 19th Century state. Many are also open to visitors by national, state and local battlefield park organizations. For information on how to visit the site of one of America's early battles, visit our Battlefields Section.