American Revolutionary War: The Marquis De Lafayette

The Marquis de Lafayette was a French nobleman and military officer born on September 6th 1757 in the province of Auvergne in France. At the age of 13, he followed in his family’s military tradition and he was commissioned an officer.

As he grew older, Lafayette became moved by stories he heard of the American colonists’ struggle against British oppression. At the age of 19, he decided to journey to the recently declared United States of America to join the revolution. However, upon arrival at the colonies, he was initially rejected by Congress due to a number of reasons. Lafayette appealed his case and managed to impress the leaders with his enthusiasm, dedication, and eagerness to serve in the revolutionary army for no pay. Eventually Congress accepted his offer and named him an honorary major general in the revolution army. The decision to name him a major general was greatly influenced by his proximity to the French monarchy and his social status as a member of the highest rank of French nobility.Marquis_de_Lafayette

While in the US, Lafayette developed close friendship with a number of key US leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton.

Lafayette’s first major revolutionary duty was in the September 1777 Battle of Brandywine. Here he was shot in the leg while attempting to organize an American retreat. Despite his gunshot wound, Lafayette managed to successfully rally the troops and pave way for a more orderly pullback. He only accepted treatment after the troops were safely out of harm’s way.

Lafayette made his way back to the field in November after about two months of recovery in the Moravian settlement at Bethlehem. On the 24th of November 1777, Lafayette managed to defeat a numerically superior Hessian force with only 300 soldiers in his command.

After a long winter in Valley Forge with George Washington, Lafayette affirmed his status as an intelligent and competent leader when he helped convince the French monarchy to send more desperately needed resources to the rebels’ side.

In May 1778, Lafayette managed to outwit more than 5,000 British soldiers sent to capture and detain him at Bunker Hill. In addition, he put together an unsteady Continental Army attack at Monmouth Courthouse in order force a stalemate.

When Lafayette returned to the United States from a mission to France where he had gone to press King Louis XVI for additional military support, he was assigned more leadership responsibility in the revolution army. In 1781 as the commander of the Virginia Continental forces, he helped pin down the British army of Lieutenant General Cornwall’s at Yorktown in Virginia, while the revolutionary’s divisions led by George Washington and Comte de Rochambeau of France encircled the British and forced them to surrender. This was the last major battle witnessed in the American Revolutionary War.

After playing his part in the success of the revolution, Lafayette left the United States for France on the 18th of December 1781. On the 22nd of January 1782, he arrived in Versailles where he was welcomed as a war hero. He later took part in the negotiations of the 1783 Treaty of Paris between The United States and Great Britain and finally ended his military endeavors in the US.

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Revolutionary War Reenactment

Revolutionary War reenactment is one way in which history is passed down from one generation to another. Like any other historical reenactment, it is an educational or entertainment activity that allows the organizers (usually Revolutionary War reenactment organizations) to follow a particular plan in recreating aspects of the war (1775 – 1784).

Why You Should Be a Part of the Reenactment

If you have never been a part of any Revolutionary War reenactment, then you are definitely missing out. There are two ways in which you can be a part of the Revolutionary War reenactment.

First, you can join as a cast or crew. In that capacity, you will be able to join other people in reenacting the historic war to an audience. If you believe you have what it takes to be a revolutionary soldier who lives in camps while fighting British Redcoats, you can send an application to a Revolutionary War reenactment Organization near you for consideration. You can also do the same if you wish to be part of the crew. By being a cast or crew, you will be among those who take it upon themselves to educate generations about the historical war, and thus you will preserve its relevance in American and world histories.

Second, you can attend a live Revolutionary War reenactment near you. There are multiple organizations that reenact the war either for entertainment or educational purposes. As you might have heard before, humans are very visual, and thus watching a demonstration of the war will enable you to understand all the details that are just too abstract in books.

How to Make the Best of a Revolutionary War Reenactment

So, if you opt for the second option where you are a part of the audience, how can you make the best of the reenactment? Well, the answer is pretty simple. Make sure that you have some background knowledge about the war. That will make it easy for you to relate what is being reenacted with what actually happened. Watch out for important sites and events of the war.

Important sites

I am absolutely positive that the reenactment will not take place in the exact locations as the actual war. After all that is why it is a reenactment, right? However, that doesn’t mean you should not relate it to the actual war. One way of doing that is by understanding where the war was fought.

– New Jersey: it was the Military Capital of the Revolution as well as the Crossroads of the Revolution because George Washington spent most of his time here than anywhere else owing to its strategic location. It had barracks for both camps.

– New York: hosted multiple battles including Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Oriskany, and Saratoga; all of which Americans won, and Long Island, Fort Washington, and Harlem Heights; all of which the British won.

– Massachusetts: known for the Lexington and Concord hostilities of 1775.

– North Carolina: supplied food and other necessities to Massachusetts fighters and rebels.

– Virginia: produced leadership (including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry) and information in the form of a press.

Important events

– 1775: Paul Revere begins his ride, British win Battle of Lexington, Americans introduce guerrilla warfare, Siege of Boston, Second Continental Congress is held, Battle of Ticonderoga, Battle of Bunker Hill, Siege of Fort St. Jean, Battle of Kemp’s Landing, and Battle of Quebec.

– 1776: Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge, Battle of the Cedars, Battle of Sullivan’s Island, Declaration of Independence, Battle of Long Island, Execution of Nathan Hale, Battle of Fort Washington, and Battle of Trenton.

– 1777: Battle of Princeton, Battle of Thomas Creek, Second Battle of Ticonderoga, General Howe marches 9,000 troops into Philadelphia, Battle of Bemis Heights, and General Burgoyne surrenders.

– 1778: Battle of Barren Hill, Battle of Monmouth, Wyoming Valley Massacre, and Cherry Valley Massacre.

– 1779: Battle of Stony Point, and Siege of Savannah.

– 1780: Siege of Charleston, Battle of Camden, and Battle of Kings Mountain

– 1781: Battle of Jersey, and Battle of Yorktown.

– 1783: Treaty of Paris is signed

– 1784: Treaty of Paris is ratified by Congress

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The Headquarters Of General George Washington

The Battle of Bradywine is known to some as the Battle of Bradywine Creek. The American army (lead by General George Washington) clashed against the British army (lead by General Sir William Howe) on September 11. 1777. The events that unfolded showed that the battle ended in favor of the British and the Americans were forced to retreat toward the American capital of Philadelphia. This battle was part of the American revolution. It is said that more troops fought in this battle than any other battle of the revolution. A another significant aspect related to the battle is that it was the longest single day battle of war.

The history alone is enough to make the Bradywine Battlefield special. Today the Bradywine Battlefield is a historical park that covers 50 acres of land in Pennsylvania, USA. The Bradywine Battlefied was named the Pennsylvanian State Park in 1949 and was washingtons-headquartersnamed a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

The area surrounding the Battlefied is rich in cultural value. The blood of many men was lost here. If you decide to take a stroll down through this park, you may find yourself walking down through time. One noteworthy aspect to dwell on is where General George Washington set up his headquarters. In fact it is an ideal place to visit and see through your eyes what the General must have seen then.

General George Washington set up his headquarters in a farmhouse. The farmhouse belonged to a man named Benjamin Ring. He was a Quaker farmer and miller. The reason the General chose the farmhouse was because of it’s strategic location. The farmhouse had easy access to the Chadds Ford and the British were expected to cross the river at that point. Imagine standing at the very same spot that George Washington stood as he held a council of war with his generals and planned his strategy. It’s an unnerving feeling! The farmhouse however is not as it were in his time. A fire damaged it in 1931 and it fell into disrepair during the 20th century. Though it has needed several repairs, including a roof replacement, it still however manages to convey a very intense connection with the past events that transpired on that fateful day years ago.

Not much detail is known about the actual farmhouse. The records state that it belonged to Benjamin Ring and he operated the fulling mill and the grist mill by himself. The unique mill established his place as a prominent business man in his time. It is also said that he had a highly regarded position within the society. Due to the nature of his character and lifestyle, it has been speculated that Bejamin Ring would have required an office in his home to conduct his business. The large nature of his home and the mill provided him with ample space for him to set up his office. This perhaps is another reason why General George Washington favored the farmhouse as his headquarters.

It is without a doubt that the Bradywine Battlefield has a lot to tell us about the history gone by. Though the battlefield sings a song in memory of the soldiers that laid down their life in battle, the headquarters of the Bradywine Battlefield tell us a story about strategy and planning. It whispers the secrets of the past as we walk by. The Headquarters of the Bardywine Battlefield is an interesting place to visit and is a must see if you are passing through the area!

Battle of the Brandywine

The Battle of the Brandywine was a great hallmark of the American revolution.

American forces, under the leadership of George Washington, had scored minor but significant victories in their skirmishes with the British forces, led by Lieutenant-General Sir William Howe.

A clash at White Plains, New York, in October 1776 ended with no conclusive victor. Fights at Trenton and Princeton, in December 1776 and January 1777, ended with Washington inflicting small, but painful blows on Howe’s forces. He had, by this time, established the American capital at Philadelphia. The Battle of the Brandywine presented an opportunity for the British to redeem themselves.

Before the Battle

Howe’s goal was to capture Philadelphia and obliterate the American army. The British commander wanted to draw Washington’s forces out for a battle and vanquish them.

The Lieutenant-General, with a force of 250 ships carrying 18000 British and Hessian men, landed at Elkton, Maryland. With some difficulty, they unloaded their ships at the Elk River’s head.

Washington scattered his 20300 strong force between Elk River’s head and Philadelphia. The delay disembarking caused Howe to move ahead instead of set up camp. After a fight at Cooch’s Bridge, Washington left his defense at Red Clay Creek and set up camp at Chadd’s Ford. This was the most direct route across the Brandywine River.

On September 9th, he placed troops at Painter’s, Buffington’s and Wistar’s fords, waterways below Chadd’s ford. The British, meanwhile, situated themselves at Kennet Square. With more knowledge about the area, Howe thought it wise not to engage the American forces in a frontal attack. He took the better strategy of dividing his troops and outflanking them. The commander decided to march his troops to Trimble’s and Jefferies Fords, which Washington had overlooked.

The Battle of Brandywine Creek

The British began their advance on September 11, 1777, a day which started with a dense fog.

Washington, who had received conflicting reports about the advance, believed that the British troops were still moving towards Chadd’s Ford. In reality, Howe had split his army in two. The larger force, led by himself, marched north of Wistar’s Ford. The troops crossed the unguarded Trimble’s and Jefferies fords, which Washington had no idea existed. They then moved south into the American right flank, concealing themselves under the thick fog.

Washington realized, too late, that the British had outmaneuvered him. The battle took place, with the Americans trading shots with British forces led by Generals Howe, von Knyphausen and Cornwallis.

Knyphausen’s army, the smaller force, took the Americans by surprise at the point where the Great Road crossed the Brandywine River. The armies fired their first shots at about 5:30 a.m. at Welch’s Tavern, about four miles west of Chadd’s Ford. A bigger conflict took place later at the Old Kennet Meetinghouse, where a group of pacifist Quakers were having a service. The larger British force under Generals Cornwallis and Howe upset the Americans further by crossing the neglected fords early in the morning and appearing at the American right flank in the early afternoon.

Washington’s armies, under Major Generals Nathaniel Greene, Anthony Wayne, John Sullivan, Adam Stephen and Lord Stirling, had to change their tactics quickly. The British advance left their troops in disarray. Washington ordered Sullivan to take over his own, Stephen’s and Stirling’s divisions and marched north to meet the British troops. Sullivan left his own division under the command of Preudhomme de Borre.

In the late afternoon, the British attacked, surprising de Borre and causing his division to re-route. Stephen’s and Stirling’s divisions held fast, but had to retreat when British artillery caused them to fall back. The British occupied Meeting House Hill.

The Americans counter attacked valiantly. Sullivan attacked Hessian troops that tried to outflank Stirling. Reinforcements, led by Washington, arrived and banded with the remnants of Stirling’s, Sullivan’s and Stephen’s divisions south of Dilworth.

Knyphausen’s attacked the weakened American troops at Chadd’s Ford. He broke through the flanks commanded by Wayne and Maxwell. Greene dispatched troops under Brigadier General George Wheedon to Dilworth to stall the British long enough to allow the rest of the army to retreat to Chester under the cover of darkness.

Battle Aftermath and Analysis

The battle ended with the British marching into Philadelphia on September 26, 1777. The British had lost 93 men on the battlefield, a small number compared with the American loss of 502.

Howe and his forces had clear advantages. The delay in disembarking at Elk’s River proved to work in their favor. Though Howe had to advance to the American flanks quickly, the sudden movement meant that Washington could not effectively gauge the size and deployment of his troops.

To add, Washington lacked information about the Brandywine river. He had little knowledge about the fords below it, and made the mistake of leaving his army’s right flank open. This allowed the British to surprise his troops. The Brandywine River, though relatively shallow, was itself an obstacle for the Americans. Thick trees made it difficult for the American army to move through.

Further, heavy fog blanketed the British forces. Their sudden appearance after it cleared took the Americans aback. The British advance left the American troops in disorder, forcing Washington and his commanders to regroup and retreat.

All said, the Americans did not suffer complete defeat. The retreat, though hasty, was well-organized. Darkness allowed the troops to move swiftly to Chester. The loss did not demoralize them. They continued to rebel against the British, with Washington setting up temporary headquarters for congress at York.

The Battle of Brandywine crippled American forces, but did not crush them. With the help of French forces, they liberated Philadelphia. Continental Congress returned to Philadelphia on June 24, 1778.

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Touring the Brandywine Battlefield

The Brandywine battlefield tour is a tour of historical significance because it retraces the steps of the battle that happened in 1777 between the British forces under Howe and the continental American troops under Washington in the battle of Brandywine. This tour entails visitations on various sites of historical interest. It combines the Brandywine historical battle and the beautiful scenery that presents itself as one continues with the tour. While touring the Brandywine battlefield you will find out that it is divided into three parts that is representative of the historical narrative of the battle.

The first part of the tour is known as the Straight Ahead Tour. This tour tries to retrace the steps of the battle. This is where Washington expected an attack to come from Kennett Square which is straight ahead from Chadd’s Ford. This will take you towards the Route 1 direction where the British troops deceived the American troops. They made loud noises to create an impression that they were heading in the same direction which made them to catch the American troops with their guards off. Presently, the place is full of a mixture of art, history, antiques, classy gardens and food. History is the main focus here but you can also visit other attractions like museums and gardens.

The second part of the tour is known as the Cornwallis’ Tour and represents the direction taken by a greater part of the British troops in an attempt to catch the Americans off guard. They took this direction which is a drive through beautiful countryside. It is so peaceful and calm that you can actually be able to re-enact what transpired as the British soldiers marched in this beautiful country side on their way to catch Washington by surprise. On the Cornwallis stretch of the tour you can be able to see various features including the graves from an old African Episcopal Cemetery, the North brook Canoe and Beverage in addition to the Scenic Railway. Also to be seen is a one lane bridge that crosses on the western side of the Brandywine which was the first of the two river crossings that was used by the Cornwallis troops.

The last part of the tour is the Battle Driving Tour. This is the part of the tour where the battle began in earnest after the Cornwallis troops had completed their march in their quest to take Philadelphia. It starts at the intersection of Country Club Road and Birmingham Road and the crest of the Osborne hill. General Howe was positioned about quarter of a mile from this location and was able to see the American line from this position. The Birmingham road is representative of the advancing British line as they went to battle Washington’s troops.

Among the most common features in this stretch of the road are the Birmingham Lafayette Cemetery and Park. There is also th Birmingham Friends Meeting House and the Worth Antiques where you can have heart warming meals. This tour moves through the sequence of the battle. It gives you a clear picture of how the battle was fought apart from the various touristic sites that are found in this area. Touring the Brandywine battlefield will enable you to have a clear understanding of the battlefield itself.