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The British in Philadelphia: Part 1 of 2

The British Occupy the Capital

On September 26, the British occupied Philadelphia. In anticipation of their arrival, many Patriots and businessman had abandoned the city. Further, Washington's soldiers had looted Philadelphia, taking anything that might have been of use to the British.

Those citizens who remained were a mixture of Loyalists, Quakers, and the poor. Three fourths of the population were woman and children. Most looked forward to British rule — after all they had always considered themselves loyal English citizens. Moreover, they had long chafed under the excessive zeal of the Patriots who had been running the city.

British officers quartered in the finest houses, merchants from other towns started moving in, and a puppet government composed of naive Tories was established.

A City in Turmoil

But the city was in turmoil. Churches were turned into hospitals as wounded from the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown were tended to. The Walnut Street Gaol was filled with American Prisoners of War. Food, clothing, and firewood were scarce as an American blockade effectively kept supplies form the city.

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