Historic Valley Forge

Timeline Leading to Valley Forge

May 1777Sir William Howe's forces, comprising 18,000 effective troops in position at New Brunswick and Amboy. Washington, with about 6000 Continentals, exclusive of cavalry and artillery and of 500 New Jersey militia (a total, according to Bryant, of 7300 men) broke winter camp at Morristown and advanced to Middlebrook Heights, ten miles from New Brunswick.
JuneBritish army moved to Staten Island, American force still at Middlebrook.
July 23British fleet under Lord Howe sailed from New York with entire British army in command of his brother Sir William Howe, appearing briefly a week later at the capes of the Delaware. Washington encamped on Neshaminy Creek, 90 miles north of Philadelphia.
Aug. 20The enemy appeared in Chesapeake Bay. On the 23d Washington's army marched through Philadelphia and to Wilmington. The enemy disembarked upon the 95th at the Elk River, 54 miles southwest from Philadelphia.
Sept. 11Battle of Brandywine. Retreat of Americans to Chester, Philadelphia and Germantown. Americans then numbered about 11,000 men, exclusive of Gates' command in the North. On the 15th, Washington advanced to Warren Tavern, on the Lancaster Pike, a heavy storm ruined the ammunition and led to a retreat to Yellow Springs and thence across the Schuylkill River near Phoenixville. Howe advanced at his leisure, covering a wide stretch of rich country. Upon the night of Sept. 19th, a body of Wayne's men, detached to operate in the rear of the British left flank, was surprised at Paoli, many being bayonetted.
Sept. 21Howe's columns reached the Schuylkill River in force, crossing at several points above and below Valley Forge. Upon the 26th they marched into Philadelphia, leaving a strong force in Germantown.
Oct. 4Battle of Germantown, retreat of Americans to White Marsh, about six miles north from Chestnut Hill.
Nov. 10Lord Howe's ships invested Fort Mifflin and Fort Mercer below the city. An incident of this movement was the Battle of Red Bank, N. J., in which Count Donop, the Hessian commander, was mortally wounded.
Dec. 19After an exhausting march from White Marsh via Gulf Mills, Washington's troops arrived upon the hills at Valley Forge. Four days later nearly 3000 men of this force were sick or too nearly naked to do duty.

Lord Howe's Advance on Philadelphia, 1777

(From the Diary of a British Sergeant, expanded with explanations)

Aug. 25Army landed at Elk Ferry, ist under Cornwallis at Elk Ferry, Rd under Kuyphausen at Cecil Court House.
Aug. 28Army marched, arrived at Head of Elk.
Aug. 31Cornwallis and Grant marched 4 or 5 miles to a small place called "Iron Works," returned to camp.
Sept. 3Troops reached Pencador 4 miles east of Elk on road to Christiana Bridge. Americans made a stand at the bridge, but retreated to main body.
Sept. 6General Grant from Elk, with his troops, joined the army.
Sept. 8Whole army marched from the left by Newark 6 miles and encamped in the township of Hokesson. The two armies, British and American, 4 miles apart.
Sept. 9One third of army marched toward New Market, Cornwallis with his Division to Hokesson Meeting House, others to Kennett Square.
Sept. 10All met this morning and moved toward Brandywine Creek.
Sept. 12Knyphausen's men remained on Heights. General Grant moved to Concord.
Sept. 13Cornwallis joined and proceeded to Ashton, 5 miles from Chester and encamped. 71st Regt. to Wilmington.
Sept. 16Army in 2 columns moved from Ashton toward Goshen Meeting House and Downingtown.
Sept. 17Early A.M. to Yellow Springs and at night to White Horse, Cornwallis 2 miles beyond.
Sept. 18Army joined and marched to Tredyffryn. Light Infantry to Valley Forge.
Sept. 20Paoli affair.
Sept. 21Army at Valley Forge, line extended from Fatland Ford to French Creek. Moved to Pottsgrove.
Sept. 22Part of army crossed at Fatland Ford, others at Gordon's Ford.
Sept. 23Whole army encamped, left to Schuylkill and right on Manatawny Road, with stony run in front. A force detached to Swede's Ford.
Sept. 26Force under Cornwallis took Philadelpliia.

Valley Forge

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