The Battle of Brandywine: — Part 6 of 10
Birmingham Meeting House
Meanwhile Brandywine Valley locals came to gawk at the British war machine. These included a group of Quakers who were holding their prayer meeting at a wheelwright's shop in Sconneltown. Two days earlier they had been evicted from their normal place of prayer, the Birmingham Meeting House, because Washington had taken over the building for use as an American hospital.
Some meeting members went back home to protect their families and farms; others watched in awe. Captivated by the sight of the British army, was a Quaker teenager named Joseph Townsend who would march among the British soldiers in the afternoon, watch the battle into dusk, and be pressed into triage service carrying wounded from the battlefield that night. Townsend observed that Cornwallis made "a brilliant and martial appearance," and Howe "was a large and portly man, of coarse features. He appeared to have lost his teeth, as his mouth had fallen in." [Read more of Townsend's observations on the battle and aftermath]
While the Continental Army fought valiantly, the British attack was too overwhelming, and the Americans had to fall back to new defensive line 400 yards to the southwest.