Virtual Marching Tour of the American Revolutionary War

The Philadelphia Campaign: 1777

American colonies represented as pieces of a snake with the caption "join or die"

The Battle of Brandywine: — Part 8 of 10

"Push Along, Old Man, Push On!"

At about 5 P.M., the noise of the cannon from the north combined with Knyphausen's relative inactivity on the west side of the creek, finally convinced Washington that the main British force was indeed at Birmingham. He pressed a reluctant elderly farmer by the name of Joseph Brown into leading him over the shortest route to the battle. The elderly farmer demurred until an American officer dismounted from his horse and pointed the tip of his sword at Brown.

Brown led the way.

Brown raced Washington and his officers and at a breakneck pace for four miles. Washington urged them on jumping fences, hurtling ditches and urging the farmer "Push along, old man, push on!"

Following them were two divisions of Nathanael Greene which had been held in reserve. Greene's column moved at remarkable speed covering four miles in 45 minutes.

What Washington saw as he rode up was the Americans in retreat from Battle Hill. A soldier from New Jersey recalled, "We broke and Rallied and Rallied & broke from height to height till we fell on our main Army who reinforced us & about sunset we made a stand." This was Greene's Division.