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"

On the March to Brandywine: — Part 5 of 9

Feinting Spell

At 2pm Cornwallis quartered at a tavern near the battlefield where the skirmish occurred. The tavern's proprietor, Thomas Cooch, though neither Tory nor Whig, had fled with his family to Pennsylvania. Knyphausen remained at Aikin's where Howe also headquartered in a tavern.

Count Donop
Artist unknown

Cornwallis sent Count Donop's Hessian brigade to reconnoiter from Iron Hill, the same hill that Washington used a week earlier to watch the British disembark. A column of Hessian Grenadiers and British light infantry was sent east along the King's Highway toward the main American camp at Red Clay Creek.

This feint was intended to dupe Washington into believing that the British were advancing his way. Howe, all the while, intended to make a flanking maneuver to Washington's right.

With the evening came minor skirmishing near Aikin's Tavern. American General Caesar Rodney had sent some mounted militia from Noxontown to annoy Howe. The militia fired a few shots and then retired back into the darkness.

At this point the British took a couple of days to regroup. Still seeking to strengthen their horses and to finalize plans, the hurry-up-and-wait-Howe now waited. While at Aikin's, Howe would also wait for the final supplies being unloaded from the fleet.