The British Victory at Germantown


The Battle of Germantown took place on October 4, 1777, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. When the British won, it ensured them the capital of Philadelphia. The Americans wanted to regain the capital and push the British away from it. After the recent defeat of Americans at the Battle of Brandywine and Battle ofPaoli, General Washington saw an opportunity challenge the British. His idea was to attack the from directions at night and surprise the British and the Hessians in the same way they did at the Battle of Trenton. At dusk the Americans made their way towards the British and Hessains attempting to surprise them. The battle began when General John Sullivan's troops opened fire on the British.

Washington's plan began to fail when one of his four columns got separated and lost in the fog which led others to not be able to communicate with each other. When the Americans got to one of the Bitish mansions, Cliveden, the British had a strong defense where many of the soldiers took refuge. Some of the British took cover in the Chew House where one of the American soldiers, Henry Knox attempted to invade the house but failed. Soon after, General Maxwell stormed the Chew House and also failed. Thirty minutes later, Washington called off the attack and cost him the surprise of the attack.

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With many of the American troops beginning to withdraw when the main attacks on the British and Hessians, others also started to retreat and surrender. About 150 Americans were killed in the battle and about 520 wounded, while only 71 of the British men were killed and 448 wounded.

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The Americans might have one the battle if the troops were more well trained and the heavy fog during the early hours of the day when the battle took place also had a major affect on how the troops were lined up and were able to communicate. Washington blamed the loss on the lack of the militia support and help for the Americans. Also, the delay at the Chew House was another great factor during the battle. In the end, the Americans thought the nearly succeeded in the Battle of Germantown, although they lost.

1. Why did Washington's plan fail?

2.Why did Washington decide to have a surprise attack on the British?

3. What strategies does Washington use and why didn't they work?