Did you know that the largest battle fought during the American Revolution (or as the British refer to it The War for American Independence) was right here in the Brandywine Valley? The British were trying to capture Philadelphia which was then the capital of the newly formed nation. In 1777 George Washington commanded the American forces. The outcome was not what Washington expected and on the afternoon of September 11, 1777 the battle took place and the Americans lost the battle to General Howe’s British troops. Washington’s forces retreated to Chester and part of their march took them right through the area of Chester Heights where Hamanassett is located. Two weeks later on September 26, 1777, the British took Philadelphia.
When you tour the battlefield, which is just a small portion of the area that actually was involved in the battle, you can view The Benjamin Ring House which acted as George Washington’s headquarters. You can also tour The Gideon Gilpin House which was plundered by soldiers after the battle. In the Visitor Center there is a wonderful little museum with displays of weapons, tools, and an audio visual presentation that tells the story of the battle. There is a representation of the first flag which was red and white not the red, white and blue of today.
This summer the museum is presenting several interesting exhibits. On July 4 we attended the exhibit “The Doctor Is In” which explains what medical conditions were like on the battlefield during the 18th century. This program was well presented with actual tools and implements that would have been used. The young man who presents the information is well versed in 18th century medicine and the presentation is anything but boring. It will continue through the middle of August and is offered at 11, 1, and 3 pm.
You can learn more about this battle by touring the battlefield which is 5 miles from Hamanassett. They are open most days during the summer but days and hours are subject to change so we suggest you check their web site or call them to be sure.
From here you can also visit the 44 acre Paoli Battlefield in Malvern which is only 11 miles northeast of Hamanassett. This is a pristine historical site where the American troops led by General Anthony Wayne were cut down by the British during the battle of September 20-21. It is known as the Paoli Massacre.
While in our area it is an easy drive to visit the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia as well as Independence Hall and Betsy Ross’ House among other historical sites. Hamanassett is 10 minutes north of the Brandywine Battlefield and 30 minutes southwest of Philadelphia so we are centrally located for touring both. We suggest you select your room and plan on a wonderful tour back into history.
In addition to these historic sites in southeastern Pennsylvania, you can check out the Pennsylvania Trails of History