by Michael Harris
El Dorado Hills: Savas Beatie, 2014. Pp. xliv, 482.
Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 161121162X
Brandywine, "An Oft Over-Looked Battle"
reminding us that
is a very neglected fight,
and battlefield tour guide
Harris notes that it was the largest battle of the Revolutionary War in both numbers engaged and area fought-over. Moreover, it was a battle with important consequences; although a lost fight, Brandywine prevented the British from capturing the Continental Congress and proved the mettle of the Continental Army.
is critical of
nearly all earlier accounts of
the battle, pointing out that they are often
full of myths, ignorant of the geographic setting
inaccurate as to the events, and
make little or no use of primary source material, of which there is a considerable volume. Having said this, he then begins a detailed account of the campaign and battle
of Brandywine, which covered most of the first eight months of 1777
So Harris uses five
chapters to discuss the strategic situation, British plans, and their movement to the Chesapeake in a bid to outflank Philadelphia from the south
, covering from January through August of 1777.
He then uses five
cover preliminary operations
from August 25th through September 10th
organization and condition of the
two armies, and set
the stage for the battle.
devotes six chapters to the battle itself,
covering the events of September 11, 1777 in fine detail,
often on a
basis. A final
looks at the aftermath of the battle, and
discusses its overall importance within the framework of the Revolutionary War.
Along the way, Harris
gives us some details about the
involved, on both sides, often noting
individual deeds of generalship or valor.
rebuts myth after myth, including the alleged role of the “Hessians” in the fight, the supposed poor state of Washington’s army, and the supposed deeds of several local heroes,
mostly invented after the fact
The first serious,
detailed scholarly book on
interesting battle, Harris’s account will serve as the standard work for a long time.
is also available as an eBook, ISBN978-1-61121-163-4