Talk:Battle of Brandywine

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American or Patriot army?[edit]

I'll revert "Patriot army" in favor of "American army," as patriot seem quite POV. POV from the other side might be "Rebel army," "Colonial army," or even "Traitor army." I'd think there is a community of American Revolutionary War editors who have probably dealt with this before. Rather than have an edit war, why not ask them if you disagree with my (unasked for) third opinion. Smallbones (talk) 01:36, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

The term "American Army" is not accurate when referring to the American Revolution. At this point, it was a volunteer or state army only. There was no Federal Army until much, much later. The term "Patriot" is used to this day to refer to the rebel militias that fought British. A good compromise my be "Colonial Army". —Preceding unsigned comment added by DevinCook (talkcontribs) 02:51, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
According to all offical source all branches of the armed forces of the United States were called "continental" forces during the revolutionary war. TomStar81 (Talk) 04:41, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
None of the above answers are quite correct. Starting in 1775, George Washington led an establishment known as the Continental Army, which was an army of the 13 colonies, who became the 13 states in 1776. It was, in theory if not always in practice, a national (or "federal" army). In addition to the Continental Army were state militias who turned out for short periods to help the Continental Army. Militiamen were not part of the Continental Army. At Brandywine, you have both the Pennsylvania militia and the Continental Army, which can be referred to as such when talking about them individually. Taken together, there's no single standard way to refer to both Continentals and militia, but "American army" (small case "army") is widely used and perfectly clear; an older term is "Revolutionary army". Generally, the term Patriot is used when you want to distinguish American revolutionaries from American Loyalists. —Kevin Myers 04:57, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to agree with Kevin on this one. "American army" does not refer to a "federal force" it refers to "American forces" - whether it be the Continental Army, state militias, or any combination of the two...in the same way that "British forces" usually encompass Hessian mercenaries, loyalist regiments, and the like. Alphageekpa (talk) 11:05, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

French involvement in the American Revolution[edit]

I think there should be some mention towards the French involvement - could someone sort it out? as I am not an active editor anymore. Fattyjwoods Push my button 04:56, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

well the French involvement at Brandywine was Lafayette getting wounded, but you have a point, we could increase discussion at Yorktown and Savannah. see also France in the American Revolutionary War - Pohick2 (talk) 01:25, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Casualties[edit]

Currently the stats box contains the figures from this sentence: One initial report by a British officer recorded American casualties at over 200 killed, around 750 wounded, and 400 unwounded prisoners taken.

Whether the stats box used part of the article when it was first written, and the following has been added, I don't know - but I'd say that a referenced official report is more reliable than an unreferenced "initial report" by an anonymous officer. The numbers are approximately right, and fairly equivalent if we assume that some of the approx 750 wounded may have subsequently died.

Therefore I'm changing the american casualty figures to those given in the following: Howe’s report to the British Secretary of War, Lord Germain, said that the Americans, “had about 300 men killed, 600 wounded, and near 400 made prisoners”.[2] 89.241.16.239 (talk) 17:31, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Aftermath[edit]

65.223.188.138 recently added the following adverbs to the description of the aftermath of the battle (the addition is in italics):

Although Howe had not really and truthfully defeated the American army, the unexpected resistance he had met prevented him from destroying it completely.

Seems like this is not correct; Howe did win the field and forced an American retreat, plus it becomes incongruent with the last half of the sentance. I would like to undo the change. Any thoughts or objections?Wkharrisjr (talk) 16:18, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you and went ahead and reverted it. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 18:14, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Number of Forces[edit]

I have read wild variations in the numbers strength at other sources (e.g. Britannica) for both sides. Can there be a citation to reference the source for the numbers used in the article?

Decisive victory?[edit]

I'm currently reading Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause and I'm surprised how much his summary of the battle differs here:

The British had won a splendid victory, but like so many victories during the war it was not decisive. Washington's army had retreated in disarray but it was intact. And more important, it remained between Howe and Philadelphia.

Thoughts? --Sanananda (talk) 11:27, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

The statement seems accurate and in keeping with the analysis of most historians. This is why I'm about to change "Decisive British victory" to "British victory". Djmaschek (talk) 03:52, 1 November 2011 (UTC)


Apparently a skirmish at Trenton is 'decisive', yet a battle between 30,000 men, that ended in the rout of the defeated army and the capture of the rebel capital city, isn't...Ben200 (talk) 10:49, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

You place too much importance on the scale of a battle. A victory is "decisive" based on what's achieved by it, not by how many soldiers are killed. Trenton and Princeton effectively retook all of New Jersey from the British and allowed the Continental Army to not only counterattack but also to completely recover from their defeats in New York. In short, the rest of the war wouldn't have happened without Trenton. Conversely, what was actually accomplished at Brandywine? The British got Philadelphia. Calling it the "rebel capital" means nothing, considering the only objective of any strategic importance there was Continental Congress, who evacuated before the British arrived, and they won a technical victory over the Continental Army but most of it lived to fight another day. Howe's obsession with Philadelphia also cost Burgoyne enormously at Saratoga. 24.255.189.207 (talk) 08:42, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Hessians belligerents?[edit]

While Hesse-Kassel might have signed a treaty of alliance, wasn't this more for the only purpose of renting out troops to the British crown? Even if they wore the uniform of Hesse-Kassel, they were a type of mercenary force. I don't think in this circumstance the government of Hesse-Kassel would be considered a belligerent in the war as much a supplier.Wkharrisjr (talk) 18:22, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

The various German States that took part in the conflict did so for varying reasons. Some of them had rulers that were related to King George III and provided troops for free, others signed treaties of alliance where the British could call upon them for troops in exchange for payments to the state. This was a very common practice for the time, and most of the French forces involved in the various Italian wars were called up as auxiliaries in a similar manner. Even today, the Government of Tonga signed an agreement to provide auxiliaries paid by the United Kingdom for use in afghanistan. ISAF, the controlling body of the coalition in afghanistan, considers Tonga to be a belligerent power in afghanistan despite the fact that its soldiers are auxiliaries.XavierGreen (talk) 15:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)XavierGreen (talk) 15:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
There's a slow-moving edit war going on across a lot of ARW articles on this topic. There is no consensus, despite the fact that proponents of the "Hessians as belligerents" argument have never provided citable sources stating that they were. (Sources one might expect to make such claims, like Eelking and Atwood, don't to my knowledge.) It's not at all clear to me that a modern instance like the one XavierGreen describes is relevant. Wars are rarely declared these days, but were back then. Magic♪piano 20:42, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Undeclared wars have abounded during all time periods, especially when they involved states of the holy roman empire because those states legal capacity to make war within imperial law was often questionable at best, but that didnt stop them from fighting in the majority of wars on the continent often times against each other.XavierGreen (talk) 22:04, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Shall I take that as an admission that you have no sources that you can direct me to? (Also, can you direct me to a variety of WP articles in other wars where this sort of issue exists?) (If you say "the treaties", as you have in some edit summaries, please provide an ISBN or Google Book/Worldcat link.) Magic♪piano 22:10, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
BTW, I've located texts for three of the treaties link. Those with Brunswick and Hanau treaties read like commercial transactions; the Kassel treaty mostly does, but it also has a mutual-aid provision that the others don't. The language used concerning troops is "to be employed in the service of Great Britain". Magic♪piano 00:00, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
If you look in the discussion listed after the treaties, it describes the imperial ban on independent conflict and its implications on the foreign affairs of the states of the holy roman empire. I have always said that each of the states that was inlvolved in the conflict had different motives for becoming involved in the war, some did it just for the money, others to be on better relations with Great Britain so they could call upon them when they themselves needed assistance, and still others just did it out of familial loyalty. And there are actually four treaties listed in the source you provided. Its quite clear that Hesse-Kassel wanted more from great britain than just some spending cash, and the language of the treaty describes the political relationship as being peers in an alliance.XavierGreen (talk) 17:33, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I suspect the fact that Kassel's ruler was George III's uncle has something to do with the extra clauses in that treaty. If HRE did not allow independent conflicts, then the states could presumably not be belligerents de jure (de facto would be a different question, of course). Magic♪piano 18:18, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Despite the Imperial ban the member states fought quite frequently against each other and against states outside of the empire. For example the Schmalkaldic War, Cologne War, ect. As for de-jure and defacto, it might be worth considering that Great Britain did not actually declare war on the united states (to do so would give it legitimacy as an independent power), and thus dejure the United States was not considered by the world to be a belligerent as well.XavierGreen (talk) 18:52, 19 December 2011 (UTC)