Campaign of 1777

Following the declaration of independence by the American colonies in 1776, Crown Forces mobilized under General Sir William Howe in New York. By spring of 1777 General Howe had a plan to attack Philadelphia, the American capital. By late summer General Howe's forces were in Elkton, Maryland, having been transported by sea. General George Washington and his Continental Army were positioned to block access to Philadelphia. Conflicts in Chester County in September of 1777 — the Battle of Brandywine, the Battle of the Clouds, and Paoli Massacre — were followed by General Howe capturing Philadelphia on September 26, 1777.

In partnership with Chester County Archives, Brandywine Battlefield Task Force, local municipalities, and other interested organizations and individuals, the Planning Commission has advanced local and regional planning and interpretation related to the Campaign of 1777. Financial support for a portion of the studies was generously provided by the National Park Service through the American Battlefield Protection Program.


Battle of Brandywine

The Battle of the Brandywine was a critical military encounter of the American Revolution. Lands within and leading to this battle, spanning both Chester and Delaware counties, are considered a resource of national significance by Landscapes2 and are designated National Historic Landmark. To plan for the historic resources within the battlefield, it is important to understand how the battle was staged. Learn more.

Battle of the Clouds

The Battle of the Clouds took place on September 16, 1777 less than a week after the Battle of Brandywine. The two full armies of 26,000 met and engaged briefly before a violent storm pre-empted the battle. Outnumbered and very short on dry munitions, Washington retreated in the night toward Yellow Springs and then continued north to protect Reading Furnace. Learn more.

Paoli Massacre

The Battle of Paoli, also called the "Paoli Massacre," was a small, vicious battle that occurred at midnight on September 20-21, 1777 when the Crown Forces led a surprise attack on Brigadier General Anthony Wayne's American encampment. Learn more.

1777 Chester County Atlas

The Chester County Archives has created an interactive property atlas representing property owners, the public road network, and points of interest (mills, taverns, fords, etc.), that existed in the county in September 1777. The Archives staff originally began this project to assist with the interpretation and preservation of the immediate Brandywine battlefield area, but they have since broadened their focus and now intend on researching and mapping all Chester County municipalities. View the 1777 Chester County Property Atlas portal, and stay tuned as it will be periodically updated as new municipalities are added.