Philadelphia Campaign

The Philadelphia campaign (1777–1778) was a British initiative in the American Revolutionary War.

The campaign was controversial because, although British General William Howe successfully captured the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia, he proceeded slowly and did not aid the concurrent Saratoga campaign further north, which ended in disaster for the British. General Howe resigned during the occupation of Philadelphia and was replaced by his second-in-command, General Sir Henry Clinton, who evacuated Philadelphia in order to reinforce New York City.

Having secured New York City in 1776, General Howe concentrated on capturing Philadelphia, the seat of the Revolutionary government, in 1777. He moved slowly, landing 15,000 troops in late August at the northern end of Chesapeake Bay. Washington positioned his 11,000 men between Howe and Philadelphia but was driven back at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. The Continental Congress once again abandoned Philadelphia, and on September 26, Howe finally outmaneuvered Washington and marched into the city unopposed. Washington unsuccessfully attacked the British encampment in nearby Germantown in early October and then retreated to watch and wait.