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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Battle of the Clouds and the Great "What If"

     From September 15 through 16, 1777, 10,000 Americans faced nearly twice their number, 18,000 Hessians and British regulars.  Washington's troops formed a three mile line in the Great Valley, not far from Valley Forge, with its center around what is now Immaculata University, facing King Road.

     On the 16th, Casimir Pulaski's cavalry supported by light infantry, advanced, and were pushed back by Cornwallis' own light infantry units, towards the center/left of the American line.  On the American right, American generals Wayne and Maxwell skirmished with Knyphausen's Hessians, and were forced to withdraw.  Before the British could pursue their advantage, severe rainfall ended the engagement.  Reports vary as to casualty counts.

     I like this image because it actually features cloud cover over a portion of the battlefield area, viewed from the American position.  While it is easy, perhaps, to dismiss this as a non-battle, the number of troops involved and the near-defeat and subsequent escape of Washington's army from another defeat, so soon after Brandywine, poses intriguing "what if" questions.  Despite this, there are virtually no markers or explanatory plaques; I met the man who now lives in the building that was the Three Tun Tavern at the time who pointed to a localized marker on the property, but no state recognition.  Driving around this battlefield requires a fair amount of work to try to comprehend the scope of what almost was.
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