Battle of Germantown
October 4, 1777
General George Washington fought the battle of Germantown against British General Sir William Howe in an effort to break the defenses of British-occupied Philadelphia. After entering Philadelphia late in September, Gen. Howe had divided his army in order to attack the forts down the Delaware River and to maintain his communications. Thus the main force at Germantown numbered less than 9,000, and Washington decided to attack with a reinforced army of 11,000. He planned a complicated double envelopment, but because his flank columns consisted of militiamen the plan did not work out and the brunt of the battle had to be borne by two columns of continental troops, making virtually a head-on assault on the British center. The attack came close to success and might have prevailed but for an unnecessary loss of time spent trying to drive a British garrison from Cliveden and a confused collison in a fog between two American columns. As it was, Washington had to retreat.
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