Battle of Germantown - Revolutionary War Battle in Germantown, Pennsylvania

The Battle of Germantown occurred on October 4, 1777, and resulted in a loss for the Continental Army as British forces defeated the army under the leadership of General George Washington. British General William Howe’s army was camped at Germantown, Pennsylvania after capturing Philadelphia in September of 1777. General Washington’s aim was to drive the British forces away and recapture Philadelphia. General Washington planned and launched a surprise attack on the poorly defended British camp, however his battle plan was very complex. The British inflicted twice as many casualties on the Continental Army as they had suffered. The Germantown defeat, which had followed a similar loss at Brandywine, led some prominent Americans to question General Washington’s leadership. However, many of Washington’s soldiers had performed well, and despite the losses, the morale of the Continental army was lifted. Germantown showed that the once-unskilled army could become a well-trained force with the ability to win the war.

An important impact was that the Battle of Germantown seemed to influence the French Court that the American cause was worth supporting. The French were impressed with the ability of the Americans to raise an army and deliver an attack on the British rather than its lack of success.