tv 1777 Battle of Brandywine CSPAN July 6, 2021 5:18pm-6:11pm EDT
michael harris who has worked in the national park service here and in new jersey and brandywine battlefield. he's done numerous tours. i've had the pleasure of taking a tour of few of these. is a graduate of university of washington and american military university. to close us out welcome michael with general john tomsulain van, battle of brandywine. here in the bioi'm supposed to say go cats because you're a philly fan. as we all know washington capitals are not going anywhere but wizards are washington are playing 76ers so we'll have an nba competition which i think you guys will come out on top of. for those who are watching, i highly recommend michael's
german town book which we'll put the link to and brandywine which he's speaking about this afternoon. i appreciate you being here. we'll let you get started. >> when i agreed to do this symposium my book wasn't out yet or else i'd be talking german town today so you will get brandywine not the new book. yes i worked there but when i was hired in 2005 and looked in the files there was really no research filed two books were
out. one was not a bad book but it's expensive to find the book. the other is written in the year 2000, written by a local newspaper twrieter and i'll be kind and call the book folklore, it is chalked full of misrepresentations of what happened there. so i started doing the digging. there were more troops than anywhere else over 30,000 troops engaged in brandywine. first shots will be 6:00 a.m. and won't end until 6:30 at night and took up more space than any other battle over 10
square miles and it led to the capture of philadelphia a of the battle, shocking more hasn't been written about the battle. i can't hope to cover the whole battle in the 40 minutes i have. but we're going to try to tell as much the story as i can through the eyes of john sullivan and american division members. now a lot of people at the time, politicians, i'm going to prove to through primary sources that it wasn't sullivan's fault that the americans lose that battle. so who is john sullivan? he's from new hampshire. he studied law before the war. becomes a brigadier general before the war starts. fights in canada before the first year. right before the battle he is
made a division command and made major general. and then he gets a bad reputation which is why people are quick to blame him. he's one of two captured at the battle royal. not his fault he gets captured there but he gets captured. while he's a prisoner of war the commander of north america will use him as a pawn. he is sent by howell a prisoner to tell the americans that the british negotiated for peace. that's crazy, first, he's an american general he shouldn't get involved whether he's on parole or whatever his situation was but it's also bad timing it is august or september '76 and they just signed the declaration of independence. it's only couple months after that. so congress is not in any mood
to discuss peace. so congress will start to look at this officer with a scant eye. fast forward to the philadelphia campaign. for a big chunk of it. since the first seven weeks of the campaign or near the beginning of the campaign, john sullivan's decision is not with the rest of the army as most of the army is moving south crossing the delaware river, moving into delaware to confront the eventual landing of maryland by ship he was left to keep an eye on the lower hudson river and lower new jersey. while he's separated he decides to launch an attack against staten island. when william howell left new york in the philadelphia campaign he left a sizable force behind under the command of william quentin in the picture at the bottom here. and sullivan decides to attack a british outpost on staten
island. yes, he had initial success but he ultimately gets pushed back as clayton rush reinforcement to the island and drive him back. sullivan will lose 200 guys in this operation, in the scheme of thing it's not by big deal but it's bad timing because at the same time of the failure on staten island congress also found out about the small apartheid konga on saratoga campaign was happening at the same time. all of the bad news is coming into congress at the same time and congress wanted answers, they want the inquiry into his
operation. you need every senior officer in the army to stop what they're doing to hold this investigation. well, washington can't do that, they're in the middle of a major campaign. so for at least for now washington will be able to put that on hold. now sullivan will eventually rejoin the main be army in northern delaware behind the red clay creek defenses. and the british are going to be coming at them from the southwest and eventually with the rest of the army sullivan will cross the pennsylvania state line where washington starts to form his defenses behind chad's fort along the brandywine river. this is september 9th, two days before the battle of brandywine. so he's got 1800 men broke down into two brigades mostly maryland troops.
the only delaware regiment is with this division and there's an odd unit out of canada had i will go into in a second. again, mostly maryland troops and there are some delaware and canadian troops. many were new to the army. keep in mind the reason it's such a big deal the army was disingenuous graded. one year left in 1776 were expiring and army was bleeding troops through the whole tail end of '76 so when they win the battles, can sd bit of a miracle, and go to morristown up in northern new jersey there wasn't much of the army left. and so they have to spend the entire winter spring, and i would argue right through the summer months of 17 it 37 bringing in recruit forming
regimen super brigade new division they're almost army all over again. a lot of the rank and file hadn't served. so who commands the super brigades, one should have been commanded by general william smallwood but smallwood had been detached earlier in the campaign to help raise the maryland militia so he's not at brandywine. i think the senior colonel john stone in the picture here is likely commanding the brigade. i can't 100% prove that but this is my best guess. you're into these details these are the regimen of the brigade. the other is commanded by a french officer, more on him in a moment. again, if you're in these kind of details these are the regimen
of the brigade. two odd units, the german regimen made up of german settlers in virginia and maryland to counteract the german troop business the british army. kind of stupid, because this is one regimen and british had dozens behind them this. but that is the idea of the recruitment behind this regimen. the other regimen, during the war a lot of french catholics were anti-war, british government, they were disgruntled and recruited to serve the american cause. because they're not from one of the original 13 states they're known as congress only.
that's the origin of these canadian troops. and the french officer with 35 years of experience in europe, like many other officers, lafayette, pujusko, palans k i, he volunteers to come over here and the key is the two brigade commanders, him and stone, he is the senior brigade commander which means if anything happens to sullivan, if sullivan gets killed orr wounded or gives a different command for some reason that will leave the bore a in command of this division. why is that? he barely speaks english, the letter he writes to washington, his report on the battle, more on that later, is basically a mix mixture of broken glish --
english says a lot about this guy, he probably can't communicate to the troops under his command. keep that in mind. here's our branywine battle, a chunk of it with the brandywine river sneaking through the middle. there's a east and a west branch. the brandywine was formed from the two branches. that's important because of the way british will get around the american flank but sullivan is the right flank on the morning of the battle. bulk of the division all but two regimen are responsible for crossing at brandywine. mile north, where almost the rest of the army is basically stacked around chad's ford.
he's also got responsibility for the three fords farther to the north or right of the american line. this is colonel david hall, the colonel of the delaware regimen. about 280, 250 troops. that from sullivan watching jones's fort a good mile and half above the fort and the french canadas are under the french canadians are under the command of -- it they're split. sullivan has a two-gun artillery battle with him. look at the position he's responsible for. he's the right flank in the army. he's spread out over between
five and six miles from where moses hayes guys are at buffington ford back to britain ford there's a very long front he's watching and only has 1800 troops total. only 500 are on the right flank spread over 5 miles. he has two very questionable brigade commanders and is exceptionally vulnerable. so what happens on the morning of the battle? most of the morning sullivan is not involved. for those unfamiliar with the battle of brandywine. william house splits the army into two columns. about 9600 will make a 17-mile flank mark to come around sullivan and washington's right rear. you will see this develop as we move forward. another 6800 other of them under another officer are going to come straight up
the main road here. and basically as a diversion, to put on a big show, and make washington think the whole army is coming up this road but in reality this is meant to be a distraction to give time for the flanking column to make this march. and sullivan is not involved with the morning fighting out west of brandywine. he doesn't get involved until 8 and 9:00 in the morning when artillery and fourth regimen on foot approach the fort and some artillery fire develops with sullivan's troops. conflicting reports start rolling into headquarters throughout the mid-day hours that sullivan will have to interpret. before i read the quote let me explain my image of washington. people love to portray him at a age he never achieved, talk about misconception, washington
is only 45 at the time of valley forge, he still had red hair, he never wore a wig day in his life, when he is older with white hair that's his hair pulled back. they love to portray him as a 80-year-old leading men into battle drives they insane this is much more accurate representation of him during the '77 campaign. this is at mt. vernon in their exhibit. first piece of intelligence. major came in at 9:00 to say i might depend there's no enemy to the right of the army. he gets the report from the officer written up here, this report comes in at 9:30 so about half hour after its written. dispatch should have to be delivered by horse back. nothing fast. he says he doesn't find anybody.
yeah. at 9:00 a.m. the british aren't up there yet. more on that in a second. this is charles coates with no official purpose with the army. to see if they actually had their cost. and they when they return bought information that there was no appearance with the enemy. so what these guys are saying, up here between the two branches of brandywine, are they going to find anybody. yeah. they didn't get that far yet. british left at 5:00 a.m.. they are not going to get to the first crossing because they have to cross both branches until 11:00 in the morning they are nowhere near where this calgary is yet. that's why they're not seeing
them. half hour goes by and sullivan gets a report from moses hayesin as a reminder he's commanding the regimen at two uppermost forts that the americans are keeping an eye on. and the reports are that the british were making a flank movement. who is in the best position to know that, he, for sure, i know, has sent patrols on the other side of the river and they're watching these roads and see the british column moving north. hayesin is also former british officerer serving in the french and indian war, this is not an unintelligent man that doesn't know what he's talking about. sullivan is starting to worry based on the report.
i had no way to look it up as mentioned [ reading ] so process this for a minute. this is from the report after the battle. he is saying that during the battle other than himself and senior officers nobody is on horse back in his entire four guys to watch a six mile front. i can tell you because i've done a lot of research on this. there's about 600 calgary men with the army. where are they. the logical place to put them would be off the two flanks or out in front of the army
screening for the approach of the enemy. anywhere they are. they're all stacked back here behind in the rear areas of the army, a good mile from chad's fort. nowhere near the flanks. if you're familiar with the battle field. if you ever visited the park, this is roughly where the entrance is. there's a creek that runs through the swell there to the entrance of the park. my guess is they are camped on that creek. sullivan goes through the right and was opinion they came on the right. this opinion i gave the general and wrote that morning it was clearly my opinion. but nobody listens to him. washington decides to not listen. he was a veteran officer that should have been listened to. instead, washington's going to send theodore to confirm the report, now who
is theodore gland, a doctor, serving i don't know how much military training he had at this point. but he's also from virginia. he's not a local pennsylvanian that knows this terrain or roads. washington could not have picked a worst person to send on this mission. he's got to know where he's going. what's more confound being this is there are several officers, including a brigadier general and at least one lieutenant colonel and captain of the lieutenant that live, you know, on this battlefield, or within a couple miles of this battlefield that would have been much more logical choices to send on a scouting mission to confirm the report. that's not what washington does. so about noon a report comes directly to washington. this one doesn't come through sullivan, that said that a body of troops under lute colonel
ross that is is skirmished with the flanking column out west. now washington decides he can trust the pennsylvania officer who is likely serving with maxwell's brigade and was out here on a routine patrol. and ran into the flanking column. his father is also signer of the declaration of independence. so washington feels he can trust the report from hayesin that it was riot, still hasn't heard from gland. on this report washington decides to attack across the brandywine against the forces on the other side of the brandywine. i honestly don't know if this was a wise decision because what's going to happen you'll find out in a second but this is the order he gets. so, element of both john
sullivan's division and nathaniel green's division will cross the brandywine and engage elements of the british army. it's just starting to escalate. skirmish fire, increased artillery fire. it's never going to blowup into a major fight. was ordered to cross the brandywine with my division and attack on the left while the army down here crossed below to cross the right. timothy the army general will confirm this and was satisfactory concluded only part of the enemy's army was on the other side of chad's ford so elements of the army do cross the river and start to engage. just as it starts to heat up and potentially escalate into a major engagement, another report comes in to sullivan, this time from major joseph spear of the
militia who came this morning from a tavern called martins i will explain in a second, he came from the tavern and heard nothing of the enemy. now this process, what spear says here, spears claims he left martin's tavern, through the modern built of marshall tent if you're familiar with the area at all, he claims he left here, rode to welch's tavern where they had a dupont estate and back to sullivan headquarters but he didn't find anybody. stop and think about that. look the route this guy took. he says he just missed 9600 guys with artillery, wagon, kicking up dust late in the day. reports later about the dust crowd kicked up. he just missed all that.
i have trouble believing this report. this is what was reported to sullivan. sullivan doesn't believe it either but sullivan feels he has to tell washington what this guy said and this is his justification for telling washington. had the general crossed over the brandywine and found the whole british army well-posted in this front and his army puts in a route having a river unfordable and afterwards found out i received and held this intelligence which might have prevented this misfortune and demanded my reason i believe i never should have been able to give one which would have been to him, congress or the world. this is cyn. sherman doesn't buy what spears telling him but he feels like he has to tell washington what this guy says. so he sends the information to washington. but it doesn't change sullivan's opinion. this intelligence by no mean on
my opinion that general howell take advantage which any officer would have done. of course this is not the first time howell does this to washington. this is at least the fifth maybe sixth time that howell used the flanking maneuver to beat washington to a better position or to achieve victory in a battle. this is not a new maneuver. washington should have been looking for it and he wasn't. so he is panicked. he gets his information from spear. washington overreacts and panics. and he calls off the assault across the brandywine. and again, escalates to a full-scale fight. just as the guys are pulling back, our virginian who was sent up north finally sends the report at 1:15. i've discovered a party of the enemy on the height. just on the array i will show you on the map in a second.
lived close together on i the road called fork road half mile to the right. so i believe gland is looking west. here's the house he says he's to the right of. the two daviss own the farms on either side of this intersection. the british at this point were just starting to come to the end of their flank march and come to a rest, take a break, literally. they were taking tea some of the officers on osbourne hill well behind the right flank of wash's army. you can see they're behind hayes regimen at this point. about 2:00 sullivan reports this information. colonel gland at this moment said the enemy are in the rear of my right about two miles coming down, about two brigade of them. there's actually a lot more than that. he also said he saw the dust back in the country for an hour
and there's a reference to that dust kicked up by the marching column. the first intelligence i received they were coming that way i instantly communicate to washington. again, i don't see what sullivan has done wrong up to this point that everybody is going to blame him for. he is reporting. he has sent forward every bit of information that's come to him. whether he agree or disagrees with it. it's washington's job to interpret what is accurate and not accurate. so washington rushes three divisions to the north, adam stevens, they're going to take a roundabout root to come up the middle and try to link up with the other two divisions of this dpifgs commanded by charles corn wallace. several things are going to happen pretty rapidly here.
most of hayes's guys have to sneak past the flank to link back up with sullivan's main division. but most important, and i kind of alluded to this being a problem earlier. when sullivan was ordered north by washington sd he was told to take overall command of this new wing. meaning all three of these divisions. which means sullivan was going to have to leave command of his own division in command of our french friend debore who we talked about earlier. we're setting ourselves up here in case you're not picking up on it. okay. so initially when sullivan comes up here, he doesn't go to the other two divisions yet. he does initially ride with the rest of the division all the way up the street road here. if you notice on the map, they are well forward and to the left of the other two divisions.
and he will later write, i then found it necessary to turn off to the write to form and get nearer to the other two divisions which i at that moment discovered drawn up both to the rear and right i was then at. he is literally look over his right, real shoulder and sees the two divisions on the hill and he's like that's where we need to be. he's going to turn to debore and order him to move his division up in line with the other two and then he's going to leave to go consult with sterling and stevens. he rides off, when he gets up here he realizes the two divisions need to shift a little bit to the right so they are not outflanked by the british force. that takes place without any problem at all. the problem is his own division. you see the complicated maneuver they're going to attempt to
execute. let me check on my timing so i don't go over. all right. now the intelligent thing to do, remember, this is pre-valley forge for a lot of troops that have not really been in combat yet. so what the intelligent not rea yet. so, what the intelligent thing would have been to do is to do an about fais, march straight south and do another aboutface. he puts them in a marching column like they're going to march down the road. they then marched over the top of birmingham hill. they're going to swing east and they're going to try to wheel back up onto birmingham hill. they're basically doing a giant u-turn. supercomplicated for veteran troops, overly complicated for these guys. and they're literally in the middle of that mover when the british assault starts. and the british brigade of
guards under brigadier general edward matthew are going to slam into the division before they can ever get in the position to fight. they're literally wheeling up onto the hill when this takes place. couple quotes on this. this is sir george osbourne. he's the brigadier officer. he says we attacked the left frank of the army and really that it would have been scarcely possible for them to resist. we saved much loss we might otherwise have sustained and certainly made the enemy first give way. this is colonel john stone, who, again, i think is commanding one of the brigades. he says, i wheeled off but had not reached the ground before we were attacked on all quarters. and by wheeling to the left, doubling our division on the brigade immediately in the rear of the other. thus we were in confusion. you can imagine two brigades and trying to wheel up onto this
hill and the front brigade gets smashed by the guards. they're going to retreat through the other brigade, utterly disrupting their formations, pushing two off the battlefield before they ever got to the fight. this is what it looked like. this is a water color painted inside the back cover of lord cantaloupe's diary. the original of this is only about the size of a postcard. it's very small. i can't take the credit for finding this. tom mcguire found this while he was doing research. it's an amazing image. what are we looking at here? we were looking south. you have birmingham hill at the top. this is what sullivan's position is trying to get into position on. you have street road right along the bottom of the painting here. you've got the british brigade of guards or at least one battalion of them shown lining up along the roof. you notice there's little tiny
red brush strokes. that's the troops lined up along the fence. and then these little black clouds, it's them firing a volley up the hill. the other really cool thing -- i know it's kind of hard to see. but here and here you have horses pulling artillery and you've got little tiny blue brush strokes because royal artillerymen wore blue coats, not red. so, this is the guards moving down the road. and then above them you see elements of sullivan's troops trying to move up onto the hill. what's supercool about this image is that this house and this house still stand. and this is a modern view of it, kind of up in a modern housing development here looking back towards birmingham hill. so, here you've got this treeline on birmingham hill and you've got street road here in the foreground. so, this is roughly the view
that lord cantaloupe had when he painted this. the british stayed on the battlefield for five days after the battle. and my guess is someday during that period, cantaloupe came and sat on the slope and painting that image in the boosk his diary. very cool image. so, what happens. sullivan rushes into this mayhem and tries to rally his division. but no sooner did i form one party, that which i had before formed would run off. and even at times when i apprehended there being, i rallied them possible to my own officers of aides at camp. he's unable to rally the provision, and he ride baks to stirling and stephen's divisions to try to hold the line with those two divisions. here's the reason why. this hill commanded both the right and left of the enemy and i knew it would make retreat very difficult.
i therefore determined to hold it as long as possible. but he has an impossible task here because this is what he's up against. they are way outnumbered. this british force is just going to completely -- i mean, they are going to hold it for a little while. but ultimately they don't have the ability to hold it. with sullivan's own division broken and gone, they're going to able to keep turning the flanks of each successive brigade. so, the brigade guards are going to keep pushing south. they end up on the flank of anthony wane's division. conway pennsylvania brigade. they're going to peel them back. with those two brigades gone, it exposes the brigades of wood ford and scott, two virginia brigades under stephen and peel those back. almost like dominos down the line. and ultimately all these americans are going to end up retreating south and east through the village of
dillworth, through the farm fields where the battle is going to end. we're going to get to that in a second. we found the right and left, the numbers giving way of quarters. we were obliged to abandon the hill, but not until we covered the ground between that and birmingham. this is where the myths of the battle comes from, that there's 2,000 -- or i've seen estimates of 2,200 -- british troops that were casualties brandywine. no, they weren't. in the smoke and confusion of battle, guys purposely laying on the ground, maybe look like casualties and maybe looks like we covered the ground with the dead bodies of the enemy. and certainly some of them were killed and wounded in this battle. but not the 2,000 or more the
american claimed were killed and wounded at this battle. this is where i think that myth about this battle comes from. okay. so, all these americans are retreating south. they are basically mostly running for their lives. eventually to chester that night. but a fresh division is running up through this area from chadds ford under nathaniel green. they're going to try to hold the lines open for the rest of the army to retreat. sullivan, based on the sources, kind of gets credit for coming up with this idea. i don't know if i totally bye into it. i'll lay it out for you and you guys can make your own division. charles coatsworth pickney, this is what he claims, that sullivan proposed to the general, meaning washington, to halt greene's division there and display and
take the enemy in flank has they came down. this general washington aseeded to and i was directed to carry orders. so the idea they come up with is to create this formation. if you've never been to the brandywine battle fort -- if you've been there and not left the park, you've not been to this area. the park is only 50 acres along route 1. most of this fighting is off the park grounds. and there's a ridge line that runs kind of right through here on the battlefield. it's private property today. and greene is going to form in a hollow on the southeast slope of that ridgeline. and the guy sullivan was able to rally are going to form on either side of greene's fresh division. oso, basically you've got henry knox knowing up at this point. he's doing a fighting retreat with a couple pieces of artillery. sullivan is doing a fighting
retreat. eventually what's going to happen, they stop at a fence line and shoot, fall back to the next fence line and shoot. and they basically form this formation. i'm not really doing this from the point of view of the british, but the british are going to get caught in a cul-de-sac here. they're going to crest this ridge and be shocked to find these troops stand thering. it's also getting dark. there's no daylight savings back then. it's very haze zi, confusing. the sun is setting behind the british, so as they crest this ridge, they're much easier targets. and i think some of the heaviest casualties for battle for the british side are going to take place right here, not anywhere else on the battlefield. so, what happens to sullivan? well, guess what. guess who congress is going to blame. sullivan, congress votes to recall him, pending investigation into his actions. this is three days after the
battle -- the same day, general debore, our french friend, he resigns -- that letter earlier that's half french-half english is his letter of resignation to washington. sullivan starts to gather testimony in his defense. washington doesn't have time for this. this is what he writes to congress. our situation at this time is critical and delicate. to derange the army by withdrawing so many general officers from it may be disagreeable if not ruinous consequences. washington doesn't have time for this. he needs to pull several senior officers to sit on that board to try him. well, there's a lot going on. two days after this is the battle of the clouds. five days later, battle of paoli. after that philadelphia captured. a week after that, battle of germantown. there's a lot going on. there is no time for this. that's what washington said. they will get to this, but not
until after the battle of germantown. that does not stop -- i lost my train of thought -- sullivan from gathering testimony. i have a whole appendix on this in my book, but i'll give you a couple examples of things he gathered. this is thomas conway. he was one of the brigade commanders that fought in stirling's division. if part of the division was not formed before the engagement, the fault cannot be general sullivan. the short time left for his troops to form was hardly sufficient for well-disciplined troops and well exercised and by no means sufficient for the troops of this army. this is william wilcox. he was a staff officer to lord stirling. he wrote the enemy made their attack before the intended disposition of your division. could be carried in execution. it was therefore considered unfortunate and not to be
labelled against any officer. what did washington say? i spread the misfortune principally to the information of mayor spiro, the militia officer we talked about, transmitted to you. yet i never blamed you. i should have held you culpable and concealing. the major's rank gave him full credit and attention. it was unfortunate but it was not your fault the intelligence was found to be erroneous. so, washington doesn't blame them. and what ultimately happens? there will be a series of court marshals of army officers in germantown. of those four generals go through this, sullivan, william maxwell at paoli, and adam stephens. of the four all three are exonerated, including sullivan. and only adam steven is found
guilty and cast from the army. but that's a topic for another day. so, sullivan gets out. he's exonerated. the details of how are a little hazy. did washington get involved? was his gathered testimony too overwhelming? or did thomas bourk -- he was a north carolina congressman, he was sort of the ringleader of the investigation by congress, basically started to ignore the accusations. but they did go through it and he was exonerated. so, what happened to him late senator he will lead his division very well, germantown. they don't lose germantown because of sullivan. he has other commands later in the war, in the native american country, often pennsylvania and new york. he will help ratify the constitution and new hampshire. when washington becomes president he's appointed to the federal bench and dies in 1795.
this is his grave up in new hampshire. just a quick plug. i know the people are giving out discounts today. if you put in a promo code virtual, i'm told, you will get 20% off. but you'll get a blook plate with that. if you want an actual hard back signed company, you can email me and we can make those arrangements because the bookplates come from them, not from me. so, that's where i'm at. questions? >> all right. if anyone has questions, please put them in the chat. as of right now, we have none, michael. we're talking about some of the other brandywine stories. i was going to let people ask any sullivan stories. but one question mark malloy wanted me to ask you, nothing to do with sullivan, but about
brandywine. i'm going to show it at you here. the story about ferguson and george washington, if you could tell that story briefly and is it true or is it a myth? >> well, first of all, let me tell the story first and then we can go to whether it's true or not. >> yeah. >> so, first of all, you're familiar with patrick ferguson. prior to the start of the 1777 campaign, ferguson got approval to manufacture -- well, not him, but had 100 rifles manufactured. he didn't invent the ferguson. it was improvement on an earlier design he tweaked. but basically it's a breachline rifle. it allows you to load the weapon from the rear. and it's rifle, so it's more accurate. you can load it lying down. you can load it kneeling. that's the basics of the rifle. and he had about 90 to 95 guys
armed with these at brandywine. it was a special detached force. it was british loyalists though. they weren't militia. they were british regulars. so, what sullivan -- so what ferguson claims, he gets wounded at the -- late in the battle. his elbow gets shattered in the battle. it's why his arm is in a sling at the battle of the mount later in the war. he will claim while in a letter he writes to his brother britain, after the battle, while he's laying in the hospital, and he's describing this incident that happens while he's along the brandywine river squirmishing with the american on the other side. and he claims he saw two officers riding up the office -- riding towards him, one wearing
a remarkably high dark cloak. and he even describes the horse the man's riding. the story goes in the letter to his brother that an american surgeon who was helping the wounded heard the story and the surgeon goes, oh, you're describing washington. now, what's my take on this? the ha sar dress could have been casimir pulaski. that's a european cavalry uniform. pulaski does not have command in brandywine. so, that part of it could be true. however, the horse that they described -- and i've done a lot of digging on this since the book came out actually more so than i did before i wrote the book. the horse that they describe doesn't match the horse washington had at that time. the other issue is it's a very vague description.
high dark cloak. that could be any army officer. talking with a couple other historians, we kind of think it might be na nathanael greene and not washington. i don't doubt that that's possible. it also says he was in such a range i could have put five or six shots in him in less time than it tells the story. and he goes on to say, i didn't pull the trigger because the man started to ride away from me and i wasn't going to shoot him in the back. american militia would have definitely done that. but that's the story. i think there is truist that he had somebody in his sites. was it washington? that's open for debate and interpretation. that's where the myth can slide into that story. so, hopefully that answers your question mark. >> yeah, it did. i know it wasn't
sullivan-related, but it's definitely brandywine related. tonight on american history tv a look into a supreme court landmark case plessy versus ferguson which solidified the separate but equal doctrine and provided legal protection to segregation laws passed by the states. scholars look at its impact on enl cation and housing and how we still live with the legacy of the decision. we'll also look at the life and legacy of the first african-american supreme court justice thurgood marshal and his impact on u.s. history. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. weekends on c-span2, intellectual feasts. every saturday american history tv documents america's story. and on sunday book tv brings you the latest in non-fiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more, including comcast. oh, you think this is just a
community center? no. it's way more than that. comcast is partnering with a thousand community centers to create wifi enabled lift zones so students from low income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. >> comcast along with these television companies support c-span2 as a public service. c-spanshop.org is c-span's online store. browse to see what's new. your purchase will support our non-profit operations, and you still have time to order the congressional directory with contact information for members of congress and the biden administration. go to c-spanshop.org. the office of historic alexandria in partnership with emerging revolutionary war hosted a symposium on the war. next four symposium presenters take part in a final