Brodhead, Daniel

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Brodhead, Daniel

BRODHEAD, DANIEL. (1736–1809). Continental officer. Pennsylvania. Born in Albany, New York, on 17 September 1736, Brodhead served as deputy surveyor-general of Pennsylvania from 1773 to 1776. With news of the battle at Lexington, Brodhead led a company of volunteers to Boston, where he enlisted in the Continental Army. On 13 March 1776 he became a lieutenant colonel, commanding the Second Battalion of Miles's Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion. At Long Island on 27 August 1776, his unit barely escaped annihilation. Transferred to the Third Pennsylvania Battalion on 25 September 1776, he was promoted to colonel and he was given command of the Eighth Pennsylvania Battalion on 12 March 1777. His regiment saw heavy action at Brunswick, Brandywine, Paoli, Germantown, and Whitemarsh. Early in 1778, George Washington ordered Brodhead's regiment to move from Valley Forge to Fort Pitt, where General Lachlan McIntosh sent them down the Ohio to build Fort McIntosh. After a dreadful winter at this base, Brodhead wrote to Washington, accusing McIntosh of gross incompetence. Washington agreed, and on 5 March 1779 he made Brodhead commander of the Western Department.

Brodhead's expedition against the Seneca and Delaware, which took place from 11 August to 14 September 1779, led to a treaty with the Delaware and won the thanks of Congress and Washington. Although he showed more energy than his predecessors, Brodhead was considered a martinet with a jealous, irascible temperament. His inability to cooperate with other commanders led Washington to remove him from his post. In the reorganization of 17 January 1781, Brodhead became commander of the Second Pennsylvania, which he led until 3 November 1783. He was breveted as a brigadier general in the Continental army on 30 September 1783 and returned to his farm in Pike County, Pennsylvania. In 1790 he was made surveyor-general of Pennsylvania, a position he held until his death in Milford, on 15 November 1809.

SEE ALSO Brodhead's Expedition.


Brodhead Papers. Wisconsin Historical Society Archives: Madison, Wisconsin.

                                   revised by Michael Bellesiles