Warren or White Horse Tavern, Pennsylvania

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Warren or White Horse Tavern, Pennsylvania

WARREN OR WHITE HORSE TAVERN, PENNSYLVANIA. 16 September 1777. Five days after the Battle of the Brandywine, the opposing armies converged on White Horse Tavern (in latter-day Planebrook, Pennsylvania) and on the Admiral Warren Tavern (three miles east in latter-day Malvern).

Each commander learned early in the day of the other's approach and both prepared for a major engagement. Pulaski was sent forward with the American cavalry and three hundred supporting infantry as a delaying force, but the infantry ran as soon as fired on, and Pulaski had to retreat before the advancing British.

At about 1 p.m. the brigades of Wayne and Maxwell met Knyphausen's column near Boot Tavern and almost cut off a reconnaissance party of jägers commanded by Colonel von Donop, but the Americans were soon forced back by jäger reinforcements and Hessian grenadiers. The main bodies were squaring off for a major battle when nature intervened.

A heavy rain drenched both armies. As one German officer wrote: "I wish I could give a description of the downpour which began during the engagement and continued until the next morning. It came down so hard that in a few moments we were drenched and sank in mud up to our calves" (Baurmeister, Revolution, p. 114).

Because of defective cartridge boxes—the leather tops did not extend sufficiently to keep out the rain—the Americans lost, according to General Henry Knox, four hundred thousand rounds, and many regiments were unable to fire a shot. The British, on the other hand, lost little ammunition and Washington had no choice but to retreat.

SEE ALSO Philadelphia Campaign.


Bauermeister, Carl Leopold. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784. Translated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1957.

Reed, John F. Campaign to Valley Forge, July 1, 1777–December 19, 1777. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.

                           revised by Michael Bellesiles

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Warren or White Horse Tavern, Pennsylvania

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