The overthrow of Burgoyne relieved the American cause of one great danger, but it was sorely beset in other quarters. General Howe had taken his army around by sea, and landed at the head of Chesapeake Bay, in order to capture Philadelphia, which was then the seat of Congress. Washington's army was inferior to the British, and he retired behind the Brandywine River, where, on the 11th of September, 1777, was fought the battle known as "The Battle of the Brandywine." The Americans were forced to retreat, and the British entered Philadelphia.
'Battle of Brandywine (Nation Makers)' by Howard Pyle

On the 4th of October Washington attacked the British at Germantown, near Philadelphia, but he was again defeated. The winter of 1777-'78 was the darkest season of the Revolution. Washington went into winter quarters at Valley Forge. Congress has no money. Many of the soldiers were without shoes, and in their marches over frozen ground they left blood in their tracks. Some of the poor fellows sat up by the fires at night, for want of blankets to keep them warm.

The war of the colonies against England had excited much sympathy in Europe. Many foreign officers had come over to assist the Americans. Some of these were mere adventurers, but others were men of ability and generous spirit. Such was the young

French nobleman La Fayette; Count Pulaski, Baron Steuben, and Baron De Kalb were also excellent officers. France had from the first taken a lively interest in the fate of America, partly from a jealous dislike of England, partly from the love of liberty that was growing among the French people. The courageous persistence with which Washington attacked Howe's army at Germantown made a strong impression in France, and on the 30th of January, 1778, a treaty of alliance between France and the United States was signed. This was received in America with the greatest joy.

The first result of the alliance with France was the recovery of Philadelphia. Sir Henry Clinton, who had succeeded Howe in command of the British army, was afraid that the French might blockade the Delaware, and thus shut him up in Philadelphia. He therefore retreated across New Jersey to New York, pushed by Washington's army. During this retreat the battle of Monmouth was fought. The Americans gained a partial victory, the English retreating under cover of night.

When the war had lasted three or four years, the British government became convinced that it was a most difficult task to subdue the Northern and Middle States. The people could not be subdued even when the armies were beaten. But as there were more slaves and as the colonist population was more scattered in the Southern States, they supposed it might be easier to overrun them. At the close of the year 1778, the British captured Savannah, and Georgia was soon subjugated. In the next year an attempt was made by the Americans, assisted by the French fleet, to capture Savannah, but it failed. In this attempt Count Pulaski lost his life. After a regular siege, a British fleet and army took Charleston in May, 1780. General Gates, who had commanded the Northern army when Burgoyne surrendered, was put in command of all the American troops at the South. But Gates was utterly beaten, and his whole army routed and dispersed, by the British under Cornwallis, at the battle of Camden, in South Carolina. There was no longer any American army worthy of the name in the whole South.

But in the South, as in the North, the British could not gain permanent advantages. Though the Americans shrank from entering the army, which was poorly paid and badly fed, they refused to be subdued. Sumter and Marion mustered considerable bodies of South Carolina militia. These men knew the country perfectly; they lurked in the forests and swamps, coming out from time to time to strike the British where they were weakest.


The Marquis de La Fayette was born of an illustrious French family on the 7th of September, 1757. He was but nineteen years old, with every prospect which great wealth and family influence could give, when he embraced the cause of liberty in America. Against the command of the King of France, he freighted a ship at his own expense, and landed in America in 1777, to offer his services as a simple volunteer. He quickly won the favor of Congress and the life-long friendship of Washington. He was made major- general, and, though so young, showed considerable ability as a commander. His conduct was always prudent. He was wounded at the Brandywine, and he distinguished himself by a masterly retreat from Barren Hill and fine conduct at the battle of Monmouth. In Virginia, when Cornwallis threatened him with a superior force, and boasted that the "little boy," as he called La Fayette, could not get away from him, the young marquis avoided a battle, and prepared by his skillful movements for the final success at Yorktown. La Fayette was all his life a lover of liberty and order. He took a brave part in the French Revolution, but refused to go to extremes. He was arrested and imprisoned for years in Austria, in spite of American efforts to relieve him. At the insistence of Bonaparte, he was freed in 1797. He visited the United States in 1824, when he was welcomed as the guest of the nation. He made the tour of the country, rejoicing in its prosperity. He was everywhere received with enthusiasm by those whose fathers he had helped in their hour of distress. Congress voted him $200,000 and a township of land for his losses and expenses in the Revolution. Though an old man, he took part in the French Revolution of 1830, and remained the devoted friend of human liberty until his death in 1834.


In 1776 the British fleet attacked Fort Sullivan, in Charleston harbor, which was successfully defended by General Moultrie. During the hottest of the fire, the flag of the fort, which bore the device of a crescent, was shot away. A sergeant named Jasper leaped down outside the fort and recovered the flag, which he fixed to a sponge staff. This he stuck in the sand and then returned unharmed to the fort. For this act the governor of South Carolina gave him his own sword. In 1779 he was engaged in the attack on Savannah, when the colors of his own regiment were shot away. Jasper tried to replace them on a parapet, but he was mortally wounded. In this condition he brought away his colors.


One of the most brilliant enterprises of the war was the capture of Stony Point, on the Hudson. General Wayne led a force of Americans, by defiles in the mountains, to within a mile and a half of the fort on the evening of July 15 1779. To prevent discovery, all the dogs on the road were killed. At midnight the Americans moved on the fort. The advanced guard carried empty guns with fixed bayonets, and thus faced the fire of the defenders as they rushed over the works and made the British garrison prisoners.


Study the chapter for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read and/or listen to the chapter.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary terms.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Answer the review questions.


In 1777, during the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania, General George Washington was forced to retreat after battling General Howe. General Washington was defeated again at Germantown. The winter of 1777-1778 was a time of misery, cold, and hunger. The Americans gained the assistance of the French after signing a treaty of alliance and regained Philadelphia. The British turned their attentions south, taking Savannah and Charleston. Despite the victories, the American people did not give up. The South Carolina militia lurked in the swamps, darting out to repeatedly attack the British.


Alliance: A union or connection of interests between families, states, parties, etc.
Treaty: A formal agreement between two or more countries.
Blockade: The physical blocking or surrounding of a place, especially a port, in order to prevent commerce and traffic in or out.
Subdue: To overcome, quieten, or bring under control.


Activity 1: Narrate the Chapter

  • Narrate the chapter events aloud in your own words.

Activity 2: Study the Chapter Picture

  • Study the chapter picture, 'Battle of Brandywine (Nation Makers)' by Howard Pyle, and describe how it relates to the story.

Activity 3: Map the Chapter

Find the cities of Savannah and Charleston, in present-day Georgia and South Carolina.

Activity 4: Play the State Capital Cities Game

  • Play an online game to learn the state capitals.

Activity 5: Complete Copywork, Narration, Dictation, and Mapwork   

  • Click the crayon above. Complete pages 62-63 of 'American History Copywork, Narration, Dictation, and Mapwork for Fourth Grade.'


Question 1

Who won the Battle of Brandywine - the British or the Americans?
1 / 4

Answer 1

The British won the Battle of Brandywine.
1 / 4

Question 2

Which country signed a treaty with America on 30th of January, 1778?
2 / 4

Answer 2

The French signed a treaty with America on the 30th of January, 1778.
2 / 4

Question 3

What did the British government do after becoming convinced it was more difficult of a task to subdue the Northern and Middle States?
3 / 4

Answer 3

The British turned their attentions south.
3 / 4

Question 4

Were the British successful in attacking the southern states?
4 / 4

Answer 4

The British took Savannah and Charleston, but the local militias did not give up, continuing to attack from the swamps.
4 / 4

  1. Who won the Battle of Brandywine - the British or the Americans? The British won the Battle of Brandywine.
  2. Which country signed a treaty with America on 30th of January, 1778? The French signed a treaty with America on the 30th of January, 1778.
  3. What did the British government do after becoming convinced it was more difficult of a task to subdue the Northern and Middle States? The British turned their attentions south.
  4. Were the British successful in attacking the southern states? The British took Savannah and Charleston, but the local militias did not give up, continuing to attack from the swamps.