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American War of Independence (1775-83)

George III’s maps and views showing the development of the war at home and abroad, from North America to India


Battle of Brandywine, 1777

PLAN of the BATTLE of BRANDYWINE / September 1777

c. 1777

Pencil, pen, ink, watercolour and grey wash, drawn on two sheets of paper, joined | Scale: 1:6,000. | RCIN 734026.a

A map of the Battle of Brandywine, fought on 11 September 1777 between the British and Hessians, commanded by the Commander-in-Chief, William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe (1729-1814) and the Americans, commanded by General George Washington (1732-99), resulting in a British victory. American War of Independence (1775-83). Oriented with north to top.

The letters on the plan are explained in the accompanying manuscript account of the battle at RCIN 734026.b. The battle was part of the Philadelphia campaign and was fought between 14,600 Americans and 15,500 British and Hessian troops.

This fine, large-scale survey is more detailed than other extant manuscript maps of this action and is the only graphic to give information on field boundaries – hedges or post and rail fencing - and land use, as well as showing the different positions of the troops during the course of the action.

Captain Patrick Ferguson's Rifle Corps took part in this action where they demonstrated the effectiveness of his invention of breech loading rifles. He claimed that he could load and fire seven times a minute though 'he could not undertake in that time to knock down above five of His Majesty's enemies.' The rifle, having been demonstrated to King George III, was patented on 2 December 1776. Ferguson rose to become Lt. Colonel of the 71st Highlanders and was given his own force of Loyalist Volunteers (known as Ferguson's Sharpshooters) before being killed at the age of 36 at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780.

Archibald Roberston, the author of this plan, had arrived in Boston in November 1775, and was present at numerous actions during the war. Captain (later Lieutenant-General) Robertson, kept diaries of his experiences in the American War of Independence from 1775 to November 1780 and made several maps and sketches. Most of these are now in the New York Public Library. Robertson died a rich man in Edinburgh in 1820, having acquired enough capital to purchase an estate of 20,000 acres in Ayrshire.

Guthorn (1972), p.40 states that Robertson had indicated, presumably in his journals, that he had made a sketch of the ground at the Battle of Brandywine but that it had not been found. It is possible that this map was the 'Sketch', or a derivative from it, to which he referred.

Condition: two fold lines. Verso: surface dirt along top edge.
  • Archibald Robertson (c. 1745-1820) (surveyor and draughtsman) [bottom right of title panel:] Arch.d Robertson, Capt.n of Engineers.

  • Watermark: Fleur-de-lys in crowned shield, the letters GR below; countermark: J WHATMAN

    Mark, stamped: 973

    Condition: two fold lines. Verso: surface dirt along top edge

  • Scale: 1:6,000. [no scale bar] Scale 500 Feet in an inch.

    104.4 x 74.6 cm (image and neatline)

    104.6 x 74.7 cm (sheet)

  • Manuscript title:

    PLAN of the BATTLE of BRANDYWINE / September 1777. [top right, in rectangular panel]


    George III heading: Battle of Brandywine 11 Sep. 1777.

    Other annotations: (Recto) none. (Verso) [centre, beneath old heading, red pencil:] 14/17 [and, black pencil:] XVII[/?].

    George III catalogue entry:

    Brandywine A drawn Plan of the Battle of Brandywine, Sept.r 1777, by Capt.n Arch.d Robertson Eng.r 2 sheets: with a MS. account of the Battle.

  • Subject(s)

    near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, USA (39°52'18"N 75°35'28"W)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    T.J. McGuire, The Philadelphia Campaign, vol. 1, Mechanicsburg PA 2006

Page revisions

  • 14 March 2024