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George III’s maps and views showing the war from North America to India

Archibald Robertson (c. 1745-1820)

Germantown, 1777

Sketch of the Attack at German Town, Oct.r 1777 c.1777

Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour and grey wash on paper | Scale: 1:12,000 | RCIN 734029

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A sketch of the Battle of Germantown, fought on 4 October 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 British victory in this battle ensured that Philadelphia, the capital of the Independent States of America, remained in British hands for the winter of 1777-8. 11,000 Americans were defeated by a force of 9,000 British and Hessians.

Archibald Robertson, 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) does not list any maps of Germantown by Robertson, nor is Germantown included among those plans known to have been made by him but whose location is unknown.

  • Archibald Robertson (c. 1745-1820) (draughtsman) [bottom right, inside neatline:] Arch.d Robertson of Engineers.

  • Watermark: Fleur-de-lys in crowned shield, the letters G R below; countermark: JWhatman

    Mark, stamped: 975

    Condition: three fold lines; creased; some brown stains; surface dirt on both sides

  • Scale: 1:12,000. Scale 1000 Feet in an Inch.

    61.2 x 51.6 cm (image and neatline)

    62.4 x 53.0 cm (sheet)

  • Manuscript title:

    Sketch of the Attack at German Town, Oct.r 1777. [bottom right]

    Additional text:

    [bottom right, below title:] The Batt.ns coloured Red, Blue & Green shews their Situation in Camp before the Attack.


    George III heading: Action at German Town 4 Oct. 1777.

    Other annotations: (Recto) none. (Verso) [top, left of centre, black pencil:] 14-20 [and] XVII/40 [twice].

    George III catalogue entry:

    German Town A drawn Sketch of the Attack at German Town on the 4th of Oct.r 1777: by Captain Arch.d Robertson Eng.r

  • From the collection of military and naval maps and prints formed by George III (1738-1820)

  • Subject(s)

    Germantown, Pennsylvania, USA (40°01'25"N 75°09'34"W)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    T.J. McGuire, The Philadelphia Campaign, vol.2, Mechanicsburg PA 2007

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