While Horatio Gates' army battled Burgoyne across the the northern reaches of upstate New York, Washington's main army faced off against General Sir William Howe's forces in a struggle for control over Philadelphia. Landing at Head of Elk, Maryland, on August 25, 1777, British and German troops advanced slowly towards Philadelphia, taking the city in late September. In early October, Washington launched a counter-strike at isolated British outposts outside the city in the vicinity of Germantown. While initially succeeding, Continental forces were repulsed by British reserves, paving the way for the famous winter at Valley Forge. John Banister's letter, the full text of which is available below, provides stunning eye-witness commentary on this vital campaign, as well as a rather strong expectation of eventual American victory that few of his comrades probably shared until news of Burgoyne's defeat arrived. Our thanks go to David Library research assistant David Swain for this transcript.
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