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When the British arrived in Philadelphia, they split their forces. Only a fourth of the army initially occupied the city, three-quarters of the army, about 9,000 soldiers, remained outside of Philadelphia here in Germantown. They set up a defensive position between the American army and the city of Philadelphia. 

The American Side of the Street 

This monument is dedicated to the memory of the soldiers of General George Washington’s Continental Army who sacrificed their lives for the revolutionary cause in the Battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777. 

Honor and Country 

Dedicated, October 1, 1988

 (Germantown Marker)

On October 4th, Washington launched a complicated attack involving the advance of four columns of troops moving at night with orders to converge on Germantown and simultaneously attack the British at dawn. One of the four columns got lost and the others failed to coordinate their attack. But despite the problems, the Americans did attack and for the first time during the British invasion from the Chesapeake, Washington had parts of Howe’s army in full retreat. 

As the Americans continued to press, a platoon of British soldiers barricaded themselves inside the Germantown mansion called Cliveden. With the British on the run, Washington was tempted to leave Cliveden in his rear. However, Henry Knox, Washington’s artillery officer, advised Washington against bypassing Cliveden — to an artilleryman, there is nothing more tempting than a stationary target. 

While Knox bombarded Cliveden in an attempt to gain a British surrender, one of Washington’s four columns was attracted by the firing and changed direction. In the heavy fog, the column open-fired on the rear of another American column. With mass confusion and no hope for a coordinated attack, Washington ordered a general retreat to White Marsh. 

Battle of Germantown 

The Battle of Germantown occurred at Cliveden, the country home of Pennsylvania Chief Justice Benjamin Chew, on October 4, 1777. A British regiment occupied Cliveden and defended it from full assault by the colonials. Over 70 soldiers died on these grounds. Although it was an American defeat, Washington’s bold strategy helped to win French aid for the cause of independence. 

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

 (Germantown Marker)

Revolutionary War Burial Ground

To Honor the Revolutionary Soldiers Buried Here 

Placed by the Germantown Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1945

 (Germantown Memorial)

Johnson House -- This 18th century house was here during the Battle of Germantown, but played a more important role as a station on the Underground Railroad in the 19th Century

The Johnson House 

Built in 1768 for John Johnson. This was home to three generations of a Quaker family who worked to abolish slavery and improve living conditions for freed African Americans. In the 1850s the house was a station on the Underground Railroad. Here and in smaller buildings on the property, men and women escaping slavery found shelter on their way to freedom. 

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission 

(Germantown Marker)

Market Square -- This square marks the center of the British lines and the place where the British regrouped while the Americans bombarded Cliveden.

Market Square 

The center of the British Line in the Battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777. 

Here the artillery was parked. The left wing, under Lieutenant General Knyphausen, extended along School House Lane to Ridge Road, comprising the commands of Major Generals Gray and Von Stirn and Brigadier General Agnew. The right wing, under Major General Grant, extended along Church Lane comprising the command of Brigadier General Matthews and the Grenadier Guards. 

The public marker of early Germantown was conducted in Market Square. Here, too were the fire house, prison stocks and public scales. 

Erected 1926 by citizens of Germantown and vicinity. 

(Germantown Marker)

Although Germantown was an American defeat, it was also a success. The American’s learned that the main body of the British army was not invulnerable and that they could successfully launch an attack against it. The lessons learned at Germantown as well as the American victory at Saratoga, helped to persuade the French to come to America’s aid.

The Church of the German Reformed Congregation of Germantown 

Erected on this site in 1733. 

Here Count Zinzendorf preached his first sermon in America, December 31, 1741. 

Here the British Army quartered a Virginia Battalion captured in the Battle of Germantown. 

Here George Washington worshiped when President of the United States and while a resident of Germantown. 

The old building was replaced in 1839 by one which made way for the present structure in 1888. 

In 1856, the Congregation united with the Fourth Presbyterian Church. 

The Site and Bells Society of Germantown, 1904 

(Germantown Marker)


Old St. George’s United Methodist Church.

St. George’s Church 
United Methodist Historic Shrine 

This is America’s oldest Methodist church edifice, having been in continuous use since 1769. It was the seat of the first three conferences of American Methodism, the first church visited by many of the early British Methodist itinerants, and the first site of the Methodist Book Concern. 

Erected in 1969 by the Commission on Archives and History. 

(Philadelphia Marker)

George Washington Funeral Marker.

National Funeral for President Washington 

George Washington died on December 14, 1799. Congress set December 26th as a day of formal mourning in Philadelphia, the nations capital from 1790 to 1800. The national funeral service was in Zion Lutheran Church — located at this site, 1766-1870 — and among those attending was President John Adams. In his funeral oration, Congressman Henry Lee spoke the famous tribute: “First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” 

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission 

(Philadelphia Marker)

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