A key moment in the American Revolution comes to life
Most histories of the American War of Independence discuss what are usually regarded as the two major campaigns in 1777. Either they describe the invasion from Canada led by General John Burgoyne which resulted in his subsequent defeat and the surrender of his force at Saratoga, New York, or they focus on William Howe’s Philadelphia Campaign. Often left out of these discussions, or treated only in passing, is the reduction of the Delaware River defenses that engaged the bulk of the resources and attention of both George Washington and William Howe through October and November of 1777.
On the American side, maintaining the integrity of the river defenses involved an attritional campaign waged by an intrepid group of defenders which brought together the efforts of the Continental Army, as garrisons of the various forts, the Continental Navy and the Pennsylvania State Navy. If the Americans could hold their positions until winter set in, they would prevent William Howe from capitalizing his capture of Philadelphia, and possibly force him to abandon the city for want of supplies.
McIntyre has given us a thoughtful, deeply researched, and revealing inquiry into the ferocious fighting to take and to defend Forts Mifflin and Mercer on the Delaware River in the fall of 1777. He convincingly treats the struggle for the forts as a campaign unto itself, with the stakes never higher for both sides. A patriot success would have been disastrous for Sir William Howe’s army in Philadelphia—-perhaps even dooming it. A must-read, McIntyre's new volume is a genuine contribution to our understanding of a key chapter in the War for Independence.
– Mark Edward Lender,
James McIntyre has written the definitive history on the attempt by America to defend the Delaware River approaches to the capital of Philadelphia, 1775 - 1778. Chock full of action involving heroes, villains, and even the militarily incompetent on both sides, McIntyre’s well researched book should become required reading for all students of Revolutionary War military history. It is that good.