Fort Mifflin
On the Delaware

Fort Mifflin Road
Philadelphia, PA 19153

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The Battle of Fort Mifflin: November 10-15, 1777

By 1777, the British had landed in Maryland and were advancing northward to Pennsylvania. On September 26th, under the command of General William Howe, they captured the city of Philadelphia. Obtaining supplies from a fleet of over 200 British ships waiting to sail up the Delaware before the river froze was critical to support a British victory. Fort Island (Fort Mifflin), Fort Mercer, the Pennsylvania Navy and the chevaux-de-frise were all that stood between Howe and the British fleet.

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On November 10th, a massive attack began from the British warships on the Delaware River. The battle lasted six days, and resulted in the near total destruction of Fort Island. Only about 375 American soldiers escaped across to Fort Mercer, leaving a handful of men in the fort to create a diversion to cover their escape. What remained of the fort was then burned to prevent anything of value falling into British hands. In the end, the loss of the American defenses on the Delaware River resulted in the destruction of two British warships - the Augusta and the Merlin - and prevented Howe from continuing his campaign against Washington and the Continental Army that year.

Last updated February 22nd, 2000

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