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National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

The Defeat at Paoli


The nation'a oldest Revolutionary War memorial marks the spot where 1,500 colonists under Brig. Gen. "Mad Anthony" Wayne were surprised and overwhelmed by a night-time bayonet attack by 5,000 British under Maj. Gen. Charles Grey. A British soldier later said "I stuck them myself like so many pigs, one after another, until the blood ran out of the touch-hole of my musket." (The touch-hole is at the firing chamber, several feet from the bayonet end of the weapon.) While this is sometimes referred to as the "Paoli Massacre", it did not violate the rules of war and was "simply" a very one-sided success for the British.

Quote is from Craig L. Symond's "Battlefield Atlas of the American Revolution" (Naut&Av Publ, Baltimore, 1986)

"The dead bodies of fifty-three Americans were found on the field the next morning, and were interred upon the spot, in one grave, by the neighboring farmers. For forty years their resting place was marked by a simple heap of stones, around which the plow of the agriculturist made its furrows nearer and nearer every season. At length the "Republican Artillerists' of Chester County patriotically resolved to erect a monument to their memory, and on the 20th of September 1817 -- the fortieth anniversary of the event -- through the aid of their fellow-citizens, they reared the memento..."

Quote is from The Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution, by Benson J. Lossing (Harper & Brothers Publishers, Franklin Square, New York, 1859), Vol II, pp 164-7.


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URL: http://www.sar.org/history/paoli.htm
Latest changes: 97Dec 14 - created / 98Jan28 - reformatted /