As the wounded Colonial soldiers were brought to the Zion Reformed Church, now a temporary field hospital, few could know that beneath the floorboards rested one of the young nation’s most famous symbols. Following is the fascinating story of how the American patriots saved the Liberty Bell from capture by the British, told by a descendant of the man whose courage made it possible.
by Gene Wheeler
In 1777, England made its second greatest effort of the war. British General Howe left a garrison in New York and took 13,000 troops to capture Philadelphia. Washington rose to defend the capital, but on September 11 was outflanked and although defeated at Brandywine Creek, his army was not destroyed. Washington retreated to Chester, Pa.
Several days later the Americans suffered another defeat at Paoli, Pa. Several hundred Americans were killed under a British bayonet attack. The American Congress fled from Philadelphia to York, Pa., and Howe entered Philadelphia without opposition in late September.
Howe quartered a part of his army at nearby Germantown. On October 4, the Americans attacked this garrison and seemed to have won a victory until the British made a determined stand in the Chew house. British reinforcements came up from Philadelphia while the besieged house still held out, and Washington’s little army retreated. The Americans then took up their miserable winter quarters at Valley Forge.