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Rare - Revolutionary War Large Iron Axe head, recovered many years ago at the Brandywine, PA Battlefield


Product Description

This is another rare piece coming out of a 60-year collection of French & Indian War/Revolutionary War artifacts. Being offered is a Revolution War large iron axe head that weighs 4 pounds, 6 ounces and measures 8” x 3” x 2 ¼”. This axe is broken into two pieces, why it was discarded. This axe was recovered many years ago at the Brandywine, Pennsylvania Battlefield.

These axes were a necessity, especially in thick wooded areas. With the artillery, there had to be an open area to get caissons and cannons through and a clearing for firing. In “Soldiers of the American Revolution” by Don Troiani, there is a picture of one of this style axe (see pictures).

On September 11, 1777, General George Washington was determined to prevent the British from capturing the American seat of government, Philadelphia. Taking up positions along Brandywine Creek, Washington mistakenly believed that his army blocked all fords across the Brandywine Creek.

Opposing Washington was Sir William Howe and an army of 15,500 British Regulars and Hessian troops. Hidden by heavy fog, the British moved into position. General Wilhelm von Knyphausen was ordered to demonstrate against the Americans’ front at Chadds Ford, while the bulk of Howe’s forces crossed the Brandywine further upstream.

The battle had been raging for hours by the time Howe's force appeared undetected on the Continental right flank. Washington dispatched troops under General John Sullivan and William Alexander, “Lord Stirling,” to shore up his right flank. However, despite putting up a stiff resistance, the Continentals were eventually overrun by Howe’s men. Simultaneously, Knyphausen’ s troops hit the American units that remained near the Quaker meeting house at Chadds Ford. Washington’s line collapsed.

To prevent the defeat turning into disaster Washington ordered Nathanael Greene’s division to act as a rear-guard so that the Continental Army could escape to the northeast. Greene’s brave men counterattacked, going toe-to-toe with British along the crest of Birmingham Hill. When night fell, the remaining Americans fell back in an orderly retreat, led in part by the Marquis de Lafayette. Although wounded, the charismatic young Frenchman remained on the field to ensure an organized withdrawal.

The crushing defeat allowed the British to occupy Philadelphia, but the bulk of the Continental army survived to fight another day.

Although in two pieces, this axe is still very solid overall. Actually, I think being in two pieces just adds to its character, a result of hard use. This collection began in the late 1950s and was created by private acquisitions, closed museums, and from lake divers. The collector meticulously displayed and cataloged every piece along with its provenance. This is the first time this axe has been on the open market, and it is truly a great piece of early American History. It definitely merits a place in an advanced collection or museum. Just about any artifact from Brandywine is sought out by collectors and museums because of their rarity. As with all the pieces in this esteemed collection, a Certificate of Authenticity will be included.

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$8.50 (Fixed shipping cost)