the night of April 30th, the British marched out of Philadelphia
with 850 men on foot and horse. Their destination was The Billet,
present- day Hatboro.
was to stop the Militia from disrupting supplies reaching Philadelphia.
Their other objective was to capture the leader of the Militia General
John Lacey. Three hundred militiamen were encamped with Lacey at
the Billet; most of them were unarmed and untrained.
marched through the Fox Chase area of Philadelphia down the Huntington
Pike where they split. The Queens Rangers, a loyalist regiment continued
down the Second Street Pike and the 500 British regulars went left
toward Old York Road.
The plan was
to have the British regulars wait in ambush along the Horsham Meeting
Road near the Old Mill Inn in Hatboro. The Queens Rangers were to
drive the Militia into the waiting British troops. The Militia were
expected to retreat along the Horsham Meeting Road which leads to
Valley Forge and the Continental Army.
Lacey was a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania and was the youngest
appointed General under Washington's command. During the battle
he saved hundreds of lives by keeping his militiamen together and
heading his troops north escaping into Bucks County.
The Militia suffered 9 men wounded, 26 killed and 58 captured. The
British reported no casualties. However, several were wounded and
3 horses killed.
The British never achieved their objectives. They did not prevent
the Militia from continuing to disrupt supplies and most importantly,
General Lacey was never captured. While it is true the British could
claim this a military victory, it was however a British failure
thanks to the quick thinking and leadership of General John Lacey.
He is truly a faceless hero of the American Revolution.