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This eyewitness sketch shows soldiers and camp followers of the Continental Army’s North Carolina Brigade marching through Philadelphia on Aug. 25, 1777, on their way to join the rest of General George Washington’s army stationed south of Philadelphia. These troops would go on to fight at the battles of Brandywine (Sept. 11, 1777) and Germantown (Oct. 4, 1777). The inclusion of two female camp followers, including one holding an infant, shown riding in a wagon exemplifies a direct defiance of known regulations at the time about how women following the army could use wagons. Earlier in August, before the brigade’s march through Philadelphia took place, Washington himself brought up issues of women and children slowing down his troops, calling them “a Clog upon every movement.”

Pierre Eugène du Simitière (1737-1784), a Swiss artist and collector who lived in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, drew the sketch and inscribed it: “an exact representation of a waggon belonging to the north carolina brigade of continental troops which passed thro Philadelphia.” The inscription also includes the words “august” and “done by,” but the rest of the writing is lost due to a missing portion of the paper. Through his artwork and collecting books, manuscripts, and ephemera, Du Simitière documented the rising American Revolution as it happened. Du Simitière also created from-life profile portraits of prominent Revolutionary leaders including Washington and he suggested the motto “E Pluribus Unum” through his rejected design for the Great Seal of the United States in 1776. In 1782, Du Simitière founded the first museum in the United States that was open to the public. 

Artwork Details

  • “An exact representation of a waggon belonging to the north carolina brigade of continental troops which passed thro Philadelphia” 
    Drawn by Pierre Eugène du Simitière
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
    Ink on Paper
    Museum of the American Revolution, Gift of Judith F. Hernstadt; Conserved with support from the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati, 2023.16.01

This rare eyewitness Revolutionary War sketch depicts pen and ink drawings of the Continental Army's North Carolina Brigade and female camp followers marching through Philadelphia in August 1777.
The reverse of the sketch shows five studies of two male figures, one with a sword and the other engaged in a fist fight.


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