A News View of the American War for the German Public
Rare German view of the siege and bombardment of Philadelphia in September 1777.
The view shows Philadelphia under attack by the British Forces under the command of General William Howe, engaged in the bombardment of the city, with a line of cannon in the center and the British command in the foreground.
Johann Michael (the Younger) Probst was a member of the Probst family of viewmakers in Augsburg. Son of Johann Michael Probst I (1727-1776) and thus grandson of Johann Balthasar Probst (1689-1750). He took over his father's business after his death, together with his brothers Johann Georg and Johann Conrad.
While the details of the view (and the siege itself) are largely imagined, the basic information would have been of great interest to the German public, with about 30,000 "Hessian" soldiers working as Mercenaries for the British Army. While an actual "siege" was something of a fiction, a visual news view illustrating the success of the battle would undoubtedly have found an interested market in Germany. The Probst firm, at the time among the leading engravers of views and maps in Germany, almost certainly would have produced this view for the popular market.
The Philadelphia Campaign was an action undertaken by the British under the command of General William Howe. After failing to draw the Continental Army into a battle in northern New Jersey, the British moved a large force to the northern end of Chesapeake Bay, before advancing toward Philadelphia.
The American forces engaged the British at Brandywine Creek, but were defeated at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. Shortly thereafter, the British took Philadelphia.
The view is apparently extremely rare. We were unable to locate another example.
We did note a second Probst view from the same action in the Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/resource/pga.12220/.