What Are Some Facts About the Battle of Brandywine?


Quick Answer

The Battle of Brandywine occurred on Sept. 11, 1777, and resulted in the British taking the colonial capital city of Philadelphia. George Washington's Continental Army arranged itself along the Brandywine River to force a British crossing at a vulnerable ford, but the British outmaneuvered the Americans.

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Full Answer

On Sept. 9, 1777, Washington positioned troops at northern Wistar's Ford and southern Pyle's Ford river crossings, attempting to ensure the British army under General Howe would use the central Chadd's Ford, a vulnerable position. However, the British were familiar with the area. Howe marched most of his army north of Wistar's Ford to another crossing place he knew of. A smaller force marched toward Chadd's Ford in a feint.

On September 11, a heavy fog helped to disguise British troop movements. Washington received conflicting intelligence reports, some stating that Howe was crossing at Chadd's Ford and others that he had divided his army. Washington believed that his initial assumption that the British would cross at Chadd's Ford was correct until that afternoon when the main British force had crossed the river and flanked the Continental Army. The Americans fought until nightfall then retreated to Chester. The British did not, however, take Philadelphia until September 26, affording the Americans time to evacuate the Continental Congress and military supplies to defensible positions.

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