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Revolutionary War Site Chadd's Ford

CHADD'S FORD, scene of the Battle of Brandywine, lies at the bottom of a gentle slope on the eastern bank of the sparkling creek. The present-day stream carries but a small volume of water, but in the days of early settlement floods and ice made the ford so hazardous that it became necessary to provide ferry service. The service, begun in 1737, was abandoned after a bridge was built. The Continentals suffered a major defeat here on September 11, 1777, when Washington, in an effort to prevent the British from reaching Philadelphia, hurled his army of about 12,000 men at a force of 18,000 British and Hessian soldiers under General Howe, who was marching N. from Wilmington. Maneuvering by both sides for possession of the bridge over Brandywine Creek resulted in a military chess game lasting many hours. Finally, late in the afternoon, the British gained the bridge by crossing the creek above it and executing a flank attack on the American forces. The victors moved on to Philadelphia, while Washington and his troops sought refuge NW. of the city. This battle, nevertheless, taught Howe to respect his foes. Lafayette, attempting to rally the harassed center, late in the battle was severely wounded in the leg.Right are battle memorials, among the beautiful MARBLE ARCH. Beyond them are farmhouses that were used as headquarters during the day's struggle. Brandywine Creek forms part of the eastern boundary of Chester County, one of the three original counties laid out by Penn in 1682.The county was named for Chester, England, home of Robert Pearson, close friend of Penn. Comfortable stone and brick homesteads with the usual big, gray barns, dot this rich agricultural district. Originally, the Great Valley, or the Chester Valley as it is some- times called, was shared by English and Welsh Friends; the latter had settled to the E. in Tredyffrin and Westtown Townships. Ger- man settlers came later into the northern section, and the south- western section was colonized by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.