Battle of the Brandywine

In the late summer of 1777, British and Hessian troops under General William Howe landed in the vicinity of Elkton Maryland and marched north until they reached Kennett Square. There they faced the obstacle of the Brandywine Creek and the American army under General George Washington on the other side. 

 

General Washington arrayed his troops on the high ground near Chadds Ford, thinking it the logical place the British would try to cross the small but nonetheless challenging creek. 

 

Howe, likely with superior geographic intelligence from a local loyalist, left enough men behind to give the impression that he was still opposite Washington and marched the bulk of his troops further north and west and crossed the west branch of the creek at Trimble’s Ford, a crossing connected to Marshallton by the Great Valley Road (currently Northbrook Road) before crossing the east branch and then pressing Washington from the north. 

 

Howe turned east and south as he crossed the two forks of the Brandywine and thus the tavern and Marshallton was spared the presence of British troops and any battles. Two intelligence dispatches from militia members, one of which mentions the inn, did figure prominently in the early confusion of General Washington regarding the whereabouts of British forces. In addition, a third message delivered in person by a local patriot who had lodged at the inn the night before the battle finally triggered the defense of the American flank from Howe’s advancing forces.