The Battle of Brandywine
During the campaign of 1777, it was General Howe's goal to capture Philadelphia, the capital of the new found nation. He and General Cornwallis led the British in the attack on General Washington and the Patriots. The British were approaching the city from the Chesapeake, a port in central Virginia; General Washington was defending the multiple fords over Brandywine Creek. Washington believed that had had all of the fords covered, but there was one that went forgotten further up the creek.
Howe and Cornwallis divided their 1800 troops in two. Howe was to lead the attack from the front, and Cornwallis was to circle around and flank Washington from the side. The British were at an advantage because on the morning of the 11th, there was a dense fog in the air. The Continental army was able to slow the advancing British attack, but their efforts were ineffective. Washington and his troops had planned a counterattack for when they had been pushed back across the Brandywine Creek, but they received notice that British troops were approaching their right flank. The Continental army valiantly defended their position, but they were no match for the elite British army. Washington was faced with being surrounded, so they were forced to retreat to Germantown. As the British continued to drive Washington's forces back, they became more focused on the occupation of Philadelphia rather than the Continental army. As the British took control of Philadelphia without opposition, the Continental Congress fled to Lancaster.
Philadelphia was such a desirable piece of land to the British because it was the colonies largest urban hub. It contained a bustling port with many manufactured goods to be traded. Another reason the British found this port so desirable is because it was the seat of the Continental Congress. The upheaval of the congress would disrupt the flow of communications and goods the the army, thus making it a strategic significance to the British.