The American defense was centered at Chadd's Ford, which comprised two crossing points, the ford itself and Chadd's Ferry about 300 yards to the south. Washington was fairly confident that Howe would press his troops directly at Chadd's Ford, since that ford was situated on the Great Nottingham Road, one of only three major roads to cross the creek on the way to Philadelphia.
At each of the eight fords along the creek, Washington posted defenders. The fords farthest north had the fewest defenders since Washington did not believe they would be attacked. The troops there would serve as safeguards by holding off any British advance and warning Washington of attack. To the south, the fords were thickly wooded and hard to get to. Regardless, Washington posted militia at the southernmost crossing, Pyle's Ford, as a precaution.
The topography around the Brandywine was also a factor in Washington's decision to make his defense there. The hills above the slopes of the creek provided good sites for cannon. The slopes themselves were thickly wooded, allowing troops to be concealed if need be. Additionally, many small roads in the area led to the fords and eased the burden of supplying and moving troops.