Cornwallis's March: Driving Tour of the Brandywine Battlefield Region

This tour is a leisurely drive through beautiful Brandywine Valley countryside. There are no stores and only one historic marker.

driving tour

September 11, 1777, at 4 a.m., Cornwallis and Howe, along with 12,000 British and Hessian troops set out on a 17-mile march. It was very hot and very foggy that morning before sunrise.

Remember that Washington expected a direct assault across Chadds Ford, and to encourage that belief General Knyphausen was creating as much noise and smoke as possible along the Great Road (today's Route 1) (see Straight-Ahead Tour).

Also remember that Washington had men stationed at every ford along the Brandywine north to Painter's Ford, which he had been informed was the northmost ford within a day's march, and south to Pyle's Ford, deemed too wooded to be a likely crossing spot.

But General Howe knew a route north of Painters' Ford and here's where you will drive today.

The number in the left column is the mileage.

0.0Start halfway through Kennett Square as you turn right onto Route 82. Set your odometer to zero as you turn the corner.
0.7Cross Route 1. Continue straight. Fans of architecture will enjoy the beautiful private homes and public buildings you pass by here.
2.0Continue straight across Street Road, Route 926.
3.2Enter the traffic circle and take the first right off the circle onto Doe Run Road.
3.5At the fork, stay on this road by bearing right.
On your left you will see graves from an old African Methodist Episcopal cemetery.
On your left, enjoy the bucolic scenery.
5.3Left on Northbrook (also called Red Lion).
6.0Bend right and stay on Northbrook.
6.3At intersection, continue straight.
7.7The road ends. Take a left onto Route 842 and immediately...
7.8Take a right turn on the continuation of Northbrook.
You'll see the Northbrook Canoe and Beverage and the Scenic Railroad. Note the Brandywine Creek is now on your left.
Here you'll drive over a one-lane bridge which crosses the West branch of the Brandywine. This was the location of Trimble's Ford, the first of two river crossings made by Cornwallis's troops. The picture at the top of this page was taken from here as well.
8.9Turn right and continue on Northbrook.
9.6Take a right turn on Camp Linden Road. The Brandywine River is on your right.
10.1Pass the Philadelphia Ethical Society on your left.
10.3Left on Wawaset (pronounced wah-WAH-set). Now we have to take a little detour from the path that was marched as a connecting road has disappeared over time!
10.8Right on Cann Road to end (detour from path marched)
11.4Right on Strasburg Rd. (detour from path marched)
11.5Right on Lucky Hill (detour from path marched)
12.5About now you're back on the path marched. Once you pass Barry Road on your right, you are certainly back on track!
Lucky Hill Farm on your left.
13.7At end of road, left on Allerton Road.
Another one-lane bridge. You are crossing the East branch of the Brandywine. This was the location of Jefferis Ford. The plaque pictured here reads, "Jeffris Ford Cornwallis crossed here between 1 and 2 o'clock Sept. 11 1777".
14.1Continue left on 842.
14.2Turn right on Birmingham Road.
15.3Continue straight across Lenape Rd. at Strode's Mill Gallery (Route 100)
15.9Come to the intersection with Country Club Road. There is a historic marker on the rise to your left. There is a scenic overlook you can enjoy, much as General Howe did. Now it's time to reset your odometer and to move on to The "Battle Driving Tour"