On this day in history, September 11, America took a bad hit in a war that would drag on for what seemed like an eternity. Washington suffered a sneak attack that no one saw coming. The sneaky SOBs who crept up on us while we were in a fog won the day and threw the country into an unimaginable turmoil.
The Washington in this story wasn't named DC, but rather was the son of a certain Augustine Washington who named him George. You may have heard of him.
On this day in 1777, his army took a beating from the Brits when they were surprised by two generals named Cornwallis and Howe who used the heavy morning fog to sneak up on Washington near Brandywine Creek in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The same fog kept Washington from discovering that they had split their force of 18,000 troops to attack from the right flank as well as the front. The assault didn't come until the afternoon but by then it was too late. It was a mess.
George had to order a retreat when he realized that his 11,000 man force would soon be surrounded as well as out-manned. The Americans lost over 1,100 men killed or captured to only 600 of the British. Many of the American artillery horses fell in the retreat and the cannons had to be abandoned along with any pride the Americans might have had the previous day.
Washington got away, but the Brits turned on Philly and walked in unopposed. Presumably the cheese-steak sammies were still on the tables as the congress decided to bolt without paying the check. (History does repeat.)
So the next time you're in Philadelphia, stop in at The City Tavern for some Chestnut Fritters. You can wash them down with some of Thomas Jefferson's original recipe ale. The fritters, like battlefield defeats, can sometimes be hard to swallow without some liquid courage.