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US Route 202 goes from Delaware to Maine, but in its first fifty miles, Route 202 parallels the 1777 British invasion from Chesapeake Bay. The invasion came from the largest armada ever assembled in America and was led by General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Howe. Consisting of almost 300 war and transport ships, the armada set sail from New York City on July 23rd. After a long, weather-delayed journey, the British began their invasion at Elk Neck, Maryland with over 15,000 British troops on August 25th. 

While General William Howe began his invasion from the Chesapeake, three other invasions were also in the British plan. British General Burgoyne had devised a three-pronged incursion to divide the colonies along the Champlain and Hudson valleys. The invasion would come from Canada in the north, New York City in the south and Lake Ontario in the west. The target for all three was Albany, NY. 

Unfortunately for Burgoyne, his invasion from the north stalled at Saratoga (Stillwater, NY), the invasion from the west stalled at Fort Stanwix (Rome, NY), and the invasion from the south was never agreed to by General William Howe. He instead, decided to launch his own invasion up Chesapeake Bay to attack Philadelphia, the current home of the Continental Congress. Howe left the decision to move north up to General Henry Clinton, who was left in charge of the forces in New York City. In October, Clinton decided to mount a “distraction” that was withdrawn shortly after the burning of Kingston, NY. 

Of the four invasions planned in 1777, the only one that successfully reached its target was Howe’s invasion from the Chesapeake. But Howe’s occupation of Philadelphia was difficult to maintain and after only eight months, he withdrew his forces back to New York City. 

A Revolutionary Day along Historic US Route 202 begins early in the morning at Elk Neck, Maryland at the overlook of General Howe’s landing. From Elk Neck, the road trip heads north through Northeast and Elkton to Cooch’s Bridge, where American forces set up an ambush and briefly engaged the invading British forces. 

From Cooch’s Bridge, the road trip continues north through Newark to Brandywine, where American forces set up a major defensive position, but would retreat after being out-flanked by the British. 

From Brandywine, the road trip continues north to Valley Forge, where the defeated American forces would be greeted by a punishing winter, but would emerge in the spring as a well-trained, hardened army, ready for battle. 

From Valley Forge, the road trip continues east to White Marsh, then south through Germantown to Philadelphia, the target of the British invasion from Chesapeake Bay. So, if you're ready, begin your Revolutionary Day Along Historic US Route 202.

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