And for good reason: It was the largest existing city in English North America, the seat of Congress, populated by numerous Loyalists, part of a fertile region, and could be supplied from the sea using the Delaware River. In the course of its march, the British engaged the Continental Army at Brandywine Creek near Chadds Fords, and later at Paoli.
After camping for 3 days, the British finally moved on to Philadelphia. When Washington launched an attack on October 4, 1777 designed to retake the city, The Battle of Germantown dissolved into another defeat for his army. They retreated into winter quarters at Valley Forge, where they endured for six months, reorganizing and retraining, emerging as a new, formidable fighting force.