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During the 17th and 18th centuries, the colony, and later state, of Virginia was dominated socially, economically and politically by the owners of large tobacco plantations. It was from among this class of American aristocrats-wealthy (though often in debt), slave owning, ardently anti-British-that the leaders of the American Revolution, and ultimately, four of the first five U.S. presidents came.
By many measures — duration, geographic spread of the fighting, number of troops engaged — Brandywine was the biggest battle of the Revolution. The loss at Brandywine cost the fledgling nation its capital, but it earned new respect for troops determined to fight on to ultimate victory.
Once upon a time, hot air balloons were used as spy vessels, female militias wielded pitchforks, and Southern soldiers battled one another in epic snowball fights. Turns out American history is full of surprises.