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Cooch's Bridge Battlefield - History
By Sarah Lane
Mar 6, 2010, 15:21

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Cooch’s Bridge Battlefield - History

Cooch’s Bridge Battlefield is an important location for several reasons. The first significant engagement of the American Revolution occurred here between General Washington’s troops and British troops led by General Cornwallis. The heat of the battle occurred on September 3, 1777. The area was protected by woods and dense brush south of the bridge where the Americans waited for the British Army. It is also noted in various historical accounts that this was the first battle in which the original “stars and stripes” were carried. It was the only battle of the American Revolution to be fought on Delaware soil.

The fight began on August 30th about two miles south of the bridge. Using skills taught to them by Native Americans, the Americans continually fired but soon ran out of ammunition as they neared the bridge. They were sorely outnumbered. The special group of soldiers formed by General Washington and under the orders of Brigadier General William Maxwell, consisted of 100 men and was the first employment of a truly national unit. It is said that about thirty men on each side died in the fight. After the battle British General Cornwallis ordered the troops to burn the Cooch mill. Cornwalis then proceeded to use the Cooch home as his headquarters for ten days while his troops regrouped before the Battle of Brandywine.

The land, originally zoned for commercial use, will now be preserved as woodland and glades due to the actions of Edward W. Cooch and his children. They arranged for a sale of the property to the state of Delaware, which includes 200 acres of land and the site of Cooch’s Bridge. They also set up a fund to support the renovation and maintenance of the bridge, grist mill, and the surrounding property.

The original owner, Thomas Cooch, Sr., a colonel in the militia during the Revolution, purchased the property when he came over from England in the year 1747.  It wasn’t until September 3, 1901, however, that the Delaware Societies of the SAR and DAR led the effort to create a monument and plaque at Cooch's Bridge. It is now surrounded by four cannons from the War of 1812, on loan from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Cooch’s Bridge is located in Newark, Delaware.

Source: Ralph Nelson, Historian for the Delaware Society of the SAR, Revolutionary Day

Note: Our thanks to David Runner for the correction on the date of the monument.




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