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Newark in New Castle County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge

 
 
The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 8, 2019
1. The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge Marker
Inscription.  On 3 September 1777, approximately 800 Americans forming the “Special Corps” of Brigadier General William Maxwell engaged several thousand Hessian and Anspack “Jagers” (light infantry) and British light infantry in the vicinity of Cooch’s Bridge. Maxwell’ newly formed corps was composed of Continentals from New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as volunteers from neighboring Pennsylvania and militia from New Castle County. Men composing Maxwell’s corps were supposed to be marksman, and many were armed with rifles.

For one week, under orders from General George Washington to “provide every possibly annoyance”, Maxwell corps had harassed and scouted the Crown Forces army. Commanded by General William Howe, the 17,000 man Crown Forces army had landed at the Head of Elk in late August intent on advancing to capture the American capital, Philadelphia.

Advancing along the Glasgow-to-Newark road at about 9 o’clock in the morning, the Crown Forces advanced guard marched into a well-prepared ambush. Elements of Maxwell’s Corps opened fire on the Hessian Jagers from concealed
The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 8, 2019
2. The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge Marker
positions along the road. Maxwell’s orders were engage the enemy, force them to deploy, fall back to another defensive position and delay the enemy again.

After the initial surprise, the rifle-armed jagers rallied and overran the first American position in hand-to-hand fighting. A second American line was encountered, stalling the Crown Forces advance. Howe reinforced the jagers with two British light infantry battalions and ordered these troops to out flank the American position. The advance to the right led to a swampy area-today’s Sunset Lake-effectively removing one light infantry battalion from the action. The drive to the left towards Iron Hill was more successful in outflanking the Americans, forcing them to withdraw. Eventually Maxwell’s troops were forced to cross the Christina Creek at Cooch’s Bridge, when Crown Forces artillery came into play, and Howe ordered a charge. Outnumbered, outgunned, disorganized, and low on ammunition, the Americans withdraw towards Christiana, ending the battle.

Casualties on both sides ranged 30 to 40 dead and wounded. British pioneers buried at least 24 Americans on the field in unmarked graves. Among the American officers engaged in the battle were John Marshall (future United States Chief Justice), Thomas Duff of Newport, Delaware, Alexander Martin (later Governor of North Carolina), and Francis Gurney (founder of
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Dickinson College).

Following the battle the Crown Forces occupied the area from Rittenhouse Park and Iron Hill to Aiken’s Tavern (Glasgow), General Cornwallis established his headquarters at the Cooch House. The Crown Forces encamped in the area for five days and on 8 September marched north through Newark. On 11 September 1777, the two armies met again at the Battle of Brandywine. The local grist mills of Thomas Cooch and Andrew Fisher were used to provide flour to the Crown’s troops, and the Cooch mill was destroyed when the Crown Forces departed.

Sometimes known as the Battle of Iron Hill by American participants, the battle was the opening engagement in the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777.

Researched by Wade P. Catts, RPA
 
Erected by Pencade Heritage Association.
 
Location. 39° 38.462′ N, 75° 43.941′ W. Marker is in Newark, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker is at the intersection of Dayetts Mill Road and Old Baltimore Pike on Dayetts Mill Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newark DE 19702, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Iron Hill School #112C (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of Cooch's Bridge (was here, next to this marker but has been reported permanently removed. ); Historic Iron Ore Mining
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(here, next to this marker); Milling in Pencader Hundred (here, next to this marker); In the Beginning (here, next to this marker); Enjoy the Pencader Area Today (here, next to this marker); Your Gateway to Pencader Heritage (here, next to this marker); The Philadelphia Campaign (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newark.
 
Categories. War, US Revolutionary
 

More. Search the internet for The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 19, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 17, 2019, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 17, 2019, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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