“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Newark in New Castle County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Delaware Militia

Delaware Militia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 8, 2019
1. Delaware Militia Marker
Inscription.  The federal government recognized the need for a militia. It is mentioned in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment states “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Delaware dates its militia from the early Swedish settlers of 1656 attempting to defend the territories from the Dutch.

In the 1600s the meaning of militia became “a military force raised from the civilian population of a country or region, especially to supplement a regular army in an emergency, frequently distinguished from mercenaries or professional soldiers.” In other words militia members are not paid soldiers but volunteers to protect the freedom of their home and country.

Delaware is divided into three counties and the counties are again divided into hundreds. The intent of the hundreds, other than being a subdivision, is not clear. One definition of a hundred is; “A piece of land large enough to provide a hundred men to serve in time of war.” This in itself could be the first Delaware
Delaware Militia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 8, 2019
2. Delaware Militia Marker
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militia as intended by William Penn.

The Delaware Assembly passed the militia act in 1776 that remained in effect throughout the Revolutionary War. The act provided that, except for clergymen, judges, jailors, and indentured servants, all white males aged 18 to 50 were to enroll in militia companies. They were to report nine times a year for drill. The act could be compared to the Selective Service Act today.

Article VI of the Articles of Confederation, 1777, states, “….every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia sufficiently armed and accustomed, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.”

In late December 1774, when tensions with Great Britain were beginning to escalate, Delawareans began to push for a revival of their militia. In March 1775 the delegation formally met and formed the New Castle County, Sussex, and Kent County militia.

In December 1776, 500 men in the New Castle County militia were called up when it was learned that the Crown Forces would seize Philadelphia after General Washington’s defeat in New York.

On September 3, 1777, when the British looked to advance on Philadelphia, there was a Battle that took place at Cooch’s Bridge in Pencader.
Delaware Militia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 8, 2019
3. Delaware Militia Marker
The New Castle County Militia under the command of Major Thomas Duff were part of the forces that took part in the action near Iron Hill. According to firsthand accounts Major Duff had his horse shot out from under him during the engagement.

The uniform regulations for the New Castle county militia were as follows: “The field officers of the militia agreed that the upper, middle, and lower regiments should be uniformed in short light blue coats, lined white, with slash pockets, and blue slash sleeves, plain small white buttons and button holes on each side of the breast, black garters, white stockings, small round hat, without buttons on loops, bound black with a ribbon around the crown the color of the facings. The upper regiment wore cuffs and capes of white, the middle wore blue, and the lower wore green.”

Through the years Delaware’s need for recognition of the militia changed. The 1783 law read as follows: “Whereas a well-regulated militia is the proper and natural defense of every free state. And as the several laws enacted by the Legislature of this state for the regulation of the militia there have been found to require material alterations: in order to which it has been thought more advisable to revise the whole system, than to amend it by supplementary statutes.”

In 1933, with the passage of the National Guard
Delaware Militia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 8, 2019
4. Delaware Militia Marker
Mobilization Act, Congress finalized the split between the National Guard and the traditional state militias by mandating that all federally funded soldiers take a dual enlistment commission…creating a federal reserve force.
Erected by Pencader Heritage Area Association.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #01 George Washington series list. A significant day of the year for for this entry is May 31.
Location. 39° 38.376′ N, 75° 43.794′ W. Marker is in Newark, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker is on Sunset Lake Road (Delaware Route 72). The marker is on the grounds of the Pencader Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2029 Sunset Lake Road, 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. French General Comte de Rochambeau and the French Army Memorial (here, next to this marker); Hessian Soldiers Memorial (here, next to this marker); The Royal Deux-Ponts Memorial (here, next to this marker); Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (here, next to this marker); Germans & German-Americans in The American War of Independence (here, next to this marker); The Battle of Cooch's Bridge (here,
Delaware Militia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 8, 2019
5. Delaware Militia Marker
next to this marker); Marquis de Lafayette (a few steps from this marker); Preserving the History of the Battlefield (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newark.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 11, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 25, 2019, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 121 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 25, 2019, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 17, 2021