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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near 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 William Pfingsten, July 29, 2008
1. The Battle of Cooch's Bridge Marker
Inscription.  On September 3, 1777 over 800 Americans forming the Light Infantry Corps of Brigadier General William Maxwell engaged about 2,000 British Light Infantry and Hessian and Anspach "Jägers" (light infantry) in a series of skirmishes ending at Cooch's Bridge.

Maxwell's newly-formed corps was composed of Continentals from New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as well as militia from New Castle and Chester counties. For one week Maxwell's Corps had harassed and scouted the British Army under General Sir William Howe after its landing at the Head of Elk (Elkton) in late August, following orders from General George Washington to "provide every possible annoyance". Maxwell's Corps was covering the crucial main road to Philadelphia (today's Old Cooch's Bridge Road).

On the morning of September 3, the advanced guard of the British Army marched north along Old Cooch's Bridge Road into a well-prepared ambush. Elements of Maxwell's Corps opened fire on the Jägers from concealed positions along the road. The American Light Infantry was to engage the enemy and delay their advance.

After the initial surprise,
The Battle of Cooch's Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 12, 2019
2. The Battle of Cooch's Bridge Marker
the Jägers overran the first American position in hand-to-hand fighting, and the battle continued for about a half mile along the road. Howe reinforced the Jägers with two British Light Infantry battalions and ordered these troops to outflank the American position. The advance to the right led to an area locally termed Purgatory Swamp, effectively removing one battalion from the action. The drive to the left was more successful in outflanking the Americans. Eventually the Continentals held a position at Cooch's Bridge but were forced to cross the Christina Creek. After fighting a series of small delaying actions and potentially facing the balance of the British Army, the Americans withdrew to the east, ending the battle.

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

Following the battle the British Army occupied the area from Iron Hill to Aiken's Tavern (Glasgow) with General Cornwallis' headquarters located at the Cooch House. The British encamped in the area until September
The Battle of Cooch's Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 12, 2019
3. The Battle of Cooch's Bridge Marker
Several markers can be found at this location. The Battle of Cooch's Bridge marker is seen here in the middle.
8, 1777, when they marched north through Newark. On September 11 the two armies met again at the Battle of Brandywine.
Known as the Battle of Cooch's Bridge by American participants, the skirmish was the opening engagement of the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777, and is the only Revolutionary War battle fought on what became First State soil.

Tradition and considerable circumstantial evidence support the claim that the Stars and Stripes was first carried in the Battle of Cooch's Bridge.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsWar, US Revolutionary.
 
Location. Marker has been reported permanently removed. It was located near 39° 38.462′ N, 75° 43.941′ W. Marker was near Newark, Delaware, in New Castle County. Marker was on Dayett Mills Road south of Old Baltimore Pike, on the right when traveling south. Marker has been replaced with another marker with the same title. Touch for map. Marker was 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 location. American Position (here, next to this marker); Delaware's Field of Valor (here, next to this marker); Geology (here, next to this marker); Mason Dixon Line & the Boundaries of Delaware (here, next to this marker); Milling in Pencader Hundred
Cooch's Bridge image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, July 29, 2008
4. Cooch's Bridge
Bridge is approximately 1/2 mile from this marker.
(here, next to this marker); The Philadelphia Campaign (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newark.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 7, 2008. This page has been viewed 5,624 times since then and 94 times this year. Last updated on October 2, 2020. Photos:   1. submitted on August 7, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   2, 3. submitted on October 12, 2019, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4. submitted on August 7, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Oct. 28, 2020