Cer­e­mony hon­ors fallen sol­diers

Cecil Whig - - OBITUARIES & LOCAL - OBIT­U­ARY POL­ICY By JOSH SHANNON

jshan­non@ches­pub.com

— His­to­ri­ans and mil­i­tary groups gath­ered Satur­day to pay trib­ute to the colo­nial sol­diers who died at the Bat­tle of Cooch’s Bridge.

The cer­e­mony, the 10thannual re­mem­brance or­ga­nized by the Pen­cader Her­itage Area As­so­ci­a­tion, drew a few dozen peo­ple to the Pen­cader Her­itage Mu­seum, which is lo­cated on the his­toric bat­tle­field near the in­ter­sec­tion of Old Bal­ti­more Pike and Route 72.

A cadet from the Civil Air Pa­trol read the name of each fallen sol­dier, while an­other cadet rang a small bell in that solider’s honor.

The Bat­tle of Cooch’s Bridge – which was more of a skir­mish than a full-scale bat­tle – took place Sept. 3, 1777, along what is now Old Bal­ti­more Pike.

Bri­tish and Hes­sian troops landed at the Head of Elk – now Elk­ton – and marched to­ward Philadelphia in an ul­ti­mately suc­cess­ful at­tempt to cap­ture the colo­nial cap­i­tal. Gen. George Washington sent sev­eral hun­dred sol­diers to Cooch’s Bridge to scout out and de­lay the en­emy.

Hid­ing in the woods west of the bridge, the Con­ti­nen­tal Army and mili­ti­a­men am­bushed the ap­proach­ing Bri­tish troops. The fight­ing lasted for most of the day be­fore a Bri­tish charge forced the Amer­i­cans to re­treat. The Bri­tish oc­cu­pied the area, in­clud­ing the Cooch house, for sev­eral days be­fore march­ing through Ne­wark and onto the Bat­tle of Brandy­wine.

His­to­ri­ans be­lieve that as many as two-dozen Amer­i­cans were buried some­where on the bat­tle­field, but their graves have never been found.

“That makes this land so much more hal­lowed,” said Bill Con­ley, vice pres­i­dent of the Pen­cader Her­itage Area As­so­ci­a­tion.

NE­WARK, DEL.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHANNON

Shaun Dukes, a 2nd Lt. in the Civil Air Pa­trol, plays “Taps.”

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