Ceremony honors fallen soldiers
— 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.
Shaun Dukes, a 2nd Lt. in the Civil Air Patrol, plays “Taps.”