Discover Cooch’s Bridge
Owned and operated by the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site embodies many facets of Delaware’s story.
Cooch’s Bridge, acquired by Thomas Cooch in 1746, is the site of Delaware’s only Revolutionary War land battle. Learn more by listening to a brief podcast.
In the late summer of 1777, as British troops marched on Philadelphia from the Chesapeake Bay, George Washington dispatched 800 soldiers to the site—a key chokepoint on the main road from Baltimore to Philadelphia. The Cooch House was the headquarters for this body of soldiers.
Intent on gathering information and delaying the British on their march through Delaware and into Pennsylvania, Washington knew the troops he sent to Cooch’s Bridge would be vastly outnumbered, but he also knew they would put up a good fight.
They did. On September 3, after hours of combat, Washington’s troops were forced to retreat. But the battle affirmed Washington would vigorously contest the British advance to Philadelphia. The Crown Forces camped in the area for 5 days, with Lord Cornwallis quartering in the Cooch House.
Native Americans occupied the area for more than 10,000 years. The Iron Hill area and the running waters of Christiana Creek provided resources for stone tool making, and the community supported their families by hunting, gathering, fishing, and farming.
Mining, Milling, and Farming
The European settlers who lived in the area and the Africans they enslaved mined the iron, cultivated grains, and soon made flour-milling the area’s leading industry. The earliest mention of milling on the site dates to 1726, and milling operations have been a mainstay of the area for hundreds of years. The surviving Cooch-Dayett Mill was the third, and largest, grist mill the Cooch family operated on the site.
Written accounts from the time of the battle indicate that some two dozen American soldiers who perished at Cooch’s Bridge were interred on the battlefield after the battle.