The state of Delaware contributed some of the finest troops to serve in the Continental Army; the tiny state however saw only one battle fought within its borders during the Revolution: the battle of Cooch’s Bridge.
Fought on September 3, 1777, the battle, actually only a skirmish in size, was part of Washington’s tactics to delay the British as they marched on Philadelphia. The hand-picked light infantry corp of around 800 men under Brigadier General William Maxwell had been scouting and skirmishing with the British after their landing at Head of Elk in late August. Maxwell and his men on the morning of September 3 had prepared an ambush for the British south of Cooch’s bridge on the main road leading to Philadelphia. The British marched into the ambush. The Americans retreated after the British brought up enough troops to overwhelm the force of Maxwell if the Americans did not retreat.
Casualties were about 30-40 on each side. A young John Marshall, future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, fought in the battle. The engagement is also notable for the first appearance of the Stars and Stripes on a battlefield.