Delaware’s Only Revolutionary War Battleground to get New Interpretation and Improvements

Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site tells the story of the only battle that took place in Delaware during the Revolutionary War. Through a collaboration between the state and the Friends of Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site the battlefield will soon have an expanded interpretation as well as some physical improvements.

The new interpretation will move beyond the history of the battle and military operations to include more representation about overlooked groups who lived here– African Americans and Indigenous people– as well as economic and industrial history. Research has revealed that the Cooch family owned at least ten enslaved people. Free African Americans also worked on the Cooch farm throughout the 18th and 19th century. Further, archaeological evidence has shown that Indigenous people inhabited the land for thousands of years before European colonization. Arrowheads have been found on the property, and research indicates that Lenni Lenape people came to the land to collect minerals.

Marilyn Whittington, a board member of the Cooch’s Bridge friend’s group and the retired executive director of the Delaware Humanities Forum, told Delaware Public Media that there has been little resistance to telling this history. “We must recognize that the land was not ours – not white man’s land. When I made that point to the rest of the Friends’ board, they didn’t object, they didn’t argue,” Whittington said.

The state and the Friends of Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site are also working together to fund restoration of the historic structures on the site and increase the site’s accessibility. The property includes historic structures such as a smoke house, ice house, chicken coop and shed. Restoration work will involve removing hazardous materials like asbestos and improving the integrity of exterior shells. The main floor of the Cooch homestead will also be made accessible to the public.