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Delaware and the American Revolution

Despite having a large and vocal Loyalist population, Delaware sent delegates to the First and Second Continental congresses. Two of the three representatives voted for independence in 1776 and all signed the final document. Later that year, what had been The Three Counties adopted a constitution and officially became the state of Delaware. Before the outbreak of fighting, Delaware had developed an effective militia system; despite its small size, the state supplied more than 4,000 men for the American cause. Only one engagement of significance occurred in Delaware, the Battle of Cooch's Bridge (near Newark, Delaware), the first action of the Philadelphia campaign. In the fall of 1777, British forces landed in Maryland and advanced toward Philadelphia. To delay these forces, the American soldiers staged an ambush and extracted a heavy toll among the redcoats and Hessians. However, the British forces regrouped and mounted a bayonet charge that sent the Americans fleeing, leaving weapons and bedrolls in their wake. Immediately after the rout, the British defeated Washington’s forces at Brandywine Creek, a few miles across the border in Pennsylvania. The redcoats followed this success by launching a surprise attack against Wilmington and managed to capture the president (governor) of Delaware.

See timeline of the American Revolution.