September 3, 1777
Late August 1777, General George Washington established camp in Wilmington, Delaware for his army as he waited for the British to land. The overall British objective was to invade the capital of Philadelphia, and smaller battles were engaged along the road north.
The British infantry included a large number of German jagers who led the advance toward Philadelphia. Americans attacked the Hessian horse soldiers near Aiken’s Tavern, just south of Cooch’s Bridge. The bridge itself played host to a battle that lasted much of the day. When the ammunition supplies were depleted, the fight carried on with swords and bayonets (not good news for the Americans…we weren’t very well-versed in battling with bayonets).
Eventually, Americans retreated to the camp in Wilmington, and The Battle of Cooch’s Bridge would be remembered as the only battle of the Revolutionary War fought in Delaware.
One week later, the Battle of Brandywine began; the British victory that led to the occupation of Philadelphia. Fortunately for American troops, victory a month later at the Battles of Saratoga convinced the French to join us and the course of the war took a dramatic turn.
The Blue Coat Inn (Dover, DE) was named for the uniforms worn by Colonel John Heslet and his troops who marched from Dover in order to join General George Washington one year prior to the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge. While the Blue Coat Inn is no longer in existence (sadly), the Delaware Peach Crisp created by its chef, John Koutoufaris, is a dish worth keeping in your family kitchen for generations to come.
Delaware Peach Crisp
2 (29 oz) cans of peaches
1 cup brown sugar
2 T cornstarch
2 T honey
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
Optional (for some): Vanilla ice cream
Drain the peaches, keeping the liquid from one of the cans in a large saucepan. Set temperature to medium, and stir in the brown sugar, cornstarch, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. When the mixture is smooth, bring it to a boil and stir continually for 2 minutes (sauce will thicken). Add lemon juice, peaches, raisins, and pecans. Pour everything into a large baking dish.
Combine the flour, sugar, and butter, then sprinkle it over the peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Add the ice cream to the top before serving if you choose.