A Delaware Military History Chronology
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries


1631    
Apr. 11, An expedition from Holland settled 28 colonists at
Zwaanendael (Valley of the
Swans) near Lewes Creek. A year later they were all found massacred by Indians.

1632    
May 24, Peter Minuit reported the
Zwaanendael massacre of settlers in Lewes the year
before to Holland.

1637
New Sweden Company organized.  First expedition of the Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip sails
from Gothenberg Sweden.

1638
Expedition under Peter Minuit, lands at Christina River, builds Fort Christina establishing
first permanent settlement of white men in Delaware Valley.

1640    
3 Nov, With Peter Hollandaer as governor, the 3rd Swedish expedition arrived at Fort
Christina in Wilmington.

1651   
Jun 19, Queen Christina of Sweden decommissioned the battle damaged
Kalmar Nyckel. It
had brought the first settlers to Wilmington 13 years before.

Aug 22,  Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch Director of New Netherlands, sent 11 ships to the
Delaware River, and marched overland with 120 soldiers to occupy New Castle.  Thusly,
the Dutch wrestled control of the Delaware River from the Swedes.

1654    
May 21, Swedish settlers recaptured the Wilmington Dutch settlements.

1655    
Sep 3, Peter Stuyvesant arrived with 7 armed ships and 300 soldiers and took New Castle
from the Swedes. Now the Dutch claimed all of the Delaware River,

Sep 15, Wilmington and all Swedish claims were surrendered to Peter Stuyvesant and the
Dutch.

1659    
Mar. 13,  A day of fasting and prayer was ordered by Dutch settlers at
Fort Altena
(Wilmington).

1664    
Sep. 8, Dutch Peter Stuyvesant formally surrendered New Amsterdam, Long Island, and
the Delaware River to the British.

1673    
Dec 24, With war breaking out between the British and Dutch on the Delaware River,  
Maryland's Lord Baltimore sent Captain Thomas Howell to burn the
Dutch settlement at
Lewes.

1686    
May 26, The Maryland Council reinforced its fort at
Christiana Village to solidify Lord
Baltimore's claim to the territory.

1695    
Jun 15, Watches were set up in Lewes to guard against French privateers.

1698    
27 Aug. Fifty French pirates pillaged and ransacked the town of Lewes.

1721    
Mar. 30,
General John Dagworthy, heir to 20,000 acres in Sussex County (and Maryland),
was born in Trenton, N. J.

1728    
Oct. 7,
Caesar Rodney, Delaware's first full term governor (1778-1781) and Signer of the
Declaration of Independence, was born just east of what is now
Dover Air Force Base.

1756    
May 20, The Delaware Colony mobilized as Britain declared war on France in what was the
beginning of the French and Indian War.  By the next year, 4,000 militia men had been
raised in the colony.

1775
Dec. 9, With war eminent with Great Britain, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia
ordered Delaware to organize a battalion of troops.

Dec 13, Congress authorized the first warship to be called Delaware. When Lord Howe
took possession of Philadelphia in September 1777 it went aground 500 yards within the
British works in the Delaware River.

Dec 31, Major John MacPherson, Jr. of New Castle became the first Delaware officer to die
in the Revolution when he was killed in the storming of Quebec.

1776   
Mar. 13, Sussex County Loyalist Thomas Robinson escaped and went over to the British.

Mar 27, The British man of war
Roebuck appeared in Delaware Bay and threatened Lewes.

May 8, The schooner
Wasp and several row galleys harassed the British frigates Roebuck and
Liverpool at the mouth of the Christina River forcing them to retire.

Aug. 8, Congress ordered Delaware troops under Colonel John Haslet of Milford to march
to Amboy, New Jersey.

Aug 27, The Delaware Regiment fought bravely at the Battle of Long Island and covered
the retreat of the American Army.  
Colonel John Haslet reported 2 privates killed, two
officers and 23 men missing.

Sep 16, The Continental Congress fixed Delaware's quota at 800 for the Army. Incentives of
land grant acreage were offered to recruits: 500 to Colonels; 450 to Lt.-Colonels; 400 to
Majors; 300 to Captains; 200 to Ensigns; 150 to Lts. and 100 to NCOs.

Oct 21,
Colonel John Haslet's Delaware Regiment defeated Rogers Tories at Mamaroneck, N.
Y.

Oct. 28, In the Battle of White Plains, the Delaware Regiment was the last to leave the field
with 15 killed and as many wounded.

Nov. 29, The First Delaware Continental Line troops were mustered in Dover.

Dec. 14, The Delaware Militia marched from Dover to join General Washington in New
Jersey.

Dec 26, The Delaware Regiment with less than 100 men led by
Colonel John Haslet of
Milford helped capture Hessians in Trenton when General Washington crossed the
Delaware.

1777      
Aug 24, The main body of the Continental Army came to Wilmington with General
Washington establishing his headquarters at 303 West Street. Another source claimed it
was located in the "Happy Return" Hotel on the east side of Market Street, just below Third
Street.

Aug. 25 On a hot and close morning, General Sir William Lord Howe landed a British force
south of Elkton, Maryland while heading for Newark and Philadelphia.

Aug 28, While the British Army controlled the land between Glasgow and Newark,
American troops were stationed along White Clay Creek with General Washington
headquartered at Newport.

Aug. 31, Confronting British troops coming from Elkton, American General William
Maxwell posted his troops in Newark at Cooch's Bridge.

Sep 2, Hessian General Wilhem von Knyphausen camped for the night at Buck (Carson's)
Tavern in Summit.

Sep 3, Lord Howe's British Army marched north from Elkton and skirmished with
American troops at
Cooch's Bridge in the only battle of the Revolution on Delaware soil.

Sept. 8, At 7 A.M, after "a remarkable borealis", British troops passed through Newark.
While British Generals Howe and Cornwallis marched to Hockessin. General Washington
held a council of war under the Great Oak at Brandywine Springs.

Sep 9, With the British marching toward Philadelphia, General Washington left the
Wilmington area and marched his army to Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania.

Sep 11, At the Battle of Brandywine, British forces outflanked those of George Washington
and moved on to occupy Philadelphia for the winter.

Sep 12, A day after the American loss at Brandywine the 71st Regiment Fraser's
Highlanders came to Wilmington and took President (Governor) John McKinly prisoner
and seized important state papers and money.

Sep 20 Acting Governor Thomas McKean temporarily moved the state capital from New
Castle to
Newark because of the proximity of British troops.

Oct 4, Colonel David Hall of Lewes, later governor, was severely wounded in the Battle of
Germantown.

Oct 12, The British fleet was anchored in the Delaware River stretching from Reedy Island
to New Castle.

Oct 13, George Read, making his way across the Delaware River from Salem, N. J, was
almost captured by British soldiers.

Oct. 15, British and Hessian forces evacuated Wilmington where they had been camped
along Washington Street from Delaware Avenue south to Martin Luther King Boulevard.

15 Nov, The Delaware River was blocked by the British fleet from Cape Henlopen to
Philadelphia.

Dec 4, Captain Allen McLane of Wilmington alerted General  Washington of a proposed
British attack and helped him avoid an ambush.

Dec 17, French authorities informed American officials that they would offer help and
assistance to them in their fight with Great Britain.

Dec 21, General George Washington ordered General William Smallwood and his Delaware
and Maryland troops to Wilmington to help the Brandywine flour mills to resume flour
making.  Their bivouac area was Lovering Avenue and Broom Street along the
Brandywine River.

1778    
Apr 15, Insurrectionist Cheney Clow's fort was attacked near Kenton in Kent County.

May 18,  Capt. Allen McLane and his Kent Co. troops set fire to British defenses in
Philadelphia and prevented the Marquis de la Fayette from being ambushed at Barren Hill.

May 25,  Pvts. Richard Harris and Edward McConnell of Captain John Learmonth's 6th
Company, Delaware Regiment, were shot in Wilmington for desertion.

June 29, Under a blazing sun and 96 degree temperature, the British and Americans
(including Delaware troops) fought the Battle of Monmouth, N. J.

14 Sep, Delaware President (Governor) John McKinly was finally exchanged after having
been a British prisoner for a year.

1779    
Feb. 14, Pvt. George Laha of Captain Quenault's company of the Delaware Regiment was
discharged from service and being a slave for life, was reclaimed by his owner.

Jul 16, Captain Allen McLane of Smyrna and his partisans participated in the successful
attack at Stony Point against the British on the Hudson River.

Aug. 19, Delaware's Allen McLane participated in the attack on British held Paulus Hook
on the Hudson River.

Dec 14, Lt. Colonel Joseph Vaughan became CO of the
Delaware Regiment with Major John
Patten second in command.

1780    
Jan. 1, Delaware troops encamped at Morristown, N. J. in what would be a winter more
bitter and cold than the one at Valley Forge

Apr. 16, The Delaware Regiment accompanied the Maryland Division marching to
Charleston, SC.

Aug. 16, At the Battle of Camden in South Carolina the US Army engaging British troops
suffered one of its greatest defeats ever. The Delaware Regiment, heralded for its "gallant
behavior", was led by Senior Captain
Robert Kirkwood of Newark.

Oct 2, Colonel Henry Neill of Lewes and the
Delaware Militia witnessed the execution of
Major John Andre, Benedict Arnold's co-conspirator at Dobb's Ferry, New York.

1781    
Mar 2, General La Fayette landed at Christiana Bridge en route from Trenton with 1,200
troops then went by foot to Elkton to pursue Benedict Arnold, who was ravaging the
Chesapeake Bay area.

Mar. 15,
Captain Robert Kirkwood's Delaware troops fought gallantly and victoriously at
Guilford Court House, North Carolina.

May 10,  Captain Nathaniel Mitchell, later governor of DE (1805-08), was captured by
British soldiers while asleep near Petersburg, Va.

Sep. 2, Some 2,500 Continental troops and 4,000 French troops marched through
Wilmington and camped in Wilmington, Newport, Richardson's Mill and in Christiana.

Sep 6, A French expeditionary force camped overnight in Wilmington with one division
just outside Wilmington while another was placed south of Newport.

Sep 8, In the last fight in the Carolinas, Delaware troops helped to weaken British forces at
the Battle of Eutaw Springs, SC.

Nov. 26, General Washington, accompanied by troops and body guards, passed through
Wilmington to receive the thanks of Congress at the end of the war.

1782    
Jan. 4, Delaware's Revolutionary War hero
Captain Robert Kirkwood left South Carolina
for home in Newark.

Nov. 16, With British activity all but finished in the South, Delaware troops left for home.

Dec. 10,  
Cheney Clow, a British sympathizer from Kenton, was brought to trial and
acquitted but not released until he could come up with £10,000 damages.

Dec 31, The 550 member French brigade of Lauzun's Legion spent the winter in
Wilmington on the site of the present Grand Opera House.

1783    
May 1, Lauzun's Legion, a French brigade, left Wilmington for France.  It had been in the
area since December.

1783    
Dec 16, General George Washington was welcomed in Wilmington on his way to resign his
commission before Congress in Annapolis.

1784    
Apr. 24, George Washington, on his way to Philadelphia to attend a meeting of the Society
of the Cincinnati, stopped in New Castle to attend the wedding of Governor Nicholas Van
Dyke's daughter Anne to Kensey Johns in New Castle.

23 Dec,
Thomas McDonough, hero of the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812, was
born near Odessa.

1787    
Sept. 18, George Washington, on his way back home from Philadelphia's Constitutional
Convention, narrowly escaped disaster on Wilmington's 4th Street bridge when one of the
horses drawing his carriage fell through a rotten bridge plank.

1791
Nov. 4, Major Robert Kirkwood, one of Delaware's Revolutionary War heroes from
Newark, was killed in the Battle of Miami at Fort Recovery in western Ohio.

1794    
May 16, Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant, Chief Engineer of the US Army, surveyed Pea Patch
Island (known locally as "Pip Ash" Island) as a possible site for a fort to guard the
Delaware River.

1798    
July 6, The second ship named
Delaware boasting 20 guns sailed from Philadelphia with
the USS Constellation. Costing $60,000, it weighed 180 tons, was manned by a crew of 180
men and was led by Capt. Stephen Decatur, Sr.
Delaware Military History