General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN

 


Cumberland Gap Patriot



William Acre

William Acre was born in Sussex county Delaware in 1761. In January 1776,  Acre joined the  Delaware regiment consisting of nearly 600 men. On August 5, 1776, Acre was apart of the Delaware Muster that was formed to march to Long Island New york.  Acre arrived at Long Island on August 25, 1776, two days before the battle of Long Island.
     . At the start of the war, the Delaware regiment  had the best weapons, and the most colorful uniforms. After spending most of the day working on the fortifications, the Delaware regiment entertained themselves at night by having Cock fights.  Captain Jonathan Caldwell had brought several fighting roosters with  him to Long Island. The  Delaware Regiment was nicknamed the Caldwell Gamecocks because of  their nightly chicken fights.
    On August 27, the British began their invasion of Long Island. The Delaware regiment  was positioned beside the Maryland line. The Delaware line  became famous for their six bayonet charges against the Cortelyou House where  a British regiment had barricaded themselves. At the end of these charges, 31 Delaware soldiers had been killed. This rear guard action by the Delaware Regiment helped Washington's army escape.
  After the battle the Delaware regiment was placed in the rear to help with the retreat of Washington's army. While wading across Gowanus creek under fire from British muskets, several Delaware soldiers  slipped and fell and then drowned when their woolen uniforms  weighted them down in the water.  If it hadn't been for the bravery of the Delaware line and the Maryland line at Cortelyou House, Washington's army would have been destroyed by the British.
   During the month of October 1776,  the Delaware line participated in 3 major battles, Amboy( Oct 9), where the Americans attacked a British fort on Staten Island NY. Mamaroneck NY (Oct 22), Americans attacked the Queen  Royal Regiment. 25 loyalist killed and 31 captured.. White Plains (Oct 28), the Delaware  Regiment fought bravery on Chatterton hill but were forced to retreat.
     On December 22, 1776, at the Thompson mills Pa winter quarters, Only 92 Delaware Continentals were left to fight in the Continental  line. The rest had either been killed, captured, or deserted. On December 25, while crossing the Delaware River for the surprise attack on Trenton NJ, the Delaware regiment was the last to cross. One Delaware militia group that showed up on the 25th was forced to turn back after they couldn't get their 2 cannons across the river.
  At the battle of Trenton ( Dec 26), The Delaware Regiment was located in the center of Washington's line. They chased the Hessians down King and Queen streets. during a Hessian retreat.  Trenton became the first major victory of the Revolutionary war in the northern campaign.
 After the battle of Trenton, Washington tried to get the army to reenlist, by offering a ten dollar bounty. Eighty six men from the Delaware Regiment went back to Delaware with only six staying to participate in the up coming battle at Princeton. Acre went home.
 In 1777, Acre would participate in the battles of Brandy wine (Sept 11) where he fought bravely at Meeting house hill until they were outflanked by the Hessians. Germantown (Oct 4) the Delaware Regiment fought well, but were the first to run out of ammunition
  On August 16, 1780, Acre participated in the battle of Camden. This was the worst blood bath  that the Delaware regiment would face. After fighting bravely for thirty minutes the British outflanked them winning the battle. At Camden six officers of the Delaware line and 70 enlisted men were killed during the battle. After Camden the Delaware regiment was nicknamed the Blue Hens after their blue uniforms and blue stockings
 In 1781, Acre participated in the battle of Cowpens Sc( Jan 17) where the Delaware line repulsed Tarleton's cavalry and participated in a bayonet charge. At Guilford courthouse NC ( Mar 7) The Delaware line was forced into the woods during a British bayonet charge on  their third line of defense. Col. Washington and his cavalry saved the Delaware line and recaptured two cannons the British had seized. Hobkirk Hill (April 25), Delaware regiment fought bravely until forced to retreat due to a tactical error  made by the Maryland Line. Ninety Six (May 22-June 19) , the Delaware line participated in the longest siege of Revolutionary war. The British wanted to surrender, but their couriers from Charleston, carrying with them the orders to surrender, kept getting captured by the Sc militia. Eutaw Springs (Sept 8) the Delaware line fought with distinction in one of the bloodiest battles in Sc.
     After Eutaw Springs, Acre went home to Sussex county Delaware where he died on May 14, 1824.  Acre had spent five years fighting in the regiment with the longest continuous service, marched more miles. One person estimated the Delaware regiment marched over 10, 000 miles during the conflict, suffered greater hardships, been in the worst bloodbaths  such as Long island, Camden and Eutaw Springs. No other regiment fought with greater distinction than the Delaware Regiment.
 

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