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.