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When the British arrived at Head of Elk, today’s Elkton, they found the bridge into town destroyed and the town abandoned. The bridge was destroyed by the Delaware Militia, which continued to shadow and harass the British advance. 

Today, there are several Revolutionary War markers in Elkton but most say nothing about the more than 15,000 British troops that marched through town on August 27th. Instead they cover the period four years later when American and French troops passed through town to meet and defeat the British at Yorktown. 

The first marker appears at the intersection of North and Main Streets. It not only marks the passing of the British and French in September 1781, but also the passing of LaFayette six months earlier. The Marquis de LaFayette was sent by George Washington to put a stop to British raids in Virginia that were being led by the former American General, Benedict Arnold. 

Originally called “Head of Elk”

 LaFayette embarked his troops March 8, 1781 to Capture Benedict Arnold. Returned April 9. Began overland march to Virginia April 12, 1781. Washington and Rochambeau with their combined forces stopped Sept. 6-7, 1781 on way to Yorktown. 

State Road Commission 
(Elkton Marker)

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Arnold was a hero at Saratoga, making a significant contribution to the American victory that became the turning point of the war. But while he was commander of West Point, Arnold turned traitor and attempted a treasonous sale of West Point to the British. When his plan failed, he escaped, joined the British army and led British forces in a series of raids against Americans in Virginia. 

Arnold escaped from Virginia before LaFayette could corner him. However, LaFayette with his troops numbering about 1,600 were almost cornered themselves by over 7,000 British troops. Thanks to good reconnaissance that he performed himself, LaFayette discovered the ambush and was able to retreat from nearly a fatal blow. 

A little further up Main Street in Elkton are two 18th century houses with markers. The first is the home of Henry Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth was a battalion commander in the Delaware Militia and as the marker explains, he was instrumental in supplying the Continental Army. 

Partridge Hill 
Built Circa 1760 

Home of Henry Hollingsworth, merchant, legislator and colonel of the Elk Battalion of militia in the Revolutionary War. As commissary for the Eastern Shore, he obtained supplies for the Americans and French allies embarking near here in 1781 on voyage down Elk River and Chesapeake Bay to Virginia, where they engaged the British under Cornwallis. Hollingsworth and other patriots had pledged their fortunes to supply cattle, flour and boats for the armies of Washington, LaFayette and Rochambeau. 

(Elkton Marker)

The second home is the Mitchell house. This home was a hospital during the war and was visited by LaFayette when he came through the area. 

Between the two homes and in front of the town hall is a marker for Michael Rudolph. He led a “suicide” squad against the British at Paramus, NJ in 1779. His efforts helped to keep the British bottled-up in New York City during the latter part of the Revolutionary War.

Michael Rudolph Bold and reckless hero of the Revolutionary War. Born near here at Belle Hill, January 5, 1758. Lost at sea, July 1793. 

(Elkton Marker)


“Washington’s Reconnaissance” Marker at Iron Hill -- This is where Washington attempted to estimate the size of Howe’s army. The marker mentions Washington’s stay at a nearby farmhouse. Washington and his staff arrived at the farmhouse late in the evening and invited themselves in despite protests by the old lady who lived in the house. They did not divulge who they were and slept on the floor next to the fireplace. In the morning, the old lady insisted on knowing who they were and asked the tall gentlemen mounting his horse, “And what might your name be, sir?” “George Washington, madam,” he replied. After Washington and his staff had ridden off, the astonished woman said, “To think I have let George Washington sleep on the floor…”

Washington’s Reconnaissance

 Generals Washington, Greene and LaFayette came to Iron Hill, August 26, 1777, in hope of viewing the British Army then landing along Elk River. Only a few tents could be seen. A heavy storm coming up, they spent the night in a nearby farmhouse. 

(Iron Hill Marker)

Onto Cooch's Bridge, DE

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