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Members of Coryell’s Ferry Militia on the streets of New Hope Saturday…

Coryell’s Ferry Militia (Photo: Charlie Sahner)

Members of the Coryell’s Ferry Militia were seen around New Hope this Saturday in their classic late 18th Century garb attending the 27th Annual Monroe Crossing Parade. The event began at Odette’s and progressed to the corner of Ferry and South Main streets for the traditional cannon firing at noon, usually facilitated by the erstwhile Captain Bob Gerenser who founded the group in 1984 to preserve an important piece of local history.

According to the group, “The events during the winter of 1776 and the American Revolution and Coryell’s Ferry (now New Hope) are astounding. Pre-eminent of those events was the vital mission carried out by Lt. James Monroe and Captain William Washington (George’s third cousin). General George Washington (our first president) asked for volunteer’s to cross the Delaware River at dusk. The crossing had to be far enough up river so as not to alert the British forces that an attack was coming. This mission was to cut off all communications between the British stationed at Princeton and the Hessian mercenaries billeted in the old French and Indian War Barracks in Trenton, N. J. Lt. Monroe had to cross several hours before the main body of of troops with General George Washington at McKonkey’s Ferry (now Washington Crossing, Pa.) so that he could be in a place to be effective.

“Just at dusk, Captain William Washington and Lt. James Monroe (our fifth president) and 57 private soldiers crossed at Coryell’s Ferry Pa into the Jersies. The troops went to their post at Princeton-Pennington Rd. and successfully completed their mission. A farm that was nearby was occupied by a Doctor Riker. Doctor Riker sensed that the cold soldiers huddled in that intersection were on a valuable and secret mission. Once the good doctor ascertained they were indeed Continental Soldiers, he offered to come along stating ‘that perhaps I may be able to help some poor fellow’. Doctor Riker’s words came true later the next morning when Captain Washington and Lt. Monroe marched on to Trenton, joined up with General Washington and as a special honor were charged to lead the attack on the Hessian Barracks. It was Doctor Riker’s quick actions that stemmed the bleeding wounds of the heroes. The men were brought back to the Coryell House (now Havana’s) where they recovered and went on to greater glory.”

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Charlie Sahner

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