In December of 1776, the Thompson-Neely House changed from the every day home of a prosperous miller to the site of a temporary military hospital. The Thompson and Neely families would not have been the only families experiencing these circumstances. As Washington's defeated and demoralized army came into Bucks County, they brought with them many soldiers who were ill from disease, exposure, poor nutrition, exhaustion and unhealed wounds. Temporary hospitals, usually designated by regiment, were set up in many homes of local residents. Not all of these men would regain their health and leave Bucks County's soil. Certainly, the experience for the families who housed these unfortunate men would not be easily forgotten.
The names of almost all of the soldiers who died at the Thompson-Neely House during the winter encampment of 1776 are unknown. The only soldier's name that has been passed down through history is that of Captain-Lieutenant James Moore. Moore was made a Lieutenant of Lamb's Company of New York artillery in June of 1775. He was promoted to Captain-Lieutenant in March of 1776. Little else of his specific career as a soldier is known, but his future service was cut short as he died on December 25, 1776 of camp fever at the Thompson-Neely House. The number of soldiers who shared Moore's fate at the Thompson-Neely House is unknown. The absolute location of the remains of these soldiers is also unknown. When the Delaware Canal came through in the early 1800's the ground disturbance surfaced many partial remains at that time. This is also the case with other projects which have occurred over the years at and around this location. It is speculated that the remains of 40 to 60 unknowns are buried throughout the Soldier's Graves area of the Park. The modern tombstones which line the bank today are only a representation of the many souls interred here.
In May of 1954, the Soldier's Graves area of the Park and the memorial flagstaff were officially dedicated with ceremonies and speeches. The flagstaff base contains native stone from each of the thirteen original colonies laid in homage to the native sons who fought and died during the American Revolution. Though their location and names are lost to the ages, their sacrifice is remembered by thousands of visitors to Washington Crossing Historic Park each year.
NOTE: Access to the Soldier's Graves is via the Delaware Canal State Park towpath. Access to the Delaware Canal State Park towpath is limited and can be closed due to flood conditions, pathway conditions, and natural deterrents. It is best to consult the Friends of the Delaware Canal State Park website prior to planning a trip to the Soldier's Graves area.