During the 18th century, a copse was a small area of dense thicket of undergrowth or brushwood or trees often planned in the pleasure ground to add variety to the otherwise open scene. A copse might be planted as a rude surprise in the midst of an otherwise peaceful lawn or meadow as a stimulating interruption.
The small trees or underwood of a copse were often cut to remain open and sometimes for economic or practical purposes of sale or firewood. Sometimes a copse was referred to as a copice or coppice.
Copse of Trees at Gettysburg.
Jedidiah Morse reported in 1789, that at George Washington's Mount Vernon in Virginia, "lands...laid out some what in the form of English gardens, in meadows and grass grounds, ornamented with little copcies, circular clumps and single trees."
In November of 1803, Manasseh Cutler described the grounds around William Hamilton's Woodlands in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "Between are lawns of green grass, frequently mowed, and at different distances numerous copse of trees."