Recent Activities - Battle of Monmouth

Rebels and Redcoats

     On 28 June 1778 General George Washington’s Continental Army and Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton’s force of British, German, and Loyalist troops clashed in the fields, swamps, and woods in the extensive area between Monmouth Courthouse and Englishtown, New Jersey. Clinton’s army, with its twelve-mile-long train of wagons, was headed for the coastal island of Sandy Hook, where they would board transports that would carry them to their bases on Manhattan, Staten, and Long Islands. To protect his vulnerable train from pursuing Continental troops General Clinton moved the flower of his army (Brigade of Guards, composite light infantry and grenadier battalions, and Queen’s Rangers, among them) to the rear of the marching column. It was this contingent that Major-General Charles Lee’s picked Advanced Force units ran into on the morning of the 28th. Lee, recently returned to the army, unfamiliar with his subordinate officers, and lacking faith in his soldiers, was forced by events to retreat when the British rearguard turned and attacked.

     The withdrawing artillery under Lt. Col. Eleazer Oswald repeatedly unlimbered and fired on the advancing enemy, but not until Lee’s rear neared the West Morass at Spotswood Middle Brook did any serious infantry combat occur. In a point of woods on the Rhea Plantation, and again at a hedge-row fronting the Parsonage farm, troops under Brigadier-General Anthony Wayne and General Lee briefly checked the Guards and Grenadier battalions in sharp fighting.

     In the meantime, at approximately 12:30 PM, Washington’s main army reached Perrine Hill, east of and commanding the West Morass, forming on the slopes and crest, while the artillery under Brigadier-General Henry Knox went into battery. Exhausted by their exertions and the 96-degree heat, British forces halted east of Spotswood Middle Brook. An extended artillery duel ensued, claimed by one officer to be “heavyer than Ever known on the field in America before …” Around 3 PM the cannonade was joined by four Continental guns enfilading the British left flank from Comb’s Hill on the extreme American right. Unable to counter this new threat British troops were forced to shift positions and their artillery withdrew. During the afternoon British forces across Spotswood North Brook attempted to flank the Continental left, but a reserve force under the Marquis de Lafayette maneuvered to counter them.

     Two final infantry actions took place after the afternoon bombardment. First, a detachment on the American left under Colonel Joseph Cilley advanced against 42nd Regiment troops on the Sutfin Farm. Afterwards, General Wayne led three regiments against the 1st Battalion of British Grenadiers on the Parsonage Farm, across the West Morass. Shortly after that British forces pulled back and camped. About 11 o’clock that night the British continued on towards Sandy Hook.

The above text is from the online book by John U. Rees.  CLICK HERE to read his online book about the battle.

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Movie Magic Bonus

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Advancing to push the British back ...

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... followed by a fantastic Battalion volley

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Firing on the enemy at the fence

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