Andrew Bell's Diary

 

The following account of the Monmouth Campaign from a British soldier’s perspective details the events in our local area during their march through New Jersey. 

 

June 22 M~ The whole Army moved from Holly and halted at Black Horse 7 miles, which place the Rebels left this morning, Maxwell and Dickinson with 2 or 3000 ~ were informed here that Washington was crossing the Delaware to oppose us ~ The Rebels appear to be throwing up works at a little distance from us on the Road to Crosswicks. This said Stirling and Wayne are there. Their force cannot be great and therefore can give us very little trouble. The people have all left their houses here except the women, who expect that by the Regard commonly shown to their Sex, to save the property of those who from their conscious guilt have fled from the hand of Justice. Sir Henry Clinton took the utmost care on the march to preserve the peaceable Inhabitants by placing a Light Horseman to protect them till that wing had passed. Gen. Leslie with his Brigade flanked the Army at 17 mile distant and joined us here at three o’clock~

 

June 23 F~ Gen. Clinton with Lord Cornwallis’ Column, consisting of 1st & 2d Battalions Grenadiers and 1st & 2d Light Infantry with Hessian Grenadiers 2 Battalions and 1st, 3d & 4th Brigades British moved on at 5 o’clock a.m. to Crosswicks. Gen. Knyphausen with the Hessians and Gen. Grant with 2d Brigade British followed in another Column. Brig. Gen. Leslie with the 5th Brigade British and Yagers took the Bordentown Road. About a mile before we reached Crosswicks, information was received that the Rebels were making a show of resistance there ~ the 16th Dragoons flew to the place, and received the fire of about 500 Musquetry without loss ~ the Rebels had retired over the Bridge and destroyed it, which gave them an opportunity of getting off with safety, and prevented us pursuing them. During the firing across the Bridge and along the Creek, the Rangers behaved with their usual spirit. Capt. Stevenson of their Light Company unfortunately had a wound through his Breast, which it is thought will prove mortal ~ he was the only one we had hurt. There were three Rebels killed by our cannon which came up in good time to cover our workmen at the Bridge which when repaired, the Light Horse Rangers and 1st Battalion Light Infantry instantly crossed and pursued them two miles ~ but a Creek being in the way and the Rebels having taken up the Bridge were obliged to return with seven prisoners ~ This place is eight miles from where we started this morning, we halted here all night ~

 

June 24 ~ W~ The Army marched in the before mentioned order to Allentown four miles ~ the Rebels had been here in the morning and tore up the Bridge, which retarded us a short time. The Light Horse and Infantry pursued them four miles, but could not come up with any number, and brought in a few stragglers prisoners. Gen. Knyphausen’s Column encamped this night at and about Emlanstown, 3 miles distant. Gen. Leslies Brigade joined us here ~

 

June 25.F~ Gen. Clinton marched at 5 with his division and met Gen. Knyphausens Column having their ground on the Road to Freehold, which was the route of the whole Army. The Rebels had taken post near Brunswick and Amboy expecting us that way, but were outwitted by the march to a different quarter. Gen. Knyphausen moved and encamped on the border of Freehold Township, 13 miles in the van~ Gen. Leslie followed and Gen. Clinton with the rear division halted at the Rising Sun, seven miles from Allentown~

 

June 26~ F~ Gen. Knyphausens Column moved to Freehold town, 4 miles where the remainder of the Army arrived at 10 a.m. 10 miles from Rising Sun, a very warm day, very tired~

 

June 27~ S~ The whole Army halted here this day: a deserter from Washingtons Army informs that the Rebels are extended along our left flank and are very numerous~ a Light Horseman came in soon after and confirms the others story, with the addition that they are determined to arrack our Rear, and aim at the Baggage ~

 

June 28~ S~ The Rangers went at 1 this morning to take post in the wood back of the Court House, where they were attacked by a large body of the enemy, and defended themselves with astonishing bravery. The two flank Companies and the Mounted being detached from the Regiment with Col. Simcoe and were principally beset suffered most. The Horse charged a great force coming against them in 3 Columns, and when instant destruction threatened the Corps, as the Rebels had got between them and our Army, they got clear of the wood by a finesse of the Colonels. ~ there were none of them killed, and about 6 or 8 wounded, some dangerously~ Col. Simcoe received a wound in the arm~ During this time Gen. Clinton was advanced up the Lame, behind the Town with 4 Regiments drawn up across the filed. Gen. Knyphausen marched at 7 with all the Baggage of the Army in the Rear of his Column~ Gen. Clintons division then followed, and as the Grenadiers and Light Infantry were quitting the Town, they were attacked by Fayettes division which pressed down the Lane above mentioned, but were repulsed the same Road and pursued by these 2 Corps and the 42d and Guards~ a very smart action now ensued, which lasted with great obstinacy half an hour~ the Rebels stood much better than every they did, but were finally obliged to give way, though at least 4 to 1. The other part of the army in this division were advanced on their march above 6 miles when the Rebels first attacked, and the heat of the day prevented their coming up in time to join in the action. Col. Monckton and Lt. Vaughn of Artillery were killed, Major Gardiner, Capt. Powell, Capt. Bellow, Capt Deighton, and Lieutenants Gilchrist and Willis wounded~ about 200 killed and wounded~ the weather destroyed more than the Action~ Tis generally thought the Rebels have lost 2000, as Gen. Clinton was master of the field and had an opportunity of observing. Tis said Lee is Killed and a French General~ we took 60 prisoners from them we learn the Rebels had 25000 men in the field this day, and Gen. Washington was there. The Army remained in the field till 12 at night when the General withdrew them and pursued his march to Middletown. About 50 of our wounded were obliged to be left at Freehold for want of Waggons, and all the Rebels wounded giving their parole as Prisoners. Gen. Knyphausen encamped within 3 miles of Middletown ~