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apprehensive that the attack would become general, and probably the issue doubtful, he was under a necessity of altering his march towards the sea coast, by which he gained in his march, and they lost in proportion. It was some time before the colonists perceived that the British forces had departed from their expected line of direction. It was necessity, not design or foresight, as has been alledged by some, which made the British general change the direction of his march. When he marched out of Philadelphia, he did not imagine that his retreat would be so suddenly observed, or that General Washington would have been so ready as to have gained the Rariton before he had passed it ; but in this he was deceived, and for this reason he altered his march, and took the right-hand road leading to the sea coast. The fleer was a special object of his hope, which he expected would endeavour to be ready to receive his troops in case of any disaster: This was a special reason why he altered his course, and marched towards the coast for it is plain that he avoided as much as possible to come to any general engagement with the colonists, while he was at a distance from the fleet.
As soon as General Washington perceived that the British troops had altered their course, and were marching towards the sea coast, he immediately changed his plan, and sent several detachments of his best troops, under the command of the Marquis de la Fayelte, to harrass the army in its march, while he advanced at a proper distance with all his force. As the advanced parties of the provincials came near to the rear of the British forces, and the situation be. came critical, General Washington ordered General Lee, with two brigades, to reinforce and take the
command of the advanced corps.
confift. ed of about five thousand men, according to the account which General Washington gave under his own hand. Others who speak from conjecture, have set forth, that this corps consisted of more than five thousand; but there is no certainty in this conjec
Sir Henry Clinton in his march to a place called Freehold, judging, from the number of the provincials that hung upon his rear, that their main body was not far distant, began to be in concern for the bag. gage, which had always been, for good reasons, a principal object of his attention. He wisely resolved to free that part of the army from this incumbrance and impediment ; he therefore placed the baggage under the management of General Knyphausen, who led the first column of the army. The other, which covered the march, was now disengaged and ready for action, and was composed of the best troops in the army, commanded by the general himself. This corps consisted of the third, fourth, and fifth brigades of British, two battalions of British, and the Hessian grenadiers, a bactalion of light infanty, the guards, and the tenth regiment of light dragoons. These were troops, that had been heretofore accounted invincible, and which none of the provincials durst so much as face in the open field; with these brigades Gen. Clinton endeavoured to make the best defence he could, though it appears not that he was free of fear with regard to the event; for he had ordered Gen. Knyphausen to march at break of day with all the carriages and baggage, and to direct their course to Middle-Town, which lay at twelve miles distance on their way, in an high and strong.country. The com
mander in chief, with the second division, continued some hours on the ground in the neighbourhood of Freehold, both to cover the march of the baggage, and to afford time for the long range of carriages to get clear on their way. This caution and care was exceedingly necessary as the event proved; for it was not long till the American force appeared adyancing in their rear, and pursuing them with an intention to attack them.
Upon the 25th of June, about eight o'clock in the morning, when the army began to march, some parties of the provincials appeared in the woods and attacked the troops upon the left flank; these being only flying parties, were made to retire by the light troops. But as the rear-guard descended from the heights of Frechold, into a valley about three miles, in length and one in breadth, several columns of the colonists appeared also descending into the plain, who about ten o'clock began to cannonade the rear. At the same time that this attack was made upon the rear, the general received intelligence that two slrong bodies of troops were marching to flank the army'; this, in the modern military stile, was called marching in force on both sides to attack them in the flanks. This greatly alarmed the general, for he perceived that it was their design to attack the baggage, and as the carriages were then entangled in narrow defiles for some miles, it seemed a matter of the greatest consequence to guard against this danger. As the affair appeared to be critical, the general devised trie only method that could have been at that time fallen upon to deliver himself out of that embarrassinent. He re. folved to make a vigorous attack upon that body which hung upon his rear and harrassed it, which he con
*cluded would call back the flanking parties to the affiftance of those that were thus engaged, and thereby give an opportunity to the baggage to escape. For although General Washington was marching with his whole army, which was believed to be far greater than it really was, yet as the main body was sepà-rated from this advanced corps which attacked Lord Cornwallis in the rear, by two considerable defiles, he did not imagine that he could pass a greater body of troops through these narrows, during the execution of that measure which he intended, than what the force along with him was able to oppose ; whilst on the other hand, even with that division of the army, Washington's fituation would be fufficiently critical, provided he should come upon him, whilft he was ftruggling in the defiles. He was however doubtful of this matter, and to guard against every possible result that might happen in case of a general engagement, he called back a brigade of the British infantry, and the feventeenth regiment of light dragoons from Knyphausen's division, and left them orders to take a poft which would effe&tually cover his right flank, being the side on which he was most jealous of being attacked. In the mean time the Queen's light dragoons had engaged with some of the American cavalry, under the Marquis de Fayette,and put them to flight, and had driven them back upon their own foot. The General then made dispositions to attack the Americans in the plain ; but before he could advance, they unexpectedly fell back, and posted them. selves in a strong fituation, on the heighrs above Monmouth House. The weather in this season of the year is in those parts always exceedingly warm ; but upon this day it was so violently hot as to be
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scarcely exceeded by the most sultry summers of that continent. This was a very disagreeable circumstance to our army, which was already very much fatigued by their march, and the severe labour of clearing the way and repairing bridges. The most vigorous ex. ertions were, however, at this time necessary, and the circumstances of our army required a more than ordinary vigour to make good their march, and fave their baggage. The British grenadiers had now sufficient employment for all their valour and intrepidity: This body, with the village of Freehold on their left and the guards on their right, began the attack with great fury. The provincials were aware of their impetuosity, and guarded against the effects of it; and according to appointment, gave way after a short attack, and led their enemy directly upon the second line, which was ready to receive them. It was here the very flower of the British army was resisted in a manner they never expected: Their fierce attack was resolutely sustained, and their fury so much abated by the bold resistance of the colonists, that they were forced to be witnesses of their enemies forming themselves, when they thought they had totally routed ahem, in a new advantageous poft, from whence they were not able to drive them. Our accounts of this engagement are very unfairly given, and the circumstances of this battle are described with such a partiality to Sir Henry Clinton, and the valour of the British troops, that the writers themselves, instead of doing honour to the general and his men, afford suf. ficient hints to enable others to infer, that there was much more understood than they were willing to express. They allow that, according to their own stile, after the enemy was completely routed, they,