The Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield

The British invasion of June, 1780


The winter of 1779-1780 was the worst one of the war, and even the worst of the 15th Century. It snowed early that year, snowed often, and deep, so that the roads and fences were buried under enough snow that they were hard to find. They had no equipment for snow removal, so the roads were often impassible. It was so cold for so long that the Hudson River froze, and so did large parts of Long Island Sound. The British were able to ride horses and take cannon over the ice to Staten Island.

This left the American Army, encamped in huts of their own making at Jockey Hollow just south of Morristown, in a horrible supply problem. Never were supplies over abundant for the Americans, but when transportation of material was almost halted by the winter, critical shortages occurred.

The daily ration for an enlisted man was one pound of bread or flour, and one pound of beef or 3/4 pound of pork, (with the addition of some small amounts of vegetables, vinegar, salt, milk, butter, peas and beans as available.) and a half gill of spirits or quart of beer. This is a adequate, but not extensive, diet, but many times during the winter, the army was not able to issue flour for days at the time, sometimes not able to issue meat, and a few times, for a few days, not able to issue anything at all. The men were cold, wearing ragged clothing, unpaid, not allowed to leave camp, and starving. Morale was low, and both officers and men were unhappy with the state of the support they received from their states and the Continental Congress.

The war was dragging on. In all wars, apathy sets in as it goes on. Both sides struggled on, but the Americans were still handicapped by being the new government. It takes time to learn how to run supply and purchasing systems. Methods are tried that fail, men quit or give up in frustration, or are thrown out for incompetence, and their replacements have to learn from scratch. Plus, the Continental money situation was desperate. Inflation had ruined the paper money to no value whatever, (from this winter time we got the phrase "not worth a Continental" and Congress hesitated in printing more- but without printing it, there was no money for it to spend. The Americans changed supplies systems several times during the war, and at this stage had gone from the Continental Congress purchasing supplies to the States providing them.

On Christmas Day, 1779, General Sir Henry Clinton sailed for Charleston, South Carolina, to try to capture it and begin his southern campaign to return those colonies to the crown. The man left to command in his absence was Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen, a German ally or "Hessian".

Meanwhile, in New York City, the British Loyalists were pushing for action to be taken to end the war, lead by: William Franklin, (son of Benjamin, the Royal Governor of New Jersey in exile in New York), William Smith royal Chief Justice of NY, Major General James Robinson, new Royal Governor of NY, called "Old Clip" for his habit of shaving the edges of the coins that came into his hands and General William Tryon, ex-governor of New York. They were all detractors of Clinton's, they had their own spy networks and informants, and began to assert that the American Army was on the verge of deserting en mass, that they would refuse to fight, that the militia would not come out, but that there were so many disaffected persons sick of the war and the changes in the government, that thousands would flock to the British to help throw out the rebel government.

These assertions were exaggerations, but they believed them. They pushed them on "old Knyp", and pressed him for action. Through the winter he would not consider large military action- the transport of men and material would be no easier for him than the Americans. Winter action was not normal with armies of the day, since it was hard to transport and clothe an army under winter conditions.

The Loyalist made frequent raids into New Jersey, particularly around Elizabethtown. The Americans posted troops to guard there, but could not prevent them from landing and making a quick strike. Moving quickly by boat or over the ice, the British could overwhelm any small or medium force with a surprise attack at night.

On January 25th, they raided both Newark and Elizabethtown on the same night. From Newark they took Justice Joseph Heddon, marching him across the ice to Staten Island in his nightshirt and bare feet, (which he lost to gangrene.) At Elizabethtown, they captured several civilians and 5 Continental Officers and 47 privates.

Joseph Plum Martin, in the 8th Connecticut regiment, which was moved shortly afterward to help guard the area, in "Yankee Doodle" described his duty :

"We were stationed about six miles from Elizabethtown... We had to send a detachment to this place which continued on duty there several days. It consisted of about two hundred men and had to form several guards while there. We had another guard, which consisted of about one hundred men, at a place called Woodbridge, this guard stayed there two days before they were relieved, and was ten miles from our quarters.

Our duty all the winter and spring was thus. Suppose I went upon the Woodbridge guard. I must march from the parade at eight o'clock in the morning, go a distance of ten miles and relieve the guard already there, which would commonly bring it to about twelve o'clock., stay there two days and nights, then be relieved and take up the afternoon of that day to reach our quarters and, generally before I could lay by my arms, warned for Elizabethtown the next day...."

They lived on a starvation diet, and the inhabitants had little more, being robbed or foraged on by both armies, although Washington gave and enforced strict orders against soldiers taking private property. This did not stop the civil authorities from collecting, nor totally prevent hungry soldiers from raiding chicken coops.

The guard kept at Woodbridge being so small, and so far from the troops, and so near the enemy that they were obliged to be constantly on the alert. We had three different houses that we occupied alternately during the night: the first an empty house, the second the parson's house, and the third a farmer's house. We had to remove from one to the other of these houses three times every night, from fear of being surprised by the enemy."

One of Martin's friends, named Twist, was stationed to sentry a secret path near their guard post. He called out to people coming up the path one night, and they told him they would kill him if he fired. He fired anyway, and ran up the path shouting for the guard. He got tangled in a hedge, and the Loyalists came up and bayoneted him twelve times. The other sentries managed to flee, so Twist's sacrifice was not in vain.

On the 14th of May, the New Jersey Brigade took over the coastal guard and relieved the Connecticut troops. They had four under-strength regiments with 741 men total. In May the state tried a major effort to enlist new men to fill the ranks. They got 29 men between May 3 and June 3rd- the best showing of any state. Only 53 men from all 13 states arrived.

On May 25th, the 4th and 8th Connecticut regiments at Morristown, starving, decided not to return to their huts after evening parade. They stayed out under arms, defying orders to disperse. They marched to the neighboring Connecticut brigade, which was prevented from joining them by the quick thinking of its officers who had them form up for parade "without arms" before the mutineers arrive, then prevented them from getting to their arms.

The nearby Pennsylvania Brigade, called out to stop the Connecticut. men, almost joined them instead, but the officers marched them back to their own cabins.

After standing around on the parade ground for some time, without purpose or goals, the Connecticut men finally went back to their quarters.

The NJ Brigade which had replaced them on the line, also had hard duty "on the lines." They were forced by the raiders to stay farther back from the shore than wished, and had two regiments pulled back to near Bound Brook, where they were out of any immediate danger, but could move forward in a couple of hours to support the lines. The 3rd NJ, stationed at Elizabethtown, moved back to Springfield, 7 miles to the northwest, by the 3rd of June, and on the 4th were in Chatham, farther northwest behind the hills, because of the danger of raids. General William Maxwell, commander of the NJ Brigade, stationed the 1st and 2nd NJ regiments at Bound Brook, where they could march to support the 1st, but were out of immediate danger.

All these factors were brought to the attention of General von Knyphausen. Finally on May 28th a letter arrived from Sir Andrew Hammond to Governor William Patterson, who had been appointed to govern Nova Scotia, who was still in New York, part of the Loyalist leader group. The letter told of the capture of Charleston, South Carolina, with only minor British losses, on May 12th.. The Loyalist were extremely annoyed that they in New York were left in ignorance, without official word, without instructions, while Clinton got the glory of a southern campaign. They passed the letter on to "old Knyp."

The Englishmen and Loyalist left in New York knew they now had a chance for their own glory. Spring had arrived and opened the campaign season, and now they could act independently of Clinton. Success would raise them all, defeat could be blamed on von Knyphausen. They all came out in favor of some kind of attack on the Americans, stressing how weak they were- Washington had only 3,500 men in Morristown-and how low morale in New Jersey was. General von Knyphausen decided to attack, landing in Elizabethtown and marching for the Hobart Gap, near Springfield, where they could cross into the mountains and onto the road to Morristown, where the American supplies were.

On June 6th, 1780, the first troops boarded boats on Staten Island to cross and secure a landing near Elizabethtown at midnight. General Thomas Stirling commanded the van, composed of the light infantry companies of the British 37th and 38th foot regiments. They landed around midnight at a marsh on De Hart's point, and checked it for American sentry. Once it was found to be clear, the remainder of the regiments landed, then the other two regiments of the division, Hessians under the division second in command, Colonel Ludwig Johann Adolph von Wurmb. Instead of light infantry, the Hessians had Jaegars, which means "hunters", who carried rifles, and did a similar duty as the light infantry- covering flanks and retreats. Once this advance corp was landed and advancing inland, another 4,500 men would land to support them The British forces would outnumber the total Continental Army two to one.

On that day, Colonel Elias Dayton, commander of the 3rd NJ, was back in Elizabethtown, and he received a note that 5000 men were preparing to invade NJ at Elizabethtown during the evening. He immediately sent Ensign Moses Ogden of Colonel Oliver Spencer's 4th additional regiment to the crossroads where the roads from Elizabeth point and De Hart's point met, with orders to fire one volley at any troops that appeared on the roads, then retreat. Dayton would take a position on Jelf's Hill, overlooking the stone bridge in Elizabethtown.

After a wait of an hour or more, a column of troops was detected marching down the road, lead by Tories with darkened lanterns, leading a man on horseback. Ensign Ogden ordered his men to present and fire, and they hit General Stirling in the thigh. The British column halted, as Ogden and his men made their escape back to the main body.

Colonel Dayton ordered his son, Captain Jonathan Dayton, to write a note to General Washington:


I am directed by Colo. Dayton to inform your excellency that the enemy landed this night at 12 o'Clock, from the best intelligence four or five thousand men & Twelve field pieces, & it is his conjecture that they intend to penetrate into the country.

I am your excellys most hum Servt.

Joha. Dayton, Capt.

3rd.NJ Regt

A courier raced to deliver it to Washington, about 16 miles away.

Colonel Dayton moved his regiment to Jelf's Hill, overlooking the bridge in Elizabethtown, with Colonel Oliver Spence and the 4th "additional" regiment (NJ was assigned to provide 3 regiments, but provided four- although all were short handed.)

Along the shore, Colonel von Wermb decided not to advance any farther, but to wait for daylight. The British troop crossing had been delayed, and General Stirling shot.

In Bound Brook, the volley had been heard. General Maxwell sent Major Aaron Ogden, his adjutant, to Elizabethtown, while he ordered the 1st and 2nd regiments to Connecticut Farms. The militia also began to gather.

Years before, the British got a laugh out of this letter from Brigader General Winds of the NJ militia, which was published in Rivington's Gazette:

Mendon, Sept. 5th 1777
Your are to keep one man allways with an order already writ to impress an horss on the way he shall want that upon the first appearance of the enemy's coming to attack you or yours you are to dispatch the man and tell him to come the nighest road direct to me or my house and he is to call to every man woman or child he sees and desire them to call upon all men to push down where the enemy is and give them battle.
But he is not to stop to give his story. But call out as he rides along if they have no guns or ammonison they are to carry pitchforks flails stones or such weapons as they chuse
But if any man is a fraid to go to battle that hath no gun his is imediately to set out as a common cryer and desire everyone he sees to come down to the helpe of the Lord against the might and I will keep a becon out so that if you can keep the enemy in play a few howers I will be down with 1,000 or 1,500 men. Shew this letter to all men you see and send coppys of it to all the militia officers you can that live within 15 or 20 miles of the lines and shorest every man as soon as he is ready stop for no company but call all they see to send word to their next neighbour of the a larm-and cursed is he that is well &will not turn out when this a larm comes.
William Winds, BG

The British thought his grammar and spelling funny, but they ignored the fact that he knew how to get the militia out quickly and efficiently.

Major Ogden arrived and he, Dayton and Spencer discussed what they should do. They decided not to stand that ground, as they were liable to be cut off and overrun. They decided to move to Connecticut Farms. As they reached the edge of town, General Maxwell arrived to inform them that he had ordered the 1st and 2nd to Connecticut Farms, and they should fall back to there. They would be able to call out the militia better if they could see the British marching out of Elizabethtown.

About 4 am, Washington ordered the troops to cook 2 days rations, to have 40 cartridges each, and prepare to march. They were 16 miles or more away in Morristown. The coast watchers would not expect help from Washington until noon.

At 6 am, the British moved out for Elizabethtown, and small units of militia began to fire from their front and flanks. Normally the light infantry, trained for flank protection, were sent out to prevent them from serious moves against the British column. Now they had none with them and units with out this training had to serve.

At Hobard Gap, the firing was heard and the "Old Sow", an ancient cannon was fired to sound the alarm and the bonfire signal fire was lit, to summon the militia.

Maxwell posted small groups of Continentals with the early militia to delay the British. He posted the remainder of his men along a defile in the middle of Connecticut Farms.

As the British advanced, the fire they received grew. Militia units formed up and fired from the woods, orchards, stone fences, and buildings along the road. They would advance and attack, be driven off, only to return later. The British flanking Light Infantry and Jaegars grew tired and frustrated. A large number of British troops had to be diverted from the attack to defending the flanks. The militia's persistent attacks against the British flanks prevented the Continentals holding the front from being overwhelmed.

In Connecticut Farms, the Reverend Caldwell had left to help rally the militia to the north. He was called by the British, " the Rebel High Priest" for his sermons on liberty, and his service as a deputy quartermaster for the American army. His wife stayed at home with their baby and a 3 year old toddler. As the British moved into Connecticut Farms, Hannah Caldwell was shot through a window or wall as she sat with her children on a bed. She was killed. After the battle the Americans made much of this in propaganda. They claimed she was killed by the British in an act of brutality, the British responded by claiming she had been shot by one of the Americans firing on the British moving into town.

At 8 am, the British van reached the defile held by Maxwell's NJ Brigade. The Hessian Jaegars, who carried rifles, attacked, and were then supported by the rest of the advance forces. For 3 hours there was an ebb and flow across the defile. The British were driven back to the village tavern, then they received reinforcements in the arrival of the second division, and drove the Americans back across the defile.

The Americans fell back slowly and with firm resistance through the village. When the British reached the west end of the village, they paused to regroup and reorganize units that had been disorganized in the advance. Maxwell decided to attack, and drove them back some distance before the British counterattacked, forcing Maxwell back.

Maxwell ordered the men across the Rahway river, so they could make a stand with the river to their front. At this time, Captain Eliakim Little, of the militia arrived with "an old iron 4 pounder". He stationed it behind the bridge, on a knoll that gave him a good field of fire for 3/4 of a mile. The cannon fire broke the British attack, after they had twice reached the bridge.

Connecticut Farms was now empty of armed Americans. The British troops ( these consisted of British regulars, Loyalists regiments, and Hessians) begin to loot homes, chop down orchards, then fired the homes and buildings. The neighbors of Hannah Caldwell begged to be allowed to retrieve her body, and were given permission to take it out, then the Caldwell home was burned, with virtually every other house in the village.

At 3 pm, Washington reached Chatham, on the other side of the mountains, with his army. He sent his Life Guards, his personal protection unit of 156 men, forward to help Maxwell. General Maxwell crossed the river again.

General Knyphausen decided to break off and retire to high ground 2 1/2 miles nearer Elizabethtown for the night. The Americans followed them and harassed their retreat, firing on their pickets until dark. Knyphausen was told by General Clinton's aside, Major Crosbie, that Clinton (commander in America) was due any day with more troops. This changed the British agenda- you do not commit part of a force if more men will soon be available- so he decided to move to Elizabethtown where they could easily be reinforced.

The British quietly moved out, barely getting the word to some of their pickets. One non-com and his squad from the the British 22nd Foot did not get the word and were captured the next morning.

Washington, in meeting with his officers had decided on a night attack. Before the Americans could form for the attack, a tremendous thunderstorm arrived, and the attack was called off. The storm allowed the British to retreat unmolested, but caused confusion in moving out in the complete dark. At midnight the British arrived at Elizabethtown, taking a defensive position, their men without tents.

In the morning, Washington sent dispatches to Congress and recalled Colonel "Light Horse" Harry Lee with his Legion, which had started for Virginia. The "Legion" was a mixed unit that contained infantry, dragoons and artillery elements.

General "Lord" Alexander Stirling, ordered by Washington to oversee the militia, issued the following orders:

June 8th, 1780


You will with all the force you can muster be as active as possible in annoying the enemy this day, upon their left flank, endeavoring to put your parties as much covered by woods as the situation of the country will admit as you will thereby be the better defended from the attempts of their horse, altho you are required to harass the enemy as much as inn your power, at the same time you are requested to be careful not to expend ammunition unnecessarily, only when the object is sure. Please to send by the bearer your number as near as can be ascertained.

I am your humble servant,



Later that day, after finding the enemy gone to Elizabethtown Point, Washington ordered Stirling:

June 8th, 1780

My Lord

I am just making a detachment of three battalions under General Hand, which are to be employed today as actively as the situation of the enemy will permit in conjunction with the militia. While the enemy remain in their present position, Maxwell's Brigade will preserve the post it held last evening, reposing to-day and acting as a covering party. I shall send it a field piece for this purpose. The troops and militia, near the enemy must act chiefly in the woods, as this mode will not only best to harass the enemy, but will be best adapted to security, especially against horse of which the enemy are said to have a considerable body.

I wish your Lordship to have the militia put into some form and endeavor to ascertain their number. After this you will permit them to act in their won way, having places of rendezvous to assemble occasionally, and receive orders.


Washington planned a three prong assault on what he believed to be a small holding party still at Elizabethtown Point, with Hand's three regiments in the center, and the militia on the flanks. They began the attack by capturing an officer and 16 men of the 22nd Regiment on picket duty. Heavy cannon fire soon made General Hand realize he was not attacking a rear guard but the main force. He ordered the militia to hold position, and paraded his 800 plus men in front of the British lines. The British thought it was a lure for a trap and would not come forward. Hand then sent his men forward to skirmish with the enemy, but not to assault the enemy positions. They pressured the 22nd regiment so hard that two Hessian regiments were brought forward to assist, but found themselves under heavy fire.

At 5pm, Washington was informed of events by Stirling, and ordered the attack to end. He did not have the manpower to assault the British, in fact was concerned about a possible attack from the British.

The militia over the following days continued to harass the enemy, sniping at outposts and preventing patrols. The British built a bridge of boats from Staten Island to Elizabethtown Point, in case of a hurried retreat. The Hessians believed that 7000 militia were nearby. According to Major Carl Bauermeister, the Militia " make sudden irregular attacks, that resemble surprises and are excellent marksmen. We have not yet learned to to meet them the same way....It is inconceivable how these people, without being supplied with food, have stuck together and are as steadfast as the Continental troops."

On the 11th Lee and his dragoons arrived.Washington ordered all horses and cattle within 5 miles of the enemy driven collected and driven away.

On the 13th he met with militia officers and had half of the militia sent home, keeping 1500 (on paper) with him as forward troops. Probably most of the men kept were the ones who had marched farther. The closer men could be sent home and could return sooner at any alarm. Militia had arrived from the counties of Union, Essex, Somerset, Middlesex and even southern Hunterdon County.

On the 18th Clinton arrived in New York and resumed command. He was annoyed to find his plans spoiled by the activity in New Jersey. He had hoped to find the American army quietly rotting away. His 4000 addititional men mean Washington must guard both NJ and the Hudson Highland forts. Washington had already ordered that the stores of flour held at Morristown be moved to West Point for safety, and to supply that garrison in case of attack. On the 21st he moves northward in New Jersey to guard that wagon train, and Clinton moves ships up the Hudson. Washington placed General Nathanael Greene in charge of the Elizabethtown area guard force. Greene had General Maxwell's NJ Brigade of about 650 men, and General John Stark's Brigade, with 3 small regiments from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, totaling 461 men, and Major Harry Lee's Legion of 400 men. On paper he had 1500 militia, but these came and went, and some who were supposed to stay had left. Bt June 23rd only 500 militia remained on hand.

Washington and Greene heard reports on the 22nd of June that the British plan some move to attack. Greene recommended that the American army hold its position until solid information developed.

On the 23rd of June, at 5am, the British moved out of Elizabethtown Point, and captured the Elizabethtown outposts and 3 cannon. The Americans still in Elizabethtown evacuated the town, alerting Generals Maxwell, just west of the town, and Greene. Greene ordered the planks from the bridges over the Rahway river removed, leaving the bridges on the branch behind them intact, in case the men defending the 1st bridges had to retreat. Maxwell told Colonel Dayton to defend the Galloping Hill Road from Connecticut Farms, and sent Lee's Legion to defend the Vaux Hall Road.

Greene placed Colonel Isreal Angell's 2nd Rhode Island regiment at the 1st bridge on Galloping Hill Road, with Colonel Isreal Shreve and the 2nd NJ regiment supporting them from high ground behind the 2nd bridge, to their rear. At the Vauxhall Bridge, he sent Colonel Mathias Ogden leading the 1st NJ regiment. Supporting Ogden and Lee were the other NJ regiments and the 2 regiments left to Starks Brigade, along the slopes of the mountain.

Greene himself took command of the militia who were present under General Philemon Dickinson, and positioned them behind Shreve's men. A few militia were forward, harassing the British advance. These men had dwindled lately, as a lack of perceived immediate threat had encouraged the men to go home. As the British suddenly came out, the militia outposts were scattered or overrun, and now they made little resistance. Most of the available militia had gathered under Dickinson and were with Greene- less than 500 men. More militia began to march to join the American forces as they learned of the British advance.

At Connecticut Farm, Dayton placed his men on each side of the defile they had defended on the first attack on Connecticut Farms. He placed one company and the militia to the left in an orchard, and to the right the remainder of his men in a thicket.

They were attacked by a regiment of the NJ Volunteers, a loyalist unit, ( who had been called by the American's "the Greens", for their green uniforms, although they had at this time just been issue redcoats) who soon found themselves overmatched. They looked to support from Simcoe's Queen's Rangers. Simcoe, rather than join the fight directly, calmly marched his men down the road between Dayton's left and right, without firing a shot. The American's were taken by surprise by the rapid advance, and failed to prevent it. The Rangers, once behind Dayton's men, attacked Dayton's left, and the militia broke and ran. Dayton held his regulars together and made a fighting retreat across the river to the Rhode Islanders.

General Knyphausen joined the Volunteers and Rangers with the rest of the British forces. He sent the Rangers, Volunteers, a Guard regiment and some other British regiments to attack the Vauxhall Bridge to the east. He kept the German units under his own command.

Once in position the British forces made a simultaneous attack. The German troops made several attempts to take the bridge, but were repulsed by a single cannon on a rise behind the Rhode Islanders. Once the British brought up their own guns, they killed Captain Tom Thompson commanding the gun and disabled it. They then rushed the bridge again, getting a sergeant and a few privates over its bare runners, but they were shot down on the other side.

The Jaegers then split to the flanks, the British 37th and 38th Regiments moved to the center and attacked across the river, which is only a few feet deep. Under heavy fire from both the infantry and the British cannons, Angell's men held out for almost a half hour. They fought five times their number.

During this part of the fight, the men began to call for more wadding, used to hold powder and ball in place. Reverend Caldwell, who was nearby, heard this and raced to the Presbyterian Church to get paper. He returned with Watt's Hymnals, and handed them out, saying, "Give 'em Watt's boys, Give 'em Watts!".

Gradually Angell's men were under fire from both front and both sides. They made a fighting retreat to the next bridge and the support of Shreve's 2nd NJ Regiment and the NJ militia.

The British continued to advance. This branch of the river is also easily fordable, and the British forces attacked across it again. They were stopped. They brought up cannon to fire on the Americans, and sent the 38th Regiment to attack the American right. This flank attack was halted when a unit of Continentals in a stone house opened fire, and then a militia unit came out in a counter attack, forcing them back. The militia were in turn driven back when they advanced close enough to come under fire by the British massed forces.

When the British advanced again on the right, Greene ordered his men back to the high ground reserves. Once in possession of the town, the British halted. Greene also sent Lt. Col. Barber to check on the Vauxhall Road.

To the east, on the Vauxhall Road, Lee's Legion and Ogden's Regiment, with a good number of militia on the flank, were placed in an extended line to each side of the bridge. When the Rangers and Volunteers again lead the attack, Lee realized that his extended line was too thin to hold. He made a fighting retreat across the west branch of the river. Lee placed his men by companies again to cover the road, but again Simcoe declined firing and marched across the bridge, formed and attacked. At the same time the Volunteers skirmished with the militia on the right, and the Light Infantry went around his left. The Light Infantry fought a series of sharp small fights across a thicket filled defile. Finally they brought Lee's men under a flanking fire, and more British were forming for a larger attack.

Barber, arriving on the scene, realized Lee needed help, and reported it back to Greene. Greene ordered the other two Rhode Island regiments to move in support, and also sent a cannon.

When they arrived Lee was falling back again to the slopes of the Short Hills. When the additional 400 regulars arrived the British halted, seeing the militia were beginning to mass forces on the mountain above them. The Rangers continued to advance until the American cannon took them under fire.

The British in order to advance down the Vauxhall Road would have to face attack from front and flanks. Militia was gathering in force to the right on the mountain slope. British Major General Mathew decided to take a cross roads into Springfield and rejoin Knyphausen.

During this respite, Greene reorganized and resupplied his men, and moved back closer to Hobart Gap, pulling Lee to a supportable position on the east side of the Gap.

The American's, although pushed back by superior numbers, had done well, and were ready to continue. The British had had enough. They began to retreat back to Elizabethtown. The loyalists present, mostly civilians, set fire to every Whig building on the way out. The British forces did not stop them. The American's first inkling that the battle was over was the sight of the smoke arising from many homes in Springfield. Greene ordered him men to advance on the outskirts of town to protect as many buildings as possible, but most of the town was in British possession. Only four homes owned by British sympathizers escaped the flames.

The British began to march for Elizabethtown, one column down Vauxhall Road and one down Galloping Hill Road. The Rangers guarded the rear on Vauxhall, the Jaegers on Galloping Hill roads. Greene sent the two Rhode Island regiments that had not seen much fighting after them, but they were two miles behind the British.

The militia however already had men on the flanks, and were soon joined by more. They began to extract revenge from both columns. The Jaegers made only light attempts to prevent attacks, and the Americans successfully harassed that column.

The Rangers however had not lost so many men, and were able to keep the American militia at bay. NJ Militia General Heard finally had to call the militia back, and had them follow at a distance.

The British did not stop long at Elizabethtown, and crossed over a bridge of boats to Staten Island. They had lost over 307 men killed, wounded or captured.

Again and again during the war the British expected that loyal Americans would turn out to support them, that the American army would fail to stand up and fight. The Springfield campaign was another of these miscalculations. No one in the American camp understood at the time what the British hoped to achieve- the Americans knew that no 6 thousand men could reach Morristown. It was only late in the 1800's when the British records became available that it was found that they had hoped to reach Morristown and destroy the army and stores there. Since it seemed pointless, it was deemed just another large raid, and with the major effort of the war happening in the south, this campaign became the "Forgotten" victory.

Most history books don't even mention this battle, with 6000 British troops attacking half that number of Continentals. However, it was an American victory, an effective defense, and the last large battle in the north.



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