Battle of Monmouth

Battle of Monmouth

The Battle of Monmouth (pronEng|ˈmɑnməθ) was an American Revolutionary War battle fought on June 28, 1778 in New Jersey. The main Continental Army under George Washington attacked the rear of the British Army's column led by Sir Henry Clinton as they left Freehold Court-House (modern Freehold Borough).


In May of 1778, The British commander, General Clinton in Philadelphia, faced with a war with France decided it was prudent to protect New York City and Florida. He sent 3000 troops to protect Florida by sea. Then On June 18, the British began to evacuate Philadelphia, crossing New Jersey to go to New York City. They had 11,000 troops, a thousand loyalists and a baggage train convert|12|mi|km long. As the British advanced, the Americans made it painful for them. They started burning bridges, muddying wells and cutting trees across roads.

General Lee advised to await developments-he didn't want to commit the army against the British regulars. In spite of Lee, Washington determined that the British were vulnerable to attack as they spread out across the state with their baggage trains, and moved from Valley Forge into New Jersey in pursuit.

Washington was still undecided as to whether he should risk an attack on the British column while it was on the march. He held a meeting of his command staff, the Council of War, and attempted to find some resolve in that matter. The council, however, was quite divided on the issue. The only unifying theme was that none of Washington's generals advised in favor of a general action. Brig Gen Anthony Wayne, the boldest of the staff, and Maj Gen Marquis de Lafayette, the youngest of the staff, urged for a partial attack on the British column while it was strung out on the road. Lee was still cautious. He advised only guerrilla action to harass the British column. On 26, June 1778, Washington sided with a more bold approach but did not go so far as issuing orders for a general action. He sent almost one-half of his army as an advance force to strike at the rear of the British when Clinton made the imminent move out of Monmouth Courthouse, which occurred on 28, June 1778.


The Continental Army moved on northeast from Valley Forge to attack. General Charles Lee was handed the command, and elements of his command - General Wayne's brigade supported by General Knox's artillery, attacked the British column's flank. When the British turned to attack him, Lee ordered a general retreat, and his soldiers soon became disorganized. Washington sent the dejected Lee to the rear, then personally rallied the troops and repelled two counterattacks referred to as "Washington's Advance". The battle was a standoff. With a high of over convert|100|°F|°C|abbr=on, both sides lost almost as many men to heat stroke as to the enemy. Both sides retired at nightfall.

Eventually exhaustion forced Clinton to call off the attack. Washington tried to organize a counterattack, but the daylight had begun to fade and his exhausted troops could fight on no longer. By about six in the evening the fighting was over. Clinton was happy that his main objective of the day, to cover his retreat, had been achieved. The next morning the Americans woke to find the British had slipped away during the night. The rest of the march to Sandy Hook went without incident, and on July 1 the British army reached the safety of New York City, from where they were evacuated to New York.

This battle was the first test of Steuben's re-trained Continental troops. They withstood the trial well given the conditions due to Steuben's knowledge of Prussian Army training programs. The battle was technically a tactical draw, as it had no particular benefit for either side, but the Americans claimed victory being left on the field, with the British having withdrawn. []


The battle was the last major engagement of the northern theater, and the largest one-day battle of the war when measured in terms of participants. Lee was later court-martialed for his actions at the Village Inn located in the center of Englishtown. [ [ A Short History of the Borough of Englishtown] , accessed December 26, 2006] He was found guilty. Monmouth is considered the second of two major battles over the course of the war in which Washington's army faced British Regulars on straightforward terms, in a set-piece field battle and were not defeated.

The legend of "Molly Pitcher" is usually associated with this battle. According to one story, she was a housewife who came to battle with her husband and took his place at the cannon after he fell. Based on a true incident, the story idea is embellished and has become a legend over the years. Two places on the battlefield are marked as sites of the Molly Pitcher Spring. [ Monmouth Battlefield: Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings] , accessed November 3, 2006]

Although never accorded formal preservation, Monmouth Battlefield is one of the best preserved of the Revolutionary War battlefields. Each year during the last weekend in June, the Battle of Monmouth is reenacted at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in modern Freehold Township and Manalapan.


The Monmouth County Historical Association at 70 Court Street in Freehold, New Jersey houses a collection of documents which includes personal accounts, journals, pension applications, letters, and miscellaneous printed material. It is a subject collection acquired through various donors.

ee also

*New Jersey during the American Revolution
*Monmouth order of Battle


External links

* [ New Jersey during the Revolution: The battle of Monmouth]
* [ Monmouth Battlefield: Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings]
* [ Battle of Monmouth]
* [ Monmouth County Historical Association: Coll. 72 Battle of Monmouth Collection]
* [ 2nd New Jersey Regt.]
* [ Department of Military Science - Battle of Monmouth]
*cite book|last=Styker|first=William|title=The Battle of Monmouth|year=2006|month= |publisher=Kessinger Publishing|location= |isbn=1428616004 |pages=336|chapter=|url=,M1
*cite journal |last=Wade |first=David |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1998 |month=June |title=Battle of Monmouth |journal=Military History |volume= |issue= |pages= |id= |url= |accessdate=2008-10-08 |quote=The Continentals were real soldiers now.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battle of Monmouth — noun a pitched battle in New Jersey during the American Revolution (1778) that ended with the withdrawal of British forces • Syn: ↑Monmouth Court House, ↑Battle of Monmouth Court House • Regions: ↑New Jersey, ↑Jersey, ↑Garden State, ↑NJ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Battle of Monmouth Court House — noun a pitched battle in New Jersey during the American Revolution (1778) that ended with the withdrawal of British forces • Syn: ↑Monmouth Court House, ↑Battle of Monmouth • Regions: ↑New Jersey, ↑Jersey, ↑Garden State, ↑NJ …   Useful english dictionary

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