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Battles and Skirmishes - Introduction

Battles and Skirmishes
in New Jersey
of the American Revolution
by David C. Munn


of the American Revolution
in New Jersey

by David C. Munn
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Munnr David C 1941-
Battles and skirmishes of the American Revolution in New Jersey.

1. New Jersey- Histony -Revolution, 1775-1783. I. Title.
E2C3.N5M85 973.3'3'09747 76-43103


Copyright 1976 Bureau of Geology and Topography, Department of Environ-
mental Protection.
All rights reserved.


". . . When Howe victorious our weak armies chased,
And, sure of conquest, laid Cesarea waste, . . . "
Philip Freneau, An Address

The original "Battles and Skirmishes" map was researched
and drawn in 1945 by John Db Alden, then Historian of the New
Jersey Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. In 1965
D. Stanton Hammond made additions and revisions for the society.

It was Hammond who brought the map to the attention of the
Bureau of Geology and Topography and the Bureau of Archives
and History with the suggestion that it be produced for the Bicen-
tennial. The Bureau of Archives and History provided the research,
using Alden's original files as a starting point. The Bureau of Geol-
ogy and Topography provided the draftsman and the technical car-
topographic assistance.

The intention of the map is to suggest the approximate sites of
the various battles and skirmishes that occurred during the Revo-
lutionary War rather than to pinpoint the exact location8b Along
the same lines, this pamphlet will provide only brief descriptions
of the actions, adding bibliographic references for more detailed

The actual number of violent events that occurred in New Jersey
during the Revolutionary War years can never be determined. The
era in New Jersey begins with the "tea party" at Greenwich on
December 22, 1774, and ends with a naval encounter on March 3,
1783, nearly nine years later.

The lack of primary source materials makes local actions,
both British and American, extremely difficult to discover and
document. The problem is most evident in areas such as Eliza-
bethtown and Staten Island, and particularly in the "neutral
ground" where the conflict became, more or less, a way of life. The
same problems occur in documenting naval actions.




In many instances, only the fact that a raid occurred is on
record with no mention of the participants or the results and casual-
ties. In such cases only the citation is presented.

The following list defines the various groups mentioned in the
battle descriptions.

Banditti: the outlaws that lived in and raided the towns near
the Pine Barrens.

King's Troops: the British Regular Army.

Loyalists: the people who supported the constituted authority
(the King), non-combatants as well as soldiers.

Plunderers: another name for banditti or outlaws.

Rangers: mounted troops. More commonly applied to Amer-
ican units than British.

Rebel(s): the American forces, either continental or local

Refugees: parties of Loyalist marauders who operated inde-
pendently of the British Army but claimed British protection. In
some places the term Cowboy was used interchangeably with

Regular: a member of the standing British Army.

Tory: historically refers to a member of one of the two parlia-
mentary parties (Tory and Whig), but, in America, refers to anyone
who remained loyal to the King.

Volunteers: British or Loyalist military units formed by
voluntary enrollment and separate from the Regular Army.

The place names used are those in use during the revolutionary
era, and the language of contemporary citations has been pre-
served. In citing a particular date we have adopted, as a rule of
thumb, the following procedure. The date given is the date the
action was completed. If an event began on the evening of March
18, for example, and lasted into the morning hours of March 19,
the date on the map will appear under March 19, when the action
was completed.

We have tried to include on the map every overt or hostile
action by either side that could be documented. Generally speak-
ing, any event, including a shot fired in anger, is listed. There are
many examples of hostile actions that did not involve shots but
they are significant to the course of the war and are included. In
many instances events may be nothing more than opposing sides
shouting obscenities at each other from safe distance8b

The presentation of battles and skirmishes in alphabetical
order detracts from the general overview of the war in that it pre-



sents events out of sequence: but it shows which areas suffered
most during the conflict, and makes this pamphlet a usable com-
panion to the map. The reader may find it useful to consult Dennis
P. Ryan's New Jersey in the American Revolution, 1763-1783: A
Chronology (New Jersey Historical Commission, 1974) to gain a
better time perspective.

The author wishes to thank Db Stanton Hammond, Sons of the
American Revolution, and Kemble Widmer, State Geologist, for
their encouragement and support in this project. Also Dennis P.
Ryan, Associate Editor, Papers of William Livingston; Bernard
Bush, Executive Director, New Jersey Historical Commission;
William C. Wright, Associate Director, New Jersey Historical
Commission; Donald Ab Sinclair, Curator, Special Collections,
Rutgers University Library; Hr David Earling, Project Officer,
New Jersey American Revolution Bicentennial Celebration Com-
mission; Mrs. Lillian Tonkin, Reference Librarian, Library Com-
pany of Philadelphia, for their suggestions. To Constance Mb
Greiff, Peggy Lewis, and Lee R. Parks for editorial suggestions and
assistance, and to Susan Kb Wolfarth for typing, much gratitude is



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