Battle of Springfield

“I am at a loss to determine what was the object of the enemy’s expedition: If it was to injure the troops under my command, or to penetrate further into the country, they were frustrated. If the destruction of this place, it was a disgraceful one. I lament that our force was too small to save the town from ruin. I with every American could have been a spectator; they would have felt for the sufferers, and joined to revenge the injury.”

Major General Nathaniel Greene, to General George Washington

It is June of 1780. The days are becoming longer and more gruelling, and the Hessian General Wilhelm von Knyphausen, commanding the British garrison in New York, is determined to break through the Watchung Mountain defenses and attack Washington’s army at Morristown. This is a particularly vulnerable time for Washington’s army, due to desertion and disease.

Knyphausen first plans to strike Hobart Gap near present day Springfield which, if penetrated, would provide a direct line of march toward Washington’s Morristown encampment eleven miles to the west.

Once on June 7th and then again on June 23rd, the British move on the Americans from Staten Island and the vicinity of Elizabethtown resulting in the Battle of Connecticut Farms and the Battle of Springfield. Both attempts fail, as the Americans put up stiff resistance and New Jersey militia swarmed to the scene, helping to stall the British advance. As they retreated, von Knyphausen’s forces set fire to both communities, concluding what was the last sizable battle in the northern states during the Revolution.

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