Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bound Brook and the Intimacy of the Revolution

     On April 13, 1777, General Charles Cornwallis and Hessian Colonels Karl von Donop and Johann Ewald attacked the American garrison at Bound Brook under command of General Benjamin Lincoln.  George Washington's main force was encamped at Jockey Hollow, some miles to the north; the British under General William Howe were in New Brunswick, less than ten miles away.  The attack was well-executed with overwhelming force; the Americans retreated and though the British took the field, they did not seek to hold Bound Brook.

     Here we see the battlefield from just south of the Raritan River, looking north along the current Queen's Bridge towards the Old Stone Bridge and the rest of the battlefield.  Although the battle is not often extensively discussed, it had the effect of causing Washington to move his forces south from Jockey Hollow to the Middlebrook encampment, and began the cat and mouse effort of General William Howe to lure Washington into a decisive engagement in New Jersey.

     What I find intriguing is the intimacy not just of this encounter--a small battle, perhaps more a skirmish, involving some of the leading names of the Revolutionary War--but of the circumstances involving Lincoln and Cornwallis.  At Yorktown, it was Lincoln who would take the sword of surrender that Cornwallis refused to give personally.

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