Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back to Monmouth

Here is the spot, according to the markers placed here, the area of the "point of woods" where George Washington accosted Charles Lee, essentially relieved him of command at Monmouth, and then tore back across the Middle Brook to rally the American forces on Perrine Ridge.

Monmouth of course was fought on June 28, 1778, a particularly hot day.  I was here in January, on a gloomy and atmospheric day.  This state park is extraordinarily well preserved, and the free written walking tours, if followed and paid attention to, allow you to comprehend what happened here.  On this particular day, while the visitor center is under reconstruction, I had the battlefield to myself, and could just about hear the shouts, shots and cannonades.

Lee came to a sad end.  Convicted by court martial on August 12, 1778 of disobedience of orders in not attacking the British, misbehavior by his disorderly retreat, and disrespect to Washington, and was suspended from service for a year.  On December 5, Congress confirmed the verdict (though it was by no means unanimous).  Ever recalcitrant and increasingly obstreperous, Lee alienated his supporters and died in 1782 in poverty at 50 years old.  Putting aide his personality issues, at the time and now there remains a school of thought that continues to support the actions he took at Monmouth and view the verdict as incorrect.  

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