Chaplain Ebenezer David's description of the action at Fort Mercer

The two Rhode-Island Regts with two others from Connecticut marched from Pecks-kills Sept 29 under command of Gen. Varnum - Octbr 8 the two Rhode-Island Regts were detatched for Red Bank under command of Col Green - 10th Col Angels Regt was remanded just having reached Bristol - 16th Col Angels Regt was detached again to reinforce Col Green   18th reached Red Bank.   the two days march 70 Miles. -

Upon Col Greens arrivle the works were un no state of defence being so large to require 3,000 Men badly laid out & not finished - He took one corner & was fortefiing - When on 22 of Octbr 1 of the Clock P.M. Count Donop with not less than 1200 Men invested the Fort which contained between five & six hundred   at half past foure he summonsed the Fort to a surrender. The Flag was met by Col Olney just without the lines who replyed to them asking to see the Commanding officer. That the commanding Officers answer to the Flag was that he would defend the Fort unto the last - They still insisted upon seeing him & urged that if the Fort was not surrendered no mercy would be shown & their blood would be upon their own heads - The Col replyed their seeing Col Green was altogether needless   his answer to the Summons they already had - that He would defend the Fort as long as he had a Man, & as to Mercy it wasneither sought nor expected at their hands -

Instantly upon the Messengers returning to their Corps a brisk fire began upon the Fort from 8 Field Pieces & 2 Howitzers that were planted within 200 yards of the Fort.   in the mean time the Count brought on his Men in two sollid Collums - upon their reaching the Abitees they spread & having mounted the neglicted lines they gave a shout supposing they had got the works - within these old lines the Count recived his mortal wound - His Men advanced with great bravery & firmness   some few of them reached the pickets & one Man was killed in the Ambazure - Notwithstanding the weakness & bad construction of our Works the Dexterrity of the Men were such that the Hessians could not endure their fire beyond 40 Minutes & they were obliged to retreat in great Disorder Leaving behind them about 200 killed & wounded among the dead 1 Lieut Col - 3 Cpts & 4 Lieuts - Among the wounded Count Charles Donop (since dead was wounded in his thigh by a grape shot) a Brigade Major. & a Lieut these latter are suffered to go to Phila. on their parole   the Major is supposed to be mortally wounded 19 privates, 17 of them now living most in a hopfull way - the Cpts name was Shaw belonged to Col Angels Regt


Black, Jeannette D. and Roelker, William Greene A Rhode Island Chaplain in the Revolution; Letters of Ebenezer David to Nicholas Brown 1775-1778. Providence: The Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati, 1949. pg 52-53

To return to Tew's Company page.
last modified 2/7/04