Jeremiah Greenman's Diary of June 27-28, 1778

S 27. this morn turn'd out from amung the wett grass. from [illeg.]70 pushed on 6 milds near Englishtown ware we draw'd 40 rounds of Cartireges / then marcht into the wood ware we heard a Number of Cannon fir'd toward the Surthurd of us / then we march'd about half a mild to the left of the army ware we stopt a Nower / then we ware order'd to sling our packs / we marcht half a mild into a Medow almost to the wright whare I took quarts. under a huckel bury buch. for it was very hot indeed / in the Night it wrain'd & cold.

S 28. Englishtown / this morn att two oClock we slung our packs71 / advanc'd towards the enemy about 3 milds from ware we lay / part of the militia & light hores that was on the wright engag'd the enemy / then our Division under the Command of Genl Lee advanced towards the enemy72 / thay being so much Superier to our Number we retreated / thay begun a very heavy Cannading / kil'd a few of our Rijmt. then we form'd again under a fence ware the light horse advanced on us / we began a fire on them very heavy / then the footmen rushed on us / after firing a Number of rounds we was obliged to retreat. a Number of our men died with heat a retreating. a Number of troops form'd in the rear of us and sum artilira wich cover'd our retreat.73 thay began a fire on the enemy, then thay [the British] retreat'd / Left the Ground with about a thousand kil'd & wounded. on our Side about two hunderd kil'd & wounded & died with heat.74 after We retreated we went back to the ground ware we left in the morning att English town ware we buried sum of our officers. here rec'd a ball in my left thy.75

70 Matchaponix Brook (also "River"), which flows through Englishtown (Smith, Monmouth, map, p. 4).

71 According to Smith, "This day the sun rose about 4:30 A.M. and was to set about 7:30 P.M., a day with one of the longest periods of sunlight during the year, 15 hours" (ibid., p. 9). Greenman's regiment, part of a detachment under Col. William Grayson, marched early (3:00 A.M.) toward Monmouth Courthouse (Freehold, N.J.) They numbered 600 men and carried four pieces of artillery (Stryker, Battle of Monmouth, pp. 117-18).

72 Greenman here collapses a great deal of time: The engagement he describes did not actually begin until after 12:00 noon, the intervening time having been spent alternately marching and halting, while Lee tried in vain to get accurate intelligence of the British movements (Smith, Monmouth, p. 11).

73 Lee's infamous retreat - which so aroused Washington's wrath and led to a court-martial - remains a controversial matter even today. Greenman's reasoning - there were more of them than of us - reflects the direct experience of the common soldier who sees the trees but must necessarily remain ignorant of his commander's desperate attempts to glimpse the forest. Lee had most of his troops in full retreat by 1:30 P.M. Greenman's regiment (now under Lt. Col. Jeremiah Olney) was among the first to be met and reformed by Washington (ibid., pp. 16, 18).

74 Greenman is careful to distinguish the direct battle casualties from those who collapsed and died from sunstroke or heat exhaustion. Stryker's figures for American losses are 69 killed, 161 wounded, 93 missing, 37 dead from sunstroke (Battle of Monmouth, appendix 5).

75 An examination of the actual journal page indicates that Greenman inserted this sentence at some later date. He means, of course, that he was wounded in the battle and not at Englishtown. Neither Stryker (Battle of Monmouth) nor Smith, (Monmouth) however, lists Greenman among the wounded.


Greenman, Jeremiah. Diary of a Common Soldier in the American Revolution, 1775-1783: An Annotated Edition of the Military Journal of Jeremiah Greenman. Edited by Robert C. Bray and Paul E. Bushnell. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1978. pg 121-122

To return to Tew's Company page.
last modified 8/14/03