Jeremiah Greenman's Diary of June 21-23, 1780

W 21. Continuing near Springfield / Genl. Green ordered to take Command of the Troops left hear / his Excellency marched last Night with the Army which marched toward Kings ferry.

T 22. this day a Number of boats & Small Crafts passing from New york to Elisebeth, which we imagine the enemy was reingforsing & their approach might be spedily expected.34

F 23. this morn was alarmed by the advance of the Enemy which atacked & drove in Genl. Maxfield's Brigade which was posted at Conaticut farms / we immeadiately marched from our Post (which was about two miles from Springfield bridge)35 & join'd the Brigade after which we marched into Springfield near the Meating house, from where our Regt. was ordered to advance & take Command of a Small Orchard, the Enemy at the same time advancing sum scattering fires took place & a few Shot from sum of the Enemies field peases was fired into town after which the Enemy retired the firing seased, but we soon found they was again advancing in two Colloms / a New Disposion was made of our Troops / our Regt. was then ordered to take post at a bridge by a Small Brook which we thought was not pasable onley by the Bridge as it appear'd Slowey [sloughy] and Swampy on Each Side, a field peace was posted on a hill jest in our Rear, our Right wing on the Right of the Bridge & Left wing in the Left of the Bridge (where we thought the Enemy must all pass) / a firing of musquets immeadiately took place by the Enemies Right Collom advancing for the other part of the Town which they approached with but Little Difficulty. we then discovered their Left Collom approaching us very fast / the feald pice back of us played very briskly on them-the Enemy opn'd with 5 field peaces on the one which they compeled to retire36 with the Los of a Capt. & a few men / they levil'd them at our Regt. & by this time their Infentry was not more than a Musquet Shot from us & advancing very fast for the Bridge / their Light Troops chifeley yaugers37 advanced for the Brook & each flank which they soon gained / the Musquetry at the same time playing very smartly on the Bridge / they being so far Superiour in Number they crosed it, & sun [soon] [were] considerable in the Rear of the Right wing when they retired, the left wing having advantagious Ground fought them on a Retreat forming at every fence & Noll / at one of the halts received a small ball in my Shoulder; retreated to the Short hills where we formed the line again jest back of the Town. the Enemy marched into Town set fire to 21 housen & burned them to the Ground after which they retired very rappidly / we followed after them as fas38 Conaticut farms but the Regiment being so fatiagued with ye Toyls of the Day we was ordered back to our Quarters near Vaux Hall Road-the Militia followed them very clostly & took a Number of Stragulars-

34 For a complete catalogue of the British and American units engaging, see Boatner, Encyclopedia, pp. 1046-47.

35 Leaving Elizabethtown at 5 A.M., the British advanced in two parallel columns along the Vauxhall and Springfield roads. The first position of Angell's Second Rhode Island Regiment (really two slightly different deployments, as Greenman indicates) was near an orchard along Vauxhall Road, commanding the bridge over Rahway Creek. Here the Rhode Islanders stood, with their sole cannon, and held up Knyphausen's column for some forty minutes before being forced to retire. According to Carrington, Angell lost fully one-quarter of his men in this action (Carrington, Battles, pp. 500-501; and Boatner, Encyclopedia, p. 1047).

36 That is, they forced the artillery out of the action.

37 Greenman's rendering of "Jagers," (literally "huntsmen") crack guerrilla-type light infantry from Germany (Boatner, Encyclopedia p. 549).

38 Abbreviation for "as far as."


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 174-175

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