Battle of Monmouth


It was in May 1778 that the commander of the British army realized that not only did he have to contend with the Americans, but he also had to worry about war with France, on American soil.  In an effort to bolster British position in the US, Philadelphia was evacuated and they headed for New York City, while another 3000 British troops headed to Florida to protect it from the French.  While the 3000 men heading for Florida went off by boat, the rest of the troops headed to New York, were on foot and horseback.  The Americans soon realized that they could cause havoc for the British by burning bridges and cutting down trees in their path.  Because they were on the move, Washington decided to take advantage of their vulnerability.

During the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Monmouth was fought on June 28th, 1778 in what today is the state of New Jersey.  Under the direction of George Washington, the Continental Army was on the move from Valley Forge in an attempt to attack.  Washington handed over power to a General by the name of Charles Lee with the help of General Wayne and General Knox.  Unfortunately though, Lee ordered his men to retreat as soon as they experienced some resistance.  Washington, knowing that they needed to keep pressing on sent Lee back and Washington lead the troops personally, giving allowing them to withstand two attacks.  This significant event in history is referred to as “Washington's Advance”.  At the time the temperature was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which cause many men to fall in exhaustion and heat stroke and both sides stopped fighting in the evening.  During the night the British troops had left the area and made their way to New York City and this short Battle ended.  In total the British suffered 304 casualties out of a total of 14k-15k troops, but with 770 wounded.  The Americans on the other hand had just 11,000 troops and suffered a total of about 500 wounded, killed or captured, but the exact figures are unknown.

It was the Battle of Monmouth that the legend of Molly Pitcher was attributed to.  Loosely based on actual events, Molly Pitcher was the wife of a fallen American soldier who took his place at the cannon when he was killed.  Over the years, the legend grew and Molly Pitcher became one of the symbols of courage shown in the war.