George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Henry Lee, Jr., 22 August 1779

From Major Henry Lee, Jr.

Paramus [N.J.] 22d August 1779.


Lord Stirling was pleased to communicate to your Excellency my verbal Report to his Lordship of the 19th instant.1 I now do myself the honor to present a particular relation of the Enterprize which your Excellency was pleased to commit to my direction.

I took command of the troops employed on this occasion on the 18th They amounted to four hundred Infantry composed of detachments from the Virginia and Maryland Divisions, and one troop of dismounted Dragoons. For the full explanation of the Modes of approach, attack, and retreat—I beg leave to refer to the order of March and disposition of Battle transmitted in the present enclosure.2

The troops moved from the Vicinity of the New Bridge about four oClock P.M. Patrols of Horse being detached to watch the communication with the North River, and parties of Infantry stationed at the different Avenues leading to Powles Hook: My anxiety to render the march as easy as possible, induced me to pursue the Bergen Road lower than intended. After filing into the mountains the timidity or treachery of the principal Guide prolonged a short march into a march of three Hours, by this means the troops were exceedingly harassed, and being obliged to pass through deep mountainous Woods to regain our Route, some parties of the Rear were unfortunately separated. This affected me most sensibly, as it not only diminished the number of the Men destined for the Assault, but deprived me of the aid of several Officers of distinguished Merit.

On reaching the point of separation, I found my first disposition impracticable both from the near approach of day and the rising of the tide. Not a moment being to spare, I paid no attention to the punctilio’s of honor or Rank, but ordered the troops to advance in their then disposition. Lieutenant Rudulph, whom I had previously detached to reconnoitre the passages of the Canal returned to me at this point of time and reported that all was silence within the Works, that he had fathomed the Canal and found the passage on the Center Rout still admissible.3 This intervening intelligence was immediately communicated from Front to Rear and the troops pushed on with that Resolution, order and coolness which ensures success.

The forlorn Hopes, led by Lieut. McCallister of the Maryland [detachment] and Lieut. Rudulph of the Dragoons marched on with trailed Arms in most profound silence.4 Such was the singular address of these two Gentlemen that the first notice to the Garrison was The Forlorne’s plunging into the Canal. A firing immediately commenced from the Block Houses and along the line of Abattis but did not in the least check the advance of the Troops. The forlorne supported by Major Clarke at the head of the right Column, broke thro’ all opposition, and fou⟨nd⟩ an entrance into the main Work.5 So rapid was the movement of the troops that we gained the Fort before the discharge of a single peice of Artillery. The Center Column conducted by Capt. Forsyth on passing the Abattis took a direction to their left. Lieut. Armstrong led on the advanced of this Column. They soon possessed themselves of the Officers and troops posted at the House No. 6. and fully completed every object of their destination. The rear Column under Capt. Handy moved forward in support of the whole. Thus were we completely victorious in the space of a few Moments.6

The appearances of day light, my apprehension least some accident might have befallen the Boats, the numerous difficulties of the Retreat, the harrassed State of the troops, and the destruction of all our ammunition by passing the Canal conspired in influencing me to retire the Moment of Victory. Major Clarke with the right Column was immediately put in motion with the greater part of the prisoners. Capt. Handy followed on with the remainder. Lieutenants Armstrong and Reed formed the rear Guard.7

Immediately on the commencement of the Retreat, I sent forward Capt. Forsyth to priors Mill to collect such Men from the different Columns as were most fit for Action and to take post on the heights of Bergen to cover the Retreat.8

On my reaching this place, I was informed by Cornet Neill (who had been posted there during the Night for the purpose of laying the Bridge and communicating with the Boats) that my Messenger directed to him previous to the attack had not arrived, nor had he heard from Capt. Peyton who had charge of the Boats.9

Struck with apprehension that I should be disappointed in the route of retreat, I rode forward to the front under Majr Clarke whom I found very near the point of embarkation and no Boats to receive them. In this very critical situation I lost no time in my decision, but ordered the troops to regain Bergen Road and move on to the New Bridge: at the same time I communicated my disappointment to Lord Stirling by Express, then returned to priors Bridge to the Rear Guard.

Oppressed by every possible misfortune; at the Head of troops worn down by a rapid March of thirty Miles, thro’ Mountains, Swamps and deep Morasses, without the least refreshment during the whole March⟨,⟩ Ammunition destroyed, encumbered with prisoners and a retreat of fourteen Miles to make good, on a Route admissible of interception at several points by a march of two, three, or four Miles. One Body moving in our Rear, and another (from the intelligence I had received from the captured Officers) in all probability well advanced on our Right—a Retreat naturally impossible to our left.10 Under all these distressing circumstances, my sole dependance was in the persevering gallantry of the Officers and obstinate courage of the Troops. In this I was fully satisfied by the shouts of the Soldiery who gave every proof of unimpaired Vigor on the Moment that the Enemy’s approach was announced.

Having gained the point of interception opposite Weehock, Capt. Handy was directed to move with his division on the mountain Road in order to facilitate the retreat. Capt. Catlett of the 2d Virginia Regt fortunately joined me at this moment at the Head of fifty Men with good Ammunition.11 I immediately halted this Officer and having detached two parties, the one in the Bergen Road in the Rear of Maj⟨or⟩ Clarke, the other on the Banks of the North River. I moved with the party under command of the Captain on the Center Route. By these precautions a sudden approach of the Enemy was fully prevented. I am very much indebted to this Officer and the Gentlemen under him for their alacrity and Vigilance on this occasion.

On the Rears approach to the Fort Lee Road we met a detachment under the command of Colo. Ball, which Lord Stirling had pushed forward on the first notice of our situation to support the Retreat. The Colonel moved on and occupied a position which effectually covered us.12

Some little time after this, a Body of the Enemy (alluded to in the intelligence I mentioned to have received from the Officers while in the fort) made their appearance issuing out of the Woods on our right, and moving thro’ the feilds directly to the Road. They immediately commenced a fire upon my Rear. Leiutenant Reed was ordered to face them while Lieut. Rudulph threw himself with a party into a stone House which commanded the Road. These two Officers were directed mutually to support each other and give time for the troops to pass the English Neighbourhood Creek13 at the Liberty Pole. On the enemy’s observing this disposition they immediately retired by the same Route they had approached and gained the Woods. The precipitation with which they retired preventing the possibility of Colo. Balls falling in with them, saved the whole.

The Body which moved in our Rear having excessively fatigued themselves by the rapidity of thier march, thought prudent to halt before they came in contact with us.

Thus Sir was every attempt to cut off our Rear completely baffled. The troops arrived safe at the New Bridge with all the prisoners about 1 oClock P.M. on the 19th.

I should commit the highest injustice, was I not to assure your Excellency that my endeavours were fully seconded by every Officer in his station, nor can any discrimination justly be made, but what arose from opportunity. The troops vied with each other in patience under their many sufferings and conducted themselves in every vicissitude of fortune with a resolution which reflects the highest honor on them.

During the whole Action not a single Musket was fired on our side—the Bayonet was our sole dependance.

Having gained the fort, such was the order of the troops, and attention of the Officers, that the soldiers were prevented from plundering, altho’ in the midst of every sort.

American humanity has been again signally manifested. Self preservation strongly dictated on the retreat the putting the prisoners to death, and British Cruelty fully justified it, notwithstanding which not a man was wantonly hurt.

During the progress of the troops in the Works, from the different Reports of my Officers, I conclude not more than fifty of the Enemy were killed and a few wounded. Among the killed is one Officer, supposed from his description to be a Captain in Colo. Buskirks Regt. Our loss on this occasion is very trifling. I have not yet had a report from the detachment of Virginians but as I conclude their loss to be proportionate to the loss of the other troops, I can venture to pronounce that the loss of the whole in killed, wounded and missing will not exceed twenty. As soon as the Report comes to hand, I will transmit to Head Quarters an accurate Return.14 I herewith inclose a Return of the prisoners taken from the Enemy.15

At every point of the Enterprize I stood highly indebted to Maj: Clarke for his Zeal, activity and example. Captains Handy and Forsyth have claim to my particular thanks for the support I experience from them on every occasion. The Captains Reed, McClane, Smith, Crump and Wilmot behaved with the greatest Zeal and intrepidity. I must acknowledge myself very much indebted to Major Burnet and Capt. Peyton of the Dragoons for their Council and indefatagability in the previous preparations to the attack. The premature withdraw of the Boats was owing to the non arrival of my dispatches and tho’ a most mortifying circumstance can be called nothing more than unfortunate. Lieut. Vanderville, who was to have commanded one of the Forlornes, but was thrown out by the alteration of the disposition of Battle, conducted himself perfectly soldier like. The whole of the officers behaved with the greatest propriety, and as I said before no discrimination can justly be made but what arose from oppertunity.16

The Lieutenants McCallister—Armstrong, Reed and Rudulph distinguished themselves remarkably. Too much praise cannot be given to these Gentlemen for their prowess and example. Capt. Bradford of the Train who volunteered it with me for the purpose of taking direction of the Artillery deserves my warmest thanks for his Zeal and Activity. I am personally indebted to Capt. Rudulph and Dr Irvine of the Dragoons who attended me during the Expedition, for their many Services.

I beg leave to present your Excellency with the Flag of the Fort by the Hands of Mr McCallister the Gentleman into whose possession it fell.

It is needless for me to explain my Reasons for the instantaneous evacuation of the Fort. Your Excellency’s knowledge of the post will suggest fully the propriety of it. The Event confirms it.

Among the many unfortunate circumstances which crossed our wishes; none was more so, than the accidental absence of Colo. Buskirk and the greatest part of his Regt. They had set out on an Expedition up the North River the very night of the attack. A Company of vigilant Hessians had taken their place in the fort, which rendered the secrecy of approach more precarious, and at the same time diminished the object of the Enterprize by a reduction of the Numbe⟨rs⟩ of the Garrison. Major Sutherland fortunately saved himself by a Soldiers counterfeiting his person.17 This imposition was not discovered till too late.

I intended to have burnt the Barracks, but on finding a Number of sick Soldiers and Women with young Children in them, humanity forbad the Execution of my intention. The Key of the Magazine could not be found, nor could it be broke open in the little time we had to spare, many attempts having been made to that purpose by the Lieutenants McCallister and Reed. It was completely impracticable to bring off any peices of Artillery. I consulted Capt. Bradford on the point who confirmed me in my opinion. The circumstance of spiking them being trivial it was omitted altogether.

After most of the troops had retired from the Works and were passed and passing the Canal, a fire of Musquetrey commenced from a few straglers who had collected in an old Work on the right of the main fort. Their fire being ineffectual and the object trifling, I determined not to break in upon the order of retreat, but continued passing the defile in front. I cannot conclude this Relation without expressing my warmest thanks to Lord Stirling for the full patronage I received from him in every Stage of the Enterprize. I must also return my thanks to the Cavalry for their vigilant Execution of the duties assigned them.

Capt. Rudulph waits on your Excellency with these dispatches, I beg leave to refer to this Officer for any further explanation that may be required. I have the honor to be Sir with the most perfect Respect Yr Excellency’s most obt and most humble Servt

Henry Lee Junr

Copy, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169. GW forwarded this report, with the order of march and the return of prisoners, to Congress on 23 Aug. (see GW to John Jay, 23 Aug. [second letter]).

GW, Major General Stirling, and Lee had been planning this surprise attack on the British fort at Paulus Hook, N.J., since at least 10 Aug. (see GW to Lee, 10 Aug., and GW to Stirling, 12 Aug., first letter; see also GW to Lee, 1 Sept.). For the layout, works, and armament of the fort at Paulus Hook, see Map 5. For the units in Lee’s attacking force, see his “Order of march and disposition of battle” in n.2 to this document. In addition to the attacking force, Stirling had posted a detachment of some 500 men under the command of Lt. Col. Burgess Ball of the 1st Virginia Regiment at New Bridge, N.J., to support Lee. The British garrison of the fort consisted of Lt. Col. Abraham Van Buskirk’s 4th Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers and part of the Royal Garrison (or Invalid) Regiment, but Buskirk had marched out the previous evening with a party from his battalion consisting of about 150 men in search of what they believed to be a detachment of about 100 American troops assembling in the vicinity of the English Neighborhood and New Bridge. Maj. Gen. James Pattison, commandant of the garrison of New York, had sent forty men from the Hessian Fusilier Regiment Erbprinz to reinforce the garrison in Buskirk’s absence. Maj. William Sutherland, major-commandant of the Garrison Regiment, commanded the Paulus Hook garrison, which at the time of Lee’s assault numbered about 200 men. After breaking through the line of abatis, Lee’s troops captured the right and center blockhouses, the main work of the fort, and the barracks. However, they failed to take the left blockhouse and the round redoubt, in which Sutherland had taken post with twenty-five of the Hessians. Informed by Sutherland of the attack on the post, Pattison dispatched 100 light infantry from the brigade of guards and 100 Hessians from New York as reinforcements. Sutherland took two of the guard companies in pursuit of Lee, but, as Lee relates, failed to find the Americans. Pattison described Van Buskirk’s engagement with Lee at Liberty Pole as a “smart skirmish.” Although Van Buskirk suffered no casualties in the skirmish, he was greatly outnumbered by Lee and the approaching Ball—as Lee reports, Van Buskirk did not sustain his attack and subsequently made his way back to Paulus Hook. That evening Pattison withdrew the light infantry and forty of the Hessians back to New York.

A modern estimate based on contemporary sources puts American casualties at four killed, three wounded, and seven captured, with an additional three captured in the skirmish at Liberty Pole (Peckham, Toll of Independence, description begins Howard H. Peckham, ed. The Toll of Independence: Engagements & Battle Casualties of the American Revolution. Chicago, 1974. description ends 63–64). This is close to Lee’s estimate of casualties and close to Pattison’s claim for eleven Americans captured (Pattison, “Letters,” 101). Pattison gives the British losses as nine killed and two wounded; additionally, he reports four officers, seven sergeants, five corporals, and ninety-seven privates “taken or missing” (Pattison, “Letters,” 101). A contemporary journal—probably kept either by Pattison or an officer on his staff—mentions “about 150” of the garrison captured (Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 433), which accords with Lee’s report of prisoners taken (see n.15 to this document). For British accounts of this action, see Pattison, “Letters,” 99–102, 252–54; Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 433–34; Ewald, Diary, description begins Johann Ewald. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven and London, 1979. description ends 175; and Baurmeister, Revolution in America, description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends 295–96.

GW announced the success of Lee’s assault in general orders of this day, and the news helped raise American morale during a difficult campaign. Although the British retained the fort, the capture of another garrison coming so soon after Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne’s capture of the Stony Point garrison in July greatly embarrassed British commander in chief Gen. Henry Clinton. Although Clinton minimized the impact of the attack in his official report (Davies, Documents of the American Revolution, description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends 17:190–91), he later complained of Sutherland’s misconduct as commandant and disapproved of the verdict of the court martial that acquitted him (see Willcox, American Rebellion, description begins William B. Willcox, ed. The American Rebellion: Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775–1782, with an Appendix of Original Documents. New Haven, 1954. description ends 139–40; see also Willcox, Henry Clinton, description begins William B. Willcox. Portrait of a General: Sir Henry Clinton in the War of Independence. New York, 1964. description ends 279).

1Major General Stirling sent two letters to GW on 19 Aug., neither of which has been found.

2Lee’s original enclosure has not been found. The undated and signed copy of Lee’s “Order of march and disposition of battle,” in James McHenry’s writing, which GW enclosed with his second letter to Jay of 23 Aug., reads: “Watch word—Stoney-Point. The troops to move from their present position by the right; having crossed the Hackinsack river, at the new-bridge, they will file off to the left, taking the direct road to Fort Lee. After reaching the center of the mountain, they move to the right passing down in the bosom of the Highlands.

“Front, rear guard, and flanking parties composed of troops of known fidelity, and directed by officers of vigilance, to take such positions, and preserve such distance on the march as the commanding officer may from time to time require.

“Patroles of Cavalry with flying parties of infantry to scour the country on the left flank, in front and in rear previous to the troops turning into the mountain and to continue this duty till four at night, so as to mask completely the route of the troops: All persons who may during the march fall in view, are to be seized and committed to the quarter guard without respect to age, sex or character; nor is any solicitation to be made on any pretence whatever in behalf of the prisoner or prisoners to the commanding officer. They will be released at the proper moment.

“The guides are to be put in charge of an officers guard, and such particular ones as may be pointed out are to be pinioned, a trusty file to be posted on their right and left for the purpose of putting them to immediate death if necessary—This order requiring momentary execution, the soldiers entrusted are to be chosen men, and stand prepared.

“The officers commanding divisions will be responsible to the commanding officer for the due obedience and execution of orders. They are therefore to number the several platoons in their respective divisions taking a memorandum of the names of the officers commanding platoons, that should any breach be committed, the offender may be easily ascertained.

“No officer or soldier to quit his line of march. Proper halts will be made when the soldiers are to refresh under the eye of their officer.

“On the vans reaching a given point they will halt, and form three columns in the following order as they come up.

“A detachment of one hundred from General Woodfords brigade under the command of Major Clarke to compose the right—Two companies of Marylanders to form the center—headed by Capn Handy. A detachment of 100 from Gen: Muhlenburgs with capn McClanes dismounted dragoons to compose the left under Major Lee. The forlorn of the right to be led on by Lieut. Vanderville of the 1st Virginia. The forlorn of the center by Lt Reed of the 5 Maryland. The forlorn of the left by Lt Armstrong of the dragoons. The remainder of the troops to form the reserve commanded by Capn Reed of the 10th Virginia.

“Necessary refreshments being taken the detachment will move on the word march as before. The right column furnishing the front guard, the left the rear, and the flanking the center parties—At a signal hereafter concerted these parties will rejoin—The whole then to advance in one solid body.

“On the vans reaching the point No. 1 a second halt to take place, and the troops again refreshed—At this ground the canteens to be taken off and given in charge of a party appointed for the purpose. The officer will receive particular instructions. At the hour of Eleven the troops to move taking up their former line of march. They will pass the creek in front of the point 2, and having advanced to 9 the poi⟨nt⟩ of operation the several columns will take their respective routes.

“The right column filing to their right will pass the morass in front of the left flank of the fort, cross the canal at the point 3 and pursue route 3.

“The left column will file to ⟨the⟩ left, ford the canal at the point 4, pu⟨sh⟩ through the abbatis in the river making their way good to the main work on the route 4.

“The center column will take ⟨the⟩ route 5—lay the bridge 5—brake through the gate—possess the center block-house—and force a passage into the fort near the ambrasures 5. The different columns to be preceded by a band of desperadoes led by officers of distinguished intrepidity.

“The right column on passing the canal will detach a subaltern to seize the left block house. The left column to make two detachments on their forcing the abbatis—a captain to take the route 6, master the officers and troops quartered at the house 6, and post a proper guard over the boats at the wharf—A Subaltern will possess the right block-house.

“The three columns to rush forward breaking through all obstructions and forcing their way into the main work 7. Detachments to be then made for the collecting of prisoners as circumstances may direct, and time permit. The reserve will take post at the point of defence 8. They are to direct their attention towards the shore of the North Rivr from Weehock to Powles hook. Should any troops make good a landing, they are to harrass them on their advance, and dispute most obstinately every inch of ground, tho’ opposed to legions. The right will favor their resistance; and a resolute pointed opposition, must not only retard the progress of the enemy, but will advise them to wait for day light, before they dare to make a forward movement of consequence. The commanding officer pledges his honor to support the reserve, and to secure their retreat, or share their fate.

“The conquering troops as they meet with victory are to echo the watch word. No Huzza to follow, on the contrary, a profound silence is expected.

“The idea of plunder to be banished from the ranks, and the same strict order to be preserved within the lines as on the march. Any soldier leaving his platoon to be put to death instantly. The officers are to bear in remembrance that altho’ victorious still the chief difficulty is to be encountered. The retreat is to be made good, and as the commanding officer is determined on a universal sacrifice rather than fail, he hopes that the love the gentlemen possess for their soldiers, will be an additional inducement among the many that must occur to ensure their pointed attention.

“The right column (the moment that victory has crowned the enterprise) are to move; they will pass the bridge on the main road leading to Bergen, and possess the hights on the right of the Town. They are to assume a position which encourages the most daring defence.

“The left column will form an escort for the prisoners and follow in the route of [the] right. On entering the Town of Bergen, they will take the road 10 leading to Dows ferry, where the embarkation is to be performed in perfect order—a number of flat bottom boats will be found in waiting. After landing, the boats to return, and the escort to push on to acquakanac bridge, where they will cross the Posaick river and wait further orders.

“The center column will compose the guard for the artillery, public stores &c. &c. They will pursue the same route, and attend to the same regulations. On reaching the point of transportation two light sixes with a proper guard are to be pointed on the safe shore, in such direction as to cover the retreat of the van—The rest to be pushed on to Acquakenac and to be planted on the ground commanding the bridge. The rear guard composed of the right column and reserve, with the commanding officer in person will occupy the hights of Bergen and other strong positions on the route, so as to secure the left and center column⟨s⟩ with the prisoners and artillery.

“One squadron of cavalry under the command of Lieut. Eggleson will take post in the vicinity of Fort Lee and Bull’s ferry. They are to observe the movements ⟨in⟩ the opposite camps. Should any troops land, report to be made to Lord Stirling at the New-Bridge—They are to harrass the enemy’s left flank on their advance, a small party playing in front to notify [of] their approach.

“The remainder of the partizan cavalry to move down at ⟨the⟩ given hour to the point of debarkation—They will secure the roads leading to Acquakanac bridge and join the escort of prisoners.

“Previous to the troops being put in motion on the second halt, a badge of distinction, then distributed, to be fixed in each mans hat, liquor to be served out and the troops acquainted with the object.

“The officers commanding the different columns will communicate in the most lively terms the certainty of success; and impress on the minds of the officers and soldiers the absolute necessity for profound silence and perfect order.

“The columns are to move with muskets loaded—fixed bayonets, pans open—and cocks fallen—No soldier on pain of immediate death to take his musket from his shoulder till ordered—The bayonet to be the only appeal.

“After passing the point 9 heads to be uncovered—hats in the right hand close to the right thigh—The troops to throw on their hats as they pass the canal.

“The columns on commencing the retreat are to prime and stand fully prepared for field action.

“The commanding officer declares that the enterprise is founded on the best intelligence, that the approaches have been ascertained by himself in person—that the guides are intimately acquainted with their business, and that the retreat is certain if timely.

“The simplicity with which the disposition of march and order of battle is drawn up assures him that there is no possibility of mistake for want of correctly understanding them—The high confidence which he reposes in the ability, and intrepidity of his officers, and his certain knowlege of the veteranship of the soldiers he has the honor to command, joined to his perfect acquaintance with the strength and situation of the post afford him just ground for pronouncing that complete success will and must attend the enterprise.

“He pledges his honor to the soldiers that they shall receive full share of every article that may be taken—At the same time [he] repeats his former declaration, that instant death shall be the fate of that man who may be so lost to all sense of honor & duty as to presume to leave his platoon, or to encumber himself with any part of the plunder of the enemy’s camp. The love he has uniformely possessed for arms—the heart felt satisfaction he feels in observing military merit, joined to his duty are sufficient securities that he will in his report to the commander in chief do ample justice to those characters who may be most conspicuous on the occasion. He heartily wishes a happy morning to the assailants and begs them to recollect and emulate the glorious example exhibited at Stoney-point on the 16th July” (DNA:PCC, item 152).

3Michael Rudulph (Rudolph; 1758–c.1795), of Cecil County, Md., joined Maj. Henry Lee’s Corps of Partisan Light Dragoons as sergeant-major in April 1778 and became regimental quartermaster in April 1779. Commissioned a lieutenant in July 1779, Rudulph was awarded a brevet rank of captain by Congress in September 1779 for leading one of the forward attacking parties in the surprise assault on the British fort at Paulus Hook, N.J., in August. He received formal promotion to captain in November 1779 and served to the close of the war. After the war, Rudulph settled in Savannah, Georgia. He later served in the U.S. Army, becoming a captain in the 1st Infantry in June 1790, a major in the Light dragoons in March 1792, and adjutant and inspector of the army in February 1793. He resigned from the army in July 1793. In 1795 Rudolph boarded ship, possibly intending to join the French military service, but he was never heard from again and was presumed to be drowned.

4Archibald McAllister (McCallister) joined the Maryland Battalion of the Flying Camp as a lieutenant in July 1776 and transferred to the 2d Maryland Regiment as an ensign in December 1776. He became a second lieutenant in the 1st Maryland Regiment in April 1777 and was promoted to first lieutenant in May 1778. Congress awarded McCallister the brevet rank of captain in September 1779 for leading one of the forward attacking parties in the Paulus Hook assault. He subsequently transferred to the 5th Maryland Regiment. He left the army in April 1781.

5At this time, Jonathan Clark was serving as major of the 8th Virginia Regiment; however, his later promotion to lieutenant colonel apparently was backdated to May 1779.

6Robert Forsyth of Virginia had been adjutant of Col. Adam Stephen’s 4th Virginia Regiment in 1776, and, when Stephen was promoted to brigadier general in September of that year, Forsyth apparently served for a time as Stephen’s brigade major before becoming an aide to Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene. Appointed a deputy quartermaster general in July 1778 (see General Orders, 23 July 1778, and n.1 to that document), Forsyth seems to have retained that position for a time even after joining Maj. Henry Lee’s Partisan Corps as a captain and paymaster in September 1778 (his commission as captain in Lee’s Corps was later dated to 1 July 1778). Forsyth continued to act in these dual roles until early February 1779, when he seems to have surrendered his quartermaster duties. After visiting Virginia in the spring of 1779, Forsyth returned to the army in time to command his troop in the assault on Paulus Hook, but the next month he resigned his commission to become a deputy commissary in Virginia (see GW to Forsyth, 5 Sept., and n.2 to that document).

Levin Handy (1754–1799), of Caroline County, Md., joined the 4th Maryland battalion of the Flying Camp as a second lieutenant in June 1776 and was promoted to first lieutenant in August. He became a captain in the 5th Maryland Regiment in December 1776. He left the army in May 1780.

7Philip Reid joined the 5th Maryland Regiment as an ensign in February 1777 and became a lieutenant in October 1778. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Camden, S.C., in August 1780. After his exchange, he transferred to the 3d Maryland Regiment in January 1781 and became captain in February 1782. Reid left the army in April 1783.

8Prior’s Mill, N.J., was located on the road between Paulus Hook and Bergen, N.J., approximately one mile northwest of Paulus Hook.

9Ferdinand O’Neil (O’Neal), of Fairfax County, Va., joined the First Regiment of Light Dragoons as a cornet in April 1777, but he appears to have transferred to Maj. Henry Lee’s Partisan Corps when that unit was formed in April and May 1778. He became a lieutenant in September 1779 and a captain in October 1780, commanding a troop in Lee’s Legion. He served to the close of the war.

Henry Peyton (died c.1781) became a cornet in the troops of light dragoons raised in Virginia in June of 1776. Promoted to second lieutenant in February 1777, shortly after those troops of horse were taken into Continental service as the 1st Regiment of Light Dragoons, Peyton became the captain lieutenant of Maj. Henry Lee’s Partisan Corps in April 1778 and a captain in July. When Lee’s corps was expanded to a legionary corps in February 1780, Peyton received promotion to major and was with the corps when it joined the southern army in January 1781.

10The body advancing on Lee’s right flank was Lt. Col. Abraham Van Buskirk’s party, which was now returning to Paulus Hook (see source note). The body to Lee’s rear was Major Sutherland’s party plus two light companies of the Brigade of Guards, who had been sent over from New York that morning by Maj. Gen. James Pattison, commandant of the garrison of New York. See Pattison, “Letters,” 99–102, and Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 433–34.

11Thomas Catlett (d. 1780) joined the 2d Virginia Regiment as an ensign in February 1776. He became a second lieutenant in November 1776, a captain lieutenant in March 1777, and a captain in March 1779. While on detached service with Col. Abraham Buford’s newly raised battalion of Virginia Continentals, Catlett was killed at the Battle of Waxhaws, S.C., in May 1780.

The heights overlooking the Hudson River at Weehawken, N.J., were just above Hoboken, N.J., and approximately three and a half miles above Paulus Hook.

12The road to Fort Lee intercepted the Bergen Road approximately ten miles above Paulus Hook.

13Overpeck (Overpack) Creek, N.J., now known as English Creek, a tributary of the Hackensack River, rises in the vicinity of Liberty Pole (now Englewood), N.J., and flows south through a cedar swamp into the Hackensack River, about two miles below Hackensack, New Jersey.

14No letter from Lee containing the return of the casualties at Paulus Hook has been found; however, for modern calculations of Lee’s losses in the action, see the source note to this document.

15The undated “Return of Prisoners taken at Powles Hook on the Morning of the 19th of August 1779,” signed by Capt. Robert Forsyth by order of Lee, lists the numbers of prisoners captured by rank and includes their regiments. For the infantry captured, it lists one captain, four subalterns, one surgeon, one surgeon’s mate, one quartermaster, nine sergeants, and 128 rank and file. For the artillery captured, the return lists one sergeant, one corporal, two gunners, and nine matrosses. In sum, it reports 158 total prisoners taken, including ten “Inhabitants” who were counted in the infantry total. A note reads: “The surgeon on parole” (DNA:PCC, item 152).

16Nathan Reid (Reed; 1753–1830), of Botetourt, Va., became captain of the 14th Virginia Regiment in January 1777 and was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777. His regiment was redesignated the 10th Virginia Regiment in September 1778. He transferred to the 1st Virginia Regiment in February 1781 and left the army in January 1783.

Captain Smith probably was Joseph Smith (1735–1801) of Prince George’s County and later Baltimore County, Md., who became a captain in Col. Nathaniel Gist’s Additional Continental Regiment in May 1777 and led one of the divisions in the attack on Paulus Hook (see General Orders, 11 Sept.). He left the army in January 1781.

Abner Crump (d. 1802), of New Kent County, Va., joined the 1st Virginia State Regiment as a captain in May 1777 and served with the regiment until at least November 1779. He may have briefly resigned in 1780, but he was reappointed a captain in the regiment in March 1781. In 1781 and 1782 he served as assistant deputy quartermaster to the Southern Army. In March and April 1783, Crump, with the rank of captain-commandant, commanded the Virginia State Legion.

William Wilmot (Wilmott; d. 1782), of Baltimore County, Md., served as an ensign in the Maryland Flying Camp from June to November 1776. He became a first lieutenant in the 3d Maryland Regiment in December 1776 and received promotion to captain in October 1777. He transferred to the 2d Maryland Regiment in January 1781 and was killed while skirmishing with a British foraging party on John’s Island, S.C., in November 1782.

Mark Vanduval (Vandervall, Vandewell, Van de Wall) became a second lieutenant in the 1st Virginia Regiment in October 1777 and received promotion to first lieutenant in February 1778. Vanduval was taken prisoner when the garrison of Charleston, S.C., capitulated to the British in May 1780. He left the army in January 1783.

17William Sutherland became a lieutenant in the British army in October 1761 and transferred to the 38th Regiment of Foot in June 1766. He was with that regiment as a lieutenant in early 1776, but, in April 1776, he was promoted to captain and transferred to the 55th Regiment. Sutherland was appointed as a supernumerary aide-de-camp to Gen. Henry Clinton in July 1777. Clinton again appointed him as one of his aides de camp in May 1778 when Clinton became British commander in chief. Promoted to major, Sutherland commanded the corps of invalids sent to garrison Bermuda in November 1778. However, he seems to have returned in 1779, taken command of the Royal Garrison (or Invalid) Regiment, and been assigned as commandant at Paulus Hook with a detachment of the Garrison Battalion. Although a court of enquiry charged him with general misconduct as commandant during the August attack on Paulus Hook, Sutherland was acquitted with honor by a subsequent general court-martial. Despite his acquittal, Sutherland’s poor performance at Paulus Hook drew the displeasure of Clinton who replaced him as commandant of the Garrison Regiment in October 1779. Sutherland returned to England in September 1780.

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