George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Colonel Moses Hazen, 26 January 1780

From Colonel Moses Hazen

Elizath Town [N.J.] 26. Jany 1780 6.OClock A.M.

Dr Sir

I wrote you from this Place at 3 OClock this Morning, and then inform’d you of the Misfortune of Major Eccleson, and his Party. I can not as yet ascertain how many Officers or Men, We have lost on the Occasion—I have call’d for the Returns, as soon as I can be furnish’d with them they shall be sent to Head Qrs The Enemy cross’d at Trembley’s Point with near 100 Horse, and two hundred Infantry, as is at present reported—Lt Coll Buskirk commanded—They arrived here between 11. & 12 in the Night.1

At the same Hour the Guard at Newark was attack’d. I am told the Officer made a Gallant Defence, and has sav’d his Party.

The Number of the Enemy or who commanded at that place I cannot yet learn. They have taken from New Ark, Lieut. Coll Hay of the Pensylvania Line, Judge Hodden, and Mr Robert Neal—burnt the Academy,2 and plunder’d several People; which They have also done at this Place—Major Williamson Qr Mr, and Captn Gifford of the 3d Jersey Regt were taken from this Place.3 I am Sir ⟨wi⟩th great Respect your Excellency’s very Obedt servt

Moses Hazen

ALS, DLC:GW. The cover of the LS is marked “Express.”

1Maj. Carl Leopold Baurmeister, aide-de-camp to Lt. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen, claimed that Lt. Col. Abraham Van Buskirk attacked with 12 dragoons and 120 infantry (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 340).

2Newark Academy, founded in 1774 by Presbyterian minister Alexander MacWhartor, who during the Revolution was chaplain to the Continental artillery brigade, was rebuilt in 1792 and moved to its present location in Livingston, N.J., in 1964. The army had previously used the academy as a hospital. In January 1780, the army was using the academy as a barracks for the troops stationed in the town.

Joseph Hedden, Jr. (1728–1780) of Newark, N.J., was a judge of Essex County and commissioner for the sale of forfeited Loyalist estates. The Royal Gazette of 29 Jan., in reporting Hedden’s capture, described him as “a rebel magistrate, remarkable for his persecuting spirit.” Earlier in the war he had been a member of the Newark committee of observation. He died in prison in New York in September.

Former Loyalist Robert Neil (Neal), also of Newark, was a captain in the Essex County militia and an acting supply commissary. He became ardent in the cause of the Revolution after the British evacuated Newark in early 1777. Neil obtained a parole in late May in order to arrange his exchange.

For Neil’s claim of mistreatment in prison, see Prince, Livingston Papers, description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends 3:377. For the efforts of the New Jersey government to obtain the exchange of Hedden and Neil, see Livingston Papers, 3:401–5, 410, 415–16.

3William Bernard Gifford (c.1750–1814), an immigrant from northern Ireland, joined the 3d New Jersey Regiment as a second lieutenant in February 1776. He became a first lieutenant the following August and a captain in November 1776. He was wounded at the Battle of Monmouth in June 1778. He did not return to service in the army after his release from captivity in November 1780.

The Royal Gazette of 29 Jan., in its list of persons captured at Elizabeth, noted that Van Buskirk also captured Maj. Matthias Williamson’s brother and a “Mr. B[elcher] Smith, son of Mr. Peartree Smith.”

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