Brunswick, New Jersey

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Brunswick, New Jersey

BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY. 22 June 1777. Washington's Main Army had passed through Brunswick (or more properly New Brunswick) during the retreat to the Delaware River the previous winter. General William Howe had turned it into one of his major garrison locations, with up to 7,800 troops occupying it. At the start of the Philadelphia Campaign, Howe determined to move to Philadelphia by sea rather than try a second time to advance through New Jersey. Accordingly he began falling back through Amboy to New York City and Staten Island. On 21 June Washington moved forward to harass the British and exploit any weakness. Initially he sought to have Major General John Sullivan with the Maryland Division make a feint toward Brunswick, while Brigadier General William Maxwell worked his way onto the British western flank. On the morning of 22 June, he modified these orders and sent Major General Nathanael Greene with the First Virginia Division (two brigades) and a third brigade to push against Howe's rear elements while holding the bulk of the army in reserve. He also had Brigadier General Anthony Wayne's First Pennsylvania Brigade and Colonel Daniel Morgan's provisional Rifle Corps try to maneuver around the flank. Morgan made the first contact and drove the British across the bridge over the Raritan. The British and Hessian jägers promptly evacuated the two redoubts covering the bridge and headed down the road to Amboy. The Americans pursued as far as Piscataway before realizing that they were closing in on a major part of Howe's army. At this point they realized that they had gotten too far in front and fell back to Brunswick. The British continued on to Amboy, burning buildings along the way.

SEE ALSO Philadelphia Campaign.


Fitzpatrick, John C., ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745–1799. 39 vols. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970.

                                   revised by Robert K. Wright Jr.