Skip to main content

Short Hills (Metuchen), New Jersey

Short Hills (Metuchen), New Jersey

SHORT HILLS (METUCHEN), NEW JERSEY. 26 June 1777. During the "June Maneuvers" of the Philadelphia Campaign, Lieutenant General William Howe maintained strong forces in the Brunswick-Amboy area close to the shore and yet in a position to carry out foraging activities. Washington concentrated his main force in an excellent defensive position on the high ground around Quibble Town (modern New Market) and Bound Brook. To hold the foragers in check he pushed forward a task force built around a division consisting of the New Jersey Brigade and Conway's Third Pennsylvania Brigade, led by William Alexander (known as Lord Stirling). Relying on his men's knowledge of the local area, Alexander camped near Metuchen Meeting House, about five miles northwest of Amboy. While in this position Howe made his last effort to bring Washington to decisive battle in the New York area before sailing to Philadelphia. At 1 a.m. on 26 June, the British moved out in two columns. Howe planned to annihilate Alexander and then capture the passes to Middle Brook, which would force Washington into the open. The movement of such a large force could not be hidden, and Washington easily fell back to a more secure location.

The British boasted of defeating Alexander, and historians have often depicted the operation as an example of the inferiority of the Continentals' training. However, the reality is more complex. Alexander's troops displayed great coolness in forming for battle and staged a successful withdrawal while covering Washington. The British pursued some five miles without being able to cut him off. Casualties were light, but Alexander's rear guard lost three field guns. The next day Howe withdrew to Amboy and embarked on 30 June, having accomplished nothing from this affair.

Although "Short Hills" is used here to designate the affair, the name is confusing because the Short Hills Meeting House (Milburn, New Jersey) was actually near Springfield, more than twelve miles away. The incident might more logically be called the Affair at Metuchen Meeting House.

SEE ALSO Philadelphia Campaign; Springfield, New Jersey, Raid of Knyphausen.

                     revised by Robert K. Wright Jr.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Short Hills (Metuchen), New Jersey." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . 17 Jul. 2019 <>.

"Short Hills (Metuchen), New Jersey." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . (July 17, 2019).

"Short Hills (Metuchen), New Jersey." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. . Retrieved July 17, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.