Affiliate Link

Skirmish at Boundbrook

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

April 14. –Day before yesterday, General Lord Cornwallis, Generals Grant and Matthews, with the first battalion of grenadiers, one battalion of light infantry, a detachment of the guards, the light horse, two battalions of Hessians, and the Yagers, commanded by Colonel Donop, marched from New Brunswick, in New Jersey, between eight and nine o’clock at night, in order to surprise a large body of the rebels stationed at Boundbrook, seven miles distance from that city, commanded by a General Lincoln. The expedition was conducted with so much secrecy that scarce any of the inhabitants knew of the departure of the troops till Sunday morning. They avoided the roads, and got close to the rebel intrenchments before day; heard the sentinels cry “All’s well,” and were ordered to lie on their arms till the rebels should fire their morning gun. The order being given for the attack, their troops rushed on with their usual intrepidity, and put the rebels to flight, killed upwards of one hundred, took seventy-three prisoners, (among whom was one of Lincoln’s aide-de-camps, one captain, one lieutenant, and a man in irons, sentenced by the rebels to be shot,) three brass cannon, a quantity of arms, two wagons loaded with ammunition, a number of horses, one hundred and twenty head of cattle, sheep, hogs, &c., besides destroying three hundred barrels of flour, several hogsheads of whiskey and New England rum, with sundry other articles that the flourishing States cannot very well spare. The troops returned on Sunday forenoon, and the rebels crawled back to Boundbrook on their departure. Our loss was one man killed, and two Yagers wounded.

Many of the friends of government availed themselves of the confusion the rebels were thrown in by the above disaster, and came into Brunswick with the troops; several of the rebels embraced the same opportunity, and brought in their arms.

It is said that the rebel general had not time to collect his clothes, his safety requiring his utmost dexterity and swiftness.

The prisoners were brought to New York to-day, and are lodged in gaol with their wretched brethren.1


1 Upcott, v. 19. The following is another account of this action: –“On Saturday, the 12th instant, Lord Cornwallis, with the Generals Grant and Matthews, with a body of British troops, and Colonel Donop with a detachment of Hessians, surprised a large body of the rebels at Boundbrook, about seven miles from Brunswick, New Jersey, under the command of one Benjamin Lincoln, late secretary to the conventions and congresses of Massachusetts Bay, and a forward person in all the rebellious proceedings of that colony. The troops lay upon their arms till daybreak, and commenced the attack upon the rear of the rebel quarters, who made so weak a resistance as only to wound slightly four of the soldiers. Above one hundred of the rebels were killed, eighty-five taken prisoners, among whom was a fellow who passed for Lincoln’s aide-de-camp, and two others under the style of officers. The rebels taken have been brought to town, and are the most miserable looking creatures that ever bore the name of soldiers, being covered with nothing but rags and vermin. Three brass field-pieces, muskets, ammunition, camp equipage, papers, several horses, near two hundred head of cattle, with sheep, hogs, rum, flour, bread, &c., were chiefly brought away, and the rest, such as the rum and salted provisions, being very bad, were destroyed.”–Gaine’s Mercury, April 21.

Leave a Reply