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Hovedon’s Excursion

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

Yesterday evening, about eight o’clock, Captain Hoveden, with a party of twenty-four dragoons, and Captain Thomas, with fourteen foot, left Philadelphia, and passed into the county of Bucks, and, at the fulling mill of Mr. Jenks, surprised and took a guard of continental troops on their post there, guarding a considerable quantity of cloth belonging to the poor people of the country, of which they had been robbed by orders from the rebel head-quarters. This was performed with that secrecy the principal design required, which was to take another party, a small distance off: without firing a gun, which must have alarmed the other post, they took prisoners the whole guard. Immediately after they proceeded to Newtown, surprised and took the first sentry without alarm. On approaching near the quarters of Major Murray, they were fired upon by the sentry at his door. This alarmed the guard about forty yards distant, who, being sixteen in number, and under cover of the guard house, immediately took to their arms, and discharged their pieces on the troops surrounding them; but such was their activity and alertness, that, after returning the fire, and before the enemy could load a second time, they stormed the house, killed five, wounded four, and took the rest of the guard prisoners, and with them a considerable quantity of cloth then making up by a number of workmen for the rebel army. All this was done with so much secrecy, conduct, and bravery, that none of either of the parties received the least injury. About six o’clock this evening they returned, bringing with them the wounded and the prisoners.

Too much commendation cannot be given to this gallant action. To march twenty-eight miles, take and surprise one, and storm another of the enemy’s posts, kill and make prisoners of every officer and private, and to return the same distance, making in the whole fifty-six miles, in twenty-two hours, and that without the least injury received, must certainly meet with the applause of the public, and do great credit to the officers who conducted, and the men who, under their direction, accomplished it,1


1 Pennsylvania Ledger, February 21.

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