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Colonel Hyde’s Visit to Jersey

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

April 27.—Yesterday, the British, in two divisions, landed in the county of Monmouth, in New Jersey; one party at Shoal Harbor, which marched to Middletown, and entered the village at daybreak; the other went in flat-bottomed boats, into Shrewsbury River, landed at Red Bank, and then proceeded to Trenton Falls. Colonel Ford, with the Continental troops, retired to Colt’s Neck. Near the middle of the day the party which had landed at Shrewsbury River, crossed the river and went to Middletown, where both the divisions formed a junction. They sent their boats round to the bay shore, near one Harber’s plantation, where they had thirteen sloops ready to take them off. At eight o’clock, Captain Burrows, who had mustered twelve men, gave them to understand that they were surrounded by the militia. They continued in the village till three o’clock, when they began their retreat. Captain Burrows was then joined by three other men, and kept a constant fire upon them for two miles, when Colonel Holmes, of the militia, with about sixty of his men, reinforced Captain Burrows, and then the enemy’s retreat was precipitate; they were drove on board at sunset, and immediately set sail for New York. Their numbers were about eight hundred, commanded by Colonel Hyde. We had but, two men slightly wounded. The enemy left three dead behind them, their wounded they carried off, as their rear made a stand at every hill, house, and barn in their route. One of the inhabitants says fifteen wounded were carried on board their boats. In their progress,-or rather flight, they plundered the inhabitants, and burnt several houses and barns. Had they landed in the day, or stayed till the militia could be collected to half their number, (which we always reckon sufficient to drub them,) they would doubtless have repented their invasion. But ever choosing, like their brother thieves, the hours of darkness to perpetrate the works of darkness, they generally land in the night, and before the militia can be collected, flee to their vessels with precipitation, snatching up in their flight what plunder they can, and then magnify in their lying Gazettes, one of those sheep-stealing nocturnal robberies, into one of the Duke of Marlborough’s victories in Flanders.1


1 New Hampshire Gazette, May 25.