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Death of Col. Christopher Greene

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

The number killed in this affair was twenty-two; two were wounded and thirty-six taken prisoners. Thacher, in his journal, gives the following account of this action: — A party of Continental troops, commanded by Colonel Christopher Greene, of Rhode Island, being stationed on our lines near Croton River, were surprised by a party of the enemy, about sunrise on the 13th instant. They first attacked Colonel Greene’s and Major Flagg’s quarters, and killed the major while in bed. The colonel being badly wounded in the house, was carried into the woods and barbarously murdered. Two subalterns and twenty-seven privates were also killed, and a lieutenant and surgeon, with about twenty men, taken prisoners. This melancholy event is most deeply regretted; Colonel Greene bravely distinguished himself in defence of Fort Mercer, at Red Bank, in October 1777, and has ever been considered as a valiant and vigilant officer. He had taken post in a situation to guard a certain fording place at Croton River, and had practised the greatest vigilance in the night-time, calling off his guards at sunrise, on the idea that the enemy would not presume to cross in the daytime; but the enemy having learnt his mode of performing duty, effected their purpose by crossing the ford immediately after the guard had been withdrawn, and the surprise was so complete that no practicable defence could avail them. It will not be denied that an enemy may be justified in availing himself of every opportunity of gaining an advantage over his antagonist, or that in some instances slaughter is unavoidable; but a wanton and unnecessary sacrifice of life is on all occasions to be deprecated as a disgraceful violation of the dictates of humanity.


  1. My 5th great grandfather, Robert R. Henry, surgeon of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment, was the surgeon captured there. Wounded, he was paroled in July and convalesced at his father-in-laws home near Redding, CT before returning to his regiment.

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