Other names: [Can you provide alternative names for these actions?]
17 Dec 1776, skirmish, *Major Oliver Spencer vs. Unk. British cdr (Munn, RW75)
19 Dec 1776, skirmish, *Unk. American cdr. vs. Unk. British cdr (RW75)
5 Jan 1777, skirmish, Major Oliver Spencer vs. unk. British cdr (Munn)
19 Jan 1777, skirmish, *unk. American cdr vs. unk. British cdr (Munn)
1 Feb 1777, skirmish, Gen. John Sullivan vs. *Sir Wm. Erskine (Munn, RW75,Ryan)
23 Feb 1777, skirmish, unk. American cdr vs. unk. British cdr (RW75,OIALS)
7 Mar 1777, skirmish, unk. American cdr vs. unk. British cdr (RW75,OIALS)
8 Mar 1777, skirmish, unk. American cdr vs. unk. British cdr (RW75,OIALS)
16 Mar 1777, skirmish, unk. American cdr vs. unk. British cdr (RW75,OIALS)
17 Jun 1778, skirmish, unk. American cdr vs. *unk. British cdr (RW75)
7 June 1780, battle, Colonel Elias Dayton vs. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen (Munn,Ryan)
7-23 June 1780, raids, unk. American cdrs. vs. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen (Munn)
23 June 1780, battle, *MG Nathanael Greene vs. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen (Munn,RW75,Ryan,OIALS)
Where: 40.710270 -74.307759 Springfield
Maps: [map notes]
- Thomas Fleming, The Battle of Springfield,
June 23, 1780, 35p., maps. p.18.
- Carey, 1795 map:
- David C. Munn,
Battles and Skirmishes of the American Revolution in New Jersey,
Bureau of Geology and Topography, Department of Environmental
SPRINGFIELD December 17, 1776
First skirmish in state in which New Jersey troops force British to turn and retire.
SPRINGFIELD January 5, 1777
Foraging party and local militia have brief exchange.
Pa. Post, 23 Jan. 1777, 36.
SPRINGFIELD January 19, 1777
Militia kills eight or ten Waldeckers and captures remainder of party with no losses during
NJA 2, I, 270.
SPRINGFIELD February 1, 1777
Party of 4000 rebels under Gen. John Sullivan attempt to take a hill from 42d Regiment
under Sir William Erskine. British prevail and claim eighteen killed and wounded while
reporting 250 Americans "killed on the spot."
NJA 2, 1, 280-281.
[Refuted by Meisner, 2nd quote, following. There appears to be confusion between this and listing for Drake's farm near Metuchen, same day].
SPRINGFIELD June 7-23, 1780
Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen invades New Jersey to drive out patriots. Main battles occur
on 7th and 23rd, but there is an "almost daily exchange" of raids between the two armies.
Clayton, Middlesex, 87-88.
Cockpit of the Revolution
... Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1940.
[Philadelphia] Pennsylvania Evening Post, 1775-1784.
Archives of the State of New Jersey, First Series, vol. xxxi (Somerville, N.J., 1923), Second
Series (5 vols., Trenton, 19011917).
Clayton, W. Woodford, History of Union and Middlesex counties.
Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1882.
- Marian Meisner, A History of Millburn Township, Jointly published by the Millburn/Short Hills Historical Society and the Millburn Free Public Library.
Copyright, July 5, 2002,
THE WAR COMES TO MILLBURN
On December 17, 1776, the first real trouble here began. On the morning of that day a small detachment under Major Spencer guarding the main road between Chatham and Springfield, was amazed to see a large British force moving on Springfield. Knowing that his group was too small to take on such numbers, Spencer sent a swift messenger back to Chatham to report and get help. Quietly the Americans slipped out of Chatham. One group under Captain Brookfield advanced on the right of Springfield coming through Millburn, or "Vauxhall" as the report called it, probably coming over the path which is the present Hobart Avenue, or the railroad right of way; the other group under Captain Seely came down to the left of Springfield center on the Westfield road. By this time the British had taken possession of Woodruff's tavern, just west of the Church, and were sprawled all over the meadow behind it, the road in front of it, and in the fields across the street where the super markets stand today. The Americans held their fire until they were within pistol shot of the enemy and then they let go. The fighting was terrific and went on for more than an hour, when darkness coming on the Americans withdrew a mile up the road and lay with their arms all night intending to take action again at dawn. In the morning, the British had completely disappeared, and this was the first instance in New Jersey when British troops had turned their backs and fled from the Americans. For the first time the militia realized that their foe was not invincible.
- NPS, "Crossroads of the American Revolution in New Jersey
At Springfield, General John Sullivan and 4000 men attacked the British 42nd regiment under Sir William Erskine. (February 1, 1777)
Marian Meisner, A History of Millburn Township, Jointly published by the Millburn/Short Hills Historical Society and the Millburn Free Public Library.
Copyright, July 5, 2002
THE WAR COMES TO MILLBURN"
Several minor clashes occurred during the next few weeks. General Washington himself reported them to Congress:
"There have been two or three little skirmishes between their troops and some detachments of the militia in which the latter have been successful and made a few prisoners. The most considerable was on Sunday morning (January 5th) when 8 or 10 Waldeckers were killed and wounded and the remainder of the party 39 or 40 made prisoners with officers?by a force not superior in number and without receiving the least damage." ... This was in Springfield, the Americans led by Major Oliver Spencer.
The British naturally were thoroughly piqued by the results of these engagements, and showed it in a story which appeared on February 10, 1777, in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury. The story is clearly a gross exaggeration:
"There are several marauding parties of the Rebels," the story goes, "scattered about the Jersies who rape and plunder the poor inhabitants ... On Saturday the 1st inst. (February 1st a smart skirmish happened at Springfield, New Jersey, between a party of nearly 4,000 rebels under the command of Sullivan, and the 42nd Regiment under Sir William Erskine. The rebels were attempting to pass a hill which would have given them considerable advantage. Sir William directed his highlanders to dispute the ground. Notwithstanding the great disparity in numbers the rebels soon gave up the point leaving 250 killed behind them. The British lost only 18 in killed and wounded."
- Dennis P. Ryan,
New Jersey in the American Revolution 1763-1783: A Chronology, p.41:
February 1 
[Munn lists Drakes's farm as near Metuchen same date, per
New Jersey Historical Society. New Jersey History (formerly Proceedings of the New Jersey
Historical Society). vols. (1st Ser. 7, 1854; NS, 13, 1928; 78, 1960; 85, 1967].
British troops under Sir Willima Erskine guard a foraging party at Drake's farm at Springfield. In an engagement at close quarters with American forces, both sides report casualties.
- Dennis P. Ryan,
New Jersey in the American Revolution 1763-1783: A Chronology, p.65:
June 7 
Colonel Elias Dayton's New Jersey Brigade and the local militia stop Knyphausen's advance. Thirty houses at Connecticut Farms are burned by the retreating British forces. Hanna Caldwell is killed during the day's fighting.
- Dennis P. Ryan,
New Jersey in the American Revolution 1763-1783: A Chronology, p.66. Battle of Springfield.
June 23 
The Battle of Springfield. Returning to New York from
the South, Sir Henry Clinton orders General Wilhelm von Knyphausen to proceed towards Morristown. The British force of
6,000 men advance from Elizabethtown but are impeded by the
militia under General William Maxwell. The delay enables
Continental troops under General Nathanael Greene and militia
under General Philemon Dickinson to move from Morristown to the bridges in Springfield.
The British unit, divided into two columns. attempts to outflank the American forces by crossing the Vauxhall bridge. A stubborn
resistance by Henry Lee on the Vauxhall Road prevents Knyphausen's plan from succeeding. The American main force repels the
British advance before taking a strong position on high ground.
Making little headway due to the stout resistance, Knyphauscn
breaks off the engagement. Most of the homes in Springfield are
burned during the British retreat towards Elizabethtown. American units, facing superior forces, suffer less than 150 casualties.
- Wikipedia, "New Jersey during the American Revolution"
Battle of Springfield
The last major battle to take place in New Jersey and the rest of the Northern states during the Revolutionary War was the Battle of Springfield. Baron von Knyphausen, the Hessian general, hoped to invade of New Jersey and expected support from the colonists of New Jersey who were tired of the war. His goal was to secure Hobart Gap, from which he could attack the American headquarters situated in Morristown. On June 23, 1780, the British attacked soldiers and militia under the command of Nathanael Greene. General Greene successfully stopped a two-pronged attack from positions held across the Rahway River. The victory prevented a British attack on Morristown and its military stores.
Archives of the State of New Jersey, First Series, Second Series, Volume I, p.270, Trenton, N. J. :
The John L. Murphy Publishing Co., 1901.
Ref'd by Munn, above.
" The enemy have totally evacuated Trenton and
Princeton, and are now at Brunswick, and the several
posts on the communication between that and Hudson's
river, but chiefly at Brunswick. Their numbers and
movements are variously reported; but all agree their
force to be great. There have been two or three little
skirmishes between their parties and some detachments
of militia, in which the latter have been successful, and
made a few prisoners; the most considerable was on Sunday
morning [19 Jan 1777], near Springfield, when eight or ten Waideckers
were killed and wounded, and the remainder of
the party, thirty-nine or forty, made prisoners with two
officers, by a force not superior in number, and without
receiving the least damage."
Published by order of Congress,
-The Pennsylvania Evening Post, January 23, 1777.
Archives of the State of New Jersey, First Series, Second Series, Volume I, p.280-281, Trenton, N. J. :
The John L. Murphy Publishing Co., 1901.
Ref'd by Munn, above. Commented upon by Meisner, above.
On Saturday the 1st Instant [1 Feb 1777], a smart Skirmish happened
at Springfield in New-Jersey, between a Party of
near 4000 Rebels, under the Command of Sullivan, and
the 42d Regiment (the famous and gallant Highlanders)
under Sir William Erskine. The Rebels were attempting
to possess a Hill, which would have given them a
considerable Advantage. Sir William>, perceiving their
Design, directed his Highlanders to dispute the Ground.
They advanced with their usual Ardor and Intrepidity
upon the Enemy, notwithstanding the great Disparity of
their Numbers, and came instantly to close Quarters with
them. The Spirit of these Heroes was not to be matched
by Rebels ; and, accordingly, they soon gave up the
Point, and retired with the utmost Precipitation, leaving
behind them above Two hundred and Fifty Men killed
upon the Spot. The Bravery and Conduct of Sir William
Erskine and this Regiment have been only equalled
by Col. Mawhood and the gallant 17th. The Loss, on
the Part of the Troops, amounted only to 18 in killed
and wounded. ...
- New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, February 10,
- Dec 1776 listing 12/17/1776 Springfield. Draw.
- Dec 1776 listing 12/19/1776 Springfield. American victory.
- Feb 1777 listing 2/1/1777 Springfield. Insufficient data.
- Feb 1777 listing 2/23/1777 Springfield. Insufficient data.
- Mar 1777 listing 3/7/1777 Springfield. Insufficient data.
- Mar 1777 listing 3/8/1777 Springfield. Insufficient data.
- Mar 1777 listing 3/16/1777 Springfield. Insufficient data.
- Jun 1778 listing 6/17/1778 Springfield. British victory.
- Jun 1780 listing 6/23/1780 Springfield. American victory.
- Online Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies
- 1777 listing 23 Feb 1777 Springfield
- 1777 listing 7 Mar 1777 Springfield
- 1777 listing 8 Mar 1777 Springfield
- 1777 listing 16 Mar 1777 Springfield
- 1780 listing 23 Jun 1780 Springfield