Database

Springfield NJ

Other names: [Can you provide alternative names for these actions?]
___________________________,  ________________________

What:
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]

  • 40.710270,-74.307759 Springfield
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5 (Battle of Springfield, 23 Jun 1780), based on map, p.18, Fleming, The Battle of Springfield

  • 40.70787,-74.30182 1st bridge, Springfield
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5 (1st bridge), based on map, p.18, Fleming, The Battle of Springfield

  • 40.711150,-74.31149 2nd bridge, Springfield
  • ACME Mapper.
  • National Map
  • Google
  • Confidence: 5 (2nd bridge), based on map, p.18, Fleming, The Battle of Springfield

    [Can you more accurately place these locations? ________________________

Sources:

  • Thomas Fleming, The Battle of Springfield, June 23, 1780, 35p., maps. p.18.

  • Carey, 1795 map:

    Springfield

  • David C. Munn,     Battles and Skirmishes of the American Revolution in New Jersey,     Bureau of Geology and Topography, Department of Environmental Protection,     1976, p.100-101
    SPRINGFIELD December 17, 1776
    First skirmish in state in which New Jersey troops force British to turn and retire.
    Vanderpoel, 150-151.
    Lundin, 432-434.

    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 raid.
    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.

    [sources]

    LUNDIN
    Lundin, Leonard, Cockpit of the Revolution ... Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1940.

    PENNSYLVANIA POST
    [Philadelphia] Pennsylvania Evening Post, 1775-1784.

    NJA
    Archives of the State of New Jersey, First Series, vol. xxxi (Somerville, N.J., 1923), Second Series (5 vols., Trenton, 19011917).

    CLAYTON, MIDDLESEX
    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, CHAPTER VIII. 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)
    See following.

  • 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 "CHAPTER VIII. 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 [1777]
    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.
    [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].

  • Dennis P. Ryan, New Jersey in the American Revolution 1763-1783: A Chronology, p.65:
    June 7 [1780]
    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 [1780]
    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,
    CHARLES THOMSON,
    Secretary.
    -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, 1777.

  • RevWar75 RevWar75  
  • 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

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