The Battle of Monmouth was the biggest and longest one day battle during the American Revolutionary War. Fought in New Jersey on June 28, 1778, the main Continental Army under George Washington attacked the rear of the British Army’s column led by Sir Henry Clinton as they left Freehold Court-House.
Discovering that the French were coming to help the Americans, the British decided to withdraw from Philadelphia and return to their man base in New York City. They sent some of their troops by sea but did not have enough boats, so about 20,000 British troops marched across New Jersey to New York.
On the morning of June 28th, as the British were leaving Monmouth Courthouse when their rear guard was attacked by the Americans. General Charles Lee was handed the command, and his troops led the advance and initiated the first attack. When the British turned to flank him, he ordered a general retreat without so as much as firing a shot at the enemy, and his soldiers soon became disorganized. Washington sent the dejected Lee to the rear, then personally rallied the troops and repelled two counterattacks referred to as “Washington’s Advance”.
The battle was technically a tactical draw. With highs of over 100 degrees F. both sides lost almost as many men to heat stroke and lack of water as to the enemy. Both sides retired at nightfall. The next morning the Americans woke to find the British had slipped away during the night.
Today, the Monmouth Battlefield is one of the best preserved of the Revolutionary War battlefields. Each year during the last weekend in June, the Battle of Monmouth is reenacted at Monmouth Battlefield State Park in modern Freehold Township.
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For more information, visit The Battle of Monmouth