A Battle Draw
July 1, 1778
British commanding position recently changed to Sir Henry Clinton
because General Howe believed there is no possibility to end this war.
Another general who sees no way to victory is America’s General Charles Lee. While a POW, he gave General Howe a plan for America’s defeat.
General Lee has recently returned to duty, and General Washington has included Lee in Washington’s plans.
Washington had planned for Lee to lure the British into fighting. Then Washington would arrive with the main part of the Continental Army and finish off the fighting.
General Lee caught up with General Clinton in Monmouth, New Jersey on June 28, 1778. The British and Americans had a brief skirmish and Lee ordered the Americans to retreat. George Washington arrived just then. Lee did not tell Washington of the retreat, and he was ready to drive the redcoats away. When Washington overheard a soldier telling another soldier to retreat, Washington arrested the man for spreading false rumors.
General Washington turned the troops around back into the battle. He then ordered Generals Marquis de Lafayette, Nathanael Greene, and Wayne to keep the
from advancing further.
The British attacked American lines four times, but the Americans held their ground. This dispute was a perfect test of the skillful Baron von Steuben who had drilled the Army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
The heroine of the day was Mary Hays, better known as Molly Pitcher. She received this name in the beginning of the battle because she carried water pitchers to wounded soldiers.
While on one of these carrying expeditions, she noticed that her husband who had been manning (working) a cannon was wounded. Ms. Hays then took over the cannon and worked until General Washington arrived! Already she is becoming a legend.
George Washington was not happy with the day’s results.
He organized an attack on the British, but the sun set before Washington could carry out his plan.
Around midnight, the redcoats slipped away to New York. Clinton was not pleased with retreating, and Washington wanted a real victory. The Battle of Monmouth was disappointing for both sides.