|Lee's men were falling back along this roadway through
the grass from
the right side of the over 180 degree panorama. Washington was
riding ahead of the main body and encountered men of the
retreating advanced guard - men who had no idea exactly why they
retreating. Here, an irked Washington met a frustrated Charles
Exactly what was said is unknown - differing accounts are given -
but Lee believed that he was relieved of his command. A short
time later, Lee believed that Washington sent Lee to the
rear to organize his men.
Washington ordered Anthony Wayne with a group of picked men ahead and into the woods on the right side of the panorama to delay the British, then he returned to the main body to organize a line of battle. As the British crossed the Middle Morass and proceeded forward, American artillery near where the photo was taken fired solid shot and canister into them. Wayne's men ambushed the Guards and Grenadiers and the 16th Light Dragoons as they passed, and the British responded with an immediate attack. In hand to hand fighting, Wayne's men were forced back, and the artillery was withdrawn in the face of the advancing British. The British had paid dearly for this victory, and the troops were not in good order.
|Hedgerow Attack - British Perspective 12:45
After being forced back in hand to hand combat, Gen Wayne's men marched past this hedgerow (left to right in the above panorama) with the British in pursuit. The British pursuit was not in organized ranks, and it became an attack on American troops under Varnum and Livingston, who had just recently arrived to defend this hedgerow. Clinton and Cornwallis were present, urging the men of a portion of the 16th Light Dragoons to closely pursue Wayne's men, in effect using them as human shields against American fire. The Continentals, however, fired through and over the heads of Wayne's men, forcing the British cavalry to fall back onto approaching British troops.
The Grenadiers were also attacking. Clinton urged them on without stopping to form, and he was lucky to escape with his life as an American officer fired at him, but missed, at close range. The fighting was intense, with Washington' aides-de-camp Alexander Hamilton and Henry Laurens having their horses shot from under them. Livingston was wounded, and a third of his men were killed or wounded. As many as ten volleys were exchanged in just three to four minutes, but the Americans held firm - until, that is, events transpired elsewhere.
The fence on the left side of the panorama is the location of the hedgerow, and it extended along the edge of the modern orchard to Tour stop 5, where Clinton was attacking with the Grenadiers. To the left of the Grenadiers were men of the 16th Light Dragoons. Near here, modern Tour Stop 4, the Light Dragoons passed through the hedgerow, flanking the American line. Lee and Henry Knox were with American artillery and some militia cavalry on slightly higher ground behind the hedgerow. The heavily outnumbered militia cavalry did not stay long. Without support, Lee ordered the artillery back, and seeing the hopelessness of the situation for his infantry, he ordered them back as well.
Bridge Over Middle Brook
The Americans fell back across Spotswood Middle Brook near the modern road
bridge to the safety of a line of artillery positioned by
Washington on the hills beyond. Gen. Lee was among the last to cross.
The 2nd Bn of Grenadiers tried to storm the bridge, but the
artillery fire was too much. Lt Col Monckton was killed in the
attack. He is now buried at the Tennant Meeting House. His
sword and flag are on display in the Monmouth County Historical
Washington now had most of his army deployed in line of battle on the high ground west of Spotswood Middle Brook with Lee's men going into reserve at Englishtown. A major British attack on the position would be costly, and a lull set in for about two hours while with both sides fired artillery at the other side. During the artillery duel, Clinton brought up more troops.