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Attack on Red Bank

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

Yesterday morning, 1 about fifteen hundred Hessians, under the command of Count Donop, came down from Philadelphia to Red Bank2 in order to take the fort, under the command of Colonel Greene, belonging to Rhode Island. About four o’clock in the afternoon the attack was begun by a most furious cannonade, which held a quarter of an hour; the Hessians then rushed on to storm the fort, and got into the old part of the works, when they thought it was all their own, and gave three cheers, but were soon obliged to retreat out of it in the utmost hurry. The galleys at the same time kept up a constant fire on them, which did great execution; and in about three-quarters of an hour’s attack they ran off with the greatest precipitation, leaving behind them, dead, about ninety persons. Among them was a lieutenant-colonel and four captains; and from a good authority we are assured that the enemy buried one colonel and twenty-one privates between the fort and Cooper’s Ferry, and carried over not less than two hundred wounded. The enemy left on the field, wounded, Count Donop,3 his brigade-major, a lieutenant, and about eighty privates; the brigade-major and lieutenant are permitted to go into Philadelphia, and most of the privates have died of their wounds.

While the enemy was attacking the fort, the Augusta, of sixty-four guns, the Roebuck, of forty-four, two frigates of thirty-two, the Merlin of eighteen, and their large galleys came through the lower chevaux-de-frize, and kept up a great firing, in order to draw off the galleys from giving any assistance to the fort; but they were mistaken. The Augusta, in going down in the evening got aground. Early this morning all the galleys and floating batteries began the attack, when an incessant fire was kept up on both sides; so that the very elements seemed to be on fire. At eleven o’clock the Augusta was set on fire, and at twelve she blew up with an astonishing blast. One of our people was killed in a galley by the fall of a piece of timber, and we were so near that some of our powder-horns took fire and blew up. The engagement still continued; but the Roebuck fell lower down, and the Merlin, of eighteen guns, ran aground, and at three o’clock the enemy set fire to her, when the engagement ceased, the enemy falling still lower down. Thus ended two glorious days. The commodore with his boats went on board the wrecks, and took out much plunder, and brought off two of their cannon, one an eighteen, the other a twenty-four pounder.3

 

1 October 22, 1777.
2 Situated at the junction of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.
3 He died soon after the action.
4 New Jersey Gazette, December 6.

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